Who We Are
Jeff Duncan-Andrade, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Raza Studies and Education Administration and Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of the Educational Equity Initiative at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Sustainable Cities and Schools at San Francisco State University. In addition to these duties, he continues as a high school teacher in East Oakland where for the past 18 years he has practiced and studied the use of critical pedagogy in urban schools.
He currently teaches English at Mandela High School in East Oakland where he directs the East Oakland Step to College Program. Before joining the faculty at SFSU, Duncan-Andrade taught English and coached in the Oakland public schools for 10 years, and completed his doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Duncan-Andrade has lectured around the world about the elements of effective teaching in schools serving poor and working class children.
He works closely with teachers, school site leaders, and school district officials nationally, and as far abroad as Brazil and New Zealand, to help them develop classroom practices and school cultures that foster self-confidence, esteem, and academic success among all students. His research interests and publications span the areas of urban schooling and curriculum change, urban teacher development and retention, critical pedagogy, and cultural and ethnic studies. He has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters on the conditions of urban education, urban teacher support and development, and effective pedagogy in urban settings that have been published in leading journals such as Harvard Educational Review and Qualitative Studies in Education. He recently completed two books, The Art of Critical Pedagogy: Possibilities for Moving from Theory to Practice in Urban Schools and What a Coach Can Teach a Teacher, with Peter Lang Publishing. These books focus on effective pedagogical strategies for urban schools. He is currently completing his third book on the core competencies of highly effective urban educators with Routledge Press.
Michael Hsieh is a venture capitalist managing investments for Fung Capital USA as its President for over 25 years. He started his career in finance as an investment banking analyst on Wall Street with Merrill Lynch Capital Markets Group. He has served on a number of corporate boards such as Li & Fung (BVI) Ltd., StudioDirect, Kosiuko, Danskin, Cyrk, Albert Kessler, Millwork Trading, BodyFX, Winco, Wilke Rodriguez, Minami International, Wood Associates, Santana, The Lodge at Harvard Square, Prism, ecVision and 500 Friends.
Michael has also served on the boards of various non-profit organizations, including Head Royce School in Oakland, Center for the Pacific Rim at University of San Francisco, Harvard Club of San Francisco, Center for Asian American Media in San Francisco, and Wokai in Beijing, China.
He is a founding partner of Karma Pictures, LLC, a media company focused on developing feature films and documentaries showcasing Asian Americans as leaders and heroes to the American public audience.
Michael has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School.
Tonia Chao Hsieh, Ph.D., has been an advocate for equity and social justice through education and media for nearly 30 years. She is the co-founder of KarMa Pictures, an independent film production company whose mission is to create stereotype-shattering films and to remember lives well-lived. She began working in this area in the early 80′s as a Business Consultant with ASIAN Inc, just as the San Francisco Human Rights Commission made it a priority to assist women and minority-owned businesses secure contracts with various public agencies.
Her experience in education includes her role as Undergraduate Dean in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, as the Facilities Planner and Facilities Manager at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, and her board experience at various independent schools around the SF Bay area. Tonia was the Board Co-Chair for The College Preparatory School in Oakland, where she also served as Chair of the Governance and Trustees’ Diversity committees. She served on the Board of the Partners Program, a summer academic bridge program for Oakland Unified middle schoolers who qualify for free or reduced lunch. A long-time Oakland resident, she was also a board member of the Hillcrest Estates Improvement Association.
Tonia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Architecture and a Ph.D. in Architecture from the University of California – Berkeley, where she earned a Distinguished Teaching Award.
Brian moved to the Bay area last summer and has worked as a development consultant to non-profits. Prior to moving to Oakland, Brian served as Vice President of Advancement, Health Leads – a national, non-profit agency that mobilizes undergraduate volunteers, in partnership with providers in urban clinics, to connect low-income patients with the basic resources — such as food, housing, and heating assistance. His previous position was in Cleveland’s Urban Community School, where he served as Director of Advancement and worked extensively on public-private partnerships within the city. His work at Urban led him to become involved in issues around health, nutrition, and wellness for the families of the near west side of Cleveland. He worked to bring locally grown produce to the school; has been a part of the Mayor’s Sustainability Steering Committee; and served on the board of Neighborhood Family Practice, a local health center, in his efforts to address issues around securing a medical home for the families at his school.
Before venturing to Cleveland, Brian was Vice President of Development and Alumnae Relations at Regis College and Vice President for Resource Development at Babson College in Massachusetts. He spent the early days of his career at the secondary school level, serving as Campaign Director and Director of Major Gifts at Thacher School in Ojai, California and Director of Special Gifts at Northfield Mount Hermon. Brian has a B.A. in English from Columbia University. He is a graduate of Roxbury Latin and Northfield Mount Hermon. His wife Monique DeVane is Head of Scholl at College Prep and their two sons, Liam and Owen attend the Thacher School. He serves on the Boards of Lawrence School and Anjna Patient Education.
Vien Truong is a Senior Associate at Green For All. Green For All is a national organization dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy. Vien leads efforts to create pathways out of poverty and career pathways for youth in the green economy. She has led Green For All in supporting and collaborating with community leaders and policymakers in the development and implementation of green jobs policies and programs in states throughout the country.
Vien was an Associate Attorney for the New Business Practicum at UC Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law. She has worked with a California State Senator, researching and developing state law, and a U.S. Chief Magistrate, researching and analyzing issues before the federal court. Vien was the founding instructor for the Legal Assistance Program for Clarita Career College, a legal training program for entering legal professionals. She also taught Street Law at Castlemont High School, a program that teaches law to high school students. She was the Community Economic Justice Law Fellow at the East Bay Community Law Center, helping to develop innovative, long-term economic development solutions to address the systemic problems confronting low-income communities.
Vien is also a staunch advocate serving her community. She is the Chair of the City of Oakland’s Planning Commission and has served on the boards for community based organizations. Vien is also a Full Circle Fund Community Fellow. She previously served as a Commissioner on the City of Oakland’s Fund for Children and Youth Planning and Oversight Committee.
Vien holds a B.A from the University of California at Berkeley. She also holds a J.D. from the University of California at Hastings College of the Law.
Eric Byler was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his debut feature Charlotte Sometimes (2002), also nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Jacqueline Kim). His films have won 16 international film festival awards, and paved the way for a new generation of Asian American filmmakers.
Eric and his partner Annabel Park founded Coffee Party USA in January of 2010, shortly after the completion of their award-winning documentary 9500 Liberty (2010), about the only two months in American history when an “Arizona style” immigration law was actually implemented. Eric and Annabel have also teamed on hundreds of web videos, reaching millions of Americans. They helped to organize the For The People Summit in January of 2011, marking the first anniversary of the “Citizens United” Supreme Court Decision and the Citizens Intervention rally at the US Capitol in October of 2011.
Eric’s second feature Americanese (2006) won both the Audience Award and the Special Jury Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival. His third feature TRE (2007) won the Special Jury Award at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival before being released theatrically by Cinema Libre Studio in 2008.
Eric was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in Virginia and Hawai’i. He majored in film studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut where his senior thesis film Kenji’s Faith (1994) went on to become a finalist for the Student Academy Awards and screen at the Sundance Film Festival.
Charlotte Sometimes played theatrically in more than thirty cities and saw its television premiere on the Sundance Channel (as did Kenji’s Faith, which is a bonus feature on the TRE DVD). Charlotte accolades include the Audience Award at South by Southwest, and the Special Jury Award at the Florida Film Festival. 9500 Liberty won top prizes at the Phoenix Film Festival, the Charlotte Film Festival, the Saint Louis Film Festival, and the New York Asian American Film Festival. It also played theatrically in dozens of U.S. cities, with its television debut on MTV Networks.
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