Shimica Gaskins is the Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund–California (CDF-CA), a state chapter
of the national child advocacy organization founded by Marian Wright Edelman. CDF-CA believes that California’s
long-term prosperity depends upon all children having the opportunity to thrive and succeed; the organization champions
programs and policies that ensure a level playing field for the most vulnerable children and youth in the state –
focusing in particular on expanding opportunities for youth to grow up in safe neighborhoods, access comprehensive health
care coverage, and be educated in positive learning environments.
Before joining the CDF-CA, Gaskins worked in law and public policy specializing in legislative, regulatory, and policy
issues associated with criminal justice reform and children’s rights. She formerly served as the Acting Deputy Assistant
Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) where she worked to develop and
implement innovative policy initiatives in areas such as criminal justice reform and issues affecting children with incarcerated
Prior to joining the DOJ, Gaskins was in private practice at Covington & Burling LLP where she managed complex civil
litigation. She clerked for the Honorable Roger L. Gregory on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
and the Honorable Victoria A. Roberts on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Over the course of her legal career, Gaskins has worked to find ways to generate change in underserved communities. She
has provided hundreds of pro bono hours representing indigent clients, worked as an advocate for children and kinship
caregivers at the Children’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., and served on an advocates’ board for people
affected by homelessness and poverty.
Additional, she has taught as an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of America and the Charles Hamilton Houston
Preparatory Law School Institute, and has published law review articles on sentencing laws, child welfare, and voting
rights. Gaskins serves as a mentor to many law students and young lawyers. In 2016, she was honored with the National
Bar Association’s “40 Under 40 Best Advocates” Award.
Born in Lake City, South Carolina, Gaskins earned her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in philosophy from the Catholic University
of America and her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. Most recently, she served as the Director of Policy
and Outreach for The Fair and Just Prosecution Project—a program supporting newly elected prosecutors committed
to innovative criminal justice reform policies.
In her spare time, Gaskins enjoys reading various genres of fiction and baking homemade treats for her family. She has
also completed two breast cancer walks—one 60 miles, the other 39 miles. Gaskins lives in Altadena, California with
her husband, James Perez, Esq. and their two children.
Dr. Jeanette Mann
Appointed to the Commission in 2018 by Supervisor Barger, Dr. Jeanette Mann’s adult life has been devoted to serving
children and young people. Jeanette’s journey is solidly rooted in education. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from
the University of Missouri, Columbia, with three degrees in English. Upon completing her doctorate, she accepted a faculty
position at Northern Illinois University. While there, she spent a year as a Rockefeller Fellow, receiving extensive training
and experience in ways to diversify predominately white universities. In 1976, she was appointed Special Assistant to
the President for Equity and Diversity at California State University, Northridge, where she worked to diversify the faculty
by revising campus policies on recruitment, tenure and promotion. She also developed national models for preventing and
resolving allegations of sexual and racial harassment and discrimination.
Jeanette was the first woman elected to the Board of Trustees of Pasadena City College, serving eight terms, including
six as Board President. In 2005, she was elected to the Board of Directors of California Community College Trustees Association,
serving ten years, two as President. In addition, she was President of the Community College League of California and
represented locally-elected trustees on the California Community Colleges Student Success Task Force.
As co-founder and Chair/Co-Chair of the Foster Care Project (FCP), a ministry of All Saints Church, Jeanette has enhanced
the lives of foster, homeless, transitional, and incarcerated children and youth. Using a model of recruiting volunteers
for programs and services through local agencies, FCP has established partnerships with 37 agencies serving at-risk children
and youth. Each year FCP recruits upwards of 140 volunteers to serve as mentors, tutors, special friends, or personal
shoppers to more than 1000 young people. Through the Birthday Club and Angel Tree Program, FCP also provides birthday
and Christmas gifts to another 1000+ children in foster care. In 2016, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors identified
FCP’s family reunification program, Family Connect, as a model for the County. In 2016, working closely with community
organizations, social service agencies, parents of foster children and youth, and staff at Pasadena City College, FCP’s
Public Policy Committee petitioned the Board of Education of Pasadena United School District to establish a Foster Youth
Advisory Council. This Council gives parents and guardians of children and youth in foster care a voice in their children’s
education. Jeanette also has advocated for fundamental changes in the foster care system. Much of her effort has addressed
the challenges faced by youth transitioning out of foster care. She advocated for extending the age that youth in foster
care could receive services from 18 to 21, for density bonuses in housing for transitional-aged youth, and for providing
services and support for transitional-aged youth in public colleges and universities.
In 2008, Jeanette was honored as “Woman of the Year” for the 21st District by State Senator Jack Scott. In
2010, she received the Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of her professional accomplishments
from the University of Missouri, Columbia. In 2012, she received the Pasadena NAACP’s President Award for improving
the quality of life in the community. Upon her retirement from the Board of Trustees at Pasadena City College in 2015,
she was honored by the College through the designation of the Jeanette Mann Foster Youth Center. Jeanette has three adult
children and three grandchildren. Her late husband Dr. Kenneth Mann was employed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a
Lou Moore is the Executive Director of FosterAll, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recruitment and support of
foster families. For the past six years, Ms. Moore has established and grown its Foster Care Program with more than 250
faith partners across LA County. She implemented a database to analyze and study the results of FosterAll’s recruitment
efforts and the multitude of activities that FosterAll’s faith partners provide for fostering families and youth living
in residential facilities. Ms. Moore also collaborated with Hilary Swank and her Hilaroo Foundation to create an annual
summer camp for foster youth with rescue dogs. Moore is a long-time member of FosterAll’s founding faith community partner,
Westwood Presbyterian Church. Moore started her work in the Los Angeles County foster care system in 2000 when she and
her husband served as resource and later adoptive parents. Throughout her career, Moore has built programs, enhanced donor
development and leveraged community and government relationships. Having majored in Children’s Theater in college, Ms.
Moore has always had a passion for serving children.
Prior to joining FosterAll, Moore was the founding Executive Director of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing
Arts in Beverly Hills. She established the structure and operations for the nonprofit organization, led a $72 million
Capital Campaign with a dedicated Board of Directors, oversaw the preservation and adaptation of the historic Beverly
Hills Post Office into a state-of-the art performing arts center, and opened the complex to great acclaim in 2013. She
developed and implemented the vision, a strategic plan, development campaign, and planned the artistic program for the
first season in 2014.
Prior to The Wallis, Moore was the founding Managing Director of the Geffen Playhouse, launching the first LORT B resident
professional theater company on L.A.’s Westside. Moore was instrumental in the formulation and implementation of the corporate
structure, financial plan, marketing strategies, fundraising plan, and overall management for the theater. She researched
and worked closely with UCLA to define the relationship between the university and the theater in an affiliation agreement.
Under Moore’s six-year leadership, the theater’s budget grew from $400,000 to $5 million. She managed the theater’s first
subscription campaign, which generated 10,000 subscribers in its first season.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Moore served as Executive Director of the Plaza Theater in Dallas where she presented and
produced over 20 productions. In addition, Moore founded and was President of the New York based ELM Video Theater, which
represented the most prestigious theaters in the country for television.
While in New York, Moore created and served as the Director of Management Services for Theater Communications Group (TCG),
the national service organization for theaters in the United States. She coordinated and chaired the first National Computer
Conference for the Arts in the country. In addition, Moore developed and chaired the first Development Conference for
major theaters with budgets over $1 million. She also computerized ten years of financial data on 141 theaters for TCG
and the Ford Foundation, which continues to be used today as the source of data for TCG’s annual fiscal survey.
Moore also served as the Managing Director of the Dallas Shakespeare Festival for five years. She received her MFA in Arts
Administration from Southern Methodist University and a BA in Theatre from Florida State University.