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Russlyn Ali is the managing director for the Education Fund for Emerson Collective. Previously, she was the assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education. In her role, she served as Secretary Duncan's primary adviser on civil rights and responsible for enforcing U.S. civil rights laws as they pertain to education--ensuring the nation's schools, colleges, and universities receiving federal funding do not engage in discriminatory conduct related to race, sex, disability or age. Before the Department of Education, Russlynn served as the vice president of the Education Trust and founding director of the Education Trust-West, the west coast partner of the EdTrust. The organizations work for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, with an emphasis on serving Latino, African American, Native American and low-income students. Ali has held several senior positions at various organizations serving youth education, including: liaison to the president of the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, DC; chief of staff to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education President; and deputy co-director of the Advancement Project. Ali attended Spelman College and graduated from the American University with a bachelor's degree in Law and Society. She also holds a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. Ali practiced corporate and civil rights law and served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern California School of Law prior to her non-profit advocacy career. Ali is a member of the State Bar of California and serves on the boards and advisory committees of a number of education related organizations, including the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education's Curriculum and Instruction Committee and the California Governor's Committee on Education Excellence. She is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.