The Broad Center — Cristina de Jesus – An advocate for education
Once the flames became ashes and half of the classrooms disappeared at Ánimo South Los Angeles Charter High School, there was still room for hope. Amidst the charred ruins of the 2014 summer electrical fire, a mosaic tile bearing the school’s name and logo survived intact.
“They found it in the rubble. Symbolically, it speaks to the strength of the spirit of that campus and the staff that puts students first,” said Cristina de Jesus, president and chief executive officer of Green Dot Public Schools California.
The fire caused no injuries but it disrupted everything. The freshmen and sophomores remained on the campus while juniors and seniors moved down the street to co-locate with a Green Dot middle school. Some staff traveled between the two campuses to serve the 630 students. On this typically sunny and 75-degree Los Angeles winter morning, Cristina gave high-fives all around as all students started classes on the same campus after nearly four years. Easily, this was the highlight of her day.