Sobrato Centers for Nonprofits:
Milpitas, San Jose and Redwood Shores
Sobrato Family Foundation
Chief Executive Officer
Rick is the Chief Executive Officer of the Sobrato Family Foundation (SFF). Prior to joining SFF, Rick founded and was President of Realize Consulting Group, a management consultant firm for philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. Rick also served at the Director of the Asset Funders Network, USA, a national community of foundations and grantmakers helping low-income individuals build and protect financial assets, and was National Programs Director at the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation where he oversaw grantmaking in the areas of homelessness, substance abuse, foster youth, after-school services, and poverty prevention. Rick is on the Board of the National Center for Family Philanthropy, Northern California Grantmakers, Silicon Valley Children’s Fund and Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY). Rick also previously served as the Deputy Director of the Santa Clara County Mental Health Department and Director of the Santa Clara County’s psychiatric inpatient services. Rick holds a Bachelor of Science degree in clinical psychology from Washington State University and a Master of Arts degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University.
Mara Williams Low is the Sobrato Family Foundation’s Program Director, responsible for Nonprofit Center programming, the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative as well as the operational aspects of the foundation. Prior to her current position, Ms. Williams Low was Program Officer and managed the application and selection process for Nonprofit Center tenants. Before joining SFF in 2006, she served three years as Grants Administrator at The Valley Foundation in Los Gatos, and from 1998-2005, was the Associate Director of Adage School of Performing Arts, a dance school and pre-professional company in Milpitas. She also spent years as an Editorial Producer for the San Jose Mercury News. Ms. Williams Low holds a BA in English from UC Berkeley.
Director of Strategic Grantmaking
Kenji Treanor leads all of SFF’s grantmaking, including the strategic portfolios in the 21st Century Education and the Pathways to Success programs, as well as the General Operating Support grants. His responsibilities include strategy development, program design, grantee and project identification, proposal review, funding recommendations, impact evaluation, supervision of program staff, and representing Sobrato to other funders and partners. Mr. Treanor joined SFF as Senior Program Officer in 2013, focused on education, with his role expanding in 2015 to encompass all of the foundation’s funding programs. In addition to grantmaking, Mr. Treanor also provides strategic leadership and holds top-line management responsibility for the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) initiative, including creating and directing SEAL’s scaling plan, and supervising senior SEAL staff. Prior to SFF, Mr. Treanor served nine years at the James Irvine Foundation, most recently as Program Officer, managing grants to build college and career pathways in low-income communities across California. He is also co-founder and board chair of Next Generation Scholars, an educational nonprofit that serves disadvantaged youth and families in Marin County. Mr. Treanor received his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco and holds a BA in American Studies, with emphasis in Ethnic Studies and Socio-Political Analysis, from UC Santa Cruz.
Director of Finance
Lee Lucca is the Sobrato Family Foundation’s Director of Finance, responsible for the Foundation’s finance, planning, IT, and impact investing activities. Prior to joining the Foundation, Lee held a number of executive finance & administration positions within the high-tech industry throughout Silicon Valley, working with Series A-B start-ups as well as established companies. In 2000, she formed her own management consulting firm, FINA Resources LLC, where she remains an advising partner. Lee serves on the board of the Special Relativity Education Foundation, and is a Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2) partner. Throughout her career, Lee has received several leadership awards, including the YWCA Silicon Valley Tribute to Women In Industry (TWIN) Award honoring Silicon Valley’s executive women. Lee received her BA in Economics from UCLA.
Senior Program Officer
Over the years, Doua Thor has gained a wealth of experience working with national, grassroots, and immigrant serving organizations. She served as an advisor to the Asian American and Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Fund and most recently before that was a political appointee in the Obama Administration as the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (Initiative). Prior to that she served as the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Initiative where she worked to build public private partnerships between federal agencies and philanthropic organizations such as the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation. In the past she also served as a Senior Fellow with the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) and was the Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) for nearly 9 years. She was selected as a New Voices Fellow in 2002, a German Marshall Memorial Fellow in 2008, an Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute Fellow in 2009, and a Health and Aging Policy Fellow supported by Atlantic Philanthropies in 2013. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan and her Bachelor of Arts from Wayne State University. Doua Thor and her family were resettled in Detroit and are among the many thousands of Hmong refugees who were resettled in the United States after supporting and fighting alongside the U.S. during the Vietnam War.
Senior Program Officer of Impact and Learning
As Program Officer of Impact and Learning, Maggie Hobstetter works with Foundation leadership, grantmaking, and operations teams to develop and implement the frameworks and processes by which the Foundation learns about impact of its investments. Prior to joining SFF, Ms. Hobstetter served as Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Specialist with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Bixby Center at UC Berkeley, where she led the Population and Reproductive Health Program’s monitoring, evaluation, and learning efforts. From 2010-2011, Ms. Hobstetter managed a portfolio of reproductive health projects and research on the Thai-Burma border as a consultant with Ibis Reproductive Health. Her earlier work has included implementing projects in Ghana, Thailand, and Haiti, and serving as a post-production unit manager with National Geographic Television and Film. Ms. Hobstetter holds a Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from Fordham University School of Law, a Master of Public Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and BA from American University. Maggie is licensed to practice law in the State of California.
As Sobrato Family Foundation’s Program Officer for our Pathways for Success and 21st Century Education programs, Jessica Lazar aids program design and implementation, and helps build and maintain relationships with our grantee partners, funding peers, and other leaders in the field. She brings a strong background in nonprofit professional experience to the Foundation from her previous position at Playworks in Silicon Valley, where she served as program coordinator and then as program manager. At Playworks, Ms. Lazar oversaw all aspects of school site programming, including planning, implementation, performance evaluation and budgeting, as well as the management, support, and cultivation of the teams that implemented programs in more than 25 schools in the region. Ms. Lazar holds a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from University of San Francisco, and a BA in History from Santa Clara University.
As Program Officer, Kailyn works on a wide range of program-related work for our 21st Century Education and Pathways for Success programs, as well as General Operating Support grants. Kailyn came to SFF after several years of serving as a Congressional staffer for Senator Dianne Feinstein in Washington DC and the state, where she managed a diverse legislative portfolio. She earned her Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and holds a BA in Political Science from UC San Diego.
Prithi Trivedi is a Program Officer at the Sobrato Family Foundation, where she works to support capacity building, evaluation, and learning.
Prior to this, she was a fellow in the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group, where she worked to strengthen both the foundation’s practices and the philanthropic sector more broadly. Before joining the Hewlett Foundation, she was part of the Organizational Effectiveness team at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Prithi also taught first grade with Teach for America in downtown San Jose and has worked with UNICEF India.
A Bay Area native, Prithi holds a master of public policy degree and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science, both from the University of California, Berkeley.
As Grants Manager, Tamara Radcliffe coordinates the pre- and post-administrative aspects of cash grant awards, and a host of communications, operations, and program-related duties. Ms. Radcliffe came to SFF from her position as Program Assistant in the Office of Community Health at Stanford School of Medicine, following her time as Community Grants Coordinator at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. She holds a BA in Anthropology and Behavioral Science from San Jose State University.
Grants and Finance Associate
As Grants and Finance Associate, Ann Marie will support internal operations for the Sobrato Family Foundation team. Ann Marie brings a breadth of knowledge to SFF with previous experience in accounting, finance and sales operations for various emerging growth companies in Silicon Valley. Prior to joining SFF, Ann Marie was a Finance Program Manager for Hedge Trackers, LLC, a leading provider of outsourced derivative accounting services and customized software solutions for hedge program management. She has also served as a trustee and Parent Association Board Treasurer for Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School, and Executive Board member of the Saint Francis High School Women’s Club. A Bay Area native, Ann Marie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy of Industrial Societies from the University of California, Berkeley.
As Program Associate, Jazmin Gonzalez serves as a member of the grantmaking team with primary responsibilities in the areas of internal communication and coordination, grant-seeker and grantee data collection, and field research. Prior to joining the Foundation, Jazmin held several roles at City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley, serving in the east side of San Jose. Her work at City Year included training, coaching and development of AmeriCorps staff members across 13 school sites, as well as managing program delivery of City Year’s educational and youth development services at an elementary campus in the Alum Rock school district. Jazmin holds a BS in Community and Regional Development with an emphasis in Policy and Planning from the University of California, Davis.
As Program Associate, Sara provides operational and strategic support to the Foundation’s Thriving Nonprofit Sector, Impact and Learning, and Nonprofit Center programs. Sara brings over five years of experience in youth development, education, and nonprofit management to the Foundation. Prior to joining SFF, Ms. Hutchinson worked for University Settlement in New York City as the director of after school and summer programs serving low-income youth in the Lower East Side. From 2012 – 2014, Sara served as a Teach for America corps member in Greenville, MS, teaching 7th and 8th grade English and French. Sara is also the founder of Girls Write the World, a non-profit providing literacy and empowerment programs to young women in the Mississippi Delta. Originally from South Carolina, Sara studied Political Science and Comparative Literature at the College of Charleston and has high proficiency in French.
Meghan Kinoshita joined the Sobrato Family Foundation in September 2016 and provides executive support to the CEO and manages day-to-day administrative operations within the Foundation. She serves as a liaison to the board of directors and works with Foundation staff on special projects. Ms. Kinoshita brings to her position more than 15 years of public relations and writing/communications experience in both corporate and nonprofit organizations. She has held various positions in local nonprofit organizations including the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Silicon Valley chapter of the American Heart Association and currently serves on the board of directors for Sunnyvale National Little League. Ms. Kinoshita holds a BA in English/Journalism and attended Fordham University for graduate studies in Mass Communications.
Sobrato Centers for Nonprofits
Property Manager, Sobrato Centers for Nonprofits: Milpitas, San Jose and Redwood Shores
As Property Manager, Remy-Anne Viajar assists with all tenant-related inquiries and concerns, provides outstanding customer service, and acts as a liaison for SFF with the community. For four years prior to her current position, Ms. Viajar served as the Nonprofit Center Coordinator, managing the daily events and providing property management support at the Milpitas and San Jose Nonprofit Centers. Prior to joining SFF in 2008, Ms. Viajar worked for the City of Milpitas, Park and Recreation department. She holds a BS in Kinesiology, with a minor in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management from San Jose State University.
Nonprofit Center Coordinator, San Jose
Olena Randall is the new SCNP-San Jose Coordinator, acting as on-site contact for tenants, visitors and vendors, and supporting key aspects of conference center programming. Olena comes to us from Unity Care Group, most recently serving as accounts payable administrator where she managed a variety of financial tasks and vendor relationships. Previously, Olena served as Unity Care’s senior administrative assistant where she supported the executive staff and managed internal events. Born and raised on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Olena brings her passion for service to the Foundation, along with years of voluntarism to organizations such as Ocean Conservancy and Surfrider Foundation, and to reforestation efforts in both the Hakalau Rainforest and Volcanoes National Park. She holds a BA in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations from UC San Diego.
Nonprofit Center Coordinator, Milpitas
Rayna Simpson is the SCNP-Milpitas Coordinator, responsible for conference center coordination, tenant requests, assisting with capital improvements, and contributing to center programming across all three Sobrato Center for Nonprofits properties. Ms. Simpson is a Milpitas native, and brings a host of experience in operations and budget administration, guest and member services, facilities management, vendor communications, event coordination, training, and human resources to this position—serving for several years as Operations Manager at Bally Total Fitness, and most recently, as Administrator with Robert Half International in Palo Alto.
Nonprofit Center Coordinator, Redwood Shores
Sambathany Chen is the SCNP-Redwood Shores Coordinator where she serves as the on-site contact for tenants and guests. While making sure that the day to day activities run smoothly at the center, she also assists with various projects which include capital improvements and center programming. A Southern Californian native, Sambathany moved to Northern California to pursue a degree in American Studies at UC Santa Cruz. After graduating, she remained in the Bay Area working in youth development and education reform, supporting non-profits with programming, as well as operations.
SEAL: Sobrato Early Academic Language Model
Dr. Anya Hurwitz has a longstanding commitment to creating the conditions for public schools to meet the diverse needs of their students’ academic and socio-emotional development. She has worked as a teacher, school leader, district administrator, and within the educational nonprofit sector. The early part of Dr. Hurwitz’s career was in New York City where she helped start a small secondary school in the Bronx and then became a Network Leader within the NYC Department of Education to a diverse group of 24 schools, preschool through early college. In 2010, she moved to northern California and began working as an educational consultant supporting district and school leaders as they planned and implemented strategic reform efforts. Dr. Hurwitz joined the SEAL team in 2014. She has a doctorate in educational leadership from UC Berkeley.
Dr. Laurie Olsen’s career spans more than four decades as a researcher, writer, advocate and provider of technical assistance and professional development on powerful programs for English Learners, preschool through community college. For 23 years, she led California Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization committed to California’s future as a culturally and linguistically diverse state. Dr. Olsen designed and directed a successful demonstration project in immigrant education in high schools in two California districts, and served as chief consultant to The PROMISE Initiative, focused on transformative education for English Learners in southern California. Dr. Olsen has published dozens of books, videos, articles and reports on educational equity, and has consulted with hundreds of schools and districts throughout the nation. She has a Ph.D. in social and cultural studies in education from UC Berkeley.
Director of Innovation & Strategy
Jennifer Analla has been working in the field of elementary education for more than 20 years. She began her career as a classroom teacher, and then transitioned to providing professional development for teachers and administrators throughout California—specializing in early literacy, and working with English Learners. Ms. Analla has been part of the SEAL team since 2009, having joined the second year of SEAL’s 5-year pilot. She worked closely with Dr. Laurie Olsen to design and deliver the model of training for SEAL replication. Ms. Analla is a certified Reading Recovery teacher, and a Tier IV GLAD Trainer, and holds both a Masters Degree in Education from UC Santa Barbara, and a Masters in Educational Leadership and Administrative Credential from San Jose State University.
Director of Program
As Director of Program, Patricia Delaney coordinates visits to SEAL demonstration sites, and works with key district level leaders who have an interest in implementing the SEAL model. Ms. Delaney has been an educator for more than 25 years—beginning in bilingual first grade classroom in San Rafael, leading to more than a decade teaching in K-5 classrooms across the district. While at San Rafael City Schools, Ms. Delaney developed a new district-wide teacher support program based on the Santa Cruz New Teacher Project, and became the district’s New Teacher Advisor—later working at the county level with Marin County Office of Education’s BTSA program. Ms. Delaney has also served as a K-8 school site administrator, and as San Rafael’s K-12 Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction. She holds a BA in Bilingual Education and Latin American Studies from Cal State University Chico, a teaching credential from Cal State Sonoma, and a Masters in Educational Leadership with an Administrative Services Credential from San Francisco State University.
Chief Finance and Administrative Officer
Priscilla Chen-Ok joined Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) in 2017 as their Chief Finance and Administrative Officer helping to develop the infrastructure of the SEAL program into that of an independent organization. She comes with over 20 years of experience in business development, finance and operations having worked in investment real estate and advertising before transitioning into the non-profit sector. She brings a strong background in nonprofit professional experience to SEAL from her previous position at Youth Leadership Institute, where she served as Interim CEO and then as their Chief Finance Officer. At YLI, Ms. Chen-Ok oversaw all aspects of finance and administration across four regional offices within the greater Bay Area. Prior to YLI, she served as Deputy Director at Wu Yee Children’s Services for ten years. Involved in their Early Head Start/ Head Start Early Education and Childcare programs, her work included program planning and budgeting, as well as organizational management, support of parents, and cultivation of the teams that implemented Early Head Start programs across six child care sites in San Francisco. Ms. Chen-Ok is passionate in serving children, youth and their families and committed to early education and working with immigrant families providing equal access to quality education for all children. She holds a BS in Business Administration from San Francisco State University.
Director of Research and Evaluation
Laura Hernandez joined SEAL in 2013 after 13 years in the Oak Grove School District as a third, fifth, and sixth grade classroom teacher, and 6 years as a literacy coach for the district—working with teachers on refining their craft to meet the needs of all students. Ms. Hernandez’ entire career in education has taken place in Title 1 Schools with high levels of English Language Learners, and she is passionate about culturally-responsive teaching to ensure educational equity for all students. She completed her undergraduate work at St. Mary’s College, majoring in Liberal Studies with a minor in Child Development, and went on to receive her teaching credential as well as her Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration from San Jose State University.
Heather Skibbins’ experience in education began with her work helping struggling high school students in Berkeley High School’s Rebound program, and continued through 13 years as a credentialed bilingual teacher in classrooms from kindergarten through fourth grade in the Hayward Unified School District. Ms. Skibbins is also a certified Project GLAD trainer, providing professional development to teachers in the area of language acquisition and literacy throughout Northern California, Hawaii, and Texas. Ms. Skibbins majored in Community Studies and graduated with a BA from UC Santa Cruz.
Associate Trainer Coordinator
Michelle Rosecrans brings more than 20 years of K-3 classroom experience working with English Language Learners, as well as deep experience working directly with teachers—as a teacher-leader, a BTSA support provider and grade level coach for new teachers, and as a District Literacy Lead, where she guided colleagues in the development of Common Core-aligned reading and writing strategies and assessments. She has also worked closely with several leadership committees dedicated to the improvement of English Language instruction and family engagement, including the development of a district-wide LCAP plan, and a PTA-ELAC partnership aimed to improve parent involvement schoolwide. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Education Department at Dominican University in San Rafael, holding an MA Education and Administration from San Francisco State University, and a BA in Communication Arts and Psychology with an emphasis in Child Development from the University of San Francisco.
Coach Facilitator Coordinator
As SEAL Coach Facilitator Coordinator, Marna Ledesma provides orientation and support to the crucial role of the SEAL Coach Facilitator. She has passion for English Language Learners and for supporting the success of teachers in student centered classrooms. Marna brings more than 31 years of K-6 classroom experience working as a teacher, Literacy Coach, English Language Learner Coach and BTSA support provider for new teachers. As a SEAL Coach Facilitator for 4 years, she guided a cohort of 8 schools across 5 grade levels to develop and implement over 30 thematic units of study. She holds a Bachelor in Science from UC Davis and a Masters in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University.
District Relations Administrator
As a member of a team of District Relations Administrators, Venus Cenizal serves as a liaison between the SEAL organization and districts implementing the SEAL model. Ms. Cenizal has been an educator for 20 years. Most recently, she has served as the Coordinator of Learning and Development in Milpitas Unified School District, helping to establish the dual immersion program, establishing the Pathways to Biliteracy Program, and highlighting the multilingual students of the district. Ms. Cenizal has taught grades Kindergarten – 8th grade in San Francisco and during her tenure Cupertino Union School District. She has also served as an ELD teacher and ELD Specialist. Ms. Cenizal holds a BA in Liberal Studies from St. Mary’s College, a teaching credential and administrative services credential, and her Masters in teaching Cross Cultural Awareness from the University of San Francisco.
District Relations Administrator
As a member of a team of District Relations Administrators, Corina Sapien serves as a liaison between the SEAL organization and districts implementing the SEAL model. Ms. Sapien has been an educator for over 28 years beginning as a middle school teacher in Gilroy. She then went on to serve as an assistant principal and literacy facilitator at a Gilroy elementary school and helped to establish a dual immersion program at a second elementary school in Gilroy. For the past seven year Ms. Sapien served as principal of Glen View Elementary School. As principal, Ms. Sapien led her staff in the implementation of the SEAL model. Ms. Sapien obtained her bachelor’s degree in English, three teaching credentials, and her Administrative Credential and Masters in Educational Administration from Santa Clara University.
Jennifer Ancheta-Garcia brings a strong background in early literacy education, and a dedicated commitment to English Language Learners to her work as a SEAL Associate Trainer. While incorporating Common Core Standards through the SEAL model for several years as a trained SEAL classroom teacher in the Oak Grove School District, Ms. Ancheta-Garcia has seen the positive effects SEAL strategies have on students first hand—noting high-level engagement and a newfound confidence among her students. In 2014, she received the Oak Grove School District’s Vision “Communications” Award recognizing her exemplary work with students and colleagues, and she now provides on-site SEAL training and support for teachers and districts. Ms. Ancheta-Garcia holds a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from San Jose State University and a BA in Visual Communication Design from San Francisco State University.
Abby Arrizon worked as both a classroom teacher and teacher on special assignment for 14 years prior to joining SEAL as a coach and facilitator. 12 of these were spent in elementary grade classrooms at a Title 1 school in the San Lorenzo Unified School District. During her tenure, she served on the District English Language Leadership Team as well as the Literacy and Mathematics Leadership Teams, and was both a BTSA support provider and an in-district trainer for a variety of initiatives. Ms. Arrizon received her Bachelors degree in Liberal and Civic Studies along with her teaching credential from Saint Mary’s College.
Barbara Ann Genovese-Fraracci joined the SEAL team as a trainer for Southern California in 2014. Prior to SEAL, Ms. Fraracci was an elementary, middle, and high school teacher for 38 years, specializing in English Learner programs. She spent much of her time providing professional development, supporting classroom teachers through modeling lessons and coaching, and facilitating collaboration at school sites throughout her district. Barbara was chosen as her district’s Teacher of the Year in 2010, became a Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year, and was one of 8 finalists for California State Teacher of the Year. A Reading Recovery Teacher, Ms. Fraracci is also a Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) Key Trainer, and a Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) trainer and coach. She graduated from UCLA with a BA in History, has a BCLAD in Spanish, and a Master’s degree in Education specializing in Curriculum Development and Instruction.
Carla Herrera has been a passionate bilingual educator for more than forty years, specializing in biliteracy and dual immersion education program implementation and development in both Spanish and Portuguese. She has provided technical assistance at multiple levels: site, district, county, state, IHE, national and international. Recognized by the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) as the very first Bilingual Teacher of the Year in 1989, that same year, Ms. Herrera was also named Teacher of the Year by National Association for Bilingual Education—the first from California. Ms. Herrera served as Professional Development Specialist for Technology Integration in Multilingual Settings at the Center for Language Minority Education and Research, Cal State Long Beach; was the Two-Way Immersion | Biliteracy Specialist for eight California counties; and was the first EL | Dual Language Learner Regional Lead and Advisory Member for the California Preschool Instructional Network. In addition to her work with SEAL, Ms. Herrera also serves on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), an advisory body to the State Board of Education. She received a Master’s Degree in Bilingual/Cross-Cultural Education and a B.A. in Spanish at Cal State University Long Beach.
Joanna Meadvin¹s experience in education began in the Peace Corps as teacher in a small, trilingual city in Nicaragua; seeing her Miskito-speaking students’ struggle with Spanish sparked a passion for language learners. Dr. Meadvin has taught 2nd, 3rd and 7th grade in New York City, writing to first-generation college students in Mississippi, and college-level literature classes here in California. Dr. Meadvin has a masters degree in bilingual/bicultural education from Teachers College in New York City, and in 2016 she received her PhD in Literature with a focus on language and migration from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Katie Mlakar joins the SEAL team with ten years of teaching experience in the Oak Grove School District. She has taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades at Miner Elementary, a Title I SEAL Demonstration school, and is passionate about providing a meaningful classroom experience for second language learners. As a SEAL trained teacher, Ms. Mlakar has spent several years incorporating Common Core State Standards and has seen first-hand the positive impact SEAL strategies have had on students, and how the program can rejuvenate teachers as they refine their technique. She feels an urgency to be a part of the expansion of the SEAL program in order to empower teachers and students. Ms. Mlakar received her Masters in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on collaborative learning, as well as an administrative credential, from National University.
Patricia Montes Pate has been a SEAL Trainer since 2013, having worked in education for more than 15 years—as a Spanish bilingual elementary teacher in the Santa Clara Unified School District, a university supervisor for the Stanford Teacher Education Program, and a Project GLAD Trainer. Over her career Ms. Pate has worked with hundreds of teachers, providing professional development and classroom support. She specializes in curriculum design, and holds a Master of Arts in Education, Administration & Supervision from San Jose State University.
Ashleigh Williams worked as a dual immersion K-2 teacher for five years in Redwood City and Salinas schools before joining the SEAL team. In these five years, Ms. Williams was SEAL-trained and helped to develop two dual immersion programs, which only deepened her passion for teaching language and culture, as well as for helping others hone their skill set in carrying out the same mission. She has seen the incredible benefits and deep, lasting effects of SEAL in her students first hand – a feeling of respect for others as well as for themselves, attaining a broader vocabulary in both native and new languages, and a spark that can only be described as a joy for learning. Her bilingual, English and Italian, upbringing are natural sources for Ms. Williams’ profound value, respect, and honor for home languages and how those find their place in a classroom setting. She holds a BA in Spanish from UC Davis.
SEAL Associate Trainer
Adriana Diaz comes to SEAL with over 20 years experience in Education. The common thread throughout all her work has been her passion in advocating for under-served students and their families. She has worked as a community coordinator, Spanish bilingual teacher from elementary through high school level, academic counselor and also a professor of Communications for over 7 years. Her work with English Language Learners has motivated her to build strong critical thinkers in her students and help them see the value they bring with their first language. She has worked to have every student build effective communication skills in order to become their own advocates for themselves, their families and their community. Ms. Diaz holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science in Mass Communication from San Jose State University.
SEAL Associate Trainer
Ana Sanchez-Martinez has been involved in the field of education going on 20 years. She has worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) where she taught in grades K-3, was a Title I and Title III Coordinator and most recently as an Instructional Coach focusing on English Learner Instruction. She has collaborated with LAUSD’s Multicultural-Multilingual Education Department on a variety of planning, delivery and advocacy efforts related to English Language Development, Dual Language Programs and instructional design with English Language Learners (ELLs) as the main focus group. She has taught courses including Instructional Methods for ELLs, a state required course to obtain a teaching credential, at Loyola Marymount University to Elementary and Secondary teacher preparation students. She is trained in G.L.A.D, Thinking Maps, Writer’s Workshop, Guided Reading, Literature Circles, Cognitive Coaching (UCLA’s Center X) Constructive Academic Conversations (Jeff Zwiers), as well as Strategic Observation and Reflection (SOAR). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Spanish from California State University, Long Beach, a Multiple-Subject teaching credential from CSU, Dominguez Hills, and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from CSU, Northridge. As an Associate Trainer, she will also be supporting LAUSD schools participating in Project ROYAL, a SEAL replication study, in partnership with LMU’s Center for Equity for English Learners.
SEAL Associate Trainer
Jaylene Shelby started her journey in as a bilingual teacher studying education in Querétaro, México, later finishing her BA in Spanish and Liberal Studies as well as a BCLAD teaching credential at San Francisco State University. She also participated in the Bi-National Teacher Education Project at Sacramento State allowing her to practice and study in Guatemala. She began teaching in a 3rd grade bilingual class in San Lorenzo, though her journey with the SEAL model started later in a bilingual kindergarten class. Following that, she transitioned to a role as SEAL coach/ facilitator and continued to support teachers district wide in San Lorenzo for three years. Jaylene has a passion for supporting language learners and is thrilled to be part of the SEAL training team.
SEAL Associate Trainer
Cory Wechsler has spent the past twenty years examining nonviolence, community building, youth development, sports, play and restorative justice. This work has included directing a Youth Leadership Program, teaching women and girls’ self-defense, developing sports-based youth development curricula and being part of a community effort to introduce Bay Area schools to restorative justice. For the past ten years Cory has worked as a Restorative Justice Consultant, originally with Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, the group that introduced restorative justice to Oakland, and more recently supporting the LAUSD Restorative Justice roll-out effort. She received her Masters in Education from San Francisco State University.
Dr. Guadalupe Díaz is a Research Associate with SEAL who brings extensive experience researching early educational programs for Dual Language Learners. Prior to SEAL, Dr. Díaz worked as Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Irvine, where she focused on improving early educational outcomes and parenting for bilingual children and families. She received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences from Oregon State University with an emphasis on early childhood development, educational experiences, and parenting. Her research is focused on understanding and improving the individual and ecological factors that influence children’s educational experiences, and the influence of parenting skills and engagement on children’s development. Specific populations of interest in her research include children and families from ethnically diverse backgrounds, and children who are Dual Language Learners.
As Business Manager, Saul Zevada manages the day-to-day business activities of the Sobrato Early Academic Language initiative, supports administrative and operational functions within SEAL, and serves as liaison to The Sobrato Organization around SEAL’s finance, IT, and HR activities. Mr. Zevada brings years of relevant experience working in the Ravenswood City School District—most recently charged with systems management, data tracking and configuration, and HR and budgetary reporting activities for Ravenswood’s Human Resources Department and Superintendent’s Office. His firsthand knowledge of school district practices and procedures, experience in both client services and case management at community-based organizations, and strong commitment to the mission of the Foundation advance SEAL’s work with our partner schools. Mr. Zevada holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chicana/o Studies from UC Santa Barbara.
Theresa Rossetto provides program support and handles administration, replication coordination, events, and communication duties for the SEAL team. Before joining SEAL, Ms. Rossetto spent a decade working in public safety in training and management capacities, and was honored with the Ramona Miller Pillar of Inspiration Award in 2002 by her peers and police chiefs throughout Santa Clara County. For more than 25 years, Bay Area native Ms. Rossetto has supported adults afflicted with muscular dystrophy, helping to advocate for their rights and needed support, and has strong ties to the local Italian Heritage Foundation in San Jose. She holds BA degrees in both Psychology and Child Development from San Jose State University.
Digital Platforms and Communications Specialist
Monica Alegre joins the SEAL team with over eight years experience in PR and Marketing. As the Digital Platforms and Communications Specialist, she assists SEAL by supporting the creation and implementation of online systems utilized to build and strengthen the efficiency and quality of SEAL operations and communications. Prior to joining SEAL, Monica served as the Director of Marketing & Special Events at Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley. She was also a Circle K International member and Kiwanian for several years where she was recognized for Outstanding Service and as a Distinguished District Chair in 2009. Monica is currently involved in a start-up media company dedicated to leading and exhibiting positive social change both nationwide and in our community.
Nanette Garcia provides quality production, distribution, and inventory maintenance support for the SEAL team. Before joining SEAL, Ms. Garcia was a Response to Instruction (RTI) Tutor at Guadalupe Elementary and an ELL Instructional Assistant at Carlton Avenue Elementary. Having previously worked as an event-marketing manager for a software company, Ms. Garcia also has a strong background in graphic design and event marketing. She is an appointed Notary Public for the state of California and holds a BA degree in Rhetoric & Communication, with a minor in Psychology, from UC Davis.
Krista Kleidon serves as Materials Specialist for SEAL, providing project management and materials support to all aspects of the Sobrato Early Academic Language Model. She brings a strong background in graphic design and production necessary to the design, replication, and distribution of SEAL training and collateral materials. Before joining SEAL, Krista worked for several years in sales and high-tech marketing in Silicon Valley. She is very involved in the educational endeavors of her children and has devoted many hours volunteering at their school. Krista holds a BA in Graphic Communication with a concentration in Design Reproduction from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.