Hiring on All Cylinders
As President and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance (CAA) and the founding director of the Arizona Center for Economic Progress (AZCenter), it is imperative that our organization is centered in the communities we seek to empower with trusted information based in data and facts. Our commitment to seeking transformative change in communities that have been the target of racist and discriminatory policies is very important to me and to the entire staff. To that end, I am excited to announce the next director of the AZCenter and other new staff members who have a strong understanding for our commitment to racial and gender equity and inclusion, and passion for the work we do.
Rachel Yanof joins our team as the new executive director for the AZCenter. As an educator and non-profit leader in Arizona for nearly 20 years, Rachel has witnessed how broken systems impact children as their parents or guardians lived in poverty, lacked affordable housing, food, and child care. She understands that all systems are interconnected and that changing a student’s trajectory with just education is not enough. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a commitment to advancing racial and gender equity most recently as the founding executive director of Achieve60AZ, a statewide effort to increase postsecondary attainment across the state. After graduating from Georgetown University, Rachel positively impacted underprivileged student academic attainment through her work as an educator in the Roosevelt Elementary School District and administrator where she started Phoenix Collegiate Academy. Under her leadership, Phoenix Collegiate Academy grew to serve 600 students annually with three schools from grades K through 12. Rachel is excited to lead the AZCenter and its work to continue to be a strong and influential voice for improving the lives of all Arizonans because she is passionate that everyone should have access to quality housing, education, health care, and other basic needs with equitable pay and paid leave.
Kylie Barber is the Early Childhood Policy Director at Children’s Action Alliance. Prior to joining the CAA team, Kylie worked in Washington D.C. lobbying for federal health policies specifically related to children with rare diseases and their families. Kylie has completed work in early childhood education policy, early intervention program development, and international children’s rights. Additionally, Kylie has teaching experience working in both infant and preschool classroom settings. Kylie holds a Master of Jurisprudence in Children’s Law and Policy from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, as well as a Master of Science in Child Development with specializations in Infancy and New Language Learners. In effort to maximize the human capital and ensure the well-being of young children worldwide, Kylie is currently pursing her Master of Legal Studies in International Rule of Law and Security from Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
Calli Jones is the federal engagement coordinator, a new area of focus for both CAA and AZCenter. Her prior experience in community organizing specifically with advocating for student voting rights and expanding civic engagement opportunities throughout Arizona is an invaluable asset as she works on mobilizing communities across Arizona to advance policies at the federal level. Through her congressional work, most recently as the assistant to Senator Martin Quezada in LD 29, Calli understands why improving the lives of children and families is critical in Arizona as the state has some of the highest poverty levels and one of the lowest income thresholds in the country. Calli holds bachelors’ degrees in Political Science, Criminology, and Criminal Justice from Northern Arizona and is currently pursuing her Master's in Public Administration and Policy from American University.
Sarah Kader is the Senior Campaign Strategist at the Arizona Center for Economic Progress. In this role, Sarah manages People First Economy, a proactive revenue coalition campaign of the Arizona Center for Economic Progress, One Arizona, and the Arizona for Empowerment. This campaign seeks to uplift the needs of long-neglected communities in Arizona through policy change at the State Capitol. Prior to joining the AZCenter, Sarah worked as the Director of Operations at the Statewide Independent Living Council, and before that as an attorney at the Arizona Center for Disability Law for eight years. As an attorney, Sarah represented individuals with disabilities in cases related to health care, special education, employment, accessibility, and discrimination in jails and prisons. Sarah holds a B.A from the University of Arizona and a Juris Doctor from Syracuse University.
Lane Santa Cruz is the Southern Arizona Organizer with the Arizona Center for Economic Progress working on the People First Economy for Arizona. They have spent over 15 years working on issues related to co-governing, sexual/gender violence prevention, food justice, migrant rights, and mobility justice. Lane’s goal is to make sure that state policies are informed and developed from community-based experiences and that investments put the needs of people first. Lane holds a Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies from the University of Arizona. Their multi-modal dissertation examined the historical hegemonic making of U.S. education, and how compulsory schooling framed acceptable notions of culture, language/literacy, and knowledge production.
Cora Tso is the inaugural Tribal Policy Fellow at the Arizona Center for Economic Progress. Her work aims to promote new economic opportunity through progressive advocacy and policymaking, as well as, to inform policymakers on how smart state tax and budget policies can strengthen Arizona by strengthening Arizona's 22 Tribal nations. Her deep commitment to serving Tribal communities derives from her upbringing on the Navajo reservation and her identity as a Navajo woman. Cora has extensive experience working with Tribal governments at the local and federal levels in Arizona, California, and Washington D.C. She is a proud member of the Navajo Nation and is originally from Shonto, Arizona. Recently, Cora earned her Juris Doctor degree with a Certificate in Indian Law from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, and she is currently working toward becoming licensed to practice law in Arizona and the Navajo Nation.