Educare California at Silicon Valley proudly collaborates with public and private partners to operate our innovative early learning school. Our work and accomplishments are richer because of the dedication, leadership, engagement, and diversity of perspectives of our board of directors and staff. Our board is comprised of thought-leaders in the fields of education, early education, philanthropy, and supportive services. We are grateful for the expertise, passion, and advocacy our board members bring to close the opportunity gap by making high-quality early learning accessible for all children.
Shannon Hunt-Scott is the President of The Scott Foundation, a private grant-making organization focused on educational equity, social entrepreneurship, women and girls in STEM, and social impact causes. Shannon co-founded TSF with her husband, Kevin Scott, in 2014 to empower Bay Area children to achieve their personal best. Since its launch, the foundation has provided over $4 million in grants to 32 organizations. Shannon transforms her gratitude for life into philanthropic-based service for organizations making significant social impact at the local and national levels, demonstrated through her involvement as a board member for NARAL Pro-Choice America; trustee and capital campaign chair for Hillbrook School; board member of The Tech Interactive; and the Board Chair for Educare California at Silicon Valley. Shannon also serves on Educare’s Finance, Executive, and Development Committees.
Dr. Mary Ann Dewan is the Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Dewan has over 30 years of experience in education, and is recognized for her expertise in early learning, special education, education reform, and change leadership. She is passionate about diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. Dr. Dewan currently serves as the Board Vice Chair for Educare California at Silicon Valley and as co-chair of the Kids In Common Vision Council.
Jeff Sunshine joined the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in 2007, where he serves as the Program Officer and Manager of the early learning, after-school and summer enrichment grantmaking portfolios in the Children, Families, and Communities Program. Prior to joining the Packard Foundation, Jeff was the director of programs at The Silicon Valley Community Foundation overseeing its domestic and global grantmaking activities and initiatives. He also served as the executive director of the Volunteer Center of Alameda County and as director of volunteer programs for the Archdiocese of the City and County of San Francisco. Jeff is trained as a special education teacher and as a mental health clinician. He practiced as a family therapist for 15 years both in Boston and in the Bay Area. Jeff currently serves as the Board Secretary as well as a member of the Development Committee for Educare California at Silicon Valley.
Juan Cruz is the Superintendent of the Franklin-McKinley School District. Prior to leading FMSD, Juan gained extensive experience in the East Side Union High School District, where he was a teacher and principal for 18 years. Juan started his career in education as a social science teacher at Yerba Buena High School, later served as the associate principal of Educational Development at Piedmont Hills High School, returned as the principal of Yerba Buena High School for seven years, and then briefly held the position of principal at Santa Teresa High School until his appointment as associate superintendent of Educational Services for the East Side Union High School District. He held this position for three years until his appointment in July 2015 as superintendent for Franklin-McKinley School District. He currently serves as the Board Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee for Educare California at Silicon Valley.
As the Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy, Khydeeja leads Advancement Project California’s statewide policy development and advocacy efforts. With over twelve years of experience in government relations, coalition development, and subject matter expertise on issues related to Education (early childhood care, development, and K-12 Education), health, social justice, legislative, and budgetary affairs. Khydeeja has been a steadfast champion equity in public systems, and political representation of underrepresented communities. She has led campaigns and partnerships on Whole Child Equity and continues to lead efforts for data-driven equitable investments at the state level. In the past, Khydeeja has worked to advance far-reaching state policies, including the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), Transitional Kindergarten, the California Dream Act, the College Readiness Block Grant, Safe Schools for Immigrant Students, and many others. In her personal capacity, Khydeeja is deeply involved in representing her community and causes she cares about. She serves on the advisory board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Sacramento Valley/Central California.
Michael Burke is Vice President of the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, an Omaha-based foundation that invests in the first five years of learning, where public education is most underfunded. Michael has more than 30 years of experience in politics, public relations and philanthropy. His work at the Buffett foundation focuses on building the coast-to-coast network of high-performing Educare schools while also providing guidance on efforts to improve state and federal policies affecting young children and their families. Before joining the foundation in 2007, Michael supervised public affairs and communications for several children’s organizations, including: Ounce of Prevention Fund, Voices for Illinois Children, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He also managed media relations for two political campaigns in rural Illinois. Michael serves on the Governance Committee and as a board member for Educare California at Silicon Valley.
Darcie Green is a lifelong resident of San Jose and brings with her 20 years of community activism and public policy experience. Darcie is the Executive Director of Latinas Contra Cancer which exists to create just and equitable access to health and healthcare for the Latino community around issues of cancer. Darcie served four years in public office and six years in elected public office serving on her local school board, County Board of Education and County Commission on the Status of Women. Darcie is a Rotarian in the San Jose Downtown Rotary and an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow, Class XXVIII. Darcie has been recognized as a Silicon Valley Latino Magazine 40 Under 40 to Watch, a Silicon Valley San Jose Business Journal Top Woman of Influence, an Emerge America Trailblazer Honoree, a Silicon Valley San Jose Business Journal 40 Under 40 and was inducted into the East Side Union High School District Hall of Fame. She has received the People for the American Way Foundation National YEO Network Barbara Jordan Leadership Award, the San Jose Youth Connections “Community Hero” Award, the Alum Rock Counseling Center Community Role Model of the Year Award, the Ivy Rose Community Foundation Distinguished Woman Award, California Latino Journal “Spirit of Latina” Award and the Phenomenal Woman “Still I Rise” Award by Building Peaceful Families Santa Clara County.
Greg Kepferle is the Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, which he has proudly served since 2005. Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County is dedicated to reducing poverty by promoting economic self-sufficiency, advocating for justice, and building community. Previously, Greg held the positions of Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Central New Mexico for eight years and the Associate Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the East Bay for over seven years. His experience has also included multiple positions such as Director of the Social Justice Resource Center and Director of the Parish Social Ministry. He currently serves on the Governance Committee and Board of Educare California at Silicon Valley.
Camille Maben is the Executive Director of First 5 California. She is responsible for staffing the California Children and Families Commission, in addition to directing the work of the agency and its staff. Prior to her appointment at First 5 California, Camille served as the Division Director of the Child Development Division at the California Department of Education (CDE). She most recently served as co-chair of the State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care. She was previously appointed by the Governor as Chief of Staff for the Office of the Secretary of Education. Earlier roles have included Division Director of the School and District Accountability Division at CDE, the superintendent's representative to the California Interscholastic Federation, senior advisor to former State Superintendent Delaine Eastin, and consultant to the Assembly Education Committee. Camille has been a school board member for the Rocklin Unified School District for over 20 years. She is currently a board member for Educare California at Silicon Valley.
Meera Mani is the Director of the Children, Families, and Communities (CFC) Program for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. She joined the foundation in 2009 as a program officer, and in 2010 assumed responsibility for leading the preschool, after-school and summer enrichment subprogram. Prior to joining the foundation, Meera served as a research director for Preschool California. Meera was the President of the Clayton Foundation in Denver, Colorado, where her leadership was instrumental in developing initiatives, organizations and government programs focused on building a comprehensive system of high-quality early care and education in Colorado. Between 1999-2001, Meera managed the day-to-day operations of Educare Colorado, now known as Qualistar Early Learning, an initiative dedicated to improving children’s early learning experiences. Additionally, she served on various task forces, committees and collaborative projects including the Mayor’s Early Childhood Education Commission. Meera is a board member for Educare California at Silicon Valley.
Scott brings over 20 years of education policy and management experience to Kidango, where he serves as the Chief Executive Officer. As Chief Policy Advisor for Early Edge California, he helped lead the expansion of preschool access to over 170,000 children each year through the establishment of the new transitional kindergarten grade and the consolidation of existing preschool programs into the new California State Preschool Program. In 2014, Scott served as a senior fellow at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2011, he was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the Executive Director of the California Early Learning Advisory Council. Scott is also the former Director of Early Education at Kidango, where he led program operations. He is also a co-founder of a private montessori school in Oakland, California. He currently serves as the Chair of the Governance Committee for Educare California at Silicon Valley.
For more than 25 years, Dr. Cheryl Polk has promoted healthy child development, especially for children at risk of school failure and their families, through her work as a psychologist, academic, and civic volunteer. She served as the Executive Director of the Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund where her insight into early childhood development and philanthropy helped create innovative intervention programs for children exposed to community and interpersonal trauma. She was president of the board of directors of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families and served as a board member of that organization for more than 10 years. She currently serves as Chief Program Officer for Safe & Sound.
As SVCF's Director of Early Childhood Development, Christine Thorsteinson works to ensure that all young children in Silicon Valley have access to the care, education and resources they need to grow and flourish. Recognizing the critical importance of the first years of a child’s life, and the subsequent impact on future success, Christine strives to support local, state and federal efforts to dismantle the systemic barriers that stack the deck against our youngest and most vulnerable. Christine joined SVCF in 2016 and her earlier work included efforts to bridge the gaps between preschool and TK – 12 education systems and develop early learning leadership competencies.
Christine graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and Psychology and a Bachelor’s of Education, with a specialization in secondary English and Mathematics. As a passionate believer in the value of high-quality public education, her previous work experience includes serving as the early learning program consultant for Pacifica School District, executive director of Pacifica School Volunteers and president of the Burlingame Community for Education foundation.
Patricia Villegas is a Latinx career coach, educational consultant, and the founder of PV Consulting. PV Consulting’s mission is to educate, equip, and empower Latinx millennials to pivot their mindset, find career fulfillment, and live a life with purpose and intention. Paty is an adjunct lecturer for Evergreen Valley Community College teaching Career Planning and College Success courses for the Counseling Department.
She holds advanced degrees from San Jose State University and the University of Southern California and has extensive postgraduate training in psychology, cultural competency, and human behavior. Patricia has over 8 years of experience working with minority groups from racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse backgrounds in academia, government, and mental health settings. Patricia’s expertises is in college and career readiness, career development, personal and professional development workshops about self-discovery, the growth mindset, leadership, and networking skills for personal and business advancement.
Patricia Villegas is a sought-after speaker and thought leader which is demonstrated in her leadership role as a board member for Educare California Silicon Valley, an organization that seeks to narrow the achievement gap for underserved children and through her involvement as the Communications Co-Chair for the California Career Development Association (CCDA).