Please Welcome Taj Wilson and Melanie Moore As Our 2022 Acting Board Co-Presidents

By Cathy Niland | 07.20.2022

The Crucible’s Board of Directors is a talented and dedicated group that helps guide our mission. Over the past few years, as we’ve navigated the pandemic, our Board of Directors has been especially important, providing guidance on health and safety, programming, funding, and more. As we enter The Crucible’s next chapter, we are excited to welcome Taj Wilson and Melanie Moore as our new Acting Board Co-Presidents

Between them, Taj and Melanie bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion to their roles. Taj has served as a Crucible Board Member since 2019 and has supported a number of other non-profit organizations. “As an adult, working in the youth programming non-profit world, I got to know The Crucible about ten years ago,” Taj shared. “I saw how it epitomizes the arts education I wish all young people could access.”

2022 acting board co-presidents
2022 acting board co-presidents

An accomplished lawyer, Taj currently serves as in-house counsel for Google and previously served as Deputy Associate Counsel for the Obama Administration. His passion for The Crucible’s mission stems from his roots as a Bay Area native.

“Growing up in Oakland and Contra Costa County public schools, I always wished that I’d had better access to the arts. It’s been fantastic to see the Crucible’s youth programs grow over the years, and I’m excited to work to deepen the connections between The Crucible and the community it serves.”

Fellow Acting Board Co-President, Dr. Melanie Moore, found her passion for The Crucible through her daughter’s experience. “I’ll never forget how proud my daughter was of her neon project at The Crucible’s summer camp,” She said. “As a board member, I’ve been excited to help bring that experience to all young people in Oakland.”

Melanie joined our board earlier this year and immediately hit the ground running as Co-Chair of our Fire & Light Soirée committee. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Oakland Thrives and founded See Change, Inc., an evaluation and strategic consulting firm with the goal of improving critical thinking in organizations working to make social change. She has more than 15 years of experience leading projects assessing the impact of youth development, school reform, community development programs, capacity-building initiatives, and funder networks.

Melanie Moore and Taj Wilson stepping up and becoming acting Board Co-Presidents for The Crucible is a giant win for us. Melanie and Taj are both superb advocates and leaders for Oakland youth, family, and communities. The Crucible’s deep commitment to making the industrial arts accessible to all, both as a way to learn and heal, and as a career pathway, will be well-supported by each of them. This is a dream team.

Susan Mernit
Executive Director, The Crucible

She told us, “The Crucible is at the forefront of connecting education, design, STEM skills, and art so that Oakland’s youth can step confidently toward their future careers. As Board Co-President, I’m eager to leverage my relationships with Oakland’s elected and organizational leaders, and philanthropic organizations to expand our reach and deepen our impact.”

Celebrating Former Board President, Amanda Lacau Noguera

As we welcome Taj and Melanie to their new roles, we also want to celebrate former Board President, Amanda Lacau Noguera for her great deal of accomplishments these past few years. As Board President, Amanda helped steer The Crucible through two very tough years during the COVID-19 pandemic, playing a lead role in securing our EIDL and SBA loans, and supporting our virtual fundraising for our youth industrial arts programs.

Amanda was essential to the success of our 2022 Fire & Light Soirée which raised more than $297,000 for our work. She has been a wonderful partner in building out The Crucible’s community engagement, supporting both the development of ERV, our mobile classroom and our community partnerships, empowering us to connect more consistently and deeply with community partners and schools in Oakland.

Executive Director, Susan Mernit shared, “Everyone on the board and all the staff who had a chance to work with Amanda Lacau Noguera have so much respect and admiration for her commitment to supporting The Crucible and her success in that work.” Thank you, Amanda, for all you’ve done for The Crucible during your tenure.

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