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 NSF 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.



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.





Morgan Carrion,
Assistant to the President

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!





Elizabeth Garcia,
Assistant Database Coordinator

Elizabeth Garcia has an extensive history working with various types of non-profit organizations, ranging from law advocacy for foster children to civic education, as well as a dental society. Being passionate about education, she’s excited to be part of the IEA’s dedicated team to support gifted youth with their personal development and helping them create a community where they can understand their intellectual and creative gifts. She’s currently pursuing a degree in Computer Database Management. Her hobbies include, running, biking, sewing and spending time with her partner and her dog.





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.





Hillary Jade,
Program Manager

A former gifted student, Hillary spent five years as a Program Director with Summer Institute for the Gifted, where she oversaw day and residential summer programs for Gifted and Talented students, before joining IEA. Hillary earned her B.A. in German from The University of Puget Sound and her M.A. in German from Middlebury College – both degrees of which she utilized as an ESL teacher in Germany for five years. Since 2013, she has enjoyed attending educational conferences and presenting at state gifted conferences on the social-emotional needs of gifted students, generational studies, design theory, and the importance of summer programming and academic enrichment. A former camp director – and self-proclaimed “camp nerd” – Hillary is excited to manage IEA’s programs, as they emphasize passion, integrity, creativity, perseverance, and balance. Hillary enjoys keeping up with her German, cooking, road trips, exploring L.A., and studying nonprofit management.





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.





Nicole LaChance,
 Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Nicole LaChance graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Journalism before moving West in pursuit of milder winters. Prior to joining the IEA team, she spent time working in marketing for an architecture firm and completed two years of national service in the AmeriCorps program. Over the past few years she has worked with nonprofits to communicate their message and impact to the world around them, work she is excited to continue at IEA. When not at the office, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling wherever she can and making bad puns.





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.





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.





Brianna Safe,
Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship Associate

Since 2009, Brianna has worked with the intellectual, social, and emotional development of neurodiverse students through direct service programs. She holds a B.A. in Humanities from Biola University and is particularly interested in how literary and cinematic art can inform issues in human psychology and help us better understand ourselves and how we make decisions. Since 2011, Brianna has been dedicated to the mission and work of IEA and the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship Program. Currently, she lives in Omaha, Nebraska.





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 one-year-old.



Kate Duey, College Counselor

Kate Duey is a private college counselor serving gifted students. She has worked with students who are age-mates with their graduating high school class, home schooled students, community college students, and students seeking accelerated or early college entrance. Kate is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School. She has a Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA. She also has three incredible daughters.