We are a dedicated group of professionals who are working together to realize a common goal: environmental literacy for all. Keep scrolling to learn more about Ten Strands’ team of core staff and consultants who have diverse areas of expertise.
Will Parish, Founder and Board Chair
Will 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 and civics at Gateway High School in San Francisco for ten years, and served on its board of trustees. He served on the California State Board of Education Instructional Quality Commission and then founded Ten Strands as a nonprofit organization to support California’s efforts to achieve statewide integration of high-quality environment-based education into all California’s public K–12 schools. Watch Will’s Statement of Purpose.
Riki Bertoldi, Climate Corps Fellow
Riki grew up in Los Angeles, California. Her elementary school experience played a crucial role in her language development in both English and Japanese. To further enhance her Japanese language and cultural understanding, she also attended the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle. Riki attended Santa Monica Community College and UC Berkeley, where she pursued a major in B.S. Conservation and Resource Studies. Throughout her time at UC Berkeley, Riki actively engaged in various research projects focused on environmental justice issues. Notably, she collaborated with Stockton AB 617 community stakeholders to address the detrimental environmental and public health effects of open burning in the San Joaquin Valley. Additionally, she conducted a senior thesis project utilizing remote sensing technologies to monitor harmful algal blooms in Monterey Bay. Riki is thrilled to serve as a Climate Corps Fellow at Ten Strands, utilizing her skills and knowledge to contribute to building a solid foundation of data-driven initiatives aimed at fostering environmental awareness and understanding.
Will Booth, Climate Corps Fellow
Will is a product of a unique California primary and secondary education experience. Based in Berkeley, Will attended an independent private elementary school, a conventional public middle school, and a parochial high school. As a student of multiple education types, Will provides a well-rounded perspective of the California education system. In addition to a diverse education, Will participated in the Edible Schoolyard at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley. The outdoor education model of the Edible Schoolyard has had a profound impact on his identity and has influenced him to be an advocate of environmental education and literacy for all. Before arriving at Ten Strands, Will received his B.A. from Whitman College where he studied environmental studies and geology while leading the Organic Garden Club. Now, as the Climate Corps Fellow at Ten Strands, Will seeks to provide energy and optimism toward the mission of Ten Strands and assist in the construction of environmentally conscious schools and communities. Read Will’s Statement of Purpose.
Karen Cowe, Chief Executive Officer
Karen is an education-industry executive with over 30 years of experience in sales and fund development, marketing, program design, professional learning, business development, and operations. Prior to joining Ten Strands, she was president and chief executive officer of Key Curriculum Press, an innovative and award-winning K–12 STEM publisher. Before that, she was managing director of Burlington Books in Athens, Greece. In addition to her understanding of the complexities of the US education landscape, she has valuable insights into education in other nations, having built relationships in Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Karen holds a bachelor in business and a minor in education from Saint John’s College, York and a master of business administration from Saint Mary’s College, California. Read Karen’s Statement of Purpose.
Navreet Singh Dhaliwal, Philanthropic Engagement Manager
Navreet is a nonprofit professional with more than a decade of experience in the social sector. Based in Orange County, Navreet has worked with local agencies to support capacity building through community engagement, fundraising, organizational development, and program evaluation. Prior to joining Ten Strands, he served as the director of supportive services for the Women’s Transitional Living Center where he assisted survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking while overseeing the center’s clinical and legal service programs. Navreet is passionate about equitable initiatives that serve marginalized and underrepresented populations and is an advocate for creating bicycle-friendly communities. Read Navreet’s Statement of Purpose.
Monica Mandapat, Operations Associate
Monica is an administrative professional based in Los Angeles. Before joining Ten Strands, she held positions within educational institutions and startup companies. Monica attended UC Irvine and enjoys singing in her free time.
Monica is an administrative professional based in Los Angeles. Before joining Ten Strands, she garnered valuable administrative and operations experience within dynamic startup companies and educational institutions, at Los Angeles Unified School District most recently and UC Irvine earlier in her career. Monica is passionate about fostering positive change through creativity and education.
Jeffrey Dowling, Instructional Designer
Jeffrey is a credentialed public school science educator who has worked in California as a classroom teacher, curriculum writer, professional learning facilitator, and instructional coach. He also has over 15 years of experience in the development, refinement, and implementation of various educational STEM programs. Prior to joining Ten Strands, Jeffrey was a member of the science team in the San Francisco Unified School District where he contributed to the development of an NGSS-aligned, middle school science core curriculum that was published by the George Lucas Educational Foundation as an open educational resource. Before SFUSD, Jeffrey was a sponsoring editor in physical sciences at BFW High School Publishers and a development editor and science curriculum specialist at Key Curriculum Press. Jeffrey began his career in education as a high school chemistry and middle school physical science teacher in the Oakland Unified School District. Read Jeffrey’s Statement of Purpose.
Dr. Amy Frame, Director of Strategic Partnerships
Amy is a credentialed teacher who has worked at almost every level of the school system, from teaching English, history, and science to coaching and managing curriculum implementation and leading as a principal. She has worked in public, magnet, charter, and independent schools. Amy has a MEd in Instructional Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education and an EdD in Educational Leadership from UCLA where she published her dissertation, “Assessing the Efficacy of Environmental Education on Environmental Stewardship, Civic Engagement, and College and Career Pathways.” She is committed to building stronger connections between people, communities, and the land. Read Amy’s Statement of Purpose.
Dr. Roni Jones, Director of Curriculum
Roni brings an extensive understanding of educational systems and a wide range of experiences at many levels including K-12 districts, institutions of higher education, and state and county educational agencies. Previously, Jones spent three years as the assistant director for the System of Support for the California Collaborative For Educational Excellence (CCEE). Her extensive experience also includes serving as organizational development specialist at WestEd, and network liaison for National Geographic Education where she supported the K–12 geography education Alliance Network to implement professional development programs. Additionally, Jones has served as adjunct faculty at California State University, Sacramento, teaching courses in pedagogy, educational foundations, and educational technology, and as professional development coordinator for the Placer County Office of Education. Read Roni’s Statement of Purpose.
Jilliann Rodriguez M'Barki, Chief Advancement Officer
Jilliann brings more than 20 years of experience in higher education to her role at Ten Strands where she leads fundraising, communications, and advocacy efforts. Her development career began at her alma mater Hofstra University, followed by 15 years at Columbia University in leadership roles in student affairs, research administration, constituent engagement, and events and programs. Jilliann received an MS in fundraising and nonprofit management and an EdM in higher and postsecondary education from Columbia University. She moved to the Bay Area in 2018 to join the UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science as the director of development for the natural sciences. Inspired by her son and the urgency of climate change, she made the transition to the K–12 public education sector by joining Ten Strands in early 2020. Read Jilliann’s Statement of Purpose.
Celeste Royer, Director of Equity and Inclusion
Celeste is a veteran administrator with 35 years of experience in environmental and outdoor education. As director of environmental education at the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, she directed Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School’s residential, field, and classroom programs. As director of the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network, she built regional and statewide partnerships to support environmental education programs and initiatives. She also provided 30 years of leadership and support to the California Outdoor School Association. A strong advocate of environmental literacy for all, Celeste serves on numerous boards and advisory committees of organizations that promote equity and justice in environmental education, including Youth Outside and UC Berkeley’s BEETLES Project. Celeste holds degrees from UCLA, SFSU, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Read Celeste’s Statement of Purpose.
Andra Yeghoian, Chief Innovation Officer
Andra brings more than 15 years of experience in education across public and private school systems, nationally and internationally. She currently provides visionary leadership for a California-wide whole systems approach to integrating environmental and climate literacy, and sustainable and climate resilient school efforts, across a school community’s campus, curriculum, community and culture. Andra is also the California Environmental Literacy Initiative Project Director. She holds a B.A. and education credentials from UC Davis, and an MBA from Presidio Graduate School. Under her leadership, she has supported school sites, districts, and county offices in achieving honors such as the U.S. Department of Education and California Green Ribbon Award, Bay Area Green Business Certification, and LEED Platinum Certification for New Buildings. Read Andra’s Statement of Purpose.
Joel is a finance and accounting executive with more than 40 years of experience in both public and private industry. Prior to joining Ten Strands, Joel worked at Key Curriculum Press for 14 years as the chief financial officer. Joel also spent 17 years at Bregante + Company, a San Francisco-based CPA firm, where he specialized in accounting and taxation for small business, including nonprofits.
Maya is pleased to provide bookkeeping services for Ten Strands, where she is able to combine her interests in environmental education and background in early childhood and elementary education. Maya grew up with an appreciation for the outdoors and a commitment to environmental stewardship. As a parent, Maya is looking to the future for not only her children, but all children in California. She recognizes that Ten Strands can and will make a difference for every one of them.