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.


José da Silva

Founder & Secretary

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.


Linda Smart


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.


Niki DeRosia

Board Member

Nicholette “Niki” DeRosia is an educator, student, activist and lover of great discussion. After working in refugee resettlement, adult education and K-12 education in Arizona, Niki moved to Eugene to work on her PhD in Critical and Sociocultural Studies in Education.  She continues her research from her Masters in International Peace Studies by researching the intersections of race, gender, and nationality in relationship to systems of oppression. She focuses on the ways reproductive hegemonic education practices can be interrupted to create opportunities for everyone and is invested in the prospects for Peace Education as a liberatory educational practice.

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Cheleana Stafflund



Barb Stevens-Newcomb

Board Member


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.