Lihi Rosenthal serves as Program Director of UC Berkeley’s Leaders for Equity and Democracy (LEAD), a re-imagined EdD program that prepares experienced school leaders for the challenges of advancing equity at the system level. In addition, Lihi teaches in the Principal Leadership Institute, from which she herself graduated, instructing aspiring school leaders in asset-driven data analysis and instructional leadership. She has also served as adjunct faculty and field supervisor at Loyola Marymount University, preparing new general and special education teachers to design rigorous and joyful classroom environments capable of meeting the complex needs of all learners.
Lihi began her career in the public schools of Oakland and Chicago, where she served as a college and career counselor, general education teacher, special educator and department chair. In 2004, Lihi made the transition to school leadership, serving as assistant principal and principal for five years before taking on her first systems-level role at Seneca Family of Agencies, a nonprofit organization that creates bridges between the education, mental health, child welfare and juvenile justice sectors to identify holistic approaches to serving vulnerable youth and families.
As a system leader at Seneca, Lihi helped oversee a budget of upwards of $50 million, facilitated professional learning for hundreds of teachers and principals, and supervised large, transdisciplinary teams which included principals, teachers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, mental health therapists, school psychologists, nurses, psychiatrists, behavioral coaches, and others. Within her role as Executive Director of School Partnerships in California, she launched the Unconditional Education model in partnership with over 60 district and charter public schools and Seneca’s network of nonpublic schools. Lihi and the Seneca team were awarded a federal i3 grant to implement the model across seven bay area schools and conduct an external review of its outcomes. In 2019, Lihi co-authored the book, Unconditional Education: Supporting Schools to Serve All Students (published by Oxford University Press) which detailed the evidence-based practice and located its roots in systems theory, attachment theory, and behavioral learning theory. In the same year, Lihi was invited to give a TEDx talk in Wenatchee, Washington.
Following the success of her work in California, Lihi was afforded the opportunity to incubate Seneca’s first out-of-state region, becoming the founding Executive Director of Seneca Washington, where she worked to support the agency in designing, implementing and scaling transdisciplinary initiatives throughout Washington state, including the agency’s partnerships with and supports for over 30 district and charter public schools and its community-based programs for King County youth and families affected by juvenile justice involvement and/or commercial sexual exploitation.
Lihi has been honored to serve as an appointed member of the California Special Education Task Force, tackling some of the challenges that exist in providing equitable educational opportunities to youth impacted by disabilities. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Special Education Leadership Fellows, a nonprofit operating out of New Orleans, Louisiana and volunteers at a number of local organizations near and dear to her heart.