Staff & Board

Our Staff

Bay Area PLAN is made up of an incredible group of parent and community leaders invested in the transforming schools for students of color and their families. Meet our team!

Alexia Maciel

Latinx Parent Organizer

Alexia A. Maciel was born on the coasts of Mexico. She is the eldest of two brothers, married, mother of 4 beautiful children, 3 girls and a boy. Her story is the story of many Latin mothers who want to be better day by day and at the same time give their children the best education and values.

She has been involved in her children’s school but had the opportunity to get more involved when her youngest son was born and diagnosed on the autism spectrum. It was there when she left everything aside to be able to help her son in every educational and emotional sense, where she learned that in schools you must fight so that all students receive a quality education. Alexia believes it is a very tiring road, and many times you may feel that it is better to drop in the towel but at the same time you want to continue fighting for the rights of our children so that they have a better education and have a better future.

Alexia has been a volunteer mother for 9 years at her son’s school and has been president of the SSC for 6 years. It is not an easy job, on the contrary, it is a very big responsibility but it is a satisfaction to know we are trying to have a better education for our children. Her friend from school introduced them to Sasha and told me Bay Area Plan is the place where she could work together and make all her plans come true.

It was at Bay Area PLAN where Alexia found the support that she had always been looking for to be able to help more families and at the same time continue to learn new things, and thanks to Bay Area PLAN, she was capable to show that we can do our job, continue supporting families and at the same time keep learning to be a better advocate for our children. She believes this is only the beginning of a brighter future for our children.

Belinda Bellinger

Executive Director

Belinda (Be) Bellinger is a queer co-parent of one human child and one furry pup. They specialize in education for liberation, grassroots community organizing, transformational healing work, curriculum design and the spoken word. For more than 20 years, they have engaged students (and adults) in being empowered to abolish all systems of oppression. As a San Francisco native, Belinda worked with Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth at Youth Making A Change, where they organized low-income youth of color in campaigns to improve their quality of life and public education in San Francisco. They have fought for Ethnic Studies, youth employment, Wellness Centers, alternatives to youth incarceration, and an end to police violence.

Belinda joined PLAN in the summer of 2013 as a childcare worker and coordinator for the Summer Parent Leadership Academy. In shifting to their new role, they get to reconnect with current Executive Director and comrade, Pecolia Manigo Awobodu. These co-directors have worked side by side in various movement coalition work, specifically The Third Eye Movement.

Belinda previously worked for both public and charter schools as an English-Language Arts classroom teacher, where they co-created instructional spaces where students are seen, heard, and encouraged to be their authentic selves. As a teacher leader, Belinda has supported the development of school cultures that put students’ needs first, and supported the professional development and sustainability of Black educators by co-designing with Dr. Micia Mosely the Black Teacher Project, a program that reimagines schools as communities of liberated learning.

Belinda received their Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts at Sarah Lawrence College, and their Single-Subject Teaching Credential in English from Loyola Marymount University. They have taught middle school for the last 9 years, and currently are in their third year as a Black Teacher Project Fellow. They enjoy writing creative non-fiction, singing, and photosynthesizing in the sun.

Eleazar Cuenca

Latinx Family Liaison

Eleazar Cuenca is a Latina parent leader who first came to PLAN when her child was attending Esperanza Elementary in Oakland. She first got involved with PLAN through our Parents Ready for School workshop series in the fall of 2014. Since then she has organized a site improvement campaign to improve traffic safety for the children and community of Esperanza Elementary in Oakland, California. For 5 years, she served on the School Site Council and supported the development of the leadership of parents at Esperanza to increase family engagement. She has served in PLAN as a member and Leaders for Engage & Active Parents (LEAP) Fellow.

Eleazar became a PLAN staff member in 2018 as Early Success Parent Organizer, thanks to the support of PLAN donors who helped us sustain the Families for Early Success Program in Summer 2018. In 2019, Eleazar became our Leadership Development Coordinator, focusing on improving our leadership development system including how we coach parents and redeveloping our workshop and training calendar. She will use leadership skills to help other parents of young children make that leap from parent to advocate for their children’s education.In 2020 Eleazar became a Latino Family liaison, now she is focused to help our latino parents to improve their leadership skills, doing workshops.

Eleazar is from Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. She is the proud mother of three children, one of her kids has graduated from high school, the other two are still attending schools in Oakland.

Kaitlin Persons

Black Family Liaison

Kaitlin (Kate) Persons is an Oakland native and parent to one daughter, MacKenzie. As the newest member of the Bay Area Plan team, and as a parent, she is committed to building strong relationships within our organization and community.

She believes that genuine connection is the foundation of everything she has built both professionally and personally. She looks forward to supporting the development of parent leaders as she further develops as a leader herself.

Pecolia Manigo Awodobu

Executive Director

Pecolia Manigo is an organizer and authentic leader; but most importantly a black mother. Through her journey as a native San Franciscan and Oakland resident, she has developed a keen awareness on a variety of subject matters, issues and world affairs. By the time she turned 20, Pecolia had participated in 4 major campaigns in the Bay Area, conducted over 100 trainings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and nation. Pecolia has served as the Executive Director of Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network (PLAN), an Oakland based organization developing the leadership and building the power of parents to transform schools so that all students achieve student success since 2016.

Pecolia has supported PLAN to develop a new organizing model and effective programs to promote transformative family engagement. Under her leadership, the PLAN team advocates for a cultural shift toward institutional accountability to families in under-invested schools who often have the greatest needs from districts.

Pecolia continues to foster her commitment to organizing by being a values-based facilitator who brings people together to fight for justice in education and build people’s confidence to achieve their goals. This is evident in her African tradition-centric nurturing and caretaking of her amazing black children- Niani, Annika and Jamari. She remains an active parent volunteer and advocate for her children at their public schools in Oakland, California. She currently serves as the Chair of the Reparations for Black Students Task Force in Oakland Unified School District and is a Commissioner on the Policy Oversight Committee for the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth.

Pecolia believes that authentic and transformative family engagement makes a significant difference in early childhood success for lifelong achievement. Recognizing the boundaries of traditional parent involvement, she leads PLAN to design programs and organizing strategies that foster shared responsibility for student success among families, schools, and communities. Pecolia inspires action through stories of parent-led advocacy efforts to provide quality education for all children. She invites the education sector to reflect on how to meaningfully apply research, experiences, and best practices to foster a deeper understanding of how individual family engagement successes lead to the broader systems change we desire.

Our Board

Bay Area PLAN’s Board of Directors lead our organization’s effort to be a social justice organization committed to our values and accountable to our community. Meet our board members!

Liz Suk

Board Chair

Liz Suk is rooted in Oakland, CA and uses her passion for community building and social justice to build cooperative spaces that try to challenge the status quo. A connector, she enjoys bringing folks together to eat, drink and talk stories, and finding ways to get off the grid. Liz currently works as the Political Director for Oakland Rising, after working 20+ years in the community providing direct services ranging from foster care, recovery services, domestic violence advocacy and counseling, and youth gang prevention as well as social justice organizing that includes third world liberation, Korea peninsula solidarity, cultural arts and cooperative early childhood education. She is a single mom of two Oakland public school children and staunch believer in self-determination and smashing on cultural appropriation.

Rukiya Humphries

Board Chair

Rukiya is a long time volunteer with OUSD, former Leadership Council member, Parent Fellow and Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) participant. As a parent and community member the goal and passion has always been to help, to be a direct part of the solutions that lack from our society.

Salomeh Ghorban

Secretary

Salomeh Ghorban joined the PLAN Board in Fall of 2017. Of Iranian descent, Salomeh was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara, and her passion for healing and community moved her to follow a career in Homeopathic medicine. After, years of study, interning at the school’s free community clinic and working different positions to pay the bills, she took her dream job at La Clinica de la Raza. She managed a school based health center. She spent several years building and improving services for youth at the school-site clinic based at Roosevelt Middle School. She took a break from youth work to pursue other interests, but couldn’t stay away from her Roosevelt Middle school family for too long.

Salomeh is back at Roosevelt Middle as their College/Career Counselor and has been based at Roosevelt for the last seven years. Salomeh has a passion for the ocean, loves to surf and volunteers as a surf instructor with Brown Girl Surf in her spare time.

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