Board of Directors
Ellen Beller is a consummate Business & Finance professional. Having worked in various businesses for over 30 years, she has spent the last 10 years making a positive impact in the success of non-profit and educational organizations. She loves working with others to refine processes and figuring out ways technology can assist us in building and maintaining thriving organizations.
"I am passionate about my work at the CATDC especially that I am supporting education for our teachers and future leaders. I believe education is key to our present and future generations. It is a very rewarding feeling to know that I am part of the positive learning and innovative growth that is happening in our world."
Tracy Gallagher is passionate about K-12 education and helping teachers become better at their craft. She began her education career at Anova working in special education classrooms and for the last six years in publishing, partnering with thought leaders like Doug Lemov, Michael Fullan, and Daniel Willingham to create useful and inspiring professional development books for teachers and administrators. While at Wiley Publishing she helped manage and grow the Teach Like a Champion brand, solidifying her interest in teacher retention and effectiveness.
"Teaching can be a solitary profession and many new teachers don’t feel adequately supported or trained. By coming together, teachers and administrators tap into their most valuable resource, each other."
Lisa Haney is a lifelong educator of youth and adults. In her 25-year career at the Athenian School in Danville, California, she served in many roles, including English teacher, international program director, and humanities department chair. In her most recent capacity as dean of faculty development, Lisa spearheaded a process to develop Athenian’s Standards of Excellent Teaching and design a comprehensive new professional development and evaluation program. Beyond Athenian, Lisa has engaged in teacher education through UC Berkeley Extension, as well as the Berkeley and San Francisco Unified School Districts. An expert in cross cultural communication, Lisa was selected to be an English Language Fellow with the US State Department in 2006 to help improve English language education in Tanzania. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley and a M.A.T. from the School for International Training, Vermont.
"I see the CATDC as a dynamic and caring community of teachers, learners and leaders, collaborating to spark innovation and foster excellent education for our students."
Eryn Hoffman has worked in education for more than 15 years. She has been a teacher, curriculum leader, and administrator at several Los Angeles-area independent schools, and has served as a mentor-teacher and professional development coordinator for K-12 teachers in both public and private schools. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and her Doctorate in Education from USC, with a focus on successful models of global education and external partnerships in K-12 schools. In her most recent role before joining the CATDC, Eryn developed and ran Windward School’s Global Education Program, serving as the Director of Global Programs, and also furthered the school’s collaborative efforts and innovative pedagogies through research and outreach as the first-ever Director of the Windward Institute.
"Providing teachers and administrators the time and space to collaborate with each other about their craft is inspiring to watch. The learning that occurs when teachers and leaders have the opportunity to learn among and from one another is transformative, both for the teacher/leader and for his or her students!"
Jannah Tate knows first hand the impact confident, well-supported teachers can have on their students. As a product of, and teacher in, independent schools herself, she is dedicated to providing educators with meaningful and engaging professional development opportunities. For the last four years, she has worked as both a classroom teacher and a program coordinator to offer students a progressive, multicultural learning experience.
"Education is a never-ending endeavor. The CATDC provides educators with the opportunity to continue honing their skills, collaborate with their peers, and stretch themselves in new directions, all of which ensures the best learning outcomes for their students"
Meet Our Facilitators
David Barkan has an international reputation as a master group facilitator and consultant to organizations dedicated to social change. He holds a Ph.D. in Clinical/Organizational Psychology and a B.A. from Boston University. He regularly consults with schools, non-profit organizations and community collaborations across the U.S. and around the world. He has dedicated his career to helping people and groups find creative solutions to life and work’s most challenging problems.
Reveta Franklin Bowers was both born and educated in Los Angeles, California. She is in her final year as the Head of School at the Center for Early Education in Los Angeles, where she has been for the past 44 years. For the last fifteen summers, Reveta Bowers was engaged as the Lead Faculty Member at the NAIS Institute for New Heads and taught more than 700 NAIS Heads of School. Reveta has served and continues to serve on a number of boards.
Malika Carter spent her twenties teaching in independent schools in California and Arizona, staffing for President Clinton and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and working in high tech in Colorado. Malika received her California teaching credential in 2003 from Mills College and spent three years teaching fourth grade in San Leandro before joining the Live Oak faculty in 2005. After teaching fourth grade for four years, Malika moved to the position of seventh grade Humanities teacher.
Rachel Concannon is the Middle and Upper School Counselor at Head-Royce School in Oakland. She is a Marriage and Family Therapist with over twelve years of experience helping adolescents and adults through challenging times. Prior to working at Head-Royce, she was a school counselor at Alameda High School and King Middle School and a therapist at Planned Parenthood. In her role at Head-Royce she counsels students and faculty, helps guide the Women’s Affinity group, leads the teacher mentor program, and teaches Life Skills classes to 7th and 8th graders. Rachel lives in the East Bay with her husband and two young children, and enjoys hiking with her friends and dog.
Lori Cohen has worked in education (both public and independent) for two decades and currently serves as the Dean of Faculty at the Bay School of San Francisco. Prior to her current role at Bay, Lori taught Humanities, Literature, and Religion/Philosophy courses; served as an Instructional Coach; and was the founder/coordinator of Bay’s Teaching Fellows program. This will be Lori’s sixth year as a co-facilitator/teacher leader in Teaching Foundations, a program that brings her joy and professional rejuvenation. In addition to facilitating professional development, teaching, and leading, Lori actively works towards equity and social justice in education, striving to offer access and pathways for all school stakeholders to thrive.
Andrew Davis is the Head of School at Mt. Tamalpais School in Mill Valley. He served as a Head of Middle School and Director of Admissions at Crystal Springs Uplands School before assuming his present responsibilities. His teaching career includes three years as a middle school history teacher at the Hamlin School. You can read more of Andrew’s writing at www.tgiam.org.
Elizabeth Denevi is the Associate Director for Mid West Educational Collaborative, a non-profit agency that works with schools nationally to increase equity, promote diversity pedagogy, and implement strategic processes for growth and development. Previously, she served as Director of Studies & Professional Development at Latin School of Chicago. In this position, Elizabeth was responsible for the stewardship and integration of curriculum from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, as well as for the oversight and coordination of professional development and evaluation for all faculty.
Crystal Land is an experienced educator, facilitator and conference leader. She has served in many positions in her 25-year career at the Head-Royce School in Oakland including Assistant Head/Academic Dean, Director of Admissions and her current position as Head of School. Crystal lives in Oakland, California with her family, and balances work with running, travel and writing.
Tom Malarkey is a longtime educator who has focused his work on urban schools, teachers, and students. He has taught high school English and first grade, and was the director of the Summerbridge Program in San Francisco, an academic empowerment program for middle school students, and Senior Program Officer for Summerbridge National. Since 1996, he has worked with the Oakland-based National Equity Project (www.nationalequityproject.org) coaching public school teachers, school leaders, and district leaders around equity-centered change.
Steve Morris is in his 11th year as the Head of the San Francisco School (SFS), a private, pk-8 school. He has been working as a teacher and administrator in independent schools for the past 20 years. Steve has also served as a Trustee on numerous Boards including but not limited to: The California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), The Urban School of San Francisco, The San Francisco Day School, California Teachers Development Collaborative (CATDC), Bay Area Teacher Training Initiative (BATTI), People of Color in Independent Schools (POCIS), and Youth Speaks, a San Francisco-based arts program.
Alison Park is the founder of Blink Consulting and has been working with schools and educational access organizations for eleven years to critically rethink diversity and inclusion. Before Blink, Alison taught in the independent, public and community non-profit sectors for thirteen years.
Leslie Powell is a veteran educator and lifelong learner with a degree in developmental psychology and a multiple subjects credential. In her tenure at Head-Royce she has held many leadership positions including lead teacher, Dean of Faculty & Students in the summer program, Intern Teacher program director as well as her current role as Assistant Head of Lower School. She believes in skillful and effective communication as a means to foster strong, positive relationships and authentic dialogue.
Katherine Preston, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, has been a practicing psychotherapist for over twenty years. She is currently the mental health consultant for the San Francisco Friends School and she teaches lifespan development and family systems theory at Sofia University in Palo Alto. She also maintains a private practice in San Francisco and has held many clinical leadership positions overseeing and providing clinical training and supervision for therapeutic school-based services.
Peggy Procter is the Head of School at Echo Horizon, a PreK-6 independent school in Culver City, CA. Prior to Echo Horizon she was the Director of Upper School at Windward School. Prior to Windward, she served as Dean of Students at the La Jolla Country Day School and Dean of Juniors and Seniors at the Branson School near San Francisco.
Debbie Reed’s life’s work has been in schools and she brings a wealth of experience to the work of a consultant. During her forty years as an educator, she has worked in public and private schools, urban and suburban schools, parochial and nonsectarian schools, co-ed schools and single-sex schools. In June of 2014, Debbie retired as the Head of School at Polytechnic School, a K-12 coed independent school enrolling 860 students in Pasadena, California.
Sharon Thompson is the Assistant Head of School at Polytechnic School. She has also held administrative leadership positions at Phoenix Country Day School (AZ) and The Seven Hills School (OH). As an English teacher, she taught students in grades 8-12 and has been a department chair. She has served as a division director/head and assistant division head; she has also been a grade-level dean and a college counselor for many years in three different schools.
Jeanette Woo Chitjian is the Director of Enrollment Management at Marlborough School. In addition to overseeing the Admissions Office, Jeanette sits on her school’s Senior Leadership Team, advises the Parents’ Association, participates in diversity programming, and is a 9th grade advisor. Before joining Marlborough’s community, Jeanette was the Associate Dean of Admissions at Pomona College. She received her B.A. in Biology and Sociology from Pitzer College.
Board of Directors
Jeff is head of Chinese American International School (CAIS), a PreK-8 dual language immersion school in San Francisco. Before coming to CAIS Jeff lived for over a decade in China were he directed the Beijing campus of the independent school consortium School Year Abroad. Previous to that he taught Chinese at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Jeff began his career teaching in public schools in Wisconsin. He has served on various boards including Chinese Early Language and Immersion Network (CELIN) at Asia Society, Keystone Academy in Beijing, the 1990 Institute, and Western Academy of Beijing. Jeff is a life-long devotee of international and experiential education. He believes that the key to a successful school is the quality of its people and their relationships with one another. Jeff holds a BA in history from Lawrence University and MA and PhD degrees in Chinese language and literature from the University of Wisconsin.
After graduating from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in English, Mitch taught and coached at independent schools in Massachusetts and Los Angeles before arriving in the Bay Area in 1992. After five years at Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton, he joined the faculty at Mount Tamalpais School in Mill Valley, where he also served as Dean of Faculty while earning his M.Ed in Organizational Leadership from the University of San Francisco in 2007. In 2009, he joined The Berkeley School as middle school division head, and was appointed Head of School in 2010. Mitch was a founding member of Teachers’ Education Network and is a member of the East Bay Independent Schools’ Association governance group. He believes that transformative teaching and learning practices allow all participants to feel seen and supported simultaneously, and knows no organization better at helping teachers develop those practices than CATDC.
John Bracker became the Head of School for Polytechnic School on July 1, 2014, and prior to joining the Polytechnic community; John was the Head of School for Watkinson School in Hartford, CT where he served for 14 years. Mr. Bracker is a member of the Headmasters Association and the Country Day School Headmasters Association. Mr. Bracker is a member of INDEX which is comprised of collaborative groups from independent schools where data is shared to aid in decision-making, policy development, and strategic planning. Currently, Mr. Bracker serves on three boards, PFS! Partnership for Success, the California Teacher Development Collaborative and the Center for Early Education. Mr. Bracker earned his Bachelor’s degree from Haverford College, Haverford, PA and his Master’s degree from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Andrew Davis is the Head of School at Mt. Tamalpais School in Mill Valley. He served as a Head of Middle School and Director of Admissions at Crystal Springs Uplands School before assuming his present responsibilities. Andrew taught middle school at both the Town School for Boys and Hamlin School while also founding a wilderness education program in Colorado. He holds and MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University.
Ted Hamory is the Head of School at The Oaks School. Ted’s career in education began over twenty-five years ago, as a bilingual teacher with Teach for America. Within a decade he had co-founded a small, bilingual charter school in downtown Long Beach, California. This school, which opened in 2000 with 70 students, brought progressive, public education to an underserved, ethnically diverse community. He then led the expansion of the school to three campuses, serving grades K-12, with 700 students. In 2010, Ted became the fourth Head of The Oaks School, a progressive K-6 school in Hollywood, where he is thrilled to help build on the school’s solid reputation for creating thoughtful, compassionate students who love to learn. Ted earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, a Master of Arts in Education from Pepperdine University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University, where he studied Economics and Spanish. Ted enjoys spending time with his large family of six children, ranging in age from 24 to 1 year old, reading and working in his garden.
Joe Harvey has been the Head of School at Mark Day School since July of 2011. Prior to Mark Day School, Joe served in the senior administrative post of Academic Dean at Marin Academy. In his ten years there he was also Junior Class Dean (2001 to 2004) and athletic director (2004 to 2007); he taught English throughout his time at MA. In 2002, he earned his master’s degree from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.
With a B.A. in Government from Dartmouth College and a M.S. in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Luke assumed the Headship at The Bay School of San Francisco in July of 2015 following a successful decade-long tenure as Head of School at Madison Country Day School, a Pre-K-12 school in Madison, Wisconsin. From a family of educators, Luke has worn many hats over his career from teaching at each divisional level and college advising to serving in a range of administrative positions. Committed to ongoing innovation within the wider independent school community, Luke also serves on the Board of ISACS (Independent Schools Association of the Central States) and has previously served WCRIS (Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools) and WAIS (Wisconsin Association of Independent Schools).
Valentina is the founding Head of La Scuola International School. She graduated from the University of Bologna and went on to get a Ph.D. in Material Science and Engineering from Bologna University and the University of Cambridge, U.K. She moved to San Francisco in 2000 to work as a researcher in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. After the birth of her two sons, Stefano and Matteo, Valentina enrolled her son Stefano at La Piccola Scuola Italiana in 2005 and immediately fell in love with the small small but full of potential educational project and became a vital member of the La Scuola community, rediscovering her passion for children and education. Valentina accepted the position of Direttrice in June 2007 to transform La Piccola Scuola Italiana program into a PreK-8 School built upon the Reggio Emilia philosophy and soon to be the first accredited International Baccalaurate for the primary years program in the city of San Francisco. Valentina is passionate about science, innovation, social constructivism and the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy. La Scuola has very strong ties to Reggio Emilia and Reggio Children and holds professional development as one of its core values. Teachers are researchers and are encouraged and supported to reflect, innovate and be learners for life. Valentina loves her two boys, Italian food and culture and the beautiful California outdoors.
Crystal is an experienced educator, facilitator and conference leader. She has served in many positions in her 25-year career at the Head-Royce School in Oakland including Assistant Head/Academic Dean, Director of Admissions and her current position as Head of School. She coaches school teams, leads in-services and finds innovative ways to make schools vibrant (and fun) places to work and learn.
Elizabeth McGregor was appointed the 11th head of Westridge School for Girls in July 2009. Born and raised in England, Liz attended an all-girls high school and earned a Bachelor of Education degree and Certificate in Education from the University of London. Liz later moved to the United States, where she completed her Master of Education degree at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Her career has encompassed teaching students from kindergarten through 12th grade in South Africa, New York, Connecticut, and Southern California.
Dr. Tashon McKeithan, currently serves as the Director of Early Childhood Programs at The Center for Early Education in West Hollywood. Tashon holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and a doctoral degree in K-12 Educational Leadership. She began her career teaching elementary school in the South Bronx. She previously worked as a teacher and administrator in public schools in the New York City Department of Education. While there, she worked to build external partnerships and has been the recipient of substantial grants used to rebuild an outdoor play space and to create a school-based free mental health clinic to support vulnerable families. Tashon is active in her local community and currently serves as co-chair of Culver City’s Fiesta La Ballona committee and is running for the Culver City United School Board. As an educator with over 20 years experience, she champions for strong early childhood education, increased professional development for teachers and administrators, supports for social emotional learning and mental health as well as outdoor education.
Meera Ratnesar has over 20 years of experience in teaching and administration at independent schools. At Bryn Mawr College, Meera majored in Mathematics, minored in education and was SGA president her senior year. During her college years, she student taught at the Baldwin School for girls and worked as an intern in their admissions office. For nine years, she was a math teacher at the Collegiate School in New York City. She was also a debate coach, director of community service, math department chair and the Director of the Collegiate Teaching institute – a summer fellowship for young teachers of color in independent schools. After Collegiate, Meera returned to her home state, California, and served as Head of the Upper School at Harbor Day School for five years and was appointed Head of School at Curtis School in Los Angeles in 2016. She has a masters in Mathematics education from Columbia University Teachers College and a Masters in Private school Leadership from the Klingenstein Center Columbia University. Meera is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Education from the University of Pennsylvania in Education Leadership. Meera serves on a number of boards and advisory councils including California Teacher Development Collaborative and the advisory council for The College Preparatory School. Her interests lie in innovative teaching and curriculum, diversity and inclusivity in independent schools, and change management in schools and education.Leslie Powell is a veteran educator and lifelong learner with a degree in developmental psychology and a multiple subjects credential. In her tenure at Head-Royce she has held many leadership positions including lead teacher, Dean of Faculty & Students in the summer program, Intern Teacher program director as well as her current role as Assistant Head of Lower School. She believes in skillful and effective communication as a means to foster strong, positive relationships and authentic dialogue.
Bob Riddle brings three decades of experience as an educator to his role as Head of School at Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica. Before taking on his role as head in 2009, Riddle served as the assistant headmaster and dean of faculty. He joined the school in 1984 as a middle school math and life skills teacher and served as upper school director, among other positions. Riddle received a master’s degree in educational administration from Columbia University Teachers College in 1994 and was a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Bob Riddle is currently on leave from the CATDC Board.
After having served as the senior rabbi for nearly a decade at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, Ohio, Howard Ruben joined the Jewish Community High School as Head of School in 2008. He previously served as the executive director of Cincinnati’s Bureau of Jewish Education. Rabbi Ruben also has deep roots in the Bay Area Jewish and secular communities. Prior to entering the rabbinate, he served as a partner in the law firm of Severson & Werson in San Francisco, and held lay leader positions on the boards of the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California. Rabbi Ruben graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with honors; the University of California, Hastings College of Law, in San Francisco; and Hebrew Union College, in Cincinnati and Jerusalem, where he studied as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. He also was in the inaugural class of Rabbinic Fellows of the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
Angela Taylor began serving as Head of Convent of the Sacred Heart Elementary School in fall 2012, although she has long been a part of the Convent & Stuart Hall community, having served as Lower Form Dean at Stuart Hall for Boys from 2000-2012, and interim Head of School there during the 2004-2005 school year. Angela is an integral part of the Campus Ministry Team and offers both an expertise in curriculum development and a passion for the mission created and lived by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Angela began her career in education as a homeroom teacher for grades 4 and 5 in Atlanta, and then as a math and science teacher to grades 6 and 7 in Oakland and Boston. She has a master’s degree in School Administration from the University of Massachusetts in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Spelman College for women in Atlanta.
Jenn Foley Tolbert is in her second year as Head of School at Saint Mark’s School, Altadena, CA. For the past seven years, Jenn served as the Middle School Director at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, CA. Prior to that, she was the Associate Director of Admissions at Campbell Hall School in North Hollywood, CA and Director of Diversity and Middle School Director at the Gordon School in East Providence, RI. Jenn taught English and social studies for nine years before moving into administration. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from St. Michael’s College and a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Columbia University, Teachers College. Currently Jenn is a board member at The Center for Early Education and CalWest Educators. In her free time, Jenn enjoys being with her family of six children and her husband. Jenn also enjoys gardening, cooking, playing basketball, eating ice cream, and listening to jazz music.