WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE), a coalition of leading civil rights and education advocacy organizations focused on high school education reform, announced today that Rufina Hernandez, Esq., has been selected as its new executive director. Hernandez, the former associate director of the National Education Association's (NEA) National External Partnerships and Advocacy department, will guide the coalition's work to advance federal and state policies that give all students access to an equitable, high-quality public education. "I am delighted to join this coalition in the tremendous task of raising every U.S. high school to the level of excellence upon which our nation's economic future depends," said Hernandez. "CHSE remains on the front lines of education policy reform. It will take nothing less than collaboration with policymakers, educators, communities, and parents to meet the specific needs of students of color, Native students, and those from low-income communities." Hernandez's career showcases a track record of civil rights and education reform advocacy. During her ten-year tenure at NEA, she was director of the Human and Civil Rights department and developed strategies to support culturally competent teaching to improve the academic performance of students from diverse backgrounds. Considered a leading voice on solutions to the challenges facing Latino, Asian, African American, and Native students, she has been a frequent speaker at NEA and other forums focusing on the unique needs of those populations in public schools. Hernandez also served as executive director of the Latin American Research and Service Agency, a Colorado-based civil rights organization, where she advocated for policy reform within overarching civil rights issues impacting the Latino community, including health, education, employment, and immigration. "Hernandez's unwavering commitment to public education reform is an energizing force," said Hal Smith, Vice President, Education & Youth Development with the National Urban League and CHSE governing board member. "Her vast experience in the education and civil rights policy sectors will contribute greatly to the coalition's work in improving our education system and closing the achievement and opportunity gaps that continue to plague students of color and students from low-income neighborhoods." Hernandez will guide the coalition's approach to federal, state, and grassroots advocacy focused on setting higher, clearer academic standards and forming strategies that support college-career readiness, high-quality instruction, accountability, and community engagement.