Toros Teach LA will have a substantial positive impact on the lives of 1.86 million children and youth in the LA region.

Teachers of all ethnicities will be highly qualified, culturally competent, reflective of local communities, and intentionally trained towards early childhood and Black excellence. The training these equity-minded teachers and leaders will enable them to strengthen family-school connections as they set children on the path to lifelong success.

Highly qualified and diverse teachers who are culturally responsive, anti-racist, and believe in Black student excellence find job satisfaction in their communities and provide children with important early learning experiences. These educators’ culturally sustaining approaches, combined with their strong credential foundation, job satisfaction, and continued professional development, will be felt throughout the region. Toros Teach LA will help meet the massive shortage of early childhood educators and help reverse alarming learning loss exacerbated by a long period of isolation and distance learning. 

The long-term vision of Toros Teach LA is: schools filled with thriving children and thriving educators, serving as models for the region, state, and nation.

Toros Teach LA will be a model program for early childhood teachers. Educators will no longer need to move in and out of credential programs, will stop struggling to pay for school, and will engage with programs to help respond to LA students’ unique needs. Ample scholarship support will improve the economic mobility of this highly diverse workforce, increasing earning potential and expanding career pathways. This, combined with professional learning opportunities and scholarship support from the Black Educator Excellence initiative, will contribute to reversing the trend of minority teachers leaving the profession.


Dean Jessica Zacher Pandya, Ph.D.

Jessica Zacher Pandya is Dean and Professor in the College of Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills. A former kindergarten teacher in the California Bay Area who earned her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, her research focuses on children's literacy and identity work in diverse urban classrooms.

Prior to coming to CSUDH, Dr. Pandya served as Chair of the Academic Senate (2019-21) and Chair of the Liberal Studies Department (2014-20) at CSU Long Beach. Her latest books are Exploring Critical Digital Literacy Practices: Everyday Video in a Dual Language Context (Routledge, 2018) and the coedited Handbook of Critical Literacies (Routledge, 2021).  

Dean Mi-Sook Kim, Ph.D.

Dr. Mi-Sook Kim is an esteemed scholar and a proud Dean of the College of Health, Human Services & Nursing (CHHSN) at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), infusing her extensive knowledge and experience into the Toro Nation community since July 2021. Dr. Kim believes in higher education as a tool for social change and tirelessly advocates for equitable access to college. She led the innovative Toro Health Pathways Initiative in 2022, which aims to inspire students from marginalized backgrounds to pursue careers in healthcare and education, with the goal of cultivating a diverse and culturally competent workforce. Her dedication, vision, and leadership illuminate the path toward educational equity and community empowerment.