Dr. Raquel Pinderhughes is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at San Francisco State University and the Founder and Executive Director of the Roots of Success Environmental Litearcy and Job Training Program, an empowering Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship program that prepares youth and adults who have been failed by the education system (and other systems) to access jobs and career pathways in environmental fields and to improve environmental conditions in their communities. A national expert on green jobs and workforce development, Raquel conducted the landmark “Green Collar Jobs for Individuals with Barriers to Employment” study; co-authored the first report on “The Greening of Corrections” for the Federal Department of Corrections; and is the lead consultant for the city of Ithaca’s Green New Deal Workforce Development Initiative. Raquel has developed and directed education and workforce training programs for individuals impacted by incarceration for more than three decades. Her programmatic work on preparing individuals with barriers to employment for jobs in the green economy informed the creation of the Obama Administration’s ARRA funded “Pathways Out of Poverty” Initiative, which supported green job training programs throughout the United States. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for “The Healing Project”, which creates artistic works, collective healing spaces, and advocacy initiatives in partnership with individuals impacted by structural violence and incarceration to build a world based around healing rather than punishment. 

Douglas Pentland is Program Manager with Roots of Success. Before working with RoS, he taught Horticulture courses in Rikers Island jail in NYC, worked as a community organizer, bilingual school teacher, and family coordinator.


Stevie Gaynor is Operations Manager with Roots of Success. Prior, she worked as a programmatic advisor to grassroots environmental initiatives across the country. She is also a co-founder of a mutual aid organization that serves unhoused people in Portland, Oregon. She holds a B.A. in Urban Studies and Planning from SFSU. 


Josie Phoenix is Special Projects Manager at Roots of Success. Before joining the Roots of Success team, they worked in the foodservice and hospitality industry for over fifteen years. They are actively involved in community activities and advocacy efforts to increase food and housing security, support mutual aid, and provide harm reduction services. Josie holds a B.A. degree in Urban Studies and Planning from San Francisco State University.


Shruti Sreenath is Product Manager and Project Lead for Course Migration at Roots of Success where her work focuses on researching learning management systems, content migration, and improving user experience. She has a wide range of experience in Technology Management and Consulting with multiple industries. Shruti holds an MBA degree from Indian Institute of Management, Indore and a B.E degree from BITS Pilani. She is passionate about learning new technologies and their application in product management.

Roots of Success Interns

Valerie Xiong
Elizaveta Kozlova
Risliana Khan
Kristen Maggard

Board of Directors


Kay O’Neill, Board President Kay joined Roots of Success Advisory Board in 2010 while directing five Green Job Academies in California’s San Mateo county. Inspired by the enduring and transformative power of the Roots of Success teaching method, she continued to support Roots of Success as a Community College Workforce Director and Consultant to non-profit workforce and apprenticeship training programs. Kay became President of the Board of Directors in 2022 and is committed to expanding the reach of our 600+ programs across the country through fundraising and community-based partnerships.

An Bui, Vice President and Secretary An has worked in the nonprofit sector for close to 10 years, and has been involved with Roots since 2017. Currently, he is the Community Needs Assessment Coordinator for the nonprofit Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) in Portland, OR. He is passionate about equity, community empowerment, and data-informed decision making, and is immensely proud to be serving on the board.

Maurice Hampton, Directorbegan working with the Roots of Success Program in 2013, while serving a 4 year prison term in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) at the Pickaway Correctional Institution (PCI). Since 2016 he has been employed by Quality Control Inspection (QCI) as a Civil Engineering Inspector. He earned a Bachelor of Science Engineering Technology (BSET) in Civil Engineering from the Ohio State University (OSU). Maurice is also the President of Hampton Properties Reformed, LLC a Commercial and Residential Construction Company providing living wage employment for previously incarcerated men and women.

Chad Flores, Treasurer Chad is Director of Product Management at Cohesion. 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.

Cyril Walrond, Director Cyril was a Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer in Washington state prisons, where his immense talents, passion, wisdom, and leadership have changed the lives of countless men during his incarceration. After being incarcerated for nearly two decades, with two more on the books, Cyril was resentenced in June 2022 and was able to return home to his family and community. He is a dedicated community organizer, advocate, and ambassador for social change, transformative justice, and community empowerment.

Raquel Pinderhughes, Director Raquel is Executive Director of Roots of Success.


Traci Akers – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center 
Jaime Armour – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center
Jamie Brewster – Employment Programs Director, One Treasure Island
Matthew DelSesto – Inside-Out Program Coordinator and Teaching Fellow in Sociology, Boston College
David Duhaime – Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer, Stafford Creek Correction Center
Karlyn Eklof – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center 

Van Jones – CNN political contributor, The Van Jones Show, The Redemption Project

Amy Kiser – Independent Consultant
Suzanne Hidekawa – Graphic Design Consultant
Shirley McLaughlin – Principal, Adler & Colvin
Grady Mitchell – Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer, Washington Corrections Center; Corrections and Reentry Program Director, Roots of Success
Deborah Moore – Principal, Campaign Catalyst Solutions
Pedro Noguera – Dean of Education, University of Southern California (USC)
Dan Pacholke – Co-director, Segregation Solutions
Curtis Penn – Division Director of Justice Services, Felton Institute
Lisbeth Shepard – Independent Consultant
Basia Skudrzyk – Workforce Equity Director, From Prison Cells To PhD
Yung Hsu Tang – IT Specialist
Kerry Vadasz – Roots of Success Instructor, Ohio Reformatory For Women
Lanelle Warner – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center
Eugene Youngblood – Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer, Monroe Correctional Complex; Facilitator and Community Engagement Specialist, The Freedom Project

Job opportunities

We may be hiring! Look for our postings on Idealist, or send an email to for more information. We also have a Handshake profile for student internships.

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