My favorite childhood book that I read over (and over and over and over) was: Sadly, I don’t have a favorite childhood book. I wasn’t much of a reader as a child and only reached 3rd grade reading proficiency in the 8th grade. Thanks to several caring high school teachers and two amazing University of California, Los Angeles English professors, I turned it around later in life. So while I don’t have any favorite childhood books to share, I offer three titles that I revisit over and over again: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
My hope for Oakland students is: The same as I have for my own daughters. That they have MANY caring adults in their lives who prepare them for the world’s opportunities, and help them find their passion and unrelentingly pursue their dreams.
Rhonnel Sotelo has been with the Rogers Family Foundation since April 2013 and became its Chief Executive Officer in January 2023. In addition to overseeing the executive management of the Foundation’s grantmaking and operations, Rhonnel leads and guides the Foundation team in the execution of the Foundation’s Oakland education strategy.
Rhonnel’s career in philanthropy spans nearly two decades, including serving as the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Program & Operations for the Stuart Foundation and leading The San Francisco Foundation’s West Oakland Initiative and Multicultural Fellowship program. An urban planner by profession, Rhonnel previously owned and operated Urban Works, a planning and design firm focused on neighborhood planning and livable communities in the Pacific Northwest and California. Rhonnel holds a Master of Arts in Urban Planning and a Bachelor of Arts in English, both from the University of California, Los Angeles. He currently sits on the board of Envision Education, and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Oakland Public Education Fund and the founding Board of the Oakland Literacy Coalition.
He lives in Oakland with his wife Chris. Together, they have raised two daughters who are proud graduates of Oakland public charter schools.