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 Senior Scientist.
Appointed to the Commission in 2014 by Supervisor Antonovich, Liz attended the University of Minnesota, where she majored in Elementary Education, earning her Bachelor’s Degree and teaching credential. Later, Liz went on to earn a special education credential and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology. In 1976 she and two other ladies started the “St. Stephens Special School”, known today as the Child & Family Center, a non-profit organization. In 1980, she became the Executive Director of the St. Stephens Special School. The agency’s central mission has always been to serve children and their families, particularly those with emotional and behavioral challenges, by working to increase appropriate behaviors and successful development. Due to the agency’s programs and outreach to the community, as well as the tremendous support of Supervisor Antonovich, over the years the Child & Family Center became a contract agency for the Los Angeles County Depts. of Children and Family Services, Mental Health and Probation. In 2002, after a successful capital campaign and a year of construction, the Child & Family Center opened its own site on Centre Point Pkwy; a dream come true for its founders. After 32 years with the Child & Family Center, Liz retired in September 2008.
Liz is married to Jim, and they have 4 adult children, and 7 grandchildren. She remains actively engaged in volunteer work in the community and in her church. She serves on the Auxiliary and the Advisory Committee for the Child & Family Center. She has been a member of the Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Club since 1992, and is currently serving as its president. She also loves to travel, read, garden, do crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and takes “power” walks to keep active.
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 parents.
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.