Ashanti Branch, M.Ed.
Assistant Principal, Montera Middle School - OUSD
Founder and Executive Director, The Ever Forward Club
Mr. Branch, born and raised by a single mother on welfare in Oakland, California, took the road less traveled to get out of the ghetto and attended one of California’s premier engineering colleges, California Polytechnic - San Luis Obispo. Ashanti studied Civil Engineering and worked as a construction project manager in his first career. After tutoring struggling students and realizing his true passion was teaching, Mr. Branch changed careers. He had suddenly found the “fire” that was missing in his life and he hoped to ignite a similar enthusiasm in his young students.
In 2004 as a first year teacher, Ashanti started The Ever Forward Club to provide a support group for African American and Latino males, who were not achieving to the level of their potential. Since then, The Ever Forward Club has grown to serve both young men and women and become a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Ever Forward Club has helped 100% of its members graduate high school and 93% of them have gone on to attend college.
With over 19 years mentoring youth and 10 of those years as a math teacher educating inner city youth, Ashanti was awarded with a Fulbright Exchange Fellowship to India, a Rotary Club Cultural Ambassadorial Fellowship to Mexico and a 2010 Teacher of the Year Award from the Alameda-Contra Costa County Math Educators.
Mr. Branch is on a mission to change the way that students interact with their education and the way schools interact with students.
After taking a year off after high school to travel the world, including becoming a surfing and sailing instructor in Waikiki, Myles began his long and industrious business career. As grandson of the founder of San Jose Blue, Myles is a 20 year veteran of the reprographic industry. Myles began his career with San Jose Blue as a blueprint cutter, eventually becoming an owner and then selling it to an international company. After the sale, Myles Cowherd would became responsible for 500+ Employees and over $100 million in sales.
In 2012 Myles decided to take a year off work to spend time with his daughter before she went off to college and in 2013 he joined the San Francisco Zen as a Work Practice Apprentice. Myles will be joining the Tassajara community in intensive practice at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center (Zenshinji–Zen Heart-Mind Temple) for the 2014 Fall Practice Period.
Senior Client Consultant, Verizon Enterprise Healthcare Solutions
Raul Zuniga is currently serving as a Senior Client Consultant with Verizon Enterprise Healthcare Solutions. With 20+ years experience in the telecommunications industry, Mr. Zuniga has held several managerial titles in operations and maketing in the United States, Mexico and Central Europe. He is also currently serving as President and owner of Mission Financial Services, Inc. and Mission Realty Company, in operation since 2005. The companies provide comprehensive services in residential real estate, financial planning, and personal tax services. In addition, Mr. Zuniga is a partner in a private foreign invesment company in Baja California primarily conducting business in real estate development and foreign invesments. Raul Zuniga graduated with an MBA from Golden Gate University - San Francisco and also received a Bachelors of Science in Finance from California State University – East Bay. Mr. Zuniga proudly served honorably in the United States Air Force. He has a passion for human and animal welfare. Today, he is local leader with MDI International and organizes community services such as Project Elf, a holiday outreach project for families with children facing financial hardship in the Bay Area. He also is a co-founder of The Animal Welfare Group and serves on the Board of Directors for the Ever Forward Club.
Today, Raul lives in Oakland with his wife Leslie, and six dog children.