Senior Director, KnowledgeWorks
Karla is a passionate education advocate for all students from preschool through postsecondary.
She began her career in education at the Goldwater Institute, where she co-authored research on Arizona’s first 50 charter schools and early charter school legislation. Karla then served seven years as a senior education policy advisor for the Arizona House of Representatives. During her time in the legislature, she worked tirelessly to bolster school choice from expanding tax-credit scholarships to advancing the state’s original school voucher legislation. In 2011, as the Education Policy Advisor to the Governor, Karla was present when Arizona’s historic, first-of-its-kind Empowerment Scholarship Account legislation was signed into law. Karla also served in the Arizona Department of Education as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Superintendent and at Arizona State University as Director of State Government Relations.
Karla is the proud mother of a 16-year-old son and a 13-year daughter with a disability. Advocating for her children has provided a new lens through which she personally experiences the policies she has worked so long to develop and implement. Now, she is channeling her professional and personal experiences to passionately advocate for all students—especially those with disabilities.
As the Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy for KnowledgeWorks, Karla leads the development and execution of their policy strategy, partnering with states to transform their policy systems to support personalized learning.
Karla serves as a member of the National Down Syndrome Inclusive Education Task Force, Arizona’s ABLE Act Oversight Committee and the Arizona Special Education Advisory Panel. She also previously served as vice chair of the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. Karla earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and Master of Public Administration from Arizona State University. She and her family live in Phoenix.