Civicorps is proud to have staff who are dedicated to providing the highest quality education and job training for our youth.
Science Teacher & Tech Lead
Aakash is a lifelong engineer and tinkerer who brings a problem-solving approach to his teaching. He follows the philosophy that, at its core, an education is a path of creativity and discovery through practiced and intentional struggle. Aakash holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UC Irvine, a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley and a M.S. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from UC Berkeley. He draws on his interdisciplinary science and engineering background to inform his teaching strategies and classroom design. On his off-hours, you'll find him practicing his woodworking skills, building bicycles, hiking, rock climbing and learning new skillsets.
"Something I've learned at Civicorps is the importance of having people on your side."
Academy Compliance Specialist
As the Academy Compliance Specialist, Amy handles a lot of the behind the scenes work of the Academy including attendance, data tracking, test administration, reporting, maintaining student records, and some grant management. Born and raised in San Diego County, she attended University of California Santa Barbara and earned a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Black Studies. Amy has worked in education for over ten years and has been with Civicorps since 2011.
"Since I've been at Civicorps I have learned to advocate better for corpsmembers and myself."
Avery grew up in Berkeley in the 80’s and he already knows what you’re thinking—that he's probably a bike-riding vegetarian revolutionary who was born at home. Wrong—he doesn't ride a bike! Avery graduated from Berkeley High, went to Macalester College in Minnesota, then earned his teaching credential at Cal State East Bay. He spent five years teaching in Georgia and Florida before returning to the East Bay. Avery taught at Castlemont in 2009-2010 and has been teaching English at Civicorps for five years.
"As a teacher, I first try to build students’ confidence in themselves so that they are able to learn at a high level. I then support students with challenging material and a demanding workload so they have the skills and self-discipline to succeed in achieving their future goals."
Celeste "Cecee" McDaniel
Cecee has been working at Civicorps since 2015. She started off as a volunteer, but after hanging around for a couple of months she was hooked on the culture, students, and atmosphere. Fast-forward a couple of years, and now she's the math teacher. She teaches 6 math classes and a math elective. She also develops the math curriculum for the academy. Prior to Civicorps, Cecee was a freelance writer in Los Angeles. Writing is a powerful tool for reflection, so she implements space for written reflection in math class as much as possible. In college, Cecee studied English Literature, Film, Creative Writing, Education, and Implementation of Technology in Education. Cecee speaks 3 coding languages and has enjoyed showing students how math and computer science overlap. Some of Cecee's hobbies include carpentry and video game development.
Something I've learned at Civicorps: "I have seen the power of non-traditional learners, and how resilience can manifest as brilliance - a priceless lesson indeed."
English Language Teacher & Coordinator
Earl officially came out of retirement to serve at Civicorps as English Language Teacher & Coordinator in July of 2017. Since joining Civicorps, Earl has been working to help young people "master the Standard American English necessary to flourish in the economy of this macro-culture," as he puts it. As a language-lover and lifelong educator, Earl knows mastery of language to be critically important. Earl dedicates his free time to his beloved family and to his writing of songs, of stories, and of essays on any number of topics.
"I love that this program has such faith in our young people, and I love the courage of both those who come here to teach and of those who come here to learn."
Health & Wellness Teacher
Katrina Lashea is the Health & Wellness Teacher at Civicorps and has 20+ years of experience blending the performing arts into health education as health educator, theatrical director and program coordinator with Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater Programs. She is on the faculty at Mills College as a yoga instructor, and is co-founder of Anasa Yoga in the Laurel District. Katrina is currently pursuing a Masters in Management with a focus on social impact and innovation at Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business and Public Policy at Mills College. She is U.C Berkeley alumnae.
Katy started her role as a part-time English teacher at Civicorps in January 2018. Before Civicorps, Katy was a writing tutor, teaching assistant, and curriculum specialist at various undergraduate and graduate institutions in the Los Angeles area. She received her B.A. in English from UC Riverside and an M.F.A in Creative Writing at Antioch University in Los Angeles, with an emphasis in creative writing for social justice. Katy believes everyone is a writer, and that by finding our voices, and listening to stories that are typically silenced, we can bring about personal and collective change in our world. Katy enjoys writing speculative fiction, poetry, songs, singing, playing guitar, doing yoga, hiking, studying astrology and spiritual practices, cooking delicious vegan food, and playing with her nieces and nephews.
Lauren is a poet, singer, backpacker, star-gazer, swimmer, mother, and Resource Specialist at Civicorps. When she's not advocating for corpsmembers or providing academic and behavioral interventions, she's out seeking beauty in the world. After receiving her M.A. in English from DePaul University in 2005, she moved from Indiana to California, where she became an Oakland Teaching Fellow and earned her Education Specialist Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University. Lauren has been working in alternative and outdoor education in Oakland and San Francisco since 2006. Lauren loves adventure travel and has brought that to corpsmembers through backpacking, white water rafting, kayaking, and camping trips.
Layla Forrest-White, Ph.D
Layla has been with Civicorps since the summer of 2017. She started working with students as an Academic Coach for the Research class and currently serves as the Academic Coordinator. Prior to Civicorps, Layla was a teacher, tutor, writer and student. She obtained her B.A. in Classics from Reed College, and her Ph.D in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. In her spare time, she likes to play basketball.
"One thing I've learned since coming to Civicorps is that Amy Raridan knows everything there is to know."
Lindsey has been with Civicorps since the summer of 2017. She currently supports students as Intervention Specialist on the Resource Team. Prior to Civicorps, Lindsey was a Program Coordinator and Educator serving disabled, transition age young adults. Her background is rooted in using personal narrative as a tool to practice Intersectional Justice and Trauma-Informed Learning--specifically around ideas of Disability Justice and Neurodivergence in traditional education systems. Lindsey received her Bachelor’s in History from the University of Texas at Arlington with a focus Disability Studies and African American History. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, hiking, learning, and brainstorming ways to facilitate accessibility for both educators and students.
"While I've been at Civicorps I've learned that I work with an amazing team of students and educators who care deeply about others and the world we all live in."
IT Associate & Instructional Aide
Matt graduated from Civicorps in 2014 and has worked in the academy for a year and a half, starting as an intern and now a full-time staff member. During his time at the corps, Matt earned various academy awards like “Hardest Hitter” and honor roll society recognition. While working on the Job Training side of the program, Matt attained Crew Member of the Month on 3 separate occasions. He currently serves as the IT Associate & Instructional Aide.
"One of the main things I have learned at Civicorps is that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them and adjust yourself accordingly, so you won’t make the same mistakes in the future."
Tyfahra Singleton, Ph.D
Head of School
Dr. Tyfahra Singleton has been the Head of School at Civicorps since 2016. Before joining Civicorps, she was a full time mother to her baby girl. Previously, she had been a Data and Operations Director for an education advocacy nonprofit and an academic for a decade before that. She received her B.A from Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. She enjoys spending time with her family of 6, driving, hiking and reading.
"One thing I learned at Civicorps is how to operate a chainsaw."
Aaron joined Civicorps as Case Counselor in February of 2017. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Sociology from SF State, and his Master's in Social Work from Cal State East Bay. Prior to working at Civicorps, Aaron was Wellness Manager at Youth UpRising in Oakland. In his spare time, he likes to write rhymes, cook gourmet meals, and spend time with family and friends.
"One thing I’ve learned at Civicorps is to never count someone out, even if they repeat the steps multiple times!"
Student Outreach Associate
Bethany started out as a Corpsmember in 2012 and graduated in June of 2013. She returned as an intern in early 2016, and she is now on staff as the Student Outreach Associate. Before she returned as an intern, she worked in the food service industry as a bartender and server, and a full-time mom to two beautiful babies. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and she is also attending classes online through the Peralta Colleges.
"Civicorps has taught me to have faith in myself, and push through when things seem impossible. To stay consistent, dedicated, and hard working. They also taught me that family has very little to do with blood, and a lot to do with what you make out of the people in your life who believe in your abilities and support your dreams."
Deneah "Neah" Murphy
Neah has been working at Civicorps since September of 2017. The daughter of Ms. Toni, our Recycling Administrative Assistant, Neah joined Civicorps as our Pathways Associate. Prior to Civicorps, she worked for Prometric Testing Center as a Testing Administrator and completed an internship with Clear Channel Communications at 106.1 KMEL. Neah graduated from high school as Solitarian of her class in 2010. From 2010-2014 she attended UC Berkeley with a full scholarship and majored in Theater & Performance Arts. In her free time, she enjoys singing, performing, listening to music, being around water, swimming, eating, googling herself, hanging out with friends and family, playing with other people’s dogs and animals, and watching Insecure.
"Something I've learned at Civicorps is that students are teachers too!"
Joseph "JAB" Billingsley
Support Services Manager
JAB first joined Civicorps in 1996 and currently serves as the Support Services Manager responsible for program operations and supervision of staff on the Support Services Team at Civicorps involving outreach, recruitment, encouraging personal development, coordinating community resources, career development, counseling, support services, employer engagement and workforce development. JAB's experience ranges from education, service, advising, supporting and advocacy among urban communities in Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Bay Area. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Afro American Studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Afterwards, he earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco. After practicing law for over 16 years, he transitioned to serving juveniles and adults in another arena, providing direct service to participants in youth development and workforce development programs for over 20 years.
"One thing I've learned at Civicorps is that change is inevitable and necessary for growth. It is best to maintain a healthy perspective that includes the combined elements of: flexibility, patience, compassion, forward-thinking, durability and humor."
Natasha has been working at Civicorps since 2006. She started out as a Job Training Supervisor and now serves as Lead Counselor. Prior to Civicorps, she was a "Jack of All Trades," a Corpsmember with Montana Conservation Corps and a potter. She received her BA in Russian at the University of Vermont and her Masters in Social Work at San Francisco State University. She holds a Clinical Social Work License. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, hiking, and swimming.
"One thing I've learned while I've been at Civicorps is that learning is a shared, interactive, and experiential process within a group of people. None of us ever stop learning."
Dean of Students
Mr. Rodney Dunn started as a Corpsmember at Civicorps in the 80's and has been working at Civicorps since 2000. Starting out as a Job Training Supervisor, Mr. Dunn now serves as the Dean of Students and helps new and returning students become acclimated to corps life. Through his enthusiasm and encouragement, Mr. Dunn is often mentioned in student portfolio presentations as having been a positive influence in their success. Mr. Dunn is a die-hard Raiders fan and in his spare time he raises snakes - big ones.
"Civicorps has taught me how to be patient, supportive, and understanding of our students' needs. I’ve learned how to provide support to encourage ALL students to do their best and apply themselves."
Yvette has been at Civicorps since 2004, when she started out as a Job Training Supervisor. Since coming to Civicorps, she has been been a Field Coordinator, Field Manager, and Career Counselor. She currently serves as Career Pathways Coordinator and leads the charge in helping to connect students with exciting internships and job opportunities once they complete their academic requirements. Prior to Civicorps, she was an AmeriCorps school aide and pre-school teacher. She started her education at Laney, CCSF, and transferred to SF State where she received her Bachelor's degree in Child and Adolescent Development. In the rare moments of spare time Yvette can find, she enjoys Banda dances during the weekend.
"One thing I've learned at Civicorps is that people should do what they love."
Job Training Manager
Adam has been with Civicorps since 2006, when he was hired as a Job Training Supervisor. Prior to Civicorps, Adam worked for Sunny Hills Children’s Services, a youth development program in Marin county. Adam attended college at UC Berkeley. Outside of work, Adam enjoys mountain biking and other outdoor activities.
"Something I’ve learned in my time at Civicorps is that it’s better to approach the day expecting the unexpected than to have a set plan for how you want things to go."
Job Training Supervisor
David has worked as a Job training Supervisor for the past seven and a half years. Prior to Civicorps, he worked in software design, as a restaurant chef, an actor, and teacher. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and motorcycling.
"The most important thing I have learned while at Civicorps is the remarkable strength of character and resiliency so many of our crew members possess. It gives me hope for this crazy mixed up world."
Job Training Supervisor
Jeff is one of the veteran job training supervisors at Civicorps, having started in March of 2013. Before Civicorps, Jeff worked mainly in construction and agriculture, and then worked for a re-entry program at Allen Temple Church, where he learned about Civicorps. His current passion is dragon boat racing and he hopes to travel to Hungary to compete in a world championship event. Jeff attended Berkeley High School in the 60s and graduated from UC Davis in 2000.
"While working at Civicorps, I’ve learned to be young again."
Administrative Data Specialist
Keith has been working at Civicorps since January 2014. Starting as a Job Training Supervisor, Keith quickly moved to an administrative role and currently serves as the Data and Outcomes Specialist. Prior to Civicorps, Keith was a graduate student of Philosophy at San Francisco State University, where he earned his Master's degree. His hobbies are playing video games, collecting feminist comic books, and going to punk shows.
"In my time at Civicorps I’ve learned from Corpsmembers and coworkers the importance of resilience for a person to achieve their goals, regardless of how many obstacles they may face."
Job Training Supervisor
Marisela started out as a Corpsmember in 2001 and has since worked in different departments such as recruitment, recycling and now job training as a Supervisor. Prior to Civicorps, Marisela was a full-time mother looking for an opportunity to continue her education but found it difficult to have a job and go to school at the same time. When she heard about Civicorps, she decided that she wanted to give it a try. Marisela graduated from Civicorps (then "East Bay Conservation Corps") in 2005. Since then, she has obtained her my CNA Home Care and Medical Assistant certifications. In her spare time, Marisela listens to music and enjoys the outdoors.
"At Civicorps I have learned how to give back to my community and appreciate the opportunity of being part of young adult's life who will one day be grateful, like I am."
Job Training Supervisor
Michael started out as Civicorps as a Corpsmember with a white hat in 2013 and recently re-joined Civicorps as a full-time Job Training Supervisor. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball and video games.
"At Civicorps, I learned about respect, responsibility, and how to train and work better with others."
Monique "Mo" Williams
Mo started out at Civicorps as a Corpsmember in March 1998. According to her, she has "pretty much always been at Civicorps," and she currently serves as the Job Training Coordinator, ensuring that everything goes smoothly with the crews in the Job Training portion of Civicorps. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family and attending sporting events.
"At Civicorps I’ve learned what an extended family is like."
Job Training Supervisor
Peter joined Civicorps as a Job Training Supervisor at Civicorps in April of 2017. Before Civicorps, Peter worked as a carpenter, and also worked for Playworks, a youth development nonprofit, for four and a half years. In his spare time, Peter enjoys soccer, baseball, working on and maintaining older automobiles, and carpentry. Peter attended Laney College and Binghamton University in upstate New York.
"Something I’ve learned at Civicorps is a greater appreciation of tool maintenance and organization, as well as staying on top of paperwork because when you get behind on that it’s difficult to remember all the fun projects from previous days/weeks."
Sergio first came to Civicorps as a Corpsmember in 1993 and then returned to Civicorps as staff in 2000 to work as a Job Training Supervisor. Currently, he serves the organization as Operations Coordinator for the Job Training Center. Prior to Civicorps, Sergio was an arborist, horticulturalist, raft guide, back country crew leader for the SCA, and a DJ; to name a few. Sergio graduated from Civicorps and is still pursuing higher education. When he is not at Civicorps, Sergio is also an instructor for The American Red Cross and in his spare time, he enjoys camping, cycling, running, hiking, backpacking, sea-kayaking, skiing, cooking, djing, gardening, traveling, music history, attending live musical performances, and tree climbing.
"Something I learned while at Civicorps is: patience."
Recycling Operations Manager
Hector has been with Civicorps since August 1993. Starting out as a Corpsmember, he received his high school diploma from the Academy and currently serves as the Recycling Operations Manager. In Hector's spare time, he coaches baseball and DJs.
"Civicorps taught me how to be a leader."
Recycling & E-waste Supervisor
Mafi started working with Civicorps as a Recycling Intern (driver) in 2005. She currently serves as Recycling and E-waste Supervisor and ensures our drivers and E-waste coordinator have everything they need to "make the East Bay look good." In her spare time, she enjoys playing sports with her kids.
"Civicorps was my first job and I've learned a lot here like how to drive big trucks, operate forklifts, and Bobcats, to name a few."
Tarkan has been with Civicorps since August of 2017 and serves as the E-waste Coordinator. Prior to Civicorps, Tarkan worked as a Meat Manager for Lucky Supermarkets and a Sales Manager for Lexus. In his spare time, Tarkan enjoys managing his son's baseball team, working on home improvement projects and is an avid disc golf player.
"Since I’ve been with Civicorps I’ve learned the importance of recycling e-waste and the environmental impacts of e-waste that end up in landfills."
Finance & Administration
Cornelius has been with Civicorps since 1989, when he first started out as a Secretary. He currently serves as Office Manager and the first smiling face to greet students and visitors at the front desk. Prior to Civicorps, Cornelius worked in middle management at a bank and studied Computer Science at College of Alameda and Culinary Arts at Laney College. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and baking, watching movies, and healthy living.
"Since I've been at Civicorps, I've learned about computer programs, computer architecture, and appreciation for youth development and cultural differences."
Human Resources & People Manager
Erica has served Civicorps as Human Resources & People Manager since June of 2016. Prior to Civicorps, she held HR-related jobs for private business sectors, as well as worked in education. Erica graduated from City University of Seattle, but also attended the University of Guadalajara, Portland, Los Angeles and Hawaii. She is currently enrolled in a Master's program. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, listening to music, and taking in the visual arts.
"Something that I learned at Civicorps is just how wonderful it is to Live, Work and Play in Oakland."
Payroll & Revenue Specialist
Imie Lam has served as the Payroll Specialist for Civcorps for fifteen years and serves as the honorary Treasurer of Birthday Wishes around the Corps - and is sure to remind everyone when a staff member is celebrating a birthday. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in Accounting. In her previous work, she served as Equipment Control Specialist where she took inventory of those big shipping containers you see by the Port of Oakland. Her hobbies include shopping and enjoying great dining.
"My biggest enjoyment is being able to work and serve here at the corps, seeing the amazing faces that come through each year and marching down the aisle to graduation is an exciting event."
Joycelyn has been with Civicorps since 2008 and currently serves as the IT Manager for the organizations. Prior to Civicorps, Joycelyn worked in the software development and biotech industries. She received her AA at Miami Dade College and her BA at Florida International University. In her spare time, she enjoys learning about Herbology and volunteering with animal rescue organizations in the Bay Area.
"One thing I've learned at Civicorps is that everyone has a story."
Junior Accountant & Customer Service Representative
Rosario has served as Junior Accountant and Customer Service Representative since July of 2016. Rosario obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from CSU East Bay with a focus in Accounting and Human Resources.
"I've learned a lot more about the recycling ordinance at Civicorps."
Wendy has been with Civicorps since 2008 as the Controller. She obtained her Bachelor's in Business Administration and Major in Accounting from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Canada. She is a Certified Public Accountant as well as Certified General Accountant in Canada. Prior to her move to the Bay Area in 2001, she has worked in Canada and in Hong Kong with over 20 years of experience in Finance and Accounting.
"Something I learned at Civicorps is how to respect differences between people and work as a team"
Data & Grants Associate
As the Data & Grants Associate since September 2016, Brandy works with multiple databases to report and manage data for our various government contracts. Brandy's previous employment included working at CEO Oakland to assist the re-entry population with job placement and retention services. Fun fact: Brandy loves 80’s/90’s movies, rollercoasters, and extreme thrill rides, and most of all: her family!
"There are so many things I've learned at Civicorps, but a big one is how dedicated Civicorps is toward driving social change and how the program addresses issues that impact staff and students alike. In short, I learned that Civicorps is a safe space to work and be yourself!"
Grants & Compliance Manager
Gidalthi started at Civicorps in February 2017 and serves as the Grants & Compliance Manager. Prior to Civicorps, Gidalthi was completing her Master’s Degree and working in the public service sector. She received her BA International Studies and her Masters in Public Administration from CSU East Bay. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym, going on bike rides with her husband, and reading books.
"I've learned at Civicorps that the support and services we provide to the East Bay are crucial to our communities. Our team and students are amazing!"
Jesus started at Civicorps in September 2017 and serves as Development Associate. Prior to Civicorps, Jesus was Director of Operations at Metro D.C. PFLAG, an ally organization supporting the LGBTQ community. Jesus has worked with various national and local LGBTQ nonprofits in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area including HRC, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and Casa Ruby LGBTQ Homeless Shelter. Jesus graduated from UC Berkeley in 2013 with a B.A. in Social Welfare. In his spare time, he enjoys running and hiking and can often be seen running a 5K, hiking in the Redwood Regional Park or Berkeley Hills.
"Something I've learned at Civicorps is that everyone is friendly and open to helping you out."
Institutional Giving Manager
Meghan has been with Civicorps since January 2018 and currently serves as the Institutional Giving Manager. Prior to Civicorps, Meghan worked in fundraising capacities for education-oriented nonprofits, and was a journalist for a chain of small Bay Area newspapers. She received her Bachelor's degree from UC Santa Cruz and received her Master's from San Francisco State University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, playing with her three small dogs, and reading.
Alan has served as the Executive Director of Civicorps since 2011. He is the President of the California Association of Local Conservation Corps, a statewide advocacy organization and has lead several policy initiatives through the California Legislature. His previous leadership positions include the American Friends Service Committee; UCSF, AIDS Research Institute, San Francisco School Volunteers, Out & Equal, an LGBTQ workplace advocacy program; the St. Paul Neighborhood Energy Consortium; and the Federation of Gay Games. He has a Masters in Social Change and Development from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Metropolitan State University. His debut novel, The Troubleseeker, was a finalist for the Publishing Triangle’s 2017 LGBTQ Fiction Award. He is also a zen practitioner and a competitive adult figure skater.
"One thing I've learned since coming to Civicorps is how badly the educational, criminal justice and social service systems in our community fails young people every day and how we can create a model where they can succeed."
Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer
Brian has been with Civicorps since 2008 as the Chief Financial Officer, and in July 2016, he also became the Chief Operating Officer, which oversees Civicorps Recycling. He currently serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors at Horizon Services, Inc. and is a Finance Committee member at Vincent Academy. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Finance from University of California, Santa Barbara and is a Certified Public Accountant with over 20 years of experience in auditing and accounting.
"Something I've learned at Civicorps is that I often don't know as much as I think I do."
Director of Development & Communications
Shannon has been with Civicorps for five years and oversees all fundraising, communications, and marketing activities. Prior to Civicorps she worked in Development for over a decade: she has managed over $2 million in grants for Planned Parenthood Northern California, operated her own Fund Development Consulting business, and was the Director of Development for KIDS for the BAY. She has a BA in Psychology from Trinity University and when she isn’t at Civicorps, she is cooking gourmet meals with her husband, hiking with her dog, and talking about Game of Thrones.
"Something I've learned at Civicorps that success is contagious, which is why we love sharing stories of our students’ success!"
Tessa has grown from 4-H chicken champion to West Africa Peace Corps volunteer and now Deputy Director for Civicorps. Over 17 years, she has advanced through several positions at Civicorps to now oversee the academic, job training, and support services programs. In 2017, she became a Coro Youth Development Fellows Program alumna. Tessa has been dedicated to youth development and alternative education for over 20 years. Her world vision is that every young person be provided the opportunity for a rigorous and relevant education by a community who believes in their value and abilities and that allows them to enter the college or career path of their choice. With a background in Environmental Studies and a Masters in International Service and Non-profit Management, Tessa has worked with youth from Los Angeles, CA to Senegal, West Africa to Kingston, Jamaica.
"Something I have learned while being at Civicorps is that we cannot afford to give up on people and that every person deserves opportunities to grow and to believe in the reality of their dreams."