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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
Institute for Educational Advancement - Connecting bright minds; nurturing intellectual and personal growth
Elizabeth D. Jones, President & Co-Founder

Ms. Jones has been an educator, researcher, and administrator of educational programs for over 45 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 (CTY) and the Director of the Western Region for 10 years prior to founding the Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA) in 1998, a nonprofit dedicated to serving the unique educational needs of gifted children and their families. While at CTY, Ms. Jones 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 also created and implemented the Sarah D. Barder Fellowship teacher recognition program and expanded the scope of services at CTY. As President of IEA Ms. Jones was contracted to assist in the creation and implementation of the Davidson Young Scholars program. With IEA, 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. Since its inception, IEA has impacted the lives of over 12,000 young people through direct programs and services. Ms. Jones currently serves on the Advisory Board for GRO Gifted, the Advisory Board for Young and Healthy, and the Board of Directors for Math Academy.

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Direct Line: 626-403-8900 ext. 202

OUR STAFF
Institute for Educational Advancement - Connecting bright minds; nurturing intellectual and personal growth
Mallory Aldrich, Senior Manager – Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship

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.

Contact Mallory for Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship Information
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 207

Cheryl
Cheryl Brier, Executive Assistant

Cheryl brings over 20 years of administrative experience in non-profit and higher-education and is thrilled to be a part of the IEA team. While a native of Massachusetts, she has lived in Southern California since 2005 and enjoys hiking, yoga, and riding her bicycle around Pasadena.

Contact Cheryl for General Inquiries
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 213

Nicole Endacott, Senior Program Manager

Nicole Endacott has been a part of the IEA team since 2017 and has enjoyed getting to know countless amazing young people and their families during that time. Before IEA, she worked in a variety of educational roles, both in a formal classroom setting as well as informally through outdoor and museum education. She has a B.S. in Biology from Azusa Pacific University, with an emphasis in Ecology, and an M.A. in Science Writing from Johns Hopkins University. She is passionate about helping young people find a sense of belonging and supporting them as they find balance between the diverse parts of themselves. Outside of her work at IEA, Nicole spends her time reading, playing with her dog, exploring new places, and solving crossword puzzles.

Contact Nicole for Academy, EXPLORE, and Yunasa Information
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 215

Headshot of Melissa Gonzalez against Institute for Educational Advancement's green house exterior
Melissa Gonzalez, Administrative Assistant

Melissa Gonzalez holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she majored in American Literature & Culture and minored in Chicana/o & Central American Studies. She has a background in book publishing for adult and children's books as well as working alongside a non-profit supporting the Latinx community in book publishing. With her love of books and experience in expanding resources to underrepresented communities, she is excited to contribute to IEA's mission. Melissa enjoys reading, writing, playing with her dog, Peanut, and watching horror movies.

Contact Melissa for Administrative Inquiries
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 201

Carmen Guan, Marketing & Communications Manager

Carmen Guan combines her writing and graphic design skills with her experience working alongside administrators, fundraisers, program staff, and community members to tell stories and relay complex ideas. She has a B.A. in NGOs and Social Change and a B.A. in Social Sciences with an Emphasis in Psychology from the University of Southern California. Carmen is passionate about social justice and increasing equity for gifted students of all backgrounds. Carmen is from Oakland, CA, and enjoys traveling, playing viola, doing yoga, watching musicals, trying different craft projects, and spending time with her cat Ichigo outside of work.

Contact Carmen for Marketing and External Communications Information
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 214

Samantha
Samantha Hall, Assistant Program Coordinator

Samantha Hall holds a B.S. in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education from Utah State University and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Samantha joined the team at IEA in 2021, and quickly fell in love with the organization's mission and the children it serves. Samantha is passionate about working with gifted and twice-exceptional children with communicative disorders, and is grateful to be a part of the talented, compassionate team at IEA. In her free time, Samantha loves reading, cooking, spending time with her dogs Winston and Walter, and traveling to new places with her husband.

Contact Samantha for IEA Academy and Other Program Information
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 204

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Anvi Kevany, Program 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.

Contact Anvi for Operations or other General IEA Matters
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 205

Institute for Educational Advancement - Connecting bright minds; nurturing intellectual and personal growth
Jane Laudeman, Development Manager

Jane Laudeman has over 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles and Pasadena including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Huntington Library, Natural History Museum of LA County, Pasadena Museum of History and Pasadena Community Foundation. Growing up in the Pasadena area, Jane was an accomplished harpist and part of a family that encouraged a love of learning, the arts and her community. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in English and then received an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. Jane is passionate about the importance of nurturing the whole child and helping each child reach their full potential. She is delighted to join the IEA team and work to help IEA continue to accomplish its mission and reach more children in need of its unique services. She enjoys researching genealogy, writing about local history and architecture, reading, spending time with her husband and son and walking – particularly through the beautiful neighborhoods and gardens of her hometown.

Contact Jane for Donation Opportunities and Information
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 206

Caitlin
Caitlin Mahaffey, Data and Enrollment Manager

Caitlin holds a B.A. in Linguistics from Pomona College and an M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California. Prior to joining IEA, she worked as a higher education administrator for 20 years. She first learned about IEA’s work through its partnership with the Pasadena Unified School District, where her children are students. Outside of work, Caitlin enjoys gardening, baking, and restoring her 1914 airplane bungalow.

Contact Caitlin for Database and Records
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 216

Headshot of a smiling Daniel Martinez wearing a black shirt, jacket and sunglasses
Daniel Martinez, Program Coordinator - High School Scholarship

Daniel Martínez holds a B.A in Spanish and Accounting from Claremont McKenna College as well as a M.A from Loyola Marymount University in Urban Education. After working in the non-profit sector, Daniel taught High School Spanish in Los Angeles before joining the Institute for Educational Advancement as a Program Coordinator for High School Scholarship. He is very excited to work alongside Caroline D. Bradley scholars and their families in support of IEA’s mission. Outside of work you can find Daniel reading, traveling, playing music, and exploring the newest restaurants in SoCal.

Contact Daniel for Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship Information
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 203

Wayland McQueen wearing an orange, white and black plaid button-up shirt and brown cardigan over an emerald tshirt in front of a brown and green wall
Wayland McQueen, Program Assistant

Wayland McQueen has a B.A. in Philosophy and the Study of Religion from the University of Northern Iowa. Wayland joined the team at IEA in 2024 after having spent several years teaching children in after school programs and camps. Wayland is excited and honored to be part of the IAE team and working with gifted students. He is passionate about providing personalized support and learning opportunities for each child. Wayland enjoys playing a variety of sports, including disc golf, basketball, and baseball. He also loves reading, traveling, performing improv comedy, and hanging out with his two dogs.

Contact Wayland for Academy Program Information
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 204

Institute for Educational Advancement - Connecting bright minds; nurturing intellectual and personal growth
Laurie Mittermiller, Program Coordinator

Laurie has been involved in education, child development, and non-profit work for over a decade. After graduating from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in Psychology and Economics, Laurie went on to attend UCLA’s Teacher Education Program where she earned her Master’s in Education. Focused initially on classroom teaching, Laurie worked for seven years in the Los Angeles Unified School District where she taught many gifted students and ultimately became the GATE Coordinator at her school site. It was during this time that Laurie learned how unique each gifted student is, which is why she is excited to be part of an organization that provides children with highly personalized intellectual, social, and emotional support. In her free time, Laurie enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, going on long walks with her two rescue pups, playing softball, and cheering on the Dodgers.

Contact Laurie for Academy Program Information
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 211

Courtney Politano smiling in front of a green house
Courtney Politano, Program Coordinator

Courtney received her bachelor’s degree in music education with a concentration in French horn from Indiana University and her master’s degree in jazz studies with a concentration in vocal jazz from CSU, Long Beach. She has worked in education for 20 years and spent the last 12 at an independent school in North Hollywood where social emotional development, a “whole child approach,” and an equitable learning experience were prioritized. During her time there she taught PS-8th Grade music, transitioned into communications & development, served on multiple accreditation committees, received Restorative Justice training, and served on the school’s Equity Steering Committee. A native of Vermont, Courtney moved out to California in 2005 and is an active musician, composer, and arranger with her folk trio, giving concerts, leading community & youth workshops, and providing clinics for vocal ensembles.

Contact Courtney for Academy Program Information
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Direct Line: (626) 403.8900 ext. 208

Victoria Stafford, Office Manager

Victoria is happy to be a member of the IEA team, she has twenty years of experience working with various non-profit organizations. She is a fourth generation Angeleno. She enjoys spending time hiking the local Foothill trails, gardening, and yoga. When she is not enjoying the outdoors, she usually can be found with her nose in a book.

Contact Victoria for IEA Operational/Finance Matters
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Direct Line: (626) 403-8900 ext. 210

Institute for Educational Advancement - Connecting bright minds; nurturing intellectual and personal growth
Issabela Tulalian, Program Coordinator

Issabela is excited to move back to California to continue her pursuits working in the nonprofit sector. Her experience working for nonprofit organizations and as an ESL teacher inspired her to continue advocacy towards child development and understanding the holistic well-being of youth. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Florida Atlantic University and is looking forward to furthering her community outreach in the LA and Pasadena area. She is thankful to be an addition to a dedicated team and having the opportunity to serve the families in need of the services that IEA provides. During her free time, she enjoys hiking and camping, spending time with her dog Kopi and her cat Holly, and being with her loved ones.

Contact Issabela for Yunasa Program Information
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Direct Line: (626) 403.8900 ext. 209

Headshot of Carlos Zuniga against Institute for Educational Advancement's green house exterior
CARLOS ZUNIGA, SENIOR MANAGER OF OPERATIONS

Carlos Zuniga joined IEA in 2023 after 20 years in the for-profit sector as Area Vice President of Operations at Starry, a technology Startup, and Spectrum Business, a Fortune 100 telecommunications company. He has a B.S. in Computer Science with an emphasis on Systems Programming from California State University of Fullerton. After a successful career helping businesses grow exponentially, sustainably, and efficiently, Carlos decided to shift focus to see what he could do in the non-profit sector. His personal connection to being gifted and having gifted children led him to IEA. He likes cooperative boardgames, complex puzzles and international travel.

Contact Carlos for Operations (Technology, Facilities, HR, Finance)
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Direct Line: (626) 403.8900 ext. 217