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City Year Los Angeles Announces Dr. Sandra Cano as New Executive Director

Lifelong educator and advocate tapped to lead City Year’s Los Angeles site

After an extensive executive search, City Year Los Angeles announced that Dr. Sandra Cano will be their newest Executive Director.  She replaces Mary Jane Stevenson, who was promoted to Market President, reflecting her seven years of success in the position.

Dr. Sandra Cano
Dr. Sandra Cano, incoming City Year L.A. Executive Director

Dr. Cano is a lifelong educator who has held a variety of educational leadership positions throughout Southern California.  Most recently, she has been an administrator in LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell program, coordinating all the District’s high school programs, which includes 72 schools and 10,000 students.  In that capacity, she works with a variety of nonprofit and private sector partners, who collectively provide $15 million annually to run the District’s programs.

Raised in Baldwin Village and South Los Angeles, Dr. Cano went on to UCLA, earning degrees in American Literature and Culture and Chicana/o Studies. She returned to UCLA for her Doctorate in Educational Leadership, focusing on the needs of long-term English learners in her dissertation.

City Year’s search committee was impressed with Dr. Cano’s personal narrative, her commitment and passion for City Year’s mission, her enthusiasm and desire to make a difference for our students, and her deep relationship to the communities City Year serves.

“We are excited for Dr. Cano to join City Year Los Angeles,” said Glenn Gritzner, a longtime board member who chaired the search committee.  “From her initial interview, all the way through to the end of an exhaustively rigorous process, Sandra has been consistently impressive.  Her passion and dedication to City Year’s mission, and to the students we serve have shown through from the beginning.”

“Dr. Sandra Cano will bring a fresh vitality and vigor to City Year Los Angeles,” said Mattie McFadden-Lawson and Giselle Fernandez, City Year Los Angeles’ Board Co-Chairs.  “Dr. Cano brings a wealth of lived experience and enthusiasm to this role, particularly in a post pandemic education environment with our students returning to school and in need of her brand of leadership more than ever. We are excited to work with this education veteran and are confident she will bring unique voice and vision to City Year.”

Dr. Cano will begin her post on May 24.

“Having been raised in areas served by City Year, I know how critical support systems are in our schools,” said Dr. Sandra Cano. “City Year provides a comprehensive approach that also emphasizes addressing socio-emotional needs. I am honored to be chosen as a leader with an organization so closely aligned with my ideals in education.”

The search committee also noted Dr. Cano’s history of cultivating relationships with private sector philanthropic and corporate partners, which will help expand City Year Los Angeles’ already robust network.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Cano during her time at LAUSD, and I have always found her to be creative, innovative, and committed to our mission,” said former Los Angeles Laker AC Green, CEO of the AC Green Youth Foundation.  “When the pandemic hit, she immediately came up with ways to allow us to continue serving students.  I have found her an invaluable partner, and I look forward to continuing to work with her at City Year Los Angeles.”

The search committee who selected Dr. Cano consisted of:

Glenn Gritzner, Committee Chair, Partner, Mercury Public Affairs

Mattie McFadden Lawson, Board Co-Chair, President, MML Group

Giselle Fernandez, Board Co-Chair, Executive Editor, Spectrum News & Spectrum News One Anchor

Andrew Hauptman, Chairman, Andell Inc.

Ellen Bronfman Hauptman, Co-Chair, Andell, Inc.

Kevin Demoff, Chief Operating Officer, Los Angeles Rams

Pedro Noguera, Dean, USC Rossier School of Education


About City Year 
City Year helps students and schools succeed, while preparing the next generation of civically engaged leaders who can work across lines of difference. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members provide support to students, classrooms and the whole school. Schools that partner with City Year are up to two to three times more likely to improve in English and math assessments, and the more time students spend with AmeriCorps members, the more they improve on social, emotional and academic skills— skills that help students thrive in school and contribute to their community.

A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is supported by AmeriCorps, local school districts and private philanthropy. City Year partners with public schools in 29 communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates in the U.K. and South Africa. Learn more at or on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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