Faculty & Board

 Street Academy Foundation Board of Directors

Carole M. Watson, President

Steve Stevens, Vice President

Nirali Jani, Secretary

Sylvester Hodges, Treasurer

Marisol Rodriguez

Kitty Kelly Epstein, PhD.

Betsy Schulz

Corrina Gould


Administrative Staff

Gina Hill, MA Principal / Executive Director


Why did you become a teacher?

Teaching was the last thing I wanted to do when I was in college.  However, I became a substitute teacher to earn some extra cash at Havenscourt Middle School in 1998. I immediately fell in love with intellect, the passion, the creativity and diversity of the youth I served.  I have been in education ever since.

Why do you work at Street Academy?

Street Academy has a deep his/herstory in Oakland and has always been unapologetic about teaching truth to power.
What are some of your past professional positions?

2016 marks my 4th year as Principal / Executive Director of the Oakland Emiliano Zapata Street Academy.  I spent 9 years as a Counselor Teacher Mentor and After School Program Coordinator at Street Academy. I am most proud of founding TEAM! Together Everyone Achieves More. TEAM! created opportunities for low income youth of color to engage in international service projects in Cuba, South Africa, Jamaica, Mexico and Brazil.
What is your educational background? What certifications did you receive? College, BA in Music, etc.

What is your educational background?

Master’s Degree in Education & Administrative Credential from UC Berkeley’s Principal Leadership Institute

Single Subject Teaching Credential,  English from California State University East Bay

Bachelor’s Degree in English & Theater Minor from University of New Hampshire
What is your favorite book? Quote? Smell?

What is your favorite book? Quote? Smell?

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler; House of Spirits by Isabel Allende; In the time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez; Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

I love the smell of fresh cut grass. It reminds me of my father

What is an interesting/funny fact about yourself?

I cooked fish, rice and potatoes for Assata Shakur.

Bobby Young, Administrative Assistant

Bobby Ensenada a

Why did you become a teacher?

I enjoy being a part of something that has a positive impact on people.

What are some of your past professional positions?

I’ve been a Respiratory Therapist, Women’s Suit Designer, Men’s Wardrobe Consultant, Physio Therapist, Aircraft Mechanic, Commercial Photographer, and last, but not least, a Musician!

What is your educational background?

Lots of classes!!

What is your favorite book? Quote? Smell?
Favorite book – “Red Earth, White Lies” by Vine Deloria Jr., Favorite quote – “No matter where you go, there you are” – Buckaroo Banzai, Favorite smell – Sweetgrass and sage.

A funny fact about yourself?

I don’t like the sound of my voice when I sing!

Teachers or CTM’s

Ray Carbaugh, Math

Why did you become a teacher?

I became a teacher partly because my parents and grandparents were educators, but mainly because I enjoy building relationships and helping others. I enjoy being at Street Academy because I get the chance to write and create my own curriculum that supports social justice and mindful practices. Before pursuing the field of education professionally, I worked as a swimming coach, an optic lab technician, a bartender, and a waiter. I was born in Vallejo and grew up in the San Pablo/Richmond area of the Bay. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a focus on Social Sciences from California State University, East Bay.

Your favorite Quote?

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee

A funny fact about yourself?

To many peoples’ surprise, I greatly enjoy aggressive and brash forms of punk, metal, and hip hop.

Jeremy Cavagnolo, MA Science/Math

Jeremy earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley in 2000 and his M.S. in mechanical engineering from The University of Michigan in 2002.  He worked as an entrepreneur and software developer from 2000 to 2005 when he began volunteering at Oakland Emiliano Zapata Street Academy to support classroom technology.  In the summer of 2005 Jeremy began pursuing his secondary teaching credential, and he joined the staff as a math and science CTM in August of 2005.  Jeremy has been a dedicated member of the community ever since.  Jeremy brings enthusiasm, creativity, and a deep love of the material to his classroom.

Michael Hudson, English/History

Hello, my name is Mike Hudson and I chose to become a teacher because I wanted to be a person of change, and teaching is the best way possible of producing change. I want to take on the responsibility of uplifting our youth, especially in the city I grew up in, and mold them to greatness. I am a CTM (Counselor Teacher Mentor) at Emilio Zapata Street Academy. I chose to work at Street Academy because of its rich history; It’s school day structure which sets students up for success, and because of their knowledgeable learning community.

Most of the positions I ever had in life consisted of teaching in some capacity. I worked as a Day Camp Counselor for youth for a summer camp, an Assistant Camp Director for the Albany YMCA, and I also used to be a tutor for Making Waves Education Program. During the summer, I currently work for Galileo Innovation Camp.

I am a product of the Oakland Unified School District. I attended Melrose Elementary, Havenscourt Junior High, and Fremont High; Although I graduated high school from San Lorenzo High. After high school I attended Contra Costa College in which I obtained my Liberal Arts degree. I then transferred to California State University, East Bay, in which I received my Bachelors Degree in English with an option in Language and Discourse.

An interesting fact about myself is that I am a high school varsity basketball coach at John F. Kennedy High in Richmond. I also met the late and great Notorious B.I.G when I was a young kid, which was pretty cool.

Marisol Nuño, MA Spanish/History


Why did you become a teacher?

I became a teacher because I deeply believe that education can lead to transformation and growth, for the students, teachers, and the beloved community. I chose to work at Street Academy because as student attending the school from 2001-2003, I experienced courses that challenged the dominant narrative and gave voice to the marginalized, and I would like to continue that legacy in the courses I teach. Education for liberation!

What are some of your past professional positions?

Prior to working at Street Academy, I worked at Little Sprouts Preschool as a curriculum developer and administrative assistant and Rudsdale Continuation School as a Paraprofessional in a Special Day class.

What is your educational background?

What certifications did you receive? College, BA in Music, etc. I attended the University of San Francisco, earning my BA in Spanish Language and Literature, my MA in Urban Education and Social Justice, and my teaching credential in History. I also have a Bilingual Authorization Certificate (BCLAD.)

What is your favorite book? Quote? Smell?

My favorite book is The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz;

“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold…” Bob Marley;

and my favorite smell is Sauvitel fabric softener!

What is an interesting/funny fact about yourself?

I used to rap! My first large performance was at City Nights in San Francisco when I was 17.

Gabriel MacKillop, Science/Technology


Why did you become a teacher?

I like helping people and making a difference.  Teaching is challenging and super rewarding.  As a teacher I am also constantly learning along with my students

What are some of your past professional positions?

Carpenter. High school chemistry teacher. Graduate Teaching Assistant. Pizza deliveryboy when I was 16 🙂

What is your educational background?

B/A UC Berkeley in molecular/cell biology. A year of graduate school for chemistry..going back someday

What is your favorite book? Quote? Smell?

A couple favorite books: Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and East of Eden by Steinbeck

Favorite Quote: Humility is not about thinking less of ourselves it’s about thinking of ourselves less
Favorite Smell: Food! All of it! I’m always hungry!

What is an interesting/funny fact about yourself?

I was born in Canada, eh

Aja Minor, MA; English/History


Aja Minor is an educator with varied experience in social justice organizations from London to the San Francisco Bay Area.  She dedicated her time to sharing Global, Human Rights and Popular Education curriculum with educational institutions across the world.  Aja is a self professed Nerd, and was fueled to create social change through her study of International Studies, Music, Anthropology and Migration.  She has worked with the Anti-Slavery International, Women of Color Resource Center, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Global Exchange and Bay Area Community Resources.  She is passionate about providing low-income youth of color with access to global education and ensuring global education is critical and socially responsible!

To learn more about her work in global education, check out the Partners for Collaborative Change website.

Christina McGhee


Before I came to Street Academy, I spent most of my career in the non-profit sector. I worked as an intern doing research on resilience indicators in the face of clime change, worked as an after school teacher in a K-12 setting, guided students in creating and implementing projects on their campus as an environmental educator, and worked as a camp director to provide an enriching summer experience for a summer camp.
I obtained my BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz in 2013. One of the most enriching experiences of going to UCSC was learning how to complete research in groups and completing research in the real world. My favorite experience from college was going camping with my environmental field methods class and conducting rapid research research during the camping trips on topics we found interesting. I am driven by my passions for science, education, and the environment. I believe collaboration is one of the most powerful tools that can push innovative projects forward.
My most memorable accomplishments have revolved around getting key players from all sides together on a project  to agree on scope and tasks, work together to address challenges, implement their projects, and continue to maintain those projects all while reflecting throughout the process.
Education has always been important to me (even if I didn’t always show it!). I had teachers that supported me in high school by encouraging me to pursue my dreams and goals. I am here because I believe Street Academy provides students with the skills necessary to succeed in their pathways by providing a foundation grounded in social justice that allows students to connect their learning to their own lives.
In my free time I love to play video games, explore the outdoors, and listen to music.

Holistic Support Staff

Kelly, Restorative Justice Coordinator

Shequita Jones, Therapist

Chere Kelley, Resource Specialist

Lara Lawal, Internships/College & Career Coordinator

Juan Ramirez, Afternoon Program Coordinator/Film Instructor

Lamont Robinson, TUPE Counselor

Community Support Staff

BAY Peace, California Youth Outreach, Destiny Arts Center, Native American Health Center, Niroga Yoga, Tobacco Use Prevention Education, and Girls Inc.