Data Academy Instructors

Meet the crew that brings you Data Academy training throughout the year. Interested in becoming an instructor? Let us know. See our alumni instructors.

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Albert Lin

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

Albert is a Performance Analyst in the City Performance Unit of the Controller’s Office. He has taught Data Academy courses in Excel, Tableau, and Lean 101. Albert has worked on a range of projects that have covered emergency response, affordable housing, capital projects, and benchmarking. He is particularly interested in applying process improvement and data analysis skills to complex issues relating to planning and equity. Before arriving at City Performance, Albert has had a multi-sectoral career in public policy, with stops at the SF Planning Department, SPUR, Deloitte public sector consulting, and the City of Pittsburgh. Albert has a MS in Public Policy and Data Analytics from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BA in Political Economy from UC Berkeley.

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Alice Kassinger

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

Alice is a Performance Analyst in the San Francisco Controller’s Office. In her time with the City Performance Unit, she has worked with over a dozen departments on process improvement, performance measures, and IT implementation. She looks forward to empowering City staff to learn software that can bring transparent public reporting and quality data analysis to local government. She encourages any Data Academy student to reach out when in need of a someone to troubleshoot with or bounce ideas off of! Collaboration and continuous learning is key. Alice has a BA in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.

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Blake Valenta

Data Analyst & Analytics Strategist, DataSF

Blake Valenta is a Data Analyst & Analytics Strategist at DataSF. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago and master’s degree in public policy from the UCLA Luskin School. Blake came to DataSF as a Research Fellow from the Harvard Ash Center. Before joining DataSF, Blake worked as a researcher with the UCLA Labor Center, as a statistician with the Empirical Research Group at the UCLA Law School, and a policy advocate at IWJ, a non-profit in Chicago that focuses on labor rights and economic justice issues.

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Catherine Omalev

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

Catherine has worked in a variety of public sector contexts: in the non-profit world with the Citizen’s Planning Association of Santa Barbara, in State government at the California Legislative Analyst’s Office working on state budget analysis, and at the Federal level working on sustainability in HUD-funded housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Since joining the Controller’s Office, Catherine has been involved in a variety of projects, and she is particularly proud of the work she has done with the San Francisco Business Portal Team in improving the business permitting processes required for opening a new restaurant in San Francisco. She is eager to see how process improvement can be integrated throughout the City. Catherine has an MA in Public Policy from the Sol Price School of Public Policy at University of Southern California.

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Ellen Love

Principal Administrative Analyst, Office of Labor Standards Enforcement

Ellen manages implementation of new legislation and leads data collection and analysis for the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement. Among many other projects at OLSE, she coordinated the roll-out of the landmark Paid Parental Leave Ordinance, which guarantees new parents in San Francisco 6 weeks of fully-paid time to bond with new children. Prior to joining the City in 2012, Ellen advocated for socially responsible public procurement policy with the Responsible Purchasing Network and supported the development of worker-owned businesses with Prospera in Oakland, California.  Ellen holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Goldman School at the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies from Brown University.

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Emily Alt

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

Emily is a performance analyst in the City Performance Unit of the Controller’s Office, with five years of prior experience at the SF Public Utilities Commission working on sustainability and implementing community benefits programs. While there, she was a primary developer of the data collection, analysis and reporting efforts for the PUC’s Strategic Sustainability plan, and has extensive experience in metrics development, information design, Tableau, and Excel that she is excited to share with the Data Academy community. Prior to the PUC, Emily was a teaching assistant at San Francisco’s Presidio Graduate School where she earned an MBA.  Her undergraduate degree in Mathematics, Spanish, and Geography is from Aquinas College in Michigan.

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Emily Lisker

Project Management, Controller's Office

Emily is a Project Manager at the City Performance Unit who works with the Department of Public Health to promote the use of data to improve healthcare operations and maximize efficiencies. After five years of consulting, data analysis, and research across the public and private sectors, she knows the value of wrangling data and telling stories that make good decisions easy. She enjoys sharing her passion for data and visualization to propel the city’s data-driven workforce. Emily has an MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and a BS in Environmental Toxicology from UC Davis. 

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Emily Vontsolos

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

Emily Vontsolos is a Performance Analyst in the San Francisco Controller’s Office. With the City Performance Unit, she has worked with several departments to manage, analyze, and visualize their data. In addition to teaching several courses, she helps to administer Data Academy and is passionate about equipping CCSF staff with the tools they need to do their best work. When she’s not analyzing data in R, Emily enjoys admiring artsy data visualizations, reading radical feminist authors, and supporting the work of local SF non-profits.

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Eric Pawlowsky

Planning & Performance Analyst, Recreation & Parks Department

Eric Pawlowsky is a Planning & Performance analyst with the Recreation & Parks Department’s strategic planning unit where he’s responsible for performance measurement, data analysis, and organizational planning and development. Prior to that he worked as a legislative aide with the County of San Mateo where he analyzed and developed public policy. He earned his MPP from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, his Bachelor’s degree in economics from Santa Clara University, and his Open-Water Coxswain Certification from the Bay Area Whaleboat Rowing Association.

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Glynis Startz

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

Glynis is a Performance Analyst in the San Francisco Controller’s Office. She loves data and survey design, and working with others to get them excited as well. Since joining City Performance Glynis has worked on projects across the City, including the biennial City Survey. Prior to joining the Controller’s Office she worked on evaluations of development programs as well as data and performance improvement in government. Glynis has an MA in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Economics and History from Williams College.

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Jason Lally

Data Services Manager

Jason Lally is the Data Services Manager, working with the City’s Chief Data Officer, Joy Bonaguro, to help operationalize the City’s data strategy. Jason comes to the City by way of a Mayor’s Innovation Fellowship that wrapped up in August 2014. Before that, he worked at the intersection of technology and urban planning as Director of the Decision Lab at PlaceMatters in Denver, CO. He came to open government and open data through his work in cities and regions across the country on data-informed, community planning processes. Recognizing a need for more robust information services and platforms to support strong community engagement, Jason is pleased to contribute to making data more accessible and useful at the City. Jason earned his Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Jeff Pomrenke

Performance Analyst, Controller’s Office

In the Controller’s Office, Jeff works with a variety of City departments to help promote data visualization and process improvements through software such as Power BI, Tableau, and MS Excel. He learned all of his data skills by taking Data Academy courses since joining the City in 2015 as a City Hall Fellow. Prior to joining the City, Jeff worked in high-level cell phone tower construction and served in the United States Marine Corps for over six years, eventually obtaining the rank of Sergeant. He holds a BA in Political Science and Spanish from the University of North Georgia.

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Jenessa Rozier

Jenessa works on the operational and financial processes that support the City Performance Unit. Her project portfolio has ranged from performance measurement, facilitation, and Lean. As a member of the City Performance Lean Team, Jenessa has helped to develop the curriculum for training City employees on Lean process improvement, and enjoys empowering line staff to make incremental, powerful changes to their daily work. She hopes the Lean Team can create a culture within City government for continuous improvement, and that all City employees feel ownership and pride for the work they do every day.

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Jessie Rubin

Project Manager, Controller's Office

Jessie loves watching Data Academy students get excited about using analytical tools to improve the efficiency of department operations and the efficacy of City services. Prior to joining the Controller’s Office, Jessie worked for the City’s Office of the Public Defender as a paralegal.  She also spent three years working with nonprofits in Central America – as an organizational development consultant in Panama and a Fulbright Scholar in Nicaragua.  She has an MA in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and a BA in Government from Smith College.  She is also certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP).

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Joe Lapka

Project Manager, Controller's Office

Joe’s work in the Controller’s Office spans a broad range of subject areas including public transportation, public safety, public health, workers’ compensation, and human resources management.  He holds a master’s degree in public administration from San Francisco State University, a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from The University of Michigan and a professional certification in geographic information systems from San Francisco State University.

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Julia Salinas

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

Julia loves to facilitate inter-agency collaboration efforts, bringing stakeholders together to develop shared visions and solve complex problems. She also facilitates strategic planning and evaluation efforts – helping organizations develop goals and strategies, understand the impact of their work, and continuously improve their strategies and outcomes.  Julia received her graduate degree from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Through her graduate studies, she worked for the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and San Francisco Planning Department. Prior to graduate school, Julia was a consultant for Bay Area local governments, working to educate and engage community stakeholders in local public decision-making.  She graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in Environmental Studies, during which time she worked at a nonprofit, foundation, and county planning commission focusing on sustainability and revitalization efforts in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Kyra Sikora

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

Kyra works on a wide variety of process improvement, public health, and social service projects in the City Performance Unit. In addition to developing Tableau dashboards and analyzing business processes, Kyra coaches and trains City employees to improve their daily work as a member of the City Performance Lean Team. Modeled after the city of Denver’s Peak Academy, the Lean Team partners with city departments to introduce a systematic approach to process improvement. Kyra is a firm believer in the Lean-inspired idea that continuous improvement and small, incremental changes to processes can result in greater efficiency and happier city employees. Kyra teaches the Data Academy’s “Lean 101 – One day to better government” and process mapping courses. Kyra has a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Luke Fuller

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

Luke loves getting people excited to learn. He uses programs like Tableau and Power BI to make data come to life, helping people see and understand the impact of their work, find opportunities to try new ideas, and communicate with the public about how their government is doing. Since 2015 he has partnered with teams at nearly a dozen departments to help them improve their service designs, policies, and use of data. Luke worked with a variety of nonprofits and service groups before joining the City, including the Urban Institute where he conducted research on local governance and service outcomes, and the social impact strategy firm Mission Measurement where he helped clients improve their management and performance of global development programs. He started his career with the City as an intern in 2007 and a City Hall Fellow in 2010-11. He holds an M.A. in International Development Studies from George Washington University and a B.S. in Political Science from Santa Clara University, with special training in business process improvement, nonprofit management, performance measurement and organizational learning.

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Marc Hebert

Director, Innovation Office, Human Services Agency

Marc leads the Human Services Agency’s Innovation Office. The Office partners with clients, coworkers, and community partners to improve their experiences across digital and non-digital touchpoints. Marc is a former Code for America fellow, and holds a PhD in Applied Anthropology from the University of South Florida, an MA from American University in International Affairs, and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Florida.

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Michael Cox

Performance and Business Analyst, MTA

Michael is a Performance and Business Support Analyst at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. He develops Tableau dashboards communicating SFMTA’s Strategic Plan metrics and other performance objectives. His background is in environmental science and he has completed data analysis projects related to life cycle assessment of transit infrastructure, energy use in storage facilities, and waste generation in manufacturing processes. Michael has an MS in Environmental Science from Yale and a BS in Earth Systems from Stanford University. Prior to joining the city, he worked for two years at United Technologies in their Environment, Health & Safety department.

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Michael Perlstein

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

In addition to teaching several classes with Data Academy, Michael co-leads the program’s daily operations, creation of new course offerings, and development of new partnerships with City departments. His other work in the City Performance Unit runs the gamut from facilitation to detailed analysis to help departments make well informed and collaborative decisions. Before joining City Performance, Michael worked with a clean technology company to reduce electricity demand at commercial and industrial facilities.

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Peg Stevenson

Director, City Performance

Peg is Data Academy’s executive sponsor, and a staunch supporter of Data Academy’s mission to increase the citywide use of data to support decision-making. As the Director of City Performance since 2004, she has been a constant champion for making data-driven decisions to improve government services. Peg’s expertise is particularly focused on public administration, budgeting, and finance. Peg has a Masters in Public Policy from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.

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Ryan Hunter

Project Manager, Controller's Office

Ryan works on a diverse array of projects for the City Performance Unit of the Controller’s Office, helping departments across the City use data and smart practices to provide excellent services to the people of San Francisco. Before joining the City of San Francisco, Ryan worked in performance measurement and policy analysis for University Health Services at UC Berkeley and the Oakland city administrator’s office. Ryan earned his MA in Public Policy from the Goldman School at UC Berkeley in 2011, adding to a previous MA in Sociology from Stanford. Ryan recently earned his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, and he loves giving people tools to solve difficult problems.

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Sherman Luk

Project Manager, Controller's Office

Sherman oversees the formation and expansion of the Data Academy and manages a portfolio of technology projects for the City Performance Unit of the Controller’s Office. His expertise is in technology consulting and new product development. He has taught courses for UC Berkeley Extension and developed corporate training for technology users.  Sherman has an MA in City Planning from UC Berkeley and an MS in Management Science from Stanford University. He is professionally certified in Business Intelligence, Business Analysis, and Project Management.

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Vivian Chen

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

Vivian is a Performance Analyst in the City Performance Unit of the Controller’s Office. She has worked on projects related to health and social services, process improvement, and citywide performance benchmarking. Vivian teaches Lean 101 for Data Academy, and is excited about empowering City employees to implement positive operational and cultural change in their workplaces. She started her career with the City as an intern in the Office of Resilience and Capital Planning. Since then, she worked at the FDIC and in the economic consulting industry before returning to San Francisco. Vivian has a BA in Mathematical Economics from Pomona College.

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Wendy Lee

Performance Analyst, Controller's Office

Wendy is a Performance Analyst in the City Performance Unit who works on projects related to public health and social services. Prior to joining the Controller’s Office team, she was immersed in healthcare data at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Wendy uses analytic tools like Excel, SQL, and Tableau to build dashboards to support continuous improvement and empower teams to make data-driven decisions. Before joining the City team, Wendy worked in health policy consulting focused on value-based care, behavioral health, performance improvement, and health equity. Wendy enjoys diving headfirst into data and using data as a common language to share lessons and learn from fellow City staff. Wendy has an MPH in Health Systems and Policy from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and BA in Molecular and Cell Biology and Public Health from UC Berkeley.