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Our Staff

Executive Staff

Gary Hoachlander
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Gary Hoachlander, President

Gary Hoachlander is President of ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Beginning his career in 1966 as a brakeman for the Western Maryland Railroad, he has devoted most of his professional life to helping young people learn by doing—connecting education to the opportunities, challenges, and many different rewards to be found through work. Widely known for his expertise in career and technical education and many other aspects of elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education, Gary has consulted extensively for the U.S. Department of Education, state departments of education, local school districts, foundations, and a variety of other clients. Gary earned his Bachelor’s degree at Princeton University and holds both a Master’s and Ph.D. degree from the Department of City and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley.

Brad Stam
Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
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Brad Stam, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer

As Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Brad Stam co-leads ConnectEd with President Gary Hoachlander, supports organizational development and business development, and aligns programmatic initiatives in support of ConnectEd’s systemic reform goals. Prior to coming to ConnectEd, Mr. Stam served as Chief Academic Officer for Oakland Unified School District, leading dramatic academic improvement at the elementary and middle grades, and initiating a systemic Linked Learning approach to high school reform. During Mr. Stam’s tenure, Oakland USD had the highest API growth of any large urban district in California, 118 points. Prior to coming to Oakland, Mr. Stam served as Special Assistant to the Superintendent and Director of Teacher Affairs in San Francisco Unified, creating innovative and collaborative approaches to support teacher and principal effectiveness and organizational learning. Mr. Stam has taught middle school, was a middle school vice principal and elementary school principal in San Francisco, and started his career developing and teaching project and outcomes-based interdisciplinary curriculum at University Heights High School in the Bronx, New York. He brings expertise and practitioner experience in teaching and learning, assessment, urban school and district reform, and a lifelong passion for helping underprivileged youth improve their life options through quality education. Mr. Stam earned his BA at Harvard University and his MA at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Tanya Heidelberg- Yopp
CEO, Linked Learning Detroit
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Tanya Heidelberg- Yopp, CEO, Linked Learning Detroit

Tanya Heildelberg-Yopp is CEO of Linked Learning Detroit with the responsibility to launch Linked Learning in Detroit and to build the organization and coalitions necessary for its success and growth. Prior to this role, Tanya was an executive with Compuware Corporation where she held key leadership positions including SVP of Global Sales Operations as well as SVP of Culture, Community and Diversity.


Tanya began her career as a corporate lawyer in New York City. She later moved into the entertainment industry at the entertainment firm Frankfurt, Garbus Klein and Selz after which she worked at MTV Networks in a number of roles, including Vice President of Business Affairs for MTV and as Vice President of Business, Strategy and Operations for Nichelodeon Movies where she helped launch the new movie division. She later returned to Detroit and became President of the Motown Center where she developed and managed projects and ventures related to the Motown Records legacy working for Berry Gordy.


A native Detroiter, Tanya graduated from Syracuse University where she received her B.S. of Telecommunications Management. She earned her JD from New York University of Law and completed the PMD program at Harvard Business School.


Tanya has been named to a number of influential lists, including Crain's New York Business "40 Under 40;" Ebony Magazine's "Women at the Top of the Entertainment Business;" and Black Enterprisse's "Top 50 Power Brokers in the Entertainment Industry." She has been inducted into the National Association of Minorities in Cable Hall of Fame. Tanya also recived the Chancellor's Citation from Syracuse university for Excellence in Business and recently received the Thurgood Marshall Award of Excellence and the Women of Excellence Award from the Michigan Chronicle.


Active in her community, she serves on the Board of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and the Youth Development Commision.


Rob Atterbury
Director, District and Regional Support
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Rob Atterbury, Director, District and Regional Support
619. 933. 9857

Rob Atterbury is a Director for Regional Linked Learning Support for Southern California, for ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, and also serves as a district coach for the California District Initiative for Linked Learning. Prior to joining ConnectEd in 2009, Rob spent 28 years with San Diego Unified School District as a teacher, Program Manager, Director of the School-to-Career program, and Director in the Office of Secondary School Innovation. He also spent a year and a half as the High School Transformation Associate Superintendent for Atlanta Public Schools. In these roles, Rob has been involved in transforming large comprehensive high schools into small, career-themed schools, career academies, and/or smaller learning communities. Rob is passionate about improving instruction through real-world standards-based curriculum designed to engage students, providing every student with a work-based learning experience, and supporting districts and schools in this pursuit. Rob is a graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Studies and a Master's degree in Education Administration from United States International University. He holds various teaching credentials and a Clear Administrative Services Credential from San Diego State University.

Maggie Boyce
Associate Director, Human Resources and Administration
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Maggie Boyce, Associate Director, Human Resources and Administration

Maggie came to ConnectEd with a background in Business, Counseling, and Education.  She graduated with a BS in Education from Ohio State University, and spent two years of post-graduate coursework in Counseling and Transactional Analysis (now known as Organizational Development).

At the same time Maggie was a 3rd grade teacher designing reading and math games for children, she joined her parents counseling company, Focusways, Inc., counseling families as a family.  In addition, Maggie joined her parents as an instructor at a nearby community college, teaching a course entitled “Transactional Analysis, Theory of Personality”.

Her business background is a result of the many years she worked at Kaiser Permanente.  Maggie managed million dollar budgets as National Manager, Corporate Meeting Services, and with a team of seven, managed up to 250 large meetings a year.  During that time she obtained Kaiser Permanente’s Project Management Training, Kaiser’s Middle Management Training, and obtained both U.S. certifications in meeting planning, CMP (Certified Meeting Planner) and CMM (Certified Meeting Manager).  She served as the VP of Education for the Northern CA Chapter of MPI (Meeting Planners International) and chaired an international committee on Meeting Strategy in Europe with meeting planners from around the world. 

With experience at two other non-profits in the East Bay, Children's Hospital and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Maggie gained further business background serving executives with oversight for administrative services.

Maggie presently supports ConnectEd’s organizational infrastructure as Associate Director, Human Resource and Administration.

Robert Curtis
Director, District and Regional Support
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Robert Curtis, Director, District and Regional Support

Robert Curtis is a Director, Regional Support for ConnectEd. Robert will have the responsibility for supporting districts and regions in Northern California, including California Career Pathways Trust consortia and districts with which we are contracting to provide services. Prior to coming to this position, Robert served as Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Sonoma Valley Unified School District. In that role, he helped lead the district's Local Control and Accountability Plan process, English Language Development master planning and Common Core implementation. Robert knows Linked Learning and ConnectEd well; he has served as ConnectEd's district and pathway coach for Porterville and West Contra Costa school districts since 2010, and has helped ConnectEd begin the regional Linked Learning work in San Bernardino County. Robert has a strong background as a leader in science education. He was director of the STEM Center at Alameda County Office of Education, and director of a National Science Foundation Math Science Partnership grant at California State University East Bay. In these roles, Robert led systemic initiatives to improve science and STEM education across dozens of Bay Area school districts. He also served on the state's STEM Task Force and was the director of the East Bay Science Project. Robert also has worked extensively in high school redesign with a focus on Smaller Learning Communities and Pathways.  He began his career teaching high school science for 10 years. Robert holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Gordon College, a Master's degree in Science Education from Tufts University and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from UC Santa Cruz. 

Pier Sun Ho
Associate Director, Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development
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Pier Sun Ho, Associate Director, Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development

Pier Sun Ho is Associate Director for Pathway and Curriculum Development at ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Previously, she worked as an educator and educational researcher for more than a decade. Pier taught science and mathematics in Massachusetts for six years before returning to graduate school at the University of Michigan. During her graduate studies, Pier wrote science curriculum, designed and delivered professional development, and conducted research in Detroit public schools as part of a systemic reform initiative supporting technology-rich, inquiry-oriented science instruction in urban school districts. Pier holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master's degree in Educational Administration and in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Science Education with the University of Michigan.

Paula M. Hudis
Director, Institutional Development
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Paula M. Hudis, Director, Institutional Development

Paula (Penni) Hudis is Director of Institutional Development for ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Prior to taking this position in early 2014, she spent almost eight years as ConnectEd’s Director of Pathway and Curriculum Development. Penni’s career has spanned a wide range of positions in education and industry, including university teaching, research, program evaluation, and practice— focused primarily on equity and program effectiveness in education and on disparities in employment outcomes. Before joining ConnectEd when the organization was founded in 2006, Penni was Director of Evaluation for MPR Associates, Inc., where she managed a study of California career academy models that contributed to emergence of the Linked Learning approach. Penni has also served as Vice President and Corporate Manager of Human Resource Planning for Bank of America and Operations Manager for Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action at the Bechtel Corporation. She began her career in research and teaching at Indiana University, Bloomington and spent nine years as a part-time Visiting Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently an adjunct member of the doctoral faculty at San Diego State University. Penni earned a Bachelor's degree at New York University, and Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology and Demography at the University of Michigan.

Kentaro Iwasaki
Associate Director, Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development
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Kentaro Iwasaki, Associate Director, Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development

KentaroIwasaki joined ConnectEd in 2011 and serves as the Associate Director for Pathway and Curriculum Development.  A practitioner at heart, Kentarotaught high school math for sixteen years in San Francisco.  He had the privilege of collaborating closely with math educators from Stanford and San Francisco State University for over a decade to improve instruction through group work, open-ended math problem solving, and project-based learning.  While teaching, Kentaroworked on the curriculum and development team for the Agile Mind Program through the Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin. His passion for reaching urban high school students through innovative teaching practices led to his receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2011. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a single-subject credential in mathematics and Japanese from San Francisco State University.  He is a National Board Certified teacher in mathematics.

Jennifer Lutzenberger Phillips
Director, Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development
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Jennifer Lutzenberger Phillips, Director, Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development
510. 849. 4945

Jennifer Lutzenberger Phillips brings significant experience as an educational leader, student advocate, coach, and literacy teacher to her new position as Director, Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development. Formerly, she was the vice president of Teaching and Learning at Envision Schools and a school improvement coach and a content coach in secondary English, with a focus on curriculum and assessment, at the Oakland Unified School District. She also taught high school English in the Baltimore City Public Schools and was an advisor for the Met in Providence, Rhode Island. Jenn began her teaching career at the university level, where she taught composition and literature. She taught and mentored in the Educational Opportunity summer bridge program at Binghamton University in New York and supported the writing center and writing across the curriculum program at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Jenn was also a student activist, adult literacy tutor, and popular educator; she brings a commitment to equity and social justice to her work.

Tameka L. McGlawn
Director, Equity and Impact
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Tameka L. McGlawn, Director, Equity and Impact
510. 849. 4945

Dr. Tameka L. McGlawn is the Director of Equity and Impact, for ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Considered a seasoned collaborator and evidence-based strategist, Dr. McGlawn most recently served as the Senior Associate for Linked Learning at The Education Trust-West, where she led assessments of Linked Learning implementation, with a strong focus on the quality of curriculum and instruction delivered through Linked Learning pathways, as well as equitable systemic access and improved outcomes for students. Earlier in her career, she served as the Instructional Dean of Students at Construction Technology Academy at the Kearny High Educational Complex where she was instrumental in the development of their data-driven instructional Leadership team. She also served as an In-School Counselor at the School of International Business. Dr. McGlawn has provided servant leadership to urban learning communities for over twenty years. Having served at every academic level (K-20), in a myriad of settings and professional roles, Dr. McGlawn offers a unique perspective on student-centered achievement, equity-based outcomes and effective institutional practices. Her actionable research interests where she has served and facilitated professional development include strategic reform implementation, systemic accountability, culturally responsive pedagogy and leadership, and building network alliances through innovative collective impact initiatives. Dr. McGlawn is a proud graduate of both the CSU San Diego’s Community Based Block Multicultural & Social Justice Master’s Program, and the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California where she earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership. She also has credentials in Administrative Services and Pupil Personnel. An effective consensus builder and action-oriented researcher, Dr. McGlawn brings an ideal synthesis of research savviness, practical application and a deep commitment to increased opportunity for all students.

Melody Rose
Associate Director, Finance
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Melody Rose, Associate Director, Finance

Melody Rose is a Senior Project Associate for both the Finance Department and Business Development team, and has worked with ConnectEd since its inception. She has over 30 years’ experience in accounting and was previously the Controller of a world-renowned landscape architecture firm. Melody currently leads cost proposal development, manages budgets, and oversees grant administration.

Tom Skjervheim
Associate Director, Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development
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Tom Skjervheim, Associate Director, Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development

Tom Skjervheim is an Associate Director within the Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development department and has been with ConnectEd since 2012. While Tom has served as a performance assessment consultant, small school leader, and teacher coach, he is most proud of the seven years he spent in the classroom as a teacher. Beginning his career in education as a high school history teacher at a large comprehensive high school in Alhambra, CA, Tom did the majority of his teaching with an incredible team of talented educators at City Arts and Technology High School, and Envision School, in San Francisco, CA. With a highly collaborative staff committed to an equitable and rigorous education for all students, Tom helped his peers design the Envision Schools model – engage traditionally marginalized students through project-based learning, real-world internships, and authentic exhibitions of learning. With support from Stanford’s Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE), Envision Schools’ learning culminated in externally reliable performance assessments and defense of a college-ready portfolio of work. Believing deeply in the transformational power of a highly collaborative team of educators and in authentic and rigorous performance assessment, Tom now supports Linked Learning pathways, schools, and districts in their efforts to build similar cultures for student learning. Tom holds a Bachelor's Degree from Pitzer College, and a Master's Degree in Education from the Claremont Graduate University.

Sande Smith
Director, Strategic Communications
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Sande Smith, Director, Strategic Communications

Sande Smith is Director for Strategic Communications at ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. She is passionate about using her skills in strategic communications, creativity and aspirational storytelling to rally support for social justice and the common good. Previously, Sande was Senior Director of Communications for the Women’s Foundation of California, where she has had overall responsibility for strategic communications, donor communications, public policy communications, media relations, and online communications. During her tenure, she raised the Foundation’s profile and exponentially increased the number of people who engage with the mission. Before that, Sande served as Communications Director for the Global Fund for Women, an international grant maker funding women’s rights organizations in 170 countries. She has also authored essays and books, including A Man with a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and The Life and Philosophy of Malcolm X. She holds a BA in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies from Brown University.

Roman J. Stearns
Director, Leadership Development
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Roman J. Stearns, Director, Leadership Development

Roman Stearns joined ConnectEd in 2006 as the Director for Policy Analysis and Development, and in 2008 transitioned to Director of Leadership Development. In the latter capacity, he has directed the California Linked Learning District Initiative, a demonstration project with nine medium and large school districts in California designed to establish proof points that Linked Learning is a viable strategy for transforming high schools and improving student outcomes. With the expansion of Linked Learning to over 50 school districts in CA, Roman serves as the primary liaison to the CA Department of Education to support the AB 790 statewide Linked Learning pilot. Throughout his career, Roman has worked at the school, district, county, state, and national levels toward high school reform. After spending 10 years at the school and district levels on school change issues, he directed a large two-county school-to-career partnership, promoting regional models and structures to support reform efforts. Roman then moved to the UC Office of the President to direct a statewide project intended to revamp “a–g” course certification by making it more transparent, providing extensive training about that process to high school educators, and recommending changes in UC policy and procedures to ensure that UC's admissions process supported ongoing high school reform efforts. In doing so, he promoted UC's approval of academically rigorous career-technical courses and sought opportunities to blend academic and career-technical course content to prepare students for both college and careers. Roman holds a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University, a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University, and Single Subject Teaching and Administrative Credentials from California State University.

Daphannie Stephens
Director, Technical Assistance and Coaching
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Daphannie Stephens, Director, Technical Assistance and Coaching

Daphannie Stephens recently joined ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career as Director of Coaching and Technical Assistance. Her work experience clearly demonstrates strong leadership skills, commitment to coaching and a belief in high-quality teaching and learning. As Director of Leadership Connection for Justice in Education (LCJE) and Coordinator of Public Programs at UC Berkeley, Daphannie led the development and adoption of a strategic plan, supported coaches, taught classes and managed district partnerships. Daphannie was also the project manager on several major initiatives including the partnership between UC Berkeley and UCLA to launch a statewide online induction program for graduates of both schools’ Principal Leadership Institutes (PLI).  She served as Associate Director for School and District Services at Partners in School Innovation, where she led the school services team and managed partnerships with San Francisco and San Jose Unified School Districts.  Daphannie was a School Change Coach and Project Manager for the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools (BayCES) now known as the National Equity Project (NEP). At BayCES, she managed the Small Schools Initiative incubator for the Oakland Unified School District, helping to develop 14 new schools and coach site administrators to improve academic achievement. Daphannie holds an M.A. in Education and a B.A. in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley.

Carl Taibl
Chief Financial Officer
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Carl Taibl, Chief Financial Officer
510. 665. 8253

Carl Taibl, CPA, is in his sixth year as Chief Financial Officer.  Carl started his career in 1980 working three years in Big 4 public accounting, and progressing through Southern Pacific Railroad, Ernst & Young, Accenture, and as CFO for Hanson Bridgett, a San Francisco-based law firm.  Carl is active in several organizations, and serves on two charitable non-profit boards, Global Healing (Berkeley) and San Ramon Instrumental Music Foundation.  Carl has published several articles, and his motto, dating back to when he was the first Eagle Scout of his troop, is to leave something in better condition than when he arrived. Carl earned his Bachelor's degree at Northern Illinois University and holds a Master's in Business Administration with honors from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management.

Dave Yanofsky
Director, Media and Youth Development
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Dave Yanofsky, Director, Media and Youth Development

Dave Yanofsky is Director of Media and Youth Development for ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Before joining the staff at ConnectEd, Dave was the Program Director for Uth TV, where he oversaw a staff of youth media makers and helped to produce Grind & Glory, a feature-length film that was shot and edited by a crew of teenagers. He began his career in radio, reporting for “Budapest Day & Night,” the first English language radio program to appear in Eastern Europe after the wall came down. After returning to the United States, Dave produced his first feature film, Poetic License. Aired nationally on PBS, the film captures the emergence of spoken word poetry as a powerful form of self-expression for teenage youth. Since that time, he has produced a number of innovative projects that focus on youth and storytelling, and that help educators integrate media into their classroom or afterschool workshop. Dave holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Hamilton College.

Associates and Assistants

Ted Aquino
Program Assistant, Communications
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Ted Aquino, Program Assistant, Communications

Ted Aquino is the Program Assistant for ConnectEd’s Communications department. Ted started his non-profit career as an AmeriCorps Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator for Rebuilding Together San Francisco. He is dedicated to making an impact within the community and the organizations he is a part of. Ted graduated from California State University, Chico with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Operations Management.

Michelle Berrios
Project Associate, Events Planner
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Michelle Berrios, Project Associate, Events Planner

Michelle Berrios began her career in the hospitality industry working with major hotels in the San Francisco Bay Area. After a couple of years as Director of Catering, she decided to transfer her skills to Event and Meeting Planning. She currently has over 10 years' experience as an Event and Meeting Planner working with major corporations, associations and organizations.  She has worked with PMI, Kaiser Permanente and AAA in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned her certification as a Meeting Professional (CMP) in 2007. While at Kaiser Permanente she worked with key stakeholders to research, present and train for a new online registration product to be used company wide. Her continuing education focus has been hotel and vendor contracts and budgets. With colleagues at AAA and the expertise of the legal department, she led the creation of standard contract clauses to provide contracts in the best interest of the organization. Event planning allows Michelle to use both her creative and analytical skills.

Oriana Bolden
Program Associate, Media and Youth Development
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Oriana Bolden, Program Associate, Media and Youth Development
510. 849. 4945

Prior to joining ConnectEd Oriana worked as a media production facilitator for youth through after-school programing and through community organizations. Also, as an independent producer and small business owner her previous production work centered around and demonstrates her commitment to education, justice and technology. Oriana completed her BA in Humanities at New College of California, as well as a sequence of courses in Media Psychology and Education Technology.

Ben Crosby
Senior Program Associate, Media and Youth Development
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Ben Crosby, Senior Program Associate, Media and Youth Development
510. 898. 4813

Ben Crosby joined ConnectEd in 2014 as a Senior Program Associate for Media and Youth Development.  Ben’s experience in education covers a broad spectrum:  History Teacher, Career Technical Education Teacher, Pathway Lead Teacher, Linked Learning Internal Coach, and Internal Coach Coordinator.  Each of these roles helped Ben to better understand the potential that education has in shaping the lives of young people and the scale of the challenge involved with preparing all students to be college, career, and community ready upon high school graduation.  After teaching history in Antioch Unified School District, Ben took a detour into the technology industry, working with a major financial institution to support their digital network infrastructure.  This work eventually led Ben back into the classroom as a CTE instructor, teaching networking curriculum in an innovative after-school program.  In his time in the classroom at El Cerrito High School Ben worked with a team of teachers and community members to build the ECHS Information Technology Academy.  Partnering with an array of industry partners, the Information Technology Academy fostered a college-going culture, an atmosphere of achievement and high expectation, and a supportive environment where students were encouraged to become systems thinkers.  As an Internal Coach in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, Ben worked with numerous pathways and pathway lead teachers to create and sustain collaborative communities of practice focused on delivering high quality educational experiences to students through the Linked Learning approach.   More recently, Ben worked to develop a system of Linked Learning Internal Coaches and the Pathway Lead Teacher Community of Practice in support of Linked Learning Pathways in WCCUSD.  Combining his technical, educational, and coaching background, Ben’s role with ConnectEd will be to support the development of the ConnectEd Studios platform and work towards building communities of practice around its utilization.  Ben earned his Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of California, San Diego and his CTE Credential from California State University, Long Beach.

Theresa Esparrago-Lieu
Senior Program Associate
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Theresa Esparrago-Lieu, Senior Program Associate

Theresa Esparrago Lieu is a Senior Program Associate at ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Prior to joining the ConnectEd staff in 2009, Theresa worked as Marketing and Communications Manager at the California Charter Schools Association. Prior to that, she worked in numerous positions (including Executive Director and Director of SES Operations) at The Princeton Review in the Supplemental Education Services department. In this role, Theresa reviewed and selected curricular materials, developed organizational systems for collecting, analyzing, and reporting data, and on-boarded and trained over 100 staff members. Prior to the Princeton Review, Theresa worked as an educational consultant for the non-profit organization, Sumisibol, Inc. In this role, Theresa developed curriculum and taught a history/social studies focused out-of-school time program.

Theresa’s past work and research interests have focused on studying the various social, cultural, and structural barriers for students of color to access higher education.  Theresa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master’s degree in Sociology of Education, with an emphasis on Education Policy, from New York University.

Nikki Gilman
Program Associate, Finance
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Nikki Gilman, Program Associate, Finance

Nikki Gilman is a Contracts and Grants Associate for ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Prior to accepting this position in 2014, Nikki spent two years on the Learning, Teaching and Pathway Development team perfecting algebra curriculum and coordinating teacher professional development. Before coming to ConnectEd in 2010, Nikki taught Costume Design to students ages 8-10 at the San Diego Junior Theatre Company, as well as at the African American Art and Culture Complex in San Francisco. She has costumed several plays and videos, including one televised commercial, and has specialized expertise in the clothing of Iraq and Afghanistan. She aspires to found a Linked Learning Theatre Arts high school in the Bay Area that is dedicated to producing professional and well-rounded students who are poised to take on the world, regardless of their career paths. Nikki holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre with an emphasis in Costume Design from San Diego State University.

David Grimes
Program Assistant
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David Grimes, Program Assistant
510. 849. 4945

David Grimes II is a Program Assistant, and brings with him a wide variety of educational non-profit experiences.  In his time as an educator, David was fortunate to have teaching experiences ranging from running afterschool programs in Oakland, to teaching English full-time in South Korea. Before joining the ConnectEd team, David was working for the Web of Life Field (WOLF) School as an Administrator/Office Manager/Social Media Marketer. His time as both a teacher, and working behind-the-scenes, has given him a real passion for education. David holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Tiye Hood
Program Assistant, Media and Youth Development
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Tiye Hood, Program Assistant, Media and Youth Development
510. 898. 4807

Tiye Rose-Hood is a graduate from Academy of Art University and comes from a creative family--with a graphic artist for a father and a dancer for a mother.  Her documentaries often focus on social issues and awareness, and she is adamant about the importance of different voices in the industry.  As an active member of The Society of Camera Operators, she hopes to continue perfecting the craft of camera assisting. She currently resides and works out of San Francisco, California, collaborating with various Bay Area filmmakers.

Aron Kidane
Senior Accountant
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Aron Kidane, Senior Accountant

Aron Kidane joined ConnectEd in March 2011 as Senior Accountant. Aron has more than ten years of accounting experience in non-profits and private. He previously worked at Lifehouse, Inc.; Hesperian Foundation; and Actify, Inc. Aron received his BA in Accounting from University of Asmara, in Eritrea, his Masters in Financial Management from University of Pretoria, in South Africa; and has passed the CPA exam.

Lola McCall
Program Assistant
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Lola McCall, Program Assistant

Lola McCall is a Program Assistant in the District Initiative team. Prior to joining ConnectEd in 2012, Lola worked for the Registrar’s office at Mills College, while simultaneously taking graduate courses in Educational Leadership, which sparked a deep passion for and firm belief in the necessity of education reform. Lola holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, with a double minor in Psychology and Child Development, from Mills College. 

Kyleigh Nevis
Program Associate, Media and Youth Development
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Kyleigh Nevis, Program Associate, Media and Youth Development

Kyleigh Nevis is a Program Associate at ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. In her current role, Kyleigh is responsible for supporting the media production and development of ConnectEd Studios and the transformation of the ECCCO (Exploring College, Career, and Community Options) curriculum. Prior to joining ConnectEd, Kyleigh worked as a video editor and producer for nonprofit, academic, and corporate clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, and as an after-school graphic design instructor at BUMP (Bay Unity Music Project). Kyleigh’s passion lies in inspiring social change through media, education, and technology. Kyleigh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from University of Washington and a Master’s degree in International Relations from University of Bath, England.

Anna Salomone
Senior Program Associate
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Anna Salomone, Senior Program Associate

Anna Salomone is a Senior Program Associate at ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Prior to joining ConnectEd in 2008, Anna worked in special education classrooms as a behavioral therapist for children with moderate to severe autism. In this role, she created learning plans, adapted curriculum, and worked directly with families both at home and in the community to ensure the attainment of each students’ learning outcomes. In her current role, Anna manages grant administration for the Linked Learning District Initiative, oversees the logistical coordination of the Leadership Development Series, and manages the Linked Learning Pathway Quality Review Process, including OPTIC – ConnectEd Studios' Online Pathway Tool for Improvement and Certification. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Alexandra Sizemore-Smale
Program Assistant, Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development
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Alexandra Sizemore-Smale, Program Assistant, Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development

Alex Sizemore-Smale is a Program Assistant for the Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development department.  Alex first became interested in K-12 education while interning in the Education Department of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art as a high school student.  Her passion for youth education grew while working as a camp counselor at the Santa Barbara Zoo and later as the Chair of the Student Engagement Committee at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.  She is excited to facilitate work and project based learning as a ConnectEd Program Assistant.  Alex holds a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley.

Nicole Solis-Sison
Intern, Media and Youth Development
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Nicole Solis-Sison, Intern, Media and Youth Development
510. 849. 4945

Nicole Solis-Sison is a talented filmmaker, operating cameras and edit stations with ease. She is currently in her Junior year at the University of California, Berkeley, studying Art Practice.  Nicole spends some of her time outside of ConnectEd as co-chair for the student committee at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA SC). Nicole started a safe space music and arts venue in Southern California called Bridgetown DIY, where we hold shows, arts and craft events and community forums. Bridgetown also has a free lending library and clothes for people to enjoy. I hope to make art and education more accessible to people who need it the most. She also works at a fashion start-up called Twice. She's never experienced deja vu, but spends her time trying to master it. She's never experienced deja vu, but spends her time trying to master it.

Byron Titus
Intern, Media and Youth Development
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Byron Titus, Intern, Media and Youth Development

Byron Titus is a well versed animator and graphic designer. He has works with the Adobe creative Suite and Autodesk programs to create wonderful animations. He studied Animation and Visual effects at Ex'pression College for the Digital Arts. He currently works at ConnectEd in downtown Berkley as a Animation and Motion graphics intern. He is also a freelance production artist for Muvu Media producing 2D animations for apps and mobile games, and he is in love with fat cats.

Aujinel Verdon
Program Assistant
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Aujinel Verdon, Program Assistant
510. 647. 4310

Aujinel Verdon is a Program Assistant for the District Initiative team. Throughout college, she worked as an Administrative Assistant for the USF Office of Graduate Admission. As a former College Track student, she later volunteered for them in college and grew to love inspiring and helping others achieve their aspirations. During her summer immersion to Zambia through USF, she worked with various non-profit organizations that focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, youth homelessness, and access to education. She was also a part of the Erasmus Living & Learning Community, which allowed her to broaden her awareness of the contradicting lifestyles between youth trafficking and education. While in Thailand and Cambodia, she was able to apply her knowledge through assisting NGO's with community building projects. Aujinel holds a BA in Psychology from the University of San Francisco.

Jaime VillaseƱor
Project Assistant
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Jaime VillaseƱor, Project Assistant

Jaime Villasenor is a Project Assistant at ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. He is responsible for supporting the operations team as an assistant office manager, as well as handling conference coordination. Prior to joining ConnectEd in 2013, Jaime worked at San Francisco State University in the New Student Programs office as an administrative assistant, where he also attended to earn his BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems.