Who We Are
The Board District 2 Team is made up of community people dedicated to public education in Los Angeles. We are LAUSD parents and alumni. We are organizers and educators. We are here to serve our students, families and communities by nurturing our neighborhood schools.
From left to right:
Dr. Rocío Rivas (Board Member), Jazmin Garcia (Community Affairs Deputy), MaryLou Hernandez (Director of Operations), Yelena Zeltser (Policy Director), Rudy Gonzalves (Chief of Staff), Christine Louise Mills (Communications Director), Jack Suria-Linares (Community Affairs Deputy)
Rudy Gonzalves (Chief of Staff) Rudy has over two decades of experience with labor and community alliances in building political and electoral power for workers and BIPOC communities. He previously served as the Education Campaign Director with Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) - supporting a coalition of parents, students, and educators committed to protecting and strengthening our public schools. He also served in leadership positions with the United Farm Workers, Jobs to Move America, Service Employees International Union, Cali Calls, and the LA Mayor’s Office. He is an attorney and attended UC College of the Law, San Francisco.
Jazmin Garcia (Community Affairs Deputy) Jazmin Garcia lives in East Los Angeles, a community that she cherishes and has cultivated her activism and leadership. She earned a Political Science degree from California State University, Los Angeles. She’s been a part of various grassroots groups and organizations, as an activist and community organizer.
Her interest in educational justice sparked when she began to see a shift in the direction of our current public educational system. She believes that a public educational system is fundamental to a healthy and thriving society. As an LAUSD parent and community organizer, she has spent the last decade advocating for public schools, and initiatives to support equity in LAUSD. Her deep passion for educational justice is centered in her work as community affairs deputy for board district 2.
She enjoys spending outdoor time with her daughter and looks forward to reading next to her daughter every night.
Jack Suria-Linares (Community Affairs Deputy) Jack Linares serves as a Community Affairs Deputy for Dr. Rocio Rivas for schools in DTLA, Echo Park, Pico-Union, MacArthur Park, Rampart Village, Filipinotown, East Hollywood, Silverlake, Los Feliz, Glassell Park, Eagle Rock, El Sereno, Lincoln Heights, and Highland Park. Jack grew up in an undocumented community in MacArthur Park, where he currently resides. He is a proud LAUSD and Board District 2 alumnus, where he attended Union Avenue Elementary, Commonwealth Avenue Elementary, Virgil Middle School, and Los Angeles High School of the Arts. Jack’s experience with poverty, domestic violence, and structural inequities drove him to become a passionate organizer for an equitable economy with strong public schools.
Jack’s LAUSD education gave him the tools necessary to succeed and graduate from Hamilton College with a B.A. in History and CUNY Murphy Institute with a M.A. in Labor Studies, where he spent his days researching his love for social and labor movements in the U.S. and Latin America. In his spare time, he volunteers with Democratic Socialists of America on international relations and immigrant rights. He enjoys long distance running, reading, gym, traveling, movies, and exploring new cafes around Los Angeles.
Yelena Zeltser (Policy Director) Yelena Zeltser serves as Policy Director, she has an extensive background in community organizing, strategic research and policy advocacy, and has dedicated her career to building community power and improving the lives of vulnerable families in the Los Angeles area.
Yelena earned her Bachelor's degree from UC Santa Cruz, and a Master's degree in Planning from Cornell University. After graduating she worked with various grass roots organizations fighting for affordable housing, anti-displacement, and equitable access to healthy environments. While working as a Research Analyst at UNITE HERE Local 11, Yelena fought for the rights of hotel and food service workers to fair wages, access to healthcare, and safe and dignified working conditions.
As the Policy Director, Yelena is responsible for researching and developing policies that promote school greening efforts and ensure that our school district leads the nation on climate resilience. She also works on supporting Community Schools and developing pathways to good jobs for our students and families. She is committed to ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality education and are provided with resources and services necessary to succeed.
As a product of LAUSD herself, and a parent of an LAUSD student, Yelena highly values our public education system while understanding firsthand the challenges that families face in navigating it. Having immigrated to the United States as a child, she brings a unique perspective to her work and is dedicated to ensuring that the policies she develops are effective, equitable, and responsive to the needs of students, families, and communities. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, gardening, and discovering the never-ending diversity that is Los Angeles.
Christine Louise Mills (Communications Director) A creative professional focused on community-centered advocacy for clean air, complete streets and public transportation, Christine brings decades of collaborative, civic and arts education experience to her work with Dr. Rivas. She holds a BA in Theater from UC San Diego, and an MFA in Cinematic Arts from USC, where she focused on writing and documentary filmmaking. She has used those skills to bring attention to local social and environmental justice issues via Los Angeles River Communities for Environmental Equity (larcee.org), as well as to help tell the story of the oldest neighborhood in Los Angeles as writer and editor of East LA Interchange, a documentary on the cultural history and gentrification of Boyle Heights.
As a teaching artist through the Elysian Valley Arts Collective, she has led documentary filmmaking and cinematic storytelling workshops in LAUSD public schools including Central High at Elysian Valley United, Elysian Heights Elementary Arts Magnet and Dorris Place Elementary, empowering students to observe and articulate their own personal stories. Also an LAUSD parent, Christine witnessed firsthand how desperately our schools need substitute educators, so she became a certificated LAUSD substitute teacher in 2022, and still teaches part time.
A service-oriented friend to all creatures, Christine volunteers with the Los Angeles Animal Services North Central Animal Shelter, where she is a rabbit handler and adoption counselor. Her home garden is a certified wildlife habitat, and was featured on the 2020 Theodore Payne Foundation Native Plant Garden Tour.