Our Team

Headshot of Dr. Didi Watts
Headshot of Emma Watson
Headshot of Sharnell Blevins
Headshot of Marilyn Alvarez
Headshot of Kimberly Barajas
Headshot of Alexandria Castellanos
  • Dr. Didi Watts | Chief of Staff | dwatts2@lausd.net

    Dr. Didi Watts is an accomplished education advocate who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Counseling and an Ed.D in Educational Leadership for Social Justice.

    Didi was born and raised in Board District 7 and has spent more than 20 years as an educator advocating for the needs of Black and Latino students. She served as an LAUSD elementary district intern in South Los Angeles before transitioning into the role of school psychologist. Fueled by a desire to provide excellent support to special education students and families, Didi served as the Assistant Director of Special Education within a charter management organization. Upon receiving her administrative credential, Didi served as a middle school principal focusing on academics while improving school culture and climate. Most recently, Didi was the Vice President of Education for a non-profit in West Los Angeles, supporting students with special needs in non-public and residential placements. 

    Outside of work, Didi enjoys vacationing with her husband of twenty-six years and their three adult children.

  • Emma Watson | Policy Director | emma.watson@lausd.net

    Emma Watson is a champion for racial justice and educational equity, dedicated to working alongside the community to create systemic change. A true Bruin, she received both her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Master’s Degree in Public Policy from UCLA.

    She brings her expertise in building community-based policy agendas from her work at Advancement Project California, a multi-racial civil rights organization fighting to expand opportunity for all. Statewide and in Los Angeles, she advocated for whole child equity, equity-based funding, and greater access to early learning and care. Previously, Emma was a Fellow at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a non-profit organization that manages 19 LA Unified District schools in Boyle Heights, South Los Angeles, and Watts. Her value for racial and economic justice is rooted in her experience as a Family Advocate at Early Head Start where she built trusting relationships to support families and their children.

    Committed to balance and wellness, she enjoys teaching and practicing yoga and taking her rescue pup Sage on hikes.

  • Sharnell Blevins | Family & Community Engagement Director | sharnell.blevins@lausd.net

    Sharnell Blevins is an exceptional educational equity advocate who believes that it takes everyone—families, students, educators, and the community—to ensure that students reach their potential. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from Pepperdine University and a Master’s Degree from Mount Saint Mary’s University. 

    She lives with her husband and six children in the same neighborhood where she grew up in Board District 7. She is a Kindergarten through 12th grade graduate of LAUSD’s Board District 7 schools. Sharnell has more than 30 years of educational nonprofit experience, helping families and the community navigate and advocate for educational equity for students, working within companies like the Golden State Minority Foundation, American Cancer Society, Los Angeles Unified, and Speak UP. She has been a member of a variety of school site, District, and community leadership committees.

    Sharnell is a writer: playwright, author, and poet. She has been published in several literary journals and her work has been performed on stage at noted theatre companies.

  • Marilyn Alvarez | Family & Community Engagement Manager | marilyn.alvarez@lausd.net

    Marilyn Alvarez is a passionate nonprofit leader who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Cal State Northridge and a Master of Public Administration degree from USC.

    Marilyn was born and raised in BD7 and has dedicated her career to increasing the social capital of low-income, underrepresented students throughout Los Angeles. She began her career at the Los Angeles Education Partnership where she managed the College and Career Pathways program at 11 different LAUSD schools, developing cross-sectoral partnerships to improve student achievement. She has managed after-school programs in Santa Monica and Watts, where she provided enrichment opportunities for students and supported parents in advocating for the needs of their children. Before joining the District 7 team, Marilyn served as the Associate Director of College Access at ScholarMatch, where she helped open the organization’s second college drop-in center in Boyle Heights and worked alongside first-generation students to make their college aspirations possible. Marilyn is fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language.

    Outside of work, Marilyn enjoys exploring the city of LA with her daughter, searching for coffee and brunch spots with friends, and visiting her family in LA and Mexico.

  • Kimberly Barajas | Operations Coordinator | kimberly.barajas@lausd.net

    Kimberly Barajas is an unparalleled visualizer who holds an Associate’s Degree in Psychology from Long Beach City College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from California State University, Dominguez Hills and a Master’s Degree in Behavioral Analysis from National University.

    Born and raised within the BD7 community, Kimberly continues to reside in the same city she first began her academic career at the age of 5. Later in life, her professional career began when working for a company centered on providing evidence-based and family-oriented therapies for the Autism Spectrum Disorder community. Within her previous career, she took on the roles of being a Registered Behavior Therapist (RBT), Social Skills Leader and Parent Educator. Her passion to dedicate her career to help others led her to continue her pursuit of higher education. Shifting gears, she now wants to focus her career in her own community, especially the schools that paved the way for her in Board District 7. 

    In her free time, Kimberly is an avid traveler who enjoys being surrounded by family and friends and takes a special interest in finding new spots in the LA area to explore.