Zakir McKenzie-Parpia (Zak) found his way to Expanded Learning programs via the youth athletics world, coaching kindergarten t-ball and 4th grade boys’ lacrosse to be exact. While teaching preschool Pee-Wee Sports and Movement, his first assignment as a full-time Youth Athletics Coordinator, Zak discovered his love and talent for putting youth development theory into practice, whether on the field or in the classroom. His love of youth development has evolved into an unwavering commitment to support and develop high quality youth development professionals, programs and resources. As the Director of Programs at CalSAC, Zak oversees Leadership Development programming, from fellowships to 3-day workshop intensives, works closely with the CalSAC Trainer Network program, supports curriculum development, and leads statewide equity initiatives in partnership with CDE and other statewide technical assistance providers.
Zak grew up in the rainy Pacific Northwest and landed in the Bay Area in 2001 to study Sociology at the University of San Francisco. Zak has spent his career honing best practices for cultivating learning environments, for youth and adults alike, that center self-reflection, deepen self-awareness and ultimately elevate a critical consciousness. His lived experience as a man of trans experience and a person of color informs how he moves in the world and his commitment to a compassionate, intersectional analysis of youth development, leadership practices and anti-oppression efforts. Zak is passionate about designing and supporting educational opportunities in which youth and adults are challenged intellectually and loved unconditionally.
Outside of work, you can find him on biking adventures, listening to podcasts while working on puzzles, cooking or reading a good book. He recently moved to Portland, Oregon with his wife and they are expecting their first child in November 2020. He’s already a proud father to Owl (cat) and Athena (senior mutt).