This month’s spotlight features Ani Bagdasarian Packard (The Broad Residency 2011-2013), Program Policy Development Advisor for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
Ani joined LAUSD as part of The Broad Residency and has continued to grow her scope and impact. In her current role she is responsible for leading the policy work related to making school choice options within LAUSD more accessible and equitable for all.
What initiative are you currently working on?
I help manage a multi-year, cross-divisional change management initiative designed to streamline the school application process for parents, increase enrollment, and highlight district programmatic offerings within LAUSD’s portfolio of schools. Nationally, this initiative is commonly referred to as Unified Enrollment.
What is the most exciting potential outcome of this initiative?
The most exciting potential outcome of this work would be that all the families we serve are aware of all the school options that are available to them within LAUSD’s portfolio of schools. Historically, fragmented timelines and difficult application processes have made it challenging for families to navigate their school choice options. A more streamlined process paired with targeted community outreach can help us work towards a more equitable system which is accessible to all.
What is your vision for your organization in the next five years?
Working for the country’s second largest school district, there are a multitude of different ways to answer this question. However, from where I sit in the organization, my vision for the next five years is that most, if not all, of our students can gain access to a school within the district that aligns with their academic passions and interests. We want our students to be engaged and happy in their academic environment and to ensure they persist, graduate and matriculate to opportunities in higher education.
What inspires you to do this work?
I have always believed access to a high-quality public education to be the only true form of social mobility; the very essence of the American Dream. However, with continued income inequality and a decline in social mobility, the role of public education for school age children – and particularly our most marginalized youth – has never been more critical than it is now. I’m inspired by the systems level work I have the opportunity to do each and every day with the potential to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.
What is the last education-related book you read?
I am currently reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, a helpful resource for managing teams and helping children reach their potential both in and outside the classroom.