Dr. Debra Duardo is among the nation’s foremost experts in the area of dropout prevention and recovery. As Executive Director of Los Angeles Unified School District’s Health and Human Services, she was a key member of the district and City of Los Angeles collaboration that helped improve graduation rates and encourage dropouts to return to school. With a personal story not unlike those of students facing a dropout decision, Dr. Duardo holds an MA in social work from UCLA and an EdD from the school’s education and information studies program. She has served LAUSD as a counselor, assistant principal and director of dropout recovery and prevention. Her commitment to students and education have earned her the Durfee Foundation’s prestigious Stanton Fellowship in addition to a mayoral appointment to LA’s Commission for Community and Family Services.