Leilani Alo, Advisory Board President
Leilani is a Senior Philanthropic Advisor for the Marin Community Foundation. Leilani was formerly the Senior Program Officer with the San Francisco-based Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest prize program for grassroots environmental leaders. She also previously worked at the San Francisco Foundation where she was fellow in the foundation’s Multicultural Fellowship Program. At the foundation Lani focused on grant making in support of Bay Area youth, and environmental education and justice programs. She studied international relations in graduate school. Lani has served on the Advisory Board of KIDS for the BAY for 10 years and is currently the President of the Board.
“Like most adults, whenever I think of the most carefree times of my childhood, I recall being outdoors. Simply climbing a tree or playing with friends on the beach. There is something fundamental that links childhood and the outdoors. It wasn’t until I moved to a big city that I realized what a privilege it was to be able to grow up among clean air and trees. Without the opportunity to be around nature, a childhood is robbed of something wondrous and necessary. KIDS for the BAY is not only providing such outdoor experiences for thousands of children who otherwise would not have them, but by doing so is stating emphatically that it is every child’s right to such experiences. That hands-on learning that KIDS for the BAY gives students, in their own communities, is matched by a strong science education in the classroom. By giving children these opportunities together, KIDS for the BAY is doing nothing short of sparking a revolution—creating the true environmental stewards of tomorrow who will make a huge difference.”
Kimberly Aguilar is a second grade Spanish bilingual teacher at New Highland Academy in East Oakland. Kimberly previously worked at KIDS for the BAY as a Program Coordinator and Program Manager for three years. She graduated from University of California at Santa Cruz with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology and was excited to join KIDS for the BAY soon after. Kimberly fell in love with teaching at KIDS for the BAY, which is why she pursued a teaching credential. She is now happy to be a part of the KIDS for the BAY team again as an Advisory Board Member.
“KIDS for the BAY has been a life changer for me as I’m sure it has been for many inspired school students. Learning science in a meaningful way that connects students back to their local environment creates a community of environmental advocates for a safer and healthier place to live. Like the students, I too learned a lot during my time with KIDS for the BAY and enjoyed sharing my learning experience with the teachers and students I worked with. The experiences offered by KIDS for the BAY are so valuable, not only for the children, but for the adults involved in the programs as well. It takes a community to make change and I’m glad to be part of an organization that plays a pivotal role in a better tomorrow for all.”
Kate began teaching in Oakland in 1998 and retired in 2018, having taught 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade self-contained classrooms as well as kindergarten through fifth grade science. Kate loved to engage her students in the environmental programs offered by KIDS for the BAY and other local organizations, because through those hands-on experiences students found a powerful connection with the natural world in their neighborhood and in the Bay Area. She is now an environmental educator and a consultant for the FOSS science curriculum. Kate also works with Oakland Unified School District’s Science Core Leadership Team and Environmental and Climate Change Literacy Working Group to make connections between kindergarten through twelfth grade Next Generation Science Standards and the California Environmental Principles and Concepts.
“I grew up near the Atlantic Ocean, in New Jersey. A creek ran along the edge of my backyard, and beyond that were woods and farms. I loved sitting by the creek, walking through the woods, and listening to the waves on the beach. Now I love sharing my enthusiasm for the wild world with students and their teachers. Natural phenomena are present everywhere, even in the heart of a city, and children of any age can connect in wonderful ways with the ecosystems that give us healthy, joyful lives. KIDS for the BAY empowers students to take environmental action in their communities, and I’m happy to contribute to that work as an Advisory Board Member.”
Tiffany Grandstaff is the Director of Communications for the UC Berkeley Library. She leads a team of designers, writers and editors who unearth interesting and untold stories and dream up fun and creative ways to share the Library’s mission with the world. Prior to coming to Berkeley, Tiffany was the managing editor for presentation at The (San Jose) Mercury News, where she worked in a variety of roles for a decade. Tiffany holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
“Growing up, my sister and I spent countless hours playing with frogs at a local pond by our elementary school. As a parent, it’s hard to imagine how today’s kids will have the opportunity to play so freely. It’s exciting that KIDS for the BAY creates unique experiences that connect kids with their environment and give them the freedom to learn, create and grow. These experiences are also tailored to respond to today’s teaching and learning needs.”
Shefali Shah is an educator of multicultural and environmental justice education with over 12 years experience. Shefali holds a Spanish Bilingual Teaching Credential and a Masters Degree in Education with a focus on Critical Environmental and Global Literacy. Her research, practice, educational curriculum and teacher training focus on environmental justice and best practices for equitable educational opportunities for multicultural youth. For five years, Shefali worked as an Instructor in the Teacher Credential and Masters Degree Programs at New College of California and for nine years she served as Program Director and later Education Director for KIDS for the BAY. Shefali’s work promotes environmental justice through action and cultural awareness and connections through musical and dance traditions. Her consulting work includes curriculum support and environmental justice education trainings.
“KIDS for the BAY provides a critically unique opportunity for youth from all walks of life to access the world around them. KIDS for the BAY programs increase children’s self-confidence by allowing them to explore their local world as true scientists. I am honored to volunteer for an organization that prioritizes environmental justice education and education through action.”
Sheela Shankar is the Development Director for the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment. She is also a non-profit fundraising and events consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sheela was a staff member at KIDS for the BAY for fourteen years, including working closely with Executive Director Mandi Billinge as Associate Director for seven years. She has a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Environmental Education and Curriculum Development, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies. Sheela has twenty years of experience in the environmental education field within the San Francisco Bay Area. She also brings expertise and experience in non-profit management, fundraising, event planning, and communications. Sheela is grateful to continue contributing to KIDS for the BAY as an Advisory Board Member.
“I started working at KIDS for the BAY in 2001, as a Program Coordinator and Educator. There is a reason why I stayed on as a staff member for fourteen years! From my perspective, with twenty years of experience working in the environmental education field in the Bay Area, I can enthusiastically say that KIDS for the BAY is a well-managed, high-impact organization with great leadership and an excellent staff. Our focus on multi-cultural environmental education, commitment to diversity from the students we work with up through our board members, and the inclusion of environmental justice in our curriculum sets us apart in the field. KIDS for the BAY has always strived to promote the development and leadership of its staff, which I deeply appreciate. I have truly enjoyed working with Executive Director Mandi Billinge, Advisory Board President Leilani Alo, and all of the staff and board members over the years, and I am honored to continue with KIDS for the BAY as a Board Member.”