Impact through Leadership, Mentoring, and Innovation Programs

Mentoring Programs
Design and launch evidence-based mentoring programs that strengthen community connection, expand leadership opportunities, and utilize the power of peer influence…

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Innovation and Social
Entrepreneurship Programs
Students and faculty learn how to engage with local and global challenges through key skills related to equity-focused innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and civic leadership…

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Leadership and Teambuilding Workshops
Develop a community of students and educators equipped with leadership skills related to problem-solving, active listening, group facilitation, inclusive teambuilding, and decision making…

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Mentoring Programs

Peer Mentoring Impact

Our evidence-based approach ensures high-quality programs that positively impact students and your community. The below statistics are from ninth grade students who recently participated in a year-long peer leadership program.

0 %
Indicated the peer leadership program increased their connection to peers
0 %
Described their peer leaders as positive role models
0 %
Expressed interest in becoming a peer leader
0 %
Believe the peer leadership program was valuable and should continue
Mentoring Program Design and Leadership

Design and Leadership: Educators in this yearlong professional development experience will receive customized support in the design, evaluation, and leadership of evidence-based peer mentoring programs. Whether launching a new program or improving an existing one, the two-day in-person kickoff workshop along with the follow-up monthly seminars will provide expert guidance to address the most common challenges associated with coordinating and enhancing successful peer mentoring programs. Individualized support and coaching is also provided for all participants on an as-need basis for the duration of the program. Some of the most common programs supported in this process include: Peer Leadership, Peer Transition, Peer Tutoring, Peer Education, New Faculty Mentoring, and Career Development and Advancement. Sample topics include:

  • Program structure
  • Mentor recruitment and selection
  • The matching process
  • Pre and post-match training
  • Curriculum development
  • Community support

Mentor Leadership Workshops: Participants will learn how to serve as effective peer mentors in customized one-to-one and group program structures. Using an evidence-based approach, we teach leadership skills related to a variety of focus areas including:

  • Active listening
  • Group facilitation
  • Growth mindset
  • Conflict resolution
  • Mentor ethics
  • Decision making
Mentor Leadership Workshops

Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Programs

Educator Lab

Educator Lab: Participants in this cohort-based professional development program will learn how to teach students to engage with real world challenges within their local and global communities. This program is for anyone looking to integrate design thinking, civic leadership, and social entrepreneurship into a K-12 or higher education classroom, after school enrichment program, or community organization.

Program Launch: This program is for schools looking to launch or enhance a community-wide innovation program. Our team of experienced educators is available to partner in its design, implementation, and evaluation. We offer many areas of expertise including  curricular programming, facilities design, staffing structures, special events, community partnerships, and faculty buy-in.

Innovation Program Launch
Social Entrepreneurship CityLab

Social Entrepreneurship CityLab: In this week-long summer program, students develop leadership skills to become equity-focused innovators, social entrepreneurs, and civic leaders. Students learn about current challenges in their city by engaging with professionals and community leaders across sectors. They practice 21st century skills such as opportunity recognition, design thinking, stakeholder engagement, adaptability, entrepreneurial storytelling, and collaborative problem solving. The CityLab will culminate in a presentation to professionals who will give real world feedback on students’ proposed solutions

Healthcare CityLab: Students explore the day-to-day lives of health care professionals and investigate current challenges and innovations in healthcare during this week-long summer program. Students will hear directly from leaders in a variety of medical fields and get hands-on experience with medical research, patient treatment, and simulations. After practicing 21st century leadership skills related to group dynamics, healthcare equity, public speaking, medical innovation, risk management, interpersonal communication, and empathetic listening, students will deliver a final presentation to healthcare professionals for feedback.

Healthcare CityLab

Leadership and Teambuilding Workshops

Student Leadership and Teambuilding Workshops

Student Workshops: These workshops are intended for student leaders making a positive impact through  student government, clubs, athletic teams, and alumni and community organizations. We facilitate workshops ranging from one-day sessions to yearlong programs. With our interactive approach, participants will practice 21st century learning skills including:

  • Creative problem solving
  • Inspiring a shared vision
  • Active listening
  • Moving from planning to action
  • Group decision making

Educator Workshops: Using an interactive approach, we facilitate leadership and teambuilding workshops for groups of faculty, administrators, trustee boards, and parent groups. Topics include a range of focus areas and skills including:

  • Design thinking
  • Group facilitation and decision making
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Conflict resolution
  • Stakeholder collaboration
Educator Leadership and Teambuilding Workshops

Teneka Middleton

Teneka Middleton is an expert in curriculum design, online education, and technology integration. Currently Middleton works as a math curriculum expert for an online education company where she is tasked with the effective implementation of curriculum for thousands of students. Middleton believes deeply in the power of technology to create meaningful learning experiences and “Aha” moments for all students. Middleton began her career as a math teacher in an alternative education program where she planned and implemented a program of instruction while also creating engaging online educational lessons. After moving to Georgia, Middleton continued her career at a public school district where she was lauded as an advocate for students because o fher ability to facilitate learning while keeping information and lessons varied, fun, impactful, and engaging. 

Todd Maron, Esq.

Todd Maron is the Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of FIGS, a founder-led, direct-to-consumer healthcare apparel and lifestyle brand that seeks to celebrate, empower, and serve current and future generations of healthcare professionals. In addition to overseeing FIGS’ legal department, Maron also is responsible for FIGS’ public relations and advocacy efforts, which include advocating for policies that will improve the experience of being a healthcare professional. Prior to FIGS, Maron was the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Tesla’s Board of Directors for over five years. Maron helped lead Tesla through a period of extraordinary growth as it grew to have a market cap that eclipsed every other American automotive company and employed over 45,000 employees. Maron managed the 150-person legal department where he focused on building a service-oriented team dedicated to environmental sustainability. Maron is a former Board member of the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice and graduated from New York University School of Law. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan where he was also a student manager of the men’s basketball team.

Dr. Aidyl Gonzalez-Serricchio

Dr. Aidyl Gonzalez-Serricchio is an unconventional scientist, educator, and analog astronaut dedicated to pushing the boundaries of science and promoting STEM education, research accessibility, and social and environmental justice. Armed with a Doctorate in Molecular Genetics from California Institute of Technology, her academic journey was propelled by pivotal postdoctoral research on myotonic dystrophy at the University of Southern California. This journey led her to assume the role of co-principal investigator at California State Polytechnic, and she has now come full circle as a researcher at the California Institute of Technology while serving as Outreach Director and Senior Researcher at the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences.  

Dr. Gonzalez-Serricchio explores astrobiology, researching soil health and microbiomes in extreme environments from the Arctic to an Azores lava tube cave. Her research also encompasses neurodegenerative disorders, focusing on dementia using nematodes. As a NASA Solar System Ambassador and amateur magician, Dr. Gonzalez-Serricchio captivates audiences with her unique fusion of science and enchantment. A fervent advocate for Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (JEDIB), she holds advisory and executive roles in organizations like iGIANT and STEAM Superheroes, embodying a holistic commitment to advancing scientific exploration and societal progress.

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, Alexis was an Assistant Director of Admission for Northwestern University where she discovered her passion for supporting students and families.

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 Registered Yoga Teacher. She has a passion 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, Loo 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 inaugural 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.

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 Commity of Practice in Oregon and has presented about Growth Mindset in Beijing, China. 

Dr. Powers 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 was a finalist for the NBA Coach of the Year Award leading the Jazz to a 52-20 regular season record that topped the Western Conference standings. As the Jazz Head Coach, Snyder also served on the National Basketball Coach’s Association Committee for Racial Injustice and Reform

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.

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 where he grew up.

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 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. While 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.