Leadership and Staff

At Lighthouse, we believe that shared leadership strengthens our organization and deepens our practice. Toward this end, Lighthouse employs a co-directorship to run its elementary, secondary and strategic development programs. Meet our Leadership Team!

2016 – 2017 staff roster

To contact any Lighthouse teacher or member of our staff, please email info@lighthousecharter.org.

Home Office

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  • Arlene AldretteDirector of Operations

  • Jeannie BrulandDirector of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment.

    Jeannie Bruland joined the Lighthouse team in 2002 as a founding Spanish teacher. Most recently, she has been the Director of Language Programs, supporting programs for English Learners across the Family of Schools. Jeannie has 20 years of experience in the Bay Area educational community, focused on developing equitable classrooms and schools as a teacher and administrator. She has a multiple subject teaching credential from San Francisco State University and a master’s in Educational Leadership and administrative credential from the Reach Institute for School Leadership.
  • Karen FeeDirector of Development

    Karen started her career as a classroom teacher as a Teach For America corps member in rural Louisiana and as an outdoor educator with Outward Bound. She earned degrees in Journalism and International Relations at the University of Southern California and a Masters Degree in Education at the University of Utah. Karen enjoys the thrill of  people from Oakland and the surrounding communities embracing the magic and promise of a Lighthouse education. Karen is the mother of three and enjoys swimming, biking, running, skiing and climbing mountains.

  • Lauren KlaffkyChief Academic Officer

  • Anna MartinDirector of Talent

    Anna Martin joined Lighthouse in 2014 as the Director of Talent. Previously, she was a Leadership and Instructional Coach in OUSD, providing support to teachers and leaders and building a teacher leadership cohort at Oakland schools with School Improvement Grants. Prior to that work, Anna spent 8 years working at Lee Mathson Middle School in San Jose as a Professional Learning Facilitator and Lead Humanities Teacher, where she began as a Teach for America corps member. She is a National Board Certified educator, leadership and instructional coach, and talent strategist committed to building the systems needed to ensure that historically underserved students receive an excellent, equitable, and empowering education.

  • Brandon PaigeDirector of Finance & Operations

    Brandon Paige is the Director of Finance and Operations. Prior to joining the Lighthouse staff, Brandon served as Lighthouse’s client manager at Edtec, providing business back office services and becoming well-acquainted with Lighthouse over three years. Before joining Edtec, Brandon was a high school math teacher for six years in Brooklyn and San Francisco. He received his A.B. in Economics at Princeton and his Masters in Teaching from Pace University and was also a NYC Teaching Fellow. Brandon is thrilled to to serve in a role that combines his two passions: the students that we serve and creating a gold-standard financial and operational infrastructure of a high-performing school.

  • Steve SextonCo-founder

    Steve Sexton was a Co-founder of Lighthouse Community Charter School. He served as 9-12 Director of Instruction for over a decade, as well as Head of School in 2013-14. He got his start in teaching through Teach for America in 1995 where he taught science for two years in Watts. After a short stint teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Upstate New York, Steve continued his teaching career under the tutelage of Ted and Nancy Sizer at the Francis Parker Charter School outside of Boston. In addition to teaching, Steve was the Curriculum Director for Teach for America where he authored TFA’s teacher education curriculum. Steve received his Bachelors of Science Degree from the University of Utah, having majored in Mechanical Engineering and minored in Nuclear Engineering. In his own words, “I work at Lighthouse because I can make a difference in children and youth’s lives everyday.” One thing you may not know about Steve is that he once lost a bet to his students and had to wear a dress all day.

    Steve passed away on October 30th, 2015 after a battle with brain cancer. His memory lives on in the lives of his three children and the countless lives he touched as an educator.

  • Jenna StaufferCo-founder & CEO

    Jenna Stauffer is the CEO and a Founder of Lighthouse Community Charter School. Having entered teaching in 1995 through Teach for America, she has taught in both urban and rural settings. In addition, she was the “Teacher On Set” for a series of educational documentaries made about New York State. A Hoosier native, she received her degree in Wildlife Ecology from Purdue University in 1995. While working on her Masters Degree in Education at Harvard University in 2000, the concept for Lighthouse was born. Jenna is a member of Oakand Rotary and sits on the advisory boards of two new start-up charter schools. In her own words, “I work at Lighthouse because I believe the world will be a more peaceful and just place when all children have the opportunity to receive an excellent education that they can then use to achieve their dreams.” One thing you may not know about her is that she raised wolf puppies while in college. When she is not at Lighthouse, she enjoys hiking with her children — Ruby, Luke, and Wyatt Sexton.

  • Aaron VanderwerffDirector of the Creativity Lab

    Aaron Vanderwerff is LCPS’s Creativity Lab Director – and has been with Lighthouse since 2009. He is passionate about making and inquiry, and believes that learner-centered, hands-on education can revolutionize our educational system. He collaborates with teachers to integrate making into Lighthouse’s core instructional program, electives, and after school program. For the past seven years, Vanderwerff has taken students to display their work at the Maker Faire. He taught high school science in the Bay Area for ten years, and taught math in Burkina Faso through the Peace Corps prior to that. Vanderwerff received his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and a MA in Education from Mills College. He lives in Oakland with his wife and six-year-old daughter, who loves to make things.


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  • Drea BealeLighthouse 9-12 Principal

  • Kate BowmanLighthouse 5-8 Principal

    Ms. Bowman started her teaching experience as the Program Leader for the Lower East Side Girls’ Club in New York. Since then she has accrued six years of teaching experience from grades four to eight. She has been an integral Lighthouse community member over the past seven years. Kate has served as the 5th – 8th Grade Instructional Coach and Interventionist over her last four years at Lighthouse. Kate has continued to develop her leadership and coaching craft through the REACH Institute’s Instructional Leadership Academy. She has been indispensable in starting the process of aligning practices through the 5-8 band. Kate both embodies the Guiding Principles and tirelessly works to ensure that we are developing teachers, students, and family relationships the Lighthouse way. Kate’s skillful leadership combined with her institutional knowledge are a recipe for a cohesive and successful 5-8 band.

  • Tina HernandezLighthouse K-4 Principal

    Tina Hernandez rejoined Lighthouse as the K-4 Director of Instruction in 2014. Tina was a teacher at Lighthouse from 2005-2010, after which she went on to become a Founding Principal at Aspire College Academy. She has additional teaching experience from her time as an ELA/Math Teacher in Hayward, has been a teacher coach and PD facilitator at California Tomorrow, and serving as a College Instructor at CSU-East Bay, Heald Business College, and Chabot. She received her BA in English at CSU-Chico, and a Master’s degree in English at CSU-East Bay.

  • Tshilumba KabongoLighthouse Director of Expanded Learning

    Tshilumba Kabongo is currently our Director of Expanded Learning. He joined Lighthouse in the 2013-14 school year as the 10th grade Biology Teacher. Before Lighthouse Kabongo worked as a Camp Director for Galileo Learning Summer Camps in San Francisco. In the non summer months he worked as an Assistant Teacher at Brandeis Hillel Day School teaching 3rd and 4th grade and coaching middle school soccer and basketball. Prior to his work in education he specialized in anti-cancer research, as an undergraduate at SFSU and post-baccalaureate work UCSF. He is committed to making each interaction a meaningful one whether it is with students and their families or with staff.


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  • Amal AzizLodestar Extended Day Program Coordinator

  • Yanira CanizalesLodestar Head of School

    Yanira Canizales is the Head of School, and the immediate-past K-4 Director of Instruction. She has seven years of teaching experience across all grade levels including leading a summer bridge experience for incoming kindergarten students with no pre-school experience, 3/4 bilingual classrooms, and middle school multiple subject teacher with ELD experience. All of her teaching experience has been in the Bay Area with a target population reflective of Lighthouse students. Additionally, Yanira has also served as a resident Principal and Dean of Instruction. At New Leaders, Yanira was the Director of the Emerging Leaders Program, where she recruited and developed teacher leaders interested in becoming urban principals. Yanira shares a life narrative that reflects that of many of our students, and is thrilled to be a part of the Lighthouse community.

Board of Directors

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  • Melissa Barnes-DholakiaExecutive Director, MBD Partners

    Melissa Barnes Dholakia is founder of MBD Partners, supporting new and existing charter schools in the areas of school design, charter development, goal setting and monitoring, performance reporting, and grant writing. Prior to this work, Melissa served as co-Director of Lighthouse Community Charter Public Schools for ten years, joining the original founders in year two of operation to grow Lighthouse into an exemplary, urban charter school organization. Prior to entering administration, Melissa worked as a Humanities teacher in Washington State and at a public K-12 bilingual school in Hsinchu, Taiwan. She also spent four years as a Product Manager and Content Producer, developing online Masters in Education programs for Canter & Associates, Lodestar Charter Petition – ii. Executive Summary via Walden University and Laureate Education. Melissa was a 2002 New Leaders for New Schools Fellow, through which she received her administrative training. She earned her MA from the University of Oregon, where she also held a Teaching Fellowship in the College of Education, and her BA and Teaching Credential from Whitman College.

  • Roosevelt Callahan

    Roosevelt Callahan is currently a strategy and operations consultant. Roosevelt has held several roles across Teach For America, including managing and supporting a portfolio of regions, leading operations and logistics for the New York Training Institute, and managing large cross-organization technology projects. Roosevelt has also led instructional operations for Success Academies Charter Network and has worked as a business analyst in the financial services industry and management consultant in the technology industry.  Roosevelt currently resides in Oakland, CA and is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in Computer Science.

  • Sarah Chavez-YoellDirector, Oakland Builders Alliance

    Sarah is the Director of the Oakland Builders Alliance, a non-profit organization advocating for responsible economic and environmental development in Oakland. Sarah is the former Executive Director of the East Oakland Boxing Association, a non-profit, community-based organization providing education, enrichment, and health programs for children and youth. Sarah also worked as a constituent liaison for Oakland City Council member Larry Reid. Sarah is an Oakland native and graduate of Castlemont High School. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in Public Administration, both from California State University, East Bay. Sarah has served on the board since 2008.

  • Wayne DelkerChief Innovation Officer (retired), Clorox

    Wayne L. Delker has spent more than 30 years in business leading innovation organizations and developing innovation processes, capability and culture. He recently retired as senior vice president & chief innovation officer of The Clorox Company and was appointed to the company’s executive committee in June 2009. Delker, who previously held the title vice president — global research & development since joining Clorox in 1999, served as the company’s chief technical and innovation executive. He led worldwide R&D for all of the company’s products, providing technical and scientific guidance within the operating divisions and other staff functions, and oversaw the company’s stewardship activities, ensuring the health, safety and environmental benefits of Clorox products. During this time Clorox achieved a record level of growth from innovation, was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 100 global innovators and won the Corporate Innovator of the Year Award from the Product Development and Management Association in 2013. Delker is currently building on this foundation to successfully apply the lean innovation methods developed by start-up companies to large enterprises in the profit and nonprofit sector. These practices enable the acceleration of innovation as well as allow companies to build bigger and better ideas. Wayne has served on the Board since 2015.

  • D’Lonra EllisGeneral Counsel at Aspire Public Schools

    Board President D’Lonra Ellis is General Counsel at Aspire Public Schools. She holds her BA in Architecture, Preservation, and Planning from Columbia University and her JD from Stanford Law School. She states that she serves on the Lighthouse Board because “I believe in the Lighthouse mission, and because I believe that Lighthouse fills an important educational niche in the Oakland community.” In her free time, D’Lonra enjoys reading as much as possible. D’Lonra has served on the board since 2007.

  • Christina Legg GreenbergFounder and Partner of Edgility Consulting

    Christina Legg Greenberg is a Founder and Partner of Edgility Consulting. Edgility is a talent management consulting firm that finds the leaders education organizations need to make a difference. Previously she founded and led Redwood Circle Consulting and worked for New Leaders’ Bay Area team recruiting, selecting and placing principals. She has a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA and a Masters Degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. “I serve on the Lighthouse Board because I am deeply committed to increasing academic achievement and college readiness for all students in my community and I am passionate about Lighthouse’s efforts every day to make college and career a reality for all Oakland students.” With her free time, Christina likes to play outdoors with her kids and husband, enjoy music and theatre, cook and eat great food and travel. Christina has served on the board since 2011.

  • Maurilio LeonCOO, Community Housing Opportunities Corporation

    Maurilio León is the Chief Operating Officer for the Community Housing Opportunities Corporation. He is responsible for strategic and operational oversight of programs and establishing partnerships to further programs and community outcomes. This includes identifying opportunities to leverage organizational strengths and take advantage of new opportunities.  Maurilio has an accomplished career of combining strategy and innovation to successful outcomes in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. He holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University.

  • Kristin RichmondFounder and CEO, Revolution Foods

    Kristin Groos Richmond is Co-Founder and CEO of Revolution Foods, a company bringing healthy, fresh meals and nutrition education to Lighthouse and other schools across the country, serving 120,000 healthy meals per day! Kristin attended Boston College and the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. In her own words, “I serve on the Lighthouse board because it is an incredible opportunity to work with a team and a school I believe can transform education in our community. Lighthouse is setting a gold standard for high expectations and a quality education for each and every student!” In her free time, Kristin spends lots of time with her little boys, Watts and Caleb, and husband Steve. She loves to hike, garden, swim and travel and aspires to learn to surf and play guitar this year! Kristin has served on the board since 2010.

  • Brian RogersCEO, Rogers Family Foundation

    Brian Rogers currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Rogers Family Foundation located in Oakland, California. Having served as Executive Director of the Rogers Family Foundation from 2003 to 2014, Brian was promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer in 2014. During his tenure at the foundation, Brian has helped to create and grow Oakland education organizations such as Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center, the Oakland Education Fund, the Oakland Charter Collaborative and the Oakland Literacy Coalition. Brian currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Lighthouse Community Charter Schools and Education for Change Public Schools. Before joining the Rogers Family Foundation, Brian was the manager of the Lair of the Bear, a family summer camp run by the University of California, Berkeley, Alumni Association. Prior to that, Brian was an English teacher and Varsity Tennis Coach at his alma mater, Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland. Brian graduated from UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School as an undergraduate in 1995 and received his California single subject teaching credential from St. Mary’s College in 2000. Brian currently lives in Orinda with his wife Katie and their three children. Brian has served on the board since 2003.

  • Robert SchwartzPartner, Silicon Schools Fund

    Rob is a partner at Silicon Schools Fund. He is the former Executive Director of Level Playing Field Institute, which is a program committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and fostering their untapped talent for the advancement of our nation. Before joining LPFI, Rob spent three years as Chief Academic Officer for Inner City Education Foundation Public Schools in South Los Angeles, leading the strategic expansion of the academic program from three schools with 500 students to 15 schools with almost 4,000 students. As an instructional leader, Robert facilitated the curricular design of the charter organization’s rigorous academic program with the goal to prepare students to attend and compete academically at top colleges. Robert was the founding principal at ICEF’s flagship high school, where he led its growth from 93 to 375 students. Under Robert’s direction, the first three classes achieved a 100% graduation rate with 97% accepted to four-year universities. As a 1994 Teach for America corps member, Robert spent seven years at his placement site in East Los Angeles. He was twice named teacher of the year and was made lead teacher and science department chairperson in his second year. Robert graduated cum laude from Binghamton University with a double major in Biology and Classical Languages, and earned his MA in Urban Education Policy Planning and Administration and Ed.D. in Urban Educational Leadership from the Rossier School of Education at USC. In 2009, Robert was named to the African American Achievement Commission by the California State Board of Education. Robert has served on the board since 2012.

  • Delphine ShermanCFO, Aspire Public Schools

    Delphine Sherman is the CFO at Aspire Public Schools. She is responsible for the financial management of Aspire which has an operating budget of $130M and currently serves over 13,000 students. Prior to joining Aspire, Delphine was the VP of Client Services at EdTec, working with dozens of charter schools across the state in a financial and operational capacity. In fact, while at EdTec, Delphine was the Client Manager for Lighthouse Community Charter Schools, and she fell in love with the school leaders and the sense of community surrounding the school. Over the last several years, she has kept in close contact with the school community which has paid off because in 2013, Delphine joined the Lighthouse board and is thrilled to be serving on the Finance Committee. Delphine is a graduate of Dartmouth College and has an MBA from UC Berkeley. She has also served on several non-profit boards in the Bay Area and is currently an advisory board member for the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Delphine has served on the board since 2013.

  • Sara SolarEducate78

    Sara lives and works in Oakland, where she launched her career as a teacher at Markham and Maxwell Park Elementary Schools in East Oakland. She currently works at Educate78, a nonprofit organization focused on school quality in Oakland, leading efforts to make Oakland a magnet for great teachers and school leaders. Before joining Educate78 she lived and worked in Tennessee where she was a Dean of Instruction at turnaround middle school Cameron College Prep, led by LEAD Public Schools, and portfolio director for the Memphis Priority Schools Talent Strategy efforts to retain, develop, and recruit exceptional educators to transform Memphis’ lowest performing schools. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Sara worked at The Bridgespan Group, supporting education organizations on their core strategies. Sara earned her MA in educational leadership at Stanford and BA in Political Science at Yale.

  • Jonathan VellineExecutive Vice President, Wells Fargo

    Jonathan Velline  is responsible for managing Wells Fargo’s network of more than 6,300 ATMs which is the third largest bank ATM network in the United States. Jonathan is also responsible for distribution analysis for Wells Fargo’s network of more than 3,000 banking stores. Jonathan holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.  He is currently the board Vice President and has served on the board since 2006.

  • Carina WongDeputy Director, K - 12 Education, Gates Foundation

    Carina currently serves as a deputy director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the K12 Education team. She has worked in education policy and workforce development for over two decades at the national, state and local levels.  Carina is passionate about the arts as well as feeding children and their families healthy, local and organic foods.  She led the Chez Panisse Foundation started by Chef and Author Alice Waters, where she launched the School Lunch Initiative and managed the Edible Schoolyard Project.  She is also a Trustee of the Oakland Museum of CA. Carina has a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Education Policy and Administration from Stanford University. She has taught abroad and is a former US Peace Corps Volunteer and the mother of three young children.

Where Oakland Shines