Board of Directors | 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


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.

Shams 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.

Sowmya Krishnan

First Vice President

Dr. Sowmya Krishnan is pleased to be a part of Kidango because she is a strong believer in early education for children and in advocating for underprivileged kids and families so we can all become productive, fulfilled members of society.

Dr. Krishnan is currently VP of Corporate Strategy for RITSnet Inc., a computer network systems management company which she co-founded in 2004. She most recently served as Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Ultra Clean Technology (UCT), a semiconductor equipment subsystem. As a member of executive management, she was responsible for providing strategic direction, shaping the company profile and driving long-term growth initiatives over her 13-year tenure at UCT.

She has been active in various industry forums and is a well-respected and visible leader in the semiconductor field. She has served as invited chair in multiple technical areas, has been an invited speaker at technical conferences and has written guest editorials and served on the advisory board for industry trade journals.

She has also chaired industry related SEMI standards task forces and led the effort to set industry standards related to critical subsystems. She holds two U.S. patents with several ongoing patent applications. She is the author of over 30 technical papers and editorials and is well-known for her expertise in the fields of micro-contamination and semiconductor processing. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY.

Her interests include volunteering for societal causes. In the past she has volunteered with Friendly Visiting, an organization serving displaced or homebound seniors, and with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society supporting research in cancer.

Ronald Towns

Second Vice President

Towns has a B.A. in Statistics and Secondary Education from Columbia University, and a Masters of Education and Teacher Leadership from Elmhurst College. Ron 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


Gerry McFaull’s background is in leadership of Engineering and High Tech businesses where he has learned from managing through both the good times and the lean. Today he runs a sourcing and consulting business which he co-founded in 2002 and is married with four children.

Gerry has worked extensively in volunteer positions in a wide variety of roles, and has served on the Board of Directors at the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, leading committees for Finance, Marketing, Communications and Special Projects. Gerry also currently serves on the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for the Fremont Unified School District.

“If you want a lively conversation,” says Gerry, “please ask me about two of my most heartfelt beliefs that ‘Our children are our future’ and ‘Strong communities depend on the people who comprise that community’. The team at Kidango is an outstanding example of what is possible and I am proud and excited to be a small part of a tremendous story of success in creating better opportunities for our children and widespread community involvement.”

Nancy Thomas


Nancy believes that children enter this world with a natural curiosity and wonder about their environment. She sees Kidango as a place where children can explore their pre-school world, both socially and academically, and develop the foundation to be successful learners in the K-12 environment.

Born in Minnesota, Nancy moved with her husband and young children to the Bay Area in 1969 and has lived in her Newark home ever since. She received her bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University and her master degree from Stanford, both in Electrical Engineering. She retired from Hewlett-Packard after a 25 year career, half in various engineering positions, and half as the company’s National Contributions Manager.

Nancy is a champion of science education, especially for young girls. Prior to joining the Kidango Board in 2007, Nancy was a board member for RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching). She has also served on several national science advisory boards and helped write and manage two successful National Science Foundation grants for Bay Area school districts.

Nancy is serving her second term as a board member for the Newark Unified School District, and is an elected member of the Alameda County Central Democratic Committee. She is a member of the Newark Rotary Club and the Newark Optimist Club.

Nancy was drawn to Kidango because of its highly successful programs and its talented and dedicated staff. She looks forward to witnessing the organization’s continued expansion, especially in areas that target children and families with the greatest need.

Michael Garcia

Board Member

Bio coming soon.

Peggy Pizzo

Board Member

Bio coming soon.

Zelica Rodriguez-Deams

Board Member

Bio coming soon.

Harvey Schloss

Board Member

Mr. Schloss is a past-president of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Greater San Francisco, and Rhoda Goldman Plaza – an assisted living facility in San Francisco. He has been Interim Executive Director for Rebuilding Together Peninsula, Palo Alto Art Center Foundation, and JW House – a hospitality house on the Kaiser campus in Santa Clara. He has served on the boards of Environmental Volunteers, the Jewish Public Affairs Committee, and A Foundation Building Strength for Nemaline Myopathy. He currently serves on the Child Care Partnership Council in San Mateo County and is a member of the Strong Start Coalition in Santa Clara County.


John M. True

Board Member

Bio coming soon.

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