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Nancy Parachini and Tonikiaa Orange: New Roles for PLI Leadership

By Joanie Harmon
Tonikiaa Orange ('12, M.Ed., Educational Leadership Program) will take the helm as director of UCLA's Principal Leadership Institute.

UCLA alumnae Nancy Parachini (B.A., Psychology/Sociology ; Ed.D., Educational Leadership Program) and Tonikiaa Orange (’12, M.Ed., Principal Leadership Program), are assuming new roles in the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies. Parachini, who most recently served as director of the Principal Leadership Institute (PLI), is now the inaugural executive director of School Leadership Projects and International Partnerships. Orange, who is a graduate of PLI and has been the program’s assistant director since 2019, will take the helm as director. 

Nancy Parachini (B.A., Psychology/Sociology ; Ed.D., Educational Leadership Program), inaugural executive director of School Leadership Projects and International Partnerships, has led the UCLA Principal Leadership Institute for the last 16 years.

“I am so grateful to both Dr. Orange and Dr. Parachini for their outstanding work and continued commitment to Ed&IS,” says Wasserman Dean Christina Christie. “The excellence and experience they bring to their new roles ensures that each will achieve great success -  Thank you, Tonikiaa and Nancy!”

Parachini’s professional experience provides a strong grounding for her new position, which is focused on developing and leading initiatives and programs that prepare and support PreK–12 educational leaders locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally. She will lead the UCLA 21st Century California School Leadership Academy initiatives in collaboration with UC Berkeley, and will continue to serve PLI with policy issues and in seeking funding opportunities.

Parachini has a long and distinguished history as a teacher, principal, and district administrator in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and as an educator and director of programs for school leaders at UCLA. For the last 16 years, she served as PLI’s director, and as such was responsible for the development, implementation, maintenance, evaluation and improvement of the program. Parachini established operational and programmatic objectives and created strategies to increase program resources as well as effectiveness of outreach to prospective students.

PLI develops and supports community-based diverse leaders who are guided by socially just principles and are devoted to transforming urban schools into places where all students thrive. Parachini has shepherded the development of hundreds of school leaders, most of whom continue to make an impact in Los Angeles schools. She and PLI are known and respected throughout California and across the nation, for building a learning community that centers care, inquiry, and racial justice. In recent years, Parachini has expanded her reach by directing various international educational exchange initiatives and by playing a leading role in several statewide initiatives aimed at improving the preparation and development of educational leaders.

Parachini has served on numerous committees at UCLA, including the Educational Executive Committee, the Committee on Degrees and Academic Standards, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, as well as multiple hiring committees for positions within UCLA Ed&IS. A double Bruin, she holds her Ed.D. in educational leadership, and her bachelor’s degree in psychology/sociology. Parachini achieved her master’s degree in educational leadership at Immaculate Heart College.

Orange has been a PLI faculty member since 2013. A former K–8 school principal, she has played a leadership role in multiple contexts, including student recruitment, course design, engagement with district partners, and planning and facilitation of faculty meetings. 

Orange’s broad and critical role in UCLA Ed&IS includes her directorship of the Culture and Equity project in Center X. She serves on many committees and has mentored countless students, playing a particularly important role in supporting African American graduate students in the UCLA Department of Education. Orange's substantial contributions to local school districts and to state commissions includes her service on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s Preliminary Administrative Standard Setting Committee.

Orange holds an Ed.D. in administrative and policy studies from the University of Pittsburgh, and two master’s degrees - one in politics and education and the other in education – from Teachers College at Columbia University.