OUR BOARD MEMBERS

A man crouches down to smile beside his curly small dog with a fence in the background and sand and the ocean in the distance.

Michael Jones, Chair 

Michael Jones has lived in Santa Cruz County for 45 years since arriving in 1973 to attend UC Santa Cruz. Originally from Pasadena, California, he worked as an educator for 36 years in the Pájaro Valley Unified School District. Until retirement in 2015 Michael served as principal of Alianza Charter School. He is focused on working with Save Our Shores to protect our Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and expand educational programs to build awareness, knowledge, and understanding of our unique and precious marine environment amongst students in schools throughout the area.

Cathleen Eckhardt, Vice Chair

 

Tristan Kass, Treasurer

Tristan grew up in Santa Cruz and graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is a Certified Financial PlannerTM who has worked in the financial service industry for over fourteen years. When Tristan isn’t working, he likes to spend his time: surfing, mountain biking and enjoying the outdoors. Tristan is excited to be part of the Save Our Shores organization and help protect the ocean and coastlines.

Mary Curtiss, Secretary

Mary has lived in Santa Cruz with her family since 1998. She has a BS in Industrial Engineering along with an MBA from Santa Clara University. Raising three boys in Santa Cruz and spending many days at the beaches has given her an appreciation for the beauty of the Bay and wanting to work to keep it healthy for many future generations. Mary is currently Director of Energy and Sustainability globally for HP. In this role, she has over 20 years as an experienced industry leader. As a Board member, Mary hopes to use her background in business and marketing to expand the donor base with corporates and create opportunities for public/private partnerships. Protecting the environment is core to her values and she feels fortunate to bring this passion to her role on the Board. 

Dr. Justin Cummings, Director

Justin is originally from Chicago, IL and holds a BA in Spanish and a BS in Biology from Eastern Illinois University. In 2007 Justin moved to Santa Cruz to pursue a Ph.D at UCSC. His dissertation work focused on understanding how trees used for forest restoration inhibited the regeneration of the invasive grass Saccharum spontaneum in Panama. In 2013, Justin received his Ph.D. from the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a designated emphasis in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz. As a post-doc at Florida International University, Justin studied how changes in environmental factors influenced the uptake and release of CO 2 across seasonal marshes in the Florida Everglades.  In 2015, Justin moved back to Santa Cruz, CA where he helped co-create and served as the director of the UCSC Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, whose mission is to prepare the next generation of diverse conservation leaders, from November 2015 – March 2020.  In 2018, Justin was the highest vote recipient in the election for Santa Cruz City Council and served as Mayor of Santa Cruz during 2020. Dr. Justin Cummings currently holds a position as drone operator and environmental sensor technician for the UC Natural Reserve Systems California Heartbeat Initiative based out of UC Santa Cruz and is working to create a drone education and research program at UC Santa Cruz.

Save Our Shores Nancy Conelly

Nancy Connelly, Director

Nancy is originally from Connecticut but has lived in Santa Cruz for 28 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics and a graduate degree in public policy. Throughout her career she’s worked in the realms of agriculture, IT, biotech, and alternative energy. With Save Our Shores, Nancy aims to help the organization grow in the areas of development and community involvement and to successfully spread environmental awareness to Santa Cruz and surrounding communities.

A smiling blond woman in a black down coat stands before green and orange trees with glaciers in the far distance.

LeAnn Copriviza Director

LeAnn was born in Utah and moved to Watsonville at age three. She attended school at CSU Long Beach and returned to the Monterey Bay after graduating. She has worked in catering, event planning, agriculture, education, and raised two children into young adults with a passion for the natural world. LeAnn has been a Sanctuary Steward for six years and has done public outreach, education programs, event planning, and beach cleanups with our organization. She would like to see Save Our Shores accomplish the goal of making beach cleanups unnecessary- to have a world where people understand the important impact that clean environments have on our mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.

Tyler Fox is smiling in front of a sail boat sail and blue cloudy skies. He has short brown hair, sunglasses, and a blue and white striped shirt on.

Tyler Fox, Director (on sabbatical)

Tyler grew up in Aptos, California.  Immediately following high school, Tyler taught surfing with the O’Neill Surf Academy in Europe.  He then went on to test his surfing skills on the world qualifying series and later moved into the big wave arena. Eventually, Tyler  competed at the Mavericks Invitational and placed 4th two years in a row.  Beside being a passionate ocean protector, Tyler also owns and operates the popular print and digital media hub- Santa Cruz Waves.  

Alejandro Garcia, Director

Alejandro Garcia was born and raised in Watsonville. After completing his general education at Cabrillo College, he transferred to UC Santa Barbara and majored in sociology with a lean towards the relationship between people and the environment. As an undergrad, Alejandro interned at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington DC and studied abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Fun fact: Alejandro learned about Save Our Shores in elementary school when he and his classmates learned about the impacts of littering and marked storm drains in the neighborhoods surrounding the school. Alejandro is eager to inspire a new generation of ocean stewards to create an equitable blueprint for conservation. 

Save Our Shores Dr. Charles Lester

Dr. Charles Lester, Director

Charles grew up in Boulder, Colorado and lived in Santa Cruz for over 20 years. He’s worked in the field of ocean and coastal management for more than two decades. Charles is currently at the Marine Sciences Institute at UC Santa Barbara where he continues to research, write, teach and consult about sea level rise, coastal resilience, and other aspects of California coastal law and policy. His goals with Save Our Shores are to bring his knowledge and experience to help build and support the capacity of our organization to protect the incredible coast and ocean resources.

Save Our Shores Faris Sabbah

Dr. Faris Sabbah, Director

Faris has lived in Santa Cruz County for almost 30 years. He is an immigrant who spent his childhood in Iraq and his adolescence in Ecuador. Over the last 28 years in education he has served as a teacher, assistant principal, migrant education director, university professor, and county deputy superintendent. He is currently the Superintendent of Schools for Santa Cruz County. Faris hopes to help expand the educational component of Save Our Shores to develop the next generation of stewards for the environment.

Jane King Silberstein, Director

Jane is excited to join the Save Our Shores board and get back to her roots of ocean conservation and advocacy. She is currently teaching a citizen science, plankton monitoring class at Cabrillo College and in the fall an environmental interpretation class at CSUMB. Her love for the ocean began as a child spending summers in a small cove in Maine, driving with her family every other summer from Davis, Calif., and my winters visiting her grandmother in Carmel. She became a passionate ocean conservationist in her Junior year in high school when she learned about the killing of whales. She worked tirelessly doing dance-a-thons and many other fund-raising activities to give to whale conservation organizations. In college she studied marine science at UCSC and became fascinated with the microscopic, unseen world beneath the mud in Elkhorn slough (where she did my senior thesis and later a Master’s in Marine Science study). After graduating she began her career of 34 years as an educator and interpreter at the Monterey Bay Aquarium where she could teach hundreds of volunteers who inspire thousands of people to love and protect the ocean.

Featured photo by Amelia Olson