Our 826 family is growing: meet our new staff!

You’ve probably heard by now that we’re launching a third center next year, (Mission Bay, here we go!) and with the expansion came a need for more support to serve our students and staff better—making sure they have everything they need to succeed, whether they’re writing a poem or a grant. So without further ado, join us in welcoming these new folks to our family, including an Associate Director, a Mission Bay Programs Manager, and seven AmeriCorps members!

Karla Brundage, Mission Bay Programs Manager, was born in Berkeley and spent her childhood in the small beach town of Ka’a’awa, Hawaii before returning to Oakland where she now resides. Her passion for social justice brought her to the Bay Area where she received her MA in Education from San Francisco State University specializing in Multicultural Curriculum Development and Implementation. For the past 20 years, she has taught humanities, English, and ESL courses in Hawaii, California, Zimbabwe, and Cote d’Ivoire. Through community building within the classroom, she hopes to nurture a positive learning environment full of trust and mutual respect. Outside of school, Karla is a poet-activist, often performing in the Bay Area.


Dr. Lizette Ortega Dolan, Associate Director, is a first-generation Latin@ who earned her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley with majors in history and dance and minors in education and drama. She also graduated with Honors for her thesis “Living and Dying for the Red and Blue: The History and Evolution of Latino Youth Gangs.” Lizette also holds a Master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education and was later bestowed with the Saint Mary’s College of California Kalmanovitz School of Education Award, with a dissertation that focused on the experiences of self-identified Latin@ students in Bay Area schools. She has over 20 years of experience in education and is excited to bring her expertise in pedagogy, leadership, and equity to the new Associate Director role of 826 Valencia.


AmeriCorps Staff 2018-2019


Paolo Bicchieri, Volunteer Engagement Associate, AmeriCorps VISTA, is a Washingtonian who loves to write and serve. He graduated with a BA in journalism and public relations from Western Washington University before heading South. He writes books, articles, and scripts, and is always scribbling down new ideas. He loves nothing more than his family and friends and spends an enormous amount of time having dinners and sitting by the fire with his people.


Alexandra Cotrim, In-schools Programs Associate, BAYAC AmeriCorps, is an SF native who first met 826 as a student at June Jordan School for Equity, where she participated in the Young Authors’ Book Project. She later became a summer intern and a Pirate Store staff member. She holds a BA in English from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and an MA in International and Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco. She has been volunteering with kids on and off since early high school and has learned to be super adaptable and flexible in her work style. On her free time, she spends a lot of time with family but also reading, writing, and watching a lot of cooking shows or short comedies.


Luis Espinosa, Field Trips and After-School Tutoring Associate, BAYAC AmeriCorps, was born and raised in Lima, Peru. He came to the U.S. to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Maryland and has since worked in organizations promoting financial inclusion like The World Bank, Accion International, and Oportun. A sailing enthusiast, weekend hiker, and lover of literature, Luis is a former volunteer tutor at 826DC and is now helping 826 Valencia’s After-School Tutoring Program continue to have a transformative impact in the community.


Lucie Pereira, Field Trips and After-School Tutoring Associate, BAYAC AmeriCorps, is a former 826 student and intern who went to graduate from Emerson College with a degree in writing, literature, and publishing with a minor in global and postcolonial studies. In the past, she has taught at the San Francisco Zoo, organized student activism, and published a magazine written by and for young women of color. She loves reading, dessert, and attending events and lectures throughout the city.


Stina Perkins, Tenderloin Programs Associate, BAYAC AmeriCorps, first called herself a writer within the magical walls of 826michigan. She has since followed stories wherever they live, working as a Publications Intern at the National Endowment of the Humanities, a writing/theatre workshop facilitator through the Prison Creative Arts Project, and a Dinosaur Impressionist (read: docent) at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Natural History. After studying women’s studies, American Culture, and writing at the University of Michigan, Stina has voyaged cross-country for a fated return to an organization she adores. Speaking of adoration, Stina also loves humming while hiking, reading on riverbanks, and making elaborately hand-collaged zines.


Alex Phipps, Development Associate, AmeriCorps VISTA, hails from the sunny shores of Miami, Florida, where she developed a love for storytelling from her Caribbean family. She received a BA in anthropology, global studies, and geography with a minor in opera singing from Hofstra University in New York. She has always dreamed of the golden state, so when the opportunity arose, she moved to the Bay Area and began working at 826!


Shelby Urbina, Buena Vista Horace Mann Programs Associate, BAYAC AmeriCorps, was born and raised in San Francisco. She graduated from San Francisco State University in 2017 with a BA in creative writing and a minor in recreation, parks, and tourism. Shelby is a certified Archery instructor and has been utilizing that skill while working as a camp counselor at SF Recreation and Parks for the past nine years. Her dream is to become a published author and change the world with her stories. Shelby loves cooking delicious vegan food, traveling to new places, and creating art. She has always heard wonderful stories about 826 Valencia and felt it was the perfect fit to combine her passion for reading and writing with her love of working with children.