Meet the Team | Not in Our Town

Meet the Team


Patrice O’Neill, Not In Our Town Executive Producer, is an award-winning media producer dedicated to telling stories about everyday people transforming their communities. As co-founder of the Oakland-based non-profit strategic media production company The Working Group, she has produced successful national series on PBS for fifteen years, using a multi-platform approach that utilizes documentary film, social networking, outreach and organizing efforts to encourage dialogue and spur action.

Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas is the Director of Not In Our School (NIOS). She has spoken on the subject of how to combat bullying at conferences,schools, and universities across the United States. Becki's newbook,“Identity Safe Classrooms: Places to Belong and Learn,” co-authored with Dr. Dorothy Steele was published by Corwin Press. Prior to working at The Working Group, she spent over 35 years in public education in California. She was a preschool director in Healdsburg, teacher and  principal in the Oakland Unified School District, Elementary Curriculum Director for the Palo Alto Unified School District and Superintendent of the Luther Burbank School District. While serving in Palo Alto in 2003, Becki initiated Not In Our School: Palo Alto, one of the first NIOS initiatives featured on KQED public television. 

Paul A. Di Lella is the Director of Law Enforcement Relations for Not In Our Town. He is an attorney and a recently retired prosecutor from the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey. He is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Criminal Trial Attorney and by the New Jersey Police Training Commission as a Police Academy Instructor. Paul is a member of the National District Attorneys Association and the American Bar Association.

Charene Zalis is a Senior Producer who oversees film production for The Working Group/Not In Our Town and served as producer on Waking in Oak CreekA Prosecutor’s StandLight in the Darkness and the PBS special Not In Our Town: Class Actions. Prior to joining The Working Group, Zalis produced for the public television human rights series, Rights and Wrongs and Frontline. As a freelancer based in Asia and the Middle East, she produced for Asia Business News, PBS and Nickelodeon. Zalis began her career at NBC News and Sports.

Jeremy Jue is an Assistant Editor at Not In Our Town. He has taught basic video production to youth around the world, and is passionate about providing voice and greater opportunities to underserved and vulnerable populations. He is thrilled to be part of the NIOT team. 
Radhika Jit is the Digital Campaign and Network Manager at Not In Our Town. Prior to working at the Working Group, she spent several years as a journalist and developing global narratives for international development non-profit The Asia Foundation. She is thrilled to bring her expertise to NIOT in this community organizing role. 
Erika Gosser, Kelly Whalen and Alicia Upano were integral to the creation of Gosser managed and coordinated the production of Whalen produced many of the short films, interviewed NIOT community members, and wrote and edited the stories in the Local Lessons section. Upano managed and coordinated as well as communications strategy for NIOT for multiple years.
Past and present team members who have also contributed to Not In Our Town's films and website include Emma Clune, Kate McLean, Heather Blackwell Gersh, Christina Corodimas, Kirthi Nath, and Sue Fishkoff; producer Adrienne Calo; and editors Anthony Lucero, Bob Laird, Matt Dibble, Andy Gersh and Jill Strong.
David Molina is responsible for some of the music featured in the videos on You can find David's music here. Additional music was provided by Music Orange and Dave Nelson of Outpost Studios. was built and designed by EchoDitto and their collaborators at Biro Creative. We could not have asked for a more skilled, experienced and simpatico team. They listened… they heard. We’re proud to work with them. Special thanks to Michael Silberman, Scott Bulua, Nicco Mele, and the entire Biro Creative team. NIOT currently works with the wonderful team at
Our other brilliant advisors include Ben Rigby, Allen Gunn of Aspiration Tech, Evelyn Messinger, the team at CoCo Studios, and Jeroen Lapré.