Board of Directors
Promise Innovation Project Coordinator, Contra Costa College
Miguel Alvarez is the Promise Innovation Project Coordinator at Contra Costa College and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from the higher education system and instituting programs that drive the work of college access and attainment for the students in Richmond. Miguel received his BA in Political Science and Chicano/a Studies from UCLA. By serving on the Board of Directors, Miguel hopes to drive a positive impact in Richmond by impacting lives of students facing adversity. As a former leader at KIPP LA Schools, and as the UC Irvine Liaison for the El Monte and Santa Anna Promise, Miguel brings knowledge of starting-up Promise programs and effective non-profit organizations. Miguel is a first-generation Latino who has navigated the same trajectory of many Promise students. This experience instilled a passion and commitment to pursue a career in advancing access and inclusion for under resourced students in higher education. Before Contra Costa College, Miguel was the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at UC Berkeley.
Public Affairs Manager, Chevron Richmond Refinery
Hector Infante is the Public Affairs Manager for the Chevron Richmond Refinery. Hector has worked for Chevron for 26 years in Marketing and in the Policy, Government and Public Affairs department. In 2002, he and his family moved from El Salvador to the U.S. to work in Chevron’s Miami office. The focus of his work was in operations in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2012, he moved to southern California and became the Public Affairs and Government Affairs Manager for Orange County, San Diego County, Arizona and Nevada. He was also the Public Affairs Manager for the marketing operations that Chevron recently started in Mexico.
Superintendent, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Superintendent Matt Duffy is the ninth permanent superintendent in West Contra Costa Unified School District History. He came to the District with great leadership experience in urban schools and districts. Most recently, Matt served as the Assistant Superintendent in Milpitas Unified. There he was in charge of teaching and learning, leadership, enrollment, technology, Special Education and LCAP development. Matt’s recent accomplishments include starting a new Dual Immersion school in Milpitas, significantly expanding professional learning opportunities for all staff and growing the music program each year.
Prior to Milpitas, Matt spent nine years in Oakland Unified serving as a principal and an area superintendent. In Oakland, Matt led Elmhurst Middle School as well as founding and designing his own district school, Elmhurst Community Prep. Matt is most proud of his work at raising the API over 200 points, having the highest African American API in the district and redesigning a school program in order to thoroughly engage parents. As an area superintendent, Matt oversaw a portfolio of 15 schools including middle and high schools throughout the city. Matt originally hails from New York City where he spent 4 years teaching middle school in the South Bronx and 3 years as a Vice Principal in Harlem.
City Manager of Richmond, CA
Carlos Martínez has over 15 years of experience in the public sector working for the cities of
Hayward and East Palo Alto, where he served as City Manager since 2014. Carlos has been City
Manager of the City of Richmond, California since October 2018. He was born in Managua,
Nicaragua, but studied, received his professional license and worked as an Architect in Mexico
City. Carlos also received two Master degrees, one in Architecture and another in Planning, both
from UC Berkeley. Carlos has a broad professional experience. He has been a private
entrepreneur and small business owner, worked in the private sector as a consultant at a multi-
national consulting firm, serving large corporate clients; has worked for several non-profit
organizations providing technical assistance to small businesses, and in the political and
legislative arena at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Executive Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology, Contra Costa Community College District
Mojdeh Mehdizadeh began her tenure as President of Contra Costa College in July of 2016 having formerly served as Interim President since January, 2015. Previous to that, Ms. Mehdizadeh’s served as Executive Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology at the Contra Costa Community College District where her responsibilities included support of the colleges’ educational programs, student services, workforce and economic development, information technology, international education, research and planning, and grants. She has also served as adjunct faculty in Speech Communications and has been very actively engaged in state and national associations.
Ms. Mehdizadeh holds an M.A. in Organizational and Intercultural Communications from Cal State University East Bay and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from San Francisco State University. Mojdeh completed her undergraduate general education requirements at Diablo Valley College and is proud of her roots in the community college system.
Assistant Vice President for Admissions and Student Recruitment, Holy Names University
Ree’shemah Thornton is the Director of Student Outreach Services at San Francisco State University where she oversees the recruitment efforts for the university. Ree’shemah is professionally and personally committed to providing students with authentic access to higher education. She has over 23 years of professional experience in higher education with extensive experience administering programs providing educational and support services to first generation student populations. Her educational background includes an earned Master of Arts in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Human Development, from the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in both Law and Society and Black Studies, from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Ree’shemah has extensive knowledge of the higher education landscape in California while working in all three systems including, the California Community College, the California State University, and the University of California. Ree’shemah’s commitment and dedication to first generation students and families, her ability to nurture innovation and a willingness to “role up her sleeves” to get the job done is what led her to the Richmond Promise.
Allen Uzzell brings a wealth of professional experience and a passion for educational equity to the Richmond Promise. Allen retired as Vice President and General Counsel for Chevron Energy Solutions in 2013. During his career with Chevron, Allen served in a variety of roles including Managing Human Resources Counsel, Chief Patent Counsel, and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for Chevron Corporation, Associate General Counsel for Chevron Chemical Company and General Counsel for Chevron Energy Solutions. Since retiring from Chevron, Allen has dedicated himself to helping various nonprofits support promising students from poor families achieve their potential to graduate from college and have successful careers. He is a volunteer advisor for Gifted Support Center, Inc. and College is Real Inc. Through College is Real, Allen has mentored three Richmond High School students who are now freshmen at 4 -year universities. This experience has provided Allen the opportunity to see first hand some of the challenges faced by students who would be the first in their families to attend college. Through Allen’s 33-year career with Chevron, he has developed close connections to the Richmond community. In addition, his wife Barbara is a proud graduate from high school in Richmond and managed a medical office in San Pablo for many years.