Impact through Leadership,
Mentoring, and Innovation Programs

  • Education

    Engage students and educators through real-world learning, leadership skill development, and peer mentoring programs…

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  • Healthcare

    Cultivate the next generation of medical professional leaders through mentoring and leadership programs that increase healthcare employee retention, job performance, and recruitment success…

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  • Athletics

    Fuel player development, teambuilding, and lifelong leadership skills for athletes to thrive within and beyond the game…

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  • Social Enterprises

    Support employee professional development, expand impact, and strengthen community partnerships…

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What We Do

SparkReach prepares community members to make a positive impact through leadership, mentoring, and innovation programs. We work across sectors and age groups using a customized approach informed by evidence-based research and our own experience developing leadership programs for over 20 years.

SparkReach Advisory Team

  • Dr. Mary-Jo Apigo

    Currently the Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs at Los Angeles Pierce College, Dr. Mary-Jo Apigo has over 20 years experience in the community college system…

     

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  • Dr. Josh Berger

    Dr. Josh Berger, Executive Director of SparkReach, has established leadership programs for over twenty years, and most recently served as the founding Director of an innovative leadership center…

     

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  • Dr. Christopher Chin

    Dr. Christopher Chin has over 10 years experience in the medical field and currently works for Kaiser Permanente at Redwood City Medical Center…

     

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  • Dr. Aidyl Gonzalez-Serricchio

    Dr. Aidyl Gonzalez-Serricchio has over 15 years of experience training and leading K-12 educators and fellow scientists to design inclusive STEAM workspaces…

     

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  • Marquez Gray

    Marquez Gray has over 20 years of experience in community organizing, youth advocacy, and social justice…

     

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  • Alexis Harrell

    Alexis Harrell has over 10 years of admissions and teaching experience on both the college and secondary school levels…

     

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  • Dr. Saidah Leatutufu-Burch

    Dr. Saidah Leatutufu-Burch serves as a disruptor of anti-Black systems and the Director of the Dream Keeper Initiative for San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission…

     

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  • Kristin Loo

    Kristin Loo has over 12 years of experience teaching early education from New York to California…

     

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  • Katie McKellar

    Katie McKellar has over ten years of experience as an educational leader with a focus on leadership skill and curriculum development…

     

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  • Mike Middleton

    Mike Middleton’s work experience includes over 20 years as a successful leader in the sports, fitness, and business industries…

     

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  • Theodore Miller Esq.

    For the last two decades, Theodore Miller has advised and led high-capacity organizations across the country to advance racial justice..

     

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  • Dr. Paul Oberman

    Dr. Paul Oberman is currently the Upper School Director at The Children’s School and has been involved in education for over 30 years…

     

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  • Dr. Miguel Powers

    Dr. Miguel Powers is an English Professor at Fullerton College, and he collaborates with educators around the world to implement and research Growth Mindset strategies…

     

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  • Alysha Sayall

    Alysha Sayall has ten years experience in the startup and consulting industries with a focus on product management and growth strategy…

     

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  • Quin Snyder

    Quin Snyder is the second-winningest NBA Head Coach in Utah Jazz history having led the team to six straight playoff appearances…

     

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SparkReach Leadership Skills

  • Collaborative Problem Solvers

    Collaborative Problem Solvers

    SparkReach Problem Solvers value co-creation and partnerships to spark out-of-the-box ideas, critical thinking, and creative problem solving. They consistently facilitate group dialogue and seek out diverse perspectives in order to make astute decisions. Prioritizing meaningful collaboration with stakeholders, their leadership fosters innovative and equity-focused solutions.

  • Motivating Teambuilders

    Motivating Teambuilders

    SparkReach Teambuilders inspire a shared vision. They trust team members to lead out in their areas of expertise and value giving credit for others’ contributions. Empathetically caring for others, they bring out the best in each individual and help the team reach its full potential. Teambuilders embrace conflict resolution as an opportunity to deepen relationships and they bring people together demonstrating a high level of cultural competency.

  • Authentic Communicators

    Authentic Communicators

    SparkReach Communicators express themselves thoughtfully and authentically through their unique leadership style. They actively listen to others, share a compelling vision, understand their growth areas, and take responsibility for their mistakes. Leading from the heart, they inspire those around them to have a positive impact in their communities with a focus on bringing people together.

  • Adaptive Risk Takers

    Adaptive Risk Takers

    SparkReach Risk Takers approach uncertainty with excitement, curiosity, flexibility, and confidence. They are courageous and agile leaders who are willing to take risks and learn as they go. They actively seek feedback, embrace setbacks as an opportunity to learn, and iterate for continuous improvement.

  • Effective Actualizers

    Effective Actualizers

    SparkReach Actualizers follow through on a vision and get it done. They think strategically, break large projects into small steps, and model a care for quality. Through a combination of effort, project management skills, and a figure-it-out mentality, Actualizers turn ideas into reality.

Testimonials

  • “I love the community our Peer Leadership class creates. The training retreat in the beginning of the year was one of the best parts and outreach sessions with the ninth graders have without a doubt been a highlight of my senior year. The class activities have prepared us extremely well, and we have all gotten so close.”

    -High School Senior Peer Mentor

  • “Nothing has been more important to our students successfully transitioning academically and social-emotionally than the mentoring programs Josh helped us set up. His expertise was invaluable as we decided on the program vision and structure, and his ongoing support has ensured successful mentor training, matching, and program outcomes. Our mentors and mentees continually reference the experience in these programs as one of the highlights of their school experience.”

    -High School Principal

  • “The most meaningful part of this experience was the constructive feedback and support I received from my like-minded and highly motivated peers. Not only did said feedback help develop my group’s own ideas, but it broadened my own perspective and allowed me to view my work from others’ viewpoints. Also, it was wonderfully inspiring to see how many young innovators around the country are passionate about making our world better.”

    -Innovation Workshop Participant

  • “Josh really took the time to get to know the needs of our community so we could get the most out of our mentoring program. He worked with us every step of the way to clarify and revise program goals while connecting with stakeholders. Our program has been much more successful thanks to his guidance and expertise.”

    -Local Government Leader

  • “It couldn’t have been organized any better. Great balance of experiential activities and knowledge dives. Pacing was perfect – just enough information without being overwhelming. Built in time for questions and elaboration. I think we all feel confident in our understanding of the program and are fully equipped to hit the ground running.”

    Mentor Coordinator Workshop Participant 

  • “I have had an unforgettable experience with Peer Leadership this semester. My Peer Leaders have been excellent, and I love them so much. They have made an incredible effort to bond with us students through meaningful activities, and they create such a positive and safe environment in the class. Their love of the class, gratitude towards me outside of Peer Leadership, and advice always helps me through the day. All of the students in this class have come much closer as a whole because of Peer Leadership. I have had an incredible time and look forward to the class every Friday!”

    Peer Mentee

Dr. Mary-Jo Apigo

 

Dr. Mary-Jo Apigo’s experience in the community college system spans over two decades. She is currently the Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs at Los Angeles Pierce College. In this role, she serves as the Chief Instructional Officer of the college and is responsible for all operations of the academic program, including planning, policy development, and budget management. In her 11 years as the Dean of Teaching & Learning and Acting Dean of Academic Affairs at West Los Angeles College, her areas of responsibility included SLO assessment, Distance Learning Program, professional development, instructional technology, student success initiatives, the Student Equity Plan, and grant projects. 

Additionally, she is the co-founder of The Growth Mindset Academy and has co-led trainings on ways to foster a growth mindset to over 140 cross-disciplinary faculty at 35 community colleges in California and Oregon. She also presents regularly at student success conferences nationwide and has served on an Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI) Partnership Resource Team to three CA community colleges to support their assessment, equity, and professional development programs. 

Dr. Apigo earned a BA from UCLA, MBA from LMU, and Ed.D from UCLA. She currently co-teaches the year-long dissertation proposal class for doctoral students in the Educational Leadership Program at UCLA. Other teaching experience includes serving as an adjunct in the Computer Science Department at West and teaching research methods to masters students at LMU in the Educational Leadership and Administration for the School of Education. 

 

Dr. Josh Berger

Co-Founder and Executive Director of SparkReach Innovative Leadership, Dr. Josh Berger has established and directed leadership programs for over twenty years. Most recently he served as the founding Director of the Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership which he helped develop into a nationally recognized leadership and innovation hub for K-12 students.

In 2016, Josh completed his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of California, Los Angeles. His dissertation focused on the implementation of school-based peer leadership programs and received the outstanding dissertation award from the National Association of Peer Program Professionals. He subsequently joined the NAPPP Board of Directors and became a published author with the National Mentoring Resource Center.

In addition to mentoring programs, Dr. Berger has designed civic, educational, and athletics leadership programs for schools, communities, and governmental organizations across the country.  He has his California teaching and administrative credentials and is a regular guest speaker at universities and conferences on leadership development. As a Board member for PS1 Elementary School, Dr. Berger leads the Head of School evaluation committee and participates on the Governance and Equity and Inclusion committees.

Prior to completing his Doctorate at UCLA, Dr. Berger obtained his Master’s degree in English from the University of Missouri while serving as the Director of Player Development for the men’s basketball team. He graduated magna cum laude from Duke University where he studied English, Psychology, and Philosophy. At Duke, Dr. Berger also received his secondary school certification teaching in Durham public schools and was a four-year student basketball manager under former U.S. Olympic Coach, Mike Krzyzewski.

 

Dr. Christopher Chin

 

Dr. Christopher Chin works for Kaiser Permanente at Redwood City Medical Center where he specializes in hospital-based medicine, resource management, and delirium technology. Dr. Chin completed his residency at UCSF Fresno in 2015. He is passionate about delivering high quality efficient care, providing access to healthcare for underserved populations, and staying involved in community health centers. Born and raised in San Francisco, Dr. Chin enjoys practicing medicine in the community he grew up in.

Dr. Aidyl Gonzalez-Serricchio

Dr. Aidyl Gonzalez-Serricchio has over 15 years of experience training and leading K-12 educators and fellow scientists to design, promote, and facilitate equity, diversity, and inclusive-related initiatives within STEAM workspaces. She is a curriculum innovator, social justice advocate, STEAM multiculturalism champion, and analog astronaut. She collaborates with colleagues through the NAIS People of Color Conference (PoCC) and Southern California networks in developing professional development programming. 

She earned her Doctorate in Molecular Genetics at the California Institute of Technology and was a Co-Principal investigator and lecturer at California State Polytechnic University on research involving roundworms and mitochondrial defects. Dr. Gonzalez-Serricchio is a Co-Founder of the Soil Science Lab where she provides support, resources, and workshops across the country related to citizen science. Dr. Gonzalez-Serricchio is currently a researcher at Project PoSSUM and Co-Chair of PoSSUM 13.

Marquez Gray

Marquez Gray has over 20 years of experience in community organizing, youth advocacy, and social justice. He works as the Director of Community Development in the San Francisco Mayor’s Office via HOPE SF, a Public Housing Transformation Initiative, whose mission is to change systems so that race and place are not barriers to prosperity and opportunities. He is a San Francisco native and serves as a Pastor at City Life Church. Passionate to live out his faith, Gray strives to see systemic change in underrepresented communities of color by centering the voice of residents in innovative programs, policies, and equitable housing development projects.

Alexis Harrell

Alexis Harrell has over 10 years of admissions and teaching experience on both the college and secondary school levels. She currently serves as an Associate Director of Admissions for Brentwood School in Los Angeles where she also Chaired the Foundations Department, taught Applied Psychology and Multicultural Studies, and served as the faculty advisor for the Black Student Association. Previously, Harrell was an Assistant Director of Admission for Northwestern University where she discovered her passion for supporting students and families on their educational journeys.

Harrell earned her Masters of Education in Educational Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago and her Bachelor of Science in Education with a focus on Human Development and Psychological Services from Northwestern University.

In addition to her other professional roles, Harrell is a Group Fitness Manager and instructor, a Certified Personal trainer, and a 200-HR Registered Yoga Teacher. She has a deep appreciation for fitness and its mental and physical benefits.

Harrell recently served as a facilitator for one of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation Seminars. She is a firm believer in the power of peer programming and is committed to working with the rising generation of leaders.

Dr. Saidah Leatutufu-Burch

Dr. Saidah Leatutufu-Burch serves as a disruptor of anti-Black systems and the Director of the Dream Keeper Initiative. A program of the Human Rights Commission, the Dream Keeper Initiative is an intergenerational effort aiming to ensure San Francisco’s diverse Black communities are experiencing joy and feelings of safety, are advancing educationally and economically, are holistically healthy, and are thriving. Previously, Dr. Leatutufu-Burch served as Deputy Director of HOPE SF, the nation’s first large-scale public housing transformation and reparations effort without mass displacement; before that she was HOPE SF’s Director of Economic Advancement, where she developed systems that advance and support the economic self-sufficiency and financial stability of households of color with low incomes. 

Dr. Leatutufu-Burch earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from the University of San Francisco, a Master’s in Public Administration from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. Dr. Leatutufu-Burch is passionate about achieving collective liberation and indigenous sovereignty. A former public housing resident turned homeowner, Dr. Leatutufu-Burch’s exposure to systemic inequities in communities of color catalyzed her passion for initiating change in historically oppressed neighborhoods with a particular focus on Black and indigenous Pacific Islander communities.

Kristin Loo

Kristin Loo has over 12 years of experience teaching early education from New York to California. Originally from Honolulu, Kristin has a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies, English, and Education from Barnard College and a Masters of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. After beginning her teaching career at The Dalton School in New York, Loo spent 10 years as an educator at Brentwood School in Los Angeles.

Loo is passionate about student-centered learning, curriculum development, and guiding critical thinking skills from a young age. In addition to teaching students from first through fourth grade, she has mentored other teachers, led multiple committees to support K-12 curricular programs, and has promoted diversity and inclusion initiatives for Asian American and Pacific Islander students and faculty. Loo was instrumental in the design and launch of a dedication innovation and fabrication space at her previous school and provides expertise in areas of facilities design and professional development.

Katie McKellar

Co-Founder of SparkReach Innovative Leadership, Katie McKellar has over ten years of experience as an educational leader with a focus on leadership skill and curriculum development. She most recently served as the Assistant Director of a K-12 Innovative Leadership Center where she worked with faculty to create curricular and extracurricular opportunities for students to engage with real world challenges and explore solutions. She also designed professional development workshops for faculty to learn new ways of integrating design thinking, social entrepreneurship, and civic engagement into their classrooms. McKellar taught a course on Civic Engagement and Current Events and developed summer programming related to social entrepreneurship and civic leadership. She also has coached a wide variety of high school sports.

Having grown up in Alaska, McKellar began her teaching career as a History Teaching Fellow after graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from Harvard University. At Harvard, McKellar was also a four-year member of the Varsity Swim Team and was a leader for the First-Year Outdoor Program.

McKellar earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Columbia University and has served as a Department Chair and Curriculum Innovator & Collaborator. 

Mike Middleton

Coach Mike Middleton has over 20 years experience as a successful coach, teacher, and business leader. He has extensive experience helping team leaders strategize to create winning programs. Coach Middleton also served as an adjunct professor and taught courses on Sports Psychology and Peak Performance, Personal Training, Nutrition Diet and Health, and Physical Therapy Aide.

Coach Middleton’s experiences in business marketing, management, and sports performance has led to his serving on multiple education and health advisory boards. He has numerous certifications, including Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA), Fitness Nutrition Specialist (ISSA), Sports Performance Coach (USAW), Personal Trainer (NASM), and Double Goal Coach (Positive Coaching Alliance).

Coach Middleton earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri where he majored in Health and Physical Education and was a basketball scholarship student-athlete. After pursuing a successful career as a professional basketball player, he earned his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration from Georgia State University while coaching and training student-athletes. Coach Middleton is passionate about inspiring people of all ages and abilities to develop themselves as leaders and realize their goals.

 

Theodore Miller, Esq.

 

For the last two decades, Theodore Miller has advised and led high-capacity organizations across the country to advance racial justice, redesign policy and practice, create new models of collaboration, and achieve dramatically better results across multi-racial institutions. Miller is the co-principal of Equity & Results, a nationally recognized consultancy firm that specializes in supporting the public and private sectors to accelerate anti-racist impact through innovative forms of data use, collective learning, cross-sector partnerships, and strategy design.

A sought-after public voice on race, social justice, and community development, Miller previously served the last three mayors in San Francisco, where he led the most consequential transformation of public housing and neighborhood redevelopment in the City’s history. As a public servant, he managed the two-decade, $2.5 billion redevelopment initiative where he built partnerships with resident, community, and philanthropic leaders to transform more than 3,000 units of affordable housing and shift the City’s public sector resources and policies to explicitly focus on longstanding underserved families, particularly African Americans and Pacific Islanders.

A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, and born and raised in Los Angeles, Miller previously was a corporate and real estate attorney at the firm Davis Polk & Wardwell; a commercial broker and real estate developer; and a Fellow at the Hutchins Institute at Harvard University. He has served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Bar Association, and lives in Oakland and Venice, California where he raises his two young daughters.

Dr. Paul Oberman

 

Dr. Paul Oberman has more than 30 years of experience in education and is currently the Upper School Director at The Children’s School in Atlanta. He has served as teacher, coach, division head, and head of school at boarding and day schools, religious schools and non-religious schools, single gender and coed schools. Prior to his current role, Dr. Oberman served as the Head of School at Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston. He was also the first Middle School Director of Pace Academy in Atlanta. Dr. Oberman has taught classes in mathematics, computer science, computer applications, and peer leadership. Dr. Oberman earned his PhD from Emory University with research dedicated to academic help-seeking. He believes in empowering students and teachers.

Dr. Miguel Powers

 

Dr. Miguel Powers is an English Professor at Fullerton College and has been awarded both Fullerton College Teacher of the Year (2018, 2005) and the Extended Opportunity Program and Services Outstanding Teacher of the Year. In addition to his teaching duties at Fullerton, Dr. Powers serves as the Guided Pathways Faculty Co-Chair, overseeing the development of the First Year Experience and other campus support programs.

Dr. Powers is part of a collaborative team presenting on Disciplinary Mindsets to foster curriculum redesign and enhance student equity. He is the co-founder of The Growth Mindset Academy, providing educators proven strategies and a collaborative community to create transformative learning environments where students feel empowered, supported, and inspired. He currently co-facilitates a statewide Community of Practice (CoP) implementing and researching Growth Mindset strategies to improve student success. This ongoing CoP is part of the California Community College Success Network (3CSN) and includes multi-discipline teams from over forty colleges. Further, he led a CoP in Oregon and has presented about Growth Mindset in Beijing, China. 

He earned his doctorate in Education from UCLA in 2015 and was awarded the UCLA Alumni Dissertation Scholarship.

Alysha Sayall

Alysha Sayall has ten years experience in the startup and consulting industries with a focus on product management and growth strategy. Currently, Sayall leads a team at Faire, an online wholesale marketplace for retailers and brands where she is excited to fuel the growth of entrepreneurs everywhere. Sayall’s previous experience includes Mindstrong, a healthcare technology company; Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project; and Thumbtack, a local services marketplace. 

After graduating from Stanford with a degree in public policy and economics, Sayall worked for several years at Bain & Company and partnered with Fortune 500 Companies to address their most strategic questions. Sayall earned her MBA from Stanford where she served as an Arbuckle Leadership Fellow providing coaching and mentorship to first-year MBA students.  Sayall enjoys inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and high impact startups.

Quin Snyder

Quin Snyder is the second-winningest Head Coach in Utah Jazz history having coached the team from 2014-2022 and taken them to six straight playoff appearances. During the 2020-21 season, Coach Snyder led the Jazz to a 52-20 regular season record, topping the Western Conference standings. For these efforts, Coach Snyder won back-to-back Western Conference Coach of the Month Awards and was a finalist for the NBA Coach of the Year Award.

Prior to the Jazz, Coach Snyder was an Assistant Coach for the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Philadelphia 76ers. Before being an NBA Assistant Coach, Snyder was the Head Coach of Austin Toros (NBA D-League) where he led the Toros to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons and won the D-League Coach of the Year in the 2008-2009 season.

Snyder has his MBA and JD from Duke University. He also attended Duke from 1985-1989 as an undergraduate earning degrees in philosophy and political science and leading the basketball team to three NCAA Final-Fours. Snyder was named team captain and an Academic All-American during his senior season.