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East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy
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EPACS-EPAPA Advisory Board
The Joint East Palo Alto Charter School-East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy Board ("AdBoard" for short) is made up of local educators, volunteers and EPACS supporters. By contributing their passion and insights in support of our mission, they have made great contributions to our school's academic successes. We thank our Board members for their on-going enthusiasm and dedication, and invite you to meet them:


"I love being involved with EPACS because of the real, tangible results."
  --Zack Bogue, AdBoard Member



East Palo Alto Charter School-East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy Advisory Board

Michael Berman
Mike Berman joined the EPACS staff in the spring of 2003. He has served as the Director of Development and Community Partnerships since 2009. Mike worked as a middle school Humanities teacher until July 2008, when he joined the staff of East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy as a college counselor/academic advisor, part-time dean of students, after school program director, and "utility infielder." In spring of 2009, he settled in to his two-part role: college counselor at the high school and director of development for K-12. While earning his BA and MA in US History from Stanford University, Mike tutored at several different schools in East Palo Alto. The experience inspired him to learn more about this fascinating and vibrant community, and he wrote his master's thesis about the history of East Palo Alto. Originally from Silver Spring, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC, Mike has remained at EPACS and EPAPA because this school is his family away from his family, and he is dedicated to seeing every student graduate from a four-year college or university.

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Zachary Bogue
Zack joined the EPACS Advisory Board in 2003. Zack is an entrepreneur and real estate investor, focused on investing in and advising early stage big data companies. He is a Managing Partner of Founders Den, a shared office space and private club for experienced entrepreneurs and their friends. Previously, Zack cofounded Montara Capital Partners, a real estate private equity fund. He was previously an associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and a law partner at Virtual Law Partners. At EPACS, Zack founded and ran our High School Application Workshop for our eighth graders. Later, once we'd expanded to have a high school, he helped develop our College Mentors program. Zack also brings his past experience as a volunteer at two charter schools in Washington DC. Zack earned his AB from Harvard University and his JD from Georgetown Law School. He is most impressed with the school's strong culture of success and high expectations it sets for its students.

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Suz Burroughs
Suz Burroughs is an Instructional Designer who specializes in adult learners. She designs and delivers formal and informal learning experiences in many formats including face2face, online, social media, mobile, and everything in between. She was a Haas Scholar at the University of California Berkeley and received a Masters in Education with an option in Online Teaching and Learning from California State University East Bay. She freelances in the music industry on the side and volunteers mentor to first generation college school students because she is one. She opened her own business in 1997, and she joined Google in 2010 where she teaches on the Global Innovation faculty in addition to working on learning design projects. She has taught in over 30 states, 5 countries, and, of course, online. She is a co-author of the upcoming Peeragogy Handbook and is contributing to blended learning course designs for high school teachers and university faculty. She joined our Advisory Board in 2011.

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Jennifer Carolan
Jennifer Carolan joined the Advisory Board in 2004 and was formerly a Palo Alto school teacher. She left to pursue her Masters in Curriculum and Teacher Education from the Stanford School of Education. While at Stanford, she studied Curriculum Differentiation and jointly with fellow Ad Board member Abby Guinn, published her study findings in Educational Leadership. Currently, she works at NewSchools Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy fund investing in education organizations and serves as a Stanford S.O.S. school coach.

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Vicky Evans
Vicky Evans joined the EPAPA staff as a College Counselor in 2009. In that capacity she works tirelessly to guide our students and families through the college-going practice. Before joining the EPACS-EPAPA family in 2009, Vicky spent the previous 8 years at Downtown College Prep in San Jose, one of the first charter high schools in the state, where she developed the College Guidance program. Vicky received her BS in Human Development and Elementary and Secondary teaching credentials from UC Davis and earned an MBA from Santa Clara University. Our school's staff, students and families are the beneficiary of Vicky's years of experience and success preparing students to be the first in their families to attend and complete college.

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Peter Gifford
Peter Gifford joined the East Palo Alto Charter School Advisory Board in the spring of 2004. He brings a diverse background in finance, strategy, business development, and fundraising. Peter currently works at Regis Management Company, a private investment firm in Palo Alto. Peter received his AB in Political Science from Stanford University and his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Peter loves working with the passionate faculty and staff of EPACS and seeing the tremendous impact the school is having in the community.

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Sharon Johnson
Sharon Johnson is the Principal of East Palo Alto Charter School. Sharon joined the EPACS community in the fall of 2000. Prior to becoming Principal, Sharon led the English Language Arts and Teacher Induction program as the school's Literacy Coach. A former fifth grade and second grade teacher at EPACS, Sharon brings to her leadership a strong foundation in both primary and upper elementary grade level instruction. She holds a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University (through a unique charter school leadership program facilitated by Aspire Public Schools) and a Bachelor of Science in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University. Sharon is a proud single mother to her son, Dorian, who help keeps her perspective grounded in the students’ experience of school. She loves working at EPACS, where the entire school community works relentlessly to support and challenge each other.

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Bess Kennedy
Bess Kennedy started as a 4th grade teacher at EPACS in 1999.  After two years teaching full-time, Bess joined fellow 4th grade teacher Brian Auld to co-found the EPACS development office.  Through foundation grants, individual donations, and corporate giving, the development office raised over $500,000 in the first two years.  The funds supported after-school programs, field trips, reading coaches, an organic garden program, and even an entirely new playground for all to enjoy.  After 4 years at EPACS, Bess went on to earn her law degree at NYU.  She is now a litigation attorney at Bingham McCutchen in San Francisco, but her heart and soul are still with EPACS!

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Thomas Madson
Thomas Madson joined the Advisory Board in 2006, and is principal of East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy. He came from Michigan in 1999 after working as a youth specialist for the Sarah Fisher Residential Treatment Center and teaching high school English. After teaching third grade at EPACS, he became Site Coordinator for the K-8 program. Mr. Madson has a B. A. in Psychology and in English Language and Literature and also holds an M. A. in Educational Administration.

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Margaret Perrone
Margaret Perrone joined the EPACS Advisory Board in 2007. Prior to this, she was extremely committed to volunteering at the school for over two years. She has always been very involved at her own children's schools, and realized that they had plenty of talented volunteers. This prompted her to look elsewhere for a school serving at-risk children with fewer resources. Margaret is passionate about reading, and has always been interested in libraries, so she came to EPACS and has contributed to the library in countless ways through helping organize books, inspiring and instructing students, and raising money to continue developing the collection. Margaret is also a member of the Literacy Team at the school, and has been most impressed with the staff and the positive impact of their effort.

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Laura Ramirez
Laura Ramirez, the principal at EPACS from 2008-2011, is currently an instructional coach. She is from Capistrano Beach, in Orange County, California. Laura received her undergraduate degree in Economics and History from UCLA, earned her teaching credential at San Francisco State University, and her masters in School Leadership and Administration from San Jose State University. She joined EPACS as a second grade teacher in January of 2001, and continued to teach second and third grade, until becoming the school's K-5 math instructional coach in July 2006. Laura served as principal for three years before stepping down to spend more time with her new daughter. What Laura loves most about EPACS is the strong sense of community among the staff, students, and families. She can't imagine being anywhere else!

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John Rethans
John Rethans joined the EPACS Advisory Board in 2007 after teaching fourth and fifth grade at EPACS from 2002 - 2005. In addition to AdBoard, he has continued to be involved with the school in various ways since leaving for a career in the solar industry. He is currently the national director of component manufacturing and sales for Solon Corporation. Give him a chance, and he'll gush effusively about his love of all things EPACS. John has a BA in History and European Studies from UCLA and an MBA from Santa Clary University.

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Rachel Rosenberg
Rachel Rosenberg joined the EPACS staff as an elementary school teacher in 2003. She taught second and third grade for four years before serving as a Bay Area instructional coach for Aspire. Rachel joined the Advisory Board in 2009.

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Nancy Rosenthal
Nancy has been a member of the EPACS Advisory Board since 2008, focusing on expanding EPACS' base of financial support. She began her involvement with EPACS mentoring a group of middle school boys and continues to volunteer in the elementary school classrooms. Prior to volunteering with EPACS, Nancy held multiple strategy and marketing roles in the healthcare field. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Pomona College, and an MBA and Masters of Public Health from University of California, Berkeley.

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Rachel Stewart
Rachel Stewart joined the Advisory Board in 2011. She is the Corporate Records Manager for SanDisk Corporation. Previous to joining SanDisk, Rachel spent 27 years at Intel Corporation, managing the worldwide Corporate Records and Archives Programs. She began her involvement with EPACS during her tenure as president of the Silicon Valley Chapter of ARMA, in 2009, when she co-chaired the annual Pancake breakfast. She tells everyone of her very first tour at EPACS when two young boys proudly and efficiently showed her around their campus. They made her proud to be a Latina. Most of all they made her want to be part of this school, that was making a difference.

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Helen Streck
Helen Streck and her husband, Chris Woodard, wrote the original charter petition for East Palo Alto Charter School in 1996. Although they moved out of the area for a brief time, they have remained deeply involved with the school since its founding in 1997. Their younger son, Michael, "graduated" from eighth grade (before we'd founded a high school), and their older daughter, Veronica, works as a middle school teacher resident. Both Helen and Chris have served as college mentors for seniors at EPAPA. Helen has been a member of the Advisory Board since 2009.

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Ambalika Sudan
Ambalika Sudan joined the Advisory Board in 2011. A Palo Alto resident, she was impressed by the school's mission to send every single student to college and is blown away by the impact the school is having on the local community. Proving that EPAPA can be addictive, she is also currently a mentor in the EPAPA college mentorship program. Ambalika has a B.A. from Columbia University and currently works at Medallia in Palo Alto.

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