Alex is a teacher at Frida Kahlo High School and has been an elected member of the UTLA Board of Directors for the last six years, representing the West Area. He has been teaching for 22 years; eight in elementary grades, one as an elementary substitute and 13 in high school. He has been an elected chapter chair for 11 years. Alex has 25 years of experience in labor and community organizing in local, state and national campaigns.
Alex lives in the neighborhood of Crenshaw High School, where he taught for 12 years. In that neighborhood, he and his wife, a labor and delivery nurse are raising their two children, who are LAUSD students.
Alex has a history of challenging LAUSD head-on and winning. In 2005, as Crenshaw High School’s union chapter chair he worked with surrounding chapters, parents, community, and youth organizations to oust an entrenched administration. Together they won a pro-active campaign for tens of millions of dollars in new investment in area schools for class size reduction, additional Health and Human Services and technology for students. This organizing was so threatening to LAUSD that Superintendent Roy Romer retaliated against Alex, administratively transferring him to a school on the Westside. Parents, students, community and the union organized aggressively and Alex was re-instated to Crenshaw three months later. UTLA used this grassroots victory as momentum to demand, and win, a change in the contract around administrative transfers.
Alex is a co-founder of the Extended Learning Cultural Model, a nationally-recognized school improvement model that brings educators, unions, parents, community, universities, youth organizations and national institutes together behind a model that connects in-the-classroom learning to outside-the-classroom internships, community advocacy and small business development.
Superintendent John Deasy’s reconstitution attack on Crenshaw High in 2013 was a direct response to Crenshaw’s years of successfully bucking the LAUSD and privatizers’ system, and a direct attack on the Extended Learning Cultural Model, which was built independent of the local district and challenged Deasy’s corporate approach. The Crenshaw community continues to organize around equity and access for students and around a legal action against Deasy for targeting union leaders.
Alex has experience building organizations from the ground up. He is co-founder of Coalition for Educational Justice, a city-wide organization that has been involved in local, state and national campaigns. He has been key in building the Crenshaw Cougar Coalition and the Bus Riders Union, which has also led local, state and national campaigns around civil rights and public services.
Alex has been a leader in Progressive Educators for Action — which has helped build a national network of educator organizers. Alex has also played a role in building the national “Resisting Teach for America” network.
Alex earned a BA in Political Science at Brown University and an MA in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA. He has guest lectured on labor and community organizing at Antioch University.