Christine Isana Garcia
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Christine Isana Garcia was appointed in October 2021 to the role of Chief Executive Officer at Side by Side. Prior to Side by Side, Dr. Garcia served as San Francisco Regional Director for Edgewood Center for Children and Families, where she managed a staff of nearly 200 and was responsible for an $18 million regional budget. Her visioning and strategic planning in that role included leadership in the areas of cultural humility, equity, and inclusion. A product of a bilingual, multiracial, immigrant family, Dr. Garcia brings a unique perspective to her work and the issues facing youth today.
Before coming to Edgewood, Dr. Garcia was Clinical Director at both the Masonic Center for Youth and Families in San Francisco and UCSF’s Young Adult and Family Center. Before coming to the Bay Area, she worked at Princeton University’s Counseling and Psychological Services where she provided clinical service, taught post-doctoral fellows, and served on committees focused on service to underserved students. As a clinical psychologist for more than 20 years, Dr. Garcia specialized in the issues of trauma, eating disorders, equity and diversity issues, and chronic mental illness in youth and families. Her clinical and teaching experience includes extensive work with survivors of sexual trauma, including foster youth, military veterans, and individuals and families with intergenerational histories of abuse. Dr. Garcia holds a B.A. in English from Vassar College and a Doctorate in Psychology from Rutgers University.
Chief Program Officer
Jamila McCallum became Side by Side’s Chief Program Officer in December 2022. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Jamila earned her undergraduate degrees at Howard University. After graduation, she returned to Milwaukee where she ran an after-school program and summer day camp through the Neighborhood House of Milwaukee. Jamila moved to California in 2004 and has been an East Bay resident ever since. Starting as a case manager, she has served in various leadership positions at Edgewood Center for Children & Families for 18 years. As Regional Director she oversaw a $9 million dollar budget, 6 locations and 100 employees in San Mateo, San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Alameda Counties. During her time with Edgewood, Jamila became a trainer for state-funded Kinship Support Services Programs, Trauma Informed Systems initiatives, Family Conferencing, and Participatory Decision Making. Jamila enjoys volunteering with community organizations and is Co-Chair at the Hayward Twin Oaks Montessori School Board.
Director of Property & Risk Management
Karen joined Side by Side in 1997. As the Director of Property & Risk Management, she manages all aspects of the agency’s property and risk management protocols to fulfill the mission and strategic goals of the organization while complying with state and federal regulations, relevant accreditation standards, and best practices. Karen earned her BA in Speech and Communication Studies from San Francisco State University.
Regional Director, East Bay
Matthew joined Side by Side as Regional Director for Alameda County in January 2023 and oversees the region’s Community Counseling, Real Alternatives, and Our Space programs. Matthew holds his B.S. in Social Work from San Francisco State University and a Master’s in Social Welfare with a concentration in Community Mental Health from UC Berkeley. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and holds his Pupil Personal Services Credential. Prior to joining the Side by Side team, Matthew spent the prior 14 years working within the nonprofit sector, the education system, and Alameda County providing clinical services to systems involved children, families, and communities while also holding leadership roles to ensure services were being delivered in an equitable and effective manner. Matthew is also the proud father of his 4-year-old son.
Regional Director, North Bay
As Regional Director for the North Bay, Denisse Mendoza oversees Side by Side’s Community Counseling North Bay, TAY Space, and YouThrive programs. Denisse has a B.S. in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Juvenile Delinquency from CSU Sacramento and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy from USF. She is also dually licensed in Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling. Denisse came to Side by Side in 2013 as a Youth Specialist for the ACT/PRIDE juvenile justice program, became a Community Counseling Clinician in 2017 and was manager of the ACT/PRIDE program from 2018 to 2019 until that program was transitioned back to Sonoma County. Denisse became the Program Director for Community Services in Sonoma and Marin in 2021 and has significantly raised the profile of SBS’s Community Counseling program in Sonoma over the past two years and co-led the creation of SBS’s Raices Unidas initiative for Latinx immigrant families in Sonoma and Marin Counties. Prior to coming to Side by Side, Denisse worked in Sacramento County in residential care with youth on probation, is a trainer for Crisis Prevention Intervention and is a member of the California Latinx Psychological Association.
Director of Human Resources
Tiffany joined Side by Side as the Director of Human Resources in 2019 and oversees all aspects of the agency’s human resources department. Prior to joining Side by Side, Tiffany brings over 10 years of both clinical and human resources experience, previously working as a HR Generalist for Buckelew Programs and a HR Manager for Thermo Fisher Scientific, to her role at Side by Side. She has a track record of creating a positive work culture with sustainable practices to serve both employees and business goals that deliver on our mission to serve Bay Area youth. Tiffany strives to create an environment where workplace practices are fair, safety is valued and the strengths of employees are recognized while also growing the organization to deliver on our strategic plan. In addition to holding a license in Marriage and Family Therapy, Tiffany has a Bachelors in psychology and a Masters in Counseling from San Francisco State University.
Director, Irene M. Hunt School
Jolene started with the agency as a special education teacher in September 1986, and has been the director of the Irene M. Hunt School since 1995. Her previous work experience includes two years as a Resource Specialist in the Central Valley, working primarily with children of migrant workers. Jolene also founded a special education resource classroom in the San Luis Obispo school district. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a master’s degree in educational administration from San Francisco State University. She is certified in California for regular and special education with an emphasis on working with children with learning disabilities.