Angelina Leaños is a student at California Lutheran University with the hopes to become a published author, as well as an English teacher. In high school, she won the Poetry Out Loud competition both at the school and county level and has since returned as a coach to other participants. Leaños has had several poems published and organizes a monthly poetry open mic with the Ventura County Arts Council in partnership with the Oxnard public library.
Jackie Huss Hallerberg brings a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching poetry and has been a Poet-Teacher since 2001. Throughout her academic studies in science, business and education and her work in the private and non-profit sectors, she has held a strong belief in poetry as a powerful tool for creativity and communication.
M.B.A. & B.S. Univ. of Michigan
Fernando Albert Salinas is a father, a poet, and an educator. He works to teach others to storytell through spoken word while speaking the truths and passions of their lives. He helps others find their voice and speak up for those who are not heard.
Amanda Chiado is the Director of Arts Education for the San Benito County Arts Council in Hollister, California. She is a credentialed teacher and chair of the Arts and Culture Commission for the City of Hollister. Amanda has served as a Calpoet for over fifteen years. She loves her family, horror films, and dancing.
M.A. Grand Canyon University, Educational Administration
M.F.A California College of the Arts, Writing
Post B.A. Elementary Education
B.A. University of New Mexico writing
Zoya Ahmed is a student at the University of California San Diego completing her bachelors in Psychology with a specialization in Social Psychology and aspiring to go into medicine. An integral part of her identity includes being a South Asian American poet. In 2019, she won Poetry Out Loud on the county level and Poetry Ourselves on the state level. Her experiences pushed her to partake in multiple poetry readings across California and become Sonoma County’s first Youth Poet Laureate in 2020.
Eva Poole-Gilson has published poetry, stories, and journalism nationally in over 20 journals and newspapers. In Jan. 2016 she was selected with eleven others to study with former U.S. Poet-Laureate Billy Collins at the Key West Literary Workshop. Eva has also written two plays: BAREFOOT IN THE SANCTUARY and WHO’S LYING DOWN IN YOUR HEART? Eva is a long-standing Poet-Teacher with CalPoets.
Nels Christianson joined the Board in 2009 after judging that year’s Poetry Out Loud Contest in Madera County. Nels is a published poet and former Area Coordinator for LA County. Nels recently retired from the International Relations department at UCLA Medical Center. He now spends his time writing, making ceramic pots, gardening and traveling to visit cacti and succulents in habitats around the world.
B.A. UC Santa Barbara
Tim Blair is President of Native Trails, a sustainably focused kitchen and bath fixtures manufacturer in San Luis Obispo, CA and Certified B Corporation. He helps several non-profits with social media and marketing, plays guitar and writes poetry for fun.
SAGE ON THE STAGE - R.I.P.
John Oliver Simon - one of the legendary poets of the Berkeley Sixties who grew by steady dedication to his calling. Published from Abraxas to Zyzzyva, he has received an NEA fellowship for his work. For his lifetime of service to poetry, the Mayor of Berkeley, California proclaimed January 20, 2015, as John Oliver Simon Day. In May, 2016, the Berkeley Poetry Festival presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award.