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CDS Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees

The CDS Board of Trustees (‘the Board’), in partnership with the Head of School, serves as the school's governing body.

The Board is composed of current and alumni parents, community members and professional experts who support the mission of the school. In contrast to many independent school Boards, CDS strives to reflect the socioeconomic diversity of the school community.

The Board’s Committee on Trustees (‘CoT’) manages the Trustee recruitment process. 

Questions or comments? Please get in touch with the Committee on Trustees at info@trustee.cds-sf.org.

 

Board at a Glance
  • Jeanette Perez, Co-Chair
  • Vivien Zraick, Co-Chair
  • Jen Hamilton, Vice Chair
  • Angela Alvarado, Treasurer
  • Meghna Subramanian, Secretary
  • Mylene Acosta-Mercado
  • DeAndre Calhoun
  • Joe Connolly
  • Stephanie Holland
  • Patricia Kao
  • Nicolas King
  • Kami Kinkaid
  • Brian Kreischer
  • Carolyn Laub
  • Liza Ramrayka
  • Carl Schneebeck
  • Michelle Schoen
  • Laura Sims
  • David Strandberg
  • Tina Syer
  • Brad Terrell
  • Rishi Varma
  • Shelly Luke Wille
  • Lindsay Woollerson
  • Tracy Kirkham, Counsel Emeritus
     
The Trustee Role

CDS Trustees serve in a voluntary capacity and come from a wide range of backgrounds, including communications, education, facilities, finance, law, and management. 

Trustees serve a minimum three-year term and are encouraged to serve two terms, subject to approval by the Board.  

The Board does not make any decisions about the school's daily operations such as admissions, curriculum or personnel. Instead, it thinks strategically to ensure that those operations are in line with the CDS mission, vision, and values. In conducting its business, the Board acts as a whole, rather than reflecting the opinions of individual trustees.

In line with the factors critical to any independent school, the Board’s main areas of focus are:

  • To select, evaluate and support the Head of School, to whom it delegates authority to manage the school.
  • To develop broad institutional policies that guide the Head in running the school.
  • To be accountable for the financial well-being of the school.

See here for more information about the responsibilities of independent school boards from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Recruitment

The Board’s Committee on Trustees (CoT) is responsible for identifying and evaluating Trustee candidates against a set of recruitment criteria that includes skills, perspective, and diversity of experience. The Head of School and senior admin members sit on CoT to ensure family members throughout the community are considered, as well as people external to CDS such as local community partners. 

Trustees often join the Board after involvement as a class liaison, event helper, admissions volunteer,  or other meaningful contact with the school. Some have attended committee meetings and have a desire to become more involved with Board work. 

In general, the Board looks for Trustees who:

  • are aligned to the school’s mission and values
  • reflect the diversity of the CDS community as expressed in our Diversity Mission Statement
  • have discretionary time to attend monthly Board meetings and actively participate in committee/task force work
  • can fulfill Trustee duties including a minimum three-year commitment.

Depending on its current and future work, the Board may also look for a specific skill set or experience. For example:

  • Advancement
  • Community engagement
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work
  • Education
  • Facilities e.g. architecture, construction, engineering, real estate
  • Financial
  • Legal
  • Local government
  • Non-parent
  • Strategic planning

Key dates

September - November:

  • Assess Board needs and analyze Board skills, experience, and diversity. 
  • Invite recommendations from Board members and school leadership.
  • Review pipeline database of potential Trustees. 

December: 

  • Identify a long list of potential Trustees.
  • Invite school leadership and Board feedback on the long list.

January - March:

  • Outreach and recruitment conversations.

March:

  • Present slate to Board for vote.

May:

  • New Trustee orientation and onboarding.

 

Diversity

"Differences Lift Us" is a core CDS belief, recognizing that our community is woven together with families from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds, nationalities, cultures, races, faiths, sexual orientations, and gender identities. 

The Board aspires to reflect this diversity and recognizes that differences make us stronger. 

At present, the Board is composed of current parents, alumni parents, community members, and professional experts who support the mission of the school. We continue to explore ways of increasing the diversity of our Board, through expanding our networks and learning from good practice in Trustee recruitment. 

To support incoming Trustees, including those new to board work, we have a robust orientation program and a Board Buddy program.

Meeting Schedule

The full Board meets once a month during term time. (Our State of the School meeting in early Spring is open to all.) The Senior Administration and PTTA Co-Presidents are invited to attend all meetings. Committees and ad hoc task forces set their own meeting cadence but typically meet monthly when active. 

Trustees are also encouraged to attend CDS events and professional development opportunities. Each year, the Board partners with the administration to host the ‘State of the School’ evening, which provides a snapshot for the CDS community of how the school and its governing body are performing.

Board Education

We recognize that the opportunities and challenges for our school are constantly evolving. As such, the Board strives to promote a culture of professional development around governance and encourage Trustees to engage in opportunities to broaden their expertise. 

Anti-racist education is a key part of professional development across the whole school. The Board recognizes and mirrors this commitment. All trustees are encouraged to sit on the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Committee for at least one year. Board members are also actively encouraged to take part in external anti-racist training and share learning with their fellow trustees.  

Trustees typically attend conferences including:

Jeanette Perez's picture
Jeanette Perez
Board Co-Chair
Jeanette Perez's picture

Jeanette Perez

Board Co-Chair
Jeanette Perez, Co-Chair, has volunteered at CDS as an admission tour guide, class liaison, Advancement Committee member, and auction Communications Committee Chair (2016 and 2017). Previously, she worked for over a decade in the book publishing industry as a Senior Editor at HarperCollins. Jeanette earned a bachelor's degree in American Studies and English from Stanford University and a master's degree in English from Columbia University. She and her husband, James Kim, are parents to Luna (‘25) and Pax ('29). 
Vivien Zraick's picture
Vivien Zraick
Board Co-Chair
Vivien Zraick's picture

Vivien Zraick

Board Co-Chair
Vivien Zraick, Co-Chair, has worked in the medical device industry for over twenty years, running clinical operations in start-ups focused on newborn care, diabetes, asthma, and movement disorders. She has been heavily involved with the CDS community, working on the organizing committee for Bid & Bash, as a PTTA liaison coordinator, and as a classroom liaison. Originally from Brazil, Vivien moved to the United States when she was in high school and later earned her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Brown University. She relocated to the Bay Area in 1998, where she rediscovered the sunshine and received her master’s degree in biomechanics from Stanford University. Vivien and her husband Ben are the parents of Sofia (’22) and Lilah (’24).
Jen Hamilton's picture
Jen Hamilton
Vice Chair
Jen Hamilton's picture

Jen Hamilton

Vice Chair
Jen Hamilton, Vice Chair, is the founder of the Room to Breathe Project, which helps empower kids to achieve lifelong success through social-emotional learning. She was also the founder of On The Road Travel, Chief Financial Officer of Kiva, and co-founder of the Perth Bagel Company. She serves on the Board of Mission Graduates and previously was on the Board of Equal Access International. Jen holds a master's degree in business administration from INSEAD (France & Singapore) and a bachelor's degree in commerce from Queen’s University (Canada). At CDS, she has been a classroom liaison, admissions tour guide, and member of the audit committee. She and her husband, Seth, are the parents of Sloane (’23) and Ryan (’25).
Angela Alvarado's picture
Angela Alvarado
Treasurer
Angela Alvarado's picture

Angela Alvarado

Treasurer
Angela Alvarado, Treasurer, is a partner at Deloitte, where she started as an audit intern in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2005, she moved to San Francisco where she has focused on advising private equity and corporate clients on acquisitions and investments, primarily in the technology, fintech and consumer sectors. Angela is a licensed CPA. At CDS, she and her husband Frank have volunteered as admission tour guides, parent panelists, and at various events including Country Fair, Faculty & Staff Appreciation, and co-chaired the 2019-2020 CDS Annual Fund campaign. Angela has recently served on the CDS Advancement and Finance Committees. She enjoys camping and traveling with Frank and their daughter Shelby (’26). Angela has also served as Treasurer on the North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association (NOPNA) board for 7 years.
Meghna Subramanian's picture
Meghna Subramanian
Secretary
Meghna Subramanian's picture

Meghna Subramanian

Secretary
Meghna Subramanian, Secretary, is an attorney and mediator who has handled a wide range of corporate, litigation, and employment issues for technology and consulting companies. Meghna immigrated to the U.S. from India in middle school, and earned her B.A. in Political Economy from U.C. Berkeley and her J.D. from the University of Chicago. At CDS, Meghna enjoys volunteering as an admissions tour guide, a classroom liaison, and as the PTTA Faculty Appreciation Brunch Coordinator. She and her husband, Kareem Ghanem, are parents of Zaina (’27) and Sufyan (’31). She also serves on the board of directors of Jivox, a personalized advertising technology company.
Mylene Acosta-Mercado's picture
Mylene Acosta-Mercado
Mylene Acosta-Mercado's picture

Mylene Acosta-Mercado

Mylene Acosta-Mercado immigrated to San Francisco from the Philippines with her parents and five sisters in 1975. She has bachelor's and master’s degrees in education, as well as a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, from San Francisco State University. Mylene has been an elementary school teacher at MP Brown School in the Jefferson School District in Daly City for the past 28 years. She and her husband Nerius have been CDS parents for 16 years. Their oldest daughter, Bianca, graduated from CDS in 2015; Bella in 2019; and Leo is in 8th grade. She has volunteered in numerous activities at CDS, including in admissions and for the Country Fair.
DeAndre Calhoun's picture
DeAndre Calhoun
DeAndre Calhoun's picture

DeAndre Calhoun

DeAndre Calhoun is currently Black Pine Circle School’s head of upper school and a non-CDS parent. Prior to this position he served for three years as the director of development and communications at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Oakland. He also spent six years at Bentley School where he was first the high school dean of students and then the head of the middle school. With over a decade of experience as a high school mathematics teacher, DeAndre taught for five years at San Francisco University High School and another five years at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a B.A. in mathematics from Morehouse College and an M.Ed. in mathematics education from The University of Georgia. DeAndre is a huge San Francisco Giants fan and he has been to spring training with at least one of his sons for the past 13 years, including 2020 pre-pandemic! DeAndre has two sons: Samuel, an eighth grader at BPC, and William, an eleventh grader at Bishop O’Dowd High School.
Joe Connolly's picture
Joe Connolly
Joe Connolly's picture

Joe Connolly

Joe Connolly is the co-founder of Connolly Educational Consulting, where he helps independent school leaders adapt the strategic tools and frameworks that guided him to and through success in his career. Joe is the former Chief Advancement and Enrollment Officer at Hillbrook School in Los Gatos, CA, where he was responsible for advancement, enrollment, alumni affairs, communications and marketing, community involvement and support, transportation, and summer and after-school programs. Prior to that role, Joe was the Middle School Head at Hillbrook and also served several roles in independent schools, including Dean of Students, Wellness Director, Athletic Director, Coach, and Teacher. After a few years of teaching and coaching directly out of college, Joe enjoyed a 20-year career as a sales and marketing executive, including co-founding and being CEO of two companies. Joe and his wife Mary have three adult children and are proud grandparents of six grandchildren, two of whom are current independent school students in the South Bay.
Stephanie Holland's picture
Stephanie Holland
Stephanie Holland's picture

Stephanie Holland

Stephanie Holland is an attorney who has been actively involved in the CDS community throughout her time as a parent here. At various times over the years, she has been a member of the school’s Advancement Committee, the PTTA Faculty Appreciation Coordinator, a committee member procuring live auction items for Bid & Bash, a classroom liaison, and an admission tour guide. Originally from Southern California, Stephanie received her bachelor's degree in economics from Stanford University and her J.D. from Cornell. She practiced labor and employment law at Littler Mendelson and spent twelve years as in-house counsel for AT&T, specializing in telecommunications regulatory law. She and her husband, Ron, are parents to Lily (’19) and Cole (’21).  
Patricia Kao's picture
Patricia Kao
Patricia Kao's picture

Patricia Kao

Patricia Kao has spent most of her career in financial services - spanning public finance, fixed income trading, asset management, investment product development, sustainable investing, and commodities risk management. She and her family joined the CDS community in 2016 when they moved to San Francisco from Washington D.C., where she had served as a policy director at the U.S. Treasury Department in the Obama Administration. Patty graduated from U.C. Berkeley and holds an MBA from MIT Sloan. At CDS, Patty has participated as a member of the Finance Committee, donations chair for Bid & Bash, and a one-off volunteer as needed. She and her husband Seth are the parents of Malia (‘23) and Kaia (‘25).
Nicolas King's picture
Nicolas King
Nicolas King's picture

Nicolas King

Nicolas King is a native of New York City and is slowly transforming into a Californian. Nicolas is a lawyer who works in Bay Area government in process improvement, legislation and policy implementation. Nicolas has a BA in Political Science from Yale and attended New York University School of Law. At CDS, he's a long-time family farmer, classroom liaison, admissions volunteer, and participant in BCOID (now JEDI) work. Nicolas and his wife, Dawn Ogawa, are the parents of two CDS students, Elli (‘21) and Seiji (‘25).
Kami Kinkaid's picture
Kami Kinkaid
Kami Kinkaid's picture

Kami Kinkaid

Kami Kinkaid has been the Director of Education Design at Pfau Long Architecture since 2006. She has overseen and managed the design of numerous local campuses and made many conference presentations on topics such as master planning, learning commons/libraries, and cross-disciplinary learning environments. She recently co-authored an article for Teacher Librarian: “Creating Ever-Evolving School-Specific Learning Commons.” Kami graduated with a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Kansas and was selected as a recipient of the Gastinger Walker Harden Merit Award for Design. She and her husband Richard Kim are parents to Tatum (1st grade) and Nelson (TK), who attend the French American International School in San Francisco.
Tracy Kirkham's picture
Tracy Kirkham
Tracy Kirkham's picture

Tracy Kirkham

Tracy Kirkham, Counsel Emeritus, was Chair of the Board from 2002 to 2008 and is a lawyer specializing in business litigation, with an emphasis on complex multiparty cases and class actions. She is a partner in the San Francisco firm Cooper & Kirkham, P.C. Her eldest daughter Gillian ('07) started preschool at CDS in 1994 at the age of two. Daughters Sydney and Greer Cooper (both '12) joined their sister at CDS in 2000. Along with her husband, Tracy was instrumental in converting CDS from a privately-owned preschool to a non-profit elementary school. In 2001, she negotiated and documented the purchase of the school site from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. In her free time, Tracy enjoys photography, skiing, and scuba diving.
Brian Kreischer's picture
Brian Kreischer
Brian Kreischer's picture

Brian Kreischer

Brian Kreischer, and his wife Sarah Maxwell, are parents to Odessa (5th) and Ben (K). In his day job Brian serves as Managing Partner and Chairman at Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP, a CPA firm of approximately 600 people, where Brian has worked his entire 30-year career. In that capacity, Brian’s primary focus is leadership development and coaching, strategy, risk management and organizational development. Brian also serves on the Board of Directors of Baker Tilly International, a global network of accountancy firms representing 145 countries. Brian has served on the CDS finance committee since 2017. In past philanthropic board service, Brian has co-chaired the Syracuse University San Francisco Regional Advisory Council, supporting the University in development, engagement and admissions. Brian also served for almost ten years on the board of the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation, where he chaired the finance committee and formed the first development committee. Brian’s social life revolves largely around Odessa’s soccer schedule. Ben will vouch for Brian’s passable Lego skills and creativity.
Carolyn Laub's picture
Carolyn Laub
Carolyn Laub's picture

Carolyn Laub

Carolyn Laub is a social entrepreneur and strategy consultant working with nonprofits and foundations focused on equity, justice, and social change. Carolyn currently serves as a senior communications strategist with Wonder: Strategies for Good and a senior strategist with Public Equity Group. She currently serves on the board of Majority Action, which empowers shareholders to hold corporations accountable to high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, and long-term value creation. In 1998, she founded and led GSA Network, which organizes LGBTQ youth to advocate for safety, equity, and restorative justice through a national network of over 4000+ Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in high schools and middle schools. Carolyn is an Echoing Green Fellow, Ashoka Fellow and Pahara Fellow. She holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Stanford University. At CDS, Carolyn has been a classroom liaison, family farmer, and admissions volunteer. She and her wife, Heather, are parents to Zuri (’26) and Kira (’30). Carolyn has served on the following boards: Majority Action (2018-current); Transgender Law Center (2001-2011); California Safe Schools Coalition (2001-2011); Bay Area Young Positives (1997-2002).
Carl Schneebeck's picture
Carl Schneebeck
Carl Schneebeck's picture

Carl Schneebeck

Carl Schneebeck is a management consultant and coach for clients in the tech, food, and non-profit sectors; he is also a professor of leadership and communication at Presidio Graduate School, where he earned a master's degree in sustainable management. Carl has a bachelor's degree in environmental biology and management from the University of California, Davis and previously worked as a communications and campaign strategist for environmental advocacy organizations in Jackson Hole and San Francisco. At CDS, Carl was both chair and co-chair of the Board of Trustees, served on the PTTA, and coordinated the Buddy Family program. Carl and his wife, Kate Nitze, are the parents of Leo (‘22) and Silas (‘25). Carl prefers getting places by bicycle.
Liza Ramrayka's picture
Liza Ramrayka
Liza Ramrayka's picture

Liza Ramrayka

Liza Ramrayka is a social justice journalist with 25 years of experience working for print and online media. A freelance features writer and commissioning editor for The Guardian, The Times, and News Deeply, her specialties include migration, equality, and diversity. She is also an editorial consultant and media skills trainer. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and French literature and language, as well as a post-graduate diploma in journalism. At CDS, Liza has been a classroom liaison, event volunteer, and admission tour guide, and she served as Annual Fund co-chair in 2015-2016 along with her partner, Simon Rogers. Liza, Simon, Ella (’18) and Jake (’22) joined the CDS community from the United Kingdom in 2013.
Michelle Schoen's picture
Michelle Schoen
Michelle Schoen's picture

Michelle Schoen

Michelle Schoen has been actively involved in CDS both inside and outside of the classroom. In 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 she co-chaired the annual CDS community celebration and auction, and her volunteer commitments over the last several years include serving as a classroom liaison and as a member of the PTTA and Advancement Committee. Michelle previously worked in leadership roles at a boutique communications strategy firm and a variety of technology companies in the Bay Area, including NetSuite, where she was responsible for marketing, communications and strategic partner programs. She and her husband, Kent, are the parents of Mia (’21) and Kira (’23).
Laura Sims's picture
Laura Sims
Laura Sims's picture

Laura Sims

Laura Sims has spent her career in private equity investing, at TPG Capital, as a partner at Sageview Capital, and currently as the Chief Investment Officer of a family office. Laura holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and government from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Laura moved to the Bay Area in 2001, and her family joined the CDS community in 2017. At CDS, she has been a member of the Bid & Bash committee, an Annual Fund captain, and a member of the Advancement Committee. Laura and her husband Hunter are parents to two CDS Bulldogs, Rhett (‘28) and Willie (‘30), and one real-life bulldog, Macho.
David Strandberg's picture
David Strandberg
David Strandberg's picture

David Strandberg

David Strandberg is a structural engineer in San Francisco and Founding Principal of Strandberg Engineering. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree in architecture, and a master’s degree in structural engineering, all from Virginia Tech. David serves on the CDS Facilities Committee. He and his wife, Holly Coleman, are parents to Oskar (’23) and Gus (’26).
Tina Syer's picture
Tina Syer
Tina Syer's picture

Tina Syer

Tina Syer serves as the Chief Advancement Officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula (BGCP), where she oversees development, marketing and volunteerism. Before BGSP, Tina spent 20 years growing Positive Coaching Alliance, a nonprofit founded in the Stanford University Athletic Department with the mission to teach life lessons through sports. Tina currently serves on the One Love Advisory Board and spent three years on the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI) Board of Directors from 2015-2018. One of Tina’s proudest moments at CDS came when she partnered with Michelle Schoen to co-Chair the “Elevating Saint Joseph’s Hall” campaign, increasing the accessibility of our lower school building. Tina graduated with honors in psychology from Stanford University, where she captained the field hockey team and was named an Academic All-American. Tina and her wife, Jennifer Babik, are the parents of Nathan (’22) and Zachary (’25).
Brad Terrell's picture
Brad Terrell
Brad Terrell's picture

Brad Terrell

Brad Terrell is a designer in San Francisco, providing architectural services and related consulting to the construction and real estate development community. Brad holds a Master's in Architecture from Virginia Tech and earned his undergraduate degree in Interior Design from Radford University. Brad volunteers his time coaching youth sports and serves on the CDS Facilities Committee. Brad and his wife, Melody Hsu, are parents to Owen ('27) and Reese ('23). 
Rishi Varma's picture
Rishi Varma
Rishi Varma's picture

Rishi Varma

Rishi Varma (Executive Committee Member and JEDI Committee Chair) was born and raised in Kenya and moved to the United States for further studies when he was 15. He has a bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering and a master’s in Decision Analysis, both from Stanford University. After five years as a decision strategy consultant, Rishi founded a firm focused on market research and consulting for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. He now serves as an independent consultant to his long-term clients and spends time volunteering in numerous ways for CDS. At CDS, Rishi is the chair of our JEDI Committee, focused on advancing CDS’ ongoing journey to focus on issues of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Rishi has volunteered as the Fundraising Partnerships Coordinator for the PTTA for three years as well as organized grade level sports teams and classroom needs. Rishi and his husband Alex have two kids at CDS, Kalyani (‘27) and Kiaan (‘30). Together they enjoy traveling to see family in Kenya and Brazil and spending time supporting the various communities they are a part of.
Shelly Luke Wille's picture
Shelly Luke Wille
Shelly Luke Wille's picture

Shelly Luke Wille

Shelly Luke Wille joined CDS as Head of School in 2018. She holds a master's degree in special education and a bachelor's degree in diversified liberal arts from St. Mary’s College, California, as well as credentials in Multiple Subject Teaching and Special Education. Before coming to CDS, Shelly served as the Head of School at Chadwick International in South Korea, a K-12 school with 1,200 students; she had previously been the Assistant Head and Elementary School Head there. She also served as Assistant Head and Lower School Head at Hillbrook School in Los Gatos, California. Shelly and her husband, Michael, have two sons who attended CDS: Séamus (’19) and Braden (’21). Their eldest, Kaffie, is a college student.
Lindsay Woollerson's picture
Lindsay Woollerson
Lindsay Woollerson's picture

Lindsay Woollerson

Lindsay Woollerson is a biologist at Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences and parent to CDS student Henry (’25). Lindsay has a bachelor's degree in marine biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a master's degree in sustainable management from Presidio Graduate School. Prior to parenthood, Lindsay ran Green Business Programs for Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties. At CDS, she served as class liaison, President of the PTTA from 2016-2018, and Co-Chair of the Head of School search in 2017, and she currently chairs the Committee on Trustees.