ACYR Board of Directors

Marvin Robinson – Commercial Portfolio Manager, Johnson Bank – ACYR Board President

  • Works with business owners helping them achieve their goals.
  • Business style is a consultative and advisory approach, striving to understand a client’s needs and desires in order to tailor custom and innovative solutions.
  • Works with companies with $5 – $50 million in annual revenue.
  • Industry focus primarily consists of manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and professionals including engineers, architects, CPA’s and attorneys.
  • Helps companies in the areas of improving cash flow, funding growth, acquiring assets for expansion, financing acquisitions, and commercial real estate purchases.

John Oyler – Principal, Partners in Participation; ACYR Board Secretary

John Oyler is a dedicated and thoughtful designer of participatory approaches and Community Youth Development programs. John was on staff of the Institute of Cultural Affairs for 38 years. During that time, he was part of ICA’s pioneering efforts in developing inclusive collaborative methods which help groups deal with change and move towards effective action. This provided him with extensive experience in facilitation, training, curriculum design and program development with very diverse groups, including 15 years in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Islands. For the past 20 years, he has had an intensive focus on developing local, national and international partnerships in the field of Community Youth Development, in which youth and adults of all ages work together to build healthy, just and sustainable communities. This focus has included the initiation and development of a Youth as Facilitative Leaders version of the Technology of Participation ( ToP) training now being delivered in numerous locations in the U.S. and abroad. Recent partners and clients are focused in the southwest U.S. and include: the Arizona Community Foundation and ten diverse communities involved in the Arizona Communities for All Ages initiative, the Center for Workforce Development and City View High School of ACYR, the PASSAGE Transition Coalition for foster youth, and two networks of after-school program managers and technical assistance providers in California. Since 2007 he is a principal in Partners in Participation LLC ( John holds a BA in German Literature from Dickinson College and spent two years of study at German universities.

Cynthia Peters – Adjunct Professor, Arizona State University; ACYR Board Vice President

Cynthia Peters was employed with the City of Phoenix until her retirement in October 2012, working in various capacities from coordinating and organizing programs for youth and teens, to working with Head Start families, to her last position: managing parks development projects and staff. She has also been a field instructor for the past 27 years for both BSW students at Arizona State University. During her tenure with the City of Phoenix she developed partnerships with several outside entities such as Maricopa County Juvenile Court, Arizona State University, Association of Arizona Food Banks, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Phoenix Union High School District to enhance the programming within the Parks and Recreation Department. For several years with both Parks and Recreation and the Human Services Department, she managed grant funded programs as well as sought out resources for partnerships and funding for the organization. In her last position with the City of Phoenix, Cynthia supervised and managed the project managers for parks development projects on a citywide basis that totaled over $85 million. Responsibilities included managing the tax-based program, bond funds and impact fees that provide resources to the community through the acquisition of land for preserves, and the development and renovation of community and neighborhood parks. Upon her retirement, she joined Arizona State University as a Faculty Associate teaching classes in the School of Social Work. She also serves as Field Instructor/Liaison following up with students involved internship activities throughout the City of Phoenix.

Cynthia has also served in various capacities on Boards of Directors for nonprofit agencies on a local and national level. She is currently serving as the Chairperson of the Board of the Phoenix Children’s Chorus which provides music educational opportunities for children throughout the Phoenix area. She has also served on committees through the National Recreation and Parks Association including the Program Committee, Ethic Minority Society, National Forum, Diversity Committee, Awards Committee, and the Revenue School.

J. Penny Larson – ACYR Board Treasurer

Ms Larson has a long history in serving youth. She began her career in working with non-profits by assisting in the start up of Shore School and Training Center a special education school and sheltered workshop in Evanston, IL. After leaving their employ, she became President of their auxiliary whose sole purpose was fund raising. In 1973, she worked professionally, first as an accountant and then progressing to Controller of Ada S. McKinley Community Services, a non-profit agency serving severely and profoundly mentally handicapped youth in Chicago’s inner city. Under her 9 year tenure, relying significantly on both state and federal funding, the agency grew from a budget of $500,000 to over $30 million in 13 cost centers.

Subsequently, beginning in 1982, Ms. Larson was able to rely upon her experience with government procedures as a distressed asset distribution contractor for a number of federal agencies, including HUD, the FDIC, Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, a career path which led to her appointment in 1990 as Director of National Action Programs for the Resolution Trust Corporation (“RTC”). From 1994 through 1997 Ms. Larson served as a project director as well for the first FCC electronic spectrum auctions, following which she worked as a consultant on IMF, USAID and World Bank projects, conducting advisory missions to the National Banks of Korea, Thailand, Mongolia, and Venezuela. Finally, in 1998 she founded Pacific Financial Association, a federally licensed surety provider for regulated transportation brokers, which commercial venture grew to handle some 5,000 such clients, approximately 25% of that entire industry. Ms. Larson only recently retired as CEO of that firm, allowing her to devote more time to volunteer duties for non-profit organizations such as ACYR.

Tim Valencia – Youth & Education Manager, City of Phoenix, ACYR Board Member

Tim Valencia is currently the Youth and Education Manager with the City of Phoenix City Manager’s Office. He works closely with the Mayor, City Council, city management, education institutions, and businesses in ensuring city resources are aligned to improve student outcomes along the education pipeline from preschool through college/career.

He started his career with the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department in 1994. He supervised several citywide programs and services that targeted at-risk youth. During his tenure, he successfully enhanced current levels of programming by leveraging funding and building partnerships with the education, juvenile justice, and business communities. He also managed the city’s Phoenix Activity City Afterschool Program where he successfully built a network of partners and developed comprehensive learning activities to assist schools with academic achievement during the out-of-school hours.

He managed the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Program. He manages a network of community-based organizations that implement workforce development activities to ensure disadvantaged youth acquire the skills needed to be successful in the business community. He is responsible for managing/assesses services, seeking additional funding, developing policies/procedures, and identifying service gaps. He has extensive experiences in developing strategic plans to increase youth services and build community/business partnerships to serve Phoenix disadvantaged youth.

He also managed the Early Head Start/Head Start program having program and administrative responsibilities for 3,300 children. He also worked as a Crisis Therapist with Empact-SPC where he provided crisis de-escalation and counseling service to individuals and families.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and a Masters Community Counseling Degree in from University Phoenix.

Dennis Hobgood – Realtor, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, ACYR Board Member

Dennis Hobgood worked 15 years in post secondary education at both non-profits and for profit institutions with the primary goal was to serve government agencies and Native American tribes and their clients in training.

Dennis has a wide range of experience including marketing, managment, negotiations, contracts, education, event planning and committee leadership. He has served on the planning committee for the ASPA/Arizona Workforce Connections annual Training Expo since its inception, and has chaired the committee 5 out of 11 years.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management from the International Institute of the Americas.

Eric Vidal - CoFounder of Broadsuite Media Group - ACYR Board Member

Vidal is a managing partner of Broadsuite Media Group, a global digital-media company operating in the technology and various business verticals. Vidal is a contributing writer and speaker for these properties. 

Vidal originally comes from the Bay Area in northern California where held senior marketing management positions at organizations like IBM, Macromedia, WebEx, Cisco, and Intercall to name just a few. Vidal has a history of providing guidance and assistance with non-profits like the United Way of Silicon Valley and The Boy’s & Girl’s Club in Central California. He now provides his marketing and media expertise to ACYR here in Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more.

Tracy Guerrero - Support Technician for Arizona Public Service Company’s Tax Department

Tracy Guerrero’s passion for serving disadvantaged populations originated at an early age due to her diverse involvement with the community.  Due to her social service background she obtained her Bachelor’s in Social Work (BSW) from Arizona State University.

Shortly after having graduated, she was offered a job at her internship site, the Real World: Job Development Program through Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) as a Youth Development Coordinator. There, she worked closely with foster care youth preparing for adulthood as they neared “aging out of the system.”  

Previous to JFCS, Tracy assisted with the initiation of a Mentor Program at Phoenix College.  During this time, she helped analyze data to track the program’s success meanwhile, serving as a mentor to 3-5 students through the semester.  This program was to focus on engaging new students to campus life, with the overall goal to enhance their experience and ensure they are familiar with the resources available to them to help them succeed.

In the past year, Tracy has taken a different direction and is currently working as a Support Technician for Arizona Public Service Company’s Tax Department, while exploring new educational goals involving enrolling in graduate school.

Dr. Michael Silver

Michael Silver is an education policy researcher and current Director of ResetEd, an Arizona-based organization dedicated to providing research and resources for educators of “Reset Youth.” reset Youth are young persons returning to safe and supportive formal learning communities following personal hardships such as refugee and unaccompanied migration, incarceration, homelessness, trafficking, substance abuse and prolonged foster custody. In addition, he volunteers as an advisor and member of Office for Youth’s Education Momentum and Re-engagement Center action teams.

Previously, Dr. Silver serves as Education Innovation Research Follow with both the Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) and the national Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) conducting research on CFA’s administration of Arizona’s Move on When Ready (MOWR) secondary education policy and roll out of NCEE’s nationwide Excellence for All (E4A) initiative. His work was focused toward developing an archive model practices for the planning, communication and execution of MOWR/E4A, paying particular attention to the institution of competency based pathways, effective use of aligned instructional systems, and standards that promote college and career readiness for all students. Before joining the Center for the Future of Arizona in 2010, he was Assistant to the President of Arizona Board of Regents.

Dr. Silver earned his Ph.D. in Education Policy and Evaluation and Maser’s in Education in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Arizona State University in Tempe and his baccalaureate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Dr. Larry Johnson

College, July 1, 2018. Phoenix College serves approximately 17,000 students annually. The Maricopa Community College District serves—annually—more than 200,000 students and employs 10,000 employees. Johnson has worked in higher education for more than 14 years. He began his career at Tallahassee Community College (2007) where he taught developmental reading and English courses.

Prior to joining PC, Johnson served as the Campus Provost & Chief Academic Officer at St. Louis Community College STLCC-Forest Park campus. As Provost, he was the chief administrative and academic officer of the campus, which provided educational opportunities to approximately 8,000 students. Under his leadership, the Campus experienced enrollment growth, increased in community engagement, and welcomed the inaugural Early College Academy—a partnership with the St. Louis Public School District. Dr. Johnson has also served in a number of teaching and leadership roles to include: associate dean, division chair, student concerns officer, and faculty.

Johnson is committed to service to higher education and to his local community, as exemplified in has active participation on local and national boards. Most recently, he was appointed to a three-year term on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission on College Readiness. He is also the Presidential Representative on the NASPA Student Affairs in Higher Education board. Additionally, Dr. Johnson is a member of the President’s Round Table (PRT) and the National Council on Black American Affairs (NCBAA).

While Dr. Johnson’s vocation immerses him into higher education administration, he is an avid writer. His research interests include: minority male’s success, the efficacy of social media in the learning environment, redesigning developmental education, and performance-based funding implications on institutional operations and efficiencies. He has also facilitated and spoken at a number of academic and community events. Johnson’s most profound accomplishment is his autobiography, Memoirs of a Young Black Scholar: Surviving and Coping with Loss.

Johnson received his baccalaureate degree in English literature from Florida A&M University. He earned his Master of Arts degree in Humanities (with an emphasis in Medieval to Baroque Studies) and an institutional research certificate, from Florida State University. He also completed a Doctor of Arts degree in Humanities (with a concentration in English literature) from Clark Atlanta University.

He maintains that his purpose in life is to give a voice to the voiceless, in keeping with the words articulated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Ways To Give

School Tax Credit

Qualifying Charitable Donation