Staff & Advisory Board

Learn more about the team behind Roots of Success



Raquel Pinderhughes, Ph.D. is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at San Francisco State University. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Roots of Success, an empowering environmental education and job training program designed for youth and adults that have been failed by the education system. Her pedagogical approach is informed by Paolo Freire’s work, which positions students as co-creators of knowledge who learn together and have a say in what they learn. By centering each students voice and choice, students are liberated to lead their learning and make meaningful connections to the world around them. This helps develop a critical consciousness in which students are empowered to identify, question and solve relevant problems in society.

Dr. Pinderhughes work focuses on improving quality of life for people from underserved communities by providing them with the literacy, knowledge, professional skills, and liberating education they need to access stable family supporting jobs and improve conditions in their communities. She conducted a landmark study on “Green Collar Jobs for Individuals with Barriers to Employment” and co-authored the first report on “The Greening of Corrections: Creating a Sustainable System” for the Federal Department of Corrections. Her programmatic work on preparing people with barriers to employment for jobs in the “green economy” informed the creation of the Obama Administration’s “Pathways Out of Poverty” Program and the development of hundreds of green jobs training and environmental literacy programs in the United States.


Chad Flores is the Head of Product and Deputy Executive Director of Roots of Success. His expertise is in nonprofit organizational management and environmental policy. Previous to his work with Roots of Success, he worked for the online fundraising nonprofit Network for Good and the social innovation incubator Hub Bay Area. Chad holds a M.S. in Public Service Management from DePaul University’s School of Public Service and a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Marquette University. He is passionate about issues at the intersection of public health, economy, policy, and innovation.


Grady Mitchell is Corrections and Reentry Outreach Coordinator and Advisory Board member at Roots of Success. Grady became a Roots of Success instructor and Master Trainer in Washington state prisons, where he taught hundreds of students over many years. In January 2021, Grady’s 37 year sentence was commuted and he was able to return home to his family and community.


Abby O’Brien is Outreach and Project Manager at Roots of Success. Prior to Roots, she worked at the SFS Center for Sustainable Development Studies in Atenas, Costa Rica. Abby holds a B.A. in Environmental Analysis with a focus in sustainability and the built environment from Scripps College. She is excited to work with the Roots of Success en Español team, contribute to the site, and help Roots grow.


Kathleen Kanaley is a member of the Roots of Success en Español team where she is primarily responsible for ensuring that core Roots of Success content and documents are available in Spanish. Kathleen holds a dual degree in Natural Sciences and Spanish Literature. She has lived and worked in Panama, Spain, and Ecuador on a range of ecological restoration and agricultural projects. Kathleen aims to use her linguistic abilities to advance environmental and social justice.


Florencia Diano Borghini is a member of the “Roots of Success en Espanol” team, working on Curriculum Development and as Video Editor. A photographer and filmmaker from Uruguay, she holds a degree in Social Communication with emphasis in Audiovisual Narrative and a Diploma in Editing. She works as a photographer, audiovisual producer, teacher and graphic designer. 


Gabriela Rodriguez is a 7th grade English teacher in Northern California and a member of the Roots of Success en Español team. She holds a B.A. in English, and is currently working on her Ed.D in Organizational Change and Leadership. Gabriela is a strong advocate for social justice and human rights, especially for students who are underrepresented in the education system.







Advisory Board

Kay O’Neill (Co-chair) – Independent Consultant 
Curtis Penn (Co-chair) – Division Director of Justice Services, Felton Institute
Cyril Walrond – Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer, Stafford Creek Correction Center
David Duhaime – Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer, Stafford Creek Correction Center
Grady Mitchell – Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer, Washington Corrections Center
Eugene Youngblood – Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer, Monroe Correctional Complex
Karlyn Eklof – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center 
Traci Akers – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center 
Lanelle Warner – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center
Lori Moseley – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center  
Maurice Hampton – E.I.T. Civil Engineering, Quality Engineering Solutions (QES)
Lisbeth Shepard – Executive Director, Green City Force
Jamie Brewster – Program Manager, Success Centers 
Pedro Noguera – Dean of Education, University of Southern California (USC)
Amy Kiser – Independent Consultant

Employment Opportunities

We are hiring! See the post on Idealist, or send an email to for more information.

Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

If you are interested in Interning or Volunteering with Roots of Success please send your resume and a cover letter to