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Our Staff


 
STEVEN KELLNER
 
Chris Rodriguez 
 
Fran Kipnis
 
Jane Lanza
 
 
Ashley Cheung Dooley
 
JoDee Marcellin
 
Janna Smith
 
Jose Silva
 

Ashley Cheung Dooley
PROGRAM MANAGER

Prior to joining the California Education Partners team, Ashley was a Program Manager at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and worked with state educational agencies to better implement effective policies around high quality and standards-based instruction. Her projects ranged from supporting early childhood instruction, creating infrastructure to incentivize high quality instructional materials to utilizing the state role to support students who are historically below grade level. Ashley is passionate about issues surrounding equitable access and opportunities for all students and supports  state and local leaders and strategies that attempt to create a more equitable system for all students.


She received her Master of Public Policy in education policy from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University. She received her undergraduate degrees from the University of California, San Diego.

Janna Smith
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, PEOPLE AND CULTURE

With a passion for supporting systematic change, Janna has dedicated her entire professional career to supporting non-profit organizations within a diverse range of demographics. After studying sociology at UC Santa Cruz, Janna spent the next 10 years expanding upon her leadership and communication skills within the mental health and foster care systems. During this time, she attended several trainings and mentorships to deepen her skills and approach in the work; a few of these include, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training, Nonviolent Communication, and Lean Management. Inspired by the importance of connection, Janna then went on to help start 1440 Multiversity, a learning and wellness destination center in the Santa Cruz mountains hosting personal and professional growth workshops with luminary faculty from around the world. Having lead a large team through the initial startup phases of an organization, and having built all the internal systems to support over 800 faculty programs per year, Janna developed a deep devotion for lean and efficient operating systems in support of meaningful and transformative work. Janna aspires to contribute to the field of education through her systematic approach to organizational health, and the integration of her work in human potential.

JoDee Marcellin
DIRECTOR OF DISTRICT TO DISTRICT PROGRAMS

JoDee Marcellin, Ed.D. grew up in the Bay Area and moved to attend California State University, Fresno in 1986, where she completed her undergraduate and graduate studies. JoDee’s 18 year educational career in Sanger Unified School District afforded her experiences in all levels of K-12 from high school science teacher to site and district leadership. It was her own struggles as a student that has acted as a driving force to improve instruction and educational systems that better meet students’ needs, especially those unsupported by the current structures.

During JoDee’s K-12 tenure, she built a multifaceted background that provided her a unique opportunity to join the California Education Partner team. The innovation, drive, and passion to facilitate success for ALL students held by Ed Partners matches her own and allows her to expand and deepen the amazing work she was blessed to be involved in Sanger to a larger scale throughout California.


Jose Silva
DATA MANAGER

Prior to joining California Education Partners, he was the Data Manager at Sanger Unified School District. In this role Jose worked closely with district leadership and teachers to inform and impact positive student outcomes. He leveraged his previous private sector experience as a systems manager and continuous improvement engineer to develop new data perspectives and analysis. He was also responsible for completing all data analysis and associated findings to meet all grant reporting requirements.

Jose grew up in Farmersville, a small rural community located in California’s Central Valley. His current work provides him an opportunity to make a positive impact in communities where students share in a similar experience. He is committed to ensuring all students have an opportunity to be successful and achieve their dreams.

 



 
Kaitlyn Pearson 



 
Laura Wentworth



 
Laura Schwalm
 
Violet Leo
 

Laura Schwalm
CHIEF OF STAFF

“It has been a privilege to spend my entire career in public education. My teaching career began as a student teacher in the Garden Grove Unified School District and ended 41 years later in the same district, the last 14 of which were as superintendent. Along the way I had the opportunity both to teach and serve as a site administrator in elementary and secondary schools as well as to work in a variety of positions at the district level. Each of these experiences allowed me to work alongside and learn from remarkable teachers, administrators and support personnel. The opportunities I had to work with masterful teachers taught me the importance of building caring relationships with students, establishing high expectations and providing all the support necessary for students to meet those expectations. Skillful leaders taught me the importance of applying these same principles to leading schools, and later to leading a system of schools.

Over the years I found that the solutions to even the most complex problems most often were found in the minds of those closest to the work. Given the opportunity to work together, I watched teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and students find and execute creative and practical solutions for challenging situations. Enabling them to do this was simply a matter of giving them the time, space and structure necessary for the work.”

Laura Wentworth
DIRECTOR OF THE STANFORD UNIVERSITY/SFUSD PARTNERSHIP

Since 2009, Laura Wentworth has been the Director of the Stanford University, San Francisco Unified School District Partnership. In 2014, with the help of Laura’s leadership, the Graduate School of Education funded the Partnership at $1 million a year over five years to build the capacity of Stanford professors and San Francisco administrators to partner on projects aimed at making improvements in San Francisco and beyond. She received her Master’s in instruction and curriculum from the University of Colorado, a Masters in the social sciences of education and a PhD in administration and policy analysis in education from Stanford University.

Violet Leo 
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

For the past 14 years Violet worked as an administrator and librarian for the largest preschool under the Woodland Group of Pre-Schools in Hong Kong. She is delighted to be back in the Bay area to be closer to her family. She is a graduate of Oakland High School and is happy to be back in the city where she started her academic journey. She studied Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley and Computer Science at California State University, Hayward. She worked as a systems analyst for IBM in both Hong Kong and San Francisco as well as for Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco. She served as internal product support for database management at IBM Hong Kong.

Violet believes that a caring and safe environment for children induces learning. She is happy that at Ed Partners, she could contribute to better California's public school education. In her spare time she likes to curl up with a good book or watch Korean drama at home.

Kaitlyn Pearson
OPERATIONS AND EVENT COORDINATOR 

Kaitlyn joined Ed Partners after moving from the Midwest, where she worked for Drury University’s Admission program. There, she coordinated the University’s campus visit program and recruitment events before transitioning into her role as an Admissions and Financial Counselor where she recruited and advised prospective students through their college admission and financial aid process. Kaitlyn implemented recruitment events across the United States as well as college prep discussions and panels in Southeast Missouri for high school students and families. Having grown up in a rural, public education system, Kaitlyn finds it incredibly rewarding to work in support of educators and to assist in providing opportunities for students. In her free time you can find her somewhere outdoors exploring, or alternatively, indoors watching movies!

 



 
Michelle Nayfack



 
Amy Williams





 
Phil Halperin



 
Luis Argueta
 

Amy Williams
PROGRAM MANAGER

Amy has worked in the educational field for over 20 years. She formally worked in Sanger Unified School District in which she served students first as a classroom teacher, then school psychologist, special education program manager, and K-8 principal. Her most recent role in Sanger Unified was Coordinator of Inclusive Practices and Supports. She has experience in a variety of roles in both special education and general education providing a wide lens and varied perspective to support all learners within an organization. Amy has experience in developing, implementing and supporting district initiatives such as; Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Professional Learning Community (PLC), Response to Intervention (RTI), Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS), and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

 

Amy has received degrees and credentials from California State University Fresno, California, B.A. in Psychology, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, Education Administration and Supervision Clear Credential; Fresno Pacific University, M.A. in Education, Pupil Personnel Services Credential, Specialization School Psychology, and National University, Fresno, Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Phil Halperin
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

As a founder of both California Education Partners and the Silver Giving Foundation, Phil Halperin has dedicated his career to the kids of California. His work has led him to champion efforts to empower and improve school districts, strengthen pre-school statewide, promote local investment in public schools, support teachers, and build robust and innovative partnerships that close opportunity gaps and help students stay on the path to success in college, career, and life. Phil earned his A.B. in Political Science from Stanford University and his MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Phil has also co-chaired six successful campaigns which have raised collectively over $4.0 billion for the public schools and children of San Francisco.

Luis Argueta
PROGRAM MANAGER

Luis is a former Dual Language Spanish Immersion elementary teacher and K-8 principal in the San Francisco Bay Area, his work now focuses on supporting district administrators in creating and designing district-level improvement work to increase the academic outcomes of Latinx, African American and socio-economically disadvantaged students. Luis strongly believes in the power of education as an agent for personal and social change. He has worked throughout his sixteen-year career to help provide access to this power to students and families for the betterment of their communities. 

 
Luis holds a Masters degree in Education from the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his Administrative Services Credential and a Masters degree in Teaching from New College of California, where he received his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. He received a B.A. in History from the University of California, Riverside.


 
Melinda Leung
 
Iva Sijan
 
Lena Jensen
 
KEYUR SHAH

Iva Sijan 
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Iva is a former English as a Second Language teacher and has lived in Asia and Russia for several years. She taught English to children in Taipei, Taiwan, as well as to teenagers and adults in Moscow, Russia. She also actively volunteers as a Film Selection Juror for the United Nations Association Film Festival, a nonprofit documentary film festival dealing with human rights issues. Prior to joining California Education Partners, Iva also worked as a Manager in the office solutions industry, an Administrative Assistant in nonprofit, participated in several film projects, and taught ESL privately to children and adults of all ages.

Iva holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cinema, specializing in film production and screenwriting from San Francisco State University, as well as an Advanced Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

Lena Jensen 
OPERATIONS AND EVENT ASSISTANT

Recently graduated from the University of Oregon, Lena has decided to start her career path at Ed Partners. During her time in college she was heavily involved in Kesem, a student-led nonprofit providing year-round support to children through and beyond a parent’s cancer diagnosis and treatment. After starting as Development Coordinator in 2017, she transitioned into her role as Director where she further expanded Kesem’s impact across the state of Oregon and applied a model based on diversity, equity and inclusion to make programs and services more easily accessible for all families. Lena has truly found a passion for nonprofit work and looks forward to using her experience within Ed Partners to continue helping others. When she’s not working you can find her hiking, playing volleyball or searching for a new vegan restaurant.

Keyur Shah                                                                                                                                                                PROGRAM MANAGER 

Keyur has spent his career working in low-income schools designing systems that enable students to be prepared for college and beyond. He began his career as a high school science teacher and math instructional coach in Miami, was an AP of curriculum and instruction in Chicago, and most recently was a high school principal in San Jose. Holding degrees in education and engineering, Keyur couples pedagogical knowledge of student learning with a strong data-driven approach to drive school and district decision-making. As a second-generation college graduate, Keyur strongly believes in the power of education to transform not only individual lives, but entire communities.

Keyur has a B.S. in Engineering Management Systems from Columbia University, and a M.A. in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies from Stanford University. He loves to spend time with his wife cooking, rock climbing, and visiting National Parks across the country.