Terri Villa-McDowell, J.D.

Director of Social Emotional Wellness Programs


Ms. Villa-McDowell uses her legal and educational experience to advocate for and develop, implement, and evaluate programs in educational agencies to address issues of low-income families, juvenile justice and school-based mental health issues.   She has a strong commitment to the issues surrounding children and their families, particularly children and families who lack resources to provide for positive outcomes.  Ms. Villa-McDowell has experience in the adoption and development of Positive Behavioral Intervention Systems (PBIS), Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), counseling and mindfulness-based programs for teachers and students.  


Ms. Villa-McDowell has had experience in positions including:

  • Executive Director, ABCUSD Education Foundation.

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Facilitator & Program Coordinator, Safe Schools Program, ABC Unified School District.

  • Assistant Executive Director, Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations.  

  • Staff Attorney, National Immigration Law Center.

  • Deputy City Attorney, Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.


Ms. Villa-McDowell’s experience as a public interest attorney has provided her with expertise in conflict resolution in highly-charged community settings, community building, capacity building and resource development. 


Ms. Villa-McDowell has been a successful grant proposal developer and strategist, procuring federal ($3.9 million); state ($1 million); public ($1.7 million); county ($746,000) and private grants in the past six years for ABCUSD, as well as providing program compliance for the district.