An Oakland native, Brian Rogers serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Rogers Family Foundation. He previously served as its Executive Director from its founding in 2003 until his promotion to CEO in June 2014. As CEO, Brian focuses on foundation strategy, leading its Quality Schools Initiative, and actively engaging in the Foundation’s external community relations. Throughout his career, he has been deeply committed to all of Oakland's students and has served on various locally focused boards, commissions, and task forces. Currently, Brian serves on the Board of Directors at Lighthouse Community Charter School and is also the Chairman of the Board of Oakland-based charter management organization Education for Change. During his tenure at the Rogers Family Foundation, Brian has helped to create the Oakland Literacy Coalition, the Oakland Educational Dialogue, the Oakland Charter Collaborative and the Oakland Education Funders group.
Reflecting his lifelong passion and commitment to young people, Brian’s early career included managing Lair of the Bear, a family summer camp run by the University of California, Berkeley Alumni Association. He also taught English and served as the Varsity Tennis Coach at his alma mater, Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland. Brian graduated from the University of California, Berkeley Haas Business School in 1995, earning his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He also received his California single subject teaching credential from St. Mary’s College in 2000. Brian currently lives in Orinda with his wife Katie and their three children.
Rhonnel Sotelo, Executive Director
Rhonnel joined the Rogers Family Foundation in April 2013 as its Chief Strategy Officer. In June 2014, he became the Foundation’s Executive Director, taking on responsibility for the executive management of the Foundation’s operations and grantmaking. Rhonnel also holds principal accountability for the Foundation’s strategy and initiative implementation, maintains key community relationships, and collaborates closely with the Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer.
Previously, Rhonnel served as the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Program & Operations for the Stuart Foundation where he oversaw program strategy, grants management, and operations. His 20 years of experience also includes coordinating and managing The San Francisco Foundation’s West Oakland Initiative, and owning and operating Urban Works, an urban planning and design firm focused on neighborhood planning and livable communities in California and the Pacific Northwest. Rhonnel holds a Master of Arts in Urban Planning and a Bachelor of Arts in English, both from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a member of The San Francisco Foundation’s Koshland Committee for Civic Unity and serves on the Board of Directors for the Oakland Public Education Fund. He lives in Oakland with his wife Chris and their two daughters, Quin and Kate.
Cassie Perham, Literacy Program Officer
Cassie joined the Rogers Family Foundation in September of 2010. Cassie manages the Foundation's literacy grants portfolio and coordinates the Oakland Literacy Coalition, which is spearheading the Oakland Reads 2020 initiative to dramatically improve third grade literacy outcomes in the city by the year 2020. Cassie moved to Oakland in 2008 as an AmeriCorps VISTA with a local non-profit, Good Cents for Oakland. Cassie graduated with a BA in International Relations from UC Davis and subsequently completed a certificate program in non-profit management from San Francisco State University. During her undergraduate studies she completed a Spanish immersion program in Morelia, Mexico and interned with the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Cassie lives in Oakland with her husband Andy and their daughter Mollie.
Greg Klein, Senior Director, Innovation and Learning
Greg joined the Rogers Family Foundation in June 2012. He is on the ground, supporting principals, teachers and students at eight Oakland public schools as they make their transitions to blended classrooms. Prior to RFF, Greg helped launch Downtown College Prep's new Alum Rock campus, developing an innovative Learning Lab at the middle school level. While at DCP he managed large groups of students, let the computers do everything that they do well, and focused his attention on teaching. Greg began his career in education reform as a teacher, coach and administrator in the Oakland Unified School District for seven years, including building his own mini-lab in his classroom as a first-year teacher. Greg graduated from Dartmouth College in 2004 with a BA in History. Self-proclaimed tech geek, Greg is dad to two adorable daughters and lives with wife Mariah in Oakland.
Dana Wellhausen, Director of Grants and Evaluation
Dana joined the Rogers Family Foundation in July 2013. As the Director of Grants and Evaluation, she is responsible for grants administration and grantee interactions, coordinates the implementation of the Foundation’s internal evaluation systems, and contributes to its strategic communications. Prior to joining RFF, Dana served as the Project Manager for the Education Equals Partnership, an initiative focused on improving educational outcomes for children and youth in California’s foster care system. Much of her career has been dedicated to supporting philanthropic-funded efforts to transform the California child welfare system, including Family to Family, the California Co-Investment Partnership, and the Breakthrough Series Collaborative on Differential Response. Dana received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art from Mills College. She lives in Oakland with her partner, their daughter Bo, two cats, and four chickens.
Sanam Jorjani, Oakland Reads 2020 Program Manager
Sanam joined Rogers Family Foundation as the Program Manager for the Oakland Reads 2020 Initiative in June 2012. Before coming to the Foundation, Sanam coordinated international projects and partnerships for the Office of International Affairs at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she completed her Masters in International Educational Development. She received her BA in Community Studies and Legal Studies from UC Santa Cruz. Sanam comes to Rogers with several years of experience in Bay Area after school programs. As a native Farsi speaker, she is deeply committed to language and literacy and has worked in language instruction and curriculum development. Sanam serves on the Executive Board of the Community Alliance for Learning, which connects Bay Area students with writer coaches through the WriterCoach Connection program. Sanam grew up in the East Bay and lives in Oakland.
Christina Hawkins Johnson, Literacy Program Associate
Christina joined the Rogers Family Foundation in October 2013. She brings to the organization nearly a decade of experience with nonprofit program administration. In her most recent role she worked for Oakland-based Super Stars Literacy, managing their $1.3 million AmeriCorps grant and specifically focusing on program operations and compliance. Previously, she coordinated a place-based community development and technology deployment initiative, bringing together collaboratives of community stakeholders in nine California locations. In her free time, she volunteered for three semesters as a literacy tutor through Reading Partners in Oakland. She received a bachelor’s degree in geography with high honors from UC Berkeley. As a student she spent time studying and volunteering abroad in South Africa, Russia, Bolivia, and Ecuador; she speaks Spanish and Russian. Christina and her husband live in Alameda.
Cynthia Suter, Senior Executive Assistant
Cynthia joined the Rogers Family Foundation team in March of 2012. Having worked at Aspire Public Schools for nearly a decade, Cynthia comes to the foundation with a wealth of experience in the education sector and nearly 15 years of experience supporting executive teams and running an office. Prior to her time at Aspire, Cynthia worked at several Bay Area companies, including Providian Financial and iGeneration Incorporated. At the foundation, Cynthia is responsible for keeping things running smoothly and ensuring efficient grantmaking operations. Cynthia lives in Oakland with her family.