Tel: 650-329-3990 | info@papie.org

Board Profiles

Profiles: Board of Directors

PiE is a non-profit educational foundation run by a Board of Directors of dedicated parent and community volunteers with professional expertise in a variety of areas, including fundraising, finance, development, business, and marketing. Strong supporters of Palo Alto’s public schools, PiE Board Members understand that a public education is free, but a great education is not.

Colleen Gormley – President

For the last decade, Colleen has been a passionate volunteer in her children’s schools.  For several years, she served on the Walter Hays PTA, including work as Co-President.  In that role, she supported a training initiative for teachers to attend the Stanford Design Thinking program.  She and her team brought new programs to recess play enhancing social emotional health and fitness.  Most recently, she supported Jordan Middle School in running the parent volunteers for the Jaguar Journey 6th grade orientation program and as a PiE Representative.

Colleen’s prior work was as a VP Strategic Planner in advertising.  First at Leo Burnett in Chicago and then Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco, Colleen was responsible for crafting brand strategy and advertising campaigns.  Her clients were MTV, Major League Baseball, CNN, Amazon, Microsoft and a non-profit serving the Clinton administration, Campaign Against Youth Violence.

Colleen holds a BA in American History from Northwestern University.  She and her husband, Paul, have three children in the Palo Alto School District.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Colleen Gormley

President

Missy Reller – Executive Vice President

Missy Reller has been a volunteer for PAUSD schools since 2008. She has been a PiE Representative for Addison Elementary for the last two years. She is also involved with the Fund Development Committee with the Bring Me A Book Foundation, a local non-profit that promotes early literacy programs. Missy’s prior volunteer experience includes leading the Parent Advisory Council for the First Congregational Church Nursery School.

Missy has a BA in International Studies from the University of Denver and a MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco. Missy’s prior work experience focused on children with special needs. Her last position was as a therapist for a private school in San Francisco. Missy has three children and two currently attend Addison.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Missy Reller

Executive Vice President

Jenny Stein – VP of Strategic Planning

Jenny Shilling Stein is passionate about social innovation and improving education for all children. In 2002, she co-founded the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation to identify and support the most talented social entrepreneurs. The Foundation seeks to dramatically improve the lives of people and the world around us through innovative strategies, systems changing approaches, and disrupting technologies. Its goal is to find social entrepreneurs with dynamic ideas and nurture them at the early stages. Jenny currently serves on the board of FoodCorps, an organization devoted to teaching children about healthy food. Jenny is also a Visiting Practitioner at Stanford’s Center of Philanthropy and Civil Society.

Jenny received both her Master of Business Administration and her Master of Education from Stanford University. She graduated magna cum laude in Psychology and English from Amherst College. Jenny enjoys volunteering in her children’s schools.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Jenny Stein

VP of Strategic Planning

Kamal Ardeshna – VP of Marketing

Kamal has been an active volunteer at her children’s schools for 10 years – from elementary through high school. In addition to volunteering in the classroom regularly, she has served on their elementary school PTA Boards in a variety of roles including VP of Fundraising and VP of Volunteer Services. She has also served on the Jordan Middle School and Palo Alto High School PiE teams.

Kamal’s professional experience includes working for PepsiCo and Johnson & Johnson. At PepsiCo, she was a Customer Marketing Manager, working with 2 of PepsiCo’s top 4 UK customers on joint marketing plans. At Johnson and Johnson, she was part of the marketing team on the Johnson’s Baby brand, ran the largest customer account in the UK, and managed the UK Market Research team.

Kamal has a Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She and her husband have lived in Palo Alto for 5 years and have 2 children in PAUSD schools. After living in Chicago and London, they are happy to be settled in the Bay Area, and enjoy spending time outdoors in the beautiful weather.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Kamal Ardeshna

VP of Marketing

Susy Kim – VP of Governance

Susy Kim developed her “will help where needed,” community-oriented mindset at Preschool Family, a co-op preschool in Palo Alto that her kids attended from 2004 to 2010.  She has accepted any PTA volunteer position at El Carmelo Elementary School offered to her (including PTA Co-President, VP of Communications, Carmeletter editor and layout, Auction Committee.) and served as the El Carmelo PiE Co-Representative for two years.  Susy also volunteers in Wildlife Rescue at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA.

Susy was born and raised in California by immigrant parents.  She attended public schools in California in various cities in the Bay Area, received a BS/MS at Stanford University, and then received a JD at U.C. Hastings College of the Law.  She worked shortly for a big law firm in Palo Alto before becoming a stay-at-home parent.

Her family includes 2 daughters are El Carmelo Elementary School, a husband who is always trying to learn new things, and three rescue dogs (including one recent “foster failure”).

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Susy Kim

VP of Governance

Maria Leeman – VP of Leadership Circle & Community

Maria Leeman has been and is an active volunteer in Palo Alto schools. Her children have attended Young 5’s, Ohlone Elementary, and Jordan Middle School.

Prior to starting her volunteer work with the schools, she worked in various marketing functions at eBay and in the biotechnology industry. In addition, Maria was a board member for the Coro Foundation, a civic leadership training organization.

She is from Los Angeles and a product of public schools. She has a degree from UC Berkeley in Genetics and English. Maria lives in Palo Alto with her husband, Jan, and her three children. She enjoys spending her time volunteering in the classroom and cooking for family and social events.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Maria Leeman

VP of Leadership Circle & Community

Jeanne Marzano – VP of Finance & Administration

Jeanne Marzano has three children in the Palo Alto School District and has been actively involved in the schools in various volunteer activities and positions over the last 8 years. More recently, Jeanne has sat on the PTA Board at Jordan Middle School as Auditor and at Duveneck Elementary School as Auditor, VP of Social and Treasurer. She just finished a two year term as Assistant Treasurer on the PiE board before taking on her current position.

Jeanne received her BS in accounting from Santa Clara University and is a CPA. She currently works as a financial contractor on a part time basis. Jeanne has a child at Jordan and two children at Palo Alto High School.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Jeanne Marzano

VP of Finance & Administration

Elizabeth May – VP of Schools Development

Elizabeth grew up in Palo Alto and after 15 years in private banking and non-profit work in Chicago and San Francisco, Elizabeth returned to Palo Alto in 2010 and began her adventures as a full-time volunteer. Elizabeth’s prior volunteer experience includes serving as a PiE Representative at Ohlone from 2012-2014.  From 2003-2008 she served on the Board of GirlVentures, an experiential outdoor education program for adolescent girls.

A product of Duveneck, JLS, and Paly, Elizabeth received her BA from Princeton University.   Elizabeth has two children in elementary school.   When not volunteering, she likes to be outside.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Elizabeth May

VP of Schools Development

Gioia Allegretti – Assistant Treasurer, Director of Finance & Administration

Gioia Allegretti has worked in the software and technology industry for the past 25 years. Currently a project manager at Apple, she continues to enjoy the excitement of working in this dynamic industry.

Gioia has always made volunteering in the school district a priority and served on the PTA executive boards of Nixon, Terman and Gunn. She held various positions at each school including President, Secretary, Auditor and, most recently, Treasurer.

Originally from the East Coast, Gioia has a degree in computer science from Smith College. She has lived in Palo Alto with her husband and their two children since 2000 and now feels like a Californian with a brown lawn and solar panels installed on her roof.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Gioia Allegretti

Assistant Treasurer, Director of Finance & Administration

Jennifer Antonow – Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Jennifer Antonow has been an active PAUSD volunteer, serving on the PTA and Site Council at Duveneck and the PiE team at Jordan. She has two children who attend PAUSD schools.

Jennifer is co-founder of The Strengthen Up Project, a cause focused on preserving and restoring children’s natural biomechanics to prevent pain and injury, while improving psychological outcomes like confidence and performance. She also co-founded Camp Iris Way, a neighborhood summer camp in Palo Alto.

Jennifer’s background is in marketing and consulting. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Jennifer Antonow

Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Colleen Backstrand – Campaign Director of Elementary Schools

Colleen Backstrand grew up in Palo Alto and is a graduate of Gunn. After graduating from University of Colorado, Colleen spent 20 years in San Francisco. She and her family moved back to Palo Alto to send their 2 children to Walter Hays, her husband’s alma mater.

Colleen spent 20 years working in marketing in San Francisco for major retail campaigns, The Gap, Pottery Barn and Wells Fargo Bank. During that time she spent time involved in her community by serving on the Auxiliary Board of Edgewood and on the Board of Youth Speaks.

For the past five years, Colleen has been an active school volunteer serving in various positions including as the Walter Hays PTA Co-president. Most recently, she supported PiE as the Walter Hays PiE Representative.

When not busy with her family, Colleen loves to spent time building her interior design business and hiking with her dog.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Colleen Backstrand

Campaign Director of Elementary Schools

Victoria Chang – Campaign Director of Secondary Schools

Victoria Chang and her husband have four children in PAUSD schools, two at JLS and two at Gunn, where she is currently a PiE Representative.  She has been a PTA president and an active volunteer at the unit, council, and district levels, in addition to volunteering in the classroom and on site councils. She has also been involved in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and has served on local nonprofit boards.

Victoria has a JD from UC Davis and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Victoria Chang

Campaign Director of Secondary Schools

Sarah Cornwell – Director of Marketing, Elementary Schools

Sarah Cornwell, her husband Trevor and their daughter Maggie moved to Palo Alto in 2009 from Washington, DC. Maggie attends El Carmelo.

In addition to PiE, Sarah is active with the El Carmelo PTA as the Back-to-School Dinner Chair since 2012 and the PTA Auction Chair for 2015-2016.

Sarah is originally from Kentucky. She has a BA from Vanderbilt University and a MS from George Mason University. Sarah Cornwell worked in the technology field at Ernst and Young for several years before opening her own boutique retail business in Washington, DC. She now works as Director of Marketing at appbackr. She is a co-founder of Forum280, a group whose goal is to apply Silicon Valley thinking to political and social issues.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Sarah Cornwell

Director of Marketing, Elementary Schools

Carrie Daniel – Director of Governance, Generalist

Carrie Daniel has been an enthusiastic volunteer in the PAUSD community since 2006. She has been a PiE Representative at Duveneck and has served for several years on the Duveneck PTA Executive Board in various roles, including co-president. She also enjoys volunteering frequently in the classrooms to lead small-group learning.

Carrie holds a JD from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, an MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University, and a BA from the University of Virginia (Psychology major/Biology minor). Carrie most recently practiced business law in the areas of venture and institutional lending and corporate bankruptcy. She has 3 daughters in PAUSD schools.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Carrie Daniel

Director of Governance, Generalist

Amy Darling – Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Amy Darling has been an active volunteer in Palo Alto public schools since 2010, including serving on the PAUSD Elementary School Site Selection Advisory Committee and as a PiE Representative. She enjoys volunteering in her children’s classrooms and supporting their schools.

Amy’s professional experience has focused on end of life issues, working with the geriatric population, as well as intergenerational communication. Amy holds a degree in sociology with an emphasis on gerontology from The Colorado College. She also holds an M.A. in organizational management. Amy and her husband, Scott, currently have one child in the Palo Alto School District.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Amy Darling

Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Greta Gize Olbrich – Director of Marketing, Visual Communications

Greta Gize Olbrich grew up in Palo Alto and attended Fairmeadow, Wilbur (now JLS) and Gunn before attending UC Berkeley. She lived in the Midwest for three years while getting her MFA at Purdue University.

After her return to the Bay Area, Greta gained work experience as a copy writer, content manager, editor, and Creative Art Director for several ad agencies and start-up companies. She began her volunteering for the schools while at PreSchool Family. She’s been PTA President and PiE Representative at Barron Park. She and her husband currently have a daughter at Terman and a son at Barron Park.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Greta Gize Olbrich

Director of Marketing, Visual Communications

Ani Gnanalingam – Director of Development, of Leadership Circle & Community

Ani Gnanalingam has been volunteering extensively for the schools in PAUSD since 2007 when her children entered Palo Verde. She served on the Palo Verde Site Council, volunteered with Project Cornerstone efforts at both Palo Verde and JLS, and currently is a PiE Representative and Junior Parents Network Coordinator at Gunn.

Ani began her career as a software engineer and then became a project manager. She worked for several companies including Accenture, PeopleSoft, Intel and Symantec. Recently she changed direction to focus on education and works as an aide in PAUSD. She is also a volunteer tutor for math and physics at Eastside Preparatory High School in East Palo Alto.

Ani and her husband, Kim, enjoy living in Palo Alto with their two daughters who attend Gunn. Ani holds a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. When she is not volunteering or teaching, she enjoys listening to music, watching classical Indian dance and spending time with her friends and family.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Ani Gnanalingam

Director of Development, of Leadership Circle & Community

Doug Hagan – Director of Finance, Teacher Grants

Doug Hagan works in the technology industry and is President of Krytar, a leading provider of broadband microwave components. Previously he has held leadership positions in marketing with companies in wireless and networking.

Doug has been involved as a volunteer in the classroom and for the PTA as well as a coach for youth soccer and Palo Alto Little League. He is a past Chair and currently serves on the board of ZeroDivide (formerly Community Technology Foundation of California), advancing technology initiatives in underserved communities. Doug is also a Commissioner on the City of Palo Alto Library Advisory Commission.

Doug is a San Francisco native and since 2008 has enjoyed living in Palo Alto with his wife Alison and their two children who love attending Addison Elementary School. He is a Leadership Palo Alto alum and holds a BA in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from the Wharton School.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Doug Hagan

Director of Finance, Teacher Grants

Husna Hashmi – Campaign Director of Secondary Schools

Husna Hashmi has been an active PAUSD volunteer for about eight years. She has held various volunteering positions at Hoover such as volunteering for the YMCA’s Project Cornerstone for 2nd through 5th graders. Along with being an active PTA member, she served as a Hoover PiE chair in 2015-2016.

Husna has also been extensively involved with a local nonprofit, All Students Matter, at Cesar Chavez Elementary School to help students with math and reading skills. Husna loves to devote much of her time giving back in hopes of making an impact in children’s education.

Husna is an active mom of three, one a Paly graduate, another at Paly and the youngest at Jordan. She holds a BS in Nutritional Science from San Jose State University and a minor in Chemistry. When not busy with the family, she spends time with nonprofit organizations in helping to build a stronger community and provide for those in need.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Husna Hashmi

Campaign Director of Secondary Schools

Sophia Lee – Treasurer, Director of Finance & Administration

Sophia Lee’s professional career began at Arthur Andersen LLP in both the Taiwan and San Jose offices, where she provided auditing and consulting services to manufacturing and high tech companies. After 5 years working as an auditor at a public accounting firm, Sophia served as Controller and VP of Finance at various high tech companies. She is currently Operations Controller at Riverwood Capital Management.

In addition to volunteering in the classroom, Sophia serves on the Boards of 2 local nonprofit organizations.

Sophia is an inactive CPA in the State of California. She is originally from Taiwan and emigrated to Palo Alto in 1997. She and her husband, Julian, have a 4th grade daughter at Ohlone and a daughter in college, who attended Ohlone, JLS, and Paly.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Sophia Lee

Treasurer, Director of Finance & Administration

Elizabeth Olson – Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Elizabeth Olson has been active as a community volunteer for over 25 years, with experience ranging from the Peace Corps to the public schools of New York City to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).  She has a daughter in the Spanish Immersion program at Escondido Elementary, a son at Jordan Middle School, and a daughter at The Girls Middle School.  She enjoys volunteering at her children’s schools, and is PTA President at Escondido Elementary and PiE Representative at Jordan.  She previously served on the PiE Board as part of the Development team.

Before moving to Palo Alto in 1999, Elizabeth worked as an international economist and portfolio manager in New York and Latin America.  She has degrees from Franklin and Marshall College and Columbia University.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Elizabeth Olson

Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Heewon Park – Campaign Director of Elementary Schools

Heewon Park has been an active volunteer in PAUSD since 2009. She has been a PiE Representative for 7 years at Juana Briones and Terman. She also served on the PTA Executive Board for many years at Juana Briones including 2 years as PTA President. She has many years of experience in volunteering for outreach programs, sports teams and choir groups in the community.

Heewon holds BFA in Painting from Seoul National University and MFA in Print Media from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She currently works as a Teaching Artist for Cultural Kaleidoscope Program in Palo Alto Art Center.

Heewon and her husband enjoy being actively involved in their church community and many other community programs They have three children, one at Terman, one at Juana Briones and one incoming Kindergartener.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Heewon Park

Campaign Director of Elementary Schools

Kanwal Raza – Director of Marketing, Secondary Schools

Kanwal Raza is a computer scientist by education and an entrepreneur at heart. She is the founder of MamaDigest.com, a one stop shop for moms offering best resources on a variety of topics. Kanwal was also a Co-Founder of KidSenz, an animated current news video website for elementary school kids. She holds a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Economics from Rutgers University and has completed a certification program in Finance and Accounting from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  She has worked for PiE as a Representative since 2011 and is a very involved mom who loves to actively volunteer in the school for various activities and positions. She has three kids in the Palo Alto school district, who have attended El Carmelo and Hoover.

Kanwal is passionate about the intersection of technology, business and kids education, and her personal and professional activities have been consistently centered around these themes.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Kanwal Raza

Director of Marketing, Secondary Schools

Robyn Reiss – Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Robyn Reiss is passionate about education, both for her kids and all children. She is a PiE Co-Representative and the Site Council Chair at El Carmelo, as well as a volunteer for various El Carmelo events, such as, her favorite (being the tech nerd she is!), Family Engineering Day.

In her professional life, Robyn worked everywhere from the Golden State Warriors (when they weren’t as good as they are now), to the Economic Development Corporation for the Mayor of New York City, to being the founding COO of Summit Preparatory High School, to Google. Most recently, she worked at Facebook, where she ran platform policy and then had a blast running internal communications. She is currently dreaming up a nonprofit to use technology to solve a problem for people in the developing world. She is also currently on the board of Trellis Education, which is developing exceptional middle and high school STEM teachers in California.

A native of Long Island, New York, Robyn moved to the Bay Area in 1997 never to look back! She has a Computer Science degree from Harvard University and an MBA from Stanford. She and her husband, David, have a son in preschool and a son at El Carmelo, where they couldn’t be happier.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Robyn Reiss

Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Lisa Rimsa – Secretary, Director of Governance

Lisa Rimsa is an executive with Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She has extensive experience setting strategy and leading Global Sales, Operations and Enterprise Technology teams.

Lisa has held multiple PTA Board positions at Duveneck and Jordan. She served on Duveneck’s Site Council and is currently Co-President of the Jordan Site Council. She worked closely with the principals and Site Council to craft Jordan’s multiyear writing goals. She volunteered continuously in the Duveneck classrooms, Harvest Carnival and Staff Appreciation events. She just completed her term on the Eichler Swim & Tennis Board of Governors where they oversaw a major renovation of the property.

Lisa holds an MBA from Santa Clara University and a BA from University of Idaho (Business/Technology). She and husband, Joe, moved to Palo Alto in 2003 because of the outstanding reputation of the school district. They have two children at Jordan.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Lisa Rimsa

Secretary, Director of Governance

Hideko Sakamoto – Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Hideko Sakamoto started volunteering in classrooms when her kids entered Hoover Elementary in 2009 and has served as PiE Representative since 2012. She is originally from Tokyo, Japan and came to Palo Alto because of her job relocation in 1993 and has been living in the area since then.

Before starting family, Hideko worked as a software engineer at TIBCO Software Inc. for 14 years. She is a co-founder of the Tella Sakamoto Foundation which has been active in children’s projects in India over the past 15 years. These projects included helping rebuild, renovate or expand nine rural schools, two orphanages and to support programs for mentally handicapped children. She is currently on the board of the Ballet San Jose. As an avid dancer, she has been working to bring the beauty and power of world class ballet to the tech-centric Silicon Valley community.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Hideko Sakamoto

Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Rebecca Thompson – Director of Marketing, Communications

Rebecca enjoys being involved in the schools and community. Her sons attended Palo Verde where she helped in the classroom, drove on field trips and served the PTA as Secretary, VP of Fundraising, and Auditor. She currently volunteers for East Palo Alto Kids (EPAK) which provides grants to Ravenswood School District classrooms.

Professionally, Rebecca worked 15+ years in marketing, PR and product management at Microsoft and Thomson Multimedia. Her BA is from University of Oregon and MBA from the University of Washington.

Rebecca moved to Palo Alto from Seattle with her husband and their two sons, who now attend JLS. They relish the fantastic weather, walkable neighborhoods and globally-minded residents of their adopted hometown.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Rebecca Thompson

Director of Marketing, Communications

Nils Thorjussen – Director of Marketing, Impact and Donor Relations

Nils Thorjussen is an entrepreneur who has co-founded technology companies in the entertainment, display, and finance industries. Nils has served on the Walter Hays Elementary School Site Council for three years, including one as Chair. One of his priorities there was to build interest in Design Thinking and provide teachers with professional training to stimulate its integration into the school’s curriculum. Nils has also volunteered in various roles for Palo Alto AYSO and is an Assistant Scoutmaster in Boy Scout Troop 57. Nils holds a BA and BBA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Stanford University. He has a child at Walter Hays Elementary School and one at Jordan Middle School.

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Nils Thorjussen

Director of Marketing, Impact and Donor Relations

Jingjing Xu – Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Jingjing Xu first came to the United States for graduate studies at UC Santa Cruz. She’s passionate about making education fun and effective. She has been a PiE Representative at Walter Hays and been actively involved in helping new Chinese families integrate into the school and community.

After a long career in the tech industry, including managing a mobile chip design team at Broadcom, Jingjing now works for a company that links Chinese and U.S. businesses.

Jingjing and her husband have a 7 and 9 year old. They took almost a year off in 2014 to travel through North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. She thinks the homeschooling experience gave her a greater appreciation for the hard work our teachers do!

Top of Page | Return to Board Overview

Jingjing Xu

Director of Development, Leadership Circle & Community

Back to Top