Brooke Rios is an LA transplant originally from Ohio. As an English major at Ohio University, she was drawn into heated discussions about the inequities in public education. Before long, she switched majors and completed a BA in Integrated Language Arts Education. Brooke was accepted as a teaching fellow at Federal Hocking High School and taught high school English while completing her masters in Cultural Studies in Education. Inspired by progressive education and the small schools movement, Brooke went on to take a position at Wildwood School in Los Angeles, which is nationally known for its best practices in education. At Wildwood, Brooke served as a teacher leader and chair for the Humanities department. Brooke also coached middle school athletics and was an advisor for both middle and upper school students, until moving into administration to lead the school’s Outreach Program. As Outreach Coordinator, Brooke coached fellow educators and worked with public and charter schools nationwide to assist in the implementation of small, learner centered school programs. Brooke holds a California Clear Administrative Credential.
Founding Elementary Principal
Kate O’Brien was born in Los Angeles but grew up in a small town in Massachusetts. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College in Ohio. After college Kate moved back to Los Angeles intending to become an environmental educator but instead fell in love with progressive education in schools and sees environmental education as an important social justice issue that can be addressed though a curriculum that empowers critical thinkers and community activists in all subject areas. Kate earned a Masters in Teaching from National University and a Masters in Educational Leadership from UCLA. Before joining New LA in 2009 as a 6th grade science teacher Kate was a founding teacher at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy where she taught 4th grade and bilingual Kindergarten. She then taught K-6 science At Brawerman Elementary School. During her time teaching in elementary and middle school Kate took on many leadership roles which eventually led to becoming the Assistant Principal at New LA Middle School. While the middle school continues to be very close to her heart, Kate is so excited to return to her elementary school roots as the Elementary Principal and relishes the opportunity to develop a new school and foster a curriculum in line with New LA's mission of social justice and project-based learning.
Deborah Musher, Ph.D.
Elementary School Resource Coordinator
Deborah has been a special educator for over 15 years. Her passion was sparked at the age of 17, when she was a counselor for children with disabilities at a summer camp in Southern California. She got her Masters Degree at Teachers College in New York City specializing in autism and recently finished her doctorate, which focused on the impact of inclusive programs on the typically developing participants. Deborah has worked as a classroom instructor, social skills teacher, behaviorist, parent coach, and consultant. She wrote a visually based social skills curriculum and is a strong proponent in using visual strategies for every kind of learner. Deborah believes deeply in the mission of New LA Charter and is thrilled to be involved in the birth and growth of the elementary school. When she’s not working, Deborah enjoys reading, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her husband, three children, and black Labrador.
Xochitl Lira, Ed.D.
Director of Operations
Xochitl Lira grew up in South Los Angeles. She earned her bachelors in Community Studies and Legal Studies from UC Santa Cruz. After graduating she began her career at a local charter school organization. During that time, she developed a passion for school operations, which led her to obtain a Masters degree in Public Administration from CSU Los Angeles. In 2011, she went on to become the Chief Financial Officer at a supplemental educational services provider. To enhance her leadership skills she went on to obtain her doctorate degree in educational leadership at USC. She is excited to be part of the New Los Angeles Charter School family and to support the achievement of all students.