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 Manger and Earth Ambassadors C0-Manager

Rona Zollinger, NLC’s co-founding board member and Empowering Educators Program Manager/Facilitator. She finds inspiration in the creative process of imagining educational environments that nurture connections between teachers, students, communities and the earth.  She also works as the College and Career Pathways Teacher on Special Assignment for Martinez Unified School District. She collaboratively facilitated the Environmental Studies Academy and New Leaf Leadership Academy (with Corinne) for over a decade before co-founding New Leaf Collaborative (with Ellen).

Email: ronazollinger@gmail.com

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.

Lorena Castillo – Internship and OUtreach coordinator 

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

Suzy Hammond – NLC Business Director

Suzy is responsible for the management and administration of New Leaf Collaborative (NLC) grants, budgets, contracts, invoices, bookkeeping and financial and corporate compliance.

Tina Wong – Earth AMbassadors Co-Manager and  Empowering Educators Coach

Tina inspires, informs, and enables responsible environmental decision-making and sustainable practices by providing leadership opportunities in education for high school and elementary students to become agents of sustainable change.  She also works to further connect interested Empowering Educators participants to resources that RENEW a love of teaching, provides opportunities for REFLECTion upon personal strengths, and ultimately RE-ENVISIONs transformative learning environments for students.

Erica Thompson = Ecoliteracy Green Team Instructor

Erica assists in inspiring, informing, and enabling responsible environmental decision-making and sustainable practices by providing leadership opportunities in education for high school and elementary students to become agents of sustainable change.

Libby Morphy – Environmental educator

Libby provides integrated, science-based, inquiry-oriented, outdoor experiences for high school students that cultivate positive psychology and empowerment of students’ self-esteem and resilience. She also supports students to develop social and emotional well-being by connecting them to mental health resources and encourages leadership skills through career and college exploration. 

Community SCIENCE WORKSHOP Instructors:

Community Science Workshop “CSW” Instructors provides hands-on tinkering with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) in ways that foster curiosity, creativity, perseverance, and critical thinking.  They engage students in grade-level appropriate hands-on science experiences.

Nicola Elliot

Cecillia LaFleur 

Julie Mullane

Paul Stroube 

 Cassie Kellogg