Laura Marcus-Bricca - President Laura is a veteran teacher of English, Spanish, and special education. Currently, she is the Instructional Supervisor of Special Education at Palo Alto High School. Laura is passionate about teaching, mentoring, coaching, and helping students realize their full potential. 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 - 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.
Norma Hymes Norma has worked at Jordan Middle School for nine years and is currently serving the roles of Outreach Specialist for Secondary Education, Campus Supervisor, Parent Liaison, and is on the Staff Senate at Jordan Middle School. Past positions she has held in PAUSD have included serving as the VTP (Voluntary Transfer Program) Coordinator, Site Council Member, and Climate member. Norma also works at Facebook and owns Alicia’s Hair House. Norma is passionate about education and has been running an after-school tutoring program for the past five years at Jordan, which reaches out to students who may need extra help in the areas of Science, Math and Language Arts. She has a great connection with students and parents of all backgrounds, and advocates strongly for all students in the PAUSD Voluntary Transfer Program as well as for our students of color. Norma graduated from San Carlos High School where she was bused as a child.
Dawn Billman 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.