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Board Of Trustees
Joel Hart President
Joel is a Bay Area native. Joel studied Philosophy at the University of California. He has worked for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E_ for 14 years, and is currently a Supervisor in Gas Operations, supervising PG&E work in the East Bay area. He now lives in Berkeley with his wife and 3 children. In 2014, for his work with the JCAS, Joel received PG&E’s prestigious Mielke Award honoring PG&E employees who have made outstanding contributions to their communities.
Caroline Purves Vice-President
Caroline was born in Canada but has lived in Berkeley for over 20 years. She received a Ph.D. in Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. Caroline worked over 30 years in private clinical psychology practice in 3 countries: United States, Canada, and England. For several years, she ran a Head Start program in Rodeo, focusing on low-income families of diverse backgrounds. At the end of her working career, Caroline had a private practice in Berkeley and Pleasant Hill, and was a Supervisor at the West Coast Children’s Clinic in the Fruitvale district in Oakland. Her work always included children and adolescents, along with adults. She retired from active practice in 2012. Caroline was drawn to the JCAS through her involvement with one of the JCAS’s supporting neighborhood associations, the Aesop Auxiliary, and elected to stay on the board.
Susan Spiller Acquistapace Treasurer
Susan was born in New Orleans, LA, but was raised in the Bay Area. Although Susan’s undergraduate program at University of California, Berkeley, included a Pi Beta Phi and an English major, her career pathway led elsewhere. After several years at Bank of America, Susan developed a passion for biology. Susan received a second Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, and a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from the University of California, Berkeley. Marriage, three post-doctoral positions in Plant Physiology, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry of chlorophyll biosynthesis paralleled the birth of three daughters. Susan spent 25 years as Professor of Biology at Mills College. She retired in 2014, and is presently Professor of Biology Emerita at Mills.
Robert Laird Brown Trustee
A long-time resident of Oakland, Mr. Brown is a graduate of the California College of the Arts with a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration. He is recently retired with over 25 years of museum exhibition and promotional graphic design from the Oakland Museum of California. His work has been recognized by Print Magazine, The American Alliance of Museums and Creativity International Graphic Design Awards. Robert has mentored high school and college students in the graphics arts field. Currently, he operates his own design business producing digital and printed media.
William Bocheff Trustee and JCAS teacher
Bill is a builder and currently a teacher at Town School for Boys in San Francisco. Bill also teaches at the Junior Center. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was both a pre-med and a major in Anthropology. Bill has been associated with the Junior Center for 28 years.
Brian Dickerson Trustee
Brian was born and raised in Oakland, CA. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his BS degree from the Haas School of Business. Brian has been employed by PG&E for over 13 years and currently holds the position of Customer Relationship Manager. He is married with two children. Brian is passionate and committed to working with children. He enjoys working with children and finds joy in helping them develop new skills and being part of their development.
John Howell Trustee
John, an Oakland native, currently lives in Oakland and is a construction manager with Harris and Associates. John has provided project management expertise to a number of projects in Oakland, including the Elmhurst Community Prep Elementary School, Oakland Community Land Trust affordable Housing, Kaiser Permanente Phase 2, and La Escuelita Downtown Education Center, Phase 2. He has also worked as a securities and bond trader. He holds a degree in Finance from Fisk University, and has completed programs in real estate development and construction small business strategic partnership
Ryan Davis JCAS Staff
Ryan studied statistics at Cal State East Bay. He has over 10 years of experience in substitute teaching, private tutoring, and outdoor science education throughout the East Bay. He manages operations, and works on the Junior Center’s development team.
Cybele Gerachis JCAS Faculty
Cybele has been a teaching artist in the Bay Area for over 15 years. Cybele is a mixed media painter who shows her work locally and nationally. She is currently completing her MA in Art Education at Boston University.
Keith Hennessy JCAS Staff
A lifelong naturalist, Keith studied Ecology and Herpetology in Florida and Venezuela at Parupa station. He has worked with Aquarium of the Bay and The Chelonian Research Institute as an educator and animal caretaker. Keith has returned to school to pursue a masters in Elementary Education, and is excited to be working with children and developing their love of the natural world.
Shara Shadowspeaker JCAS Faculty
Shara has a Masters in Art Education, 20 years of training and professional experience in visual arts, including a BFA in Drawing and Painting, a post baccalaureate certificate in studio arts from the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Masters in Art Education with K-12 licensure.
Mark David Noel JCAS Faculty
Mark is an artist native to California. He focuses primarily on painting the landscapes of his home state. Having previously been in the military, he enrolled in art school through use of his GI Bill benefits in order to pursue a career more suited to his temperament. Now a devoted teaching artist he is excited to be a part of his student’s exploration of art.