Veteran educator Angela Bass grew up in a military family, moving to a new city every three years. With each move came the challenges of starting in a new school and adapting to new environments. Unbeknownst to her at the time, these skills would serve her well as an educator.

A graduate of LMU’s Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership for Social Justice, Angela is a longtime educator, primarily in the San Diego and Los Angeles regions. She served as a teacher, principal, instructional leader, Executive Director of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, and ultimately an Area Superintendent in the San Diego Unified School District – successfully working in a diverse set of schools and communities to improve student achievement and opportunities for young people.

Angela applies this experience to her current position as vice president of Partners for Developing Futures, a nonprofit social venture investment fund that primarily invests in high-potential, early-stage, minority-led charter schools and charter school networks that educate underserved students. Partners for Developing Futures was founded by Ref Rodriquez, a part-time faculty member in the LMU School of Education. At Partners, Angela researches investment decisions for emerging charter schools nationally and serves as an executive coach and thought partner to school leaders in the fund’s investment portfolio – many of whom are facing challenges that Angela has experienced firsthand.

Her doctoral dissertation on turnaround strategies was born out of her work with the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, where she served as superintendent of instruction for more than two years – a position she was prepared for because of her decades of experience as well as her recent graduation as a fellow of the Broad Superintendents Academy. The Partnership is a unique collaboration between the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District to turnaround L.A.’s lowest performing schools. “I saw remarkable resilience in the children, teachers and parents throughout my time with the Partnership,” she said. “My two key takeaways were: 1) Solutions reside in the school and the community – the teachers are very capable but sometimes need the right supports; 2) Context matters – there was no single formula that would work at every school, so individual strategies and solutions were needed for each.”

Angela chose LMU’s doctoral program because of its personalized approach and flexibility in completing her dissertation. “I felt that in the classroom, my colleagues and I were free to be bold about the challenges in education, yet also thoughtful about the solutions. We were encouraged to speak and think freely,” Angela said. “LMU didn’t just talk about social justice, they truly walked it.”  

She began her career teaching in Kansas City before moving to San Diego. What keeps her going is her strong belief that “all students, despite any challenges they may be faced with, are brilliant and can overcome most obstacles to succeed in school and beyond.”