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Beyond Salesian


Beyond Salesian is a mentor program designed for new Salesian College Preparatory graduates (our “scholars”) who need support and direction as they navigate the first two years of college. Most Beyond Salesian scholars tend to be the first members of their families to pursue post-secondary education. Our mentors are tasked with providing advice and guidance as well as discussing any concerns or challenges our scholars may have as they begin their college studies.

Salesian graduates are socially responsible young men and women. We are so proud of them as they graduate after a rigorous college preparatory experience. 

Salesian President, Stephen Pezzola standing in front of the building for a portrait

Going to college opens up a whole new world and it is sometimes difficult to navigate all the decisions that must be made before you attend your first college class, if you don’t have a ready guide. We have found that each year, we have a handful or more students who struggle with transitioning to college, particularly at one of our great community colleges or a larger Cal State University. While they are academically ready, they just need a little advice on college life, registering for classes, and such.

We started Beyond Salesian with these students in mind. It is a “near peer” and mentor program. The near peer will be a college student in their junior or senior year or a recent college graduate. The mentor will be someone with a bit more life experience (older adults, many who have helped their own children navigate their way to success in college). Beyond Salesian will match every student, who chooses to participate in the program, with a near peer and a mentor as resources to act as a sounding board, or be a person to turn to about college classes and life at college. All are volunteers who believe in the Salesian Family. Family helps family to succeed.

Beyond Salesian is here to help our graduates go beyond Salesian into the collegiate world and thrive to become the leaders of the future. Please consider being part of Beyond Salesian, your experience can be a tremendous asset for our (soon to be) Salesian graduates!

Stephen Pezzola

Become a Mentor or Near Peer

Who We Are

Joe Reid

Joe Reid has a passion for Catholic education. He is eager to help Salesian College Preparatory prosper as the challenge of educating and inspiring young men and women become integral contributors to our community.

Both Joe (alumnus St. Ignatius College Preparatory, San Francisco) and wife Denise (alumna Presentation, San Francisco) are products of Catholic education. They are active parishioners at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Walnut Creek. 

Joe has served as Finance Committee Chairperson for the Oakland diocesan schools as well as on numerous other boards and committees in service to the Catholic Church. A graduate of UC Santa Barbara with an MBA in Taxation from Golden Gate University, Joe recently retired from a 40-year career as an International Tax Advisor for the Chevron Corporation. He states, “It was a career that took me to five continents and taught me how much lessons learned through our faith are needed in our world.”

Kelly Robinson, Director of Near Peer Program

Kelly Robinson’s history with Salesian goes back to the early 80’s when she attended Presentation-Berkeley and her brothers attended Salesian.  When the time came to select a high school for her son Elijah, Kelly’s (and Elijah’s) first choice was Salesian. For Kelly, stepping back on Salesian’s campus after many years felt like a homecoming. Now a Salesian alum, Elijah Ponton ‘15  is a senior architectural design student, living in and attending school at Sacramento State.  Kelly is also the mom of Joshua, a junior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Conservatory, studying Contemporary Dance, and Delilah a high school senior at Oakland School of the Arts, concentrating on visual arts and photography.

Kelly is the creator and CEO of Coach to Discover, Inc.  Kelly is an International Coach Federation Professional Certified Coach (ICF-PCC), an Organizational Relationship Systems Certified Coach (ORSCC), and holds a Health and Wellness BCC (Board Certified Coach).  She is a certified Conscious Business Coach, holds a certificate in Transformational Leadership and has a master’s in Public Administration.  Kelly has more than 6 years of experience coaching government, corporate, and non-profit sector leaders, teams, boards, and organizations. 

Tery Lizarraga, Director of Mentor Program

Tery Lizarraga and her husband, John, joined the Salesian family when their daughters Megan and Jackie enrolled as a freshmen in 2008 and 2010.  The entire Lizarraga family loves basketball and were a part of Salesian’s Girls Basketball Program. Megan and Jackie played, Tery coached and John scouted and took game film.  Tery and John enjoyed it so much, they stayed with the program after the girls graduated. Megan attended Cal Poly and is working under an architect while obtaining her license. Jackie attended Lewis and Clark College and is in Samuel Merritt’s Occupational Therapy Program. 

Tery is a big believer in education and is excited to be back at Salesian on the Beyond Salesian team. Tery worked her way through college, attending Contra Costa College prior to transferring to UC Berkeley and obtaining an engineering degree.  She had a 30 year career with Chevron working at the Richmond Refinery in the engineering, operations and the environmental and safety departments. She retired from Chevron while on assignment in China. She has a consulting business and is currently consulting and working on a College Coaching Certificate from UC San Diego. Tery enjoyed helping her girls and their friends navigate through the college admission process and looks forward to supporting Salesian students as they transition to college.

Janet O'Hair, Co-Director of Scholars

Ms. O’Hair graduated from Ursuline High School in Santa Rosa and earned a BFA in Acting from Syracuse University in New York. She worked as a professional actor and director in New York City for over 20 years. In New York, she also taught drama and directed plays at The Browning School and The Convent of the Sacred Heart. Ms. O’Hair then moved to England and taught drama and directed at Aldenham, a school dating back to 1587. She joined the faculty at Salesian in 2008. In addition to directing the plays and musicals and teaching Drama and ESL I, she also is the moderator for several clubs including the Film Club, The Drama Club, National Honor Society and co-moderator of Adulting 101. Ms. O’Hair enjoys cycling, travel, reading, and theatre.

Litzia Martin, Co-Director of Scholars

Ms. Martin found her way back home to Salesian in 2015 after graduating from St. Mary’s College of CA. She earned her Master’s Degree in Teaching and her California Teaching Credential in 2018. Ms. Martin is the Senior Class Moderator and co-moderator of the Salsa Club (a club that she founded as a Salesian student), Adulting 101 and Math Club. In her free time, you can find Ms. Martin having fun with her family and friends at coffee shops and concerts.


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