Vallay Varro was a founding state executive director. She now serves as the president of 50CAN.

Today, I’m proud to announce that the 50CAN network is growing with the official start of our second class of Education Advocacy Fellows.

We saw an 895% increase in applications to the fellowship this year, with nearly 800 applications from 43 states and the District of Columbia. After an extensive interview process, we’re thrilled to welcome the following fellows:

Eva Colen, Virginia

Eva joins 50CAN after serving as Teach For America’s managing director of community engagement in Richmond and as state director for recruitment in Virginia. Eva is a Teach For America Philadelphia alum and has also completed a Leadership for Educational Equity Public Leaders Fellowship. Eva earned a bachelor’s degree in Classics and Gender Studies from Columbia University and holds a master’s degree in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jumoke Hinton, Oakland

Jumoke joins the 50CAN fellowship after serving as the director of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education. During her time on the board, she worked to establish a Department of African-American Male Achievement, whose mission is to end the epidemic failure of young black men in Oakland schools. Prior to that role, Jumoke served as a commissioner for Oakland’s Department for Office of Families and Youth, directing citywide policy and resource allocation for youth services throughout the city of Oakland. She is also the co-founder and director of the PLEA Initiative, a community building organization dedicated to supporting West Oakland families and students. Jumoke earned her bachelor’s degree in Black Studies and English from Oberlin College.

Martín Pérez, Jr., Arizona

Martín comes to the 50CAN fellowship most recently from his position as a fifth-grade team leader at a low-income school in the Alhambra School District, where he is also a legislative committee member and community chair. Martín is a Teach For America Phoenix alum and the 2014 Alhambra School District Teacher of the Year. He is a member of Leadership for Education Equity’s Emerging Public Leaders and Policy and Advocacy Fellowship, as well as a member of Teach For America’s Collective national board. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare Management from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in Education from Arizona State University.

Over the coming year, our fellows will engage in a rigorous program of classroom-based and hands-on learning across our network as they build innovative advocacy plans in their home states. We look forward to sharing updates about the work of our fellows here on the blog and on social media. Stop by and say welcome to Eva, Jumoke and Martín on Twitter with the hashtag #50CANFellows!


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