Long before we’re taught to read, or add one plus one, we first learn how to learn. A child falls, but the formative lesson is in the resilience to get back up. Though a child imagines, it’s the thought of ideas becoming reality that stirs his spirit of wonder. As he learns to connect the dots between his thoughts his confidence grows, problem-solving skills emerge, creativity blooms, communication skills continually refine, and he learns who is at the core of his relationship with the world around him.
As major role models in his life, Manuel Fierro credits his mother and devoted family friends with forming the foundations of his youth and the direction he has followed throughout his career – to be a role model himself, and to help California’s parents connect their children with their futures.
Today, at First 5 LA, Manuel serves as director of Integration and Learning, enabling the childhood advocacy and public grantmaking organization to become a higher performing, higher impact organization for children and their families. Along with his team, he is using research-based data to develop processes and tools to support the creation of First 5 LA’s learning culture and advance the agency’s goals to drive opportunities for the children or Los Angeles County.
Throughout his 20-year career, Manuel has emphasized positive and healthy changes in policies, child care facilities, local public funding, and parent access to social services in order for children to thrive and reach their full potential.
As an elementary school teacher he dedicated himself to helping his 3rd and 4th graders connect with their own talents and inner confidence. As a social worker, he helped to guide families in crisis improve their educational and economic situations, and enroll their infants and preschoolers in quality child care programs. While with the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), he successfully worked on the “Affordable Buildings for Children’s Development (ABCD) Constructing Connections” initiative. His support helped 11 counties in California adopt policies that prioritized child care facilities and increased local public funds for child care centers.
Manuel received his MA and bachelor’s in Child Development from California State University, Los Angeles.