Paul has more than 25 years of successful experience in education and social service agencies working with at-risk populations. He has been working in a leadership capacity at Centinela Valley Unified High School District since 2008 and became the Executive Director of Family First Charter School in 2013. Currently, Family First Charter School serves over 400 students at the Lawndale Campus. Previously, Mr. Guzman was a full-time teacher and worked as an educational consultant; designing highly successful educational programs for various districts. Paul Guzman holds a Master's Degree with an emphasis on School Administration and Professional Development.
Director of Education
Jeff is the Founder of Bright Star Schools. Jeff graduated magna cum laude from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1992. There, he interned at the International Organization for Migration, and spent one summer in Kenya assisting African refugees. After graduation, Jeff joined Teach for America in 1993 and taught for two years at McKinley Avenue School in South Los Angeles. Jeff received a dual degree in law and urban planning from UCLA and, in 1998, earned a clerkship with a federal district court judge. Jeff practiced in the litigation department of Proskauer and Rose for a year and a half before returning to teaching. In 2002, he wrote the charter, and in 2003 opened Stella Middle Charter Academy.
Carmen joined New Opportunities Organization since its inception in 2013. She contributes her expertise of 14 years of experience in adult education, and 17 in business management. She fully understands and supports New Opportunities Organization’s mission, and believes in providing educational support to all people from all walks of life, particularly to those that are facing many of life’s challenges keeping them from reaching their educational goals. Her personal goal is to encourage all students to seek higher education in order to obtain better opportunities, starting by helping them earn a high school diploma.
Mr. Pena was born in El Salvador and came to live in the Los Angeles County area at the age of 4. He grew up in the city of Lynwood where he walked an hour to get to his high school. Through hard work and perseverance, he was able to graduate from high school and attend the University of California, Riverside. After working in the private sector for a few years, he realized that working with students was what he wanted to do. Thus, Mr. Pena enrolled at Azusa Pacific University where he attained his school counseling credential. Finally, I have learned that life will provide many learning opportunities and in those learning opportunities one must be able to learn and adapt. "Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you are right." - Henry Ford
Mr. C has taught in a variety of environments, from local community colleges, to the California Department of Corrections and two county jails. He has worked extensively to develop life skills curriculum with an emphasis on differentiated instruction and gender responsive programming. He's particulary interested in the areas of research based programs and teaching strategies. Mr. C teaches for New Opportunities while working with other teachers to deliver high quality instruction.
Ms. Lyons is dedicated to partnering with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Education-Based Incarceration units at Men's Central Jail and Twin Towers Correctional Facility and with Homeboy Industries to bolster the success of our New Opportunities Charter School programs at these locations. Prior to working in this capacity, Ms. Lyons has taught in a variety of settings including Japanese public schools, a Korean-American hagwon, a local adult school, a local community college, and Century Regional Detention Facility.