Last month, we not only marked the start of a new year, but a new era at CCSA! On January 9th, Myrna Castrejón officially became our organization’s president and CEO. Here at CCSA, we know quite a bit about Myrna (more on that below). But for the rest of you, let’s break the ice with seven things you should know about the association’s new dynamic leader!
She’s a longtime advocate for underserved kids. Myrna’s work as an advocate for underserved students spans three decades. In the late 1990s, Myrna worked as a consultant to the Urban Education Partnership/LAUSD, where she developed eight innovative early education centers in the high-needs areas of Los Angeles. She also served as vice president of school and family networks for the Los Angeles Alliance for Student Achievement and as director for family engagement for the Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitan Project. Her most recent post before returning to CCSA was as executive director of Great Public Schools Now, a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming education in L.A. to expand high-quality public schools to underserved communities.
She wants families to have a permanent seat at the policy making table. Guiding Myrna’s passion is pursuing policies that fulfill what families need to realize better life outcomes for their children. It’s critical, she notes, to engage and include their voices on the path to ensuring a great public education for all kids.
She eagerly puts the needs of others first. Myrna’s approach to her work and life in general are marked by gratitude, joy and a commitment to service. “What could be more joyful than living with a purpose greater than yourself,” she says. It’s a value that she’s instilled in her son and the duo live it out each and every day.
She is a CCSA veteran. Myrna is no stranger to CCSA. From 2003 to 2016, she served as senior vice president for regional advocacy, accountability, and performance management and government affairs. She also previously served as acting CEO in 2015.
She is making CCSA history. Myrna is the first Latina to ever serve as the CEO of the association. She’s also forming a historic partnership with Margaret Fortune, who is the first African American to chair CCSA’s Board of Directors. "This is a historic opportunity for two women of color to lead one of the most impactful reform efforts in the nation.” Fortune said, shortly after it was announced last fall that Myrna would take the helm at CCSA.
She is mad for music. Myrna simply can’t settle on one favorite band or genre of music. Opera is certainly on the list after years of training to be a classical singer. Other favorites are anything danceable, including salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia. “Anything that privileges musicianship or provides a window into another world, culture or time is interesting to me,” she says.
She believes food is one of life’s great pleasures. Myrna is not only a boffo fan of eating food but cooking it as well. “Cooking is meditation, nourishment, and an act of love,” she says. But like music, it’s an impossible task to pick a favorite dish.