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Board of Trustees 2013-2014

 

Therese Arsenault

Therese is a math and science teacher at Gateway Middle School.  She graduated from Simmons College with a degree in nursing and from Elmira College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education with masters' degrees in education.  She is sponsoring a “Go Green Ambassador” program and is the adviser for the middle school’s science club.  She also works as a docent at the California Academy of Sciences.   Therese is a founding teacher at Gateway Middle School. 

Beth Berliner, Board Chair

Beth is a graduate of Lehigh University and holds a MSEd in Guidance and Counseling from Hunter College in New York City. Beth worked for the N.Y.C. Board of Education in a multi-sited alternative high school where she developed and implemented a counseling program for students who were unable to function in larger school settings.  After relocating to San Francisco, Beth became the Program Coordinator for The College Bound Foundation, a nonprofit that connected students who live in San Francisco Public Housing with mentors. Beth served on its board for six years following her employment there. She was also a board member at the San Francisco Day School where she served on numerous committees and was an officer on the board’s executive committee. In 2008, she created Revamp, a local wardrobe consulting business for women in transition. Beth and her husband have two sons who attend high school in San Francisco.

Allison Thoreson Bhusri

Allison graduated from Dartmouth College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has 15 years of business experience in corporate finance, private equity investing, marketing, and general business management. She is currently a consultant at eBay in the Business Incubation Group. Prior to eBay, she spent four years in brand management at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. Allison and her husband, Aneel, have one small child.

Cynthia Fletcher Billops

Cynthia manages the Web Services Team at the JCCSF. Previously, she served as IT Director at Good Vibrations and attempted to make a living both at sketch comedy and by making dolls. She also, more successfully, obtained her Masters degree and EdD in Policy Analysis and Implementation from Mills College; met and married her wife; and (sort of) raised two children. When she is not at work, Cynthia divides her time between standing by helplessly as her teenager “differentiates,” working to help Sharon Ellison spread her Powerful Non-Defensive Communication methodology, and trying to supplement the on-going efforts of public schools to build integrated, strong communities who support their students' goals and ambitions. Cynthia is co-chair of the Gateway High School Parent Association and is very much looking forward to assisting the educators and administrative staff at her daughter's school as they go about doing their amazing work.

Sapna Boze

Sapna brings a strong corporate finance background to Gateway’s board.  She graduated with a BS in Managerial Economics and a minor in Computer Science from UC Davis.  She later earned her MBA from Vanderbilt University, concentrating in Finance and Strategy.  Over the past 10 years, Sapna has held finance roles at various companies including Cisco Systems, McKesson, Autodesk, and Mervyn’s.  Non-profit work has always been one of Sapna’s passions, and she has volunteered for a number of Bay Area organizations since childhood including, most recently, the Children’s Bay Area Discovery Museum, the Asian American Donor Program (AADP), and Reading Partners.  Sapna and her husband, Brandon, live in San Francisco with their two young daughters.

Felix Chinchilla

Felix is really excited to be joining the board as a middle school representative for the 2013-2014 term. He describes himself as always wanting to be a teacher. This desire began from humble beginnings in inner city Los Angeles. Since then, he's made it his mission to attain a quality education. This drive led him to UC Berkeley. Since then, he's modified he mission to include his students.  In his short career in education, he has pushed students to excel in and value their education as their most precious possession. It is with this drive and desire that he joined the middle school to teach the founding class of 7th graders. When not dissecting chicken wings in class, or advising the GMS rock band, he can be found climbing boulders or reading young adult literature.

Laura D'Amato Contreras

Laura teaches Humanities 9 and AP English Literature; she particularly loves teaching Sula by Toni Morrison, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie, Metamorphosis by Kafka, and Twelfth NIght by Shakespeare.   She is the Humanities Department Coordinator, the sponsor for the Gay Straight Alliance, and runs Gateway's dance program.  She earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Sociology from Cornell, and her master's degree in English Education from Brown. Before coming to Gateway, Laura taught in DC Public Schools and in the Dominican Republic. When not at school, she can be found with her wife, at a dance studio, or in a canoe. She lives in Berkeley.

Mark Felton, Ph.D.

Mark is a professor and chair of the Department of Secondary Education at San Jose State University. As a teacher educator and research psychologist, he has focused his work on bringing effective literacy practices to struggling adolescent readers and writers, particularly through the use of classroom debate and discourse. He has published articles in Cognitive Development, Discourse Processes, and The Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. He earned a BA in Psychology from Stanford University and a PhD in Cognitive Development from Columbia University.

Greg Grossman

Greg teaches civics 12 and humanities 11. In addition to teaching, he heads Gateway’s internship program. He earned his B.A. in Political Economy from UC Berkeley and his J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. Prior to coming to Gateway, Greg worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and practiced law at Morrison and Foerster LLP in San Francisco. When not at Gateway, Greg can be found either at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley watching the California Golden Bears football team try, yet again, to make the Rose Bowl or with his wife Molly chasing their exceptionally cute young daughter around. 

Deundra Hundon

Deundra Hundon has worked over 12 years in the field of education. She is the director of Summerbridge, an academic and tutoring program, at University High School. She serves as a resource for the program’s students, teachers, alumni, and families. She also advocates for its students during the high school admissions process as well as maintains relationships with other youth development organizations in the Bay Area. Deundra also serves on the University High School faculty as a teacher and as an academic advisor. She received her BA in Business Administration from Dillard University in New Orleans.

Dr. David E. Jackson

David is head of school for San Francisco Day School. Prior to this, he served for 12 years as head of school for the Park School of Baltimore, an independent K-12 school. Before moving to Baltimore, he was the superintendent of public school districts in New York and Massachusetts. He was also the principal of elementary schools in Chappaqua and Rochester, New York. Dr. Jackson’s educational credentials include a BA (cum laude) from Williams College and a Ed.D. from Columbia University Teachers College. Dr. Jackson’s involvement and achievements in educational programs include a leadership role in B.E.S.T., the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust, which helps talented, economically disadvantaged African American students gain access to independent schools in the Baltimore region; Park Connects, a communication program to support the healthy development of children and adolescents; and Middle Grade partnership, a program designed to pair middle school students with local independent schools.

Amy Joseph

Amy is an attorney in San Francisco who has specialized in immigration law for the past 25 years. Having graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a degree in romance languages – emphasizing Spanish, French, and Italian – she then earned her J.D. from USF School of Law. Amy has always been a strong advocate for immigrants’ rights and legal reform, not just in private practice but also in the non-profit world of Jewish Family and Children’s Services and the Bar Association of San Francisco. She has been a classroom volunteer at Gateway and has been active in numerous community projects. Amy is strongly committed to making Gateway an exemplary school, providing the best education and educational environment for its diverse student body. Amy and her husband, Herb, have a daughter Anna who graduated in the class of 2009 and a son, Ari, who graduated in the class of 2006 and now attends UC Davis. 

Lisa Kirkland

A native of the Bay Area, Lisa Kirkland graduated from U.C. Berkeley with degrees in Economics and French Literature and received her Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1987. Relocating to London from San Francisco in 1987, Lisa was Head of Global Investment Strategy for S.G. Warburg and then Credit Suisse First Boston for several years before returning to the U.S. in 1993 to run a hedge fund for Ross Capital in Greenwich, CT. Lisa is currently a Partner in Sonar Design, a design and development firm based in San Francisco and Santa Fe, NM.

Lisa’s primary focus in the last decade has been to support and nurture educational and philanthropic institutions. As a volunteer, she has served in various capacities including development, outreach and planning at the Brearley School and St Bernard’s in Manhattan, Burke’s in San Francisco, The Thacher School, U.C. Berkeley, ARCS NCC, the National Charity League (SF), and the Women’s Campaign Forum in Washington DC. She is on the Board of Trustees at the Thacher School, where she heads the Sustainability effort on behalf of the trustees.

Lisa is married to Derek Kirkland, a Vice Chairman at Morgan Stanley. They have three children: Emily, a graduate of Brown University, now working as a Fellow at Environment California; Will, a sophomore at Northwestern University and Laura, a junior at the Thacher School. The Kirklands live in London and San Francisco.

Susan Masto

Susan was born and raised in Bay Shore, NY. Susan graduated from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY with a BA in English Literature. Following college, she worked in the Investment Banking Division at Morgan Stanley & Co. in New York. After a move to Boston, Massachusetts in 1994, Susan worked in the development department of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum where she worked on the museum’s capital campaign and helped organize corporate constituent and membership events. Susan moved to San Francisco in 1995. From 1995 through 1999, she was the director of special events at Hambrecht & Quist, a small boutique investment bank. For several years, Susan has served on the parent board at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, CA and is a very active volunteer at the school. Susan lives in San Francisco with her husband, Chris, and has four elementary school-aged children.

Joyce McMinn

Joyce is an elementary school teacher who has been tutoring children of all ages since 1982. Her community service has included several volunteer organizations and boards, including the Diversity Task Force of the Junior League of San Francisco and Youth Advocates. She is married with three children. Her daughter graduated from Gateway in June 2002. For several years Joyce and her husband chaired the Gateway parent's annual fund.

 

Erin Plunkett Niehaus

Erin brings a strong background in finance and a passion for academic excellence to the board. Erin earned her BA in International Affairs from Georgetown University and her MBA in Finance from New York University's Stern School of Business. She also has a graduate certificate in financial planning. Her previous professional experience was working as an equity research analyst and portfolio manager for investment firms and hedge funds in firms in New York, Silicon Valley, and San Francisco. Her experience includes high tech private equity and public company investing as well as marketing of funds. She is currently working with a start up men's clothing company, J. Hilburn. As the head of the finance committee, she is also the treasurer of Gateway Public Schools and is a member of the investment committee. She is a founding board member of the Serra Preschool where she remains actively involved. Erin lives in San Francisco with her husband, Matthew, and their four children.

Sharon Olken

Sharon is the executive director of Gateway Public Schools. Sharon earned a BA from Harvard University where she played varsity soccer and coordinated a community-service program at a local elementary school. Before coming to Gateway, Sharon spent two years working for Senator Feinstein and earned her MA in Education at Stanford University where she also taught a course titled "Educating for Equity and Democracy." Sharon taught humanities for five years at Homestead High School in Cupertino. She spent three years teaching in the Gateway humanities program and served as dean of faculty.

Will Parish

Until June of 2012, Will was a teacher at Gateway High School.  His most recent teaching responsibilities included teaching Environmental Science and sponsoring Team Green. Before beginning his teaching career in 2002, he held other positions. He was certified flight instructor, he was an attorney in a major San Francisco law firm, he developed alternative energy projects, he worked for an environmental organization as a pilot and later as Executive Director, and he taught solar powered battery recycling to middle school students. He currently serves on the board of Interfaith Power and Light. In May 2009, the State Board of Education appointed him to the Curriculum Commission. In August 2010, he was appointed Chair of the Education and the Environment Initiative Campaign Executive Committee. He earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit School of Law in 1980 and a BA in Political Economy from Williams College in 1975.

Jackie Quella

Jackie is a Bay Area native and Managing Director of Payments Strategy and Product Development at Charles Schwab & Co. and Charles Schwab Bank. Prior to Schwab, Jackie was a consultant with Cambridge Management Consulting where she created and implemented strategic and business process solutions in a variety of industries including financial services, interactive multimedia, oil and gas, apparel, and telecommunications. Her educational background includes a BS in Sociology from the University of California at Davis. Since 2008, Jackie has organized financial literacy workshops for Gateway High School students. She is a member of the San Francisco chapter of the National Charity League. Jackie and her husband, Phil Conley, live in San Francisco with their daughter who attends Gateway High School; their son is a Gateway High School graduate who is currently attending Northeastern University.

Adina Safer

Adina is currently a partner at the healthcare advisory firm, ADVI, with offices in San Francisco and Washington DC.  She holds an MBA and Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley and an undergraduate degree from Columbia University.  Adina has spent her career focused on the business and payment dynamics in the healthcare industry. Her area of expertise is on reimbursement and distribution of complex pharmaceuticals, medical devices and laboratory tests.  Adina spent 5 years as an investment banker in both NY and San Francisco.  She started an internet healthcare company that was eventually sold to CVS/Caremark.  She spent 10 years with CVS/Caremark, a fortune 50 in the healthcare space, doing strategy, marketing and operations work in the specialty pharmacy area and has been doing strategic consulting for the past 4 years. Adina was a board member at the San Francisco Education Fund for three years. She has been an active member at her children’s elementary school, a local San Francisco public school, serving as the co-president of the PTO for 2 years.  Adina and her husband and two children live in San Francisco, and one of her children is currently attending Gateway Middle School.

Sue Schultes

Sue is a residential real estate agent with Paragon Real Estate Group and head of their luxury division. With a background in sales, teaching, and communication skills training, her career has included stretches at HBO, Turner Broadcasting, and San Francisco State University. Sue earned her BS in Economics from Villanova University and MBA from Fordham University. She also serves on the board of Little Brothers and Friend of the Elderly. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Patrick Skovran, and son.

Suzanne Schutte

Suzanne is one of Gateway’s founders and a past board chair. She recently served for over a decade as the associate director of college counseling at the Urban School. She currently serves as a member of the advisory board for UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education. Before returning to her native San Francisco, she worked as a lead teacher for special education programs at Evanston Township High School in Illinois and taught at Danby High School in Detroit. She has also served on the board of trustees at The Urban School and Marin Country Day School as well as the advisory boards of Aim High and the Parent Education Network. Suzanne and her husband, Will, have three children.

Laura Spivy

Laura received her MBA from Stanford University and a BA in Economics and East Asian studies from Wesleyan University. Laura has a diverse business background with experience in corporate finance, private equity investing, and general business management and operations. Laura previously ran operations for a division of health clubs for 24 Hour Fitness and did general business consulting to start-ups in the health and wellness industries. During Laura’s tenure on the Gateway board she has chaired the finance and faculty affairs committees, and participated in the investment, audit, and development committees. Laura is also a trustee and co-chair of the board for San Francisco Day School. Laura and her husband, Greg, have four elementary aged children.

Philip Susser

Philip Susser is currently managing director and senior portfolio manager of the Sutter High Yield Fixed Income team at WellsCapital Management. Phil joined the Sutter High Yield Fixed Income team as a senior research analyst in 2001. Phil’s investment experience began in 1995 by spending three years as a securities lawyer at Cahill Gordon and Shearman & Sterling representing underwriters and issuers of high yield debt. Later, Phil evaluated venture investment opportunities for MediaOne Ventures before joining Deutsche Bank as a research analyst. He received his BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Valerie Toler

Valerie is a native San Franciscan. She holds a BA in Psychology from University of California at Davis and a Registered Nursing degree from CCSF.  She is currently a Drug Safety Associate II at Onyx Pharmaceuticals.  Valerie is an active sustainer in the Junior League of San Francisco and the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary.  She enjoys creative crafts and is a passionate foodie.  Valerie and her partner, Donald, reside in Hayward Hills, CA.

Jennifer Tulley, Board Chair

Jennifer is a licensed architect who attended graduate school at the University of Virginia and undergraduate at the University of Illinois. She lived in New York for 12 years and worked for Richard Meier & Partners and Helfand Architects before starting her own practice. Her work experience includes museums, churches, university and office buildings, as well as commercial interiors and residences. She and her husband, Douglas, moved to San Francisco in 2006 and have three children in elementary school.

Katherine Grace Welch

Katherine received her MBA from Harvard University and a BA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. Katherine has a diverse business background with experience in corporate finance, venture capital, non-profit education, and general business management and operations. She has been actively involved as a volunteer in the non-profit sector for over 20 years. Most recently, Katherine became engaged with educateourstate.org, the statewide campaign in support of high quality K-12 public education. 

Aaron White

Aaron is an alumnus of Gateway High School who graduated with Gateway’s third class in 2004. He went on to attend Brown University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies while also serving as dining unit manager for The Gate café, Brown’s largest student run dining unit. In 2008 Aaron joined DPR Construction, a large commercial contractor based out of Redwood City, CA. As a project engineer at DPR, Aaron works with a variety of clients and design teams to build some of the most notable facilities in the Bay Area, including the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay in San Francisco. Aaron and his high school sweetheart, Yulia, are happily married and have a son, Elijah.

Julie Wise

Julie Wise is a proud parent of a Gateway Middle School 7th grader & chair of the annual auction. She has an extensive background in community & philanthropic work dating back over twenty years. Most recently Julie was a mentor at Ida B. Wells Continuation High School. Prior to that she was president of the PTA at Miraloma Elementary School & co-chair of the annual auction & a key liaison between staff & parents for numerous fundraising & community initiatives. In her professional career Julie was the executive chef at Alta Bates Medical Center & Volunteer Coordinator at Project Open Hand.

Briana Zelaya

Briana Zelaya is a Partner of ValueAct Capital, an investment management, primarily responsible for client services and development.  Prior to joining ValueAct Capital in 2000 at its inception, Mrs. Zelaya was in Marketing at Blum Capital Partners (“Blum”). While at Blum, Mrs. Zelaya was responsible for the production of all client reports and correspondence, consultant and performance database management and reporting, maintenance of the firm’s client and prospect database, development and presentation of marketing material and general administrative support for client services and marketing. She has a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University and M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.  Mrs. Zelaya also serves on the board of North Beach Citizens, a non-profit organization that utilizes the talents of the North Beach community to innovatively address the needs of its homeless and low-income citizens in an atmosphere of trust, integrity, and respect.

Emeritus Trustees

Catherine Cockrum Dean
Cathy graduated from Brown University and Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. She has 15 years of experience in financial services, industrial manufacturing, and high technology businesses. In the past, she has taken leadership roles with the Brown Club of Northern California and the Junior League of San Francisco. Cathy served as the chair of Gateway’s Board of Trustees from 2005-2009. Currently, Cathy serves on the national board of directors for Reading Partners and the advisory board for the Breakthrough Collaborative site at San Francisco Day School. Cathy and her husband, Sandy, have three young children.

Lisille Matheson
Lisille is one of Gateway's founders and the founding board chair. After seeing Gateway through its 10th anniversary year, Lisille moved to emeritus status. She has also served as a member of the board of trustees of the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Oxbow School, and the San Francisco Education Fund. She has served on advisory committees for the Schools of the Sacred Heart and the Charles Armstrong School. Lisille and her husband moved to California in 1982 as owner/operators of Mount Veeder Winery in Napa, CA, where they lived for 10 years. They have two grown children.

Gale Mondry
Gale, one of Gateway’s founders and a past board chair, is vice president at UpStart Bay Area, an incubator for new Jewish ideas. She is also board chair of Education Pioneers, a national education nonprofit that recruits, trains, and connects a new generation of educational leaders, and secretary of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Previously she practiced law for twenty years, eleven of them as the vice president for legal services at California Pacific Medical Center and more recently served as chief program officer at the Koret Foundation. She is a past president of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, and has also served on the board of the Jewish Community Federation and the Jewish Museum. Gale and her husband, a high school teacher, have four children.

Peter Thorp
Peter was the founding principal of Gateway and served as its executive director until 2007. Peter then became chief of staff and for six months, the interim chief executive officer of the California Charter Schools Association. He is now in Rwanda as the founding head of school at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology, a boarding school for 270 A-level students that opened in 2011. Prior to becoming Gateway's principal in 1998, Peter was the headmaster of Cate School in Santa Barbara, and he taught history for 18 years at Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs. Peter graduated from Williams College with a degree in art history, has a M.Ed. from Boston State College, and has done advanced study at the University of Colorado and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Peter is the father of two daughters--Amy who has been with him in Rwanda for two years and is the university counselor and Elyssa who lives in San Francisco, works for a dot com company and was married in 2013.

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