Kai Kung Moves into Role of Co-CEO, with Lisa Blanco Jimenez Joining the Board of Directors; New Staff Come on Board to Build out Work-Based Learning Capacity

Stockton, CA [12/20/23] – Today, San Joaquin A+ (SJA+) is announcing the promotion of COO Kai Kung into the role of Co-CEO, the hiring and promotion of staff members to support the organization’s expanded work-based learning experience programs, and the appointment of new board member Lisa Blanco Jimenez.

“I am so thrilled to welcome Kai Kung as our new Co-CEO, welcome Lisa to our board, and Shayla and Tony to their new roles that will support us greatly in serving the students and families of San Joaquin County,” shared Don Shalvey, Co-CEO of San Joaquin A+. “Our goal is to create a system of great schools in our county. These new staff and board appointments will help us better collaborate with local families, along with education and workforce partners to prepare students to be successful and responsible citizens.”

Kai Kung has served as the COO of San Joaquin A+ since 2020. Prior to his time at SJA+, Kai was a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the K-12 Education Team. Before that, Kai worked on growth strategy at Edmodo, an education technology startup, and spent over seven years at Intel Corporation in Silicon Valley in a variety of finance and strategic planning roles. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.

“Having the opportunity to support Don and the entire San Joaquin A+ board and team over the past three years as COO has been one of the great honors of my life,” shared Kai Kung. “The reason I transitioned careers into education many years ago was to leverage my background and expertise to support students, families, and educators in our public schools. In moving into this new role, I hope to bring even more energy and capacity to support our local community here in San Joaquin County.”

In addition to Kai Kung moving into this new role, San Joaquin A+ has also hired and promoted several other positions in recent months. Shayla Walker has joined the team as the Senior Director of Career Connected Learning and Tony Gladney, who has previously served in a role as the manager of the Child Savings Account program has been promoted to Director of Community Engagement.

Shayla joins the San Joaquin A+ team from San Joaquin Delta College, where she was a Program Director overseeing student leadership and basic needs services for a diverse community of over 18,000 students. Shayla also volunteers with Reaching Back to Our Youth, a nonprofit that connects community mentors with formerly incarcerated Black and Latinx youth, and in 2022, became a board member of A Different Path, a nonprofit organization providing counseling and support to trauma-impacted youth and families in the Sacramento area. Shayla lives in Stockton, and earned her master’s degree in education leadership as well as her bachelor’s degree in mass communications from California State University in Sacramento.

“I am very excited to join the San Joaquin A+ team,” added Shayla Walker, Senior Director of Career Connected Learning. “I’ve dedicated my career to supporting young people, and I believe we have a unique opportunity at San Joaquin A+ to create lasting partnerships and systems that help San Joaquin County students realize their fullest potential for many years to come.”

Tony Gladney joined the San Joaquin A+ team in 2021, as the manager of the Child Savings Account program. He is a native of the San Joaquin Valley and has served this community for seven years in roles with SJC Behavioral Health Sciences. Tony would eventually transition to the nonprofit sector, where he worked with incarceration system-impacted youth ages 12-24. Tony played a key role in the successful inception of Oasis City Center (formerly Lord’s Gym City Center), as he spearheaded the youth programming for their 2,000+ youth members. Tony would soon recognize the value of quality early education and that investment in our young people early on could be an effective preventative measure – prompting his transition to San Joaquin A+. After hours, you may be able to catch Tony center court emceeing a Stockton Kings game!

“I appreciate all the support and partnership of my San Joaquin A+ colleagues and our CSA community partners over the last two years,” added Tony Gladney, Director of Community Engagement. “I look forward to building on the partnerships we’ve created and working together even more broadly in the coming years to improve learning and life outcomes for San Joaquin County students.”

In addition to these staff promotions and hires, Lisa Blanco Jimenez joins San Joaquin A+ as a board member. Ms. Jimenez is a shareholder and principal attorney at Neumiller & Beardslee and the chair of the firm’s Employment Law Group. Ms. Jimenez also sits on the Board of Directors of Visionary Home Builders of California, the Board of Directors of the Stockton Symphony, the Community Council of St. Joseph’s Medical Center, and the Executive Committee of The Justice William J. Murray Jr. Unity Bar Section of the San Joaquin County Bar Association. Ms. Jimenez graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology. In 2004, she received her Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School with a Pro Bono distinction. She lives in Manteca with her husband Tony and their three boys: Anthony, Nicholas, and Gabriel.