Our team is made up of educators, researchers, cartographers, evaluators, data crunchers, trainers, policy wonks and public health people.
David A HarrisChief Executive Officer
David Harris joined the Council as its CEO in July 2016. David has spent the majority of his professional career as a nonprofit manager and consultant, as well as a grantmaker at several of the nation’s leading philanthropic organizations. Previously, David was Vice President of Grants and Initiatives at the Iowa West Foundation, Director of Regional Policy & Florida Philanthropy for the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Steve KingSenior Associate Housing & Economic Development
Steve holds a MS in Urban Planning from Columbia University, and a BA in Environmental Science with a specialization in Geographic Analysis from Boston University. He is also the Executive Director of the Oakland Community Land Trust. Steve has been with the Council since 2007.
Becky LaiOYI Project Director
Becky leads the Council’s work in workforce development and career education with a special focus on opportunity youth. She has extensive program management experience in workforce development and K-12 education reform and specializes in cross-sector collaborations, leadership development, and organizational scaling. Becky received her Master of Social Work from the University of Houston and her Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas.
Alison FeldmanProgram Coordinator, Education Excellence and Community Capacity Building
Alison manages a variety of projects at the Council supporting equitable educational opportunities and outcomes. She has facilitated several cross-sector bodies responsible for developing the infrastructure and tools necessary for establishing full service community schools in Oakland. Alison has been involved in community engagement and policy development in education for many years. She received her M.A. in Near Eastern Studies and Journalism from New York University and her B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.
Rosalyn EpsteinProgram Coordinator, Income & Asset Development
During her career, Rosalyn has developed and managed asset-building programs for youth and young adults which help them to access financial services and develop critical decision making skills. She also worked in youth sexual and reproductive health and built a culturally responsive and LGBTQ-inclusive sexuality education curriculum. She has a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Smith College and an MSW from the University of California Berkeley.
Adrian SanchezProgram Associate BMoC
Adrian is from Salinas, California and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Ethnic Studies and Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Urban Strategies Council, Adrian was Health Policy Fellow at The Greenlining Institute, where he worked on Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation and health workforce development efforts for boys and young men of color.
Breeanna DeckerProgram Associate OYI
Breeanna’s main responsibilities include strengthening cross-sector coordination and collaboration for Opportunity Youth, ages 18-24, to have a structured transition to post-secondary education and career opportunities.
Before joining The Council, Breeanna served as an intern for two locally elected officials: Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and Oakland City Councilmember Lynette McElhaney. Passionate about youth and education, she has worked with Lincoln (formerly Lincoln Child Center) and the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools, assessing the reading levels of West Oakland public school students.
Charlie is a consultant on jail and prison reentry and local justice and corrections reform issues. He provides support to the Justice Reinvestment Coalition, which meets monthly at the Council. He has worked in direct service, supervisory and administrative roles in nonprofit child welfare and juvenile justice services. Also, he worked as a restorative justice public policy advocate in Sacramento and Los Angeles.
Steve SpikerResearch & Technology Director
Spike has research experience in community development, housing, criminology, spatial epidemiology and reentry issues. He speaks nationally about data driven decision making and was chosen as one of Next American City’s Vanguard class of 2012 and honored as a White House Champion of Change in 2013. He’s a dad, husband and co-author for the new book on open public data: Beyond Transparency. Spike has been with the Council since 2006.
Nick Williams, PhDAssociate Director of Research
Nick is an academic with a real world focus, he is a researcher with a background in rural and urban health. He has worked in clinical research and evidence based medicine at several New York City Hospitals and Public Health Organizations.
He holds a Ph.D from the European Graduate School in Communications, where he specialized in semiotics of epidemiological data and information studies. He also holds a Masters in Cultural Anthropology from the New School for Social Research and Bachelors in Sociology from the Evergreen State College.
Sarah MarxerSenior Research Associate
Prior to joining the Council, Sarah managed a statewide child and youth data website, kidsata.org. She worked in the youth development field for over a decade, running programs for immigrant and LGBT youth and working on a range of public health issues. An active public school parent, her community work focuses on racial equity and making schools safe for LGBT students and students with LGBT parents. She has a Master of Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University. Sarah has been with the Council since 2011.
Robert StahlHousing & Economic Development Coordinator
Bobby is originally from the Texas-Mexico border but has proudly spent several years working to influence housing, economic, and climate related policies to improve health in neighborhoods and communities across the Bay Area. Bobby is a proficient Spanish speaker with a passion for social justice and extensive experience with research & writing, advocacy, and relationship-building in support of social, economic, and racial equity. He earned his MPH from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health and is a graduate of the University of Texas.
Rania AhmedResearch Associate
Rania Ahmed is an urban thinker who values utilizing quantitative and qualitative research methods to deliver initiatives that ensure social well-being. Rania holds a M.A. in Urban Affairs and a B.Sc. in Urban Planning. One of her favorable projects was map production for the book Cairo, Center in Movement. As a Research Associate at the Council, Rania aims to bring her compassion to utilizing the power of data analysis to develop policies for the public good in the Bay Area.
Nate PhillipResearch Associate
Nate is a native of Oakland, California. He received his MPH from San Jose State University, and his BA in Urbanization and Urban Conflict Resolution from UC Berkeley where he also played college football. Prior to working with Urban Strategies Council Nate worked with The Alameda County Public Health Department on variety of issues such as housing and displacement, teen pregnancy prevention, and violence prevention. Currently Nate also coaches high school football in East Oakland, and is a member of the Center for Community Health and Engagement-Advisory Board at Children’s Hospital Oakland.
Betty WalkerExecutive Assistant to the CEO/HR Representative
Betty has worked in various industries over the years, including almost two decades in banking where she was a senior project manager and a vice president. She was also the operations manager for a family-owned winery and was instrumental in starting the winery. She has lived in several countries and has traveled extensively.
Teri obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Cal State University, Hayward. Teri currently sits on the Trustee Board of her church, Kyles Temple A.M.E. Zion in Vallejo and she’s very active in all areas of ministry. In her spare time, Teri’s passion is teaching financial literacy courses, as well as line dancing!
Maria VaghelaAdminstrative Assistant
Maria originally comes from the New York Metropolitan area. Having worked in diverse corporations, Maria brings with her considerable office experience. She is a mother, writes poetry and is fluent in her second language, Greek. She has volunteered with organizations that give back to society by helping those in need. So being part of the Council is especially meaningful to her.