Meet the Team

Our team is dedicated, compassionate, and acutely aware of the limitless potential of all students who are given opportunities to learn and grow. We go to great lengths to identify resources, partnerships, and programs that will support the conditions to create these opportunities for student success.

Ellen P. Holton

Executive Director

Ellen leads the CSC as Executive Director, directing and implementing the organization’ s SIMPLE Whole Child Model in under-resourced PK-8 grade schools in the LA Archdiocese. She has extensive experience in education reform in the public, charter and urban Catholic school spaces. Ellen and the CSC team are committed to closing the literacy and numeracy gaps in the school communities they serve and are experiencing tremendous progress in achieving those outcomes. She is a member of LMU School of Education’s, Board of Visitors; former co-leader of the LA Catholic Funders Leadership Innovation Team and current member of the Catholic Education Cooperative. Ellen believes that with a focus on equity and access to quality education, meaningful opportunities for all students can be created, regardless of the zip codes in which they live.

Steve Johnson

Leadership Supports

Steve was a professor at Santa Clara University for 31 years where he directed programs for the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. He joined the CSC team in 2017 and currently facilitates the CSC’s Leadership Supports including curriculum adoption and implementation with fidelity; data collection and analysis; leadership training and coaching; mentorship of school leaders through the planning and implementation of CSC’s SIMPLE Approach; and facilitating the CSC’s Leadership, Financial, and Socio-Emotional Learning Professional Learning sessions. Steve brings an exceptional wealth of knowledge and experience to the CSC from a career in Catholic school instruction and administration at the elementary, secondary, and university levels, as well as considerable background in accounting and financial management.

Melissa Jara

Instructional Data Coach

Melissa received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her graduate training in education and administration at Loyola Marymount University. She completed her doctoral studies in Educational Leadership for Social Justice at Loyola Marymount University. Melissa has a passion for equity and social justice in education. She served as an elementary Catholic School educator and administrator for 14 years prior to joining Catholic Schools Collaborative. Her personal goals of providing a high-quality education to all students align with CSC’s goals of providing a quality whole-child program that meets the needs of students and effectively prepares them for ongoing learning and life success. Melissa fills a critical role in supporting teachers and principals and guides them in advancing CSC’s vision of closing the literacy gap through her role as an Instructional Data Coach.

Catalina Saenz

CSC Senior Fellow, Instructional Numeracy Coach

Catalina is an educational consultant with over two decades of experience implementing organizational practices to pursue the promise of educational equity for all students in K-12 grade settings. She has worked in public and private education as a teacher, principal, and director of math instruction. Catalina received a BS in Mathematics from Wellesley College in 1999, an M.Ed in School Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2005, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.

Board of Directors

Bruce G. Willison

Dean Emeritus, UCLA Anderson School of Business

Carrie Shea Tilton

Shea Family Charities; Trustee, Children’s Bureau

Susan Frances Moley

Trustee, Marymount High School

Antonio Felix

LMU - School of Education, PLACE Corps

Joseph "Pep" Valdes

Executive Vice President & Director of New Business Development
Parking Company of America (PCA)