Staff and Board
Before joining Mount Tamalpais College, Denisse worked as the Development Coordinator for the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco for five years. She has been involved with several organizations, including WashPIRG, La Voz Latina, and Glide. She brings with her a passion for equity and creating community. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Sociology and Philosophy.
Kevin is excited to be part of a mission-driven organization that empowers the incarcerated through education. As a community college graduate, he personally understands how significant Mount Tamalpais College can be for its students. His background includes work in environmental advocacy, technology and human rights, research on political accountability, and immigration law. Kevin earned his BA in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley.
Anila Yadavalli is the Math Program Coordinator at Mount Tamalpais College. After completing her PhD in mathematics at North Carolina State University, she was a postdoc with the Math Center for Educational Programs at University of Minnesota. She has been long interested in using her technical background to advance social justice and equity in STEM. She currently serves on the leadership board of 500 Women Scientists, has organized several K-12 outreach programs such as Girls Talk Math, and has mentored pre-PhD students through programs such as EDGE for Women and Cientifico Latino. She brings over seven years of mathematics classroom experience with her, and looks forward to supporting STEM education for incarcerated students. In her free time, Anila loves Yoga with Adriene, hiking, and cooking vegetarian food.
Jen brings a unique blend of community research and higher education institutional research experience to Mount Tamalpais College. She began her career in Michigan, where she earned her PhD in Community Psychology with concentrations in evaluation research and statistics and methodology. While in graduate school, she was the research director for a statewide nonprofit focused on criminal and juvenile justice reform. She has focused her career on research, evaluation, and participatory action research to create healthier and more equitable communities. Before joining the staff at Mount Tamalpais College, she was the Director of Institutional Research at California College of the Arts for five years. She served on the American Public Health Association’s Book Publications Board for eight years and often speaks at conferences and writes about community driven change efforts.
Prior to joining Mount Tamalpais College, Wendy worked in higher education and nonprofits in the Bay Area. As the first in her family to obtain a college degree, she is passionate about access to quality education for all. In her spare time, she loves taking her two dogs on long hikes, and spending time with her husband and two young daughters. Wendy holds a BA in Anthropology and an MA in Public Administration.
Amy Jamgochian is the Chief Academic Officer and Accreditation Liaison Officer of Mount Tamalpais College. She received her BA in English from Mills College, her MA in English from Auckland University in New Zealand, and her PhD in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley. She taught in the Rhetoric Department at UC Berkeley for almost 15 years, first as a graduate student and then as a lecturer. As a lecturer in the Rhetoric Department, she ran the pedagogy seminar for graduate student instructors, and taught all levels of courses, with topics ranging from freshman composition to introductory rhetorical theory to hermeneutics. Amy’s research interests include the 19th and 20th century British and American novel, ethics, political theory, and pedagogy.
Marvin Mutch is a formerly incarcerated prison reform activist and co-founder of the Men’s Advisory Council, a prisoner advocacy group first established inside San Quentin to represent the collective needs and grievances of California’s prisoners. Mr. Mutch served 41 years of an indeterminate seven year to life sentence for a wrongful conviction suffered in 1975. He was freed in 2016 due wholly to the tireless efforts of Professor Heidi Rummel of the USC Post Conviction Justice Project, Professor Emerita Susan Rutberg from the Golden Gate University Innocence Project, and attorney Michael Snedeker of Snedeker & Short.
After a lifetime of experience in this work, Marvin is now set to apply his deep understanding towards advancing the rights and needs of underserved populations everywhere.
Amy Shea has a PhD and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow, where she has written a collection of essays titled, Not All Deaths are Created Equal. Her work has appeared in the Portland Review, The Massachusetts Review, Spry Literary Journal, Fat City Review, From Glasgow to Saturn, & the Journal of Sociology of Health & Illness. As an avid hiker, she likens her doctoral experience to that of her climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro – both immensely challenging and rewarding.
Michael is the Chief Advancement Officer at Mount Tamalpais College. He is most passionate around issues associated with social justice. While Dean of Professional Studies at the University of San Francisco he founded, administered and taught in the Prison Project in the 1970s at both San Quentin and Susanville prisons. Most recently he was a Senior Associate at Partnership Resources Group. Between 2013 and 2018 he was the Executive Director of the RP Group (Research & Planning Group for California Community Colleges). From 2006 to 2013 he served as the Chair of the National Task Force on Community Leadership at Stanford University and in that role helped found CFLeads, the national organization that supports community foundations focused on developing and nurturing community leadership. From 1993 to 2006 Michael was President of the East Bay Community Foundation and led them through a period of unprecedented growth. Michael attended the College of San Mateo where he received his AA Degree, transferred to the University of San Francisco where he received his BA in Sociology, he then was accepted at the University of California and received his MA and ABD in Sociology. On weekends he can be found hiking with his dog Lucy or riding his road or mountain bikes in West Marin and Sonoma counties.
Makenzie brings over seven years of experience in nonprofit fundraising to Mount Tamalpais College. Prior to joining the team, she worked in development operations and management at several organizations around the Bay Area. Most recently, she was director of development operations at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, and many of her previous roles were similarly focused on education and community-building. Makenzie holds a BS in Business Administration from California State University, San Marcos and MA’s in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management from the University of Southern California and Hebrew Union College.
Molly brings to Mount Tamalpais College a decade of experience in nonprofit communications and education. She previously worked at 826 Valencia, where she led communications and developed programs to help young people build writing skills and share their stories. Molly is also the co-owner of Point Reyes Books, a local independent bookstore. She holds a degree in Literature and Writing from UC San Diego, and is thrilled to be part of this powerful and impactful organization advancing equity and lifelong learning.
Jody Lewen is the founder and President of Mount Tamalpais College.
Jody’s involvement dates back to 1999, when she started working as a volunteer. Over the years, she has served as a thought leader in the field of prison education, advocating for the values of high academic quality and inclusivity, as well as serving as a resource to policymakers, practitioners, academics, and the administrations at San Quentin State Prison and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. She was the 2006 recipient of the Peter E. Haas Public Service Award from the University of California, Berkeley, and a 2015 recipient of the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award in recognition of her work to support higher education for incarcerated people in California. In 2016, the organization received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama.
Jody received her BA from Wesleyan University in Modern European History; her MA from the Freie Universität, Berlin in Comparative Literature and Philosophy; and her PhD in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. Her publications include “Punishing Evil: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on the Spectre of Inmates in the Public Imagination” (in Evil, Truth, and Reconciliation, Rodopi, 2004) and “’So eine Gemeinheit’: On the Use of Irony in Hugo Bettauer’s Die Stadt Ohne Juden” (in Austria and Austrians: Images in World Literature. Stauffenburg Verlag, 2003).
Marcus Williams is a former student of Mount Tamalpais College and proud to continue his involvement as a returned citizen.
Kirsten is a former philosophy instructor and tutor at Mount Tamalpais College, where she co-taught her first course in 2011. She served as the college’s first Accreditation Liaison Officer in its successful candidacy application in 2019. As the Research and Program Fellow, Kirsten supports college staff as they restart in-person courses, and carries out research projects aimed at strengthening the field of higher education in prisons. Outside her work for Mount Tam, Kirsten is a co-founder of Mourning Our Losses, a national memorialization project to remember people who have passed away behind bars during the COVID-19 pandemic. She enjoys thinking about ethics and political philosophy, watching movies, and reading mystery novels.
Jacob joined the staff at Mount Tamalpais College after working for nearly ten years serving students and staff in higher education. Through his work as an educator and manager of student systems and records, he has developed a keen devotion to student needs and well-being. He is dedicated to serving marginalized students, especially in the creation of policies and procedures, so he is thrilled to contribute to the Mount Tamalpais College team in their mission. He holds an interdisciplinary BA focused on ethics and leadership from California State University, Monterey Bay.
David is a staunch believer in the notion that everyone deserves a quality education. Since 2004, David has involved himself in professional roles across the U.S. and abroad that aim to provide meaningful education for students whose life experiences moved them away from traditional academic advancement. Before joining Mount Tamalpais College, David supported collegiate diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives regionally with the California College Guidance Initiative and nationally with the Posse Foundation. The majority of David’s work experience involved spearheading educational leadership programming within the YouthBuild and John Muir Charter School networks reengaging young people under 25 with their academic pathways. David holds a BA in French from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and an MA in Education, Leadership, and Change from Antioch University, Los Angeles.
Priya brings over fifteen years of experience as a professor and scholar to the role of Academic Program Director. Prior to joining Mount Tamalpais College, she was professor and chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Mills College. She received her PhD in Comparative Ethnic Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Her research and teaching interests explore how race, gender, sexuality, and class have shaped ideas of national belonging and practices of state violence in the United States with a particular focus on welfare politics, reproductive justice, anti-violence organizing, and carceral institutions. She is the author of Domestic Contradictions: Race and Gendered Citizenship from Reconstruction to Welfare Reform (Duke University Press, 2021), and her scholarship has appeared in journals such as American Quarterly, Sexualities, Feminist Formations, and Radical Teacher as well as numerous edited anthologies.
Danielle brings seven year’s experience in grant writing to Mount Tamalpais College. Prior to joining the Development team, she served as the Director of Institutional Giving at Jewish Family and Children’s Services and as the Institutional Giving Manager at Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. A lifelong student herself, she is passionate about the power of education to expand possibilities and enrich life. When she is not fundraising, you can find her in a local park walking her beloved bulldog, Ruby.
Dmitriy started taking classes with Mount Tamalpais College in the fall of 2013. Encouraged by the teachers and tutors who volunteered at San Quentin, Dmitriy wanted to find a way to give back to the program and was hired on as a program clerk in 2015, helping to manage supplies and the library inside San Quentin. Prior to his current position as office manager, he served as program assistant coordinating class registration, credit requirement analyses (CRAs), and grades. He is currently taking classes at the local community college and plans to continue his pursuit of a higher education.
Corey has been a student since 2011 and joined the staff of Mount Tamalpais College as a program clerk in 2017 until recently when he became MTC’s Alumni Researcher. He graduated in 2019. He enjoys studying languages, theology, and history.
Richard “Bonaru” Richardson
Before graduating from Mount Tamalpais College in 2012, Bonaru first joined the staff as a program clerk in 2008. Inspired by the teachers at MTC, Bonaru wanted to give back to his community which led him to becoming the Editor-in-Chief of an award winning newspaper called the San Quentin News. He is now the Office Manager and COVID Response Program Assistant at Mount Tamalpais College.
Mauricio brings more than 13 years of experience in leadership and higher education in Chile and the US. Before joining Mount Tamalpais College, he worked in community colleges serving economic and academically underserved students. He received his BS from the Pontific Catholic University in Chile and holds a Master’s degree in Organization and Leadership from the University of San Francisco.
Arthur has been a student with Mount Tamalpais College since 2016 and joined the staff as a clerk in 2019. He served as a teaching assistant for English 99A and currently serves on the student-led academic conference committee. Arthur presented a paper at the 2018 conference at San Quentin, “Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reform: 21st Century Solutions for 20th Century Problems”. Outside of academics, Arthur is training to become a yoga instructor and working to develop a peer mentorship program for incarcerated youth.
We’ve become adept at throwing certain people away, depriving society of their unique gifts and wisdom. Mount Tamalpais College reaffirms the humanity and incredible potential of hundreds of ‘thrown away’ students.”
Senior Program Specialist
Working with San Quentin students who are eagerly engaging in their education is inspiring and humbling because it demonstrates what is possible when the rehabilitation part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is taken seriously.”
Board of Parole Hearings Attorney Panel for San Quentin
I support Mount Tamalpais College because its work is life-affirming, liberatory, and engenders dignity. I’m motivated to see this model expand beyond San Quentin.”
Vice President of Partnerships
Education opens a path for incarcerated people to move forward to self-respect, opportunity and fulfillment. Beyond that, education is proven to be the single most effective means of reducing recidivism. Thus, Mount Tamalpais College changes lives and is helping to change the world. Who would not support this work?”
California State University System
Mount Tamalpais College changed my life. I have witnessed how education brings hope to the hopeless, a voice to the voiceless and opportunity to those who seek it out.”
Prison University Project Alumnus, Manager of Technology and Program Delivery
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Mount Tamalpais College takes the simple proposition that all students deserve a quality education and extends it to those most overlooked. Creating an environment that challenges students to make connections to the world outside the classroom, the program provides space for dynamic conversations, while building students’ confidence in their own abilities.”
Director of College and Career Pathways
Five Keys Schools and Programs
Anyone who meets the students of Mount Tamalpais College is inspired by their commitment to using education to improve themselves and their community. They are the leaders of the criminal justice reform movement. Come see for yourself!”
Head of Product Sales and Payments Optimization
What I love about Mount Tamalpais College is that it increases the number of people in the world who approach life with curiosity, confidence, and ambition, rather than with trepidation, resentment, or helplessness.”
Freelance Education Consultant
My experience working with graduates of the program has completely changed my perception of the talent, drive, and potential of incarcerated students.”
Senior Director of Finance and Administration
The George Lucas Education Foundation
I am drawn to Mount Tamalpais College because it resists the notion that some of us don’t deserve the transformative power of education and learning. I want nothing more than for our graduates to continue disrupting the status quo in criminal justice from within the walls of San Quentin, and beyond them.”
FUSE Corps Executive Advisor
Office of Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland
Mount Tamalpais College students are humbling with their thirst for learning. Society has left so many of them behind, but education is transforming them, helping them to realize their potential!”
Professor of Decision Sciences
San Francisco State University
I’m honored to share in Mount Tamalpais College’s work. I have witnessed our program offering hope and possibility, along with dignity and respect, and often new ideas for incarcerated people.”
Professor of Education (Retired)
To instructors at Mount Tamalpais College, it becomes abundantly clear that our incarcerated students have vast potential and deep passion for their education. It is my hope and belief that the college courses offered enable our students to become change-agents for their communities and for our society more broadly.”
Chief Financial Officer
Jennifer Lyons has more than 25 years of finance and investments, teaching, and education administration experience. Her professional background includes money management, investment banking, equity research, real estate finance and public accounting. She has an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and a BA in Business/Economics from UC Santa Barbara, a teaching credential in Mathematics and a CPA. At UC Berkeley Extension, she served as program director and oversaw curriculum and online course development for the math and statistics courses. She has taught mathematics and finance to high school and adult college learners in a variety of settings and currently teaches an applied finance/MBA prep class at UC Berkeley Extension and a similar course for UC Berkeley’s Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP) for accelerated high school students, where she also serves on the advisory board. She volunteers actively, teaching for Mount Tamalpais College, and co-developed a financial literacy and job skills series of workshops at the prison. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Cal Performances, a judge and mentor for UC Berkeley’s Big Ideas social entrepreneurship competition, and has served as a team liaison for UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business Social Sector Solutions program. She is passionate about criminal justice reform and support of the arts. She lives in Berkeley.
David Stiepleman is co-President and co-founding partner of Sixth Street Partners, the global finance and investment business with over $47 billion in assets under management. He has been a cross-border corporate lawyer, senior executive, and business builder for over 20 years, starting and running businesses, and representing clients in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Stiepleman received his BA in French and Political Science from Amherst College, and his law degree from Columbia Law School.
Sixth Street Partners
Rich Lyons was recently appointed chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer for the Berkeley campus. In 2018 he concluded eleven years as dean of Berkeley’s Haas School. His early research was in international finance; recent work explores how leaders drive innovation and set culture. From 2006-08 he was Goldman Sachs’ chief learning officer. Changes at Haas under his deanship include a new building, a suite of dual degrees with STEM fields, and a focus on culture. Haas drove a set of Defining Principles – Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, Beyond Yourself – deeply into admissions and other processes.
Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
Sean Mendy is an entrepreneur In residence at Sixth Street Partners and the founder of Concrete Rose Capital, an investment platform closing the financial and social capital gap for underrepresented entrepreneurs. He previously worked to close the opportunity gap for low income students of color in Silicon Valley at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula (BGCP). At BGCP, he led fundraising initiatives generating $50 million to grow the organization into the largest youth serving education nonprofit in Silicon Valley.
Mendy has additional experience in the technology and philanthropy sectors through roles at Causes and as an advisor to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. He earned his BA from Cornell University, then advanced degrees in education policy and business from Stanford and the University of Southern California. He sits on the Board of Directors of StreetCode Academy, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, and the University of Southern California’s Masters of Science in Social Entrepreneurship graduate program.
Sixth Street Partners, Founder of Concrete Rose Capital
A social psychologist at Stanford University, Jennifer Eberhardt investigates the consequences of the psychological association between race and crime. Through interdisciplinary collaborations and a wide ranging array of methods—from laboratory studies to novel field experiments—Eberhardt has revealed the startling, and often dispiriting, extent to which racial imagery and judgments suffuse our culture and society, and in particular shape actions and outcomes within the domain of criminal justice.
Jennifer Eberhardt received a BA (1987) from the University of Cincinnati, an MA (1990) and PhD (1993) from Harvard University. From 1995 to 1998 she taught at Yale University in the Departments of Psychology and African and African American Studies. She joined the Stanford faculty in 1998, and is currently a professor in the Department of Psychology and co-director of SPARQ, a university initiative to use social psychological research to address pressing social problems.
Scott Kernan served as secretary of the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) and Rehabilitation from December 2015 to August 2018 and currently serves as CEO of LEO Technologies. Kernan began his career with CDCR as a correctional officer in 1983 at San Quentin State Prison. He went on to serve as warden at California State Prison-Sacramento and Mule Creek State Prison, and became deputy director of adult institutions in 2006 and chief deputy secretary of adult operations in 2007. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Kernan as undersecretary of operations for CDCR in 2009. After retiring in 2011 and pursuing consultant opportunities, he was called back to public service in 2016 and appointed secretary of CDCR by Governor Jerry Brown. In this role, Secretary Kernan was responsible for more than 200,000 inmates, 69,000 employees, and a $12.5 billion budget. He retired in 2018 and joined LEO Technologies in 2019.
LEO Technologies, former California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary
Dr. Timothy P. White is chancellor of the California State University, one of the largest and most diverse systems of higher education in the United States. As chancellor, White leads a university of 23 campuses and a global community of 479,000 students, 50,000 faculty and staff and more than 3.3 million alumni.
As the seventh chancellor to lead the CSU, White is a champion of inclusive excellence and student success, and a proponent of bringing individualized education to scale through the expansion of proven best practices. The CSU is also positioned as a state and national leader in promoting and protecting federal Title IX rights, environmental sustainability and diversity, which is reflected in the CSU’s diverse campus leadership.
White also leads the CSU as it embarks on an ambitious systemwide plan–Graduation Initiative 2025–to increase graduation rates, decrease time to degree and eliminate achievement gaps for all students by recruiting more faculty, hiring more advisors and student-support staff, providing new tools and adding thousands of more classes over the next decade.
Prior to joining the CSU, White held senior academic and administrative positions at the University of Michigan, Oregon State University, University of Idaho, and at University of California campuses in Berkeley and Riverside.
White deeply believes in and is a product of California’s Master Plan for Higher Education, having pursued his higher education from Diablo Valley Community College, Fresno State, California State University, East Bay and the University of California, Berkeley. Like many CSU students and alumni, White was the first in his family to attend college and earn a degree.
California State University System
Loni Hancock has spent nearly four decades as a forceful advocate for open government, educational reform, environmental protection, economic development, and social justice. Prior to her election to the California State Senate in 2008, she served three terms in the California State Assembly (14th District). She also was the first woman elected mayor of the City of Berkeley (1986-1994), the Executive Director of the Shalan Foundation, and served in both the Carter and Clinton Administrations. From 2008 to 2016, Hancock represented the 9th District in the California State Senate. The 9th District includes the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Oakland, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, Rodeo, San Leandro and San Pablo.
California State Assembly