Cohort 2016

Erick Aragon

Erick is a faculty coordinator at De Anza College, leading institutional initiatives to address equity gaps in outreach, recruitment, and retention of students of color. He is also co-coordinating Men of Color Community, a new initiative at the college. Erick has spent his education career working in equity programs that support underrepresented populations at a number of institutions including Northern Illinois University, Saddleback College, De Anza College, and Laney College. He has worked in a variety of programs including Veterans Education and Transitions Services, Initiatives to Maximize Positive Academic Achievement and Cultural Thriving focusing on Asian American and Pacific Islander Students. His research interests are ethnic identity development and persistence of men of color in navigating post-secondary education, particularly Filipino males.

Erick Aragon was born and raised in Southern California and is a proud alumnus of the California community college system graduating from Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History with an emphasis in Asian American Studies from San Diego State University and a Master of Science in Counseling specializing in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Career Development, from Northern Illinois University.

Ana Maria Barrera

Ana Maria is an academic advisor and adjunct faculty in the Department of Kinesiology at San Francisco State University and is the Faculty Co-Chair of  Raza Faculty and Staff Association.  She is also an a member of AB 540/Undocumented Students Educational Equity Task Force at SF State. As the faculty advisor of Improving Dreams, Equity and Success, she works with student leaders in providing tools for AB 540/undocumented students to achieve and continue their education. Ana Maria currently serves on the Academic Senate at SF State.  She previously worked in the Undergraduate Advising Center advising incoming freshman and transfer students and has taught a peer advising training course through the Counseling department. Her research interests include studying the mental health of AB 540/undocumented students and in examining the effect of academic support services on students’ cognitive development.

Ana Maria holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Kinesiology from San Francisco State University with a specialization in performance psychology.

Sheryl Cavales Doolan

Sheryl is a tenured English instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College. In addition to teaching college composition from basic skills to advanced levels for the past ten years, she also serves as the Writing Center Coordinator. Her research interests include overcoming inequity in developmental education, supporting multi-cultural education through faculty professional learning, and promoting writing centers as sites of support and success for underrepresented students.

Sheryl holds a Master of Arts in English: Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing from Sonoma State University.

Charles Cole

Charles is an educator focused on the advancement of youth of color but more specifically black males. His passion for this work comes from his own experiences growing up without proper support. His life's goal is to better the communities he grew up in through his work. Charles received his Masters in Public Administration from SF State. He has served as a social worker, a director for Teach for America, the Vice Chair of the California Young Democrats, Black Caucus and has served as director for various youth-focused nonprofits. Charles is a national speaker and a writer. He works with youth in Oakland and around the country to help them equip themselves appropriately to lay the ground work for a bright future.

Charles is the founder of Energy Convertors, an organization focused on lifting youth voice to improve public education and build student agency. #BeAnEnergyConvertor #DoWork

Tabitha Conaway

Tabitha works at the College of San Mateo. She is full-time in the Learning Center, supervising Supplemental Instruction, creating Student Success Workshops, and working closely with several learning communities and athletic programs on campus. In addition to her work in the Learning Center, Tabitha is adjunct faculty for the Project Change program, which provides comprehensive educational opportunities and resources to incarcerated and previously incarcerated youth. As part of that project, Tabitha teaches college courses inside juvenile hall and on the College of San Mateo campus. Before coming to the College of San Mateo, Tabitha held roles as a high school history teacher, adjunct history professor, and manager for a high school extended learning program servicing historically under-serviced youth. Her research interests include juvenile hall-to-college pipelines for previously incarcerated youth, counter-narratives, as well as equity concerns for historically under-serviced and under-represented students in higher education.

Tabitha holds a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. She holds a Master of Arts in Education, with a specialization in Teaching in a Global Society from National University and a Master of Arts in History from California State University, Sacramento.

Samyalisa Enright

Samyalisa works as a Curriculum Evaluation Specialist at the Bay Area Academy, writing, implementing, and evaluating curricula for incoming social workers and other professionals involved with Child Welfare throughout the Bay Area. She is also a Social Worker and Education Liaison at a foster family agency in Sonoma County. Samyalisa’s focus on holistic health education segued into a profound interest in trauma-informed parenting and education, her primary area of interest for her doctoral studies.

Samyalisa holds a Master of Arts in Education with a special interest in holistic family health education from SF State.

Landon Hill

Landon serves as the After School Leadership Academy (ASLA) Manager at the East Oakland Youth Development Center. Landon has served youth for more than 10 years and is acknowledged for the empathy he possesses for his students. As the ASLA Manager, Landon leads daily programming for K-8 students, providing students support academically and expanding their horizons through enrichment activities. Landon also leads the newly formed Teen Club during the summer, which, in its inaugural year, has culminated in the participants forming action steps to enact change in their community. His research interests include critical pedagogy, culturally relevant pedagogy, Critical Race Theory, and hip-hop pedagogy. He strives to create more relevant and meaningful educational experiences for Black and Brown students of color.

Landon received his Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University and his Master of Arts in Education from California State University, Long Beach.

Carol Johnson-Williams

Carol grew up in New York City, as a first generation Jamaican-American, and fulfilled a dream to teach in urban public education via Teach for America. She is an avid learner and educator who strives to impact people’s lives through education, socially just policy, and transformative thinking. Carol has 25 years of experience in public education as a classroom teacher, Instructional Coach, program manager and Coordinator of Elementary English Language Arts, professional developer, and Principal. She believes in supporting people to self-actualize, develop skills, and share their gifts. Her experiences always develop shared leadership and partnerships among families, community, and school, and continuous improvement toward socially just outcomes. Her research interests include the ways in which implicit bias impacts organizational program implementation, and teaching and learning outcomes; and if teacher awareness of dysconscious bias transforms teachers’ perspectives and practice. Another interest is the impact of alternative educational experiences, such as community programs, that impact student attitudes about school, academic outcomes, and goal attainment. She lives in Oakland, CA with her loving husband, Robert, and disarmingly cute poodle, Cinnamon.

Carol holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University, a California teaching credential from University of San Francisco, and a California Administrative credential from CSU Hayward. She attended SF State for a Master of Education in Equity and Social Justice.

Alexander Jones

Alexander is a Career Coordinator at CSU Maritime Academy for their Department of Engineering Technology and Department of Mechanical Engineering. In addition to his work at Cal Maritime, he has worked at Skyline College for nine years as a Cooperative Education instructor. He previously held positions as an adjunct Career Counselor for the Skyline College Career Center, and as a Job Developer for the Disability Resource Center's Workability III program at Skyline College. His research interest is centered on inequitable employability outcomes within the CSU system.

Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from CSU Sacramento and a Master of Social Work from CSU Sacramento.​

Marilyn Jones

Marilyn is the Founder and Executive Director of Because Black is Still Beautiful, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to promoting excellence in the lives of criminal justice impacted Black women. Her research interests include the co-relationship between incarceration and education and minimizing the incarceration disparity for African Americans.

Marilyn holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Education with an emphasis in Community Based Public Health and a Master of Arts in Adult Education, both from SF State.

Janeen Malatesta

As a result of Ms. Malatesta’s educational opportunities at the College of San Mateo, where she was student body president, she was able to transfer to UC Santa Cruz on a full scholarship. After becoming a first generation college graduate, she was fiscally savvy enough to be able to study advanced Spanish in Mexico, advanced Italian in Italy, and visit her family in Ireland--all countries of her heritage.  After returning from her travels, she earned her M.A. in English from San Francisco State University.

Ms. Malatesta began teaching in urban and suburban high schools twenty years ago, and she currently teaches English and AVID in the San Mateo Unified High School District.  In this district, she has served as ELD Advocate, ELD Department Chair, Generation 1.5 curriculum co-coordinator, Reading Coordinator, Special Education co-teacher, and is the founder and leader for the Social Justice & Equity Learning Team at her current site. She also moonlights as an English and ESL adjunct professor at Cañada College, where she began her tenure in 2008.

As a doctoral student, Ms. Malatesta has been researching how to increase underrepresented, underserved student access to the rigorous curriculum needed to succeed in postsecondary institutions.  Her goal is to help improve administrative and teaching practices based on the input of students, culturally responsive school leadership, and culturally sustaining curriculum.

Mary Reynolds

Mary is Principal at Olivet Elementary Charter School in Santa Rosa. She is also involved in STEM education and has been a featured presenter and active blogger about technology. You can follow Mary on Twitter @Mary_J_Reynolds.

Her research interests focus on the teaching and learning of mathematics, in particular, instructional practices that support the success of female students. Herwork connects with current research on pedagogy, student mindset, and teacher mindset. It is Mary's goal that her research outcomes will result in mathematics no longer being a gatekeeper for students, as well as enact culturally responsive school leadership practices to create the needed and necessary space for mindset and pedagogical shifts to take place.

Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature/Creative Writing Emphasis with a Minor in Political Science from Dominican University. She holds a CA 
Administrative Services Credential, and a K-8 Multiple Subject/CLAD Teaching Credential. Mary has a Master of Education in Educational Administration from Sonoma State University. 

D'Andrea Robinson

D’Andrea has a passion for social justice and equity within the public education system for all students --specifically ensuring that black students receive the same quality of education as their counterparts.   She is an elementary school teacher who has taught throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade.  Her commitment to equity does not end in the classroom.  She understands that many black students living in the Bay Area do not have access to the same resources and opportunities; therefore, she volunteers with organizations that develop black youth’s leadership and civic engagement skills.  Her social justice activism was ignited during her undergraduate years at the University of California, Berkeley where she majored in Political Science and volunteered at elementary schools in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland.  She was inspired by the young people she worked with and pursued teaching as a platform to expose students to education as a tool of liberation and opportunity.  D’Andrea earned her teaching credential and master’s degree at California State University, East Bay and is currently interested in research focusing on transforming the interactions and relationships between school leaders: administrators, faculty, and staff and the black female student population.

Mallory Stevens

Mallory is adjunct in the Computer Business Office Technology Department at Cañada College. She is also the CTE (Career Technical Education) Transitions Program Director, working with high schools to create pathways from high school into our CTE programs through programs and the creation of articulation agreements that provide students with college credit for their equivalent high school work. I am a member of the Student Equity Committee, focusing most recently on student support at off-site venues. Additionally, Mallory recently completed an online teaching certification with @One and has been exploring the use of Reading Apprenticeship in her STEM classroom as a way to address equity issues in the classroom.

Her research interests include the creation and strengthening of career technical pathways from K-12 into the community colleges and into industry and the opportunities for district and regional collaboration, as well as better communication throughout the system.

Mallory holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with minors in Business and Spanish from the University of Oregon. She holds a Master of Science in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh and a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems from Golden Gate University.