MEET OUR TEAM
I am the founder of Allison Brown Consulting (ABC), a service organization that worked with schools, students, and families to bring about improved academic outcomes through equitable school climates where all students thrive. I have worked as a litigation associate at the law firm of Crowell & Moring LLP in Washington, D.C. After law school, I clerked for Justice Theodore R. Boehm of the Indiana Supreme Court and for Judge David F. Hamilton of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (now of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit). I am a summa cum laude graduate of Howard University and a graduate of Harvard Law School, where I was an articles editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.
I am a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, the Board for The Beautiful Project, and the National Advisory for EmbraceRace. I am admitted to the United States Supreme Court Bar, the Maryland State Bar, and the Bar of the District of Columbia. I live in Washington, D.C., with my husband and two children.
I still have in me that shy little girl from Indiana who would never let her mother get too far from her. Who grew up in the unspoken richness and traditions of African American community. Whose instincts were her ancestors, her great grands, ordering her steps. Who has seen success because her family told her to, and expected nothing less. All of that informs how I move about the world and how I find myself now leading the Communities for Just Schools Fund and this phenomenal team of people.
Dr. Cierra Kaler-Jones
Director of Storytelling
Dr. Cierra Kaler-Jones, Ph.D. (she/her) is the Director of Storytelling for Communities for Just Schools Fund. Cierra previously served as an intern and then fellow with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. She was also the previous Education Anew Fellow with Teaching for Change and Communities for Just Schools Fund.
Cierra’s research broadly focuses on how to create and sustain educational spaces rooted in joy and love, while refuting control and management tactics in schools that deny young people opportunities for creativity and critical consciousness-building. Her dissertation explored how Black girls use arts-based practices (e.g. movement, music, and hair) as mechanisms for identity construction and resistance. As a researcher, Cierra's work can be found in peer-reviewed journals, such as the Middle School Journal, and on online outlets, such as Education Post and EBONY.
Over the past ten years, Cierra has learned alongside preschoolers, K-12 students, college students, and adults. With her roots in dance and arts education, Cierra has also taught classes on U.S. history, public policy, and social change & leadership. After dancing professionally for a few years, she became the Assistant Director of a youth dance company. In addition to being a dance educator, she is also a 200-hr trained yoga instructor and meditation guide. Her heart’s work includes facilitating a program that uses art and political education to fuel social change through the co-creation of healing-centered spaces for and with Black girls and TGNC (transgender, non-conforming) young people.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Cierra attended Rutgers University - Douglass Residential College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in social work, with minors in women’s & gender studies and race & ethnic studies. She received her master’s degree in education and human development (with a concentration in curriculum and instruction) from The George Washington University. She earned a Ph.D. in education from the University of Maryland - College Park. Her experiences teaching, running community-based art programs, influencing policy, and conducting research all shape her commitment to education justice.
Education Anew Fellow - CJSF & Teaching for Change
Kimberly Ellis is the Education Anew Fellow with Communities for Just Schools Fund and Teaching for Change. As a former special education teacher, Kimberly has had a longstanding passion for ensuring equitable and enriching educational experiences. She believes in crafting joyful education spaces that affirm all aspects of students' identities. She has an undergraduate degree in Sociology & African American Studies from Harvard University and recently completed a Master of Public Policy in Education Policy from Vanderbilt University. Kimberly looks forward to contributing knowledge gained from her experiences thus far into this new role while continuing to learn and grow with others.
Georgetown Policy Resident
Kate is a MA student studying Educational Transformation with a concentration in Advocacy and Policy. She believes in fostering educational spaces where students are safe and supported. Kate has an undergraduate degree in Youth and Social Innovation from the University of Virginia where she focused on uplifting youth voices and affirming identity through her work with Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) as a Youth Action Lab facilitator. Kate also has a passion for mental health advocacy and equitable social-emotional learning practices in schools. She is excited to contribute to the CJSF team and grow as a person and educational advocate.