Gerald Richards is the Chief Executive Officer of 826 National. With twenty years of management and development experience at national nonprofit organizations, including the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship where he served as the Executive Director of the Bay Area office, Gerald is a respected trainer and sought after speaker on topics of youth and education access. He is interviewed regularly on these topics and has appeared on NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s 360, and The Michael Eric Dyson Show, as well as in articles in publications including The San Francisco Examiner and Inc. Magazine. He has also served as an education expert for national marketing campaigns promoting creativity in and outside the classroom. In 2008, he was named one of 101 African-American Champions for Youth in the Bay Area.
Gerald has conducted trainings and presented at conferences including the National Conference on Student Assessment, The Power of Youth Entrepreneurship at Stanford University, Craigslist Foundation’s Nonprofit Boot Camp, and the CA/NFTE Entrepreneurship BizCamp, and represented 826 National at the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2011 Annual Conference, the
2011 PSFK Conference, the 2011 Big Ideas Fest, and the Rhode Island School of Design.
His nonprofit career also includes positions with the United Negro College Fund;
University of California, San Francisco; the J. David Gladstone Institutes; Chicago Panel on Social Policy; and The Cradle Foundation. He has managed flourishing relationships and partnerships with corporate, foundation, education and governmental entities including Citi, Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, the Lyles Center for Entrepreneurship at Fresno State, and the San Francisco Mayor’s Office. He is currently a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Ed Steps Curiosity and Creativity workgroup in Washington, D.C.; an inaugural fellow in the California Leaders of Color Fellowship Program; and was a member of the 2009 class of Leadership San Francisco. He currently serves on the boards of the International Development Exchange (IDEX), Mission SF Community Financial Center, and the Woodland School, and previously served on the boards of Juma Ventures and KIPP SF Bay Academy.
Mr. Richards has a BA in Film Studies from Wesleyan University and an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Ryan Lewis is the Director of Research and Evaluation for 826 National. Ryan received his Master of Public Service degree from the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, AR, where he focused his fieldwork in education reform and race theory and completed projects in designing program evaluation systems, development, and strategic planning for the Boys, Girls, Adults Community Development Center in rural Marvell, Arkansas, the South African Education and Environment Project in Cape Town, South Africa, and 826 National's founding chapter, 826 Valencia.
Ryan has led three international education projects, including serving as field staff for university service projects between Hendrix College and the Harry Bodasing Primary School outside of Durban, South Africa in 2011 and between Oklahoma State University and Central Christian Academy in Belize City, Belize in 2012. He also led 826's signature Storytelling & Bookmaking creative writing field trip at the Storymoja Hay Festival in Nairobi, Kenya in 2011.
Ryan holds a BA in Political Science from UCLA and served for two years in AmeriCorps *NCCC doing recovery cleanup after Hurricane Katrina and completing service projects with multiple organizations including the Charleston and North Charleston Public Schools and the St. Matthews Community Outreach Center and After-School Program in Charleston, SC.
Mariama Lockington is 826 National’s Operations Manager. She has been an educator and activist in the Bay Area for the past four years and originally hails from Michigan. Prior to working for 826, Mariama completed a two-year teaching fellowship with Citizen Schools, where she managed volunteers, developed curriculum, and taught writing to middle school students around the Bay Area. She has also partnered with and taught writing workshops for numerous Bay Area youth programs, including Youth Speaks, LYRIC, Making Waves Education Program, and 826 Valencia.
In addition to her work with youth, Mariama is a published poet and performer. She was the recipient of the University of Michigan’s undergraduate Hopwood Poetry Award in 2004, a two-time member of the University of Michigan Slam team, a member of the Ann Arbor spoken word troupe, Wordworks, and has performed on stages with the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Mariama has been published in the Comstock Review, and is currently earning her MFA in poetry from San Francisco State University.
Mariama holds a BA in Creative Writing and African American Studies from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Education from Lesley University.
Kait Steele is the Director of Field Operations for 826 National. Kait was a founding member of 826CHI, serving as the organization’s first Programs Coordinator and later as its Director of Education. During her seven-year tenure in Chicago, Kait played a key role in program and curriculum development, some of which is featured in the 826 National publication Don’t Forget to Write. Prior to joining the 826 community, Kait taught creative writing and wrote development and communications materials at the Woodstock School located in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. Kait holds a BA in English/Creative Writing from Northwestern University with an emphasis in poetry.
Eric Stensvaag is the Director of Development & Marketing for 826 National. Eric has 14 years of nonprofit management and fundraising experience at internationally recognized arts and education organizations.
Prior to working for 826, Eric served in the Development Offices of Cal Performances at the University of California, Berkeley; the San Francisco Symphony; and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, strengthening some of their most important relationships while demonstrating the aggressive financial growth required to fulfill their important missions.
Before entering the workforce, Eric joined a volunteer corps and spent a year in Washington, DC as a caseworker for a social services agency. He received his BA in Music from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, with an emphasis on music history and trumpet performance (now “retired”). An avid music lover, Eric is still known to perform occasionally as a hip-hop DJ. One of his favorite books is Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which planted the seeds for his relocation from DC to San Francisco, where he met his wife, Christina.