Meet the Team

The LEARN Foundation is led by team of seasoned educators and community professionals who are dedicated to a more just and enriching future for every young person.  There are currently opening on the Board of Directors; if you feel inspired and have skills or resources to share, please contact us for a Board application packet.

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José da Silva

Founder & Executive Director

José  grew up in Brasil before moving to Eugene in 1985.  He has more than 20 years of combined experience as a teacher, counselor and administrator, and three degrees:  two BA’s in Translation and Interpretation and Linguistics and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership.  He is also an expert in various forms of Latin American dance, a former record holder on the Brasilian National Track team, and a soccer player.  He is currently the principal at Springfield High School.  His passion for social justice awareness and a well-rounded education led him to found the LEARN Foundation in 2012.

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Linda Smart

President

Linda has been teaching for twenty-five years.  She has taught at all levels from Community College through 5th grade.  Currently, Linda teaches social studies and a social justice class in middle school.  She is also the chair of the Eugene Education Association Human and Civil Rights Committee, co-coordinator for PeaceJam Northwest, and a founding member of CAPE, Community Alliance for Public Education.

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Cheleana Stafflund

Board Member

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Barb Stevens-Newcomb

Board Member

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Darren Reiley

Educational Consultant

Cheleana is a VP, District Manager with Columbia Bank, serving the Greater Eugene market.  Along with 15 years of banking experience, she has always made a point to be involved in the communities she serves via board seats, volunteerism and community fundraising.  Working with children holds a soft spot in her heart as she’s a strong advocate for diversity, acceptance and continuous learning. In addition to serving on the LEARN Foundation board, Cheleana is currently facilitating Financial Literacy classes for local high school students.

Barb Stevens-Newcomb is the founder and creator of the nonprofit Inner Yaga Foundation. She is a bilingual educator, artist and Yoga instructor.  Barb holds an MTA and BA in Art Education, and is from a family of wilderness adventurers.

Darren is a poet, educator and essayist.  He has taught for over 17 years, including college composition, middle and high school peace and conflict studies, and conflict resolution for elementary students.  He wrote and published Peace Out: a Peace and Conflict Studies Curriculum for High School, based on ten years of developing peace and social justice curriculum .  He is currently the regional coordinator for PeaceJam Northwest.