Staff

James Bell : Founder, President
Phone:415-321-4100 x101
James Bell
Founder, President

James Bell is the Founder and President of the W. Haywood Burns Institute. The Burns Institute has worked in over 200 counties in 23 states to engage justice stakeholders and communities across the country to build equity in the administration of justice.  He has trained and addressed thousands of human…

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Tshaka Barrows : Executive Director
Phone:415-321-4100 x106
Tshaka Barrows
Executive Director

Tshaka Barrows is a founding member of the W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI). As Executive Director he works closely with the Executive Team to advance the Burns Institute’s mission to protect and improve the lives of communities of color and poor people. His work involves strategic planning, organizational development, financial…

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Pamela Fong : Chief Operations Officer
Phone:415-321-4100 x 113
Pamela Fong
Chief Operations Officer

Pamela Fong is responsible for the leadership, planning, and development of financial, human resource and operational systems at the BI. Her management expertise centers on developing critical infrastructure for nonprofits undergoing tremendous growth, supporting staff in adapting to new processes and ensuring systems are well-aligned with mission, culture, and values.…

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Samantha Mellerson : Chief Program Officer
Phone:415-321-4100
Samantha Mellerson
Chief Program Officer

Samantha Mellerson is the Chief Program Officer with the W. Haywood Burns Institute. Sam brings over 15 years of experience working with issues of social justice, racial and ethnic equity, education, diversity, youth justice, child welfare and wellbeing. She also brings a depth of knowledge around nonprofit capacity building and…

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Michael Finley : Director of Site Development
Phone:(415) 321-4100 x 237
Michael Finley
Director of Site Development

Michael Finley is the Director of Site Development with the W. Haywood Burns Institute. In this position, Michael will work to develop and enhance BI’s partnerships with national, state and local organizations and stakeholders committed to working to reduce racial and ethnic disparities. Further, he will oversee BI’s involvement in…

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Laura John Ridolfi : Director of Policy
Phone:415-321-4100 x108
Laura John Ridolfi
Director of Policy

Laura John Ridolfi is the Director of Policy for the BI. She provides technical assistance to BI sites in analyzing whether and to what extent policies and practices contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in youth justice systems. She also assists in developing local strategies to reduce disparities. Prior to the BI,…

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Malachi Larrabee-Garza : Director of Special Projects
Phone:415-321-4100 x110
Malachi Larrabee-Garza
Director of Special Projects

Malachi Garza is an Oakland-based organizer, public speaker and curriculum specialist who is currently the Special Projects Director for the W. Haywood Burns Institute. Garza spent nine years as the BI Technical Assistance Manager and BI Director of the Community Justice Network for Youth, a national network of over 200…

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Gina Peralta : Director of Site Management
Phone:415-321-4100 x104
Gina Peralta
Director of Site Management

Gina Peralta is the Director of Site Management at the W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI). She is responsible for developing technical assistance strategies for jurisdictions around the country committed to reducing racial and ethnic disparities.  Gina is a passionate social justice advocate devoted to ensuring that system-involved individuals are treated…

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Tracy Benson : Director of the Community Justice Network for Youth
Phone:415-321-4100 x115
Tracy Benson
Director of the Community Justice Network for Youth

Tracy is an organizer from the Midwest with over 20 years of experience doing local grassroots community and base building, statewide policy and advocacy, and national youth justice organizing work.  She joined the CJNY Advisory Council in 2002 and came onto staff as a Regional Manager in 2010. She then…

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Steven Fritz : Director of Finance and Operations
Phone:415-321-4100 x131
Steven Fritz
Director of Finance and Operations

Steven Fritz is the Director of Finance and Operations at the W. Haywood Burns Institute.  Steven joined the BI staff in 2014 after serving as a Financial Consultant to the BI. He is responsible for financial management, analysis and reporting. Steven also oversees the BI’s internal operations and administration, continually…

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Anna Wong : Senior Policy Associate
Phone:415-321-4100 x112
Anna Wong
Senior Policy Associate

Anna Wong is a Senior Policy Associate with the W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI). She provides technical assistance to BI sites, analyzes data, assists in developing local strategies to reduce disparities, conducts policy research, and facilitates training for youth justice professionals around the country. Prior to joining the BI, Anna…

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Jessica Roa : Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) Site Manager
Phone:415-321-4100 x 240
Jessica Roa
Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) Site Manager

Jessica is the BI’s JDAI Site Manager and is devoted to working towards social justice for youth and their families affected by the youth and adult justice systems. Prior to working at the BI, Jessica worked for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) conducting research, providing training, and…

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Khalid Samarrae : Policy Associate
Phone:415-321-4100 x 105
Khalid Samarrae
Policy Associate

Khalid Samarrae has been a Policy Associate with the Burns Institute since February 2015. He was born in Baghdad, Iraq and graduated from the University of New Orleans in 2010 with a degree in Political Science and a degree in Law from Tulane University in May 2014. Khalid most recently…

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Carolina Almarante-Terrero : Policy Associate
Phone:(415) 321-4100 x 102
Carolina Almarante-Terrero
Policy Associate

Carolina Almarante-Terrero has been a Policy Associate with the Burns Institute since May 2015. She has acquired valuable experience in program development and implementation, grant management, data analysis, strategic planning, and research in the criminal justice field. Her experience within complex government systems, has afforded her the opportunity to develop…

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Theresa Gonzales : Site Manager
Phone:415-321-4100 x103
Theresa Gonzales
Site Manager

Theresa L. Gonzales is a Site Manager working to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in criminal justice systems nationwide. She comes to the BI with the hopes of catalyzing social change through institutional and community partnerships that inform and change policy, practice, and conditions currently driving inequities for communities impacted…

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James Williams : Network Organizer
Phone:415-321-4100
James Williams
Network Organizer

James Williams currently serves as Network Organizer of the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY) at the W. Haywood Burns Institute. Growing up, James witnessed many of his peers become entangled in the youth justice system at early ages. As they grew older, he witnessed many of their struggles to reintegrate…

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Manuel La Fontaine : Community Engagement Network Organizer
Phone:(415) 321-4100
Manuel La Fontaine
Community Engagement Network Organizer

Manuel La Fontaine is the Community Engagement Network Organizer for Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY). Prior to joining the Institute, Manuel spent over 8 years with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, and is a co-founding member of All Of Us Or None, an organization comprised of formerly-incarcerated people…

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Carlos Carmona : Bookkeeper and Contracts Administrator
Phone:415-321-4100 x109
Carlos Carmona
Bookkeeper and Contracts Administrator

Carlos has been a Bookkeeper and Contracts Administrator for the BI since April 2015, where he assists the Finance and Operations team with the day-to-day financial organization of the agency. Since a teenager, Carlos has worked on expanding a degree of internal equanimity which helps him facilitate a thoughtful and…

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