Board of Directors
Tom Adams received his BA in history from CSU Chico in 1983, and his PhD in modern European history from UC Davis in 1995. Tom worked in education policy and programs from 1992 to 2019. He also worked for the California Department of Education and served as the executive director of the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission and subsequently the Instructional Quality Commission. In 2015, he was appointed to be the deputy superintendent of the teaching and learning support branch. He was elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018 to the board of the Davis Joint Unified School District. Among his professional accomplishments, Tom lists the adoption of the Education and the Environment Initiative Curriculum, and the development of the California History–Social Science Framework.
Susanna Cooper uses her expertise in education policy, vision-setting, leadership development, project initiation and management, legislative strategy, philanthropy, and communications to help organizations improve public education in California. Her projects span early education and care, K-12 education, and community colleges. Susanna is the founding Executive Director of Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research, a nonprofit institute at the University of California, Davis, School of Education. She is Special Advisor to the Stuart Foundation, a San Francisco-based philanthropy focused on education and child well-being. She serves as president of the Board of Directors of the nonprofit EdSource and as a director of the James B. McClatchy Foundation and consults to select clients in the education and child welfare arenas. Previously, Susanna was senior education policy advisor to Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg. Her work at the intersection of policy, politics, and pragmatism has produced major public policy changes impacting public education.
Candice Dickens-Russell is the president and CEO at Friends of the Los Angeles River. Formerly, she oversaw environmental sustainability, education, and equity for the social impact firm, DoGoodery. Candice also served as the California Regional Environmental Education Community coordinator for Los Angeles County for over a decade. She has worked with tens of thousands of teachers and thousands of schools designing equitable, standards-based environmental education curriculum and programs for state, regional, and local partners. She serves on the Friends of the LA River board of directors and USC Sea Grant advisory council. She also served on the original Blueprint for Environmental Literacy taskforce, and majored in environmental studies with an emphasis in sustainability and social justice at SFSU.
Dr. Adrian Hightower is an experienced manager, educator, and consultant with expertise in education, energy, and water technologies that address the water-energy nexus. He has managed numerous technical teams in academic and industrial settings. Currently, Dr. Hightower manages the education unit of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and is responsible for water-related education outreach programs that serve five million students and teachers. These programs engage pre-K–12, college, vocational, and university students and teachers in critical thinking of water policies, infrastructure, and the shared environment. Dr. Hightower has published numerous peer-reviewed academic papers, holds several patents, and received his BS, MS, and PhD from the California Institute of Technology.
For more than a decade, Dr. Kelley Le has been in the educational field as a high school science educator, instructional coach, and educational leader. She is currently leading the UCI Science Project to support K–12 science educators and leaders. Previously she served as a coordinator, lecturer, and program designer for the UCI CalTeach science and mathematics program. Her prior roles include being the California science instructional specialist for a program authored by the Lawrence Hall of Science, curriculum consultant for the UCLA Curtis Center, and program designer and facilitator for the UCLA Science Project. She currently develops and facilitates programs in the areas of climate change education, environmental literacy, science and equity, nanoscience, and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Kelley is also the author of the upcoming book, Teaching Climate Change for Grades 6–12: Empowering Science Teachers to Take on the Climate Crisis Through NGSS (Routledge, 2021).
Sheila Nahi, Ten Strands Board Chair, has demonstrated strength in advocacy and passion for the environment throughout her 20+ year career as a trial lawyer, environmental sustainability advocate and renewable-energy proponent. She has successfully advocated for solar energy reform before the Public Utilities Commission, and has twice attended week long annual meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos, engaging in multiple, intensive, small group workshops brainstorming with world leaders, scientists and authorities on global climate change and action. She has also held roles as teacher, environmental youth council advisor, and committee chair in the realm of education. A mother of two and outdoor enthusiast, Sheila is committed to climate change and environmental literacy education, and equitable solutions to improve the future of life on this planet.
Will Parish is a credentialed public high school science educator with a 38-year record of innovative accomplishments in the environmental and educational fields. He taught environmental science at Gateway High School in San Francisco, and now serves on their board. He served on the California State Board of Education’s Curriculum Commission and then founded Ten Strands as a nonprofit organization to supplement California’s efforts to achieve statewide penetration of high-quality environment-based education into schools.
Robert Sheffield is the California director for the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd. Robert leads a multi-year initiative that seeks to improve teacher and school leader access to high-quality professional learning resources that support California standards implementation. He also serves as a consultant and thought partner to emergent professional learning organizations seeking to scale work within school districts. Robert started his career as a high school history teacher, and also served as district curriculum specialist. In addition to his K–12 teaching experience, Robert teaches and supervises pre-service History–Social Science teachers at California State University, Long Beach.
Bill Andrews is a former high school teacher who served 19 years as a science and education consultant to the California Department of Education during which he founded both the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network in 1997 and the California Environmental Education Foundation in 2003. Bill currently serves on California’s Environmental Literacy Steering Committee.
Jennifer Caldwell heads a family foundation furthering global solutions in education and environmental protection. She initiated the Bay Area Green Schools Alliance, is a trustee of the Exploratorium, and serves on the board of the Environmental Working Group.
Paul Chapman is executive director of Inverness Associates, and is the author of several books and reports on environmental education. Paul is also part of the California Green Ribbon Schools program, serves on the board of Chabot Space and Science Center, was the longtime principal of Head-Royce School, and served on the California Environmental Literacy Task Force.
Jayni Chase is the founder of the Center for Environmental Education and the founding chair of the GREEN Community Schools initiative. She serves on the boards of Cool Globes, the USGBC Center for Green Schools, Friends of the Earth, the NY Harbor Foundation and is a member of Pleiades, a network of women working on sustainability.
Dr. Milton Chen is senior fellow and executive director emeritus at the George Lucas Educational Foundation. Dr. Chen was founding director of the KQED Center for Education in San Francisco, a director of research at Sesame Workshop in New York, and an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Jack Chin is an independent strategy consultant who works with foundations and nonprofit programs to enhance their impact. Jack helped start the Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Education Outside, and has served on the governance bodies of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, Student Conservation Association, and Resource Media.
Dr. Hardin Coleman is a professor of counseling and applied human development at Boston University where he serve as dean of the School of Education (2008-2017). Dr. Coleman began his career in education as a high school teacher and counselor. He is the current vice chair of the Boston Public School Committee and editor of the Journal of Education.
Diana Dehm is the CEO of Sustainable Business Partnerships, and is founder, producer, and host of Sustainability News and Entertainment Radio. She supported the first UN–US Global Water Scarcity Conference held at the University of California, Irvine, and has participated in national water policy discussions on Capitol Hill.
Randi Fisher is co-founder and trustee of the Pisces Foundation in San Francisco. Randi was a trustee of the California Academy of Sciences for eight years, and is a trustee of the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy.
Mark Gold is California’s deputy secretary for Oceans and Coastal Policy and the executive director of the Ocean Protection Council. He was UCLA’s associate vice chancellor for environment and sustainability and is an adjunct faculty member in the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability. Previously, he served as president of Heal the Bay for over 18 years.
A.J. Hudson is a former New York City public school science teacher and Fulbright scholar who explored Education for Sustainable Development in Japan. He designs environmental curriculum for grassroots organizations to educate their communities, and is pursuing a joint JD/PhD in environmental science and public policy.
Cannon Michael is the president and CEO of Bowles Farming Company. He is the sixth generation of his family to work in the family farming business. He is an advocate for California agriculture and intelligent water policy. Environmental stewardship, ethical treatment of workers, and sustainable production are core values for Cannon and the Bowles Farming Company team.
Christy Rocca is the associate vice president for youth programs and services at Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy where she oversees Crissy Field Center, an environmental education facility that engages 20,000 youth annually in programs that prepare them to lead and work for thriving parks, healthier communities, and a more environmentally just society. Christy also serves on the executive team of the Park Youth Collaborative, an innovative collective of youth organizations that operate within Golden Gate National Recreation Area and share a common commitment to connecting youth to their National Parks for learning, service, recreation, and work-based opportunities.
Suzanne Schutte started her career teaching in Detroit, served as associate director of College Counseling at The Urban School, and was co-founder of Gateway High School in San Francisco. Suzanne continues to serve on the board of trustees for Gateway High School, and on the advisory board for UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education.
Leslie Mintz Tamminen is a consultant for Seventh Generation Advisors. Formerly, Leslie was a special advisor to Lt. Governor John Garamendi and the California Economic Development Commission, and was legislative director and staff attorney for Heal the Bay from 1997 to 2008.