The San Mateo-Foster City Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization run by a Board of Directors consisting of dedicated parent and community volunteers.
We strongly believe that every child deserves the best education possible, and that educating the whole child is necessary for developing the next generation of future leaders and community members.
The San Mateo-Foster City Education Foundation is looking for passionate individuals to join in the work of making sure every child in the school district gets the well-rounded education they deserve. Please join us in doing this important work.
I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.
Annie Tsai joined the SMFCEF board as President in 2021 and has called San Mateo home since 2012. She and her husband have a son who currently attends Parkside Montessori, and a younger daughter who is learning to crawl and use her voice. Annie previously served as Vice President of the Parkside Montessori PTA Board.
Professionally, Annie is the chief operating officer at Interact and part-time venture partner with The House Fund. She is also a startup advisor, executive coach, and published author. Annie received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in New Media in 2001 and is a proud graduate of San Mateo County public schools. She believes in lifting up the community around her and currently sits on three San Mateo County commissions focusing on affordable housing, emergency medical services, and bicycle and pedestrian safety. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, painting, gardening, and mentoring the next generation of women leaders and entrepreneurs.
Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.
Marianne Wallace has lived in Foster City since 2007 and joined the SMFCEF board of directors in September 2019. She is currently serving as Vice President. She has four children, two of whom attend Audubon Elementary School, where she is an active member of the PTA. Her two younger children will enter kindergarten at Audubon Elementary in August 2020.
Marianne is a former financial analyst and portfolio manager for a hedge fund in San Mateo. Prior to working at this hedge fund, she worked as a financial analyst at Franklin Templeton. Marianne is also a former executive board member of the Bayview Hunters Point YMCA, where she worked closely with the 49ers Foundation on their annual Bowl for Youth event. Marianne graduated from Villanova University with a B.S. in Psychology.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Diane Shew has been on the SMFCEF board since 2016 and is currently Vice President. She was previously Site Council President and PTA Board Member at Highlands Elementary. She has two children who have graduated from Highlands Elementary and Borel Middle, and now attend Aragon High School.
Diane was Treasurer and Board Member at Home & Hope for 8 years prior to joining SMFCEF. She has 20 years of experience in the investment management industry where she managed teams of portfolio managers and traders. She currently works part time for the San Mateo Union High School District as an Instructional Assistant for Special Education students.
Diane is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and has a B.S. in Finance and Organization Behavior/Industrial Relations from U.C. Berkeley. She is a 2013 graduate of the Leadership program for San Mateo, Foster City, Burlingame and Hillsborough. Born and raised in San Francisco, Diane has lived in San Mateo since 1997.
Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.
Sajitha Vinod joined the SMFCEF board in 2021 as Secretary. Sajitha has a longstanding relationship with Audubon Elementary, from serving on the PTA Board from 2007 to 2012 and volunteering as an Art in Action docent, to currently working as their Technology Coordinator. She has two daughters - the oldest graduated from Audubon Elementary and Bowditch Middle School, and her youngest daughter is currently at Audubon Elementary.
Sajitha has a B.A and Masters in English, as well as an Honors Diploma in Software Technology and System Administration. Born and raised in India, she moved to the US and has been living in Foster City since 2003. She started her career as a Lecturer at a polytechnic and became involved in designing and developing curriculum to suit the growing demands of the industry. She has also worked as a Program Implementation Lead for bringing technology into K-12 schools, training teachers, and teaching computer science. She currently holds a CTE Teaching Credential from U.C. Berkeley in Information and Communication Technologies, and is currently pursuing a Makerspace Certification from Foothill College.
Sajitha’s philosophy is to create a safe learning environment for all children to learn, explore, create, and reach higher standards of learning. Her goal is to steer students towards creativity, innovation, and a passion for continued learning regardless of where their careers take them in the future.
The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
Marilynn Kaplan joined the SMFCEF Board of Directors in 2021. Originally from the east coast, she moved to Foster City in 2013. Her children attend Parkside Montessori and she enjoys volunteering in the classroom and with the Parkside Montessori PTA.
Marilynn has worked for many years as a project manager first in software development and implementation, then later in corporate volunteering. She has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and graduate degrees in business administration and project management from Western Carolina University.
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
Angel Haight joined the SMFCEF board of directors in September of 2019. Born and raised in Redlands, California, she has been a resident of Foster City since 2010. Her children attend Audubon Elementary. Angel enjoys volunteering in the classroom, leading Art in Action lessons and serving on the Audubon PTA executive board.
Currently, Angel leads proposals and business development for a public policy research group. Previously, Angel was a management consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton for 10+ years. Angel is a graduate of Tufts University, where she studied Political Science and International Relations.
It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
Bob Hardy has lived in San Mateo since 2003 and has served on the San Mateo-Foster City Education Foundation board of directors since 2015. He has 2 children, both of whom attended Parkside Elementary where he was an active member of the Montessori Parents Committee and one-time PTA President. His eldest went to Bayside STEM Academy and graduated Hillsdale High School. His younger child currently attends San Mateo High School.
Bob is a software developer currently working for an Energy Efficiency consultancy where he manages IT and Support Services. He has a degree in Management Information Systems from The Pennsylvania State University and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.
Until we get equality in education, we won't have an equal society.
Christina Ogburn-Chow joined the SMFCEF board in June 2021. She has a son who attends Audubon Elementary School in Foster City where she previously served as Treasurer of the PTA. Christina currently works with other nonprofits as well, and brings that experience and expertise to the SMFCEF board.
Christina currently works as a technical program manager in Sales for Juniper Networks. She is responsible for managing multiple projects and activities to ensure that Juniper is able to meet the needs of their customers. Christina received her MBA from Santa Clara University and her B.A. from Auburn University.
A good education is the greatest gift you can give yourself or anyone else.
Colleen Sullivan began working with the SMFCEF in December 2015, served as Board President from 2016 through 2021, and is currently a Director. She served on the San Mateo-Foster City School District Board of Directors from 2007-2015 (serving as President in 2011 and 2015). She has two children who attended Highlands and Borel. While the kids were at Highlands, she served seven years on the Highlands PTA and coordinated the Art in Action program. She then moved on to Borel to help in the office.
Colleen has a B.A. in Mathematics from Carleton College. She was born and raised on Oahu and moved to the mainland for college. She received her secondary teaching credential from the University of Michigan and moved to the Bay Area in 1988. She worked as an Actuary for Fireman’s Fund and Industrial Indemnity before joining GE Computer Leasing as a programmer. She is on the SMFC District Equity Task Force. She is passionate about education and providing access and opportunity to every student in our District.
Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.
Kelley Salomaa joined the SMFCEF Board in 2021. She has two children who attend Audubon Elementary School. Kelley served on the board of the nonprofit Foster City Parents’ Club for four years, during two of which she was president. She has also enjoyed volunteering in her daughters' classrooms, on their sports teams, and with Girl Scouts.
Kelley grew up in Foster City and was a student at Audubon, Bowditch, and Aragon before moving down to Southern California for four years to attend college at UC San Diego. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Communication with a minor in Political Science. Kelley is a partner at a local insurance brokerage that specializes in property & casualty insurance.
Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
Molly Reidy joined the SMFCEF board in June 2021. A native to the peninsula, she grew up in Burlingame surrounded by educators who made it their mission to advocate for every student. Turns out the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. With three children of her own who have graduated from Sunnybrae Elementary and Borel Middle, she has steeped herself in every volunteer opportunity that has been presented to her. Serving for 8 years on the PTA, she held the positions of Communications Director, Fundraising Vice President, Treasurer, and President for two separate terms. In these roles, she created enrichment opportunities and academic support for students. Garden Club, Homework Club, Art docent, and campus beautification have been some of her most rewarding initiatives.
Formerly an Events Director at a local market research firm, Molly worked collaboratively to create a C-level executive event product that serves the global information industry. Currently, she is a stay at home mom, consulting as needed for her former research firm. Molly has a B.A. in French History and Psychology from the University of Colorado. She has coached high school girls basketball and her children's AYSO soccer teams, and enjoys family time and anything that involves hot glue!
Superintendent Ochoa joined the district in July 2021. He has 22 years of educational experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, director, executive director, and superintendent. Superintendent Ochoa has a strong background in instruction, curriculum, special education, equity, student wellness, parent engagement, and building school facilities.
In 2012, Superintendent Ochoa joined the Esparto Unified School District in the Sacramento area. He served as the Director of Special Education and Superintendent until 2018. In Esparto, he developed long range academic plans and oversaw the development of greatly expanded Advanced Placement programs.
In the 2018–2019 school year, Superintendent Ochoa joined the Hollister School District (HSD). He led the district in developing quality special education services for children with autism. He oversaw major curricular adoptions and led a new early literacy small-group reading program. He also led efforts to coordinate new school configurations addressing struggles with overcrowded middle schools and a lack of classroom space at multiple sites. In 2021, Ochoa concluded the $52 million dollar campus built to serve up to 850 students.
Prior to his work at HSD, Ochoa served as high school principal, assistant principal, and elementary school special education teacher. Ochoa received his Bachelor of Arts, Teaching Credential, and Master of Arts in Education from California State University San Marcos, and also holds a Special Education Teaching Credential. Active in community associations, he has served as President Elect of the San Benito County Educational Leaders Association (ACSA), member of San Benito County League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and board member for Capay Valley Vision. Diego and his wife Hallie are parents to five children.
Brenda Cooks has been a teacher at San Mateo Park Elementary for 18 years. She has taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades, however, most of her 18 years have been dedicated to 2nd and 3rd grades. With the exception of a brief hiatus during 2014-2015, Brenda has been on the Executive Board for SMETA since 2007. She has been Vice President, Secretary, and is currently Treasurer. For the past three years, she has enjoyed being SMETA’s Liaison for the Education Foundation.
Brenda was born in San Mateo and attended Meadow Heights Elementary for two months before her family moved to Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. In 1985, she moved to Half Moon Bay where she graduated high school. She attended the College of San Mateo and then transferred to the University of San Diego. In San Diego, she received her B.A. in Liberal Arts and her teaching credential with a concentration in Multicultural Education.
As Brenda attends Education Foundation meetings, she is always amazed and grateful for the dedication and hard work that the Education Foundation Board puts forth for all students in our San Mateo-Foster City School District.
Alison is our Board of Trustees Liaison to the Education Foundation. She was elected to the School Board in 2019. Alison is deeply committed to serving our local public schools. She has been a PTA leader at Foster City Elementary School, serving as the PTA President for 2 years and the PTA Treasurer for 2 years prior to that. She was also on the School Site Council in 2018-2019. Prior to her time spent at Foster City Elementary, she was the Treasurer of Sea Breeze School and the Foster City Parents’ Club. Alison has been a Foster City resident for over 15 years and is the proud mom of 2 boys in the San Mateo-Foster City School District. She is Bay Area native and a product of the Millbrae School District and San Mateo Union High School District.
Alison earned a BA in Business Economics from UC Santa Barbara, a Master’s in Taxation from Golden Gate University, and is a licensed CPA. She is a Partner at Seiler LLP, a CPA firm in Redwood Shores where she’s worked since 2002. In her spare time, Alison enjoys traveling, going to the movies and watching her boys play baseball.
Sonja Fuentes Tappan is our part-time Executive Director. Sonja has lived in the San Mateo-Foster City community for over 40 years. She loves this area so much that she raised her four, now adult, children here. Sonja and her kids have all attended our very own schools! Her passion for learning, involvement in our community, and generous philanthropy make her a natural fit as our Executive Director.
Sonja brings with her 20 years of design, project management, and operations experience, currently working at a design studio in San Mateo, and previously at Genentech, Inc. She graduated with a B.A. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles.
As great education is not accidental, she is excited to rally the support of every parent, raise awareness within our community, and secure strategic partnerships to ensure every child has access to the best education possible. Feel free to say hi to her in English, Spanish, or Dutch.
Kim Crellin was on the SMFCEF Board from 2012-2021, in various roles including Treasurer and Secretary. She became the office manager and bookkeeper for the Foundation in September 2020. She has two children who graduated from Highlands and Bayside, and are currently attending Aragon High.
Kim has a Bachelor's degree in chemistry from Duke University, and a Master's in chemistry from Stanford. She was born in Ottawa, Canada, but grew up in South Carolina. Kim moved to California in 1993, and loves San Mateo and the Bay Area for its culture, diversity, weather, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities.
Katie Boyd, Former Board Member 2017-2021
Kim Crellin, Former Board Member 2012-2021
Dr. Sarah Drinkwater, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services / Former Board Liaison 2018-2021
John Pavolotsky, Former Board Member 2017-2021
Dr. Joan Rosas, Former SMFCSD Superintendent 2015-2021
Elizabeth Yeager, Former Board Member 2016-2020