Colleen is a retired elementary school principal who moved to the Bay Area to be close to her grandchildren. But seeking additional fulfillment and possessing an interest in community involvement and quality education, she began volunteering with Experience Corps in kindergarten at Sanchez Elementary in San Francisco. Now serving as the Literacy Trainer for ECBA she is definitely in her niche. She spent 10 years as a Staff Developer in the Washoe County School District in Reno. Twenty years as a classroom teacher and another 13 years as a principal round out her lifelong career as an educator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, and Fribourg, Switzerland, and an M.Ed and Administrative Credential from the University of Nevada. Colleen has taught Reading, English, French, English as a Second Language, Physical Education and her nemesis: Bachelor Survival in Home Economics! She comes from a large family of educators; her mother taught in a one room school house in the Midwest. Colleen is passionate about giving each child the motivation and skills to become a successful reader. Besides grandchildren, her other passions are sailing, hiking, reading and needlework.
A Bay Area native, Cynthia worked as a classroom assistant in an Oakland Elementary school while finishing college, and after graduating she continued in the educational arena teaching English at primary schools in Italy. However, after 2 years in Italy she learned that classroom teaching was not her forte. Primarily working with non-profits that support education, she recently ventured into the world of educational startups where she helped non-tech parents understand browsers, download speeds, and the difference between learning a ‘Scratch’ project during the Hour of Code vs. their kids learning ‘Scratch’ I, II, or III in an afterschool class. Today she's come full circle and is back in Oakland elementary schools supporting ECBA volunteers. Cynthia has a B.A. in Psychology, and is completing her Masters of Public Health.
Originally from the East Coast, Emily has spent the last 6 years as a California resident. She received her B.A. in Sociology and International Relations from Wesleyan University and a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Southern California. She is passionate about community partnerships that empower and invest in underserved neighborhoods. She joins ECBA with a strong background in marketing, fundraising and program management. Outside of work, Emily spends time in the ceramics studio, hiking with her dog, and exploring the East Bay.
Frances was born in Detroit, Michigan in the middle of the Great Depression. After high school graduation, she entered a convent of Dominican nuns in Racine, Wisconsin. During that time she taught in elementary schools in Michigan and Wisconsin and later pursued graduate degrees from Saint Louis University. Doctoral studies and her eventual Ph.D. led her to research in the politically convulsed country of Bolivia where she worked until 1983. She taught university classes, worked in remote rural communities, directed numerous research studies and spearheaded a variety of community development projects. The life-defining events of those years are detailed in her first English language publication “They Make Us Dangerous.” She brings a wide range of experiences to the table from teaching in urban and rural schools in the United States to research and university teaching in the midst of violence and political upheaval. Whether a second grade teacher, a researcher, a visiting scholar at Stanford University, Immigration court interpreter, small business entrepreneur or human resource go-to person for janitors, Frances has always been a strong believer in democracy in the workplace and community activism to create a better world for all.
Originally from Alaska, Jeni has spent the last 12 years as a proud resident of East Oakland. She received her B.A. in Women and Gender Studies from Amherst College and her M.A. in Dramatic Literature from San Francisco State University. With 15 years of experience in the educational nonprofit sector, she is deeply committed to closing the education gap for low-income children and families. She is thrilled to be working with ECBA's dedicated staff and volunteers to support BayArea K-3 graders in developing the literacy skills they need to succeed in school and life. Outside of work, Jeni tends her urban garden, hikes the Oakland hills, and works on community beautification projects.