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Board of Trustees

Michelle Randall | Board Chair

Michelle is an educational researcher and consultant. In this role, she designs and implements research and evaluation studies on the development and impact of programs designed to enhance teaching or learning. Previously, she spent several years as a faculty member at California State University, Sacramento and as a lecturer at San Francisco State University. Her educational background includes a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Michelle has served on the Board of Trustees since 2012, chairing the Trustees Committee before being elected to board chair. At PHS, she also served as chair of the PGA’s Admissions Committee and on a Technology Task Force that reviewed the school’s technology program and ultimately recommended iPads for the Middle School’s one-to-one technology program. Michelle and her husband, Doug, have two children, including a daughter in the sixth grade at PHS.

 

Tyler Abbott

Tyler is CEO of Santini Foods in the East Bay. Prior to that, he worked as a tax manager in a legal/accounting office, taught for 20 years in the computer information systems and mathematics departments at Golden Gate University, and worked as a computer programmer and consultant. Tyler has a B.S. in Physics from Reed College and an M.S. in Taxation from Golden Gate University. He has served on the boards of six organizations, from music to running to education. Tyler, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2015, has been a member of its Finance Committee since 2011. At PHS, he has also been active in the Parent and Guardian Association, serving as a room parent and as chair of the School Store, Fall Gathering and the Parent Education Committee. He has also been a regular member of the Annual Auction’s Wine Raffle Committee and has volunteered for numerous classroom events and field trips throughout the years. Tyler and his wife, Kelly Murphy, have a son who in the eighth grade at PHS.

 

 

 

 

Regina Balistreri

Regina has a vast background in business and finance. She worked as a senior financial analyst for Intel, where she maintained budgets for new manufacturing processes, and in sales for software company Advanced Digital Data Inc., where she continues to be an active member of the board of directors. Regina, who earned her B.A. from Lehigh University and her M.B.A. from the University of California, Davis, joined the PHS Board of Trustees in 2014. She has served on the Finance Committee and is currently a member of both the Trustees Committee and the Building & Grounds Committee. She has also been involved at PHS in a variety of capacities, including room parent, secretary and co-chair of the Parents and Guardians Association, and various classroom volunteer roles. She has also served on the board of her children’s preschool, Glenridge Cooperative, and is past president of the San Francisco Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools and past secretary for the California Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools. Regina and her husband, Marc, have a son in the seventh grade at PHS, and a daughter who is a freshman at San Francisco Waldorf High School.

Xochi Birch

Xochi is an entrepreneur with experience in finance, human resources, legal, customer service, strategic planning and product development. She began her career in London as a trainee software developer for insurance companies, and later began working with her husband, Michael Birch, developing consumer-facing websites. In 2002, she and her family returned to California where she and Michael continued to build a number of internet community sites. During that time, Xochi moved from development to overseeing the operations of their companies. Xochi, who has a B.S. in Business Administration and Economics from St. Mary’s College of California, has been on the Board of Trustees since 2012. She has served on the Development Committee and its Capital Campaign sub-committee, and is currently a member of the Trustees Committee. She and Michael have three children: a son in the third grade at PHS, a son who is a junior at Drew School, and a daughter who is a freshman at Santa Clara University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia Collins

Julia is a food industry entrepreneur with a passion for building companies from the ground up. She was born and raised in San Francisco and attended PHS from kindergarten to sixth grade (1984-1991). After earning her undergraduate degree from Harvard College and MBA from Stanford, she worked for Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group in New York. In 2010 she co-founded restaurant chain Mexicue, and in 2012 became director of food service and restaurant development for Murray’s Cheese. Two years later, she joined Harlem Jazz Enterprises as vice president and COO, overseeing the operation of two Harlem restaurants, one of which received Esquire’s Best New Restaurant designation. In 2015, Julia returned to the Bay Area to co-found Zume Pizza, an artisan food delivery concept. Outside of work, Julia volunteers as a reading and math coach to students in the inner city. She has also worked in underserved communities in Boston, Harlem and East Palo Alto, teaching algebra and reading skills in after-school programs and helping to create employment opportunities for young people. Julia joined the PHS Board of Trustees in 2016 and is currently co-chairing the Development Committee.

 

 

Todd Darling

Todd is chief operating officer at investment firm Acacia Capital Corp., with management responsibilities in the company’s Income Property Division. Todd has been involved in real estate investment for more than 16 years. He is a member of Acacia’s internal investment committee and has extensive experience in the acquisition, financing and disposition of income property throughout the western U.S. Prior to joining Acacia, Todd was responsible for the western region acquisition activity of Lend Lease, a large pension fund advisor. He also oversaw dispositions and financing activity for AEW Capital Management, and was a bank analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Todd, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2017, has been an active member of the Board’s Finance committee. He holds an A.B. degree in economics from Princeton University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He and his wife, Kathleen, have three children at PHS: a daughter in seventh grade, a daughter in sixth, and a son in second.

 

Elizabeth Goode

Elizabeth Goode is entering her seventh year as the librarian for Presidio Hill School. She has a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University and has been helping students find their new favorite books for the past eight years. In partnership with the IT Director, Elizabeth spearheaded PHS’s maker program and now uses the space to inspire PHS’s future movie makers and inventors. During her off time, Elizabeth likes to travel the world and write young adult books and travel blogs.

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Heifferon

PHS has been a part of Jennifer’s life since 2014. She is currently a learning specialist supporting teachers, students and families in fourth through sixth grade. Prior to joining PHS, Jennifer was a fifth and sixth grade teacher at Charles Armstrong, a school in Belmont for children with language-based learning differences. In a previous life, Jennifer worked in the advertising industry as an Interactive Producer for Goodby, Silverstein, and Partners. She received her B.A. in psychology from Stanford University along with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and M.A. in teaching from the University of San Francisco. In addition to her Learning Services work at PHS, Jennifer is a co-facilitator of the Multicultural Leadership Task Force and a member of the Media and Tech Team. Jennifer and her husband, Brian, have two sons: one in TK at PHS and another in preschool.

 

Jeni Izuel

Jeni is chief financial and operating officer at Net Impact, a nonprofit empowering a new generation to create social and environmental change in the workplace and the world. During her 13-year tenure as a nonprofit executive she has focused on creating and leading finance, operations and talent growth strategies. Prior to Net Impact, Jeni was CFO at VolunteerMatch and a consultant with KPMG’s Global Grants Program. A dedicated volunteer, she received the 2011 Bay Area CFO of The Year award for community service, has served on the Board of Directors of the KIPP SF Bay Academy, and is currently treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of the nonprofit HandsOn Bay Area. She has led volunteer engagements with international NGOs, including the NESsT social venture fund, Amy Biehl Foundation and Grameen Bank. Jeni, who joined the Board in 2015, currently serves as treasurer, as well as chair of the Finance Committee. Jeni received a B.S. from U.C. Berkeley and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Derek, have a son in third grade at PHS and a daughter in kindergarten.

 

 

 

 

Kevin Jacobson

Head of School Kevin Jacobson has been an educator for more than two decades. Before arriving at PHS in 2016, he served for five years as Middle School principal at Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York, one of the most progressive K-12 independent schools on the East Coast. Prior to his time at ECF, Kevin worked as assistant head at Windrush School, a small K-8 progressive school in El Cerrito, California, and graduated from the NAIS Aspiring School Heads fellowship program. Kevin, who was raised in the New York metropolitan area by a family of progressive educators, has also worked as director of Shire Village, a community-focused, nonprofit children’s camp in the Berkshire Mountains, and as an English teacher to bilingual students at the American International School in Quito, Ecuador. Kevin has a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, where he majored in History and Spanish, and a master’s degree in African-American Studies from New York University. He and his wife, Aisha Bastiaans, have an elementary-school-aged son, Revel.

 

 

Peter Klivans

Peter, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2017, has an extensive background in law and finance. He worked for 10 years as a litigator at Quinn Emanuel, LLP, handling complex commercial litigations. Earlier in his career, Peter worked in the investor relations and disclosure division of Sony Corp.’s Tokyo headquarters. Outside of work, Peter serves on the board of GLO Inc., a San Francisco non-profit that provides after-school programs at six elementary schools. He has a B.A. from Williams College, a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University; in addition, he is currently working toward an M.S. in applied economics and finance from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Peter is also a Chartered Financial Analyst Charterholder. Prior to joining the Board of Trustees, Peter’s involvement at PHS included co-chairing the annual Book Fair with his wife, Kate Steinheimer. Peter and Kate have four children: a son in sixth grade and a daughter in eighth grade at PHS, as well as a daughter at San Francisco Waldorf High School and a son at Lowell High School.

 

 

Linda LeBlanc

Linda has a diverse background in marketing that spans advertising, market development and residential real estate sales. Born and raised in New Jersey, Linda started her professional journey as an advertising account executive at Lowe and Partners in New York before migrating west to live in Silicon Valley, where she worked as a director of corporate marketing at Intel Corporation. Thereafter, she set her sights on the San Francisco real estate market and is now a top-producing realtor at Paragon Real Estate Group. Linda, who has a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Rutgers University, has served on the Board of Trustees since 2014, where she is a member of the Building & Grounds Committee and has also served on the Communications Committee. She previously served on the Board for Family Builders, a foster adoption non-profit organization, and has volunteered for a variety of community programs—from dog walking for the sick and elderly to after-school programs at the Boys and Girls Club.

 

 

Maryann LoRusso

Maryann has an extensive background in journalism and communications, with experience in both the print and online media worlds. She began her career in New York, first as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor for several global business and consumer publications at Condé Nast and Time Inc. As an editor-in-chief at fashion media group Fairchild Publications, she was at the helm of two internationally distributed magazines. Since moving to San Francisco with her family, Maryann has maintained a freelance editorial career that has included projects for numerous local and national publications. Maryann, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2013, chairs the Trustees Committee and has also been a member of the Communications Task Force, Head of School Search Committee, and Head Transition Committee. Prior to joining the Board, she co-chaired the Parents and Guardians Association (PGA) for four years, and also served as Fall Gathering chair and room parent. Maryann has degrees in Journalism and Creative Writing from Northwestern University. She and her husband, Steven Jo, have two children: a son in the sixth grade at PHS, as well as a daughter at San Francisco University High School.

 

Christina Maluenda Marchiel

Christina is a founding director of Mission Kids, a cooperative progressive education preschool that focuses on serving underprivileged families. She previously worked as a therapist and director at a non-public agency and has served as a Peace Corps volunteer. Christina earned her B.S. in Psychology and Neuroscience from Duke University and her M.S. in Child Development from the University of California, Davis. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2014, serving on the Trustees Committee and working on the Center for Progressive Education. Since becoming part of the PHS community, Christina has volunteered in a variety of capacities, including organizing school camping trips, introducing weekly gardening experiences, serving as a room parent and as a parent ambassador for the Maple Street project. She and her husband, Brian, have two children at PHS, a daughter in sixth grade and a son in fourth grade.

 

Ranesha Moreno

Ranesha, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2017, is currently studying psychology at City College with the hopes of focusing on cognitive neuroscience. At PHS, Ranesha has demonstrated active service, co-chairing both the Annual Talent Show and Books & Pajamas Day, and working as a room parent for the past three years. She has also supervised food-related classroom activities, volunteered for numerous other school events, and driven on field trips any chance she could get. Most recently, she has also been serving on the Parent Education sub-committee of PHS’s Multicultural Leadership Team (MLT). Ranesha and her husband, Jose, have two children at PHS: a son in the third grade, and a daughter in the fourth grade.

 

 

 

 

Matthew N. Nathan

Matthew has more than 20 years of experience in the education sector as an educator, entrepreneur and strategic leader in mission-driven nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Matthew currently serves as senior director of development for WestEd, a national education research, development and services agency dedicated to building and disseminating knowledge about what works in education to improve outcomes for all students. In his role, Matthew focuses on growing agency revenue, diversifying funding sources, and increasing scale and impact. Matthew, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2017, has supported PHS in numerous ways, including serving as a volunteer for Walkathon and Mayfest, co-chairing the Annual Auction’s wine raffle committee, organizing parent fundraisers, and serving on the steering committee of the Center for Progressive Education at PHS (CPE). A native New Yorker, Matthew received a bachelor’s degree in Government and Philosophy from Bowdoin College. He and his wife, Gillian, have a daughter in the fifth grade at PHS.

 

 

Jean Riney Niewiadomski

Jean is a faculty member in the Graduate Counseling Psychology Department at Santa Clara University specializing in children’s mental health. Before that, she held a leadership position at the non-profit EMQ Children and Family Services, where she developed and implemented programs providing therapeutic services to thousands of Bay Area families. Jean has assisted both local and state agencies, including the California Mental Heath Services Board of Commissioners, in designing needs-driven programs for children and families. Prior to moving to California, Jean lived in Anchorage, Alaska, where she was involved with mental heath programs for children who otherwise would be removed from their homes and separated from their families. Jean joined the Board of Trustees in 2016 and currently serves as co-chair of the Development Committee. At PHS, she has also served as a room parent, and as secretary and co-chair of the Parent and Guardians Association. Jean and her husband, Paul, have a daughter in the seventh grade at PHS.

 

 

 

 

 

Gary Saydah

Originally from Tenafly, N.J., Gary was involved in his family’s real estate business for as a broker and manager assisting agents before moving to San Francisco 15 years ago. For the last eight years, he has been a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker, representing buyers and sellers of residential real estate. Gary, who has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, has also been an active volunteer and board member of the non-profit Food Runners, which provides food to shelters and other local groups in need. In his role as a board member, Gary has helped the organization increase its number of donor restaurants, managed staffing issues, collaborated on strategic planning and worked with the larger volunteer community. Gary has served on the PHS Board of Trustees since 2012 and currently chairs the Building & Grounds Committee. His involvement with the school has also included co-chairing Walkathon, working curbside duty, setting up Friday Coffee, making soup for the teachers, chaperoning class field trips and volunteering for the Annual Auction. Gary and his wife, Holly, have a daughter in the seventh grade at PHS.

 

 

 

 

Lewis Stringer

An ecologist with the Presidio Trust, Lew has been working to restore the Presidio’s wildlands for the past 20 years. He previously worked for the National Park Service in Glacier National Park and at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Lew has a B.A. in Sustainable Development from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in Land Resources and Environmental Science from Montana State University. Lew, who joined the PHS Board of Trustees in 2017, has been an active member of the Board’s Positioning Task Force and served as chair of Game Night; he is now working on the Center for Progressive Education at PHS (CPE). He and his wife, Elana Bober, have two daughters at PHS: one in the third grade, and one in kindergarten.

 

 

 

Susan Whitecotton

Susan, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2017, is a former litigator who happily retired to become a full-time parent. While in private practice, she defended clients including Borders Books, Chevron and Visa in antitrust and other corporate litigation. In 2006, Susan joined the legal department at Visa where she managed antitrust and intellectual property matters. Susan has undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a J.D. from the University of California-Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law. Prior to joining the Board, Susan supported PHS in various capacities, including serving as a classroom volunteer, soup maker and an Admissions tour guide. She and her husband, Craig Weissman, have a daughter in the first grade at PHS, as well as a son in preschool at Stretch the Imagination.