Downtown WALC Teacher, WALC Publications Editor
Catherine, having begun teaching at Downtown High in 1994, is the school's senior-most teacher. She is a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certified science teacher and a certified environmental educator, also holding credentials in social science and literature. Catherine has been Downtown WALC's Project Facilitator since its inception in 1999 and has served as WALC's publications editor since that time. Growing up, Catherine lived in five different states; for her Korean immigrant mother, family outings to new state and national parks in each region helped foster a sense of place in the United States.
Downtown WALC Teacher
Rachelle began teaching at Downtown High School in 2012 and joined WALC in the fall of 2013. She taught in San Francisco continuation education for two years prior to her start at DHS. Rachelle grew up in southern California among a family of Chicano activists with ties to education. Her grandfather and father worked hand in hand with the UFW, Brown Berets, and one of the first chapters of Santa Barbara MEChA, as well as starting their own outdoor youth group, Campo Atzlán. Through her family, Rachelle was raised with an appreciation for nature, community, education and activism. Rachelle attended the University of Texas at El Paso where she played softball and double majored in Media Advertising and Sociology. After a short-lived career in advertising, she decided it was time to follow the family tradition and became an educator.
Conrad J. Benedicto
Social Studies Teacher/Executive Director
Conrad began teaching social studies at Balboa High School in 1994. He immigrated to San Francisco from the Philippines as a teenager and is an alumnus of Woodrow Wilson High School, which closed just before he began teaching. Wanting to return to his community to teach, Conrad chose Balboa as the school that best reflected his high school experience. After three years as the coordinator of the Unity Club, a multi-ethnic organization that used the wilderness and outdoor experiences as tools to help build community across cultures, Conrad co-founded the WALC Club in 1998, which became an academic pathway in the fall of 2000. A certified environmental educator, Conrad has served in WALC’s director role since the organization took root.
Kenneth M. Gonzalez
Having joined Balboa’s faculty as an English teacher in 1996, Ken co-founded the WALC Club in 1998 and was instrumental in transforming the club into an academic pathway that has been institutionalized at Balboa since 2000. A Bay Area native of Mexican heritage, grew up in Richmond, hiking and camping throughout California with his family and the Boy Scouts. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 1995 and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education in 1996, both from Stanford University. Ken has long served as Balboa’s English Department Head and Balboa WALC's Co-Facilitator and is also a certified environmental educator.