Board of Directors Profiles | Kidango

Board of Directors

The Kidango Board of Directors is comprised of elected members who share a commitment to ensuring access to high quality early learning for all children. Their visionary leadership, insight and direction are the backbone of Kidango’s mission, vision, and values.

Shams Tabrez

GM, Quantum Global Technologies

President

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Shams is inspired by the fact that Kidango is a true community of teachers, parents, and members of the public who all work collectively to help children fully develop their own unique qualities. He is particularly impressed with how Kidango continues to strategically locate new facilities in order to help more children benefit from its Mission.

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Shams grew up in Manchester, England. He holds multiple degrees, including an M.B.A., and credits his strong educational background for his successes.

Shams is a vice president for SELA Inc, a manufacturing company with offices around the world, as well as an author of over 30 technical and commercial articles. In 2000, he became a U.S. patent holder for an invention in Advanced Semiconductor Technology.

He has been inspired by the writings of Thomas Jefferson and how he helped craft the Declaration of Independence, an enduring and inspirational document with values that still guide the way for people today. “Jefferson truly understood the power of the written word and valued education, for it is the key to helping people progress,” says Shams.

As board president, Shams wants to see that Kidango continues to build strong relationships with key partners to help generate resources to sustain and grow Kidango and its programs.

Shams lives by the words of Yogi Berra, who once said “If you come to a fork in the road… pick it up!”

Shams thinks that education is that fork in the road and he is looking forward to doing his part in helping Kidango children pick up all the benefits education has to offer.

Zelica Rodriguez-Deams

Associate Director, SOMOS Mayfair

Vice President

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Education: BA in Latin American and latino Studies/ Sociology (UC Santa Cruz) and MA in Political Science (San Francisco State University)

Member of Kidango Board Since: 2017

Reasons for Joining Kidango Board: 

  • Belief in everyone having quality early learning opportunity for a strong start
  • Grow capacity to support parent engagement and leadership in early learning
  • Support innovative and disruptive strategies to increase opportunities for low-income communities of color
  • Support the strong Kidango vision from community, staff and management team.
  • Cultivating self-esteem and a can-do attitude in young children to change the world for the better.

 

Ronald Towns

Math/Science Teacher and Instructional Coach, Gateway Public Schools

Second Vice President

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Ronald (or “Towns, as most call him) has a B.A. in Statistics and Secondary Education from Columbia University, and a Masters of Education and Teacher Leadership from Elmhurst College. He has been a teacher for ten years, as a Fulbright Bilingual Program Instructor in Spain, and as a department chair and coach in schools in Chicago, Oakland, and San Francisco.

Three years ago, he co-founded Camp Common Ground, a non-profit organization that disrupts cycles of racial and economic segregation in the Bay Area.  Each summer, Camp Common Ground brings a group of 30 diverse youth together for summer and school-year programming. They learn: (a) about identity and privilege; (b) empathy skills to build relationships across cultural lines understand the perspective of others, and (c) how to employ conflict resolution and non-violent communication skills to address exclusionary norms at their schools.

Towns was awarded a Truman Scholarship for his leadership at Columbia University and a Golden Apple Scholar Finalist award for excellence in teaching in Illinois. He lives by Lake Merritt and loves to try new restaurants and cafes in his neighborhood.

Gerry McFaull

CEO, Qualdeval International

Treasurer

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Education:  MSc. I.E. & Admin, Cranfield University, Cranfield, U.K.

Member of Kidango Board Since: 2004 (14 years)

Why Kidango? 

Early childhood development is a proven and powerful stepping stone on the path to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential in life.  Kidango is a leader in this field and as a member of the Board, it’s my objective to contribute to the continued success and future development of the services Kidango offers to our children and families.  It is my great honor and privilege to serve our children, families, staff, funders, and community and to earn their trust through the delivery of excellent quality and care in everything we do.

Catherine Atkin

Executive Director, Early Learning Lab

Board Member

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Education: BA Stanford University, JD Berkeley School of Law, MA UCLA

Member of Kidango Board Since: 2018

Why Kidango? 
I have long been passionate about ensuring children get the set of experiences they need and to deserve from 0-5 to be healthy happy and read for kindergarten. I am honored to be on the Kidango board where I can support an amazing early childhood program that is laser-focused on providing this kind of high-quality early childhood education and development services in the Bay Area.

Don Bolce

Director, Early Learning Services, Santa Clara County Office of Education

Board Member

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Education and Credentials:

  • University of California, Berkeley – B.A., Bacteriology
  • California State University, Hayward – Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Teaching Credential – Early Childhood Specialization

Member of Kidango Board Since: 2018

Why Kidango?

I know that high quality early childhood education provides a strong foundation for children lifelong success and supports families. I recognize the commitment and quality of the Kidango staff and the Kidango commitment to support these staff. I believe that Kidango has the commitment and capacity to improve the early care and education systems that support young children and their families. I am honored to work with the committed and highly talented Board of Directors and Senior Leadership Team.

Michael Garcia

Coordinator, Local Early Education Planning Council, Santa Clara County Office of Education

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Education: B.A. Child & Adolescent Development, San Jose State University

Member of the Kidango Board Since: 2017 (1 Year)

Why Kidango?

Serving on the Board allows me the opportunity, and honor, to work and learn with my fellow Board colleagues and the Kidango Leadership Team, who all play important roles in providing high quality early learning experiences for children in the Bay Area.

Susan Muenchow

Principal Researcher, American Institutes for Research

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Education: M.S., Columbia University, Graduate School of Journalism; B.A., Stanford University, Phi Beta Kappa

Member of the Kidango Board Since: 2017

Why Kidango?

Whether as a researcher, state level administrator, or journalist, my focus has been improving access to quality early care and education.  Serving on the board of Kidango, a premier agency with a history of innovation, offers the opportunity to put that focus into immediate action.

Peggy Pizzo

Director, Early Learning Project, Stanford University

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Peggy Daly Pizzo is a Senior Scholar, Stanford Graduate School of Education, where she is carrying out research related to emotional and social intelligence in young children and the adults who are important to them. She is currently directing an Early Childhood Teaching Cases Project, which will result in about eight in-depth teaching cases, to be used in professional development of early childhood teachers. These cases will focus on “best practice” teacher-child interaction that promotes social and emotional skills in children, especially when there is challenging or difficult behavior.

Previously she was an Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and a Research Associate at the Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She has also served as Affiliate Faculty at the Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University.

She holds a master’s degree in Child Study from Tufts University (Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development) and a master’s degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University.

For twenty years, between 1973 and 1993, she promoted federal and state policies benefiting young children and their families, particularly those who participate in Head Start, child care, and early intervention services for children with special needs.

From 1980-1981, Ms. Pizzo served as Associate Director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff for Human Resources. Prior to that she was Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the federal agency that administers the Head Start, foster care, adoption assistance, child care and child abuse and neglect prevention and treatment programs.

She has also authored over 35 textbook chapters, magazine articles, and professional monographs as well as a book on parent support and advocacy activities in the United States (Parent to Parent: Working Together for Ourselves and Our Children).

The Hon. John M. True

Judge, Alameda County Superior Court (Ret.)

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John M. True, III retired from the Alameda County Superior Court in 2015. While on the bench, he served in various capacities, presiding over civil trials and other civil proceedings, criminal calendar departments and in the Superior Court Appellate Department. For three years, Judge True served on the Juvenile Court, handling both delinquency and dependency matters.

Before taking the bench, Judge True spent many years practicing labor and employment law on behalf of unions and employees. Judge True received his law degree from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 1975.  Prior to law school, Judge True served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal from 1966 to 1969 and as the Assistant Director of the Peace Corps program in Afghanistan from 1969 to 1972.

While on the bench, Judge True has presided over numerous settlement conferences in civil matters. Since retirement, he is an active mediator and arbitrator.  During the course of his career, Judge True has taught Employment Law, Labor Law and other courses as an adjunct faculty member at Berkeley Law and several other Bay Area law schools. He currently teaches Labor Law at Stanford Law School.  He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers was elected to the American Law Institute in 2006.

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