Ecosystem

Julie Wright Changemaker Award 1

Julie Wright Changemaker Award

Honoring courageous, equity-focused education advocates driving change in West Contra Costa

2024 Honorees

Julie Wright Changemaker Award 2

Katherine Acosta-Verprauskus

Executive Director, Area 1, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Katherine Acosta-Verprauskus is a veteran West Contra Costa educator and instructional leader. She currently serves as Executive Director, Area 1, in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. In this role, Katherine leads more than two dozen principals to develop site-level systems and practices that strengthen their instructional leadership. Katherine served as principal at Montalvin Elementary School for 11 years, and began her teaching career at Lincoln Elementary School in Richmond. She serves on the district’s Literacy Taskforce, and has advocated for the adoption of curriculum and instructional practices that are known to drive academic growth for students.
Julie Wright Changemaker Award 3

Robin Wilson

Executive Director, West County READS
Robin Wilson is a founding Board Member and Executive Director of West County READS. She previously served as a Library Media Specialist in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. During her career, Robin worked at the University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, the Graduate School of Education, MESA, and the Lawrence Hall of Science. In 2011, Supervisor John Gioia named her El Sobrante’s Woman of the Year as an advocate for children’s literacy.
Gratitude Grants
Leadership     Educators, Initiative
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About the JWCA

Julie Wright
Julie Wright

The Julie Wright Changemaker Award honors courageous, equity-focused education advocates working to improve student success in West Contra Costa public schools. Launched in 2022, the award celebrates the life and legacy of Julie Wright, who served as Executive Director of the Chamberlin Family Foundation from 2012 to 2018, and passed away in 2020. 

Through this award, the Chamberlin Education Foundation recognizes those who embody Julie’s unwavering pursuit of education equity and access to high-quality public schools in West Contra Costa. Each JWCA honoree receives a monetary award of $5,000, as well as $10,000 to grant to local, youth-serving nonprofit organizations.

Previous JWCA Honorees

A smiling Black woman wearing a red blouse with a printed decoration, red eye shadow, silver hoop earrings, and her hair in a bun with red highlights. The background is a blurry blue wall with a yellow doorway behind her.

Juanita Towns

School Community Outreach Worker, Office of African American Student Achievement, West Contra Costa Unified School District

Julie Wright Changemaker Award 4

Stephanie Medley

Director of Youth Justice, The RYSE Center

Scottie Smith is wearing a red sweater and looking toward the camera in front of a beige wall.

Scottie Smith

West Contra Costa Education Advocate

Tana Monteiro is wearing a red sleeveless shirt and looking toward the viewer with blurry foliage behind her.

Tana Monteiro

Community Schools Coordinator, Bay Area Community Resources

Nominate a changemaker for next year’s award!
JWCA

The 2024 Selection Panel

Julie Wright Changemaker Award 5

Caroline Damon

Vice President, Academics, Chamberlin Education Foundation

Julie Wright Changemaker Award 6

Daniela Espino

Managing Director, Community Engagement and Talent Innovation, Teach For America

Julie Wright Changemaker Award 7

Stephanie Medley

Director of Youth Justice, The RYSE Center

Tana Monteiro is wearing a red sleeveless shirt and looking toward the viewer with blurry foliage behind her.

Tana Monteiro

Community Schools Coordinator, Bay Area Community Resources

Scottie Smith is wearing a red sweater and looking toward the camera in front of a beige wall.

Scottie Smith

West Contra Costa Education Advocate

A smiling Black woman wearing a red blouse with a printed decoration, red eye shadow, silver hoop earrings, and her hair in a bun with red highlights. The background is a blurry blue wall with a yellow doorway behind her.

Juanita Towns

School Community Outreach Worker, Office of African American Student Achievement, West Contra Costa Unified School District

Julie Wright Changemaker Award 8

Mike Wright

Executive Coach, spouse of Julie Wright

A community panel of West Contra Costa education experts, advocates, and youth allies selects the Julie Wright Changemaker Award honorees. The 2024 panel included all four previous JWCA recipents.  

Click any panelist to learn more!