AASD Staff

Takiyah Jackson

Takiyah Jackson is a Seattle native who has been passionately involved in her community for over 15 years through education, community engagement, and athletics.  Her most recent work in education includes state policy work, comprehensive counseling and guidance programming, social-emotional program development, career readiness planning, and professional development facilitation.  Takiyah also leads a volunteer Charity group and has provided resources for students and families in need.  She is a whole-person advocate and has worked with schools to incorporate social-emotional learning and support into the fabric of their schools.  In 2012, She was appointed by Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire to the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board and re-appointed for a second term by Governor Jay Inslee in 2014.  In her gubernatorial appointment, her work included regulatory policy-making and oversight of Washington’s system of educator preparation, certification, continuing education and assignment, program implementer of legislatively mandated programs, advocate for policy, programs and resources for students and educators, and strategic advisor to the Governor, the Legislature, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Takiyah graduated from UCLA in the year 2000 and received her Master’s Degree in Education and Counseling from Seattle Pacific University in 2003.  In 2009 she received her National Board Certification in Counseling.  Takiyah was also a member of the UCLA women’s basketball team that won the Pac-10 championship and made it to the NCAA tournament’s elite eight in 1999.

As the Director of African-American Student Development, Takiyah will lead programming and management for African American Student Development and for the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center.  Please feel free to check her bCal to connect with her or email her at takiyah.jackson@berkeley.edu for any inquiries.

Melissa Charles
Assistant Director, AASD

Melissa Charles (pronouns: she, her, hers) is excited to be working alongside her team to support the learning, growth and well-being of black and underrepresented peoples.  She has practiced in facilitation, writing, scholarship and activism. Melissa began her professional career as a community organizer for the Direct Action Research & Training Center in Charleston, South Carolina.There, she worked to organize a community into action on problems of youth incarceration, early childhood learning, inequitable high school suspension rates, illegal wage practices and young adult unemployment. 
Prior to coming to Berkeley, Melissa worked with the identity-based dialogue, Program on InterGroup Relations as well as the Office of Multi Ethnic Student Affairs at the University of Michigan as a Program Specialist (Allyhood Curriculum Development). She has researched, written and published on topics of empathy, allyhood and student activism. Melissa’s passion lies in intentional, proactive activism rooted in love (agapé) which highlights multiple voices and provides a multipartial approach to policy, law and education. Melissa holds degrees in Psychology and Entrepreneurship from the University of Florida, and Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan.  You can reach Melissa at mcharles@berkeley.edu.

Blake Simons
Assistant Director

Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center