Who’s Who


Ellen Concepcion – Executive Director  and Community  Science Workshops Program manager

Ellen is the co-founder and President of New Leaf Collaborative and oversees the Community Science Workshop Program, she also teaches 7th & 8th grade science at Mare Island Technology Academy. Through New Leaf Collaborative’s programs, Ellen hopes to inspire youth to learn, act and think creatively, confidently and responsibly and to introduce them to career options that lead to sustainable prosperity. She also strives to eradicate single-use plastic.

Email: ellen@newleafcollaborative.org

Rona Zollinger -Empowering Educators

Rona Zollinger, NLC’s co-founding board member and Empowering Educators Program Manager/Facilitator finds inspiration in the process of imagining educational environments that nurture connections between teachers, students, communities and the earth. In addition to her after-hours workshop facilitation, she works as the College and Career Pathways Coordinator for Martinez Unified School District. For the last decade, she facilitated a transdisciplinary curriculum for at-risk youth where students and community leaders worked in concert for learning and change called the New Leaf Leadership Academy. She was recently the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year and a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow.

Email: ronazollinger@gmail.com

Lorena Castillo – Career Pathways and Civic Engagement

A professional photographer, journalist and activist. Through her extensive connections in the community she arranges internships for students who are interested in or considering that career.

Email: LCastillo@martinezusd.net

Corinne Christiansen – Empowering Educators

Corinne has been teaching for 21 years in Japan and California. She believes that every student wants to succeed but may not know how. She sees her job as helping her students gain the strategies and skills that will help them become successful in class, in the community and in their future. Corinne co-founded the New Leaf  Leadership Academy and Empowering Educators.

Suzy Hammond – NLC Business Director

Tina Wong – Career Pathways and Civic Engagement

Erica Thompson = Ecoliteracy Green Team Instructor

Nicola Elliot- Community Science Workshop Instructor

Cecillia LaFleur – Community Science Workshop Instructor

Julie Mullane – Community Science Workshop Instructor

 Paul Stroube – Community Science Workshop Instructor

Libby Morphy – Environmental educator

Cynthia Ayala, Peer Mentor