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Governance » Board Members

Board Members





Kristin Smith Alvarez



Dr. Kristin Smith Alvarez is the Supervisor of the Pathway to Teaching program for San Francisco Unified School District. In her role there, she designs the Pathway teacher education program, supports the development of a cohort of nearly 100 teachers per year, and leads a team of teacher educators.


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. Kristin then 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 Teacher Education 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.  


Maria Arechiga



Maria Arechiga is a product of Bay Area charter schools and a native of Oakland, CA, Maria is passionate about ensuring that all students have access to a high quality education and opportunities beyond that. She has worked and volunteered as a tutor and mentor with a variety of mentorship programs. Maria is currently the Operations Manager for Making Waves Academy, where she oversees school operations functions for the middle school division. Prior to that, she led operations for Alpha Public Schools as the Senior Manager of Regional Operations. As a founding staff member of the flagship school, she supported the growth from one school to a network of four schools. During her time there, she focused on building capacity of the operations team, system creation and implementation, school operations support and reporting and compliance and served as Board Secretary and Treasurer.


Maria earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Biology with a focus in education and public health from Stanford University.


James Baldwin


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.


Dave Bryson, Board Chair


Dave Bryson was the Director of Operations of Bedford Stuyvesant Collegiate, part of the Uncommon Schools network in Brooklyn, NY from 2012-2017. During his time at BSC he helped lead the school toward increased student achievement, enrollment, staff retention, staff diversity, special education services, family engagement and decreased student suspension. Currently, he works on behalf of the Enroll WCC initiative supporting all families in the West Contra Costa Unified to find the right school for their child.


Prior to joining Uncommon Schools, Dave helped found a pioneering Expanded Learning Time program at the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown, MA that became the model for Citizen Schools’ national expansion. He has also worked at Breakthrough Collaborative as a partnership coordinator with organizations like Teach for America, MATCH Teacher Residency and Aspire Teacher Residency. Dave earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his M.Ed from Lesley University.


As an East Bay resident Dave equally enjoys hiking the hills and biking the flats. He is humbled to be joining the tight-knit community of the ARISE High School and is inspired by the vision of academics, community and social justice at the core of ARISE's mission.


Adriana Garcia


Adriana Garcia grew up in rural Oregon near the border of Washington. She has a large extended family in Oregon and Washington. She is a proud big sister to three younger brothers, a football fan, runner, foodie, outdoor lover (her PNW roots shine through!), and the first in her family to graduate from college. She holds a B.A. in business administration from Loyola Marymount University.

Adriana served in education for 15 years. She started her career in New Orleans as a Teach For America corps member ,where she taught second grade. After leaving the classroom, Adriana recruited future Teach For America corps members at a number of colleges in Southern California. Then, she worked at BUILD for seven years, holding various positions including program creation and management and launching BUILD’s second Oakland site. Most recently, she was the Senior Director of Talent at Alpha Public Schools. There, she  led the charge in bringing on exceptional teachers and administrators and managed the HR, Recruitment and Talent function of the organization (manager coaching, compensation model, leadership pipeline, org culture, Teacher Residency, etc). Adriana recently made the transition into the tech industry and now works for Facebook.

Fun Fact - A few years ago, Adriana picked up a new hobby and became a certified wedding planner! Now, she works as a freelance event producer for conferences and weddings in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Miho Kubagawa


Dr. Miho Kubagawa is a Senior Associate Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she finds, funds and supports teams of education entrepreneurs who are launching new, innovative public schools.

Prior to joining NewSchools, Miho spent eight years at KIPP NYC, where she most recently served as the founder and director of the teacher residency program in partnership with Relay Graduate School of Education. She also served as the director of talent, where she oversaw the recruitment, selection and hiring for the 650-person organization. Miho began her career as the founding 7th grade math teacher at KIPP Infinity Middle School, which ranked as the number one public middle school in New York City during her second year.

In addition, Miho is the co-founder and current board member of the Breakthrough Collaborative chapter in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. She recently graduated with her doctorate in education leadership (Ed.L.D.) from Harvard University and has a B.S. in economics from Duke University.


Javier Martinez


Javier Martinez is an Oakland native who graduated out of ARISE high school. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from California State University, East Bay and was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award for being the president of the Pioneer Soccer Club at the campus.

Javier has been working with Oakland youth since 2011 as a summer crew leader, ASP instructor, youth organizer, and soccer coach. Currently he is on his 6th consecutive year working as a middle school soccer coach and is also working as a Newcomer Paraprofessional in helping undocumented and recently immigrated students in middle school mathematics.

As an Oakland native and ARISE alumnus, Javier feels great joy to serve as an ARISE board member.




Dana Leindecker, Teacher Representative to the ARISE Board of Directors


Dana Leindecker is a 7th year teacher at ARISE, as well as the school’s Data Coordinator. Prior to joining ARISE in 2012, she earned her B.S. in Bioengineering and M.Ed. in Secondary Math, both at the University of California, San Diego.


Although she began her teaching career in mathematics, Dana has transitioned over the years back to her roots and currently teaches Engineering 1 to 11th and 12th grade students.


Dana is excited to serve as a teacher advisor to the board, and looks forward to advocating on behalf of ARISE’s teaching staff.


Emma Nothmann


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.


Julie Obbard, Vice Chair


Julie Obbard is an education consultant focused on improving access to high quality educational opportunities for low-income youth. She works with schools, school districts, nonprofit organizations and foundations to strengthen organizational effectiveness through strategic planning, organizational assessment, research, and program design. Julie has worked with clients including: Aspire Public Schools, College Track, New York City Leadership Academy, the National Center for Teacher Residencies, the Center for Reinventing Public Education, and NewSchools Venture Fund.


Prior to starting her consulting practice, Julie worked on charter school development and statewide policy issues for the Charter School Development Center, and as a School Development Manager for the KIPP Foundation, where she focused on charter school authorization and start-up fundraising to open new KIPP schools in California. Her background also includes work in economic development and philanthropy. Julie served on the board of the North Oakland Community Charter Schools, and as Co-Chair of the Education Pioneers Bay Area Alumni Board.



Elena Sanina


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



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 high school sweetheart) and his young son. 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.