Dr. Rona Zollinger, integrates inquiry, mindfulness, career exploration, activism and play into an ecological view of living and learning. She has spent the last 25 years developing career pathways for secondary students as a teacher, administrator, and consultant. She continues to facilitate reflective, experiential, communities of practice for educators in a variety of ways. In all her work, she focuses on building school, community, and career connections, relational trust within adult work environments, meaning real-life learning and projects that build connection, creativity, and healing in schools.

Rona works  with the Center for Courage and Renewal as a Circle of Trust Facilitator for the Leading Together programs and Courage to Teach Retreats. The Courage to Teach® Retreat is an opportunity to explore your own sense of identity, purpose, and calling in the teaching life; to reweave the deep connection between what you do and who you are, and to renew your capacity to live and work from a place of wholeness and authenticity.

Zollinger is the K12 Pathway Coordinator for the Peralta Community College District in partnership with Oakland USD and the Bay Area Community College Consortium. As part of this role, she supports K14 career pathway alignment between all the K12 schools that feed into the 4 Peralta Colleges. As part of this role, she is the project manager for the Gladeo Bay Area program finding tool for the Bay Area Community College Consortium. She recently worked at the Alameda County Office of Education as a Program Manager for Pathways to College & Career.

Prior to her work outside of the classroom, Zollinger facilitated an award-winning, transdisciplinary curriculum in an environmental and health careers academy called New Leaf Leadership Academy, where students and community leaders worked in concert for learning and change. She was the 2013 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year and a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow where she worked on the National Geographic Explorer inspiring young explorers to appreciate the exquisite beauty of the Arctic.

Zollinger was also the co-founder of New Leaf Collaborative (NLC) 501c3, which is a partnership network that provides and supports hands-on experiential learning and leadership opportunities in areas of science, nature, and ecological literacy in order to nurture the social and emotional health of K-14 students and their communities.

Favorite quote

As once the winged energy of delight carried you over childhood's dark abysses, now beyond your own life build the great arch of unimagined bridges.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Book Recommendation

A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life

Parker J. Palmer

Where I'm Finding Inspiration

Watercolor painting and nature walks

What I Do For Fun, Rest, and Renewal

Outdoor play! Play is Medicine!

Organizations I've Worked With

New Leaf Collaborative
Earn & Learn
Alameda County Office of Education
Martinez Unified School District
Mt. Diablo Unified School District
San Diego Unified School District