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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.


Josette Neal-de-Stanton

Board Member


Josette Neal-De-Stanton is the new Pathway Coordinator at ARISE High School, and also teacher 2 sections of Environmental Science linked to the Pathway. She has been teaching at ARISE since 2013, and is currently starting her 10th academic school year. Outside of ARISE, Josette sits on the board of a non-profit organization, Self-eSTEM, as a board member and curriculum development lead.

Josette holds a B.A. and M.A. in Family and Consumer Science with an emphasis on human development from San Francisco State University. She holds a general science preliminary teaching credential from Reach Institute for School Leadership, and will have a cleared credential by June of 2018. Josette is also certified as a restorative justice teacher advisor.

In 2014, Josette won Teacher of the Year in OUSD via Teach Tomorrow in Oakland. In 2015, she was contracted to work as a science coach for selected educators in OUSD associated with the Teach Tomorrow in Oakland program, and also teachers of Holy Names University. At the start of the 2016/2017 school year at ARISE, Josette was responsible for switching ARISE’s science department from a traditional science approach, to an innovative integrated science model, following Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

As the new Pathway Coordinator, Josette is working on a revolutionary, strategic way to incorporate work-based learning at ARISE High School with the pathway program. She is starting with a focus on environmental science, and is working on strategic partnerships with different members of the Oakland community. Josette currently resides in Oakland, CA.


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.


Hollis Pierce-Jenkins

Board Member


Dr. Hollis Pierce-Jenkins was President of St. Martin de Porres School in Oakland from August 2014 until June 2017 where she was responsible for the overall operation and sustainability of the school, development and enhancement of the faith community and the teaching-learning process.  As President she was the school’s primary leader and institutional spokesperson to all of the school’s constituents and worked collaboratively with the Principal and Board of Trustees.  From 2011 to 2014, Hollis was an Educational Consultant for the 180-degrees program which focused on socio-emotional skills where her role  was the Area Coordinator.  She was responsible for 500+ students representing: San Francisco, Oakland, San Mateo, Alameda, San Bruno and Hayward.

 In September 2008, she founded Hollis Pierce & Associates, which focused on the professional development of leaders in any organizational setting.  She is a leadership coach whose background in education includes: instructional leadership~data analysis, professional development for teachers and leadership teams, school culture, instruction and assessment and the overall learning environment.  As a Life Coach she is poised to empower individuals to reach their highest potential.  Hollis believes that it is imperative the community rally around its youth in efforts to create global citizens equipped with the 21st Century job skills required to compete in a global economy.

Hollis has held positions in elementary school administration, and teaching positions (grades 4-8) as well as Development positions in private and parochial elementary schools and a Social Enterprise/Non-Profit organization.  Dr. Pierce holds a B.A. in Political Science from UC Berkeley, M.Ed in Curriculum Development from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, an Ed.D in Education (Organization and Leadership) at University of San Francisco.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors for ARISE High School and Conservatory of Vocal & Instrumental Music (COVA) both in Oakland, California.

She is a Certified Leadership Coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner. Dr. Pierce is a published author: “Personal Perceptions of Leadership Styles and Behaviors of Elementary School Principals in Urban Setting” (2010)  VDM Publishing. Summer 2014 she taught Environmental Science to high school students in the Upward Bound Program at Holy Names University in Oakland. Dr. Hollis is a contributing author in a new book: “Lessons in Leadership”:Tips for an Emerging P-20 Leader in the 20th Century.  Chapter 4: Reflective Practice provides a practical guide to educators who want to improve their own professional development practices. Reflective practice can be used with teachers, students and administrators.

Hollis is the proud mother of one daughter who is a graduate from University of California at Merced in Materials Science Engineering.

Hollis first became acquainted with ARISE when she was hired by OUSD to conduct a school review in preparation for its first charter renewal.  She fell in love with ARISE and joined the board several years later because she believes in the mission and vision of the school. Hollis has witnessed first-hand how the school empowers students to learn and celebrate their culture, take the skills and knowledge they master in school and apply those to set benchmarks for themselves to become 21st century leaders.  The work and tenacity of these young people inspires her to continue the work she does on a daily basis.




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.


Andrea Santos

Board Member



Andrea Santos is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner working in Primary Care at La Clinica in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. She holds a B.S in Health Science from CSU East Bay and M.S.N from UCSF with a diabetes minor.

Andrea was drawn to serve on the ARISE Board of Directors because, as a first generation Mexican American, she believe in ARISE’s mission and vision.


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.