Stagebridge Staff

Executive Director: José Rivera

Mr. Rivera has been in the field of operations and support for close to 20 years, having held field, staff, executive, and consulting positions in various organizations during that time. He has been right-hand man to three Chief Executive Officers in industries ranging from high-tech to environmental services. He has also worked in non-profit environments such as education, the arts, foundations and government, serving as Executive Director, board member and individual contributor. The past ten years he has spent working on education philanthropy, teaching individuals to become entrepreneurs and masters of their own destiny, as well as grow and scale an educational start-up which provides customized education to disadvantaged kids, achieving remarkable results where other systems have failed. He was interim CEO and COO of a major venture philanthropy in the San Francisco Bay Area and has mentored founders of small to midsize companies, helping with business and strategic planning.  He served as advisor to an inner city economic development entity in Oakland and still mentors a number of minority students. He is co-author of an entrepreneurship workbook used in various colleges and universities in Puerto Rico; a former theater and film producer, screenwriter and classical pianist. He is a resident of Albany, California for the past 25 years.

Performing Arts Institute Director: Sadie Harmon

Sadie Harmon joined Stagebridge in December of 2014, stepping in as Training Institute and Outreach Coordinator. She is responsible for scheduling and class registration and performance bookings, among other things. In 2011, she relocated to Oakland from Chicago to attend graduate school at California College of the Arts, where she earned an MFA in interdisciplinary art. Currently, she administers Birdhouse, an artist run school and arts collective based at the Omni Commons in Oakland; additionally, she is a part of a collaborative artist team called Speaking Tributaries, which works in conjunction with Oakland elders, environmental groups, and community organizations to address memory and water as imperiled resources. Prior to coming to Stagebridge, she worked as an art teacher and activities coordinator for people living in Memory Care.

Storytelling/TimeSlips Director: Kirk Waller, M.A.

With a lifelong love of story, literature and the performing arts, Kirk Waller has been immersed in these art forms for over 20 years. He has garnered national recognition for his storytelling, including being awarded the J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Grant by the National Storytelling Network, receiving a Parent’s Choice Foundation GOLD award for his CD, “But Why? Stories, Music and Songs” and being a storyteller at the Exchange Place at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn. In addition to being the Director of Storytelling at Stagebridge, he is current chair of the Storytelling Association of California and is on the advisory board of Tell It On Tuesday at the Marsh in Berkeley. Kirk received his bachelor’s degree in English and his Master’s in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.

Schools Program Coordinator: Barbara Johnson

As Schools Program Coordinator, Barbara works closely with elementary school principals and teachers in four East Bay school districts, booking assemblies and classroom workshops in storytelling, drama, and improvisation, and ensuring that schools comply with foundation and government grant requirements. A native of Louisiana and resident of West Oakland, Barbara attended Laney College and came to Stagebridge in 1995 after flying worldwide as an airline flight attendant, serving as a hostess and bartender, and driving a big rig.

Grantwriter: Michael Stephens

Michael Stephens is a 1973 anthropology graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.  Early in his career he worked as a museum anthropologist at U.C.B.’s Hearst Museum of Anthropology and with the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, N.M. He became Grants Manager at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 1984 and later worked as Associate Director of Development – Foundations & Corporations at San Diego Opera and then Director of Development at California Shakespeare Festival. He has served as a board member for the Southwestern Association of Indian Affairs, Sinfonia San Francisco and several other cultural organizations.

Marketing Coordinator: Vicki Wong

Drawing on a varied background in film and animated television production and now expanding to focus on theatre, Vicki is Stagebridge's Marketing Coordinator. Her experience in multiple roles including producing, screenplay editing, script supervising, production management and public relations includes the award-winning indie feature film East Side Sushi and indie comedy Nowhere Girl. Her varied production experience also includes freelance work, two animated Star Wars television series and an extensive career in visual FX on feature films such as Charlotte’s Web, The Matrix Revolutions, and Hellboy, as well as commercials for clients such as Chevy and Sirius Radio.