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EFC Board of Directors
Nick Driver, EFCPS Board Chairman
Nick Driver works to support new school growth and strategic development for Charter School Management Corporation, a California social venture that supports the public charter school movement as well as district public schools. Nick joined CSMC in 2011 after diverse experiences in education advocacy and advice, research, and business. From 2004 until 2011, he supported hundreds of public schools through his work at the California Charter Schools Association, the country’s largest charter school support organization. At both CSMC and CCSA, he has served on school design teams, trained school leaders and board members, advocated for quality schools at school board meetings, and provided technical, political and operational advice for charter and district public schools.
Over the past 12 years, in Oakland, San Francisco and across the state, Nick has helped design and campaigned for a range of successful public school funding measures and policies passed by voters, policies that support a public school sector that has since 2004 grown by 800 schools and 400,000 students.
A parent of two students in San Francisco, Nick has also served as an active parent organizer, as a board member, staff member and volunteer. In the San Francisco Unified School District, he served on the Alvarado Elementary School Site Council for six years, was selected to the SFUSD Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, and served as member and chair of the district’s Parent Advisory Council.
At Education for Change, in addition to chairing the board, Nick serves on the executive and academic accountability committees. He takes an active role in the strategic direction of the organization as it seeks to make a difference for its 3,000+ Oakland students, as well as the overall direction of public education in Oakland.
Brian Rogers, Board Member
Brian Rogers currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Rogers Family Foundation located in Oakland, California. Having served as Executive Director of the Rogers Family Foundation from 2003 to 2014, Brian was promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer in 2014. During his tenure at the foundation, Brian has helped to create and grow Oakland education organizations such as Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center, the Oakland Education Fund, the Oakland Charter Collaborative and the Oakland Literacy Coalition. Brian currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Lighthouse Community Charter Schools and Education for Change Public Schools. Before joining the Rogers Family Foundation, Brian was the manager of the Lair of the Bear, a family summer camp run by the University of California, Berkeley, Alumni Association. Prior to that, Brian was an English teacher and Varsity Tennis Coach at his alma mater, Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland. Brian graduated from UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School as an undergraduate in 1995 and received his California single subject teaching credential from St. Mary’s College in 2000. Brian currently lives in Orinda with his wife Katie and their three children.
Adam Smith, Board Member
Adam Smith currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Bonfire Communications, a communications and strategy agency based in San Francisco. He is responsible for the success of Bonfire’s client and operational project work. Prior to joining Bonfire, Adam was senior vice president and U.S. practice director at the global public relations firm Hill and Knowlton (HK) where he managed day-to-day operations for its online communications practice. Earlier in his career, Adam managed the client services team at Extension11 and also served as a consultant in PwC’s Strategic Change consulting practice in New York. Adam holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Indiana University and an MBA in marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Eva Camp, Board Member
Eva Camp also serves on the Board of Full Circle Fund. A mother of three children, she dedicates her time to improving education. She currently leads the Parents Association with over 600 volunteers and serves on the Board of Trustees at Head-Royce, her children’s school. She also serves on the Board of National Equity Project (formerly BAYCES), which coaches people to become the leaders who deliver on the promise of a quality education for every child in America. Eva worked for more than 10 years at Microsoft, marketing some of the company’s most successful products, including Word, Office and consumer titles. Her last role there was Director of Market Planning and Analysis for Microsoft’s line of home products. Other highlights at Microsoft include helping lead the turnaround in the company’s Japanese application software business during a 3 year stint in Microsoft’s Far East region and leading the first worldwide launch of Microsoft Office in over 25 languages. Prior to Microsoft, she worked in product management at Proctor & Gamble. Eva has a BA from Harvard University.
Dirk Tillotson, Board Member
Dirk Tillotson is the Founder and Director of Great School Choices, a nonprofit developed to seed and grow strong and sustainable community-based charter schools dedicated to educating underserved student populations in New York, where he helped launch 17 schools. Prior to his work there, he served as COO and interim CEO for the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence, and consulted for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools post-Katrina in New Orleans, as the first national charter school boots on the ground, post storm. He also led the school based aspects of RAND education’s largest project; reform of the education system of the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, and the implementation of charter-like “independent schools” there. His charter school work began in Oakland, California, where he led or developed several high achieving schools and founded a charter support organization under the aegis of ARC Associates, Oakland Charters Together.
Paul Byrd Jr., Board Member
Paul Byrd Jr. serves the role of not only a Parent Board Member but also a Parent Leader at Achieve Academy. Paul Byrd Jr. is committed to helping the development, enrichment and expansion of EFC (Education for Change) and its commitment, to education and the community that it serves. He believes that change begins with a thought and with that thought comes action. Our future resides in knowing we did everything to give every child the life they deserve, and it’s starts with their education and safety. Paul Byrd Jr. is committed to EFC for these great reasons.
Mike Barr, Board Member
Mike Barr is the CFO of Reading Partners, an Oakland-based national non-profit focused on improving childhood literacy. After working in the tech sector for a number of years, Mike joined Aspire Public Schools as their CFO in 2004. Over the next 7 years, he oversaw Aspire’s growth from 10 schools serving 3,000 children to 30 schools serving 10,000 children. Since leaving Aspire in 2011, Mike has served as Interim CFO for a variety of educational non-profits at various stages of their life cycle, including StudentsFirst, Oakland Schools Foundation (now the Oakland Public Education Fund), Envision Education, and College Track. Mike has also done consulting for a number of other education-related organizations over the past few years. Mike lives in Oakland with his wife and two daughters, both of whom proudly attend public schools in Oakland. He also serves on the board of Oakland School for the Arts.
Sudhir Aggarwal, Board Member
Sudhir Aggarwal is an accomplished CEO, financier, private investor and business advisor. Currently, he is “Advisor to the CEO” for multiple companies, including a publishing company, a 401k plan administrator, a saas model database company, an internet retailer, and a digital marketing company. Sudhir has invested in private companies, taken board roles, and overseen and guided management teams through periods of growth and transition. At present, he is Chairman of Zuca, a specialty consumer products company, and a Director of Skyline, a general contractor, and Earth Mama Angel Baby, an organic baby products firm. Sudhir completed his undergraduate work at Dartmouth College and holds a MBA from Stanford. Throughout his career, he has supported reform efforts in public education.
Kathy Cash, Board Member
Kathy Cash is the proud mother of Sophia, a student at Learning Without Limits. She has been an active parent since her, now 4th grader, was in Head Start (92nd Head Start). Since then, she has taken on bigger leadership roles, including working with amazing organizers from OCO, and serving as a Pitco Federation board member. At the site level, Kathy has focused on being a true partner at LWL – leading and planning school events and fundraisers and facilitating traffic patrol. Kathy was born in Nicaragua and grew up here in California. Kathy is excited to serve on the EFC board member. Her goal in this role is to be more involved in her daughter’s education, positively impact the educational journeys of students inspire other parents to do the same. One of Kathy’s favorite quote is “knowledge comes but wisdom lingers” -Tennyson
Roy Benford, Board Member
Roy Benford is the founder and CEO of Benford & Associates LLC, a real estate consulting company located in Oakland, California. He has worked as a fulltime real estate professional since 1990. Roy has two sons and 4 grandsons. They motivate him to rise and shine each and every day to help others reach their goals and objectives.
His enthusiasm for his work as a real estate professional and his civic activities have made him well known in his East Bay community. Roy is widely known and respected by his colleagues and clients alike for his calm demeanor, his win-win negotiating and keen problem solving skills.
Home Office Leadership
Hae-Sin Thomas, Chief Executive Officer
Hae-Sin has been the CEO of EFC for four years and brings 22 years of K-12 public education experience to this team. Her focus before joining EFCPS was in the turnaround space – working with school districts and charter management organizations to recreate their lowest-performing schools as the CEO of urbanED solutions. She was also the lead organizer and co-founder of Great Oakland Public Schools, an Oakland-based education advocacy group and watchdog. Before urbanED solutions, Hae-Sin worked for the Oakland Unified School District as a teacher, principal, school developer, and executive officer. She led a team charged with designing and leading two foundational tenets of OUSD’s nationally-recognized reform effort – creating quality school options for families in every neighborhood and ensuring high-performing, more personalized communities of learning for children. She facilitated the design and opening of 22 new schools, replacing 18 chronically-failing schools. A recent external evaluation of the new schools reform work in Oakland found that new schools more frequently accelerated math and English–language arts performance when compared to other district schools and that new schools significantly outperformed the schools they replaced in academic achievement, suspension rates, attendance rates, and overall student, teacher, and parent satisfaction.
Prior to that, she was the founding principal of ASCEND, one of the five original new small and autonomous schools opened in Oakland, California, a school recognized for accelerating achievement and engaging community. Ms. Thomas started teaching in Oakland through Teach for America in 1993 and continued teaching for six years before becoming a site administrator. During this time, she also worked as the Special Education school director for the Teach for America Summer Institute. She holds a B.A in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of San Francisco, and a Master’s in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University.
Fabiola Harvey, Chief Operating Officer
Fabiola Harvey has been with Education for Change since 2006 and currently serves as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. Earlier in her career, Fabiola served as the Area Financial Manager for the Las Vegas cluster of Edison Schools. While at Edison, she led the start-up and transition of the business operations for 7 schools in Clark County School District. This was the first time the district had awarded a cluster of schools to be managed by one charter management organization. Prior to working in Las Vegas, Fabiola served as the Business Manager for one of the most troubled schools in San Francisco Unified School District, Edison Charter Academy, where she successfully revived the financial stability of the organization . Fabiola arrived at EFC with over 15 years of experience and a long standing commitment to urban education. She was born and raised in Mexico City where she earned a double degree from the Centro Universitario Anglo Americano in Modern Languages and English as a Second Language Instruction. Most of her family live in Mexico City but her mom and her dog Gigi live in Las Vegas where she spends much of her free time.
Noah Bradley, Chief Academic Officer
Mr. Bradley comes to EFC with over 16 years of experience in education. After joining Teach for America in 1997, he taught 2nd and 3rd grades for 13 years in Oakland public schools, receiving OUSD’s Teacher of the Year award in 2010. Mr. Bradley went on to serve as a teacher coach, reading interventionist, and most recently Assistant Principal at Think College Now, a high-performing public school in Oakland’s Fruitvale district. He has provided strategic consulting for teacher teams, school sites, and districts across the greater bay area. He received his BA from Vanderbilt University and enjoys hiking and playing with his two children.
Larissa Adam, Chief Talent Officer
Larissa Adam is Chief Talent Officer at Education for Change. Before transitioning into her current role, she served for ten years as Principal at ASCEND, a K-8 school recognized for its arts-integrated expeditionary learning model and effective community engagement practices. During that period, she facilitated significant increases in student achievement and led her staff and families to successfully petition for charter status. Prior to being Principal, she collaborated closely with community leaders to get Oakland’s New Small Autonomous school reform policy passed, and went on to co-found ASCEND, one of the first five New Small Autonomous Schools, as a teacher leader. Ms. Adam started teaching in Oakland through Teach for America in 1993, and continued teaching at her original placement site for eight years. She holds a B.A. in Spanish and International Relations from UC Davis, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from UC Berkeley.
Sundar Chari, Chief of Staff
Mr. Chari joined EFC as its first ever Director of Innovation and Technology in 2013. Previously, Mr. Chari had been on the front-line helping to lead high-profile initiatives for the Chicago Public Schools for 6 years. Mr. Chari has numerous experiences leading change management processes and developing the capacity of leaders to adopt new strategies, including leading a blended learning pilot program and developing the processes that guided over 500 schools through the major effort of redesigning their school day around student needs. Prior to working at Chicago Public Schools, Mr. Chari was a peer educator in India and a research associate for an organization that did economic analyses. He comes to EFC with a strong background in public policy, analytics, and project management.
Jen Nguyen, Deputy Chief of School Improvement
Jen comes to EFC with over 18 years of experience in education. She began her teaching career in OUSD in 1996, and has taught at the early elementary level as well as in middle and high school. Jen is Reading Recovery Certified, a National Writing Project Fellow, National Board Certified, and has a Master’s Degree in Urban Educational Leadership. She has been coaching teachers and school leaders for the past ten years. After spending 16 years as a teacher and site leader, Jen took a district level position where she is able to work with coaches and site leaders to ensure high quality instruction is happening for every student in every classroom.
Arantxa Alvarez, Director of Mathematics and Science
After starting her teaching career with Oakland Unified and then Mt. Diablo Unified in Bay Point, Ms. Alvarez took advantage of several professional development opportunities to pursue her interest specific to teaching mathematics. She quickly discovered how much this particular aspect of education fueled her passion further. She has served as a math coach both in MDUSD and with EFC, as well as a BTSA coach and an instructional coach working to facilitate teacher inquiry at School Improvement Grant (SIG) sites. Still a teacher first, Ms. Alvarez seeks to help other teachers delve deeper into the standards, incorporate best practices in math, and create and deliver well-crafted lessons that are data-driven. As Director of Mathematics, she strives to ensure that this teaching and learning process continues within all the EFC schools.
Jonathon Stewart, Director of Assessment, Data and Analysis
Prior to joining EFC, Jonathon served as Data Visualization Analyst at Aspire Public Schools. In this role, he supported the use of data throughout Aspire from teachers to senior staff by creating dashboards and managing Aspire’s primary data reporting tool – Tableau. Before his time at Aspire, Jonathon taught high school math in Oakland as a member of Teach For America and later joined Oakland Unified staff as a Data Coach. Jonathon has a BS in Applied Math from John Hopkins University and a MPP from University of California, Berkeley.
Dana Cilono, Director of Early Childhood Education
Dana Cilono began her educational career as a teacher for Education for Change in 2008. An opportunity to develop the organization’s Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program inspired strong interests in program development and early childhood education. She had the opportunity in 2015 to coordinate Oakland Unified School District’s Summer PreK program through a partnership with First 5 Alameda and Oakland Fund for Children and Youth, providing an educational bridging program to children entering TK or kindergarten with little to no preschool experience. Under her coordination, the program experienced unprecedented growth in participation. Through a partnership with the Rainin Foundation, Mrs. Cilono has the privilege of supporting the expansion of EFC’s TK program as the Director of Early Childhood Education. This expansion includes the continued partnership with the highly impactful SEEDS of Early Learning framework, as well as targeted work around complex play and social emotional learning. Education for Change offers Oakland students and families a truly unique TK experience, and Mrs. Cilono is thrilled to be a part of the team.
Yashid Joseph, Director of Student Support Services
Yashid Joseph is the Director of Student Support Services. She comes to EFC with over 9 years of experience in special education service delivery and program management . Ms. Joseph started teaching in New Orleans after a career change from law. She wanted to pursue a career that would allow her to profoundly impact the lives of the individuals she worked with and their surrounding communities. That same passion led her to pursue positions of leadership within special education to ensure the needs of students and the stakeholders that support them are met.
Rich McNeel, Director of Revenue & Acquisitions
Rich has been with Education for Change since 2006 and currently serves as the Director of Revenue and Acquisitions overseeing financial reporting, compliance, revenues, Risk Management and growth through facilities acquisitions. Prior to this, Rich worked as a Business Services Manager and Budget Analyst for Edison Schools in the Las Vegas, Nevada cluster of schools beginning in 2001, giving him over fourteen years of Charter School Financial Management experience. Prior to this, Rich was a Regional Budget Analyst and before that a Regional Director of Collections and Human Resources in the Communications Industry beginning in 1992 for Metrocall, Inc. and it’s merged companies.Rich earned his BS in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Rich is married to Becky and they have three amazing children that love camping around the Bay Area.
Sandra Barrios, Director of Internal Operations
Sandra has worked in the field of education for approximately twenty-two years and joined Education for Change in the Fall of 2006. Previous to joining the Education for Change team, Sandra worked for the Oakland Unified School District where she started as an Instructional Assistant, working hands-on with children from grades Kindergarten to 5th grade. The knowledge and experiences that she gained in her many roles over the years have played an important part in her career at Education for Change. Prior to becoming EFC’s Director of Internal Operations, Sandra held the position of Assistant Controller and prior to that she was the Business and Operations Manager, where she oversaw the after school program as well as facilities and the food service department.
Sandra was born and raised in Oakland. Her continued ties to the city make her extremely passionate about the work that she does for EFC. She, her husband and three children enjoy time with family, camping, walks in the park and trips to the movies.
Larayne Povlsen, Director of Human Resources
LaRayne Povlsen has been with Education for Change since January 2009. Prior to coming to Education for Change LaRayne was a Site Operations Manager for Edison Schools, managing the San Francisco school and 2 schools in East Palo Alto. In her capacity of Site Operations Manager, she oversaw the closing of one of the charter schools in East Palo Alto.
LaRayne has worked successfully in the field of education in a variety of capacities for over 30 years. Her knowledge of the education world comes from her experiences of establishing procedures for one of the State Board’s first charter schools, eg. Setting up accounts with the city controller, fingerprint implementation, State reporting, attendance reporting, establishing the State nutrition program. LaRayne enjoys her 5 grandchildren and you can ofter find her at a basketball or baseball game that they play. LaRayne also enjoys going on mission trips and has been to several foreign countries in this capacity.
Rebecca Reynolds, Director of Staff Recruitment
Rebecca Reynolds has been leading the staff and student recruitment efforts at Education for Change since 2012. She has over 15 years senior management experience in the nonprofit sector sector in the areas of operations, marketing, communications, fundraising, and change management. While at PACT San Jose, Rebecca was part of the team that launched the first three New Small Autonomous Schools in East San Jose, as well as the New Schools Center. Rebeca has provided strategic nonproft consulting services for College Track, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, Child Quest International, PICO National Network, as well as various schools and school districts. At the heart of her work has been her commitment to grassroots community development, community organizing, and educational equity.
Tavita Robles, Director of Sites Operations
Tavita Robles is currently the Director of Site Operations. She is excited to start her ninth year with EFC in this new role. Tavita started EFC in 2007 as the Office Manager at Achieve Academy. During her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, going camping, singing at church, and laughing at the small things in life. She expressed that she surrounded by loving and caring family and friends who push her to shoot for the stars. They continue to support her through all of my accomplishments.
Lucy Schmidt, Co-Principal
Ms. Schmidt has worked at Achieve Academy since it opened its doors in 2005 as World and Achieve Academies and has been the site leader since 2012. She led the union of the two schools on the Hawthorne site. Before serving as Principal, she was a third grade teacher for 7 years and later the Assistant Principal of the Hawthorne campus. Prior to Education for Change, Ms. Schmidt was a director of a Sylvan Learning Center in Sacramento. Ms. Schmidt graduated from CSU Chico where she also earned her teaching credential. When not at school, Ms. Schmidt loves to spend time with friends and family, cook, and hike in the Bay Area. Her favorite children’s books are The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco and Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.
Stephanie Richards, Co-Principal
Ms. Richards has worked at Achieve Academy since since 2013 at both World and Achieve Academies. Before serving as Co- Principal, she was an Assistant Principal of the World and Achieve campus. Prior to Education for Change, Ms. Richards was a teacher in Oakland Unified School District for 14 years. In addition to teaching, Stephanie has had several diverse learning and career experiences. Stephanie moved to the Bay Area from the east coast in order to become a home birth midwife. Ms. Richards graduated from Antioch College, in Yellow Springs Ohio, where she also earned her teaching credential. When not at school, Ms. Richards spends most of her time hanging with her son, reading, and taking on home repair projects.
Morgan Alconcher, Principal
I am honored to enter my 4th year as an administrator at ASCEND. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and relocated to the Bay Area 11 years ago. Most of my years have been spent either teaching others, or developing my own knowledge at University of Washington and UC Berkeley. As an educator, I believe that learning and knowledge are the most powerful factors in improving one’s life, and as an educational leader, I see it as my responsibility to make the highest quality of education available to all students.
Beyond leadership, I am the proud mother of an amazing little girl (also an ASCEND student), and I love to go on adventures and spend time with my family. When I am away from ASCEND, I am usually surfing, hiking, running, snowboarding, reading or listening to good music! I love to travel every chance I get and I really enjoy learning about new places and other cultures.
Students reach their highest levels of success when schools and families work together to meet their needs. I look forward to partnering with you this year, and getting to know more about your families and students.
Jeff Embleton, Assistant Principal
I am thrilled to join the ASCEND community. I moved cross-country after spending the past four years at a middle school in Brooklyn, New York. I’m excited to return to Oakland as I began my teaching career right down the street from here. I grew up in CleveIand, Ohio, and after attending Kenyon College, moved to the west coast to continue my education at California Institute of Integral Studies and San Francisco State University.
Outside of school, you can find me spending lots of time with my wife Zuleica in the outdoors. We love to camp, bike, hike and enjoy nature. I’m an avid reader and writer, and usually have my nose stuck in a book.
I believe deeply in educating both the mind and the heart. It is one of my responsibilities as an educator and leader to ensure that students are immersed in learning experiences that help them become both smart and good people.
I value the power of relationships and community, and look forward to my first year at ASCEND to help support our students achieve to their fullest potential.
Kevin King, Co-Principal
Kevin King is the Principal of Cox Academy Elementary School in East Oakland. He possesses over 15 years of program development, program management, and educational experience spanning grades K-12. He has been a Director of programming for Seneca Center Family of Agencies for the past decade and has lead school programs, residential programs and crisis stabilization programs. His most recent administrative experience has been shaped by two years of successful leadership at Seneca Center’s Non-Public School in San Leandro. Kevin holds a Bachelors of Psychology degree and a MA in Educational Leadership from Concordia University.
David Norris, Co-Principal
Now in his second year at Cox Academy, serving as the Director of Instruction, David has been an educator in Oakland for 17 years. David got his teaching credential from Cal State East Bay and began his career in OUSD in 1998. He taught 2nd and 3rd grade for many years, however 4th grade was his absolute favorite. Over the years, he has also held many teacher leadership and coaching roles. David has truly enjoyed supporting his colleagues to become stronger teachers and creating school wide systems that support their growth. This path led him to Cal Berkeley, and the Principal Leadership Institute, where he graduated with MA in Education in 2014. David currently lives in Oakland with his wife Mia.
Leo Fuchs, Principal
Now in his tenth year as principal at Learning Without Limits, and his tenth year on the Jefferson campus, Mr. Fuchs has served as LWL’s principal since we opened our doors in the Fall of 2007. During the 2006-07 school year, he worked with a group of parents, teachers and staff to design our school. He has worked in Oakland schools since 2000, when he moved from Washington, D.C. He attended Brandeis University as an undergraduate, and has graduate degrees from both Brandeis and UC Berkeley. Before coming to our campus, he was a Resource Specialist at Frick Middle School and a Teacher on Special Assignment at Explore Middle School. When not at school, Mr. Fuchs loves to spend time with his family and play tennis. His favorite children’s books are The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss.
Manuel Herrera, Assistant Principal
Manuel Herrera is currently the Assistant Principal at Learning Without Limits. He started with LWL 10 years ago as a founding teacher in 3rd grade. He later taught in 2nd, 4th and 5th grade while having a consistent focus on building relationships with his students and families. In the 2015-16 school year, he left the classroom to support k-5 as the math coach and literacy interventionist. Before LWL, he received a Masters in Education from the Developmental Teacher Education program at the University of California, Berkeley. While developing his relationships with his Learning Without Limits family, he also has started his own family with his wife Sara, an Oakland educator, and his daughter Mayla. Just as he loved his read alouds with his students, especially Wonder by R.J. Palacio, reading with his daughter is a new favorite!
Sarah Morrill, Co-Principal
Sarah Morrill is in her second year as a co-principal of Lazear Charter Academy. Prior to joining the EFC, Sarah served as the senior director for the Teach For America west coast teacher training in Los Angeles, managing the program of 500 new teachers and 100 staff members to create a strong summer school for over 2,000 students. Prior to that role, she worked with the same training in Los Angeles as the district school partners point to ensure students had a strong instructional summer school program to set them up for success in the upcoming year. She started her career in Atlanta GA teaching 3rd grade before becoming a teacher coach across Atlanta for new elementary and social studies teachers. She graduated from Colorado College where she received her BA in International Political Economy and History. She is excited to be back in northern California as a Davis, CA native.
Jennifer Koelling, Co-Principal
Jennifer Koelling joined Lazear from her previous role as Director of Program with Citizen Schools, a national non-profit that expands the learning day for middle school students. Prior to her work with Citizen Schools, Jennifer was an Academic Dean and Instructional Coach at Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto. Jennifer began her career in education with Teach For America and was placed in Alum Rock School District in San Jose where she taught 4th & 5th grade for several years. While in Alum Rock, Jennifer served as a school advisor for MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) and chaired her school’s Young Authors’ Faire committee. Jennifer has a Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and most recently completed her coursework with Reach Institute’s Instructional Leadership Academy to receive her CA Preliminary Administrative Credential. When not at school, Jennifer enjoys running, hiking, and exploring new restaurants with friends.
Ruth Negash, Principal
Ruth Negash is a Co-Principal at Epic Charter School. Before transitioning into her current role, she served as an Instructional Technology Coach at Education for Change. During that period, she worked with EFC schools to coordinate services to develop, enhance, and maximize the technology resources of the schools. Prior to her work at Education for Change, she worked as an Instructional Technology Coach for many schools in New York City. Ms. Negash started teaching in Oakland through Oakland Teaching Fellows in 2008. She taught middle and high school math in Oakland Unified School District. She holds a B.A. in Mathematics and a Master’s in Secondary Education from San Francisco State University.
Alyssa Munson, Assistant Principal