Meet the Staff
Melissa Stafford Jones
Melissa Stafford Jones is the Executive Director for the First 5 Association of California, where she leads the strategy and direction of the Association, as well as its complementary Foundation, and the First 5 Center for Children’s Policy. Prior to joining the Association, Melissa was the Executive Director of the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, where she developed strategic initiatives for systems change to address the root causes of poverty and inequitable access to opportunity for low-income children and families in Contra Costa County. Previously, Melissa was a Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and President & CEO of the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. She received her Master of Public Health degree from U.C. Berkeley and her Bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Mary’s College in Moraga.
Director of Finance and Operations
Kristine Dobson is the Director of Finance and Operations for the First 5 Association of California. Kristine oversees budget and fiscal processes for the organization and projects. Kristine will play an integral role in the organization’s REDI (Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) initiative and other operational goals. Kristine brings expertise, experience and energy across a range of areas including nonprofit operational management, fiscal and grants management, IT, marketing, HR and contracts management. She is a collaborative, proactive systems builder and a creative problem solver with a continuous improvement mindset and skillset. Kristine has a background in operations executive leadership in technology startup companies and recently completed her law degree and passed the California State Bar Examination.
Shelby is the Operations Coordinator of First 5 Association. Her solution-oriented approach and skillful handling of communications, schedules, and details keep Association projects on track and executed seamlessly. Prior to working at First 5, she was a full-time mom to her now 5-year-old son, and assisted entrepreneurs with their start-up office management needs. Her background is in accounting, including 7 years of providing concierge service to high-net worth clients. Shelby graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.
Caitlyn Schaap works with Communications Director Jess Berthold on projects including information campaigns, written materials, social media and more. Prior to working for the First 5 Association, Caitlyn worked for several years in journalism. She served as the Editor of the Ledger Dispatch, a community newspaper in rural Amador County, CA, where she previously served as Lifestyles Editor. Caitlyn holds a BA in English from High Point University in North Carolina.