Our Story

Aspire Education Project was founded in 2005 to address the gap in access to educational resources for students in the Bay Area. Our founder Matthew Hulse strongly believed that all students deserve access to the best educational opportunities, regardless of financial means. We know that education builds communities, enhances economic potential, and enriches lives. We continue to partner with families, schools, community organizations, and the general public to provide access to high quality academic support for all students.

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We believe quality education builds better futures

Parents and schools want their students to thrive, and so do we. We offer access to the best SAT/ACT and AP test prep, one-on-one tutoring, homework help, and so much more. More importantly, we define success beyond the numbers: our highly trained tutors instill academic excellence, confidence, self-sufficiency, and self-advocacy in our students so that they can be agents of change and take charge of their futures.

We believe in empowering students

When it comes to education, we are always personally invested in each and every student and family that comes our way. Helping a student achieve success means understanding what success means to the individual—whether it’s a 5 on the AP Physics Exam, being a first-generation college attendee, or entering kindergarten ready to read.

We believe in bridging divides through educational equity

Every student in our community deserves the best. We envision a world where all students have the opportunity and tools to succeed so we collaborate with partners to provide quality education for all. Through our Robin Hood model, the funds we receive from families that can afford paid tutoring services support students and families that cannot. To make an impact for our youth, we know that students, teachers, parents, and all members of the community need to band together.

Our Staff

Deborah Harvey

Interim Executive Director
She/her

Deborah holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and BS in Electrical Engineering from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

"After years in the semiconductor industry I connected with Aspire Education Project through Encore.org. The most rewarding part of this work is the ability to address education inequity by providing onsite school and after-school programs for elementary, middle, and high school students."

Dorothy Gray

Director of Programs and Tutoring
SHE/HER

Dorothy graduated from Occidental College with a BA in Sociology- Education Emphasis.

“I love that my role with Aspire allows me to serve the community and form partnerships with so many families, organizations, and educators who all want their students to thrive. Being part of the office team means getting to work with folks who are dedicated, thoughtful, and hilarious!”

Genni Low

Director of Early Literacy
She/her

Genni received her BA in International Development from UCLA and her MA in Education and International Development from University College London's Institute of Education.

“As an Oakland native, I’m proud to contribute to the Oakland community by inspiring the children and youth of my hometown through the Community Reading Buddies program. I love Aspire’s mission and our team’s passion to see all students have equitable educational opportunities.”

Jennifer Hugenberger

McClymonds Site Lead
She/Her

Jennifer earned her BS from CSU East Bay in Biological Science and her PhD in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley.

“Aspire Education Project is unique in that it provides me the opportunity to share my love of science with groups of Oakland students that I would have never had the chance to meet otherwise. My life is enriched each day by the chance to make a difference in young people’s lives, sharing the knowledge I was fortunate enough to be taught, and encouraging students on their academic and career paths in STEM fields.”

Hamed Noorulhuda

Manager of San Francisco Programs
He/him

Hamed graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Human Biology.

“My favorite part of working at Aspire is mentoring students who are motivated to be the first in their families to pursue higher education. Helping students shed their doubt and realize dreams they once deemed an impossibility reinforces my belief that, by leveraging the right resources, we can make a positive impact.”

Mario Maldonado

Tutor Mentor
He/Him

Mario received his BS in Chemical Engineering from UC Berkeley.

“After more than 25 years as a tutor, the best part of my job is seeing the light bulb turn on for students when they are facing a challenge and I can help them 'get it.' The reason I continue to do this work is that it never gets old; I still have the same spark for what I do and for the students I work with.”

Ana Castillo James

Program Coordinator
she/her

Ana graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Latin American and Latinx Studies.

“I’m excited to be part of a team of educators that is so dedicated to the mission of equity in education. I love connecting students with tutors who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and are invested in their students’ success.”

Parisa Zamanian

Program Coordinator
they/them & she/her

Parisa graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a BA in Liberal Arts and MA in Women's History. She is currently working on a Masters in Social Work at UC Berkeley.

“My favorite part of working at Aspire is working with a team that shares a passion for equity in education and social justice.”

Plus 30+ academic content and test prep experts.

Our Board

Jessie Conradi

Board President

Aleka Calsoyas

Board Member Emeritus (Co-Founder, COO)

Emmanuel Ezeagwula

Board Member

Michaele Hart

Board Member

Rebecca Keller

Board Member

Arthur Price

Board Member

Owen Thompson-Lastad

Board Member

Aisa Villarosa

Board Member

Jack Woodruff

Board Member

Join Our Team!

Any educational program is only as good as those who provide it, so we strive to attract, develop, and reward the best, most effective educators. Interested?