Staff | Institute for Educational Advancement

IEA’s staff is made up of dedicated individuals who are passionate about gifted youth and interested in devoting their time and energy to the personal development of every child who walks through our doors. IEA trains all staff members on the needs of highly able children and the best practices in the field of gifted education.

Our President







Elizabeth D. Jones, President & Co-Founder

Ms. Jones has been an educator, researcher and administrator of educational programs for over 30 years. She holds a Master’s degree in special education from the University of Southern California and has completed doctoral work in the field of educational policy and learning theory. Ms. Jones served as the Associate Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and the Director of the Western Region for ten years prior to founding the Institute for Educational Advancement in 1998. While at CTY, Elizabeth served as Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Sally Ride and Dr. JoBea Way for a NASA and National Science Foundation sponsored educational initiative called KidSat. She received recognition from the National Diffusion Network for the creation and implementation of exemplary programs for underserved gifted students and specialized in the intellectual, social and emotional needs of students. She created and implemented the SDB teacher recognition program and expanded the scope of services at CTY. As President of IEA she was contracted to assist in the creation and implementation of the Davidson Young Scholars program. She went on to lead in the creation and implementation of the award-winning Yunasa summer camp for the gifted and the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship program. Ms. Jones currently serves on the Advisory Board for GRO Gifted and the Board of Directors for Math Academy.



Our Staff





Niña Abonal,
 Program Manager

Niña is passionate about empowering and creating new ladders of opportunities for youth. She has a decade of experience working in educational non-profits where she  upheld various roles including tutoring K-8 grade students, teaching SAT prep courses, serving as a coordinator and advisor for a college access program, and managing high school internships. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University where she earned her B.A. in Business Administration, a minor in Elementary Education, and Master of Arts in Educational Studies. She hopes to continually seek innovative ways to improve the quality of and access to educational resources and opportunities for all learners.





Mallory Aldrich,
Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship Admissions Coordinator

Mallory Aldrich graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Secondary Social Studies Education. She then pursued a MEd. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Gifted Education at Arizona State University. Prior to joining IEA she worked an Advanced Placement High School Social Studies teacher for nearly nine years in Arizona.  She is thrilled to be working with CDB Scholarship Program and continuing her work with Gifted Students. Outside of work Mallory loves cheering on her beloved University of Arizona Wildcats, traveling and running.





Mavis Bortey-Fio,
 Development Manager

Mavis Bortey-Fio received a B.A. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University and an M.A. in International Development and Service from Concordia University. Prior to her work at IEA, she served in a variety of capacities at organizations focused on galvanizing individuals and communities towards positive change. Mavis is excited to be a part of the IEA family, doing great work to provide gifted youth, and the structures that serve them, the support they need to succeed.





Morgan Carrion,
 Executive Assistant

Morgan received a B.F.A in Studio Art from Biola University. She is an interdisciplinary artist committed to cultivating a rich awareness and engagement with the world around her. Morgan is passionate about education and deeply admires IEA’s commitment to developing the whole person. Over the past five years, Morgan has worked in a number of different educational and administrative roles. Prior to coming to IEA she served as a school group docent for The Getty Center and a nanny to a family with a gifted child. She is exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such lovely people and to further IEA’s meaningful mission.





Nicole Endacott,
Program Coordinator

Nicole Endacott has been an outdoor educator at a school science camp in the Santa Cruz redwoods, a volunteer mentor at a homework help center in an underprivileged community, an instructor for college students struggling in higher-level science and math courses, a test prep tutor, a classroom teacher for middle school science students, and, of course, an instructor for several IEA Academy courses. She has a B.S. in Biology from Azusa Pacific University, where she participated in field research focused on ecosystem recovery after fires. Nicole has loved forging connections with remarkable and unique IEA students who are just as passionate as she is about learning more about how the world works. When she’s not at work or planning her next class, Nicole spends her time exploring new places with friends, spending time with family, and watching nature documentaries or baking shows. She is excited for her growing role in continuing IEA’s mission in her home community of Pasadena and beyond!







Rachel Hanks, Administrative Assistant

Rachel graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in Public Relations. Shortly after graduating, she worked at Keck School of Medicine of USC as an editor and writer where she assisted with updating and maintaining the school website and writing web copy. Rachel was born and raised in Pasadena and spent much of her time in high school volunteering at local nonprofits, summer camps and schools. Those experiences helped her realize a passion for working with children, which is one of the things that drew her to IEA. She is also excited about developing her professional communication skills as an administrative assistant and learning more about the nonprofit field. Outside of work, Rachel enjoys running, kickboxing, traveling with friends and trying restaurants in the Los Angeles area.





Alexis Hopper,
Program Coordinator

Alexis Hopper holds an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BFA in Music from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. Her love for working with children stems from 15 years of experience coordinating educational programs for institutions such as Chicago Children’s Museum and teaching group and private music lessons for ages two and up. Prior to coming to IEA, Alexis served as Program Coordinator for adult English language programs, a role in which she provided academic counseling and supported teachers in their endeavor to serve the needs of a highly diverse student body. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to a team that is uniquely equipped to respond to the needs of gifted children, and looks forward to fostering existing and future ties within the community. In her free time, Alexis loves to explore local neighborhoods by foot, bicycle, train and car, and looks forward to planning her next great camping adventure.





Zadra Rose Ibañez,
Director of Operations

Zadra Rose Ibañez joined the IEA team in 2005 after several years of office and finance administration in banking and pension administration. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology from Colorado State University and holds a Certificate in Global Sustainability from UCLA. She remembers how frustrating it was to be an inquisitive child and appreciates that IEA provides the solution for that frustration, giving joy and a feeling of belonging and satisfaction to otherwise thwarted children. In addition to managing the operational side of IEA, Ms. Ibañez helps support individuals in their health and wellness goals, collects fountain pens, and sings in a band.





Anvi Kevany,
 Administrative Assistant

Anvi Kevany has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Southern California, and an M.S  degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling from California State University at Northridge. Anvi has worked with several non-profit and government agencies, and, for the past 17 years, worked as a child and parent advocate, providing support, leadership and advocacy training to parent and community leaders. Anvi’s three children have all been identified as gifted learners, and she feels honored to be a part of a dedicated and talented team of professionals working to accomplish the ideals and mission of IEA.





Qiao Li,

Qiao Li graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. in Global and International Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to joining IEA, she was a graduate teaching assistant and taught courses in Sociology and Global Studies. Qiao also worked as a District Representative for a congressman and an assistant to a former Los Angeles Councilmember. At IEA, Qiao looks forward to serving a diverse population of gifted students through fostering their personal, social, and intellectual growth.





Amber McClarin,
 Enrollment Coordinator

Amber is dedicated to connecting students to resources that can help them expand their potential. Prior to joining the IEA team, she held a marketing and outreach role at a private Los Angeles area high school where she especially enjoyed connecting with the students outside the classroom and using those opportunities to guide their developing views of themselves and the world.  Amber obtained her BA in Media Arts from the University of New Mexico. She is passionate about documentary films, history and reading.





Ashley Prior,
 Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Ashley received a BBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from the University of Portland. She has gained professional experience in content creation, event planning, customer relations and social media management in both the for-profit and non-profit fields. Prior to joining the IEA team, she worked at the Alzheimer’s Association in Southeastern Virginia as a Communications Coordinator. In her work at the Alzheimer’s Association, Ashley worked closely with families the organization served and was passionate about telling their stories of hope to the greater community. Now back in her hometown of Pasadena, Ashley is excited about working alongside a wonderful team and to tell new stories about the inspiring work of the IEA.





Bonnie Raskin,
 Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship Manager

Bonnie Raskin has spent over a decade as the Program Manager for the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship at IEA, following a career in television as an executive and producer in addition to assisting the admissions staff at Campbell Hall and Marlborough schools in Los Angeles. Ms. Raskin graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in English literature and journalism and did graduate work at Boston University’s School of Speech and Public Communication and the Harvard Business School. Her husband works in television and film production, and their daughter is a graduate student in clinical psychology with a focus on substance abuse and addictive behavior. Ms. Raskin is devoted to animal rescue, rehabilitation and adoption through her involvement with local animal rescue organizations, most recently Wags and Walks. She enjoys the vitality, enthusiasm, smarts, savvy, generosity, support, and camaraderie of her colleagues at IEA and the CDB Scholar community – her extended family.





Katie Sanborn,
Office Manager

Katie Sanborn received her B.A. in Dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her love of working with children developed from her summer jobs as a camp counselor, as well as her time working with Girls Inc. Katie also worked in data management at a start up company, and most recently served as the head of administration for a local historic preservation nonprofit. Katie is a Pasadena native and is thrilled to be a member of the IEA team. She greatly values education and is proud to be contributing towards the unique needs of the extraordinary children who participate in IEA’s programs and services. Outside of the office, she enjoys homebrewing with her husband, exploring all the arts and culture Los Angeles has to offer, playing with her dog, and trying to keep up with her spirited two-year-old.





Kaitlyn Chen,
 Summer Programs Intern

Kaitlyn is currently pursuing a major in Psychology with a minor in Film at California State University, Long Beach. In 2017, she participated in the EXPLORE program, where she worked with Professor Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy on editing one of her documentary films. Even after the summer program ended, Kaitlyn continues to serve as a student ambassador for IEA, helping to promote and connect with students in the EXPLORE program. Throughout her high school career, Kaitlyn has volunteered for various non-profit organizations. She served as a Disaster Preparedness Officer for the American Red Cross, coordinating preparedness events for adults and children in the Los Angeles region. She also served as a video editor for Peter Valentino Productions, working with the director in editing videos that are meant to raise awareness on certain societal issues. As well as working with the IEA team, Kaitlyn is currently volunteering as a video editing intern at SIMA Studios. After graduation, Kaitlyn plans to pursue a career as either a school counselor or a film editor.





JohannaKate (Kate) Connally,
 Summer Programs Intern

JohannaKate (Kate) is a second-year student at CalState Los Angeles, born and raised in Alhambra. She is currently pursuing a degree in Business PreLaw with minors in English and Philosophy. Kate became an alumnus of the Yunasa programs in the summer of 2018 where she was a camper for the past eight years. The last two years spent as a member of the camps leadership program. After aging out of Yunasa she began volunteering with the Academy program for two semesters before beginning her internship with IEA. Outside of IEA she participates in the CalState LA Business Honors Program and the PreLaw Society, as well as finding the time to tutor fellow classmates. At home she is an avid back packer, spending most of her school breaks somewhere in the Sierra Nevada mountains, as well as a mother to three fur children. After graduation she intends to take a gap year to travel and gain work experience across the globe before committing to either law school or business school.