Dr. Laurie Olsen is the Executive Director of California Tomorrow, a non profit research, advocacy and technical assistance organization committed to building a fair and inclusive multicultural society. Her career spans three decades of work throughout the nation as a researcher, writer, speaker, advocate, and provider of professional development and technical assistance to communities and educators on creating equitable, high achieving schools that meet the needs of English Learner, immigrant and language/cultural minority communities - preschool through higher education - and that honor and celebrate the cultures and languages of all children. A major focus has been high school reform, immigrant education, and educational access.
She has authored dozens of publications on immigrant education including the award winning Made in America: Immigrants in U.S. Schools, And Still We Speak: Stories of Communities and Schools Maintaining Culture and Language, "We Speak America", and a series of publications for equity-centered school reform. Most recently, she authored a five-volume series on "Meeting the Needs of English Learners in Secondary Schools", and the policy report "Ready or Not: Immigrants and School Readiness", raising concerns about whether current policies will create appropriate, accessible and responsive access for immigrant children and families. Since 1986, she has served as the architect and director of California Tomorrow's research agenda and equity-centered school reform work at the school site, district, community and policy levels. Currently she is the Chief Consultant to two major initiatives - the Los Angeles County Office of Education's Biliteracy Initiative, and the Promise Initiative (a five-county collaborative to develop new models for English Learner students). Dr. Olsen holds a Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Studies in Education from U.C. Berkeley, has served on the Board of the National Coalition of Advocates for Students, was founding President and a current Board member of Californians Together (a statewide coalition for English Learners).