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Governance » Board Members

Board Members

Kristin Smith Alvarez

Board President

Kristin - Head

Dr. Kristin Smith Alvarez is the Director of Research for the Alder Graduate School of Education. At Alder, Kristin engages in research on teacher education and teacher learning, teaches aspiring teachers, and engages in the continuous development of Alder’s teacher education curriculum and research agenda.  


Kristin began her career as a high school history and philosophy teacher. Thereafter, at the University of Michigan, Kristin taught and supervised pre-service teachers in the undergraduate teacher education program and coached in-service teachers in Detroit. During her time at Michigan, Kristin worked on a number of research projects and initiatives focused on the improvement of teacher education. Before joining Alder, Kristin worked at UC Berkeley’s principal preparation program, the Principal Leadership Institute, as an instructor, Master’s thesis advisor, research assistant, and program manager. 


Kristin holds a B.A. in Philosophy and History from the University of Southern California and a M.A. in International Education from NYU. Kristin also holds a M.A. in Educational Administration and a Ph.D. in Educational Studies (Teacher Education & School Leadership) from the University of Michigan.

Kristin is a proud New Jersey native who now calls Oakland home. She lives there with her husband and two young children. As a first-generation college student, Kristin was drawn to ARISE’s mission and vision to provide a personalized, rigorous, and empowering curriculum that provides college access for other first-gen students to become leaders of their communities.



James Baldwin

Board Member


James Baldwin is currently the Senior Analyst, Community Finance at the Wikimedia Foundation where he supports the financial capacity of Wikimedia movement affiliates while working on the internal finances of the foundation.  Previously, he served as the Director of Operations and Finance of ARISE for three years.  James holds a B.A. in Economics and a B.A. in Sociology from UC San Diego.


James joined the board in 2017 to continue to contribute to the great work that ARISE is doing. ARISE provides the opportunity for a rigorous, community driven education to Oakland students.  James is excited to be a part of the board as ARISE continues to build toward its mission.



Adriana Garcia

Board Member


Adriana Garcia grew up in Oregon and her family and extended family still reside in the Pacific Northwest where she enjoys spending time with family especially her nieces and nephews.

She holds a B.A. in business administration from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Additionally, she is a certified wedding planner through CSU East Bay and has worked as a freelance event producer for conferences and weddings in the San Francisco Bay Area.  


Adriana started her career in New Orleans, LA as a Teach For America corps member where she taught second grade. Adriana was awarded Teacher of Year during her second year. After leaving the classroom, she recruited future Teach For America corps members at a number of colleges in Southern California. Then, Adriana worked at BUILD for seven years, holding various positions including program creation and management and launching BUILD’s expansion in East Oakland.  


Adriana is currently the Senior Director of Talent at Alpha Public Schools in East San Jose. She oversees the recruitment and HR departments and Alpha’s talent initiatives like their Teacher Residency Program.  


She is excited to serving Oakland in a different capacity and to leverage her experience around staff recruitment & diversity, talent development, retention and engagement to further ARISE's mission.  




Javier Martinez

Board Member


Javier Martinez fills many shoes as a youth organizer, college student, soccer coach and more. Currently he is the head soccer coach of Urban Promise Academy middle school in Oakland and President of the Pioneer Soccer Club at California State University East Bay. He is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology at California State University, East Bay.  


Javier has a passion for both sports and social justice and thus melds both topics within his curriculum for his students to absorb. As an Oakland native and ARISE alumnus, Javier feels great joy to serve as an ARISE board member.




Dana Leindeker

Board Member



Emma Nothmann

Board Member

Emma - Head

Emma Nothmann is a manager in Bridgespan’s San Francisco office. Prior to joining Bridgespan, Emma was the Executive Director for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Bay Area, where she focused on cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset in low-income youth through in-school programming and teacher development. Before NFTE, she led the strategy and partnership development for new revenue-generating products at Edmodo, a global social learning platform focused on K-12 students and teachers. 


Emma began her career in management consulting with Katzenbach Partners, where she supported strategy and organizational engagements for clients across a variety of sectors including software, healthcare, telecommunications, and energy. After Katzenbach’s acquisition by Booz & Co., she built the firm’s North American Education Practice, which grew to serve states, districts, charter management organizations, public-private partnerships, textbook publishers, and technology companies.  


Emma earned her AB degree from Harvard University in East Asian Studies, with a focus on contemporary China. Her thesis focused on labor relations between the state and migrant workers. While at Harvard, Emma worked for the mission-driven travel guide company, Let’s Go. She eventually became its publishing director, managing business and editorial teams, and ensuring the fulfillment of Let’s Go’s mission around youth workforce development.  


Throughout her career, Emma has been passionate about empowering others through education and opportunity. She was drawn to ARISE for its mission of empowering Oakland students to become leaders in their own community and its approach to academics: culturally relevant teaching and performance-based assessment in a supportive community.




Elena Sanina

Board Member


Elena Sanina is the Senior Manager of Impact at the Charter School Growth Fund. As a member of the Impact Team, Elena creates meaningful solutions, insights, and connections that support charter school leaders across the country. Prior to joining CSGF, Elena led the design, implementation, and evaluation of innovative learning models at Aspire Public Schools, where she expanded blended learning from 2 to 24 schools. At Aspire, Elena also focused on improving digital learning analytics by integrating data systems and designing tools to help educators make informed decisions about their students’ academic progress.   


She started her career in management technology consulting at Deloitte and co-founded ThanksForTeaching.Us, a global effort to thank teachers for the actions, dreams, and passions they’ve inspired. In January of 2015, Elena was recognized by Forbes Magazine as a member of the 30 Under 30 in Education. She holds a B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley and is a proud first-generation immigrant.   


Elena is honored to support the ARISE community and believes that education rooted in equity and social justice creates transformative experiences for students in Oakland.




Matt Taylor


Board Member



Matt leads strategy and operations at, the nonprofit design and innovation firm launched out of IDEO that focuses on applying human-centered design to poverty-related challenges. In this role, Matt works with partners to explore the challenges and opportunities human-centered design can help them address, and he also ensures that builds a strong, sustainable, results-driven organization. Since joining at launch, Matt has worked with a range of nonprofit organizations, foundations, and social enterprises tackling issues like early childhood development, youth employment, financial inclusion, and recidivism, while also helping to scale to a 70-person organization. 


Matt’s deep curiosity about how to best drive social change in the nonprofit sector have led him to partner with and work for a variety of organizations. Matt came to from New Profit Inc., where he helped social entrepreneur-led organizations overcome organizational barriers to scaling their impact. Before joining New Profit, Matt supported fundraising, strategy development and organizational development at a multi-state dropout prevention organization as part of an Americorps program (New Sector's Residency in Social Enterprise Program). While pursuing his Bachelors of Business Administration at the University of Michigan, Matt also explored various aspects of nonprofit management through work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Focus: HOPE, Nonprofit Finance Fund, GlobalGiving, and United Way Worldwide. Matt currently serves on the Board of Moneythink, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that provides financial education and peer mentorship to high school students in several cities throughout the country.  


Matt lives in Oakland with his wife (and highschool sweetheart), who are expecting their first child this fall. He was drawn to the opportunity to serve the ARISE community because of his deep belief in the education system; ARISE’s aim of building future leaders that create a healthy, equitable, and just society; and the school’s commitment to co-creating an effective and positive learning environment with students, teachers, parents, and the broader community.




Dave Bryson


Board Member




Jermaine Jenkins


Board Member




Julie Obbard


Board Member



Maria Arechiga


Board Member




Miho Kubagawa


Board Member