Founding Executive Director, Independent School Alliance
While having strong roots in Louisiana, Manasa was born and raised in Stockton, California. Manasa became the founding Executive Director of the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs in September 1984. She led the organization to provide a variety of support programs for families and member schools that dealt with issues of diversity, inclusiveness, multicultural education, equity, and justice until her retirement in July 2013.
While having strong roots in Louisiana, Manasa was born and raised in Stockton, California. She is one of six children. Manasa went to her neighborhood public elementary, junior high, and high schools. A participant in an educational access program, Manasa graduated from UC Berkeley summa cum laude with a BA, double major in Sociology and Black Studies. She received her Master's Degree with Honors in Sociology focusing on Race Relations and Family Studies from Case Western Reserve University.
Manasa became the founding Executive Director of the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs in September 1984. The organization officially became a non-profit that serves elementary and secondary independent schools in the greater Los Angeles area in January 1985. Since the beginning, the Alliance has identified and worked to place talented underrepresented students of color in its member schools: assisting families throughout the application process including the application process for financial aid. She led the organization to provide a variety of support programs for families and member schools that dealt with issues of diversity, inclusiveness, multicultural education, equity, and justice.
Manasa was involved in education for 45 years and specifically in independent schools in California for the past 40 years. Her expertise was recognized and respected. She was invited to speak at state and national conferences, including the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conferences, the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Annual Trustee, and Teacher Conferences, the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent School Admission Directors Conferences and the NAIS People of Color Conferences. Manasa also conducted faculty development workshops and parent workshops at individual member schools. Manasa served on the Call to Action of NAIS and on the boards of Marymount School and the Southern California People of Color in Independent Schools (SoCalPOCIS).
Manasa retired in July of 2013. She makes her home in Gardena. She is a voracious reader, enjoys gardening and traveling. Manasa continues to be passionate about equity and justice issues and has lively discussions with two grown daughters (Tanynya and Makena) who live nearby. Manasa is proud of her two grandchildren both graduates of independent schools. Majadi (her grandson) is a graduate of Westmark and is now a student at Santa Monica College. Neima (her granddaughter) graduated from Marlborough and completed her undergraduate career at UCLA. Neima just received her Master's in Film from USC.