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Michelle Newell is a Senior Policy Associate for the Children’s Defense Fund's Los Angeles office. Through her policy and advocacy work, Michelle specializes in education and juvenile justice reform, and particularly the overlap in the two fields. Michelle uses research, policy analysis and coalition work to advocate for systemic reform that keeps youth out of the juvenile justice system whenever possible – particularly around ending punitive school policies that contribute to the school to prison pipeline – as well as works to reform the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles and California to ensure that we are providing rehabilitative environments that meet the needs of our youth.
Prior to working for CDF-CA, Michelle received her Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she wrote her master’s thesis on juvenile reentry in LA County for Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Before receiving her graduate degree, Michelle worked to make our education system more equitable. She completed the Education Pioneers graduate fellowship, worked in research and evaluation for the Long Beach Unified School District, and taught fourth grade through Teach for America. Michelle received her B.A. in Political Science from UC Berkeley and lives in Los Angeles.