Raquel Pinderhughes, Ph.D., President
Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, San Francisco State University and Executive Director of the Environmental Literacy Project and Roots of Success

Raquel Pinderhughes teaches courses on urban and environmental planning and policy, including, “Sustainable Development in Cities,” “Environmental Justice,” and “Alternative Urban Futures.” Raquel is also the Director of the Willie L. Brown Fellowship Program. An internationally recognized expert on green jobs, green jobs training and environmental literacy, Raquel’s “Green Job Training Model” was used to form the Oakland Green Job Corps and informed the development of the Obama Administration’s Pathways out of Poverty Initiative. Raquel is the creator of Roots of Success, an environmental literacy and work readiness curriculum, specifically designed for youth and adults who face significant barriers to education and employment. Roots of Success is used in schools, youth programs, job training programs, prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities throughout the United States, the UK and South Africa. Roots of Success prepares individuals who come from communities heavily impacted by poverty, unemployment and environmental problems, to work in environmental careers and improve conditions in their communities. Raquel is a member of the California Statewide Environmental Literacy Task Force (ELTF) and Co-chair of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Diversity Committee.

Becca Prager, Secretary
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Alameda County Center for Healthy Schools and Communities

Becca believes in the innate potential of all youth to thrive when given love and support. She works for the Alameda County Center for Healthy Schools and Communities, based at REALM Charter School. Previously she served as a Board Member of REALM and as the Pathways to Success Program Manager and Clinical Supervisor at Berkeley Youth Alternatives (BYA), a multi-service Community Center for youth and families in West Berkeley. Becca is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and has been working with youth and their families for over 20 years. She started as a community organizer in San Francisco’s Hunter’s Point with SLUG (San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners) building gardens and hiring youth in Public Housing to grow food for their community. She has since worked in community centers, garden programs, and public charter schools in San Francisco, North Richmond, Berkeley and in Massachusetts. She is also a massage therapist and birth doula, approaching her social work from a holistic perspective of health and wellness.

Ladan Sobhani, Treasurer
Environmental Justice Advocate and Co-Owner of Auto Glass Express

Ladan brings to the Ecology Center her rich experience working with non-profit organizations to fight for social and environmental justice, human rights, and peace in the Middle East. Most recently, Ladan worked for two years as Program Manager at Green For All, where she convened national leaders to share best practices on how to green our communities while creating new economic opportunities for low-income communities of color. Ladan also worked for five years at Global Exchange where she coordinated fact-finding delegations to the Middle East, organized national rallies and educational events against the war in Iraq, and worked to promote a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ladan also worked for the International Forum on Globalization where she researched the impacts of economic globalization on the environment and local communities. Ladan and her husband are the owners of Auto Glass Express, a Berkeley-based business offering quality auto glass services at affordable prices. Ladan is also a founding parent at Golestan, a Persian Language and Cultural Center in Berkeley.

Elisa Batista
Journalist and Former Campaign Director with / Mamá

Elisa Batista has dedicated most of her career to advocate for policies related to family economic security, child health, and ending discrimination against mothers. She was a campaign director for the national family advocacy organization and its Spanish-language community, Mamá She is also a bilingual journalist and award-winning blogger whose writing has appeared at the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, FOX News Latino and Wired News. Elisa has been a long-time supporter of the Ecology Center’s mission and work as it is all about our children’s futures: their health, their ability to thrive in a sustainable world, and achieve their dreams regardless of who they are or where they were born. She is proud to be a part of this sustainable and multicultural movement.

Michele Gee
Educator and Park Interpretive Planner, National Park Service, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

For nearly 20 years, Michele has worked in the field of environmental education, youth development, and interpretive park planning to improve the lives of all Bay Area residents and beyond. After graduating from UCSB with a BA in Environmental Studies, she worked at the San Francisco Conservation Corps as an AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps Supervisor, and later the Manager of Conservation and Recycling for their Youth In Action program. In 2000, she joined the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy where she played a key role in the launch and development of the Crissy Field Center, whose mission is to encourage new generations to become bold leaders for thriving parks, healthy communities and a more environmentally just society. Michele is currently the Chief of Interpretation and Education for the National Park Service at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, an 81,000 acre park spanning San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties. During her time at the park, Michele has spearheaded many projects that focus on relevancy, equity, and inclusion. Michele grew up in the East Bay and enjoys living in Alameda with her husband and son.

Kad Smith
Associate Project Director, CompassPoint

Kad currently works at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services to build capacity for nonprofits across the country. Prior to joining CompassPoint, Kad worked with the Ecology Center for six years, focusing on community engagement and environmental justice advocacy. Through his work with the Ecology Center, Kad also served as a precinct captain in Berkeley’s Measure D Campaign of 2014, which resulted in the historic passing of the first soda tax in US history. Most recently, Kad served as the Co-Director for Berkeley’s Measure Y1 Vote 16 Campaign, resulting in California’s first authorization of 16 year olds participating in a municipal election.

Kad also serves on the Board of Directors of the Berkeley Community Fund. Additionally, Kad spent five years (2012 to 2017) advising for the Berkeley YMCA’s Youth and Government program, where he advised youth in developing research skills, networking abilities, gaining public speaking confidence, developing legislative literacy and finding their interests in community engagement and local politics. He also previously served as a City Commissioner on Berkeley’s Community Health Commission and Police Review Commission.

In Memory: Chuck Teller
Social Entrepreneur

We remember and honor our former Board Treasurer, Chuck Teller. Read our letter about his passing here. Chuck was a social entrepreneur with experience in analytic applications, consumer software services, real estate economics, and conservation resource planning. His most recent role was VP of Product at, where he was responsible for the product management and delivery of predictive analytic applications, utilizing advanced machine learning technology, that allow large scale enterprises to optimize customer support services. From 2007 to 2012, Chuck developed the nation’s largest consumer choice portal. Over 1.6 million households in the U.S. use Catalog Choice to send over 26 million opt-out requests to 8,000 companies. Through his efforts at Catalog Choice, Chuck helped reform the mailing practices of direct mailers to provide consumers with choice about what enters their mailbox and reduce paper use by corporations. Earlier in his career, Chuck launched one of the largest Analytic Application product suites at PeopleSoft, and developed an analytic application company, Advance Planning Solutions (APS), that specialized in budgeting and planning functions. Prior to his software career, Chuck spent 10 years as a real estate economist helping public and private clients develop livable urban environments. Chuck held a master’s degree in Urban Planning from University of North Carolina, and a bachelor’s degree in Conservation Resource Planning from University of California.