The Magical Bureaucrats


Janet Heller

Janet Heller

Founder | CEO | Director of Education

Janet Heller is an Oakland poet, teaching artist and community arts leader.

She founded the San Francisco WritersCorps and during her tenure built an award-winning, highly respected literary arts program. She has published poetry (Back to Front: Red Window Press) and essays, but is currently working on a novel about an Oakland family with roots in Cuba.

She graduated from Tulane University (BA in English) and Florida State University (MFA in Creative Writing). She has been teaching creative writing for 20 years, most recently at North Oakland Community Charter School.

Contact her at

Tavia Stewart

Tavia Stewart

Co-Founder | COO | Director of Programs & Volunteer Engagement

Tavia Stewart has nearly 15 years of experience running literary and community nonprofits. Most recently, she left her post at National Novel Writing Month where she spent nine years building the organization, the final three as Deputy Director/COO.

Previously Tavia interned, volunteered, and worked for 826 Valencia, McSweeney's Publishing, ZYZZYVA, and Watchword Press. She has also helped with development for Oakland First Fridays and the Oakland Book Festival, is founder and Executive Director of Invisible City Audio Tours, and a co-author of Ready, Set, Novel (Chronicle Books).

Oh, and she is also the lucky mom of one highly energetic (and dramatic) five-year-old humanoid.

You can reach her at


Jessica Blair

Development Director

Jessica Blair has been a nonprofit fundraiser since she volunteered to write grants for 826 Valencia in 2003. Ten years later, she led the fundraising team at 826 Valencia and laid the groundwork for the organization's successful Tenderloin expansion. After years of serving nonprofits on staff, she launched Jessica Blair Consulting to further the missions of organizations large and small through coaching and consulting. Jessica is pleased to join Chapter 510 as Interim Director of Development through the end of 2018. When she's not helping organizations change the world, Jessica can be found enjoying her Oakland backyard with her husband and chocolate Labrador, Cali.

You can reach her at


Jahan Khalighi

Programs & Volunteer Manager

Jahan Khalighi has been working with youth in the Bay Area as a teaching artist, enrichment coordinator, youth mentor and community event organizer since 2006. He grew up in the Bay Area raised in a family of artists and teachers. He is an alumni of June Jordan's Poetry For The People program at UC Berkeley under the mentorship of Aya De Leon, and a former member of the Eugene Poetry Slam Team. He graduated from University of Oregon with a major in English Literature.

As a community arts facilitator he has led the Planetary Dance, a community based performance ritual for peace at the annual Venice Biennale arts festival in Italy, and with youth at ASPIRE middle school in Richmond, Ca. As a teaching artist for California Poets in the Schools he has facilitated creative writing workshops at public schools and juvenile halls across the greater Bay Area. His poetry has been featured at TEDxSonomaCounty and Whoa Nelly press online journal. 

You can reach him at


Rae’chel Stanley

Program Associate

Rae'Chel Stanley is a Bay Area native with a strong sense of pride about it! She is studying Child and Adolescent Development with a minor in Africana Studies at San Francisco State. Rae'Chel identifies herself as being a queer, Black, healer queen determined to create world change one poem at a time. Lover of all things related to radical self love, she has aspirations of one day creating her own non-profit in Oakland where such self love will be in abundance. As a poet, Rae'Chel prides herself on her ability to help others heal through the words she speaks. If she isn't putting pen to paper in her poetry book, Rae'Chel can be found dancing around her room, basking in self love!

This is a paid internship funded by the Youth Leadership Institute. 

You can reach her at rae’

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Margie Chardiet

Program Operations & Publishing Manager

Margie Chardiet is a poet with a background in social work and a particular interest in the health and creative advancement of youth. In addition to serving a year with AmeriCorps as a family advocate for parenting teens, she has waitressed in various ancient restaurants and worked as a case manager for homeless families. Her poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in the New Haven ReviewThe Briar Cliff Review, and Meridian.  

You can reach her at


Nicole Sayre

 Design & Bookmaking Associate

Nikkie is a Nor Cal farm girl turned sort-of-city-slicker. She still can’t remember that parking in cities take more than 2 minutes, or that street sweeping exists, but absolutely loves the vibrant activity of Oakland and the rest of the East Bay. Previously she has studied Fine Arts at CSUCI and Accademia Di Belli Arti in FLorence Italy, and currently has two paintings in a permanent collection in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Florina Greece. She earned her BA in Studio Arts in 2017 from CSUCI, where she accidentally minored in archeology due to a hobby of taking too many classes not related to her major. Nikkie is continuing her learning and ‘arting’ as the Chapter 510 Design Intern. On the side she teaches pottery lessons, and spends a lot of time staring lovingly at a friends Heidelberg Cylinder Press.

You can reach her at


Shira Rothman

Communications and Event Planning Associate

Shira is a Bay Area native and has recently returned back to the Bay Area after living in Oregon for the last five years. In Oregon she got her BA in History from Willamette University. Since graduating college she has been living and working in Portland Oregon and exploring what her next steps will be. She has spent years working with youth in different Bay Area nonprofits such as the MOSAIC project & Urban Adamah camp. She also volunteered at a non profit preschool in Israel during her gap year before college.In her free time she enjoys reading, cooking, and exploring all of the beautiful outdoors that Northern California has to offer!

You can reach her at shira_rothman@chapter510.ORG

Board of Directors


Alicia Crawford

Board Chair, BRIDGE Housing

Alicia Crawford joined BRIDGE as the Director of Programs in 2014 and oversees a portfolio of 100 properties’ programs and services for family and senior residents of affordable housing developments.

Alicia previously held positions at Leap Frog Inc. as a game designer, as a civic engagement strategist at VolunteerMatch and co-designed and launched Idea Lab, a youth program of the Humanities Council.

She holds an MFA in creative writing and is currently and slowly pursuing an Ed.D in education. She has an unhealthy fondness for stray dogs, accordion music and attempts to spend as many hours as possible at her place of faith, the Pacific Ocean.


Mariah Rankine-Landers

Member, Integrated Learning Specialist Program

Mariah Landers is a committed educator, artist, and integrated learning practitioner with 20 years of teaching experience that includes Special Education, Outdoor Education, Kindergarten, First Grade and Adult Education. She holds a BA in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz and an Ed.M in Equity and Social Justice in Education from SFSU.

She currently serves as the Director of the Integrated Learning Specialist Program in Northern California where she supports educators to understand and apply integrated, arts based learning, authentic assessment practices and curriculum design to achieve higher academic outcomes for student success.

In addition, she is an educational consultant with clients in Bay Area that include the Oakland Museum of California, Hack the Hood, Alphabet Rockers, Chapter 510, and Not Much But Good. Mariah has been featured on PBS’s “The Electric Company” for a teacher instructional series.

She is the recipient of an award from Teacher for Social Justice for her work to foster equity in the classroom and is 2016-2017 fellow at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to investigate the question "What does Equity look like?" 



Melissa Clarke

Payne & Fears LLP

Melissa (Powar) Clarke advises global clients large and small on employment law and benefits best practices. In addition to helping clients comply with municipal, state and federal regulations, Melissa focuses upon managing compensation and equity issues, litigation avoidance, day-to-day employee relations issues and severance and separation matters. She has developed and delivered hundreds of training modules to clients all over the world, including courses in benefits administration, anti-harassment, documenting employee issues, wage and hour compliance, and management basics.

Melissa also has extensive experience preparing companies for financing rounds, mergers and acquisitions, and initial public offerings. Before joining Payne & Fears, Melissa helped spearhead Seyfarth Shaw's emerging companies group in the firm's Boston office. She was General Counsel for, and began her legal career at Silicon Valley's Gunderson, Dettmer.

A former middle school Humanities instructor, Melissa devotes much of her time to community activities, including past board service as the President of the Amherst Alumni Association of Northern California and Chair of Mid-Peninsula High School, and volunteer service with Reading Partners, 826 Valencia, the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary, and the American Repertory Theater. Melissa also represents a variety of nonprofits in pro bono matters.



Joe Wetzel

Partner, King & Spalding LLP

Joe Wetzel is a partner in the Trial Practice and Global Disputes group of international law firm King & Spalding LLP. His practice focuses on litigating cutting-edge copyright and content-licensing issues for clients ranging from emerging companies to some of the biggest household names in media and technology.

Joe is a regular speaker on copyright and licensing issues in the U.S. and abroad. He has taught Music Law at the University of California Berkeley School of Law and has guest lectured at UC Hastings College of the Law and Santa Clara University School of Law. 

Joe earned his A.B. in Political Science from Brown University in 2000 and his J.D. from the Fordham University School of Law in 2004, where he was the Senior Articles Editor for the Fordham Law Review. He lives in Oakland with his wife, two daughters, and the family dog.

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Adrienne Timmons

Teacher & Diversity Coordinator, Bentley School

Adrienne Timmons is a K-3 music teacher at Bentley School in Oakland, CA. As Bentley School’s Diversity Coordinator for 13 years and while working in the Oakland Unified School District and at Temple Isaiah as a Hebrew School teacher, Adrienne’s passions for education, inclusion, and the arts have been integral to her career. She has designed and facilitated diversity workshops for numerous private schools around the East Bay and co-created Camp Techopoly, a youth technology camp in Piedmont, CA.

Adrienne holds a Bachelors of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and she lives in Oakland with her husband and four children.

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Zach Cohen


Zach Cohen has been a leader in Bay Area community corporate responsibility through his work with the Oakland Athletics Community Fund and Golden State Warriors Community Foundation.For nearly a decade, Zach has served as a liaison between community stakeholders and leaders for programs that service underserved children & youth.

Starting as a Warriors ball boy, Zach developed and implemented the largest grant making program in the NBA and a best-in-class model in professional sports. His board service includes Oakland Parks and Recreation, Playworks, and Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY). He is a graduate of Berkeley High School where his good buddy Chinaka Hodge regularly bested him in creative writing workshops.


Teaching Artists


Tiffany Golden

Tiffany Golden was trained in Motion Picture Production at the Academy of Art University where she found a love for writing. She is the author of the Midnight Story Series, a children’s fantasy series and currently a Creative Writing MFA candidate at Spalding University in Louisville, KY. In addition to her own work, Tiffany has passionately worked with school-aged youth for over 15 years in an effort to support them in sharing their voices.


Thaddeus Howze

Thaddeus Howze is an author, essayist and storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. Since they insist on constant entertainment and can’t subscribe to cable, Thaddeus writes a variety of forms of speculative fiction to appease them. He is the co-founder and editor of the science fiction and fantasy publication, Futura Magazine. Thaddeus is also a founding member of the Afrosurreal Writers Workshop in Oakland, California. He writes for the Good Men Project and Krypton Radio as a staff writer and editor.

Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies: The Future is Short (2015), Awesome Allshorts: Last Days and Lost Ways (Australia, 2014), The Future is Short (2014), Visions of Leaving Earth (2014), Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond (2014), Genesis Science Fiction (2013), Scraps (UK, 2012), and Possibilities (2012). He has written two books: a collection called Hayward’s Reach (2011) and an e-book novella called Broken Glass (2013) featuring Clifford Engram, Paranormal Investigator. His writing has won the Top Writer Award on for three years, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

He's working on a number of new books: "Writing Craft: Mastering the Urge to Write", a nonfiction source book on writing, resources and enhancing creativity. He is also working on "Visiting Hours," a collection of death-themed short stories and "The World According to Superheroes," a collection of non-fiction essays about comics, superheroes and the superheroic genre of narrative storytelling. Thaddeus lives in Hayward, California. You can read more about his writing at

Anna Kingsley

Anna Kingsley

Anna Kingsley is an Oakland resident, presently waiting on her porch for her kids with the neighbor's cat who appears to be sticking out her tongue at her.

She is also a teaching artist, bookmaker, and printer of the printing press variety as part of her beautiful business Pickypockets Press.


Leah Yael Levy

Leah Yael Levy is a visual artist storyteller and teacher based in Berkeley, CA.

Born and raised in Moshav Beit Lechem Haglilit, Israel. She first moved to New York City in 2002 to attend the Art Students League of New York, and later gained a BFA of Illustration from Parsons the New School for Design (2011). 
She recently received an MFA in Comics from California College of the Arts (2017). 

Perla Yasmeen Meléndez

Perla Yasmeen Meléndez

Perla Yasmeen Meléndez is a writer, artist, teacher, and chef. She holds a BA and MFA in Book Art & Creative Writing from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Mills College, as well as a Culinary Arts Degree from Costa Rica's Escuela Gourmet ARCAM. Meléndez has extensive experience teaching art, cooking, and creative writing to youth and adults.

She has worked as a teaching artist at Alameda County's Integrated Learning Summer Institute, Edna Brewer Middle School, and ACORN Elementary School. She currently teaches at Head Royce's ASP Program as well as in their Heads Up Program.

She is the founder of Oakland's Two Mamacitas Pop-Up Kitchen, a small scale catering business serving Latin American Cuisine.


Sarah O'Neal

Sarah O'Neal is a queer Black Moroccan American poet and facilitator from the Bay. She is a 2019 Pink Door Fellow and an alum of the 2015 VONA/Voices writers of color workshop. She is a two time member of the Brave New Voices team representing the Bay Area. Sarah’s work has been featured on AJ+, Upworthy, and Everyday Feminism. She has performed at the Empowering Women of Color Conference, The Kennedy Center, and UC Davis. Sarah is a graduate of Mills College where she studied English Literature and Ethnic Studies.


Gabriel Cortez

Gabriel Cortez is a biracial poet, educator, and organizer of Panamanian descent. His work has appeared in The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Huffington Post and is forthcoming in The Breakbeat Poets Anthology Volume 4 (2020). He is a VONA fellow, NALAC grant recipient, and winner of the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize.

Gabriel is a member of the artist collective, Ghostlines, and co-founder of The Root Slam, an award-winning poetry venue dedicated to inclusivity, justice, and artistic growth, as well as Write Home, a project working to challenge public perceptions of houselessness and shift critical resources to houseless Bay Area youth through spoken word poetry.

Gabriel currently works as Lead Poet Mentor at Youth Speaks, one of the world’s leading presenters of spoken word performance, education, and youth development programs.

For more in Gabriel, visit


Xochitl Frausto

Xochitl Frausto is a South Central Los Angeles native and a writer of fiction and poetry studying at SFSU. Xochitl identifies as a queer Xicanx and has worked on organizing for racial and LGBTQ justice in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

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Daniel B. Summerhill

Daniel B. Summerhill is a poet and performance artist from Oakland, California. Daniel began writing poetry at the age of 12 and started performing several years later, wining several poetry competitions such as the Golden Gate Slam, New York Empire State Slam and others.

Since 2009 he has has performed in over 20 states. He has toured both nationally and internationally in Europe and South Africa spanning a 4-city European tour and a residency in Durban, South Africa sponsored by the United States Embassy. He has graced stages such as Def Jam Poetry Reunion, SoFar Sounds, FlyPoet, Busboys and Poets and others.

His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Califragile, Lilly Review, Blavity, Button, Street Light Press and others.

Daniel received his Associates degree in African American Studies from Laney College in 2011, a BA in English/Philosophy from the College of Saint Rose and has earned an MFA in creative Writing from Boston’s Pine Manor College.