our team


Dedicated to helping students succeed in middle school, high school, college and beyond.


Randi Shafton

Co-Executive Director

Randi joined Peninsula Bridge in 2013. Before joining Peninsula Bridge, Randi was the co-Development Director at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula. She has also worked as a legislative assistant, in industry and as a non-profit consultant, and has co-founded a non-profit agency focused on girls aged 7-12. Randi has a BA from UCLA and a MA in public administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.



Jocelyn Swisher

Co-Executive Director

Jocelyn joined Peninsula Bridge in 2013. She has held a number of corporate positions and been a highly effective volunteer. In Portola Valley, she has been a key leader in raising millions of dollars for the public schools as well as for the new community center. Jocelyn served as a trustee on the Portola Valley School Board from 2010-2015. Before joining Peninsula Bridge, she was the co-Development Director at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula. She holds a BA from Harvard University and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.



Amanda Afshar

Director of Middle School Programs

Amanda has been a part of Peninsula Bridge since August 2015. She has dedicated her career to the education and empowerment of students and families since completing her B.S. in Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education at Illinois State University in 2004. After four years in the classroom, she began pursuing a degree in administration and received her Master of Science in Educational Leadership and Administration in 2009. She has taught and held administrative roles in both the public and independent school sectors and welcomes the cohesion these experiences bring to her role as Middle School Director for Peninsula Bridge. She and her husband Raman, a scientist and business development director, live in San Jose.



Marion Araque

Director of High School Programs

Marion began her educational career as an ESL teacher with Teach For America in Massachusetts. Her experience in the classroom motivated her to pursue a Master's Degree at Boston University to further expand her knowledge of how to best reach students in marginalized communities. She spent the last two years as  Campus Director with Citizens Schools in Oakland, a nonprofit organization that works to develop the academic and social emotional potential of low-income students.



Paula Calamato

Director of Community Engagement 

Paula joined Peninsula Bridge in 2012 and supports both programs and development. She emigrated from Argentina and self-funded her education earning a Masters in Sociology at San Jose State University. She wrote her thesis on financial literacy, and is the first in her family to earn a master's. Prior to joining Peninsula Bridge, Paula lectured at SJSU, taught Spanish, and interned with Friends Outside. Paula is currently completing a Certificate Program in College Admissions and Career Planning through U.C Berkeley Extension.



Maureen Garrett

Development Director

Maureen joined Peninsula Bridge in 2012. She brings more than 20 years of non-profit and for-profit experience in the financial and education sectors on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.  She has a B.S. in Public Administration/Public Affairs from the University of Southern California. Maureen and her husband Bill, an attorney in Palo Alto, have three children and live in San Carlos.



Rene Jimenez

Director of College Access and Success Program

Rene Jimenez joined Peninsula Bridge in August, 2015. As a Bay Area native from Menlo Park, CA, he feels very connected to Peninsula Bridge's mission and the student's families. He participated in the Bridge program as a 7th and 8th grader. He has a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management and International Business. During his free time, Rene enjoys playing soccer, snowboarding in the mountains of Lake Tahoe and kayaking.



Sarah Haas

College Access Counselor

Sarah is very passionate about College Access. She has spent the last couple of years working as an independent college counselor, as well as volunteering with local access organizations providing similar support to the work Peninsula Bridge does. Sarah has also spent some seasons as an application reader for the UC Berkeley admissions team. Sarah graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Women's Studies with minors in Education and Arabic. After graduation, Sarah supported Midway High School in North Carolina as a College Advisor. She played a key role in developing a strong program there and supported many FirstGen students.



Ahtziri Lopez

Manager of Student Support and Services

Coming from an underrepresented community, Ahtziri participated in community programs like Peninsula Bridge to help guide her, as she was a first-generation college grad. She graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Advertising. She hopes to continue her passion of helping students in Peninsula Bridge, and allow them to discover their untapped potential, as well as encourage them to aim for higher education.



Mayra Vega

Associate Director of High School Programs

Mayra joined Peninsula Bridge in 2017. She has worked with children and families in a variety of capacities including: research, case management, education and in mental health settings. She received her B.A. in Psychology at Wesleyan University in 2010 and her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2015. Mayra is an East Palo Alto native and familiar with the journey many Peninsula Bridge students are on to achieve successful productive lives. She looks forward to engaging with her students and supporting their passion for higher education. 



Karen Zamora

Associate Director of Middle School Programs

Karen joined Peninsula Bridge in 2016. Prior to joining Peninsula Bridge, Karen was Operations Manager for Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City. Karen has a passion for working with youth and a dedication to effective and equitable education. She lives in East Palo Alto and loves spending time with her family and dog Weston. Karen is fluent in Spanish and is a Peninsula Bridge and Menlo School alumna. She has a BA in Education from San Jose State University.


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Rebecca Dehovitz

Middle School Academic Advisor 

Rebecca joined the Peninsula Bridge team in 2017.  She received her BA from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.  In the years since graduation she's worked as a director of after-school education programs at Congregation Beth Am and as an elementary school teacher.  She has also taught English as a Second Language at the Day Worker Center of Mountain View.  In her free time Rebecca enjoys reading, playing music, and spending time with family and friends.



Natalie Gomez

High School Academic Advisor

Natalie attended Connecticut College and earned a degree in Human Development with an emphasis in elementary education. She has a passion for social justice and working with children. She spent the past 6 years teaching Spanish at a middle school in Minneapolis before moving to California. A native New Yorker, she thrives on diversity and is fortunate to have had the mentorship in school and experiences that have been the catalyst to her achievements. She is excited to empower future diverse leaders with similar backgrounds and make an impact on Bay Area youth every day! In her free time, Natalie enjoys salsa dancing, traveling, spending time with family and trying new food.



Ruben Gomez

High School Academic Advisor

Ruben joined Peninsula Bridge in 2019. He has experience working with Special Education students, with high school dropouts and with high school students as a History teacher. He received his B.A. in Political Science at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. A native Puerto Rican, he is passionate about guiding young people through education to achieve their goals.


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Alison Leupold

College Access Counselor

Alison’s commitment to college access for students from marginalized backgrounds spans several decades, beginning with her experience as a volunteer mentor with I Have a Dream East Palo Alto while she was in graduate school in the early 90’s. After a successful career in tech marketing and non-profit fundraising, she is thrilled to be working directly with first-generation students to help make their college dreams a reality. In 2018, Alison received a Certificate in College Counseling and Career Advising from UC Berkeley Extension. She also holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and an MBA and Masters in Education from Stanford University.



Susi Lindley

Business Manager

Susi joined Peninsula Bridge in 2018, and brings with her more than a decade of school oriented business management experience.  Prior to joining Peninsula Bridge, Susi worked as Business Manager at the German American International School in Menlo Park, as well as Manager of the Travel Cuts office on the Stanford University campus. Susi is a native of Germany, and she lives with her husband and two kids in Redwood City. 



Osvaldo Muro

High School Academic Advisor

For Osvaldo, Peninsula Bridge marks the beginning of a long and fruitful career in education outreach. The son of immigrants and the product of a Title I education, he understands intimately the challenge of striving toward college when the road ahead is foggy and unfamiliar. Thankfully, he also understands the potential for mentorship and guidance to alter the trajectory of a young adult’s education. In the summer of 2016, Osvaldo received his B.S. in Biotechnology & Life Science from Stanford University.



Shayna Robledo

High School Academic Advisor

Shayna has been working in Education Management for the past three years with South County Cal-SOAP, a non-profit organization. In her role she as an Academic Advisor, she supported First Gen students and families in the community through 1v1 sessions, presentations, and tutoring to support them to reach their academic goals. In addition, she also coached field hockey at the competitive and varsity level for three years helping strengthen her athletes and program.



Kristen Reese

Manager of Middle School Community Engagement and Initiatives

Kristen joined Peninsula Bridge in 2016. Born and raised on the east coast, Kristen earned her Master of Arts in Teaching at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, specializing in teaching in urban environments. Kristen moved to the Bay Area shortly after and spent the past 7 years teaching middle school Language Arts and directing a student support and services program. Kristen is passionate in supporting adolescents in their academic, social, and emotional experiences, teaching them essential life skills like resilience and self-advocacy. In her free time, Kristen enjoys spending being active and exploring the Bay Area.



Teresa Wong

Program and Evaluation Manager

Teresa joined Peninsula Bridge in 2015 and brings over six years of experience in development, marketing, and program management in the non-profit sector. She is passionate about education and believes that all students, when afforded the opportunities, can succeed. She grew up in the Bay Area and is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where she is an avid football fan, and enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends in her free time. 



Melissa Zamora

College Success Advisor

Melissa has a Master’s Degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies from San Jose State University. Melissa comes with relevant experience having supported First Gen students as a Graduate Assistant/Mentor at San Jose State, and as a peer advisor at UC Davis where she received her B.A. in Chicana and Chicano Studies with minors in Sociology and Education.



Nitzya Cuevas Macias

College Success Advisor

Nitzya’s passion is to support First Gen students through college access and success. She also believes it's important to support parents and educate them about the world of higher education. Nitzya previously supported students through the entire college application process at Alpha Public Schools, a charter school in San Jose. She has also advised hundreds of students at De Anza College. Nitzya is currently completing her Masters degree in Mexican American Studies at San Jose State. She earned her B.A. in History and Legal Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.



summer site directors


Mark Boswell

Crystal Springs Uplands School



Mary Buford

St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School



Kate Montroni-Fish

Sacred Heart Schools



Gulliver LaValle

Woodside Priory School



Rolando Victoria

Menlo School



Brenda Villa

Castilleja School