Board of Directors

Denise Coleman, Secretary

MSW, Director of Huckleberry Youth Program’s Juvenile Justice Programs

Ms. Coleman, born and raised in San Francisco, has led Huckleberry’s Community Assessment & Resource Center since 1999. The center has become one of the foremost juvenile justice programs in San Francisco. It provides youth arrested for less serious violent crimes with a rehabilitative, supportive alternative to incarceration. Under Ms. Coleman’s leadership, CARC has supported over 12,000 at-risk youth and is a national model of excellence for community-based juvenile justice diversion programs.  Ms. Coleman has extensive experience working with diverse populations in both residential, Delancey Street Foundation, and community-based organizations. Ms. Coleman has been engaged with and supervised case management and substance abuse transition for over 25 years. She has a Masters in Social Work from San Francisco State University and is an expert in the juvenile justice community.  She serves as the co-chair of the Juvenile Justice Providers Association of San Francisco, and has served as a Youth Justice Project Associate for The Vera Institute of Justice in New York.  She received the 2010 Local Hero of the Year award from KQED for outstanding work in the community at large.


Rob Simon, Member

Associate Professor, Center for Urban Schooling Department of Curriculum, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

Dr. Simon’s scholarship explores how educators develop understandings, curriculum, and pedagogy from students’ interests, cultural histories, and literacy practices. In 2015, Dr. Simon received the Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation for a project called “Addressing Injustices: Teachers and Adolescents Coauthoring Social Justice-Oriented Literacy Curriculum”. He is the author of books, book chapters, and articles, including Teaching Literature to Adolescents (Routledge, 2016), co-authored with Richard Beach, Deborah Appleman, and Bob Fecho. 


Joanne M. BrownJoanne M. Brown, Member

MSW, JD, Faculty Member Center for Human Services, UC Davis

Ms. Brown combined legal and community organization skills throughout her career. Her legal practice primarily focused on criminal law and civil rights litigation. Joanne was appointed to the bench in Alameda County as a Superior Court Commissioner assigned to Juvenile Court and Criminal Court. During two periods, Joanne worked in state government in New Mexico. She served as Division Director for Adult Institutions in the Corrections Department and later, as General Counsel for the Department for Children Youth and Families (CYFD), responsible for statewide child and family services and juvenile corrections.  Joanne consulted for a decade for the National Resource Center for Legal and Judicial Issues (Center on Children and the Law, American Bar Association) where she worked with state courts and child welfare agencies in over forty states to implement the system of national child welfare outcomes.  During the past 6 years, Joanne has been a member of the faculty at the Center for Human Services, University of California, Davis. The Center, through the Northern Training Academy, provides training for social workers throughout California and management support for county social services leadership. Joanne is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley where she received her BA, MSW and JD.


Tony SalamehTony Salameh, Member

Tony is a Partner at Ernst & Young (EY), providing financial accounting and advisory services to the biotechnology, real estate, construction, engineering, and technology industries. He has been with EY for over 20 years, based in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, and Frankfurt. He has significant experience with rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. He has worked on initial public offerings and other cross-border capital markets transactions, including working with and advising boards of directors regarding readiness of their companies to be public companies. He is a CPA and holds a bachelor’s in Accounting and Business Management from CSU Northridge. Tony is currently based in San Francisco.

Tony was introduced to Life Learning Academy in fall 2017 when he joined EY employees for a service day on campus. He worked in the garden and learned about the new boarding school initiative. He interacted with teachers, staff, and students, and became interested in the school’s impact. Tony brings his financial and planning expertise, along with a commitment to social impact, to Life Learning Academy’s board of directors.


Allan Pickens, Member

LLA Graduate, July 2018 – Present

Mr. Pickens has been associated with the Life Learning Academy for 13 years. After graduating in 2008, Allan went on a transition period. After two years of City College, he went on to manage his own book of business in two different industries over the 5 years. He dived in the worlds of Direct Sales and Insurance Sales. After a life saving weight loss procedure in 2012, Allan went on to become a Lead Sales Specialist for the Bose Corporation. His time there was most successful by winning internal company awards for performance, receiving the highest customer service reviews in his district two fiscal years in a row. He currently works for TechSoup as an Account Management Specialist, working with nonprofit organizations to supply them with technological products and services to strengthen their mission and goals. He looks forward to one day capturing a college degree and having a bigger role in the non-profit sector.