Shakira joins the Ed Fund as the Director of Strategic Partnerships, bringing significant experience in supporting parents through transformative family engagement, advocacy, and leadership development. She believes that empowering families and students is the key to transforming schools and communities and increasing student success. Shakira has previously worked with local Richmond organizations such as the Richmond CDF Freedom School and Building Blocks for Kids (BBK), and abroad with the Abu Dhabi Educational Council in the United Arab Emirates. Raised in South Richmond, California, and a proud graduate of Richmond Unified School District (now WCCUSD), Shakira returned home and refocused her personal and professional efforts on supporting parents, most recently serving as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the WCCUSD. She is especially dedicated to helping families of color with special needs children. She and her husband are raising two beautiful boys with Autism, who have helped refine her purpose–to help create a more just, safe, and equitable world for all children and youth, especially those who are neurodiverse. Her sons remind her daily to be loving, kind, and respectful, not to be defined by other people’s opinions or her own perceived limitations, and to acknowledge every victory, no matter how small. She is always excited to teach and to learn from others!