photo by Barbara Reid
Karen Ross works very part time as a Registered Dietitian for HeartFit for Life. She taught classes at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation for many years. Karen loves volunteering in the community. She was President of the Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid-Peninsula, the Hidden Villa Board of Trustees, and the Palo Alto Community Fund. She was also on the Board of Directors of Avenidas, and was involved in leadership in SCAN (Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists), a practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has a BS from Purdue University and a MA from San Jose State.
Annie Howard is a teacher in Ravenswood City School District. She teaches second grade at Brentwood Academy. She received her Bachelors Degree at San Diego State and her Reading Specialist credential from San Jose State. She is passionate about social justice and equity in education.
Stacy Arevalo has been at Eastside College Preparatory School since 2006, where she teaches American Literature and Senior Research Institute. She is committed to the transformative power of education, having seen how access to enriching opportunities empowers students, their families, and their community. Other interests include advocating for racial and immigrant justice, reading, and connecting with others in East Palo Alto, where she and her husband live. She is also a founding board member of Spark Church in Palo Alto, where she organizes peaceful protests, learning seminars, and volunteer events for the community.
Nancy Bardsley’s professional background spans more than 15 years of experience in corporate communications, project management and fund development. She has worked with organizations ranging from multi-billion dollar tech companies to local nonprofits. Nancy has a passion for advocating social justice for disadvantaged communities in Silicon Valley. She is an active supporter and volunteer for One Life Counseling, There With Care and Family Connections. Nancy received her BA in Communications from California State University, Chico. She lives in San Carlos with her husband and two children.
Lara Burenin has been a teacher and literacy coach in East Palo Alto and Oakland, and is currently the Director of Curriculum & Instruction in the Ravenswood City School District. She began working in Ravenswood during college as a reading tutor, which inspired her to become a teacher. She is honored to have been serving in the community over the past 16 years. Lara is passionate about helping Ravenswood students foster a love of reading and writing, and supporting teachers with instruction across the content areas.
Ellen M. Jones is a Senior Vice President at UBS Financial Services. She focuses on wealth management for high net worth individuals. After majoring in American Intellectual History at Radcliffe College, Ellen attended graduate school at U.C. Berkeley and then worked as an economic analyst for American Airlines. After taking some time off to raise her children, she returned to work as a high school teacher at Menlo School in Atherton before beginning a new career in the financial services industry. She has lived in Menlo Park for over 40 years and has three children and six grandchildren. She enjoys hiking, reading and playing competitive bridge.
Nancy Kerrebrock is a retired 15-year-veteran middle school math and science teacher in the Ravenswood City School District. The recipient of dozens of EPAK grants during her teaching career, she knows personally how valuable EPAK's support is to the students and staff in Ravenswood. She is grateful to have the opportunity, through EPAK and through volunteering in the schools, to continue to be a member of the rich, vibrant Ravenswood community.
Nisha Pillai wants to live in a world where all children have access to quality education, everyone has time to read all the books they want to, and distance running doesn't lead to aches and pains. She currently spends most of her time volunteering, running, and answering a million variations of "but why?" from her children. She has spent 15+ years in the tech industry as a product manager, strategy consultant, and software developer. She holds a B.Tech in Computer Science from the University of Kerala and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Courtney Schmit has worked in the financial services industry for the past 10 years at mutual funds in Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and is currently a Registered Client Service Associate at UBS Financial Services in Palo Alto. She is excited to become part of EPAK and help support the students and teachers in this community. She holds a B.A. in Economics from California State University, Sacramento. During her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with family.
Renee C. Scott is the Director of Early Education for Education Partnerships at the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University. In partnership with the Stanford Graduate School of Education she teaches the courses and oversees programming for two service-learning programs, in partnership with East Palo Alto after school organizations. Renee has been an educator for over 20 years, having served as an elementary school teacher, a professional development teacher-leader, and a teacher-candidate supervisor. As a graduate student, she studied the role of vision in new teacher development, word-reading instruction, and tutoring. She is certified in Reading Recovery, holds a Master’s degree in Education, and a Ph.D. in Literacy, Curriculum, and Teacher Education from Stanford University. In her free time, she consults for ed-tech orgs on early childhood curriculum and spends time hiking and traveling with her family.
Jenna Wachtel is the Social Media Coordinator for EPAK. She has taught in both East Palo Alto and Palo Alto and currently leads the Early Learning Initiative for the New Teacher Center, a non-profit dedicated to accelerating teacher practice to improve outcomes for all children. In her role, Jenna supports preschool and transitional kindergarten teachers and coaches in East Palo Alto and San Francisco with professional development and intensive coaching. Jenna is an enthusiastic supporter and advocate for EPAK!
Erin Wakshlag is a resident of East Palo Alto and has been serving the community for the past 11 years as a teacher, reading interventionist, and now currently as the Literacy and English Language Development Coordinator for Ravenswood City School District. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies degree and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University. She went on to be trained as a Reading Recovery Teacher through St Mary's College of CA and now has an Administrative Services Credential and a Master of Arts in Education degree from UC Berkeley Principal Leadership Institute. Erin is passionate about the children, families, educators, and leaders she serves in Ravenswood and is focused on providing them the support they need to achieve the best in education.