Laura Marcus-Bricca - President Laura is a veteran teacher of English, Spanish, and Special Education.Currently, she serves as the Instructional Leader of Special Education at Palo Alto High School (Paly), supporting and coordinating a staff of over 50 people. Prior to taking on the Instructional Leader role, she was hired by PAUSD to help develop the Therapeutic Services program at Paly in 2011, after working with similar populations at Palo Alto Prep High School for several years prior. Her passion for teaching began though at a much younger age when she was in high school and started working at a martial arts school, teaching classes to both children and adults. It was there that she experienced first-hand how powerful and rewarding it is to help create positive change in people's lives. She holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and was the manager of a martial arts school in Mountain View prior to beginning her career in K-12 education. Laura is passionate about teaching, mentoring, coaching, and helping students realize their full potential. In 2016, Laura was publicly honored and received the "Symetra Heroes in the Classroom" award, sponsored by Symetra, Wells Fargo, and the San Francisco 49ers. She is also a former member of the Young Professionals Committee of the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, where she organized fundraising events and contributed to the mission of the Committee . She believes that every student is entitled to an equitable education and is dedicated to advocating for underserved and underrepresented populations.
Kim Diorio - Vice President Kim currently serves as the Principal of Palo Alto High School (Paly). She served six years at Paly as an Assistant Principal before taking on the role of principal in 2013. Prior to Paly, Kim was a school counselor at Henry M. Gunn High School and JLS Middle School. Before moving to the West Coast in 2005, Kim worked for seven years in the Weston Public Schools in Weston, CT as a school counselor and president of the Weston Teachers’ Association. During this time, she received her credential in educational administration through Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. Kim holds a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters of Science in Counseling and Human Relations from Villanova University. She is currently on track to earn her doctorate in educational leadership and change from Fielding Graduate University in the summer of 2016.
Danielle Haas-Laursen - Vice President A graduate of Stanford Law School, Danielle is a practicing corporate attorney in the area. Danielle and her husband, Kirk, have three children in the Palo Alto School district. Danielle currently serves on the Palo Alto Girls Softball board, and she previously served as a member of the board at the Orion School (now closed) in Atlanta, which focused on providing an enriching environment that met the needs of children with severe ADHD and/or Asperger's.
Michael Sullivan - Secretary and Treasurer Michael is a local real estate developer and philanthropist with a strong interest in promoting and supporting access to higher education. Nonprofit experience includes volunteer work with the Family Care Network where Michael provided mentoring and support services to children in foster homes as well as volunteer work as a mentor and instructor with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula. Michael currently serves the board as the Treasurer and Secretary. Michael attended California Polytechnic State University graduating with a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.
Angelina Bena - Co-Mentorships Chair Angelina currently resides in Palo Alto, and works at Palo Alto High school as the Wellness Outreach Worker. Angelina is a graduate of Palo Alto High School,has a Master's degree in Public Health and she is passionate about working with diverse populations in regards to reproductive health, maternal health, child health, and nutrition. Her passions have lead her live and work in several regions around the world (most recently for two years in Ghana) but she will always call Palo Alto home. She is very excited to be working with Rise Together Education!
Christina (Tina) Dias As a first generation college graduate growing up in Palo Alto, Tina understands the challenges of navigating the college application and overall process. Currently working as a Special Education Teacher at Palo Alto High School, Tina is eager to collaborate with our youth and community providing needed financial support along with mentorship in order to make higher education a reality for these students.
Dawn Billman - Fundraising Chair Dawn has significant management experience in both the for-profit and non-profit world. Following a successful international career, she brought her talents to the non-profit world. As a twenty year plus Palo Alto resident, she has been an extraordinarily active volunteer in the community.
Johanna Gonzalez - Co-mentorships Chair
Johanna Gonzalez serves the Palo Alto Unified School District as the Administrative Assistant in Wellness & Support Services. As a first generation Latina college graduate, her experience has motivated her to be an advocate for others navigating the educational system. She is very excited to work with students and parents, and is passionate in inspiring students to pursue their higher education goals.
2017/2018 Student Representatives to the Board: Kristina Im Katie Laursen Roberto Lombera