The Educate Our State Board of Directors/Leadership Team is a very diverse group. From working professionals, including university professors, asset managers in finance and small business owners, to stay-at-home parents who have given up careers in law, science, teaching and sitcom writing, we come from all walks of life. We grew up in California, on the East Coast, and even in foreign countries. Our kids range in age from three to sixteen. And we live all over California, from San Diego in the South to Lafayette in the North. But we all share a common passion: to make the education system in California better for all kids.
Crystal Brown, President (San Francisco)
Crystal is a founding member and the President of the Board of Directors of Educate Our State. She is a passionate education advocate, determined to change and improve public schools for all children in California. She is a parent of three daughters attending public schools in San Francisco, she served as the Development Director and Fundraising Committee Chair for the PTA and is a Ambassador Volunteer for Parents for Public Schools. She has worked on civic engagement projects including development for the Friends of the SF Public Library and San Francisco Parks and Recreation and was a founding member of the the SF Marina Community Association. Crystal is a recipient of the 2011 Women Making History Award and was listed as one of the 2011 Forward Thinkers by California Forward. She has a BA from Lafayette College and has over a decade of experience in technology and management consulting.
Aaron Anderson, Online Platforms (San Francisco)
Aaron is a product of public education having attended public schools and worked in them for essentially his entire life. A published author, Aaron is currently Acting Executive Director of San Francisco State University's Graduate Business Programs. His area of professional expertise is on understanding resistance to change with a deep emphasis in higher education organizational behavior and management. Aaron and his family live in the city of San Francisco, where he has two children in SFUSD schools. Aaron earned his BS in Mathematics from the University of Connecticut, an MS from Indiana University, and an MA in Higher Education and PhD in Higher Education Management and Organizational Behavior from the University of Michigan.
Cushon Bell, Southern CA Field Operations (Pasadena)
As a student, a teacher, and now as a parent, Cushon has had a lifelong connection to California public schools. After 14 years of teaching, Cushon left the classroom to spend time with her children, but she didn’t leave the education field. In addition to membership in her school site council and PTA and founding her school’s African-American parent council, Cushon shifted her focus to parent engagement and advocacy through social networking and presentations at parent workshops. She has been recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Pasadena Education Network for her work as an advocate for all children. In 2011, Cushon was selected to represent the state of California at Parenting Magazine's Mom Congress on Education and Learning Conference in Washington, D.C. A wife and mother of three, Cushon is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.
Nick Driver (San Francisco)
Nick brings a diverse background in journalism, international business and education activism to his San Francisco and California public school advocacy and support work. His first career as a journalist in China during the 80s and 90s provided a deep appreciation for U.S.-style democracy, as well as the laudable focus that Chinese families place on obtaining a high-quality education. Returning home, Nick began work to improve public schools, at the school site and district level, including multiple campaigns for bond measures and parcel taxes. Nick joined the California Charter Schools Association, a non-profit membership and advocacy group, at its inception in 2003 and worked there until recently. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.
Tamara Hurley, Secretary (San Diego)
A native Californian, Tamara was educated entirely in California’s public education system. Before having children, she spent 15 years in biological research at The Salk Institute and volunteered for a decade at the county’s emergency shelter for children. Tamara has spent the past eight years volunteering extensively at her two daughters’ schools, from the classroom to fundraisers. She has served several years on an elementary school’s PTO foundation board, two school site councils and governance teams, and on her community’s schools committee, as well as currently as legislative chair for a PTSA. After following funding crises at the school and district level for years, she is excited to direct her efforts to affect positive change at the state level. Tamara has a BS in Biochem/Cell Bio and MS in Biology from the University of California, San Diego.
Deborah Leon (Burlingame)
Since taking a breather from practicing law, Deborah has immersed herself in volunteering for the Burlingame school community. She has chaired her children's elementary school site council, served on the Burlingame Community for Education Foundation board, and is currently serving as legislative liaison for the district's PTA Council and as a site council member for her son's middle school, among other positions. Deborah has worked to enrich her children's education by organizing after-school science classes and parent-child book clubs. As a native Californian, she is committed to Educate Our State's mission to improve public education for all children in the state.
Teri Levy, Marketing/Communications (Los Angeles)
Teri is a native of South Africa and spent much of her youth there before her family moved to the U.S. to start a new life without apartheid. She is the mother of four daughters ages 2 to 12 and a founding leader of Educate Our State. Teri is a public school parent, was President of the PTA at her children’s school, and is responsible for the “Say No to Cuts” Campaign, which produced the successful public service announcement (PSA) video “Hot For Teachers,” which went viral on the Internet. As Director of Communications and Marketing, Teri is responsible for coordinating and overseeing public relations and all social media avenues--Facebook, Twitter, blog and PSA’s. She has BA from the University of Southern California.
Annie Bauccio-Moore (San Francisco)
Annie is a founding member of Educate Our State and the mother of three kids in the San Francisco Unified School District. An active public schools volunteer and CA PTA member, she has served on the boards of her local PTA and Parents for Public Schools - San Francisco. In her own public school she has successfully worked to engage and expand the network of volunteers and donors to include the support of the community-at-large. While currently working as Interim Executive Director for Parents for Public Schools - San Francisco, Annie is also a Professional Organizer and small business owner. She holds a BA from Saint Mary's College of California and is certificated in Human Resources Management.
Suzy Pak, Treasurer (Lafayette)
Suzy has a background of more than 19 years in asset management and is currently Client Service Manager for ClearBridge Investments, an equity manager of Legg Mason, Inc., with over $58 billion under management. She is a co-founder of Lafayette for Education, a group of concerned individuals whose focus is to identify, secure and support ongoing revenues for its school district. Suzy is an active community volunteer with service on the boards of the Junior League of San Francisco, the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center (SFCAPC), the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation, and the Springhill Elementary Parent Faculty Club. Suzy is a product of California public schools and wants to make sure her two daughters have the opportunity as well. She has a BA in Economics from UC Santa Cruz and an MBA from San Jose State University.
Andi Rich, Parliamentarian (Lafayette)
Andi has worn multiple hats in her professional career. She started her career in freelance writing for magazines, was the founder of mummieslist.com and has been the director of multiple child development centers. Andi moved to California from Montreal, Canada several years ago and put on her favorite hat: education advocate. She is a founding and current member of Lafayette for Education, is on the professional advisory board of The Unicorn Children's Foundation, and is a past board member of the Developmental Delay Registry. Andi hates stepping on Legos on the floor and forcing her daughter to practice piano, but she loves to dance to Justin Bieber with her son and loves to read with her daughter.
Fran Kaufer Shimp (San Diego)
Fran is proud to join the board of Educate Our State and hopes to make a difference before her two kids graduate in 2021. She is a board member of the La Jolla Cluster Association (which she co-founded), the La Jolla YMCA, and co-President of the Muirlands Middle School Foundation, as well as a Jewish Community Center Youth & Camp committee member, a school site council and site governance team member, a Multiple Sclerosis Angel Visitor, and a past PTO President. After years of dealing with frustrating school fundraisers, she recently created a website designed to help schools raise money called Spell-a-thon-online.com. Fran has a BA in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and is a former sitcom writer (which has come in handy when discussing California’s educational system…).
Katherine Welch (Piedmont)
Katherine is galvanized by the message and the approach of Educate Our State. She has served on the board of Gateway Public Schools in San Francisco since 2008. She has a diverse business background with experience in corporate finance, venture capital, non-profit education and general business management and operations. Katherine has been actively involved as a volunteer in the non-profit sector for over 20 years in many capacities. After a tireless effort to raise funds for her children’s public school district last year, she realized that, more than ever, systemic change in California’s public education system is the only solution for our children – and parents are the best messengers for that change. Katherine received an MBA from Harvard University and a BA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University.