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Reinventing Education

strategically, collaboratively, and sustainably


IDEA supports parents and families to be effective advocates for learning that matters to their children and their communities.

Meet our organizers working with parents:

Crystal Mattison

Crystal Mattison, Sr. Fellow - Greensboro, NC

Crystal Mattison is a mother, wife, graduate student at North Carolina A&T State University and a full-time staff member at Bennett College in academic advising and assessment. She is also IDEA’s Senior Fellow leading the team focused on parents. Crystal says, "I believe that young people are the secret weapon to creating leaps and bounds in equal and adequate education."

Lupita Ayon

Lupita Ayón - Seattle, Washington

Lupita Ayón was born in Mexico, where she received her B.A. degree in art and psychology. At the age of 22, she moved to the US. In Seattle, she worked at CASA Latina, and in 2003, she founded Para los Niños, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster academic success for every Latino student through parent and community involvement. Lupita then founded, and currently directs, Latinos for Community Transformation, a non-profit organization that empowers communities from the ground up by training leaders for change. At Latinos for Community Transformation she developed the Leadership Academy, a program to teach Latinos basic community organizing skills, civic participation, and social change strategies. Her passion is to share her knowledge with others and to ensure a bright future for all youth, including her two children.

Ruth Idakula

Ruth Idakula - New Orleans, LA

Ruth Idakula is a proud New Orleans resident and Nigerian native. In the United States now for the past 22 years, Ruth has a background in Psychology and Sociology. Ruth is a parent/child advocate and organizer who also train parents on interventions for school discipline disparities. For the past decade she has worked for domestic abuse survivors rights, homeless policy juvenile justice and education reform. She is also a proud mother of three sons.

Karen Spellman

Karen Spellman - Flagstaff, AZ

Karen is a mother, wife, grandmother and retired 30 year public education teacher. She taught high school, special education, various primary grades, and Structured English Immersion classes, was a reading specialist and coach, a mentor/highly qualified teacher and also directed a private school at one point. During her career she was an avid child/parent advocate and chose to continue that passion the past two years working as a parent advocate for Parenting Arizona/Chicanos por la Causa in a trilingual school in Flagstaff. She implemented the Families and Schools Together (FAST) program, advocated for children and families within the school setting, worked with families with domestic violence issues, homelessness, and those struggling to make ends meet. She desires to continue to help build community within public schools to help empower families to work together with schools for a high quality and highly successful public education setting which honors all participants, parents, children, teachers, and other staff.

Albert Sykes

Albert Sykes - Jackson, MS

Albert Sykes is the Mississippi Lead Organizer for the Young People’s Project and the father of three young sons. Albert is a 15- year veteran of YPP/ The Algebra Project. In Mississippi, Albert is helping to lead the growth and development of a new statewide cadre of math literacy workers and young political organizers. Albert served as one of the organizers of the Finding Our Folk Tour, YPP’s region-wide effort to document the stories Katrina’s survivors. Albert serves on the advisory committee for the Opportunity Agenda's Opportunity for Black Men and Boys report and has been active in the development of ITVS’ Masculinity Project content. Albert considers his greatest privilege to have been mentored by Bob Moses.

Are you a parent who is changing the learning environments of children, or do you know parents who are doing so?

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How close does your child’s school currently match up with your vision for it?