Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Gregor
Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Gregor, MPA ’08
Lauren Gregor’s educational and professional careers reflect the benefits of interdisciplinary learning, an emphasis enmeshed in the SPPD philosophy.
Her studies and work have taken her all over the country and earned her two graduate degrees in elementary education from Pace University and in public administration at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.
In her current position as communications manager for the Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF), Gregor melds her extensive experiences in the classroom with her diverse educational background to support more than 4,500 California students.
ICEF is a nonprofit charter management organization that provides operations support to schools’ academic, human resources and financial programs. By offering these logistical resources, principals are able to focus more on academics and student performance than administration. ICEF follows a college preparatory model which mandates that 100 percent of its schools’ graduates pursue higher education. The organization currently serves 15 charter schools in South Los Angeles.
“ICEF and other charter organizations like it take the burden of working with the school district off the principal and thereby encourage academic success,” Gregor said.
As communications manager, Gregor is in charge of external media and public relations. She also manages a new internal communications initiative that aims to ensure all ICEF employees and affiliates are working towards the same mission.
“Charter schools provide pressure but good movements involve families,” Gregor noted. “When they start demanding change, there is more power to create lasting reform.”
Gregor has been an active advocate for students’ educational rights since her undergraduate studies when she worked in the Philadelphia education system. After graduating, she joined Teach For America and taught first grade in South Bronx, N.Y.
“I want to help effect change for the students I serve,” Gregor said, “but education reform is a process.”
She used her experience as a teacher to inform her subsequent work at the Los Angeles Unified School District. “From an administrative perspective, I am able to work with leadership and provide insight with direct classroom experience,” she explained.
Gregor’s interest in education reform is founded in a genuine desire to be involved in the urban community and impact change in the public sector. After teaching, she enrolled at SPPD, with the intention of pursuing this goal.
Gregor’s education at SPPD fueled her broader interest in working toward the public good, by enabling her to explore a variety of fields. While enrolled in the public administration program, she took courses with public policy and planning students.
“My fellow students added diversity to my experience at SPPD,” Gregor said. “They helped make my own education stronger and influenced by life outside education by engaging me with other issue areas.”
In addition to her meaningful work at ICEF, Gregor remains actively involved in the SPPD community. She is a member of the SPPD Alumni Board and participates in mentorship and externship programs that serve hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students each year.