Save the Date! ELC Fall Celebration: Fighting the Good Fight

Please join us at 5:30 PM on September 25, 2019, at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia as we celebrate our work ensuring access to quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania.

We hope you will join us and our event co-chairs, Joan Mazzotti and Michael Kelly, to honor our 2019 Champions of Education, including:

  • Jamilia Blake, Ph.D. and Rebecca Epstein, Esq., authors of Girlhood Interrupted: the Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood, a leading report on the adultification bias facing Black girls.
  • Bentley Systems, Incorporated, a global software development company focused on sustaining the world’s infrastructure, with a demonstrated and passionate commitment to STEM education programs for elementary school students in Pennsylvania.  
  • Opera Philadelphia, one of the most innovative opera companies in the nation that also addresses the gap in arts education and access in the Greater Philadelphia region through an intensive, in-school, literacy-based music education program and robust after-school programs.
  • Pro Bono Honorees Jennifer Fox Rabold, Esq. and Susie Kernen of FedEx Ground, for their work administering a trust on behalf of children living in a group home who had been denied access to an appropriate education.

If you would like to speak with an ELC staff member regarding buying tickets or sponsoring ELC’s event, please contact Allegra Abramson at (215) 278-9765 or [email protected]. Otherwise, please visit our ticket site below:

Click Here for Tickets

Please support the Education Law Center on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023!

ELC works every day to ensure access to education for all children, including students living in poverty, students of color, students with disabilities, students in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, multilingual learners, LGBTQ youth, and students experiencing homelessness.

Our work is made possible by generous contributions from individuals like you. Giving Tuesday 2023 kicks off our year-end fund drive.

Please contribute via our donation page!

Or please click here to donate via Facebook!

We encourage you to give as generously as you can.

And thank you for making your tax-deductible donation to ELC on Giving Tuesday, so we can help more children receive the education they need, deserve, and are legally entitled to receive.

Deborah Gordon Klehr

Executive Director

Deborah (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Education Law Center, a non-profit legal advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring access to a quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania. Deborah brings extensive expertise on education law and policy issues, including fairness in school discipline, fair funding for public education, and other school access and improvement issues.

Deborah joined ELC in 2005 after clerking for U.S. District Court Judge Raymond J. Dearie in the Eastern District of New York. Deborah has taught education law at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Her article “Addressing the Unintended Consequences of No Child Left Behind and Zero Tolerance: Better Strategies for Safe Schools and Successful Students” was published in the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy, and she is a frequent speaker statewide on education policy and the law. She was selected for and served on both the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee and the Pennsylvania Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and she currently serves as a member of The American Law Institute. She previously taught kindergarten and first grade in Hoboken, N.J. Deborah is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

Deborah co-chairs the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Legislative Liaison Committee and the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Education Law Committee. Deborah serves on the Board of Directors of both Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia and Congregation Rodeph Shalom. She is a member of the Forum of Executive Women. In 2022, she was named to Metro Philadelphia’s Education Power Players List and in 2022 and 2023, she was named to City & State Pennsylvania’s Law Power 100.

215-238-6970 ext 313

Maura McInerney

Legal Director

Maura McInerney (she/her) is Legal Director at the Education Law Center, a non-profit legal advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all children in Pennsylvania have access to quality public education. Maura has been a litigator in the private and public sectors for over thirty years. Since arriving at the Education Law Center fourteen years ago, Maura has litigated precedent-setting state and federal cases on behalf of underserved children, including a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of children in foster care which resulted in the dismantling of an inferior, segregated school and the awarding of compensatory education services to hundreds of children in foster care, and a federal case that established several important educational rights of homeless children. She is ELC’s lead litigator in our fair school funding case, scheduled to go to trial in September 2021.

In addition to leading ELC’s litigation efforts, Maura engages in legislative and policy work at the national and state level and is recognized as a national expert on laws involving the education rights of children who are homeless and those in foster care. She helped found and represents ELC as a member of the national Legal Center for Foster Care and Education. In 2012, Maura was named Child Advocate of the Year by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Children’s Rights Committee for her work on behalf of children in foster care. She has also received the Unsung Hero Award from the Legal Intelligencer for her litigation on behalf of students experiencing homelessness.

Before joining ELC, Maura served as Special Counsel in the Trial Department at the international law firm Duane Morris for twelve years, where she co-counseled over sixty cases, including numerous trials and appeals at the federal, state and administrative level. As an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maryland, she handled dozens of administrative hearings and appeals. She also served as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In 1990, Maura co-founded a transitional housing program in Columbia, M.D., which continues to provide housing, legal support and social services for families. Maura graduated from Fordham Law School in 1988.

215-238-6970 ext 316

Michael McClary

Director of Finance and Operations

Michael D. McClary (he/him) is the Director of Finance and Operations. Michael serves as an essential member of ELC’s leadership team, overseeing financial management, operations, and human resources. Prior to joining ELC, Michael was the deputy director of Acelero Learning Camden/Philadelphia, Inc., one of the largest operators of Head Start preschool centers in the Philadelphia region. Michael also has extensive experience in community development financing. He was a senior loan officer at the Reinvestment Fund, where he assisted a wide spectrum of small businesses and nonprofit organizations in securing financing. Michael has a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.

215-238-6970 ext 307

Ashli Giles-Perkins

Staff Attorney

Ashli Giles-Perkins (she/they) originally joined the Philadelphia office of the Education Law Center in October 2020 as an Independence Foundation Public Interest Law Fellow. Ashli’s fellowship work centered on addressing the significant educational injustices for youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in the Philadelphia area who enter, reside in, and leave residential facilities. In October 2022, Ashli transitioned into a staff attorney role and continues to provide representation of students and families, trainings for families and communities, and significant outreach to stakeholders to ensure oversight, accountability, and access to quality education for system-involved youth.

Ashli graduated with a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law with a certificate in child & family law, as well as with an M.Ed. in cultural educational policy studies from Loyola Chicago’s School of Education. While at Loyola, Ashli interned with Advocates for Children of New York and the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and she served as a research assistant to the law school dean. Ashli was a Civitas Child Law Fellow and Midwest regional chair for the National Black Law Students’ Association. Ashli was a staff writer for the Public Interest Law Reporter and also served as president of the Education Law & Policy Society.

Originally from Bridgeport, Conn., Ashli attended the University of New Haven, where she obtained a dual degree in criminal justice and psychology. During her gap years, Ashli was an avid community organizer, education equity activist, and lobbyist. Ashli’s community-centered background in education, policy, and juvenile justice have positioned her, with the guidance of the Education Law Center, to begin breaking down systemic barriers that face system-involved youth.

215-238-6970 ext 312

Ariella Gregson

Development Specialist 

Ariella Gregson (she/her) is the Development Specialist for the Education Law Center. She is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing ELC’s comprehensive fundraising program, including special events, annual fund, major gifts, planned giving, donor relations, and strategic communications. 

Prior to joining ELC in August 2022, Ariella was an Associate Manager, Special Events and Corporate Relations at Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia. She was instrumental in growing philanthropic revenue, managing corporate partnerships, and implementing mission-driven signature events. Ariella previously worked as a Health Educator and Evaluation Coordinator for Einstein’s A Better Start division. In this role, she taught an evidence-based, community health education program to over 500 students weekly, with a special focus on children with autism. 

Before entering the health care sector, Ariella was an after-school teacher for EducationWorks, where she taught a city literacy initiative, Youth Education for Tomorrow (YET), to assist students with independent reading, critical thinking abilities, and writing skills. Following her graduate studies, Ariella served a term with the national service network, AmeriCorps.  

Throughout her teaching career, Ariella was an adjunct instructor of Sociology for Rowan College at Burlington County, specializing in race and ethnic studies. Ariella is a graduate of the John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Humanities and Social Thought at New York University. She graduated with High Distinction from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and minors in English and Sociology. 

215-238-6970 ext 309

Paige Joki

Staff Attorney

Paige Joki (she/her) is a staff attorney at the Education Law Center, where she represents students, conducts trainings, and advocates to address the individual and systemic educational barriers facing students in Pennsylvania. She is responsible for leading the Education Law Center’s Black girls’ education justice initiatives. Paige is the proud inaugural winner of the Temple Law’s Student Public Interest Network’s (SPIN) 2022 Public Interest Impact award for her impactful legal advocacy.

Paige joined ELC’s staff in 2017 as an Independence Foundation Public Interest Law Fellow, with a focus on eliminating individual and systemic barriers to quality education for students experiencing homelessness in the Philadelphia region. Highlights of her two-year fellowship include drafting an amicus brief in G.S. v. Rose Tree Media School District, resulting in the first appellate court ruling on the application of the federal McKinney-Vento Act in an educational context ‒ and a successful motion to make that ruling precedential as well as multiple cases brought on behalf of students experiencing homelessness. Paige also provided more than 30 “Know Your Rights” legal trainings and clinics for hundreds of students, parents, providers, and organizations serving students experiencing homelessness.

Originally from Boise, Idaho, Paige completed her undergraduate studies with honors at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. In 2014, Paige was selected as a NAACP LDF Earl Warren Fellow and a Temple University Beasley School of Law Rubin-Presser Social Justice Fellow.

During her time at Temple Law, Paige participated in clinical internships through the Sheller Center for Social Justice and worked at the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. Paige interned and externed with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where she was selected for the Honorable Lewis H. Pollak Memorial Scholarship. She also served as a student mentor for the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) and Rubin-Presser fellowship.

Upon graduation in 2017, Paige was inducted into the Rubin-Presser Public Interest Honor Society. She also received the Beth Cross Award for her notable contributions to public service at Temple and devotion to pursuing a legal career in social justice.

215-238-6970 ext 303


Kristina Moon

Senior Attorney

Kristina Moon (she/her) is a Senior Attorney in the Philadelphia office of the Education Law Center. She supports ELC’s litigation and policy advocacy across all issue areas. Kristina’s current and recent work includes ELC’s lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a more adequate and equitable school funding system and a federal class action on behalf of former students abused and denied education at Glen Mills Schools, ELC’s campaign for Inclusive Schools and Honest Education, and advocacy on behalf of English Learners, LGBTQ youth and students in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Previously, Kristina worked as a staff attorney with Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York, where she used litigation and administrative advocacy to advance the rights of incarcerated individuals and specialized in young adult advocacy. Prior to that, as a litigation associate at Dechert LLP she coordinated the firm’s efforts in a federal civil rights action challenging the excessive use of solitary confinement for youth with mental health needs in delinquency placement. Kristina also worked as an attorney with Juvenile Law Center where she was a member of the Luzerne County “kids-for-cash” litigation team and employed legislative and litigation strategies to combat the criminalization of consensual teen technology use.  Kristina is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and Temple University Beasley School of Law.  Prior to law school, Kristina worked in direct service with underserved youth and families through an AmeriCorps violence-prevention position in Seattle, WA and an after-school program in Ithaca, NY.

215-238-6970 ext 319