Meet Our Team

Our Staff

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Drew Sokol, Executive Director
Drew is the co-founder of the Lafayette Preparatory Academy schools in St. Louis, which have been recognized by Niche and U.S. News & World Report. A former math teacher himself, Drew earned a BSM in Legal Studies in Business from Tulane University, a Masters in Teaching from Pace University, and a Masters in Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary. Drew came to Aspire because he believes deeply that every student deserves a champion. In fact, Drew’s life journey is so rooted in education...he was even born in a dorm room!

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Kathleen Mautner, Director of Community Reading Buddies
Kathleen is an Oregon native who has dedicated her career to closing the opportunity gap in education. Since beginning her career as a high school teacher in New Orleans, Kathleen has held district leadership roles focused on improving academic outcomes for all students, and is excited to now bring her passion for literacy development and systems change to CRB. Kathleen holds a BA in Politics and Spanish from Scripps College, and an MPP in Education from Vanderbilt University.

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Nathaly Basto, Tutoring Program Coordinator
Nathaly was born in Bogotá, Colombia and grew up in Southern California. She attended Yale University, where she received her BS in Cognitive Science and was an Education Studies Scholar. She worked as a college counselor and test prep tutor in Mexico City for some years, and has tutored and counseled over 200 students. She loves motivating and guiding students to find their passion and develop their emotional intelligence, talents, and potential. Nathaly loves traveling: she's traveled to 13 countries and is fluent in English and Spanish and speaks some Hebrew!

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Aaron Rubio, Community Reading Buddies Progam Coordinator
Aaron is a Los Angeles native who has a passion for community development, education and social work. As the program coordinator for Community Reading Buddies, Aaron helps in the planning and implementation of the program. Prior to joining CRB, Aaron worked as a primary and secondary school teacher in Chiang Rai, Thailand for a number of years. He was a lead teacher in the subjects of English, science and math. He joined Community Reading Buddies because he believes every child should have equal access to a formal education. Aaron holds a BS in Sociology from Arizona State University.

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Mario Maldonado, Tutor Mentor, STEM Specialist
Mario graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in Chemical Engineering with an emphasis in Biotechnology. He has over 25 years of experience empowering his students to oustanding growth in STEM and Spanish. Mario enjoys spending time with friends and family, seeing the spark of understanding in student's eyes after comprehending a challenging concept, and contemplating the laws of physics while skiing.

Chelle Schauben, Early Literacy Specialist
Chelle is committed to helping all students and those impacted by the pandemic. One of Chelle’s great pleasures in life is reading. Reading expands the mind, develops imagination, allows us to think creatively, and improves focus and concentration skills. As a reading specialist, Chelle uses her knowledge and experience from her two Master’s degrees in Educational Therapy and English and Creative Writing from Holy Names University. She is currently a candidate for her 3rd master’s degree in Urban Education Special Education with a Credential in Mild to Moderate Disabilities. She uses the PRIDE reading program, and treats her students with respect while making learning fun!

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Teshera York, San Francisco Site Lead
Teshera is current pursuing her Sociology degree, with a minor in Child and Youth Studies. She not only tutors in Math, but Japanese as well! In fact, she has lived in three touristy hot spots: Japan, Hawaii, and now San Francisco!

 

 

Chase Kamp, English / History / Test Prep Specialist
Chase received a BS in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. After working as a reporter and freelance writer, he moved to the Bay Area and has been tutoring students in test prep and academic success for seven years, with a focus on study skills that will last students a lifetime. In his previous life as a reporter, he interviewed Senator John McCain and country singer Darius Rucker.

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Bella Alfonso, Programs and STEM Specialist
Bella is currently attending the University of California, Berkeley and pursuing a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She has worked with kids of all ages. Although she has served in many different positions, some of her favorite experiences have been coaching and running an after-school STEM club for elementary schoolers. To her, tutoring means appreciating where each student is at and helping them discover the tools they need to succeed in school. She likes to stay busy, but during free time, she finds herself perfecting her baking recipes or running.

Joselvin Galeas, STEM Specialist, Boys and Girls Club Tutor

Joselvin graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied Biochemistry and Spanish Literature. Throughout his entire undergraduate career, he tutored elementary, middle, and high school students in biology, chemistry, and Spanish (including medical terminology in Spanish!). As an undergraduate, he tutored all levels of organic chemistry. He is currently working on a manuscript based on Public Health research he performed at UC San Francisco. In a few months, he will be enrolling in medical school! In his free time, he enjoys mountain biking and water-coloring.
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Judy Fleischman, STEM Specialist
Judy has a Master’s Degree in Astronomy from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s in Physics from MIT. She loves sparking wonderment as tutors Math ranging from Elementary to High School while integrating mindfulness methods to relieve anxiety and promote accessibility and creativity. Her work as a Board Certified healthcare Chaplain supports students whose learning is impacted by loss, trauma, and other forms of distress as have been common during the pandemic. She loves adventure and once flew on an airborne observatory to Greenland to study the Northern Lights!

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Christina Le, Science Specialist
Christina attended UCLA studying Psychobiology for 3 years before eventually shifting focus to Atmospheric and Oceanic Science. Throughout undergrad, she tutored students of all ages through various community programs, as a private tutor and on the campus lab school. These experiences coupled with education classes that unpacked the systemic inequalities in the American education system ignited a passion for teaching. She stayed at UCLA to pursue a Masters in Education because the program was designed to confront these racial, social and economic disparities. After graduating, she taught Biology, Anatomy and Physiology and Environmental Science for over 5 years in South and East LA. Since moving to the Bay Area, she has worked in a variety of other sectors but always finds herself called back to working with students and empowering them to succeed.

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Trevor Nguyen, English Specialist

Trevor Nguyen completed undergrad at UC Berkeley, grad school at Oxford University, and law school for JD/MBA degrees. He is a commissioned US Navy officer and a federal acquisitions professional, yet Trevor remains an educator at heart. His teaching experiences range from training sailors on Navy-enterprise logistics to tutoring middle school algebra and facilitating meditation sessions. Trevor is an avid traveller, visiting 25 countries and 35 states thus far.
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Katherine Young, STEM Specialist and Boys and Girls Club Tutor
Kat is an aspiring physician and graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor's Degree in Global Disease Biology. She was previously pursuing veterinary medicine at UC Davis and decided to switch to the premedical track with an interest in pediatrics. She hopes to serve and advocate for disadvantaged communities as a doctor and contribute to the health disparities in these populations. Kat loves dancing to K-pop and playing video games in her spare time!

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Lorenzo Giamartino, English / History Specialist
Lorenzo is a recent graduate of UCLA, now studying Political Economy. He has been coaching and mentoring students in various sports all his life and began tutoring in college. During college, he completed coursework on 3 different continents.

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Jnelle Grace Aganan

Jnelle has worked in youth and recreation since middle school as a summer camp teen leader in the Daly City Volunteer program. Since then, she's been a teacher's aide at Holy Angels School, a tutor at Daly City public libraries, and an art camp assistant at Color Me Mine at Westlake. As a tutor, she always tries her best to help students reach their academic goals. A fun fact is that she's been in a music video!

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Anthony Long, Science and Math Specialist
Anthony is currently a 9-12 Engineering teacher and has been teaching science and math in the East Bay for over 10 years. He has taught in the classroom the following subjects: Biology, Physiology/Anatomy, Health, Algebra 2, Trig/PreCal, and Engineering design. He has also taught math privately and in brick and mortar facilities such as Mathnasium to students ranging in age from 5 to 15. His educational background includes a B.S. in Biology from UC Santa Barbara and a Master's in Education from UC Davis.

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Emma Vickery, Boys and Girls Club Tutor
Emma graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2020 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a minor in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. Even though she always had a particular love for mathematics, Emma enjoys tutoring middle school and high school students in all subjects, including Math, Science and English. She also currently works as a software engineer, and loves teaching computer science fundamentals whenever she has the chance.

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Brenda Martinez-Puente, Boys and Girls Club Tutor
Brenda graduated from Dominican University of California with a B.S in nursing. She decided to change her career and pursue medicine. Her love for educating others in clinical settings inspired her to work as a tutor. She has both personal and professional experience working with children with learning disabilities from underrepresented communities. Her hope is to provide the best learning environment to encourage growth. Brenda enjoys going on hikes with her dogs, Toby and Smiley.

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Rosalie Lack, Boys and Girls Club Tutor
Rosalie Lack is a digital librarian who is currently working as a data management consultant. She previously worked for the University of California where she managed international digitization projects and collaborated with California cultural heritage institutions on a number of digital initiatives. Rosalie holds a Master's in Information Management and Systems from UC, Berkeley and a Master of Studies in Law from UC Hastings College of the Law.

Venkates “Swami” Swaminathan, Tutor Mentor
Swami has been tutoring students in math, science, and computer science courses, as well as in SAT & ACT preparation, since 2016. He holds an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor’s of Technology in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He is also the founder of LifeLaunchr, which provides expert, personalized coaching for college admissions, and a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

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August Braddock, English/Executive Functioning Specialist

August received her MA in English Literature from San Francisco State University, where she also completed her BA in English Education. As a highly organized book worm, August specializes in tutoring English, long-term projects, and test preparation. She has over two years of tutoring experience and has worked with students of all ages. When she’s not reading, August enjoys listening to 70s and 80s punk and post-punk, binging podcasts, taking care of her many plants, and spending quality time with her friends.

Melanie Prieto, STEM Specialist

Melanie earned a BA in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Davis. An avid mathematics student for as long as she can remember, she is committed to making every subject accessible for all students. When not preparing graduate applications, you can find her drawing, writing, or learning how to play the piano for the third time.

Divyaa Venkatachalam, STEM Specialist

Divyaa is currently studying biology and environmental studies at UC Santa Barbara. She also spends her time volunteering in an oceanography research lab. Divyaa also has multiple years of tutoring experience and has worked with students of all ages. She enjoys teaching and is passionate about helping students learn.

Our Board

Jack Woodruff, Board Chair
Jack is an Oakland native dedicated to improving education and childhood experience for all Bay Area kids. Once a Youth Mentor in Community Reading Buddies himself, he has also served as an educator and leader  in classroom, international development, nonprofit, and corporate contexts. Jack holds a BA in Historical Studies from Bard College, and was also formerly the Executive Director of Aspire Education from 2014 - 2018.

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Nancy Glasenk, Board Treasurer
Nancy has an accounting and finance background. She worked at Price Waterhouse (briefly) and at Levi Strauss & Co. (20+years), including a stint as Finance Director in the UK. She joined the Board in 2019 because she believes strongly in the opportunities afforded by education and the need for more students to access higher education. An avid basketball fan (starting with the Knicks but graduated to the Warriors), she has some sports knowledge that might surprise you!!

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Dana Sherry
Dana is an educator and storyteller who helps create inspired multi-cultural spaces for learning and community through her work with the Silk Road House (a cultural center dedicated to the traditional arts of Central Asia and the Caucasus), Eth-Noh-Tec (an Asian-American kinetic storytelling theater), and St. Mary's College of California. She is a Bay Area native but has lived in Russia, the Republic of Georgia, Poland, Hungary, and British Columbia. She has a BA and MA in Slavic Languages and Literatures (UC Berkeley and University of Washington), and a PhD in Russian History (UC Davis). Her two sons are her inspiration to help give all children access to a quality education.

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Katrina Journey
Katrina is a marketing & commercial strategy leader in the biotechnology industry. She currently serves as Sr Director of Marketing & Market Planning at Dompé. Katrina holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado. Katrina is passionate about ensuring every underrepresented child has an opportunity to reach their potential through education. Katrina prides herself in her ability to turn anything into a spreadsheet and loves pivot tables.

Linda Pelton
Linda has lived and worked in the SF East Bay for 40 years-- spending much of that time in the field of education. She believes that education is a key lever for social change and equity. Linda holds a BA from UC Berkeley, Multiple Subject teaching and Administrative Services credentials, a Masters and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Mary’s College. Linda has taught, led schools from K through 12th, and served at the District level in Charter School oversight. She now shares time between travel by land and sea, service, consultancy work, friends and family.

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Tejaswi Doddapaneni
Teja is learning & growing everyday on how to be a better HR Leader. She currently moonlights as Aspire's Secretary and daylights as a Human Resource Business Partner at DoorDash. Teja holds a BA in Interpersonal & Org Communication from UNC-Chapel Hill and a MS in Human Resource Management from Purdue's Krannert Business School. Her dad is her inspiration to believing in providing everyone with an equal opportunity to educate themselves which led her to our non-profit.

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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?

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