Board of Directors & Advisory Board

Board of Directors

Charlene Margot,  Chair

Charlene Margot is a Palo Alto native and longtime community activist in support of children, schools, and education. She is the owner of CSM Consulting, an educational consulting firm, and founding director of The Parent Education Series in the Sequoia Union High School District. Charlene holds a B.A. in Psychology, and recently completed her Master’s in Education with a concentration in Child & Adolescent Development. Charlene began her career in education as a teacher at Bing Nursery School, laboratory preschool for the Psychology Department at Stanford University. She worked at IBM as an education consultant in educational software development and curriculum for K-8. Charlene currently serves on the Advisory Board of Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS) in Palo Alto, a nonprofit that provides mental health services to teens and families in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her fiancé and is the mother of two adult children.

Staci Friesel

Staci Friesel is a native New Yorker and experienced project manager. She holds a degree in Communication and has previously held project management and technology implementation positions at PwC, Chanel Inc. and Gap Inc. Staci has served in numerous leadership positions for Cornell University over the past thirteen years. She is currently the Cornell Alumni Admissions Northern California Chair responsible for Alumni and Applicant engagement and event programming, and she sits on the Cornell Trustee Council and the Cornell Advisory Committee to Admissions. Staci is active in, and supports, many local organizations including the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University, the Wender Weis Foundation and Fit Kids. Previously, she volunteered as a member of the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary, the American Heart Association San Francisco Chapter, and the Junior League of Palo Alto/Mid-Peninsula. Staci lives in Atherton, CA with her husband and three young children.

Leigh Matthes

Leigh Matthes is a native New Yorker who has extensive experience in the marketing and advertising sectors, working in both New York City and Los Angeles with the firm Lord, Dentsu and Partners (now DentsuAmerica). She has represented national and international brands such as Nestle and Neutrogena. She serves on the Board of Directors of Holsted Marketing, Inc., a New York City based direct marketing company. Since relocating to San Francisco, Ms. Matthes has been a longstanding and tireless civic volunteer with numerous local charitable organizations. She has served as a Trustee of the Bay Area Discovery Museum, a local leading children’s museum devoted to nurturing childhood creativity. Ms. Matthes is also a Trustee of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Foundation, chairing successful events to support the UCSF Cancer Center and the Department of Pediatric Oncology.

 

Peter Poutiatine

Peter Poutiatine began teaching 25 years ago in the backcountry of Washington State, and the early lessons he learned about experiential education, the expeditionary model, and real-world connectedness have guided his classroom pedagogy for nearly two decades. In 2003, he founded the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at an independent high school in California. The CTL sought to reinvent school-based professional development in a new model that valued timeliness, relevance, and in-house expertise. In 2012, he convened a small team of collaborative educators to design a new kind of high school for Marin County. Much of this thinking about effective education and the future of schooling is captured in his blog and his 2013 TEDx talk. Peter currently works for Edutopia and the George Lucas Educational Foundation as the senior school selection coordinator. He lives in San Anselmo, CA with his wife and three children.

Barbara Rosston

Barbara Rosston has spent many years as a volunteer in the education world, both as a board chair of two independent schools, and as a fundraiser. She is the past chair of the board of Castilleja School and Keys School, both in Palo Alto. She also serves on the board of the John Austin Cheley Foundation, which sends high potential, underserved kids to summer camp. Barb is a former environmental and land use attorney. She lives in Menlo Park with her husband and two college-age children.

Evan Siegel

Evan Siegel has extensive expertise in sales force effectiveness, operations improvement, financial services marketing, and customer experience and loyalty improvement through more than twenty years of experience in the financial sector. He is the Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Analytics at Wells Fargo Bank, where he creates and implement tools, system enhancements, and marketing material to increase call center sales production. He received his Master of Business Administration in 1994, and he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Previously, he served as Leader of Strategic Planning at Dun & Bradstreet, and as Senior Manager of Strategy and Transformation of Ernst & Young.

Steve Smith

Steve Smith, Ph.D. is a professor of clinical psychology at UC Santa Barbara. He has a private practice where he works with children, adolescents, and adults, with a specialization in boys and men, sports, health, and emotional concerns. In addition, he gives many invited presentations each year at professional conferences, schools, athletic clubs, work groups, and parenting organizations. He also served as a staff psychologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the author of over 40 empirical papers and has authored or edited five books. Until summer 2016, he will be on faculty of Palo Alto University.

Advisory Board

Travis Bradley is the director of the Social Emotional Learning, Early Life Stress and Pediatric Anxiety Program at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. Travis has an extensive research background associated with children’s health and wellness issues, as well as significant experience in yoga and mindfulness based curriculum training. He holds an M.P.P., and is currently pursuing his Ed.D. in educational leadership.

Sabrina Braham, MD is a physician at Menlo Clinic in Menlo Park, California, where she also serves as an adjunct clinical instructor at Stanford University School of Medicine. Sabrina completed her training at Stanford Children’s Hospital (formerly Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital) in 2009 and joined Menlo Clinic Pediatrics in 2011, where she has a busy clinical practice in general pediatrics. She served as PTA chair at Synapse School in Menlo Park for two years and continues to be active in the area of education and learning differences, via both professional affiliations and philanthropic efforts. She lives in Palo Alto with her husband and three children, is an aspiring dog owner, and very much enjoys cooking large family meals and cycling to work.

Ben deMayo is a sophomore at Stanford University. His interest in educational equity has motivated his work as a tutor/mentor and coordinator for Barrio Assistance, which offers weekly academic support for youth from the East Palo Alto community. He has also taught 7th grade English as an Education and Youth Development Fellow at East Palo Alto Stanford Academy (EPASA). Ben is involved in the Jewish community at Stanford and is a core member of J Street U Stanford, a political organization of students committed to establishing peaceful relations in the Middle East. A classical clarinetist, Ben has played with the Stanford Symphony and the Stanford New Ensemble.

Elizabeth Gerber received her sales training at Xerox Corporation and was a national director of sales for the ad agency, TMP Worldwide in Chicago. After moving to the Bay Area, she and her husband chose to raise their children in an elementary school without homework, tests, or grades. She served on Marin Montessori School’s Board of Trustees as vice president, chair of the committee on trustees, and chair of the junior high committee, which established the school’s innovative, land-based program designed to nurture the multi-faceted needs of middle school students. She served as a parent representative on the school’s inaugural Challenge Success team as well as completed its parenting course. Her interests include child and adolescent development, psychology, mindfulness, writing, and painting. She lives in Tiburon with her husband, daughter and son.

Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD is a pediatrician specializing in Adolescent Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is a director of health services at Covenant House Pennsylvania, a shelter for homeless and marginalized youth. He has written extensively promoting teen health and resilience, including the books Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings and Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love with Expectations and Protection with Trust. He has also produced and edited the multimedia professional toolkit, Reaching Teens: Strength-based Communication Strategies to Build Resilience and Support Healthy Adolescent Development. His definitive memorandum for the American Academy of Pediatrics, The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds, formed the basis for his congressional testimony in May 2007.

Emeri Handler has lived in the Bay Area for 20 years and in that time has been involved in numerous philanthropic and community efforts, including serving on the boards of the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, and TheatreWorks. She is also a board member at Moving Traditions, a national organization, which uses a gender lens to encourage teens to become Jewish leaders. Emeri has worked with Jewish Family Children’s Services/Parent’s Place in parent education and mental health and the Anti-Defamation League coordinating civil rights and diversity education efforts. Emeri was a Wexner Heritage Fellow, developing leadership skills for a new century. She has a master’s degree in psychology and is currently the parent education manager at Challenge Success. Emeri lives in Palo Alto with her husband and three daughters.

Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann came to Stanford University in 1996. She is the first university chaplain from a tradition other than Christianity in Stanford’s history. In 2001, she was appointed senior associate dean for Religious Life. She teaches and lectures widely on Jewish feminism, rabbinical ethics, the relationship between religion and education, and social justice. Rabbi Karlin-Neumann was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1982. She has been a Hillel director and Jewish chaplain at UCLA and at the Claremont Colleges, a congregational rabbi in Alameda, California, and a regional director for the Union for Reform Judaism, the congregational arm of the Reform Movement. At Stanford, she teaches courses including “Spirituality and Nonviolent Social Transformation” and “Rereading Judaism in Light of Feminism.” She is married and has two children.

Derek Kincade is a junior at Stanford University from Seattle WA, majoring in psychology with a minor in communications. He is heavily involved in mental health programs at Stanford. He has served as a head counselor at the Bridge Peer Counseling Center and a coordinator for the new Residential Counselors Program, which focuses on improving student relations with on-campus mental health services. Derek is assisting in conducting research on the neurological basis of pro-social decisions making. He is currently a residential assistant in the freshman dorm, Soto.

Seth Leslie earned masters’ degrees in both management and education. He serves as the chief development officer at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto where he oversees all fundraising and capacity-building initiatives. He has consulted for Bay Area start-ups in the areas of operations, business development, and strategy. Seth was a founder of East Palo Alto Academy High School, where he transitioned from a National Board Certified math teacher to assistant principal over a 14-year career. He serves on the boards of Camp Tawonga and Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, where he offers expertise in development and fundraising. He previously served on the boards of Wilderness Torah, Glow Foundation, John Gardner Center for Youth and Communities, and the Tech Museum of Innovation.

Alex Lockett is the dean of students at San Francisco University High School where she has worked since 2004. During her tenure as dean, Alex led the founding of the school’s mentoring program, which has received national attention for its innovative approach. A lifelong native of independent schools, Alex is motivated by the desire to help students bring their whole selves to school and to help teachers feel equipped to respond to the needs of their students. Alex enjoys studying systems and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and an MBA. She lives in Oakland with her husband and her one-year old son.

Lisa Medoff, PhD is a developmental psychologist who specializes in adolescent mental health. She teaches courses on adolescent development in the Program in Human Biology at Stanford University, where she is the School of Medicine’s learning specialist. Lisa also works privately with students who have learning disabilities and emotional disorders, consulting with families and schools to help them provide the optimal home and school environments for their children with special needs. Her books include the Stressed Out Students Guide To… series and Resilience in the Classroom: Helping Students with Special Needs.

Susan Mirbach is the president of the Claremont McKenna College (CMC) Parent Network Board and an ex-officio member of the CMC Board of Trustees. Susan also serves as the outreach and special projects coordinator for the Early Life Stress and Pediatric Anxiety Program at the Stanford Medical School. Susan has spent the last 15 years volunteering for nonprofit organizations ranging from Adolescent Counseling Services in Palo Alto, where she was the board president, to the Alliance for Middle East Peace in Washington, D.C. where she served as the interim executive director. She has also been a board member for the Los Altos Education Foundation and the Mountain View Los Altos High School Foundation. Previously, Susan had a long career in international telecommunications, first as the director of marketing and major accounts at France Telecom Inc. and then as president of Belgacom North America. Susan’s interests include teenage mental health, neuroscience, and education. She earned a BS in international relations and an MBA in international business. Susan is married and has two daughters.

Meredith Pasquesi earned a BS in Biological Sciences and an MBA. For 17 years she worked in the investment management business. Meredith was a managing director at The Investment Fund for Foundations (“TIFF”) and managed private equity investments for non-profit institutions and family foundations. Meredith is interested in education and has worked as a volunteer and board member at the various schools her children have attended in the US and overseas. She lives in Woodside, CA with her husband and two children. Meredith enjoys travel adventures with her family, hiking, and yoga.

Carole Pertofsky is the director of Stanford’s Wellness and Health Promotion Services. She develops and oversees courses and programs related to health and wellness. Her areas of expertise are positive psychology, happiness and well-being, and resilience. She co-founded and teaches Stanford’s first Psychology of Happiness course as well as workshops related to the art and science of compassion, emotional intelligence, work/life balance, and stress management. Carole has served as a Challenge Success advisor since its inception and is also the co-founder of the Spiritual Tools for Healing Center, a cancer survivors’ support network in the East Bay. She is also interested in women’s health issues and is featured in the award-winning documentary that focuses on women and aging, Let’s Face It: Women Explore Their Aging Faces. Carole is a professional consultant, leadership coach, national speaker, and seminar leader at Stanford, the Esalen Institute, Stanford Continuing Studies, UC Berkeley, Women’s Healthy Living Retreat, and coaching associations. She is the recipient of a number of grants and awards, including the Stanford University Margaret Ann Fidler award for exceptional service to the Stanford campus.

Eva Price has an MS in traditional Chinese medicine and a BS in business administration. For ten years, she worked in private equity at Texas Pacific Group and Aqua International Partners. She is also a certified Bikram yoga instructor. Eva is co-owner of Three Sticks Winery, where she enjoys blending the wines with her husband and co-hosting wine events. Eva’s philanthropic focus is on women, education, the environment, health, and medical research. She is also a board member of the DaVita Foundation and the Catrinka Project. Eva lives in Belvedere, CA with her husband and daughter. She enjoys hiking, yoga, cycling, surfing, travel, and cooking.

Garry A. Rayant is a dental specialist in periodontics and implant dentistry and an entrepreneur. He practices part-time in San Francisco. Garry is the editor-in-chief and a partner in Dear Doctor Magazine Inc., a print and online national consumer healthcare magazine. He also sits on the board of Rodan & Fields. He has a master’s degree in behavioral science and has been active in post-graduate dental education. He served as a member of the parent education committee at Marin Academy High School and was a prior chair at Marin Primary & Middle School. He has been engaged in K-12 and college level educational, professional and parent development, and reform. He is involved in a number of Bay Area, national, and international causes and charities. Garry is married and has two sons.

Brad Sachs, PhD is a psychologist, educator, consultant, lecturer, and best-selling author specializing in clinical work with children, adolescents, couples, and families. He is the founder and director of The Father Center, a program designed to meet the needs of new, expectant, and experienced fathers. He has published numerous books and articles for both professional and lay readers, including The Good Enough Child: How to Have an Imperfect Family and Be Perfectly Satisfied and Family Centered Treatment with Struggling Young Adults. Brad is also a published poet, composer, and performer. He recently released Hard Tales to Tell, a cycle of sixteen original songs based on stories his patients have told him and has a forthcoming book of poetry, Why Am I Telling You This? And Other Poems From Psychotherapy.

Former Board Members

Dagmar Dolby

Laura Lauder

Gabriella Layton

Julie Lythcott-Haims

Lisa Stone Pritzker

Bill Rielly

Jeff Snipes

Michael Torres

Minott Wessinger

Jane Wolf

Interested in nominating yourself or another person to the Challenge Success Board of Directors or Advisory Board? Nominate here.