The Alpha team is made up of experienced educators and leaders who are dedicated to pioneering new approaches to teaching and learning so that all students have a chance at college success.
John Glover, Founder and CEO, Alpha Public Schools; Founding Principal, Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School
John Glover is an experienced teacher and administrator who founded Alpha Public Schools in 2010, based on a vision for putting middle school students on the path to college success, which he developed in collaboration with local parents and community members. As CEO, John has worked with the board of directors and other supporters to develop and implement the organization’s strategy, including creating and refining a cutting-edge blended learning model that uses technology to empower great teachers and inspire active learning, raising philanthropic funding to support the organization’s early growth, and spearheading negotiations with technology vendors and district officials. John also served as Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School’s founding principal during its inaugural school year, where he created the foundation for a strong student culture and recruited the school’s first teachers.
Prior to founding Alpha, John worked as a financial advisor before entering the field of urban public education. He rose quickly from effective teacher to leader and administrator, including school principal, executive director, and chief operating officer at a network of high-performing charter schools in Oakland, California. As a teacher, John ensured that all of his students were accepted to four-year colleges and universities; later, as COO, he supported the schools’ operational needs, including staffing and student recruitment. John received his bachelor’s degree from Boston College and his teaching credential from the Hufstedler School of Education at Alliant International University.
Emmanuel Barrera, Director of Academics, Alpha Public Schools
Emmanuel Barrera (Manny) is the Director of Academics at Alpha Public Schools, where he leads Alpha’s development, improvement, and evaluation of assessment, curriculum, instruction, and student data management to ensure Alpha continues to achieve high academic success while remaining innovators in the field of blended learning.
Manny began his career in Texas as an inclusion teacher with a KIPP charter school, and moved on to teach Science and Integrated Physics/Chemistry. He also served as the science department chair, science instructional coach, and team leader. During this time he created a vertically aligned K-12 curriculum, which led to his work with Deerfield Academy/KIPP STEP program as a STEM instructor. After working with KIPP for nearly seven years he decided to pursue his M.Ed. in School Leadership—Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While at HGSE, he partnered with a colleague to co-found STARR Austin, a STEAM based summer camp in Austin, TX. Manny also holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology/Chemistry with a minor in Art from St. Mary’s University.
Greg Callaham, Director of Socio-Emotional Learning
Greg Callaham has worked in many different capacities throughout his education career. He was a Middle School Math Teacher and high school mentor in Portland, Oregon; Director of an Ed-Tech Game Design team in Shanghai, China; and a School Leadership Resident at High Tech Middle School in San Diego, CA, prior to filling his current role as an Assistant Principal with Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School.
Throughout his time as an educator, Greg has worked with struggling students – both behaviorally and academically – and given them the skills for success to not only catch up to their peers, but to outperform them. At each point in his educational career, Greg designed innovative Math, Science, Arts, and Social-Emotional skills curriculum, and trained educators and youth workers to implement them. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Greg is very happy to be back for the long term (which makes his mom very happy, as well) and to be part of building and growing a new, better school model here at Alpha.
Hope Evans, Director of Instruction and Leadership Development
Prior to becoming the Director of Instruction and Leadership Development, Hope served as the founding the Principal at Alpha: José Hernández Middle School. She joined Alpha as a Graduate Fellow with Education Pioneers and worked to create a curriculum planning and assessment cycle with Alpha teachers last summer. Hope later served as the Assistant Principal at Alpha: Blanca Alvarado where she managed curriculum planning, instruction, and assessment.
Hope began her career in education as a reporter for Catalyst Chicago and also was a teaching intern at Breakthrough Collaborative. She went on to join Teach for America and served as a middle school ELA instructor on Chicago’s South Side. There, she served as a founding 8th grade teacher and earned a M.A. in Teaching. After teaching in Chicago for several years, Hope went on to attend Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, earning a M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management. While at Harvard, Hope specialized in curriculum and assessment development, in addition to serving as an Instructional Coach at Breakthrough Collaborative. Hope also holds a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University.
Adriana Garcia, Senior Director of Talent, Alpha Public Schools
Adriana Garcia is the Director of Recruitment and Talent at Alpha Public Schools. She leads the charge in bringing on exceptional teachers and administrators. Additionally, Adriana designs and oversees Alpha’s talent initiatives and HR functions.
Adriana started her career in New Orleans, LA as a Teach For America corps member where she taught second grade. Adriana was awarded Teacher of Year during her second year. After leaving the classroom, she recruited future Teach For America corps members at a number of colleges in Southern California. Then, Adriana worked at BUILD for seven years, holding various positions including program creation and management and launching BUILD’s second Oakland site. Most recently, Adriana has worked as a freelance event producer for conferences and weddings in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a B.A. in business administration from Loyola Marymount University.
Shara Hegde, Chief Schools Officer, Alpha Public Schools
Ms. Hegde serves as Chief Schools Officer for Alpha Public Schools, a K-12 network of charter schools in San Jose, CA, focused on preparing students for college and career. In this role, she supports school leaders across four school sites and partners with the CEO to provide leadership, vision, and strategic direction for the organization.
Prior to joining the Alpha team, Ms. Hegde served as the Founder and Executive Director of Cornerstone Academy, a K-6 elementary charter school. Since its opening in 2010, Cornerstone Academy has been amongst the highest performing schools in the city of San Jose and was named a California Distinguished School in 2014. Cornerstone has since merged operations with Alpha Public Schools and serves the organization’s youngest learners. Ms. Hegde also serves on the California Charter Schools’ Association Member Council for Region 5, chairs the Sonoma County Charter SELPA CEO Council, and is an advisory board member for several non-profit education startups. She was named a 2015-16 Leverage Leadership Institute Fellow with the Relay Graduate School of Education. Prior to founding Cornerstone, she taught elementary school in Miami, Florida for several years through the Teach for America program. Ms. Hegde received her Bachelor’s Degree in History from Brown University in Providence, RI and has her Masters Degree in Education Policy, Organizations, and Leadership Studies from Stanford University. She also has an additional Master’s Degree in Instructional Leadership from the Reach Institute for School Leadership in Oakland, CA.
Damone Jordan, Director of Finance, Alpha Public Schools
Damone Jordan currently serves as the Director of Finance for Alpha Public Schools in San Jose, California. As Director of Finance he is responsible for overseeing the annual budgeting process, preparing financial statements and reporting financial information to key stakeholders including funders, lenders and members of the Board of Directors.
Before joining Alpha, Damone spent three years working in public schools in New Jersey and Maryland in various roles including: Paraprofessional in a Special Education fifth grade classroom, Long Term Substitute Teacher for sixth grade math and social studies, In-School Suspension Coordinator at a middle school, and fifth grade Classroom Teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools. Damone also spent time working in the private sector as a Consultant managing projects for an economics consulting firm, as a Senior Analyst calculating bond payments on mortgaged-backed securities at Wells Fargo and as a Finance Analyst providing accounting and finance support for the Marketing and Facilities departments for Johnson & Johnson. Damone holds a B.S. in Accounting from Rutgers University. He also has a M.A. in Economics from Duke University where he studied Public Policy and the Economics of Education.
Russ Michaud, Director of Special Education, Alpha Public Schools
Russ is the Director of Special Education at Alpha Public Schools. He works closely with Alpha staff and the Seneca Family of Agencies to ensure excellent instruction for Alpha’s students with special needs. Additionally, he will be leading the development of Alpha’s own internal special education program.
Originally hailing from Boston, MA, Russ graduated from Ithaca College with a B.A. in psychology. After graduating, he joined Teach For America and moved across the country to work with students on the east side of San Jose. He spent 5 years in the classroom teaching elementary-aged students with emotional disturbance, where he supported them in making significant progress on their academic, behavioral, and social/emotional goals. During this time, Russ coached new teachers at Teach For America’s summer institute, and helped in the development of first and second year special education teachers in the Bay Area. He recently earned a M.A. in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University, where he focused on the effective implementation of special education programs in the charter school setting.
Valerie Douglass, Principal, Alpha: Cornerstone Academy Preparatory School
Valerie Douglass was born and raised in Alabama, making her a southerner at heart. After moving to California, Ms. Douglass earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and her Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University Fullerton. She now has over 9 years of experience in education and has taught kindergarten, 4th, 3rd and 1st grade in the Capistrano Unified School District, tutoring scholars K-6 at Apple Tree Learning Center, and kindergarten, 1st/2nd grade combo, and 2nd at Cornerstone Academy Preparatory School.
In 2011, Ms. Douglass was awarded Educator of the Year at Cornerstone Academy and was a Fishman Prize Honoree in 2013. In the last three years she was Cornerstone’s Academic Dean, Dean of School Culture and now Principal. In 2014, she received her Administrative Credential and in 2015 her Master’s in Education and Instructional Leadership.
Will Eden, Founding Principal, Alpha: Cindy Avitia High School
Will began his career in education as an ELL tutor, while completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia. Joining Teach for America in Washington, DC, Will taught 10th grade English teacher at the Cesar Chavez Charter School for Public Policy. In addition to teaching at Chavez, Will also administered and converted Chavez’s English intervention program into a blended learning program. While in Washington, DC, Will also worked with the Anne Arundel Medical Center to design a financially efficient primary care clinic to reduce the cost of care for primarily low-income and Spanish-speaking patients in his hometown of Annapolis, Maryland. Excited to join a founding team, Will moved to Denver to serve as an AP English teacher on KIPP Denver Collegiate’s founding 11th grade team. Will then joined Education Elements as a Design and Implementation Consultant to pursue his passion for education technology by helping schools develop and implement technology-integrated school models.
Samantha Hanlon, Principal, Alpha: José Hernández Middle School
Ms. Hanlon serves as the Principal of José Hernández Middle School, which is part of the Alpha Public Schools network.
Before joining the Alpha network, Ms. Hanlon was the Founding Principal of Hollister Prep School, an elementary school that consistently scores among the highest performing in our area. Prior to becoming a school leader, Ms. Hanlon spent eight years teaching in schools with a large population of English Language Learners. During this time, Ms. Hanlon taught various grades from K-6. While teaching Ms. Hanlon also had the opportunity to work as an academic coach for several years, which allowed her to help teachers to improve their practice.
Cynthia Nava Zavala, Principal, Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School
Cynthia Nava Zavala currently serves as the Principal of Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School. In this role, Ms. Nava is responsible for setting the vision and strategy for data-driven instruction and student and staff culture at Alpha: Blanca.
Ms. Nava began her career in education as a recruitment coordinator for the Raza Recruitment and Retention Center, while completing her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating, Ms. Nava joined Teach for America in Newark, NJ, where she taught self-contained fifth and sixth grade bilingual students. After teaching in Newark, Ms. Nava went on to attend Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, earning a M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management. While at Harvard, Ms. Nava served as an instructional coach for Match Education and the Harvard University Undergraduate Teacher Education Program. Ms. Nava also served as a Campus Director for Citizen Schools in the eastside community of San Jose, where she launched the first school partnership with Alum Rock Union School District.