Since joining Refugee Transitions in 2001, Laura has shown dynamic, visionary leadership through expanding the agency’s scope and power to transform lives. She has grown Refugee Transitions from a two-office, home-tutoring agency serving 100 newcomers in San Francisco to a multi-site agency with nearly 2,000 students in San Francisco, Alameda, and Santa Clara counties.
Maria joined Refugee Transitions in January 2017. She was born in Guatemala and speaks Mam and Spanish. She works at Oakland Unified School District. Maria provides language translation and interpretation services to RT’s Mam-speaking students and families in Oakland.
Amanda Geldert joined RT in June 2017 as a college intern and is back full time as of June 2018. She was born in San Jose California and speaks Spanish and English. As an intern she spent six months immersed in all things RT across the 3 offices. She later returned to UCSC to complete her B.A in Community Studies & Spanish Studies (linguistics concentration).
Nicole joined Refugee Transitions in August of 2011 to fill the position of Volunteer and Program Coordinator. She recruits and trains the agency's many volunteer tutors. Nicole was introduced to the international humanitarian sphere while volunteering at an orphanage in Bulgaria, where she taught ESL and coordinated enrichment activities.
Julia joined RT in 2014 as the agency's Development and Impact Coordinator. She coordinates development projects, including the annual fundraising event and end-of-year appeals. She works on grant proposals and funder reports as a content coordinator, writer, and editor. Julia oversees the agency's impact data.
Jyoti immigrated to the U.S. in 2009 from Nepal as a Bhutanese Refugee. She went to Oakland International High School and was a Peer Tutor in RT's after-school tutoring. After graduating from OIHS, she continued to join forces with RT as an Alumni Tutor and Intern. She graduated in May 2016 from San Francisco State University with a B.S. degree in Business Management.
Tenley Harrison joined Refugee Transitions as a tutor in Fall 2001. She has since served on the Board of Directors, as Board Chair, Interim Executive Director (2x), Program and Data Coordinator, grant writer, and instructor. She currently coordinates the Women's Initiative, an education program for both mothers and their children.
Grace Lau, an immigrant from Hong Kong, began working with Refugee Transitions as a Program Coordinator in September 2008. She works primarily with the Asian Pacific Islander community in San Francisco and to this end, contributes her intimate knowledge of China, its culture, and the challenges immigrants face resettling in the U.S.
Zar Ni Maung began at Refugee Transitions in March 2008 as the agency's Family Advocate. Zar Ni focuses primarily on supporting volunteers and newly arrived refugee families from Burma, linking them to services and providing tutoring for youth. Zar Ni grew up in Rangoon, the former capital of Burma. As a university student, he was active in the student democracy movement.
Coordinator of Volunteers and Academic Support Programs
Xavier Meza joined Refugee Transitions in 2016 as the Coordinator of Volunteers and Academic Support Programs at Oakland International High School. Xavier is a lifelong advocate for empowering immigrant students in secondary and post-secondary education. As a community college student, Xavier was elected to represent 14 community colleges in Southern California by the Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC).
Shaheen joined Refugee Transitions in February 2016. He was born in Afghanistan and speaks Dari, Pashto and some Arabic. He graduated from Oakland International High School (OIHS). He has an associate’s degree in Mathematics from Laney College, and he is currently attending California State University, East Bay.
After-School Program Coordinator at SF International High School
Ricardo joined RT in October 2018 as the After-School Program Coordinator at San Francisco International High School. He was born in the United States but was raised in a bilingual household from parents who immigrated from Mexico. He speaks both Spanish and English fluently. As the After-School Program Coordinator, he oversees the after-school tutoring program, provides push-in support for students and teachers and helps organize special events held in school.
Beth started teaching Refugee Transitions’ Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) class in 2013. She became an RT staff instructor in 2017 and now teaches full-time. Beth holds a B.A. degree in Economics from San Francisco State University and an M.A. in English-Teaching English as a Second Language Option. Beth began her teaching career working with immigrants and refugees for Oakland Adult and Career Education.
Sandra joined RT in June 2016. She is the first generation in her family to attend college. She received a B.A. in Sociology & Education from UC Santa Cruz. After working with a high population of refugees and asylees at Catholic Charities of the East Bay, she grew fervor to guide and help newly arrived and low-income families. It quickly became apparent that Sandra not only shared a deep passion for helping refugees, but also cared deeply for the community that she served.
Sonia joined Refugee Transitions in July 2014 as the South Bay Education Coordinator. In our South Bay location, she recruits and trains volunteers for home-based tutoring and provides them with ongoing support. She manages English language classes for adults in San Jose and works on curriculum development with RT’s San Francisco Education Associate Manager.
Education Associate Manager and Language Instructor
Dion joined Refugee Transitions in 2014, after teaching several English language classes as a contracted teacher in the Tenderloin and Mission Districts. She has a B.A. in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts and an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from San Francisco State University with a focus on literacy development.