Environmental Literacy Steering Committee Member Bios

Thomas “Tom” Adams is the Deputy Superintendent of the Instruction and Learning Support Branch. For 18 years he worked in the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, and 12 of those as the director. He has also served as the Executive Director of the Instructional Quality Commission. In addition, he is a member of the school board of the Davis Joint Unified School District. He received his doctorate in modern European history from the University of California, Davis, and earned his undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Chico.

Bill Andrews is an environmental education consultant. Bill worked for 19 years at the California Department of Education and 11 years as a high school teacher. In 2003 he founded the California Environmental Education Foundation (CEEF) and joined its Board of Directors in 2005. He directed CEEF’s teacher institute “Best Practices of Environmental Education and Stewardship” and recently provided leadership on the development of California’s Blueprint for Environmental Literacy. In 2015, Bill was honored by the Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education with the Howard Bell Award.

Tim Baird is Superintendent of the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD), acknowledged for high student achievement and its innovative learning opportunities. Tim’s leadership in green initiatives and environmental stewardship has garnered state and national recognition for the district’s conservation efforts, including selection by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Green Ribbon District. Additionally, EUSD has developed and implemented an award-winning, comprehensive Health and Wellness Program that incorporates yoga and character education classes for all students.

Shelley Brooks works for the California History-Social Science Project, part of the California Subject Matter Project, where she develops history-social science curriculum and professional development for K–12 educators. She holds a PhD in history, and teaches Twentieth-Century US, Environmental, and California History at the University of California, Davis.

Anne Campbell was first elected as San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. As Superintendent, one of her primary responsibilities is ensuring the financial and academic stability of San Mateo County’s 23 school districts serving nearly 94,000 K–12 students. Prior to her role as Superintendent, Ms. Campbell served as Superintendent of the Portola Valley School District and the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District. She has also served as a middle school principal, counselor, and teacher.

Karen Cowe is CEO of Ten Strands, a San Francisco-based nonprofit whose mission is to build and strengthen the partnerships and strategies that will bring environmental literacy to all of California’s 6.2 million K–12 students. Karen is an education-industry executive with over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, professional development, business development, and operations. She most recently acted as President and CEO at Key Curriculum Press. Karen combines her deep personal interest in environmental stewardship and place-based education with her education industry experience. She holds a BA in Business and a minor in Education from Saint John’s College, York and a MBA from Saint Mary’s College, California.

Ken DaRosa is the Chief Deputy Director for CalRecycle. In this capacity, Mr. DaRosa oversees the operational roles of 740 staff throughout California and administers the department’s $1.4 billion budget. Prior to his tenure at CalRecycle, Mr. DaRosa worked with the California Department of Finance where his fiscal policy responsibilities included environmental protection, energy policy, natural resources, and health and human services. Before embracing a public policy career, Mr. DaRosa was an English instructor at a language institute in South Korea, and a college composition instructor at CSU Sacramento.

Jeff Davis is the Executive Director for the California AfterSchool Network (CAN), where he has worked since its inception in 2006. He has played an integral role in creating quality frameworks, organizing diverse stakeholders to support youth programs, addressing unique rural program needs, and providing effective supports for English learners. He served on Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s STEM Task force and helped build capacity to implement STEM learning through his leadership of the Power of Discovery: STEM2 initiative. Jeff had the fortunate opportunity to begin his career as an Americorps volunteer in the CalServes expanded learning program. He is working on toward his Master’s Degree in Community Development.

Candice Dickens-Russell serves as Director of Environmental Education and California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) Regional Coordinator for Los Angeles County. Formerly TreePeople’s Senior Manager of Environmental Education, Candice develops and manages high quality Environmental Education programs for Los Angeles area students and teachers. She chairs the 89 member CREEC-LA Environmental Education Leadership Board, and the Los Angeles Watershed Education Collaborative. Candice is a member of the Los Angeles Area Women’s Environmental Coalition, and serves on the Los Angeles Environmental Education Fair steering committee. She majored in Environmental Studies at San Francisco State University, with an emphasis in Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice.

Bryan Ehlers is CalRecycle’s assistant director for education and environmental affairs at the Office of Education and the Environment. Prior to his work with OEE Bryan was a consultant with the California State Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee where he advised state legislators on a variety of budgetary issues. Prior to his work in government, Bryan taught in the Hayward Unified School District, and spent two years providing  care to emotionally disturbed children in  New Hampshire. Bryan holds a BA in History from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jose Flores has served as a teacher at Brawley Union High School for the past 23 years, where he is head of the Social Studies Department. Jose teaches an award-winning Civics class using curriculum that has a strong emphasis on the environment. He served as an advisor to California’s K–12 Civic Learning Task Force from 2012-2014. In 2015 Jose was appointed to the California Department of Education as an Instructional Quality Commissioner for a term of four years. His programs have won county, state and national awards, and he has presented at the CSBA Conference and Ronald Reagan Library & Museum. He holds a BA from San Diego State and an MA from Grand Canyon University.

Bruce Holaday has been the Director of Educational Advancement for Wildlife Associates since 2010. He was formerly the Director of Newpoint Tampa High School from 2009 to 2010 and Director of the Oakland Military Institute from 2004 to 2009, Mr. Holaday served in multiple positions at the Culver Academies from 1976 to 2004, including Development Director, Director of Summer Programs, and English teacher.

Tony Knight is superintendent of the Oak Park Unifed School District and Adjunct Professor of Education at the USC Rossier School of Education. He has served as a public school teacher and administrator for 38 years. Under Tony’s leadership, Oak Park USD was named the first U.S. Green Ribbon School District in California, one of a handful in the nation committed to to environmental education and sustainable practices. Tony is a scuba diver and sailor, and holds a PADI Master Diver certification. He is an underwater photographer interested in ocean conservation issues, and serves on the NOAA Channel Islands National Martine Sanctuary Advisory Council. Dr. Knight is an environmentalist and animal welfare advocate. He and his wife enjoy traveling and exploring the world, especially areas set aside for conservation.

Gerald Lieberman, PhD., is an internationally-recognized authority on school improvement using natural and community surroundings as interdisciplinary contexts. He has created and conducted professional development programs for more than 9,000 educators at local, state, national, and international levels. He is the founder and director of the State Education and Environment Roundtable. From 2003 to 2010, he served as the principal consultant for the State of California’s Education and the Environment Initiative. Dr. Lieberman served on the executive committee of the National Education and Environment Partnership. He received his PhD and MA from Princeton University and his BA from UCLA.

Kim Moore Bailey oversees Youth Outside’s strategic direction, grantmaking programs, and operations. Prior to joining Youth Outside, Kim served as the Chief Operating Officer for College Possible, a national nonprofit focused on making college attainable for low-income students. She was also Vice President for Outward Bound Inc., Manager of Denver Parks and Recreation for the City and County of Denver, and was a Region Manager for the Chicago Parks District. Kim holds a Master’s Degree from New York University in Counselor Education and pursued additional educational opportunities at the University of Illinois and the University of Colorado.

Seaberry Nachbar has worked for NOAA for 16 years, and is currently with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in Monterey, CA. She developed and directs the NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program, providing students and teachers the opportunity to connect with their environment through hands-on, inquiry-based activities aligned with state standards. Seaberry also developed and directs the NOAA Ocean Guardian School Program, and is the National Evaluation Coordinator for the ONMS. Seaberry has a B.S. in marine biology from San Francisco State University and completed a non-thesis degree in fisheries biology from Moss Landing Marine Labs.

Will Parish is the Founder and President of Ten Strands, a San Francisco-based nonprofit whose mission is to build and strengthen the partnerships and strategies that will bring environmental literacy to all of California’s 6.2 million K–12 students. Will is a credentialed public high school science educator with a 30-year record of innovative accomplishments in the environmental and educational fields. He taught Environmental Science at Gateway High School in San Francisco, and serves on their board. He served on the California State Board of Education’s Curriculum Commission before founding Ten Strands to support California’s efforts to achieve statewide environmental literacy.

Leslie Parra is the Executive Director of ChangeScale, a partnership of organizations in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Area working together to ensure that environmental education is accessible for all Californians. She has garnered significant recognition for her outstanding leadership in environmental education, STEM education, and diversity, equity, and inclusion work over the past 12 years. Leslie’s passion is strengthening diversity representation across Environmental Education and STEM-related fields. In 2012, Leslie created Nature Connection, a science enrichment program supporting a diverse group of students with multicultural and international perspectives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Leslie lives in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco and is currently a NAAEE ee360 Fellow working to engage her community take civic action for a healthier atmosphere. During her free time, she loves to go hiking with her dog Mishqui, which means “sweet” in Quechua, the native language of Ecuador—a place she also calls home). 

Jennifer Rigby is the Director of The Acorn Group, which she founded in 1990. Jennifer has been working in the field of environmental education and interpretation since 1981 and has been an advisor on several national and state curriculum projects. She directed the California Department of Education curriculum and compendium project, and served as project manager of the California Plan for Environmental Education and School Diversion and Environmental Education Law, and was managing editor of the Education and the Environment Initiative. She holds a BA in Social Ecology, an MA in Education, two California teaching credentials, and national certification as an interpretive planner.

Celeste Royer is the Director of Environmental Education at the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, where she directs the Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School programs. Celeste served as the Statewide Director of the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network for 10 years and currently serves as the fiscal partner for Network Region 8. She is the current State Chair of the California Outdoor School Association, serves as the California Environmental Education Foundation Board Administrator, and is an Advisor to the BEETLES program at UC Berkeley, Lawrence Hall of Science. Celeste received degrees from UCLA, San Francisco State University, and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Emily M. Schell, Ed.D., is the Executive Director of the California International Studies Project (CISP), one of nine California Subject Matter Projects. Dr. Schell has served as an elementary and secondary teacher and principal in San Diego Unified, History-Social Science Coordinator for the San Diego County Office of Education, liaison for the National Geographic Education Foundation, and teacher education faculty at San Diego State University. She was a curriculum author and editor for Education and the Environment Initiative, and committee chair and editor for the NSF-funded Road Map for 21st Century Geography Education report. Throughout her career, and especially in her work with the California Geography Alliance, Dr. Schell has maintained a passion for environmental education for all students and educators.

Dr. Maria Simani leads the California Science Project, a statewide network of 14 sites providing sustained professional development opportunity to K–12 school teachers in partnership with higher education faculty and educators. Since 2012, she has collaborated with the California Department of Education on the committee for the review and adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. Dr. Simani and the California Science Project have been appointed by CDE as lead writers of the new California Science Curriculum Framework.

Jason Spencer is the Principal Advisor to State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson. Jason started his career in the Legislature as part of the Senate Fellows program in 2006. In addition to serving on then-Senator Torlakson’s legislative team, Jason was Senior Policy Advisor to the Superintendent during his first term as State Superintendent. Jason has also served as Executive Director of the 501(c)(3) Vasconcellos Legacy Project and has worked for a private firm lobbying for informal science education institutions and other education sector nonprofits. He holds a Master’s of Public Administration from USC and Bachelor Degrees in Sociology and Political Science from Sonoma State University.

Darrell Steely currently teaches 6th grade science at Carmel Middle School, where he serves as his district’s Habitat Liaison. As Habitat Liaison, Darrell helps design outdoor education lessons and manage the district’s 10 acre habitat with MEarth, an environmental nonproft in Carmel. In addition to 6th Grade NGSS science, he has taught 7th grade science, high school Biology, Conceptual Physics, AP Biology, and AP Environmental Science. Darrell received a BS in Biology from UCSB and a MA in Biology at HSU. When he is not teaching, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two children.

Jane Steinkamp began her career as a high school English teacher before spending eight years in both the Assistant Principal and Principal roles at Tracy Unified and Jefferson School District in Tracy, CA. Jane also served as the Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Instruction in Linden Unified School District for ten years. In January 2013 she joined the San Joaquin County Office of Education as the Director of Operations and was appointed Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in April 2013. She is currently the Curriculum Instruction Sub-Committee Chair for Science. Jane serves on the board of one.Charter School, is a member of the Cal Pass Plus Advisory Board, and President of the San Joaquin County Educational Foundation. Additionally, she has been an adjunct professor for CSU Stanislaus and has taught at Teachers’ College of San Joaquin.

Craig Strang is Associate Director of Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and is part of the Hall executive leadership team. Craig is the founding Director of MARE: Marine Activities, Resources & Education. In 2012 he received the National Marine Educators Association President’s Award in recognition of his leadership of the Ocean Literacy Campaign. Craig is a founding member of ChangeScale, an environmental education collaborative in the San Francisco Bay Area. Craig served as co-chair of the California Environmental Literacy Task Force.

Leslie Tamminen is the Director of the Ocean Program for Seventh Generation Advisors, an international nonprofit environmental organization. Formerly, Ms. Tamminen was a special advisor to California Lt. Governor John Garamendi, and was the Legislative Director and staff attorney for the environmental nonprofit organization Heal the Bay from 1997 to 2008, where she successfully ensured adoption of the state’s model Education and the Environment Initiative. Ms. Tamminen is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Southern California Law Center.

Lesley Taylor is a Field Representative in the California Department of Education’s School Facilities and Transportation Services Division where she provides planning services to more than 200 school districts in Northern California. She is the program lead for the Green Ribbon Schools recognition programs, and the recipient of the 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Director’s Award. Her environmental literacy work at CDE emphasizes education for sustainability and opportunities for relevant place-based learning. Lesley holds Bachelor’s degrees in Government and Spanish and a Master of Public Policy and Administration from Sacramento State University.

Eric Zilbert is an Education Research and Evaluation Administrator in the California Department of Education. Dr. Zilbert previously served as an Education Research and Evaluation Consultant in the Standards and Assessment Division, with primary responsibility for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) as NAEP State Coordinator. Dr. Zilbert was a teacher educator and researcher at the University of California Davis, where his work included development of curriculum guides for Natural Resources and Forestry and development of a curriculum framework for agricultural and environmental literacy. He is a former teacher of high school Biology and college-level Spanish. Eric received his BS from the University of California, Davis, and holds a Master of Education, and a Doctorate of Education.