We fight for your right to learn!

Executive Leadership

Janeen Steel

Founder and Executive Director


E: janeen@learningrights.org

P: (213) 489-4035

Janeen Steel is the Founder and Executive Director of Learning Rights Law Center, which was created in 2005. She supervises all aspects of Learning Right’s advocacy efforts, including supervising staff attorneys, directly representing clients, and spearheading policy initiatives. In addition to advocating for disadvantaged children, Janeen has been an adjunct professor at a number of prominent institutions, including the UCLA School of Law, Loyola Law School and the USC School of Law.

Janeen earned her Juris Doctor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, where she received the UCLA La Raza Alumni Association Cesar Chavez Summer Fellowship to create the blueprint for her future – the Learning Rights Manual, an advocacy guide for families of students with disabilities. Janeen received an Echoing Green Fellowship, which allowed her to create the Learning Rights Project under the auspices of the Disability Rights Legal Center (at Loyola Law School), where she practiced for five years. In September 2005, she took the project independent and co-founded a new nonprofit, Learning Rights Law Center. Long Beach City College has honored Janeen, an alumna, as a Viking of the Decade for the 1980s. She is the recipient of the National Learning Disabilities Association’s Harryson Sylvester Award and the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates' Dianne Lipton Award.


Staff Attorneys

Kyra Clipper

Director, Advocacy for Children With Autism Program


E: kyra@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-1834

As the Director of the Advocacy for Children with Autism Program (“ACAP”) and staff attorney at Learning Rights, Kyra Clipper oversees all special education advocacy efforts involving children with autism. In this position, Kyra has developed a knowledge base of relevant therapies, interventions, and unique issues affecting students on the spectrum. Kyra also conducts outreach and trainings focused on advocacy for students with autism. 


Prior to joining Learning Rights Law Center, Kyra was a law clerk at AARP Foundation Litigation where she researched various issues that affect older Americans and assisted in drafting appellate briefs in court cases that could substantially affect the interests of older Americans. Prior to this, she worked as a law clerk for the Disability Rights Legal Center, the Pepperdine Special Education Advocacy Clinic, and Learning Rights. Through the Clinic and these internships, Kyra attending IEP meetings, drafted due process complaints, drafted letters to school districts, conducted legal intakes, and researched numerous disability rights issues.


Kyra earned her B.A. in English from University of Southern California, and her law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her daughter.

Carol Jung

Director, Special Education Advocacy and

Los Angeles Medical-Legal Collaborative for Education


E: carol@learningrights.org

P: (213) 489-4037

As Director of Los Angeles Medical-Legal Collaborative for Education (LAMCE), Carol Jung directs all of Learning Rights Law Center’s Medical-Legal Collaborative efforts and provides direct representation to students and their families facing difficulties in obtaining the education that they are entitled to.


Prior to joining Learning Rights, Carol worked as an associate attorney at a private law firm representing children with special needs and their families during IEP meetings, due process hearings, and expulsion matters. She has almost two decades of experience working with children and adults with special needs. She began her work with this population as a project coordinator with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles where she was able to gain knowledge and experience developing and implementing programs aimed at increasing access to needed services and supports for people with disabilities.


Carol received her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School and a dual Masters’ in Social Work and Public Administration from the University of Southern California.  Carol is an active Board Member of the Southern California Hemophilia Foundation. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family. 


Patsy Van Dyke

Director, Litigation and Environmental Justice in Education Project


E: patsy@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-7290

Patricia A. Van Dyke (Patsy) is the Director of the Environmental Justice in Education Project for Learning Rights Law Center. Since 2008, Patsy has represented the most vulnerable citizens in California, using impact litigation to protect their civil rights,and ensure their access to safe and affordable housing.


Prior to entering the world of public service, Ms. Van Dyke was a partner at a large multi-national firm where she specialized in representing insurance policyholders in complex commercial litigation,including Superfund and other environmental cases. Ms. Van Dyke is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and Washington University School of Law.

Nancy Shea

Staff Attorney


E: nancy@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-7293

Nancy recently joined Learning Rights from Mental Health Advocacy Services. She had been working primarily on policy projects benefiting children with mental health issues, and is excited to be working directly with clients again.


She started working in mental health law because it was an exciting time to be in the field. Now, she's working with Learning Rights clients from Oxnard who have been systematically denied special education services.

Steven Catron

Special Education Law Fellow


E: steven@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-7288

Qiongyue Hu

Staff Attorney


E: qiongyue@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-7292


Carmen Reynaga

TIGER Manager

E: CarmenR@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-1829

As TIGER Manager, Carmen works closely with parent participants, TIGER Teachers, community leaders and coordinates all of the TIGER Program efforts. Prior to joining Learning Rights, Carmen worked for several nonprofit organizations, including The LA Trust for Children’s Health where she served as a School Support Liaison to the Covered California Teen Leader Project. This program used a “train the trainer” model with LAUSD teachers training their students to enroll others for health coverage. Prior to joining The LA Trust, Carmen was an Early Literacy & Math Instructor as part of the First 5 Americorps Program. In this role, Carmen worked with children (birth – 5) and their parents leading lessons aimed at developing literacy and cognitive skills. She facilitated an "Active Citizens" training workshop for First 5 Service Corps Members.


Carmen won the AmeriCorps Member of the Year Award – First 5 Service Corps 2013, for her service as an Early Literacy & Math Instructor to low income families and has volunteered for a number of nonprofit organizations in the past, including Hispanic Youth Institute. Carmen has served as a Board Member of Girls on the Run Los Angeles, an after-school program – focused nonprofit organization for elementary-aged girls incorporating leadership lessons with physical activity. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, from University of California, Irvine. In her spare time, Carmen enjoys running and reading.

Leticia Mejia

Education Rights Clinic Manager


E: leticia@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-1831

Shortly after graduating from UCLA in 2006 with a degree in History and Chicano studies, Leticia Mejia started working at Learning Rights Law Center.


Leticia began as an Administrative Assistant. She then worked with Special Education Advocacy Training (SEAT) Project, in 2008 and is now an education advocate who works with parents during Learning Rights' Brief Legal Service Clinics.


In addition to her advocacy work she coordinates the intake process and conducts initial screenings.

Patricia Reyes

Finance and Office Manager

E: patricia@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-1830

Patricia manages LRLC's finance, operations, and HR. Her pet projects include applying her previous experience at a nationwide labor & employment defense practice to drive compliance initiatives and refining internal processes to maximize data capture and minimize staff labor. 


Patricia has been known to amuse herself with pivot tables and precedential L&E rulings and spends more spare hours than she cares to admit trying to bring her Spanish up to LA standards. Si la encuentra en la oficina, por favor habla despacio. (Ella le agradecerá por su paciencia.)

Sergei Hasenecz

Legal File Clerk

E: sergei@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-7280

Sergei Hasenecz has had many years experience as a legal file clerk in a variety of practices, including Intellectual Property, Workers Compensation, Construction Defect, Land Use, and more. Since coming to Learning Rights in May 2014, he finds himself relieved to be, for once, on the side of the angels.


Sergei’s free time is spent with his young son and, upon occasion, as a creative writer of unimportant works.

Gabriela Garcia

Administrative Assistant


E: gabriela@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-7287

As Administrative Assistant at Learning Rights, Gabriela Garcia provides legal administrative and interpreting support. Prior to joining Learning Rights, Gabriela was an Administrative Assistant at Aguayo Investments Realty, in Downey. In this role, Gabriela performed clerical duties, including creating flyers of the real estate properties to be mailed out to potential buyers as well as translating flyers into Spanish. Prior to joining Aguayo Investments Realty, Gabriela was an Office Clerk at Today’s Fresh Start Charter School in Los Angeles. In this role, Gabriela provided administrative support and assisted parents with their children’s enrollment for Kindergarten to 7th grade, also interpreting between parents and the school’s staff.


Gabriela was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration & Tourism at the University of Guadalajara. In her spare time, Gabriela enjoys playing with her son, crocheting, reading and visiting interesting spots in California.

Aaron Bicart

Grant Writer and Media Officer

E: aaron@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-7291

As Grant Writer and Media Officer Aaron manages grants from foundations, government entities, and corporations, as well as handles social media, website, and other communication platforms and mediums. He joins Learning Rights from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied film and television production. 

In his spare time, he enjoys watching sports and cooking.

Marisol Chianello

Pro Bono Manager


E: marisol@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-1825

As the Pro Bono Manager, Marisol manages LRLC’s volunteer program, which includes in-house volunteers as well as pro bono attorneys who are employed at nationwide law firms. 


Prior to joining Learning Rights, Marisol was an independent contractor with the nonprofit law firm, Hope4Families, in Los Angeles, California.  In this role she represented low income students with disabilities, advocating for meaningful and appropriate educational services on their behalf.  Prior to joining Hope4Families, Marisol worked as a Staff Attorney with the Children’s Rights Project (CRP) at Public Counsel in Los Angeles.  With CRP, Marisol represented low income parents adopting children out of the Los Angeles County foster care system. Prior to joining Public Counsel, Marisol worked for Casa Cornelia Law Center, a nonprofit immigration law firm in San Diego, where she represented refugees and battered women.  Marisol also managed the Unaccompanied Minor’s Program, representing all children detained at the border who were not accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Vanessa De La Cruz

Receptionist and Administrative Support


E: vanessa@learningrights.org

P: (213) 542-7286

Stacy Nunez
TIGER Program Associate


E: stacy@learningrights.org

TIGER Teachers

Mariana Lenero Solar

Psychoeducational Consultant

E: mariana@learningrights.org

P: (213) 761-5470

For over 17 years, Mariana Leñero has dedicated her professional life to the support of children and adolescents with learning disabilities as well as to assisting their families with advice on tools and strategies to help their children. In 1995, she founded the Centro Integra in Mexico City where she is in charge of conducting the evaluations, structuring the therapeutical programs and counseling parents and teachers.


As the Psychoeducational Advisor at Learning Rights, she is in charge of teaching parents the fundamental aspects of the psychometric assessments as part of the TIGER program.

Jennifer Chang

Beginning and Advanced TIGER, Koreatown


E: Jenniferx728@gmail.com

P: (213) 519-4406

Kimberly McReynolds Bell

Beginning TIGER Whittier


E: kim@learningrights.org

P: (626) 253-1690

Crystal Williams-White

Beginning TIGER, Long Beach


E: Ckw1214@gmail.com

P: (310) 502-6376

Lambreni Waddell

Beginning TIGER, Antelope Valley


E: LambreniWaddell@nlsla.org

P: (818) 481-3956

Cindy Plair

Beginning TIGER, Fontana


E: cindy.baez@hotmail.com

P: (818) 531-1708

Tisa Aceves


E: Terese.Aceves@lmu.edu

P: (310) 678-0475

Julie Eby-McKenzie

Advanced Plus


E: julie.eby-mckenzie@scdd.ca.gov

P: (818) 548-3004

Melissa Canales

Beginning TIGER, Torres Martinez


E: Melissa@learningrights.org

P: (619) 432-5792

Cynthia Landes

Beginning TIGER, Kaiser Permanente Watts


E: Cynthia@learningrights.org

P: (310) 480-1597

Cecilia Ortiz

Beginning TIGER, East Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley


E: Cecilia@learningrights.org

P: (213) 453-5105

Heather S. Zakson

Advanced TIGER, Los Angeles


E: ZaksonLaw@gmail.com

P: (310) 743-4162

Chris Arroyo

Advanced Plus


E: cristofer.arroyo@scdd.ca.gov

P: (818) 543-4631