Staff Biographies

Management Team

Josefina Alvarado-Mena, J.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Josefina Alvarado Mena was awarded an Echoing Green Fellowship in 1996 after finishing her J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Josefina used her Echoing Green Fellowship to create the Educational Empowerment Program to provide free legal education and services to low income students in Oakland, California. In 1999, Josefina was recruited by an incoming Superintendent of Oakland Unified School District to head the Department of Student, Family, and Community Services. She was the youngest member of the Executive Cabinet in the history of the organization. During her tenure she helped expand after-school programs, violence prevention programs, parent engagement and mental health programs throughout the school district. As director of the department, she also led the effort to develop the Safe Passage Middle School Strategy that has resulted in a 72% decrease in suspensions for violence at target high need middle schools in Oakland. Josefina was then recruited to lead Safe Passages, a city-wide initiative designed to reduce violence among the children and youth of Oakland. Josefina was one of only 5 employees when she arrived at Safe Passages. Currently the organization has a staff of 125. As the Chief Executive Officer for Safe Passages, Josefina has grown the organization from a foundation funded initiative to a leading independent 501(c)(3) Multi-service Nonprofit Organization that implements a continuum of programs that serve children and youth, from birth through college and career. A native of Oakland, Josefina grew up in one of the neighborhoods served by Safe Passages. She received her B.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley in 1993, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in May 1996. She is also a recipient of the following honors and awards: Echoing Green Global Fellowship 1996-1998, Education Advocacy Award 2003, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Alameda County; Outstanding Education Advocate 1999, People United for a Better Oakland (PUEBLO); Advocacy Award, California Latino Civil Rights Network 1998, and James Irvine Foundation California Leadership Award 2009.

Quinta Seward, Ph.D.

Deputy Director

Quinta Seward, joined the Safe Passages team in 2003 to facilitate the build out of the Middle School Strategy at targeted Oakland Unified School District sites, as a result suspensions at target middle schools dropped by 72%. From 2004 to 2007, Dr. Seward served as the agency’s Development Director and worked with the Executive Management Team to raise over $20 million during this time period. She served as the Policy Director 2007 to 2012 and facilitated the expansion of existing strategies and new policy area development. Dr. Seward currently serves as the Deputy Director and works closely with the CEO and other Executive Management Team Members to oversee programming, evaluation efforts, policy development, resource development and operational processes and procedures at Safe Passages. Dr. Seward has extensive research and evaluation experience in the fields of Juvenile Justice, Youth Development, Health, and Social Anthropology. She brings over twenty-five years of experience in implementing youth development programs and services, and resource and organizational development in the areas of violence prevention and community development. As a product of a public education, Dr. Seward is committed to leveling the playing field for marginalized youth, children and families by helping to make public and private systems work effectively on behalf of these populations. She received her B.A. in English at UC Berkeley. Her M.A. in African Area Studies at UC Los Angeles and her Ph.D. in Anthropology at University of Southern California.

Alicia E. Perez

Legislative and Community Development Director

Legislative and Community Development Director Alicia Perez comes to Safe Passages with an array of experience in the areas of community outreach, social service program implementation and public policy. Alicia oversees advocacy and communications efforts for the organization as well as serving as liaison with government officials. In addition, Alicia oversees the implementation of the Safe Passages Early Childhood Initiative. Prior to Safe Passages, Alicia Perez worked in the Office of the Superintendent for Oakland Unified District. She oversaw the district’s outreach efforts for opening of schools and student registration, the district’s state and federal advocacy efforts, and the implementation of several social service programs for students. In the legislative realm, Ms. Perez has been a policy advisor for former Assembly Member Delaine Eastin and to Oakland Councilmember Nancy J. Nadel. She has worked in the creation and implementation of social programs for children and families in Oakland and Chicago, and internationally in El Salvador, Colombia and Spain. Alicia E. Perez holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. She earned her B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Social Welfare and Comparative Literature.

Nina Moreno, Ph.D.

Research and Strategic Partnerships Director

Nina Moreno oversees research and strategic partnerships efforts for Safe Passages. She founded and was the Principal of Moreno & Associates from 2010-2014, where she consulted on program/project design, management, and evaluation; policy research, analysis, writing, monitoring, and advocacy; and development. Nina’s career began as the Director of the Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) Project and then later as the Executive Director of the Bushwick Community Development Unit, both projects of Agenda for Children Tomorrow (ACT) in New York, NY, where she worked to reform local policies and increase funding opportunities in the area of child welfare. For the past ten years, Nina has worked on state and national policy research and reform as well as fundraising in the areas of health and education as the Regional Director of the Safe Haven Initiative at the National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University and Interim Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund- California. Nina holds a Ph. D. in Social Welfare from the School of Social Work at Hunter College and a B.S. in Human Service Studies from Cornell University, College of Human Ecology. When she is not conducting research and developing strategy, Nina may be found exploring the world with her partner, Beatriz Vieira.

Program Staff

Jovern Johnson

Americorps Director

Michael Maldonado

Senior Policy Associate

Laura Cabral

Early Learning and Community Development Program Manager

Laura Cabral currently serves as the Early Learning and Youth Development Senior Policy Associate. Ms. Cabral is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the 0-8 programs at Elementary School sites; these programs include: Early Learning Baby Learning Communities Collaborative and the School Linked Services After School Programs for which Safe Passages is the lead agency. Ms. Cabral has led the Baby Learning Program for the past year. Her work in this capacity is programmatic assistance to partners and work with other Safe Passages staff assigned to the three communities to ensure seamless integration and coordination of program activities. Ms. Cabral will receive her Masters in Mexican American Studies with an emphasis in Policy from San Jose State University this year and holds a B.A. from the University of California at Davis.

Lauren Chambers

Life Coach, Law and Social Justice Career Pathways Program

Lauren Chambers joined Safe Passages in August 2010 in the role of Site Coordinator for the afterschool program at Roots International Middle School. Ms. Chambers was responsible for program delivery to over one-hundred students daily. Programming included homework support, sports, urban arts, and other enrichment offerings. Currently, Ms. Chambers is a Life Skills Coach for the Safe Passages Law and Social Justice Program at Rudsdale Continuation High School. Ms. Chambers is an Oakland native and graduated from Berkeley High School and attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Margaret Parente

Admin/ Personnel Manager

Margaret Parente recently joined Safe Passages as Admin/Personnel Manager. A long time employee of the East Bay Community Foundation, Margaret was the Foundation’s administrative manager in 1998 when Safe Passages was founded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to EBCF. This long association with Safe Passages’ staff and programs has provided a historical perspective and understanding of the staffing needs of the agency. Margaret served as both administrative manager and HR manager while at EBCF and was responsible for overseeing the Foundation’s move to downtown Oakland in 2001. As HR manager she worked on policy development to address personnel issues as foundation and affiliate staff grew from 7 to more than 40 employees. Margaret has a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University.

Jonathan Brumfield

Urban Arts Program Manager

Jonathan Brumfield oversees the implementation of the Get Active Program, the Safe Passages Urban Arts program. Through art, this program is designed to promote social justice and cultural awareness with a strong emphasis on leadership development and community engagement among youth. Mr. Brumfield has worked as an Urban Arts Instructor and case manager in Oakland schools and has over a decade of experience in addressing the needs of high need youth, with an emphasis on young males of color. Mr. Brumfield has a B.A. in Criminal Justice from San Francisco State University. He is also an Artist in Residence at the African American Complex in San Francisco.

Site-Based Staff

Krystal Jenkins

After School Program Site Coordinator- New Haven Unified School District

Heivaha Mafi

After School Program Site Coordinator- United for Success Academy

Jeremiah Carreon

After School Program Coordinator- Laurel Elementary School

Zoey Alexander

After School Program Site Coordinator – Community United (CUES)

An Oakland native, Ms. Alexander has extensive experience developing and implementing high quality youth development and afterschool programs. She served as the Afterschool Coordinator at Community United Elementary School for the past 7 years. She earned her B.A. from California State University Monterey Bay Seaside. Ms. Alexander oversees all aspects of the CUES afterschool program including academic and enrichment activities.

Robert Campbell

Site Coordinator – Havenscourt (CCPA)

Robert Campbell serves as the Elev8 Project Coordinator at Coliseum College Prep Academy. In his role, he works with school administration in the implementation of the full services community school model. He also facilitates the Coordination of Services Team, Student Success Teams, and Student Attendance Review Teams, as well as overseeing the extended day program. Prior to his role as the Elev8 Project Coordinator, Robert worked as the After School Coordinator at United For Success Academy. Since 2006, Robert has served in Oakland’s public education system. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Discourse from California State University East Bay.