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SF Bay Area

Our Team

  • Hector Ramon Salazar M. Ed.

    Executive director, SF Bay Area

    Considered a key advisor and subject matter expert on account management, brand visibility, and nonprofit leadership, Hector has established himself as a true bridge-builder in the movement for educational equity. As a fervent pacesetter for mission-driven organizations, his professional efforts have landed him extensive experience in partnering alongside school eco-systems to impact change. He has over a decade of experience developing, managing, and implementing programs targeted at the advancement of underserved groups. Hector has led partnerships with multiple local and nationwide organizations including BACR, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, YMCA, and City Year. In his previous roles with Revolution Foods, Playworks, and most recently Eye to Eye National, Hector built lasting partnerships with multiple institutions with a shared goal of designing programmatic advancement relating to outcomes, impact, and user experience while enhancing leadership, school climate, and action planning. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Oakland, California’s Holy Names University (HNU). Hector is a family man first, spending his free time laughing through life with his wife and four children.
  • Veronica Wiegenstein

    Program manager

    Originally from Seattle, Washington, Veronica grew tired of the constant rain and after getting a bachelor's degree in Russian at Western Washington University she moved to Denver, Colorado. Here she served for a year as a volunteer coordinator for Reading Partners Colorado. After an intense service year, she packed up again and moved to Budapest, Hungary to teach English to middle school students. Falling in love with central Europe, she stayed in the region and went back to school, earning a master's degree in Human Rights Law from Central European University in Vienna, Austria. Despite loving her life in that city, the memories of her service year were never far from her mind, and she felt compelled to return to Reading Partners. Wanting to see some sun, she chose to come to the Bay Area and left her heavy winter coat behind. As a child, Veronica's favorite books were history related, with a soft spot for the "Little House" series. These days she can be found reading, doing needlepoint, exploring the Bay Area, and studying multiple languages. 
  • Ariana Vargas

    Development manager

    A San Jose native, Ariana enjoys combining her love for the Bay Area community and service into a meaningful career. She graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Spanish. Ariana was previously with the Golden State Warriors as a part of their Community Relations team. In her role, she was responsible for managing and executing all aspects of the Warriors' educational programming, including project conception and creation, identifying program delivery partners, and key stakeholder engagement with corporate, community, government, and school partners. Through her time with the Warriors, her passion for working with and for the community grew. Growing up Ariana's favorite children's book was Alice and Greta by Steven J. Simmons.
  • Hong Thach

    Development and external relations director

    Born in Hong Kong and raised in Oakland, Hong graduated from Cal State East Bay with a BS in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism. He is proud to have come up through Oakland public schools, and graduated from Oakland Senior High School. Before joining Reading Partners, Hong worked at the Oakland Ed Fund where his love of development began, as development manager before transitioning to a major gifts officer, where he qualified, identified, cultivated, and solicited prospects through extensive local work. Working for the Reading Partners is his chance to realize his dream of tying career to roots, of giving back to the community where he grew up riding the BART from west to deep east and attending the very schools he is working to support today. He looks forward to continuing to serve the Bay Area and the opportunity to develop a successful business here. When he is not at work, Hong loves spending time with his wife and two daughters, traveling, and eating out, or cheering on his favorite sports team, the Golden State Warriors! His favorite book to read to kids is Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin.
  • Clarence Say

    Program manager

    Clarence is a California-based educator with a master’s in teaching and a background in visual arts, music, and dance. He enjoys traveling, learning new languages, and spending time in nature. His favorite books are The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Professionally, he has dedicated his career to supporting student success - in the classroom as a first-grade teacher in Memphis, TN, abroad as a specialist teacher with EF Kids and Teens in Foshan, China, and through service with both the Peace Corps as a primary education specialist in Satun, Thailand, and AmeriCorps as a distance tutoring coordinator with Reading Partners in the San Francisco Bay Area, where you can still find him living and learning today!
  • Allison Rhodes-Baker

    Managing director

    Allison is excited to lead the SFBA team’s volunteer recruitment efforts to engage over 1,600 tutors for our region. She has developed a passion for volunteering and service after five years of managing education programming for a nonprofit in Thailand and Myanmar, teaching primary students in Ghana, West Africa, and serving with AmeriCorps teaching resettled refugees in San Diego. She joined Reading Partners in 2015 as a program manager in San Francisco, and is excited to share her love for the reading centers  to community partners and new tutors. She has a bachelor’s in human development and international studies from UC San Diego. Growing up, she loved solving mysteries with The Boxcar Children book series.
  • Sam Recinos

    Community engagement manager

    Sam is a community engagement associate in the San Francisco Bay Area and originally is from Los Angeles, CA. They studied Chicanx Studies and Political Science at community college before transferring to UC Santa Cruz, graduating with a B.A. in Latin American and Latinx studies. After graduating, Sam joined Reading Partners as an AmeriCorps member for two terms, serving as a volunteer coordinator before their current position. In elementary school, they could be found on a beanbag in the library reading A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Spiderwick Chronicles. These days, you'll find Sam at an art show, biking, or a concert!
  • Mareko Prior

    Program director

    Originally from the Chicago area, Mareko is an alumna of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She developed a commitment to getting things done while serving with AmeriCorps VISTA in Kansas City, and later as a City Year San Antonio Program Director. Driven by ensuring young people access the opportunities they deserve to become the change-makers our communities need, she joined amazing teams at The Posse Foundation and iMentor. Mareko most recently served as a director at Moneythink, where she launched a remote coaching program that supported students through texting and apps.
  • Shea Krause

    Development operations manager

    Originally from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Shea graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She gained her passion for service and literacy while serving as an AmeriCorps member and volunteer coordinator at Jumpstart Pittsburgh while in college. Shea joined Reading Partners in 2019, completing two AmeriCorps VISTA terms before joining as full-time staff. Growing up, her favorite books were the A Series of Unfortunate Events series.
  • Lauren Cono

    Program manager

    Lauren grew up in southern California and studied English at university. While getting her bachelor’s degree, she completed a nine-month study abroad in Florence, Italy to go toward her minor in Italian literature. She worked in psycho-education for three years and completed two years of service in Thailand with the Peace Corps, working in rural schools and communities in the south. Upon returning, she moved to San Francisco to join Reading Partners and served two years as an AmeriCorps member. Now she is a program manager at Reading Partners who is passionate about serving students in the Bay Area. She lived inside the Harry Potter universe as a child yet her favorite children's book is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - she currently owns a copy in English, Italian and Thai.
  • Michael Rhodes-Baker

    Regional partnerships manager

    Michael is a program manager in the East Bay. He is a transplant to the Bay Area from Buffalo, New York where in 2011 he earned his bachelor’s from SUNY Buffalo in history and a certification in secondary education. He briefly taught seventh and eighth grade social studies before continuing his career working in the nonprofit sector with Buffalo’s growing refugee population. After working with populations in Buffalo and on the Thai-Myanmar border, Mike returned to the United States to complete his master’s in sustainable development at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. He has been serving Reading Partners in the Silicon Valley and Bay Area as a program manager since 2015, and started his role as Regional Partnerships Manager in July 2021. His favorite children’s book, if forced to chose one, is Redwall by Brian Jacques. He loves camping, cars, coffee, and current events. 
  • Miiraf Arefeaine

    Program manager

    Originally from San Jose, CA, Miiraf briefly moved to the East Coast to attend Phillips Exeter Academy before coming back home to study English Literature at the University of San Francisco (Go Dons!). Throughout her upbringing, she spent time volunteering in literacy education in Ethiopia, where her family is from. Her passion for service and equity in literacy education led her to Reading Partners in 2018, where she served as an AmeriCorps Site Coordinator at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in San Francisco. She then moved to Madrid, Spain where she taught English and American Culture to high school students at IES San Juan Bautista for two years. While in Madrid, she also led the Global Classrooms (Model UN) program at San Juan through Fulbright Spain, adapting the program to surmount the challenges we all faced in the past two years. She is incredibly excited to be returning to Reading Partners in the role of Program Manager in the East Bay! Growing up, Miiraf could be found reading Dragon Rider, the Nancy Drew series, the Underland Chronicles, and of course, Harry Potter, among many others.
  • Rebekah Espino-Drobner

    Community engagement director

    Rebekah comes to Reading Partners as the Community Engagement Director after holding the role of Community Engagement Associate from 2018-2020. She was recently the Director of Programs at a non-profit working on community organizing with local high school students, and is excited to return to Reading Partners with some new perspectives. As someone raised in the East Bay, she is looking forward to continuing to work in an organization that focuses on building strong community partnerships to directly serve the students within the community. Outside of Reading Partners, Rebekah spends her time focused on community organizing, enjoying the outdoors, and watching bad reality TV. While Nancy Drew was her favorite series to read growing up, her favorite children's book is Amelia Bedelia.
  • Marcello Magaña

    Program manager

    Born and raised in the Bay Area, Marcello has made it his mission to serve the community he lives in. An entrepreneurial spirit with a strong passion for project management and collaborative leadership who thrives in high-tempo environments that require navigation, organization and structure of moving parts. Marcello is a lifelong learner skilled at communicating holistic values, and eager to support SF Bay Area communities. As a former Dean of Students and Social Emotional Learning coach, Marcello’s experience in education contributes to his ever-expanding skill set to deliver innovative and robust experiences to underserved communities. Outside of work, his passions lie in filmmaking and storytelling as he attends various film festivals throughout the year to indulge his cinema fix. Some of his favorite books include Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist,  Micheal A. Singers's The Untethered Soul, and Warren Berger’s The Book of Beautiful Questions.
  • Amanda Christian

    Special Projects manager

    Amanda has been working with children and recovery crisis cases for roughly 10 years. Originally from SoCal, she moved to the Bay Area in 2017. Her passion and dedication lie in event planning, community building, youth advocacy, and traveling the globe. Amanda has her B.A. in Psychology and an A.A. in Child Development from Cal State University Fullerton. After college, Amanda served 3 AmeriCorps terms and some of her most memorable projects were, creating a library for children in Ghana and coordinating kindness fairs within schools. In Amanda’s free time she enjoys finding unique pop-up events, exploring new places, experiencing new things, singing, dancing, and playing board games. Amanda’s favorite author is Malcolm Gladwell. Her childhood favorite book series our Harry Potter, Eragon, and Chronicles of Narnia.

Our AmeriCorps team

Site coordinators and literacy leads 

East Bay:

Janna Katz, program coordinator, Bella Vista

Callum Goetz, senior program coordinator, Berkeley Maynard Academy

Yesenia Ortega-Valencia, program coordinator, Bridges Academy

Shannon Culpepper, program coordinator, Cox Academy

JeJuan Narcisse, senior program coordinator, Fruitvale Academy

Niesha Colbert-Junior, senior program coordinator, International Community School

Shaahida Ali-Smith, program coordinator, Laurel

Nisha Hollis, program coordinator, Lockwood STEAM Academy

Natalie Quinn, senior program coordinator, North Oakland Community Charter

Shawn Culpepper, program coordinator, REACH Academy

Claudia Navarro, program coordinator, Think College Now

Akilah Watkins, senior site coordinator, Madison Park Academy

San Francisco + South San Francisco:

Julia Weir, regional program coordinator, Bessie Carmichael

Sarah Zuberi, program coordinator, Cesar Chavez

Vanessa Alvarez, program coordinator, Flynn

Gary Yu, program coordinator, Jean Parker

Carina Casissa, senior program coordinator, Rosa Parks

Eden Phillips, senior regional program coordinator, Sherman

Alison Ly, program coordinator, Spring Valley Elementary

Eden Phillips, senior regional program coordinator, Tenderloin

Regional program coordinators:

Eden Phillips

Julia Weir

Khaleed Brew

Volunteer coordinators:

Beverly Duan

Mahi Taban

Tami MacDonald

Literacy Leads

Gery Gilbert

Roberto Herrera

Olivia Wong


Board

Cathy Cockrum Dean, Education Philanthropist

Durell Coleman, DJ and Event Host

Michael Dechert, Analyst, Farallon Capital Management

David Ellis, Director of Health Care Sales, North America, Linkedin

Jennifer Friedland, Golden Gate Mother’s Club, Volunteer Chair

Michael Gorman, Vice President, Capital Markets, Aon New Ventures Group

Zachary Hill, Director of Community Relations, Golden State Warriors

Chris Lambert, Chief Technology Officer, Lyft

Tom Low, Managing Director, Pivot Consulting

Kimberly Mayfield, Dean, School of Education at Holy Names University

Christine Moll, Chief Marketing Officer, O’Neill Vintners and Distillers

Jenee Palmer, Regional College & Career Director, Northern California, CollegeTrack

Emma Parkerson, Associate, Network Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Evan Schwartz, Director of Philanthropy, Golden State Warriors Foundation

R. James Slaughter, Partner, Keker & Van Nest LLP

Kristin Sverchek, Lyft, General Counsel

Tom White, President and CEO, Co-founder, Triact Therapeutics Inc.

Americorps

Thanks to our partners

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