Stockton Schools

Stockton Schools Initiative

Meet the interns who have worked with SSI over the years!

Summer of Service Intern for Mayor Tubbs 2019


Morelia Chihuaque

Morelia is currently a sophomore at UC Berkeley, majoring in Political Science. Prior to entering Berkeley, she demonstrated her interest in elevating women by engaging young women in STEAM-related fields with the Microsoft Astra Steam Summit. Soon after, she organized a Downtown Stockton City Clean Up within her school to keep Stockton beautiful and green. During her first year at Berkeley, Morelia served on the advocacy team for the United Nations of Berkeley in order to create a human rights panel for the club and all the while being an active member of Hermanas Unidas, a service and leadership club for Latinx students. She has happily returned to Stockton this summer to take part in Service at City Hall for Michael Tubbs in which she hopes to give back to her own community that has given her so much before.

2019 Stockton Urban Revitalization Fellowship (SURF) Fellows


Richley Gatewood


Jada Johnson

Jada Johnson is entering her fifth year at San Diego State University where she majors in Sociology and Communication and minors in Africana Studies and Cultural Proficiency. These disciplines play an active role in her values for radicalism and critical thinking. She has been heavily involved in campus organizations including Student African American Sisterhood, an organization created for the betterment and progression of womyn of the African diaspora, the Afrikan Student Union, where she served as the events coordinator, and the university’s student government where she was elected as a college representative for university council. She currently is an employee at one of SDSU’s diversity centers on campus, the Center for Intercultural Relations (CIR). As a Diversity Peer Educator, she collaborates with cultural organizations on campus with event planning and execution, sits in on meetings regarding programming and funding for the center, and plans and executes semesterly passion projects that pertain to social justice. This summer, she has reprised her role as a Student Success and Leadership Academy mentor, a program founded by community activist Tylicia Hooker and Mayor Michael Tubbs for at-risk Stockton youth. She was also a part of the 34th class of Students In Prevention. She plans to work in the public sector hopefully as a community representative for Congress in the near future. She’d absolutely love to come back to Stockton post-graduation in Spring of 2020. Her Stockton community means everything to her and she is so thankful to have an opportunity to give back to a city that has given her such a strong sense of self.


Celine Lopez


Sahila Shah

Sahila Shah will be attending University of the Pacific as a freshman, studying Business Administration, concentration in Marketing Management. In her high school, she held two presidency roles in California Scholarship Federation and Gardening Club, furthermore, Sahila withheld a position of a Vice-President in National Honors Society and Academic Decathlon. Outside of school, she actively volunteered at the American Cancer Society, Islamic Madina Center, and Stockton Scholars Program, garnering over 500 community service hours collectively. As her first internship, Sahila worked as a peer mentor for the San Joaquin Behavioral and Health Services to gain knowledge about the dangers of gateway drugs; using this valuable information, Sahila and her partner presented to a group of Stockton children expanding the information they obtained from the program. Her favorite quote to describe her passion, “I like to treat people the way I treat my flowers” portrays her selfless ambition to bring about a positive change to the stigmatized perception of Stockton, a change that will unlock the xenophobic doors for immigrants, facilitate youth-led programs to raise awareness on gun and gang violence, and open rehabilitation centers for the homeless struggling with drug addiction. Apart from her “Stockton Revival” dream, Sahila yearns to sponsor an all-women school in Behboodi, her home village in Pakistan, that will be free of cost. Experiencing and witnessing sexism, misogyny, and prejudice against Pakistani women at a very early age invigorated her to promote education and equality to the male-dominated and conservative society of Pakistan. When asked about the reasoning behind her dream of opening a school, Sahila states, “I want my sisters to be the breadwinners in a relationship, not the bread bakers.” Lastly, an interesting fact about this SURF fellow is she speaks five languages and regularly serves as a translator to help immigrant and refugee students from Southeast Asia feel welcomed. 


Alayssia Townsell

Meet the folx who have contributed to our success!


Former Higher Education Policy Student Organizer

Donald Donaire (pronouns: they/them) grew up across the San Francisco Bay Area and then Stockton in an immigrant working-class family. Since studying Ethnic Studies at the University of California in San Diego, they aspire to be an educator and school policy advocate with a specific focus on serving students of historically marginalized communities. Outside of organizing with SSI, they’re currently involved with the Little Manila After School Program (LMASP), Empowering Marginalized Asian Communities (EMAC), and the Stockton chapter of ICE Out of California. Donald is most interested in cross-cultural solidarity work, community building through creative art-making, and addressing issues affecting queer and trans people of color. On their downtime, they love to watch Steven Universe and Pose.

Former K-8 Policy Family Organizer

Iliana Huante (pronouns: she/her) is a proud mom of 4 who is passionate about teaching and engaging parents in education equity advocacy work. Her work is best exemplified through Rita Pierson’s words, “every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be.”

Volunteer Communications & Media Relations Strategist
Camille Zapata (pronouns: she/her) was born in Stockton, CA, where she and her brother, rode their Schwinn bikes around the Miracle Mile and where her mother, Patricia Cruz, raised her to be curious and unafraid. With the support of her family, she became a first-generation college graduate, earning a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her early work as a grant writer for religiously persecuted Vietnamese asylum seekers in Bangkok, Thailand, propelled her into political advocacy work. After returning to Stockton, she joined the Reinvent South Stockton Coalition team and managed candidate-elect, Candelaria Vargas’s SUSD school board campaign. She now works with Stockton Schools Initiative to implement strategic communications and campaign work to advocate for education equity across her hometown. After work, she likes to cook a healthy portion of spicy Shoyu ramen.



  • Founded
    September 2015
  • Languages
    English, Spanish, Multilingual
  • Focus
    Education Equity, Education Policy


Stockton Schools Initiative (SSI) is a coalition of students, families, and community stakeholders that believe in the  power of collaborative decision-making to move the needle on education equity in Stockton schools.


Stockton Schools Initiative  works to activate, organize and amplify the voices of students and families across Stockton. We drive equitable family-school-partnerships with an ongoing focus on student centered data-driven education policy at the local state, national level.


Student Organizing

The Student Organizing Project works to build leadership among students. SSI works in partnership with the Student Success and Leadership Academy (SSLA), an ongoing summer project that introduces students to research and advocacy skills over one week at the University of the Pacific. Students develop ideas for using school funding to serve under resourced, high-need students in Stockton around topics such as boosting counselor staffs, restorative justice implementation in schools, and increasing Wi-Fi/Internet accessibility.

Empowerment Council

The Empowerment Council brings together parents, students and Social Justice Educators in Stockton Unified School District. These folks find or create opportunities to use their leadership skills in support of improving local and state educational policies and practices that benefit all students. The program enhances the skills, knowledge, and confidence of parents necessary to create meaningful change in their schools and community. Parents engage with other families, students, community and educator stakeholders when they participate in our monthly Accountability Champions Workshops and serve in other critical capacities such as Noche de Cultura and DELAC committee meetings.

Education Policy

The Education Policy and Research project works with students and families to provide data-driven, education equity-focused policy recommendations to school board leadership. These recommendations are made to ensure that local education policy accurately reflects and serves the needs of Stockton students. 


We empower families and students with data and necessary tools to make sense of data, to serve as a rallying point for discussion, action and reflection. We also support students and families in telling their stories as a way to inform gaps in research and drive forward meaningful change. Out of this project, the 1st annual community report was published, released at the 2018 Education Summit.


“I am a parent and a parent ambassador with Stockton Schools Initiative. This program has helped me learn the right me and my children have. I learned about school roles. SSI has helped me advocate for my children’s school. I can help other parents and guide them [in] the right direction. My favorite part of this program has been learning how to read data and know how all schools are doing and how I can help improve. I learned how important my voice is.” 

Teresa Martinez

I am a parent ambassador with Stockton Schools Initiative. I believe a parent’s participation in their children’s education is very important because if we work together, we are able to build a better education all the way from home. Stockton Schools Initiative has helped me take the correct steps to advocate for my son’s special education class.

Lupe Chavez

I am an advocate for my granddaughter. Education is very important to me and I’m thankful for this program because I have learned about data and LCFF. The LCAP was important to me also because I have learned how the budget is being used.

Jacqui Stewart

I have learned how to advocate for my children’s school. We learned what steps to take when I have a question or concern.

Irma Ledesma




Status of Stockton Schools

Download Report

Descargar en Español

The Stockton Schools community report was designed to paint a picture of the status of Stockton children in schools. We believe that data can be a starting point to a larger community conversation about the type of education we want to work towards as parents, families, students and community members.

Stockton Schools Initiative believes education is a community responsibility. In order for us to have a thriving adult population, we must care for the generations to come, starting with prenatal care/birth, through K-12 education and beyond. We believe creating a community of care surrounding each child, will help us all do our part in transforming Stockton into a place where quality education is not just an expectation, but a reality.

The following report will include a variety of measures that help us get a better picture of what type of change we can and should advocate for in schools. While the report will highlight some of the challenges our students currently face, it will also spotlight some of the great work already happening in Stockton schools—Initiatives led by principals, passionate school leadership, student organizers and community partners. We will provide recommendations for change, created with the help of students, parents, and community leaders.

2018 Ed Summit

  • A Photo Gallery
    A Photo Gallery

Meeting folks where they are.

Our purpose is simple. To train education advocates.

What We Do
Two things- We translate complex education data into easily understood and actionable information for education advocates.

We activate, organize and amplify voices of students and families across Stockton by focusing on student-centered, data driven education policy.

Frameworks We Organize Around
Policy can be a community-led process, and those who are directly impacted by issues are best positioned to create solutions.

Our Presentation Menu 

#1 Activate, Organize, and Amplify (Intro to SSI Policy Platform 2019)

#2 Reimagining Safety in Schools (A Breakdown of School Climate)

#3 Empower Students with Readiness (College & Career Readiness)

Book us at a time that is convenient for YOU.




Thank you for visiting our page! There are many ways you can reach out to Stockton Schools Initiative!

  • Phone
  • E-mail
    Executive Director:

    Communications Coordinator:

  • S. Stockton Education Hub
    1700 S. El Dorado Street, Stockton, CA, 95204

Let’s Build!

Questions about how to get involved? Looking to schedule a workshop or training on advocacy or a data equity walk for your team? Get in touch!

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