• Learning Rights Law Center

Learning Rights Launches Search for New Executive Director

The Learning Rights Law Center Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has started a nationwide search for a new Executive Director. It is with a mix of sadness, admiration and gratitude that we also announce our esteemed founding Executive Director Janeen Steel has decided to retire from this position.

A link to the job posting is here.

Learning Rights was founded to achieve education equity for underserved students by providing free and low-cost legal representation, advice, advocacy and training to children, their families and communities who, as a consequence of disability or discrimination, have been denied equal access to a public education.

In 1999, following her UCLA Law School graduation, Janeen received an Echoing Green Fellowship to start a legal services nonprofit focused exclusively on education rights. For the next five years, Janeen created the prototype for Learning Rights while working under the umbrella of a larger disability rights organization. In 2005, Janeen and fellow UCLA law alumnae Alicia Miñana and Inés Kuperschmit decided that a solo nonprofit was needed in Southern California to address education justice, and the seed Janeen planted as a law school graduate gave birth to the Learning Rights Law Center.

Janeen has continuously served as LRLC’s Executive Director or Co-Executive Director since its founding in 2005. Janeen is stepping down, but not bidding us farewell. She will continue with Learning Rights as “of counsel” on a part-time basis, and offers us her vision for the future: “I am confident in Learning Rights’ strength as an organization, and believe that this is the right time – for the organization and for me personally – to hire a new Executive Director to lead LRLC and into the next 15 years with the idea that it has the potential to develop into a statewide and even a national organization.”

Over the past 15 years Learning Rights has grown from a bare-bones legal services and education advocacy group into a mature non-profit organization that can annually serve more than 6,400 individuals including students, parents and stakeholders each year. In 2019 we obtained over $3.3 million in education related services for our clients and our award-winning TIGER Program (Training Individuals for Grassroots Education Reform) trained 527 parents in communities all across Southern California. LRLC legal staff recently worked as part of a litigation team that won a landmark decision in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that our client, a foster youth, had the same rights as non-foster youth to obtain special educational services.

The Board of Directors is eager to guide this transition to new leadership with the goal of sustaining and enriching Learning Rights’ well-established passion for education equity and proven commitment to justice. Our mission is even more critical now as we continue to face daily challenges during the global coronavirus pandemic and seek to mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable in our community.

We are grateful for the tireless work and dedication that Janeen has selflessly poured into Learning Rights as our principal advocate, fearless Executive Director, and formidable trailblazer for education rights. Her decades of devotion to our mission enables us today to turn the page and look ahead to a promising future as we continue to seek to achieve education equity for all children.

With sincere appreciation to you, our supporters, for your enduring support.

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