Dr. Diana Velasquez and Dr. Lonny Root will share their experiences and strategies for success with alternative education opportunities and parent engagement. 

Dr. diana velasquez

Los Angeles County Office of Education

Dr. Diana Velasquez is the Executive Director of Educational Programs at the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). She was born in Bogota, Colombia and moved to the United Sates with her family in 1978. Dr. Velasquez earned her graduate degree from the University of Southern California (USC). As a distinguished educational leader, she has dedicated more than 25 years ensuring the social, emotional, and academic success of all students. She has also coached, inspired, and mentored many educators who are now serving as instructional leaders.

 Her success in teaching has earned her many awards, including the LACOE Teacher of the Year Award, L.A. County Bilingual Directors Association Outstanding Teacher, and the LACOE Division of Student Programs (DSP) Central Office Administrator of the Year.

 In 2010, Dr. Velasquez headed a team that worked tirelessly on a research project that sought to find ways to turn things around for Juvenile Court schools. The result was a promising innovative teaching program, the Road to Success Academy (RTSA), which was based on thematic interdisciplinary project-based learning. The program was a success, demonstrating measurable gains in student learning. In recognition of this success, the California School Boards Association (CSBA) presented LACOE with the prestigious Golden Bell Award. The RTSA model has been a model for instruction in California for at-promise youth and has been studied for its promising practices by Harvard University, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and USC.

 Dr. Velasquez has also been a guest speaker for all three of the aforementioned prestigious universities.



Dr. lonny root

Glendale Unified School District

Dr. Lonny Root has been working in education for over 26 years. He started out working with students with special needs before becoming a middle school social studies teacher. He started in Glendale in 2005 as a middle school principal and moved to Daily High School in 2011, becoming the school’s principal in 2018. During his time at Daily, the school has been recognized as a Model School four times and frequently hosts visitors from other districts exploring strategies to help their schools.