DFER DC is dedicated to eliminating racial inequity and discrimination in our public education system by supporting leaders who champion student-centered policies.
DFER DC has built a sustainable network of Democratic education reform advocates and allies working to bring change to policies and practices with the interest of students and families at the center, particularly for students of color. We prioritize students’ well-being and academic success above all else, and we believe every DC student should be able to graduate from high school and enter into college and career with minimal debt and able to earn a livable wage.
A public education system in Washington, D.C., that justly and equitably serves all students.
To recruit, educate, and help elect Democratic and progressive candidates who are committed to a public education system in Washington, D.C., that justly and equitably serves all students.
Jessica Giles, Executive Director
Jessica Giles is the Executive Director of Democrats for Education Reform DC (DFER DC) and its affiliate nonpartisan, nonprofit organization Education Reform Now DC (ERN DC), where she fights for a high-quality public education system for all students in every ward. Jessica began her career in education as a child care provider in Blythewood, South Carolina. She worked for several years caring for infants and children. During this time, she observed opportunity gaps beginning when children were as young as 18 months, underscoring the critical need for every child to learn in high-quality, safe, and nurturing environments. In 2012, she moved to Washington, DC, to fight inequities in the childcare industry and public education system.
From 2015-2019, Jessica served on the Council of the District of Columbia’s former Committee on Education. During her tenure in public service, she helped ensure greater equity in the childcare industry and public education. Specifically, under the leadership of former Councilmember David Grosso, Jessica advanced legislation to protect the education rights of students with special needs, improve educational opportunities for students in the care of DC, and increase the supply of high-quality, affordable childcare for low-income families in DC. Jessica also worked on issues in the Human Services committee, where she fought to protect the rights and dignity of individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Jessica began her work at DFER DC in 2019 as the Deputy Director and became the State Director in 2021. She has a bachelor’s degree in History from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from American University. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, a proud Ward 7 resident, and mom to her six-year-old rescue dog, Sammie.
Cesar Toldeo, Deputy Director
Cesar Toledo is the Deputy Director of DFER DC and its affiliate nonpartisan, nonprofit organization ERN DC. Championing college and career pathways and serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer at a primary school in East Africa marked the beginning of Cesar’s career in education advocacy.
He is a queer Latino changemaker with a decade of experience centered on advancing equity and social justice. Cesar most recently served as the Political Director for the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, where he designed and spearheaded the organization’s most successful and historic electoral programs. He is recognized as a national LGBTQ+ advocate, having trained and helped elect hundreds of candidates up and down the ballot across the country. Before joining the movement for equality, Cesar executed multiple issue-based campaigns for various organizations focused on social impact, democracy, and immigration reform.
Cesar got his start in politics canvassing for local candidates in California and interning for then-Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. He is a proud University of California, Riverside alum and a Ward 6 resident.
Minetre Martin, Organizing Manager
Minetre Martin is the Organizing Manager of DFER DC and its affiliate nonpartisan, nonprofit organization ERN DC. She is a community organizer and an education advocate with ten years of experience working with children in underserved schools and communities. She was previously a research assistant at American University where she worked under the leadership of Dr. Robert Shand and other researchers to co-author a published article in the Journal of School Psychology to inform school district decisions about behavioral interventions. Prior to that, she served as an education consultant for the Department of Education Office of Finance and Operations, and as the grade level chair and teacher mentor at Bridges Public Charter School, where she taught in inclusion classrooms in grades K-3 during her five-year tenure. She holds a Master’s of Education from American University in Education Policy and Leadership and a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As a strong education advocate and believer of mental health awareness, Minetre is passionate about the way we assimilate and prioritize student mental health in relation to their education. She is a Ward 4 resident and an avid volunteer always seeking to make change where she can.
Kyle Myers, Organizing Manager
Kyle Myers is the Organizing Manager of DFER DC and its affiliate nonpartisan, nonprofit organization ERN DC. He is a fifth-generation Washingtonian and a Ward 5 resident. He has five nieces and nephews in D.C. Public Schools, so he knows why it’s important to provide all students with equitable learning opportunities. Previously he was a senior coordinator at a local non-profit organization that assists transitioning families out of poverty by providing essential household necessities.