Our Executive Team is passionate about working hard at work worth doing. We’re driven by the idea that all children deserve a fair start and strong foundation.
Chief Executive OfficerRead Bio
Scott brings over 20 years of education policy and management experience to Kidango. 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 UC Berkeley. In 2011, he was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be Executive Director of the California Early Learning Advisory Council. Scott is former Director of Early Education at Kidango, where he led the program operations. He is also a co-founder of a private Montessori school in Oakland.
Scott received his BA in Political Science from UCLA, his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and has taken early childhood education courses at Pacific Oaks College.
Chief Operations OfficerRead Bio
As Kidango’s Chief Operations Officer, Noelle oversees a wide range of departments, including Enrollment, Administrative Services, Information Technology, Facilities, and Nutrition.
Prior to her current role, Noelle served as Kidango’s Director of Nutrition for three years, employing a nutrition strategy aligned with evidence-based research to positively influence the nutrition habits of all Kidango children while addressing the overarching issues of health disparities in early childhood.
Noelle came to Kidango with a background in clinical and community nutrition from Dignity Health, SNAP-Ed, and WIC in the Sacramento region. In these roles, she worked to improve patient care and increase community impact through key operational shifts that streamlined processes and innovated systems. She holds a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences from Sacramento State University.
Noelle is committed to a collaborative approach toward maximizing the potential of every child and advancing social equity in the community.
Chief People OfficerRead Bio
A Salinas, CA native, Andrea studied Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and mastered in Counseling Psychology (with a specialization in Child and Adolescent Therapy) at John F. Kennedy University. Her greatest passion is working with children and high-risk youth who experienced trauma.
She feels most successful when others around her have the tools they need to be their best selves. Whether that takes the form of parents who are able to better understand and address the needs of their child, or team members who are able to grow into leadership roles, Andrea’s philosophy is to always improve the experience of all parties involved one interaction at a time.
Chief Financial OfficerRead Bio
As Kidango’s CFO, Nereyra is responsible for overseeing the agency’s accounting and program compliance functions. In this position, she works to ensure Kidango is in compliance with funding terms and conditions of all funding sources and ensures Kidango follows generally accepted accounting principles including those set by the Independent Auditor, the Federal Office of Management and Budget, and Kidango’s Board of Directors.
Prior to taking on the Director of Finance role, Nereyra spent two years as Kidango’s Finance Manager which provided her extensive experience with the financial systems of Kidango. Her past work as a Senior Accountant for the Insight Center for Community Economic Development in Oakland, CA and an Accountant for Instituto Familiar de la Raza in San Francisco, CA have also equipped her with the skills to successfully lead Kidango’s Finance Department. In these positions, Nereyra has managed all accounting functions including payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, account reconciliations, revenue recognition, cost allocations and financial reporting.
Nereyra has long been devoted to employing her skills in agencies committed to the betterment of the community. She takes great pride in her work at Kidango and the contribution she is able to make to the organization’s current and future financial stability. Nereyra holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Management, University of Phoenix and an Associate Degree in International Business in addition to a Public Accounting Certificate. She is also fluent in English and Spanish.
Chief Early Learning OfficerRead Bio
As Chief Learning Officer, Jennifer is responsible for supervising and working closely with Kidango’s team of Regional Directors, Director of Professional Development and Kidango’s Head Start Program Manager. She provides leadership, training and technical assistance and support to help ensure that our programs for children and families are of high quality, demonstrate best practices and are compliant with California Department of Education Regulations (Title 5), Community Care Licensing Regulations (Title 22) and Head Start Performance Standards.
Jennifer has more than 23 years of experience in the field of Early Care and Education, working in both private and publicly funded programs. She was a Lead Teacher at the Mills College Children’s School (a lab school for training Early Learning professionals) for many years, an Education Specialist for Early Head Start in Oakland, and has more than 15 years’ experience at Kidango, first as a Center Director, then a Regional Director and now in the role of Deputy Director of Early Learning.
Jennifer holds a BA degree in Child Development from Mills College. She is certified as a West Ed PITC trainer and completed 1 year of the Harris Infant Mental Health Training Program. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and serves as a Public Policy Advisor for the California Child Development Administrator’s Association. She holds a Program Director Permit, issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
On a personal note, Jennifer’s son attended Kidango from 6 months of age until he entered Kindergarten in 2014 so she can attest to the value of a Kidango early learning experience!
Vice President of Quality ImprovementRead Bio
As Vice President of Quality Improvement, Anika Bugarin-Jebejian’s duty is to lead efforts in evaluating, monitoring, creating, and innovating programs and initiatives. The goal is to help ensure instructional excellence and optimal learning environments and opportunities for every staff, and in turn, every child at our centers. In collaboration with all Kidango departments, she provides training, coaching, technical assistance, and progress monitoring to ensure the company’s commitment to continuous quality improvement.
Originally from the Philippines, Anika was raised in the Bay Area by her parents and maternal grandparents. Experiencing American culture while attending school and staying connected to the Filipino dialects and customs at home; this upbringing reminds her of the families Kidango serves and the importance of preserving and celebrating each person’s culmination of experiences and abilities.
Anika has earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development from the University of California at Davis and her Master in Education, with an emphasis in Educational Leadership from Concordia University at Portland. She has had the pleasure of traveling and speaking at international conferences, most recently at the London International Conference on Education to share her past and future research. She is currently a doctoral candidate with an emphasis on Instructional Leadership. Anika hopes to focus her research on effective instructional support practices that will inform professional development in the field of Early Childhood Education, and especially at Kidango.
Vice President of Human ResourcesRead Bio
As the Vice President of Human Resources, Teresa is responsible for supervising Kidango’s dynamic team of Director of Human Resources, Payroll Manager, and Human Resources Generalists. Teresa brings progressive Human Resources experience in employee relations, performance management, liability insurance and workers’ compensation policies, benefits management, recruitment and retention, training, workplace safety and well-being, and providing HR support that spans across the organization.
Teresa values being a team player and working collaboratively to help all of Kidango’s departments reach their goals and works to create an environment that positions employees to reach their fullest potential. Her biggest success is when she sees others succeed.
Teresa is an active member of the Kidango family, sitting as the Chair for the 401(k) Committee, and member on the Health and Safety Committee. Teresa also serves on the Personnel and Wellness Committee of the Board of Directors.
Teresa came to Kidango with a background in event and staff management at the San Jose Convention Center (operated by Team San Jose), where she acquired extensive experience working in fast-paced, innovation-driven environments.
Teresa received her B.S. in Biological Sciences with a Minor in Spanish from CSU East Bay and continues utilizing her detail-oriented research skills to keep up with the ever-changing California Employment Laws.
Vice President of Advocacy and PolicyRead Bio
As Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, Michele leads Kidango’s advocacy efforts to advance an early childhood system that ensures all children have the skills they need to be ready for success in school and life.
Prior to joining Kidango, Michele served as Director of Government Affairs, Policy and Communications for the Children’s Defense Fund-California. At CDF, Michele led the organization’s Ending Child Poverty campaign and oversaw state policy and communications work to create a level playing field for children in California. Michele led a successful campaign to expand the state Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit more than a million low-income working families, and worked with partners to establish California’s first state-funded home visiting program for vulnerable children, expand health coverage to 170,000 undocumented children in California, and increase basic needs welfare grants in California.
Previously, Michele ran advocacy and communications campaigns to increase access to quality early learning for Preschool California, analyzed issues of homelessness and childhood hunger as a Dukakis Fellow in Colorado Governor Bill Ritter’s office, and co-founded the Massachusetts Cradle to Prison Pipeline Coalition. Michele has a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Raised by community organizers in inner-city Denver, Michele is a lifelong social justice activist and an avid proponent of public schools.
Michele can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pepijn Van Houwelingen
Vice President, Research and PolicyRead Bio
Originally from the Netherlands, Pepijn van Houwelingen has made the Bay Area – and Kidango – his adopted home. As a lifelong believer in the importance of education, Pepijn feels strongly about ensuring that all children have the opportunity to grow and learn to the best of their abilities.
In his capacity as Vice President of Research and Policy, Pepijn is tasked with leading Kidango’s efforts to track the outcomes of our programs through rigorous research and facilitating collaborations with some of the nation’s top academic researchers in the field of Early Education. His goal is to utilize data as well as cutting-edge scientific research to continuously improve Kidango’s programs and to maximize their positive impacts.
Pepijn holds a BSc and an MSc in Public Administration from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam (Netherlands), and a PhD in Political Science from Royal Holloway, University of London (United Kingdom). His Doctoral research investigates the dynamic between rational self-interest and moral imperatives in public policy through the lens of collaborations between government, business, and non-profits as they worked together to address issues of unemployment, poverty, and social instability.
Vice President of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and TrainingRead Bio
As Vice President of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Training (ECMHC) at Kidango, Tena is responsible for shaping and executing an overarching vision and strategic direction for the ECMHC programs internally and externally across the organization. Tena and her team of consultants join in partnership and collaboration with early learning teams in their devoted efforts to ensure the highest quality of care for the children and families they serve. Tena and the ECMHC team provides consultation and training that empowers and builds the capacity of staff and families to cultivate positive and inclusive environments, support the social-emotional health and development of all children in the classroom or home, and work effectively, responsively and collaboratively with children and families with mental health concerns, challenging behaviors and individual developmental differences. The aim of ECMHC is to enhance all relationships involved in the care setting, cultivate and sustain nurturing and emotionally responsive environments, strengthen staff effectiveness in interactions with young children and families, and build strong school/home alliances.
Tena strives to inspire connection, empowerment, compassion and wellness one interaction, one experience and one relationship at a time. Tena believes all young children and their families have the inalienable right to be embedded in relationships and systems that empower, preserve and nurture their sense of worth, significance, and inner wisdom. Tena’s personal and professional pursuit is for every child to be seen, heard, understood, valued and cared for deeply. Tena believes the adults – teachers, parents and other caregivers – who care for our youngest and most vulnerable members of our community deserve support and resources to be well and to be at their most optimal for the benefit of the children.
Tena is a licensed therapist, endorsed as an Infant-Family Early Childhood Specialist/Reflective Practice Facilitator II and a fellow of the Napa-based Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Fellowship Program through the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Tena holds a B.S. in Communication and a M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Tena is an adjunct lecturer within the psychology graduate programs at John F. Kennedy University and Santa Clara University.
Tena has extensive clinical experience with under-resourced communities and families with young children as an early childhood mental health consultant, therapist, supervisor and trainer including with Early Head Start, Head Start and State-Preschool programs.
Tena is trained in several clinical evidenced-based practices that include: Neurodeveopmental Model of Therapeutics (NMT) by Bruce Perry MD of the Child Trauma Academy; Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) by Chandra Gosh-Ippen Ph.D. of the UCSF Child Trauma Research Program; Trauma‐Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF‐CBT); TOUCHPOINTS developed by the T. Berry Brazelton of the The Brazelton Touchpoints Center; Newborn Behavior Observations System (NBO) through The Brazelton Institute of Children’s Hospital Boston; and the NCAST Parent‐Child Feeding Scale developed at the University of Washington.
Tena does speaking and training at professional conferences and other professional venues on topics related to early childhood mental health; mental health consultation; trauma, toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs); trauma-informed care; foster care/adoption; neuroscience and early (brain) development; social-emotional development; learning, behavior and regulation; family engagement; professional burnout and compassion fatigue, interpersonal organizational culture and staff wellness, as well as reflective practice in supervision and consultation.
Vice President of Information TechnologyRead Bio
As Vice President of Information Technology, Rhine is responsible for creating and executing all aspects of Kidango’s technology strategy. He manages IT operations, ensuring that Kidango’s programs and systems maintain alignment with the agency’s overall business requirements. As the head of the Technology department, Rhine manages the Infrastructure, Systems, and Service Delivery teams. Working with these teams, he oversees the development and design of architectural solutions for infrastructure and mission critical support. He establishes and maintains relationships with the agency’s technology partners. Rhine is focused on providing Kidango with a culture of IT excellence. His ultimate goal is to assure the agency’s mission of ensuring that every child is on a path to thrive in kindergarten and life, is upheld to the highest standard.
Prior to joining Kidango, Rhine was an IT consultant for 10+ years. He has provided his expertise to some of the largest and well-known startups, non-profits, and educational institutions in the Bay Area. He brings to Kidango a background well-versed in leadership, network engineering, systems architecture, and project management.
Vice President of Development and CommunicationsRead Bio
As Kidango’s Vice President of Development and Communications, Marc oversees a dynamic team responsible for the agency’s annual fund development plans, agency marketing campaigns and branding strategies, media relations, and planning and executing of the organization’s fundraising and special events.
Marc began his career in the nonprofit sector coordinating programming for adults and children living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. It was during this time that he had his first experience raising money as part of his job and he has been passionate about raising funds for nonprofits committed to improving the lives of children and families ever since.
As the Development Manager for Cincinnati Public School’s Project Connect program, Marc worked with foundations, corporations and government agencies to secure funding to provide comprehensive and responsive services to children experiencing homelessness within the school district. As the Foundation Philanthropy Manager at Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley, Marc was responsible for securing major gifts by cultivating and stewarding relationships with local, regional and national foundations, corporations and organizations, along with securing government grants to achieve the agency’s fundraising goals. As the leading fundraising food bank in the United States (in a network of over 200 food banks), Marc was part of a development team dedicated to raising $40 million annually to support programs and services that impact over 260,000 individuals at risk for hunger every month in Silicon Valley.
Marc previously served as Kidango’s Director of Development and is excited to return to an organization committed to providing high quality, holistic services to ensure all children are set up for success in school and in life. Marc has BS and MS degrees in Family and Consumer Science. He also loves binge-watching TV shows, but only the good ones.