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Board of Trustees 2016-2017

Therese Arsenault

Therese is a founding teacher at Gateway Middle School, where she currently works as a 6th grade math and science teacher and instructional leader. She is an active member of the StudentAgency Task Force and an advisor for the Annual GMS Student Talent Show. She graduated from Simmons College with a degree in nursing, and from Elmira College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education with master’s degrees in education. Therese is currently enrolled in the Reach Instructional Leadership Academy and is a member of the Exploratorium’s Teacher Leader Institute, where she works as a mentor teacher to San Francisco science teachers. When not working, Therese enjoys traveling, spending time with her two sons, and reading. Originally from the east coast, she currently lives with her husband, David, in San Francisco.

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 at an alternative high school where she developed and implemented a counseling program for students who were at-risk 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. She 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: one attends college, and the other attends high school in San Francisco.

Allison Thoreson Bhusri

Allison graduated from Dartmouth College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has 20 years of business experience in corporate finance, private equity investing, marketing, and general business management. She is currently an early-stage investor with Broadway Angels. Previously, she was a consultant at eBay in the Business Incubation Group. Prior to eBay, she spent four years in brand management at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.

Cynthia Fletcher Billops

Cynthia is Director of Web and Data Services at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. Prior to joining the JCCSF, 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 powerlessly watching her teenager “differentiate,” actively supporting the amazing/brilliant founder of PNDC, Sharon Ellison, as she spreads her Powerful Non-Defensive Communication methodology, and trying to facilitate the efforts of public schools as they try to build integrated, strong community ties. Cynthia is a member of the School Site Council at Gateway Middle School; is chair of the Parent Association and very much looks forward to supporting the educators and administrative staff at her daughter's school as they go about doing their amazing work.

David Booth

David Booth joined Gateway in 2011 as an English 12 and Humanities 11 teacher. He holds two Master’s degrees, one in English and one in creative writing, from San Francisco State University. Prior to coming to Gateway, he was an instructor in the MFA in writing program at University of San Francisco, where he led workshops and taught literature courses in fiction and creative nonfiction. He has taught English language arts to 7th, 8th, and 11th graders. As a past employee in social and mental health services in San Francisco, he has worked extensively with kids in urban classroom settings.

Sapna Boze, Board Chair

Sapna Boze is the board co-chair of the Gateway Board of Trustees. She is fulfilling her passion to help provide exceptional education and nurturing environments to all kids. Sapna also helps with event planning and fundraising for the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco, and in the past served on the Advisory Board for KIPP Bay Area and the Council for the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Prior to focusing full time on the nonprofit sector, Sapna was in corporate finance at Autodesk, and prior to that at Cisco Systems. Sapna earned her B.S. in Managerial Economics from U.C. Davis and her MBA from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, where she is currently serving on the Alumni Board. Sapna and her husband, Brandon, live in San Francisco with their three young daughters.

Sara Byrne

Sara Byrne joined the Gateway Board of Trustees in 2016. She served as a co-chair for the Gateway Matters of the Mind Luncheon in 2014 and 2015. Sara has resided in San Francisco for nearly thirty years, after moving from her hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Finance and Real Estate. Sara worked in the Sales and Trading division of Montgomery Securities for thirteen years. Sara has been an active volunteer at San Francisco Day School, serving in many capacities, and has volunteered for several local organizations benefiting kids, community, sports and education. She currently serves on the board of Belvedere Tennis and Swim Club in Marin. Sara and her husband, Tom, live in San Francisco with their three children.

Sharon Gillenwater

Sharon is an expert in account-based marketing and CXO engagement programs. She has worked as a consultant to Fortune 500 technology companies, including EMC, IBM, VMware, RSA, Symantec, Cisco, Microsoft, NetApp, VMware, Adobe, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Siebel Systems and Google. In response to an increased focus on CXO engagement and strategic account marketing, Sharon in 2008 founded Boardroom Insiders, a content company that provides the most in-depth executive profiles on the market today. Boardroom Insiders customers include Microsoft, IBM, HP, CA, EMC, Vodafone, Cisco, Tableau, Citrix, UPS and USPS. In the words of one of her longtime clients, "Sharon is the type of secret weapon that everyone wished they had in their arsenal." Born and raised in San Diego, California, Sharon worked as a freelance writer before earning a master's degree combining international relations and business from the University of California, San Diego. After moving to San Francisco in 1995 she worked in sales and marketing management for startup companies. She still lives in San Francisco with her husband and two boys.

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 at 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.

Annie Klebahn

Annie graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in Marketing and
Finance. She followed her passion for marketing and worked for various advertising agencies and clients in
the Bay Area for over 15 years. In her role as a professional marketer and strategist, Annie's roster of for-profit and non-profit clients cover the brand spectrum of health care, high end retail, weight loss, restaurants, packaged goods, travel, food/beverage, schools and museums. Her most recent position was as the Director of Integrated Marketing and Consumer Insights for the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. After joining the museum in 2008 she helped them re-brand and reopen in Golden Gate Park, and went on to help launch their after hours NightLife program, develop marketing for new exhibits and formalize their consumer insights program. Annie served on the board of Lone Mountain pre-school for five years, has been an active volunteer at San Francisco Day School for the past twelve years, and also works as a volunteer counselor on the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center’s TALK Line. Annie is currently pursuing her Masters in Counseling Psychology at the University of San Francisco, and lives in the city with her husband, Perry, and their two teenage children.

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. Susan is currently a member of the board of trustees of The Urban School of San Francisco. For many years, Susan also served on the parent board at Marin Day School in Corte Madera, CA. Susan lives in San Francisco with her husband, Chris, and has four 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.

Farley Neuman

Farley is a founding partner at Goodman Neuman Hamilton LLP, a San Francisco law firm, where he litigates financial, accounting and employment cases on behalf of large corporations and individuals. His background includes 15 years as the volunteer president of a mentoring nonprofit in San Francisco. He graduated from the University of Illinois and Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, and worked as a CPA for two years before practicing law. Farley has two adult children and lives with his wife in San Francisco near Golden Gate Park.

Sharon Olken

Sharon Olken is the Executive Director of Gateway Public Schools. In 2000, Sharon joined Gateway’s faculty as a Humanities Teacher. Since then, Sharon has been a Lead Teacher, Dean of Faculty, and served as the Principal of Gateway High School for seven years. During her tenure as principal, Gateway was recognized as a California Distinguished School and as a top-performing charter high school by the US Department of Education. In 2011, Sharon helped launch Gateway’s second school, Gateway Middle School. Sharon is inspired by the potential of young people and by Gateway’s amazing teachers and staff, who help students get on the road to college. Sharon earned her B.A. from Harvard University, where she was captain of the varsity soccer team, and earned her M.A. in Education from Stanford University. Sharon taught a course in the Stanford Teacher Education Program called “Educating for Equity and Democracy,” and worked for Senator Feinstein for two years before beginning her career in education. Sharon is proud of her Bay Area roots, her San Francisco Giants, and her very well behaved dog, Cody Ross.

Will Parish

Until June of 2012, Will was a teacher at Gateway High School. Before beginning his teaching career in 2002, he held other positions. He was a certified flight instructor; an attorney in a major San Francisco law firm; developed alternative energy projects; 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 founded Ten Strands in 2012 and serves as its Founder President. His work focuses on advancing environmental literacy to all students in California. He is a member of California’s Science Collaboration Committee and is co-chair of the Environmental Literacy Steering 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.

Mary Plant-Thomas

Mary Plant-Thomas is excited to begin her third year as part of Gateway High School's Science Department, teaching Biology 10 and AP Biology. Mary earned her undergraduate degree from an unconventional combination of Wellesley College and UC San Diego. She then went on to get her Masters in Education from UC Santa Barbara's Teacher Education Program where she was a Noyce Scholar. While at UCSB, Mary was able to participate in an international exchange that enabled her to observe another education system by student-teaching in Denmark! In addition to loving teaching and science (especially biology), Mary has a passion for theatre and can frequently be found rushing off to see plays all around the Bay Area.

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 and are the parents of two Gateway High School graduates who are currently in college.

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.

Eric Sarb

Eric is a 7th grade Math and Science teacher at Gateway Middle School. This is his second year in the position. He received a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning from Michigan State University in 2011, and then joined Teach for America Chicago. He completed his Master of Arts in Teaching at Dominican University in 2013. After four years of teaching 6th and 8th Grade Science on Chicago's Southwest side, Eric moved to San Francisco to join the Gateway Team. He participated in the Exploratorium's three week summer teaching institute, and proudly holds the title of "Iron Science Teacher". In his free time he enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and playing music in his band.

Suzanne Schutte

Throughout her career, Suzanne has been an educator committed to improving the quality of public education. Early on, she taught at Denby High School in inner city Detroit, before serving for over a decade as a lead teacher for special education programs at Evanston Township High School in Illinois. Since returning to her native San Francisco in 1993, Suzanne taught within SFUSD prior to working for ten years as the Associate Director of College Counseling at The Urban School. Suzanne was a co-founder of Gateway High School, where she also served as its second board chair. Suzanne is currently a member of the advisory boards for UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education and Ten Strands, an environmental education non-profit. Previously, she was a member of the board of trustees at The Urban School, as well as Marin Country Day School, and acted as a member of the advisory boards for Aim High and the Parent Education Network.

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 prior trustee and chair of the board for San Francisco Day School. Laura and her husband, Greg, have four children who are high school and elementary aged.

Phil Susser

Philip Susser is currently managing director and senior portfolio manager of the Sutter High Yield Fixed Income team at Wells Capital 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 an Associate Manager of Drug Safety at Quark Pharmaceuticals. Valerie is an active sustainer in the Junior League of San Francisco, the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary, and an Auxiliary member of the Friends of Smuin Ballet. She enjoys creative crafts and is a passionate foodie.

Jennifer Tulley

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, Jennifer Tulley Architects. Her work experience includes residences and offices, as well as museums, churches, university and office buildings. She and her husband, Douglas, moved to San Francisco in 2006 and have three children in elementary school.

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 now works at Sares-Regis Group of Northern California, a notable developer of residential and commercial properties in the Bay Area. Aaron and his high school sweetheart, Yulia, are happily married and have a son, Elijah and daughter, Evelyn.

Julie Wise

Julie Wise is a proud parent of a Gateway High School 10th grader and is chair of the annual auction. She has an extensive background in community and 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 and co-chair of the annual auction and a key liaison between staff and parents for numerous fundraising and community initiatives. In her professional career, Julie was the executive chef at Alta Bates Medical Center and Volunteer Coordinator at Project Open Hand.

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 national Board of Reading Partners, the Brown Club of Northern California, 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 Regional Board for Reading Partners, the Advisory Board for the Breakthrough Collaborative site at San Francisco Day School, and the Board of Trustees of San Francisco Day School. Cathy and her husband, Sandy, have three children.

Lisille Matheson
Lisille is one of Gateway's founders and the founding board chair. After seeing Gateway through its tenth 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. Currently, Lisille consults with and oversees the daily operation of the Art4Moore Fund, a small fund that gives grants for art supplies and instruction to students of all ages. Lisille and her husband moved to California in 1982 as owner/operators of Mount Veeder Winery in Napa, CA, where they lived for ten years. They have two grown children.

Gale Mondry
Gale, one of Gateway’s founders and a past board chair, practiced law for twenty years, eleven of them as Vice President for Legal Services at California Pacific Medical Center. She transitioned from the law to nonprofit development and administration, becoming the Director of Development at Gateway High School, and later Chief Program Officer at the Koret Foundation, and Vice President, Development at UpStart. Currently Gale serves as the board chair of Education Pioneers, a national education nonprofit, board chair of Urban Adamah, an urban farm and Jewish environmental center, and board chair of the Jewish Film Institute. She is also a board member of the San Francisco Children's Council. Gale and her husband, a high school teacher, have four children. Their daughter graduated from Gateway in 2008.

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. In 2010 he moved to Rwanda to be the founding head of school at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology, a boarding school for 270 A-level students. He is now based in Seattle as the executive director of Rwanda Girls Initiative, the 501 (c)(3) that supports the school. 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 was with him in Rwanda for two years as the university counselor and now lives in Boston, and Elyssa who lives in San Francisco with her husband and son (making Peter a very proud grandpa!). Peter was recently married to Brigitte Uwantege from Rwanda.

2016-2017 Board of Trustees Meeting Dates

Gateway Public Schools Board of Trustees' tentative meeting dates are as follows. (Officials dates will be posted 72 hours before the meeting).

Please note that all board meetings will be held at the high school on Wednesday evenings from 5-7pm with exception of the November meeting, which will be held at the middle school.

2016-2017 Dates

  • September 14th
  • October 19th
  • November 16th @GMS
  • January 11th
  • February 8th
  • March 15th
  • April 19th
  • May 17th

Gateway High School   |   1430 Scott Street   |   San Francisco, CA 94115   |   phone: (415) 749-3600   |   fax: (415) 749-2716   |   contact us
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