The best ideas are those that come from and work for more people.

Meet our co-conspirators behind the scenes.

Karla E. Vigil
CEO
She/Her

Born in El Salvador and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, Karla Vigil serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the Equity Institute, an organization whose mission is to develop innovative systems that cultivate culturally responsive schools and communities. Karla oversees the organization’s creative vision and leads strategic initiatives that focus on developing equitable policies and practices. She also has been a strong advocate in her state and beyond voicing the importance of recruiting and retaining teachers of color.

Karla has a wealth of knowledge and experience creating and leading initiatives in the K-12 education sector. Most recently, Karla was a senior associate for District and School Design at the Center for Collaborative Education (CCE), where she worked as a thought partner in the development of frameworks and resources centered on equity, culturally responsive teaching, and personalized learning. While she has worked across a variety of organizations, one of her most valuable experiences was serving as a fourth grade classroom teacher dedicated to broadening students’ perspectives through multicultural and social justice education.

Karla was a Deeper Learning Equity fellow and was recently selected as a Pahara NextGen Fellow, Winter 2020 cohort. She lives in East Providence with her partner and three sons.

Karla E. Vigil
CEO
She/Her

Carlon Howard
Chief Impact Officer
He/Him

Carlon Howard
Chief Impact Officer
He/Him

Carlon is the Chief Impact Officer and Co-Founder of Equity Institute. In his role, he oversees program strategy and implementation for the organization’s premier program, the EduLead Fellowship. He is a social entrepreneur dedicated to exploring innovative ways to solve some of our country’s most pressing problems. In addition to helping launch the Equity Institute, he also co-founded EduLeaders of Color R.I. Now an initiative of the Equity Institute, EduLeaders of Color R.I. hosts monthly meetups designed to support education leaders from underrepresented backgrounds.

Before entering his current role with Equity Institute, Carlon was executive director of Breakthrough Providence, served as a City Year AmeriCorps member and Impact Manager, was a classroom teacher and Teach for America AmeriCorps Member, and was a policy fellow for former Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston. He graduated from the University of Georgia with undergraduate degrees in criminal justice and political science and completed his graduate degree in education from Rhode Island College. He also earned a graduate certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from the Institute of Nonprofit Practice, in affiliation with Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. Carlon is an avid reader and lifelong learner who spends much of his time exploring topics related to social science and leadership.

Katya Rodriguez
Director of Impact & Evaluation
She/Her

Katya Rodriguez
Director of Impact & Evaluation
She/Her

Katya was born in Mexico, grew up in California and has chosen to serve in Rhode Island since 2017.  As Director of Impact & Evaluation, she oversees the development and execution of all policy and research projects. Katya also designs and supports the ongoing evaluation and assessment processes to ensure our impact is effectively captured and communicated.

In the past, Katya has conducted research for various organizations including the Urban Institute, Providence City Hall and the Rhode Island Department of Education. Her research has focused on cross-border education, teacher certification, diversifying the teaching workforce, restorative justice and other topics around education. Furthermore, she worked under the School Board Policy Advisor for Providence Public Schools where she helped evaluate and modify district policies to ensure local, state, and federal compliance while simultaneously insuring district’s strategic priorities.

Katya was a task force member for the New England Secondary School Consortium where she helped develop a guide to diversify the teaching force throughout New England. She is also a City Year AmeriCorps alum who served in Providence, Rhode Island. Katya graduated from University of La Verne in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and received her Master of Arts degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University in 2019. Katya believes that all students deserve a high-quality education regardless of their zip code and she strives to develop an equitable education system throughout the country.

Emily Abedon
Chief Learning Officer
She/Her

Emily Abedon
Chief Learning Officer
She/Her

Emily Abedon is a Rhode Island based educator and leader. Her work and her life centers social justice, children and education. Emily serves as the Chief Learning Officer at Equity Institute. With an anti-oppression lens, she works to evaluate, design and implement strategic equity and anti-racism work in schools and organizations. Her passion for leadership and design comes from wanting to help leaders, educators and organizations embrace action that works toward creating systemic change.

Emily has designed and led antiracism affinity groups for white-identifying educators and facilitated cross-racial dialogues in a wide variety of organizational settings. Emily has presented at many national and local conferences around culturally responsive educational practices, anti-racism and equity. She has her Masters of Science in Education through Brooklyn College and was a NYC Teaching Fellow. She is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Peace and Nonviolence. She is a member of the antiracism group White Noise Collective that works at the intersection of whiteness and gender oppression and organizes with Showing Up for Racial Justice RI. While gender and class oppressions have always been visible to her, her white, race privilege has not. She continually tries to understand the ways that race has shaped her life and works to put race at the center of her thinking. Emily is always working toward becoming a better accomplice for people of color who are leading the movement for racial justice.