Board of Directors
Veronica Pope – (Non-Voting Member)
Veronica has been professionally involved in the field of children with special needs for more than 25 years. She served as a counselor at the California School for the Blind in Berkeley; Stepping Stones (formerly known as Oakland After School Program for Retarded Children); Shelton Primary Educational Center in Berkeley; Abdulah School of Learning in Oakland; Little People Care Center for physically handicapped children in Oakland; Child Assault Prevention in Oakland and Nichols and Hedco House, group homes for emotionally disturbed boys and girls respectively with current employer, Lincoln Child Center in Oakland, CA. Presently, she is a mental health intervention specialist working with high, middle and elementary school children in Alameda and Contra Costa counties public school systems.
In 2001, she founded People Who Care (PWC) Children Association, a not-for-profit youth development organization, located in Pittsburg, California.
Veronica has contributed much of her time to the youth of our community seeking to improve the quality of education for all students and ensuring that parental involvement continues to play a key role in the academic success of each student. She has served on the Pittsburg Unified School District Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) (2002 – Present),
In 2010, Veronica was honored as the recipient of the Jefferson Awards for public service.
Veronica encourages young people and adults to get involved in mentoring programs. She knows firsthand the strides that kids can make with the help of a kind, patient and responsible mentor. She also recognizes that there are no guarantees in mentoring, but she believes that children develop their social, emotional and educational potential when the adults in their lives support and encourage their creativity, talents and skills
Constance Russell – (Non-Voting Member)
Connie has served on PWC’s Board since 2002 as both Treasurer and President. Connie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business, emphasis in Management from San Francisco State University and has over 30 years of business and contracting experience. She retired from the federal government, the General Services Administration (GSA) in San Francisco, in May 2008. As a senior Contracting Officer (CO) for the GSA, Connie contracted primarily for construction and architect and engineering services and was the CO on several high-profile projects, including the new San Francisco Federal Office Building and new San Diego Courthouse.
Connie has a Certificate in Project Management from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a member of the National Contract Management Association. Her commitment to social justice and equal opportunities continues to motivate her work with PWC.
Mrs. Marietta Beals – (Voting Member)
Marietta Beals is a life-long resident of Pittsburg and a member of the Pittsburg High School Class of 1959. She is the mother of three children: Mark, Shawn, and Yvonne and she also has three granddaughters: Vanessa, Sydney and Ryah.
Known for being consistently unyielding of her time and willing to give unconditionally to helping others, Marietta is dedicated to her friends, family and community both as a parent and as a member of the community.
Since retiring, Marietta from Varian in 1999, she has contributed much of her time to the youth of our community seeking to improve the quality of education for all students and ensuring that parental involvement continues to play a key role in the academic success of each student. She has served on various Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD) advisory boards and committees including but not limited to the Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) (2000 – Present), PUSD School Site Council, Marina Vista Elementary (Fall 2008 – Present), PUSD School Site Council, Pittsburg High School, PUSD Communications Committee, the Pittsburg Education Committee that established Parent Coordinator roles in the elementary schools and was a member of the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Communities Organization (CCISCO) efforts to review the implementation of the PUSD’s student assessment policy and procedures.
As a devoted a member of the NAACP, Marietta has served the East County Branch of the NAACP as an Executive Committee member, the Banquet Committee Chair and the Elections Committee Chair.
In 2011, Marietta was honored as the recipient of the Community Service Award recipient, by the NAACP for her compassionate community service that has extended above and beyond the call of duty.
Mrs. Curlie Jackson – (Voting Member)
Curlie Jackson, born and raised in Glenmora, Louisiana moved to Pittsburg, CA in 1955 with her family. She was married to the late General Jackson for over 25 years, and together they raised 7 children: James, Samuel, Jimmy, Richard, Linda, Isaac, and Donald. She also has 27 grandchildren, and a host of great-grandchildren.
She was employed at Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD) for thirty-two years as a Parent Coordinator and worked for ten years at the Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall in Martinez, CA, as a Youth Counselor. Curlie continued her education and received an Associate Degree in 1975 from Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California. She also attended Los Mendanos College in Pittsburg, and has more than 40 credit hours towards a Psychology and Social Science degree.
Curlie retired from the PUSD as a Parent Coordinator, and Student Advisor in 2005; however, known for “sacrifices make in service to others she never retired from serving others.” She has always had a passion and devotion to the welfare of others. Curlie became active in the community by serving as Chairperson of Woods Manor Board of Directors, President of the NAACP East County Branch, and long-term active member of First Baptist Church of Pittsburg. She also served on various PUSD advisory boards and committees including but not limited to the Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) (2000 – Present), PUSD School Site Council, Heights Elementary School, PUSD School Site Council, Pittsburg High School, PUSD Communications Committee, the Pittsburg Education Committee that established Parent Coordinator roles in the elementary schools and was a member of the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Communities Organization (CCISCO) efforts to review the implementation of the PUSD’s student assessment policy and procedures.
In 2005, the NAACP for her compassionate community service honored Curlie at the East Contra Costa County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration as the Love & Action Award recipient, as she continues to excel in advocating for others.
Curlie has over 42 years of progressive leadership and she brings to the board a wealth of experience from serving in the community to students and their families.
Raquel Curran – (Voting Member)
Officer Raquel Curran was born in Mexico City and came to the United States when she was 9 years old. As the oldest of 5 siblings, she was the first in her family to graduate from High School and College with an AA degree in General Education.
At 15 years old Officer Curran began her law enforcement career when she became a Police Explorer with Concord Police Department. In 2002 she continued her career as a CSS with Pittsburg Police Department and has worked in various area of the department to include booking, code enforcement, evidence, and parking enforcement.
Raquel achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a Police Officer in 2014 and is currently assigned as a School Resource Officer (SRO). You will most likely see her at Rancho Medanos Junior High School. Officer Curran is married to a Contra Costa County Sheriff Deputy and have 4 children ages 18, 15, 15, and 5. She most enjoys working with the community of Pittsburg and its youth.
Andrea Zarate – (Voting Member)
Born in 1999 in Pittsburg, CA, Andrea is the second oldest of 4 siblings of immigrant parents from Mexico. She is a recent graduate from Pittsburg High School and is currently attending classes at Los Medanos College. Although she has always felt to be an outcast in both her family and society, Andrea views herself as a warrior. She has faced many obstacles and challenges as a young child and throughout her young adult life, which she believes could have easily brought her down; however, she preserved and along those roads of obstacles, have been introduced to many pathways leading to freedom – to be whom she is today.
Andrea would rather go hiking and explore things she has never seen before, and learn new things. Although she stills falls sometimes, stumble and forget how far she has come, she quickly reminds herself of who she is.
Gwen Lyons – (Voting Member)
Gwen is a retired Paralegal. Prior to retirement, Ms. Lyons worked in this field for over 40 years. Working in this fast paced and quite demanding field enable Ms. Lyons to think quickly and effectively under pressure. In addition to dubious task, her calming personality made her clients feel at ease in stressful situations.
These qualities accompanied with great problem-solving skills make her an asset to People Who Care Children Association.
Cristina M. Hickey – (Voting Member)
Cristina was born in London, England to two parents from Spain. Her family came to the United States in 1962 and settled in New York City. She started her career as a travel agent there and continued in that career when she moved to San Francisco in 1980. That employment enabled her to travel all over the world. She met and married her husband in San Francisco and then settled in to raising her two sons, Brian and Jack.
While raising her children, she became very involved in youth serving organizations and her children’s school. She returned to work when her children were older and gained employment with the Lafayette Unified School District where she taught English as a Second Language to new immigrants arriving in this country. Being an educator became very important to Cristina and when the opportunity to educate mandated reporters of child abuse came along, she jumped at the chance.
She has been working for The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County, a non-profit organization as the Community Education Coordinator for the past 13 years working not only with mandated reporters of child abuse, but parents, family, and children as well. She has formed associations and friendships with law enforcement, school administrators, social workers, mental health professionals, to name a few. One of her strengths is connecting people to resources, connecting people to each other, and networking. She also speaks Spanish. On her free time, she enjoys her two grandchildren, Nathan and Spencer, sailing on the Delta, and playing Bocce Ball in Martinez.
Angelica Fernandez – (Voting Member)
Angelica Fernandez emigrated from Mexico to the United States in 1970 at the age of 12 and later on went on to attend Pittsburg High School. Although she was unable to graduate high school, in 2010 she was able to receive a high school degree after graduation from Adult School in Pittsburg, CA.
Within her professional career, Angelica has worked as a nurse’s aide for 15 years and also volunteered as a mentor working with at-risk youth from 1996-2000 as a Gang Intervention Specialist.
Angelica has also volunteered at a local food bank for approximately 4 years and is currently a member/volunteer for the Pittsburg Unified School District “Student Attendance Review Board” (SARB), where she has earned her name as the panel’s grandmother figure due to her loving and caring attitude towards the families and youth.
Lastly, Angelica is a current member of the Pentecostal Church located in Pittsburg, CA, where she spends most of her free time helping the Latino Community with translation and supporting them with any type of services that she can provide.