Born in San Rafael, CA, raised by her father and maternal grandmother between Mill Valley, CA and El Cerrito, CA, and now a resident of Walnut Creek for more than four decades, Melinda is no stranger to the Bay Area. She is also no stranger to how important education is after studying at Cal State San Jose, University of Utah, and Western Washington State University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Melinda continued her educational journey at Cal State San Francisco and received a Special Education credential in conjunction with a Multiple Subject credential. Finally she attended St. Mary’s College and received a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.
With a breadth of knowledge and degrees in education, Melinda worked over 30 years in West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and Livermore Joint USD as a teacher, school site administrator, Director of Special Education, Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Director of Special Projects. The last 8.5 years year of her long career was spent as the Executive Director for Hayward Promise Neighborhoods (HPN) where she had the privilege of leading an amazing coalition of committed community members and agencies, including 4Cs, to achieve a vision that alleviates generational poverty and creates equity for all in Hayward.
Over her career in education, with the exception of her own children’s experience, I had never sought out opportunities to learn more deeply about the early childhood years. That ended when Melinda started her role with HPN and had her first meeting with Renee Herzfeld. Renee engaged her in a way that made her want to learn more and focus more support specifically on 4Cs as well as local, state and federal early childhood initiatives. The leadership of 4Cs has provided an exemplary model for the Hayward Promise Neighborhood work and has represented that work nationally and statewide. Melinda is committed to do whatever it takes to help 4Cs continue to thrive and grow.