Who We Are
A state-wide collaboration of educational institutions and agencies
The UC/CSU California Collaborative for Neurodiversity and Learning is a state-wide collaboration of educational institutions and agencies.
The Phase 1 University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) campuses are:
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA serves as the fiscal agent for this funding, and the Collaborative is housed at UCLA)
California State University, Northridge
California State University, Dominguez Hills
California State University, Los Angeles
In addition to ongoing work with UC San Francisco, the goal is to expand the partnership work to additional UC and CSU campuses, beginning with UC Irvine and UC Riverside and the CSU Center for the Advancement of Reading and Writing (CAR/W).
Executive Director of the UC/CSU California Collaborative for Neurodiversity and Learning
Ms. Yoshimoto-Towery brings nearly three decades as a teacher, principal, director, and top administrator to her role as Executive Director of the UC/CSU California Collaborative for Neurodiversity and Learning. As the former Chief Academic Officer of the Los Angeles Unified School District — one of the nation’s largest and most diverse school districts — she expanded early education opportunities, early literacy and numeracy supports, college access partnerships, financial aid and Dream Act completion, financial literacy, equitable grading and instruction, workforce development for youth, and community schooling. She also founded the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) student leadership roundtable to give young leaders a voice with top district decision makers. Ms. Yoshimoto-Towery is also a current member of the California State Board of Education.
Co-Faculty Directors of the UC/CSU California Collaborative for Neurodiversity and Learning
Director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice, Professor-in-Residence at the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies
Dr. Wolf is an advocate for children and literacy around the world. She directs UCLA’s Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice. She is the author of: Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain (2007); Dyslexia, Fluency, and the Brain (2001); Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century (2016); and Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World (2018). She has received the highest honors from the International Dyslexia Association and recently was appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Professor in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at California State University, Northridge
Dr. Sears’ research focuses on the areas of teacher education and literacy. She has received multiple special education personnel preparation grants and most recently was Co-Director of a federally funded adolescent literacy model/demonstration project. At CSUN, Dr. Sears is Director of the Teaching, Learning, and Counseling Consortium, a multidisciplinary clinic that provides low-cost assessment, literacy tutoring, and counseling to local schools and families.
UC/CSU California Collaborative Leadership Team
Wasserman Dean of the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies and UCLA Education Professor of Social Research Methodology
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Previously served as Dean of the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at California State University, Northridge.
Associate Dean for Community Programs, UCLA School of Education and Information Studies. Previously served as the Executive Director of UCLA Center X, which focuses on bringing together research and practice to improve K-12 education outcomes.
California State University Assistant Vice Chancellor, Educator & Leadership Programs; Academic and Student Affairs. Previously served as Dean of the College of Education at California State University, Long Beach.
The UC/CSU California Collaborative Task Force
Instructional faculty, researchers, administrators, and staff from CSU and UCLA campuses are members of the UC/CSU Task Force. This group possesses years of experience and expertise in teacher education, including elementary, secondary, and special education. The task force is developing a model post-secondary teaching reading curriculum and accompanying professional development materials for teacher educators, focused on dyslexia.
Ya-Chih “Jilly” Chang
CSU Los Angeles
Ya-Chih Chang, Ph.D. is a Professor at California State University, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on evidence-based interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities, including collaboration and implementation of evidence-based strategies with community partners, teachers, and families in diverse and underserved communities.
Rachel Friedman Narr
Dr. Rachel Friedman Narr is a Professor at California State University, Northridge in the Department of Special Education. Her research has centered on reading practices with deaf students. Dr. Friedman Narr teaches a foundational reading instructional methods course in special education and deaf education methods courses in the teacher preparation program. She also teaches MA level educational research courses.
Vanessa Goodwin, Ph.D. has spent much of her career working with adolescent struggling readers both as a special education teacher and teacher educator. Through the LA Intervention Project, Dr. Goodwin has co-created and trained secondary general and special education teachers on evidence-based practices that have demonstrated gains for struggling readers. She directs the Special Education Literacy Clinic in the Teaching, Learning and Counseling Consortium (TLCC) at CSUN, providing low-cost services to community children with reading difficulties, including dyslexia.
Dr. Rebecca J. M. Gotlieb is an Assistant Researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners and Social Justice. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Southern California in the Center for Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning, and Education. Her research focuses on individual differences in social, emotional, cognitive, and brain development from early childhood through adolescence and young adulthood with implications for education. She is particularly interested in the coordinated growth of literacy and social-emotional skills.
Dr. Dominic Grasso’s research areas include literacy and reading teacher education, the use of literacy as a tool for social justice, and inclusive teacher education with special emphasis on anti-racist teacher education and LGBTQ inclusive curricular and literacy practices. Prior to joining CSU Northridge, Dr. Grasso worked in a variety of educational settings, including as an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University, and as a literacy curriculum specialist for the School District of Palm Beach County. Dr. Grasso has extensive experience with a variety of literacy applications in both early childhood and elementary school settings.
CSU Dominguez Hills
Kai Greene, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is a nationally certified speech-language pathologist and Assistant Professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, College of Education: Department of Special Education. His research interests center around dual language learning and special education along with related issues specific to diagnostic assessment and instructional intervention. He has over four decades of experience working in diverse school settings where his curiosity to learn and better understand how teachers teach and students learn continues.
Interim Director for the College of Education Student Success Center
CSU Dominguez Hills
Dr. Laurie Inman is the Interim Director for the College of Education Student Success Center at CSU Dominguez Hills after leading the Liberal Studies department for the past four years. Her experience before joining the university includes teaching in grades K-4, public and charter school administration, district level leadership in curriculum and instruction, and 12 years as a senior literacy coach and consultant working with several Southern California school districts. She earned her doctorate from the University of Southern California.
Trang Nguyen is the Administrative Coordinator for the UC/CSU California Collaborative for Neurodiversity and Learning at the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice. She has a master’s in developmental psychology from UC Davis. Her background stems from Special Services for preschool children through social engagement for school-age and adolescent children. Her most prior experience was managing a training program for adults with neurodiverse challenges, supporting them towards gaining and retaining sustainable employment.
CSU Los Angeles
Dr. Anna Osipova is an Associate Professor in the Division of Special Education and Counseling at California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Osipova has extensive experience as a K-12 special educator having worked in public schools for over a decade. Her research and courses focus on language and literacy development, language and literacy-based interventions for diverse multilingual students with disabilities (including dyslexia), and professional training for special education teachers.
CSU Dominguez Hills
Dr. Susan Porter is an Associate Professor at CSU Dominguez Hills. She has over 40 years of experience in education, initially as a special education teacher for 20 years in public schools and private clinic settings. Dr. Porter subsequently served as a program consultant for the state of California, implementing statewide policies for teacher preparation. Her research focuses on secondary MTSS models and the preparation of literacy teachers.
Department Chair of Teacher Education
CSU Dominguez Hills
Dr. Pablo C. Ramírez is Professor and Chair of the Teacher Education Department at CSU Dominguez Hills. His scholarship and research are associated with teacher preparation and critical multilingual education in K-12. Dr. Ramírez’s research attempts to understand how bi/multilingual teachers and leaders enact critical bicultural pedagogies to create linguistic space for students. He believes that teachers and educators must be advocates for language preservation in K-12 schools and communities.
Dr. Laura Rhinehart is an Assistant Researcher at the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her M.Ed. and Ph.D. from UCLA’s Department of Education. Her current research focuses on dyslexia, early literacy assessment and reading interventions, and students with ADHD. Dr. Rhinehart’s articles have been published in peer-reviewed publications, including The Reading League Journal and The Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders.
CSU Los Angeles
Dr. Bryan Thornton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education and Counseling at California State University, Los Angeles. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, Dr. Thornton worked as a special education teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District for over 12 years. His experiences as a special educator continue to inspire his research and teaching interests which focus on inclusive education and the impact of disability-related stigma on students with disabilities.
Dr. Renee Ziolkowska is a Professor in the Department of Elementary Education in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at California State University, Northridge. Her research focuses on students who struggle with reading. As a former elementary teacher and middle school reading specialist she worked with many students who encountered difficulties with reading. She has published articles on this topic. Dr. Ziolkowska’s other projects include integrating technology into the elementary classroom, promoting authentic writing, and more recently, infusing social justice children’s literature into the curriculum, with a focus on equity.