Isavane Samanna | Chair
Redwood Day Parent
B.A., Social Science (Hons), University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
Isavane Samanna is an experienced Human Capital Sales professional with Deloitte Consulting, with a focus on Human Capital Management software and professional services. With over 20 years of experience, she has worked with companies in a variety of industry sectors to redesign global HR business processes with a focus on best practices, streamlining work effort and the implementation of HR systems.
Isavane has sat on the Board of Blueskies for Children and DiversityWorks – both Oakland based organizations. During her tenure on these Boards, Isavane’s focus was on organizational development and process improvement.
Isavane lives in wonderful Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. In her spare time, she loves to read, cook, travel and spend time with friends and family. Isavane’s family has been part of the RD community since 2010. Since joining RDS, Isavane has co-chaired the Parent Education Committee, sat on the Nominations committee and toured prospective parents.
Personal Statement: Since joining the RD community in 2010, the Samanna Scovill’s have enjoyed the deep sense of community, a safe nurturing environment and thoughtful growth in the academic approach and curriculum at the school. The high professional standard of the teachers and staff, coupled with their down to earth attitude continues to instill confidence that Tenzin and Zarah are getting one of the best school experiences there is.
Jordan Karp | Vice Chair
Redwood Day Parent
B.A., Economics and Philosophy, Columbia University; Masters, City Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professional Experience: Urban Planner
Other Redwood Day involvement: Former PGA President; Fun-Run co-chair; PGA Nominations Committee; Room Parent
Jordan has over 20 years experience in urban design and transportation planning, working for government agencies and in private consulting. He has successfully managed complex planning and design projects for clients throughout North America. Jordan currently manages a group of planners and engineers at AECOM in Northern California, providing planning services to transportation agencies in the Bay Area and throughout California.
Jordan and his family live in Oakland, and both his sons attend Redwood Day. He loves the outdoors, and tries to sneak in as much time in the forest and mountains as he can. He has volunteered with a variety of youth outdoor-education and leadership-skills programs, and is active in bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations.
Personal Statement: “Our family joined Redwood Day in 2013, and from the start we’ve valued the school’s approach to providing a comprehensive education that nurtures all aspects of a child’s growth. I'm excited to support Redwood Day and the fantastic community of faculty, staff and families that make this such a special place.”
Mar Brandt | Advancement Committee Chair
Redwood Day Parent
B.S. with Honors, International Business from the California State University, San Francisco
Mar is the Head of sales/sales leader at Experian. She has nearly 20 years of leadership experience in sales, driving deep client relationships and revenues through her knowledge of digital marketing technology and business development. She is a lean-in, high velocity sales leader with an award-winning career in the SaaS space, building and transforming teams to drive growth and scale. In her current role, Mar is Vice President of Americas Enterprise and Healthcare vertical sales for Sitecore, a global leader in web content management and customer experience platforms. Prior to Sitecore, Mar was SVP, Head of Sales for Experian Marketing Suite, Experian’s SaaS-based cross channel marketing platform, where she spent a 14 year career in progressive leadership roles. Mar’s experience also includes tours at various technology companies such as AT&T and DoubleClick.Her passions include family (especially sons Donovan and Kieran), food, interior design, women in technology, and volunteering at Redwood Day.
Personal statement: "As a new parent of Redwood Day, I felt compelled to learn about the broader community while contributing to the classroom, and becoming a room parent was a fantastic opportunity to do that. Being a board member of the PGA allows me to contribute to and stay involved with this amazing community and to help represent the lower school parents on topics that are important for us as parents of young students."
Mark Sopp | Buildings & Grounds Committee Chair
Parent of two Redwood Day children.
B.S. in Design, Arizona State University School of Design
Mark is Principal, Design Director, and member of the Board of Directors at SB Architects in San Francisco, CA and Miami, FL. specializing in Hospitality, Residential and Mixed-use projects. He is a licensed Architect in 9 states and have contributed design and planning of projects in 38 countries. His family loves the outdoors; hiking, biking, and sports. They are avid skiers.
Personal statement: I am honored to be part of the Board of Trustees and the opportunity to spend more time immersed in the Redwood Day community to understand how we can collectively continue the great work of providing a robust educational environment for our children.
Charmin Roundtree-Baaqee | Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Chair
Redwood Day Parent (Mingus '23 and Phoenix '23)
B.S. (Civil Engineering) from Clark Atlanta University, a B.S.
(Environmental Engineering) from Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.S. (Civil/Environmental Engineering) from the University of California, Berkeley.
Charmin is the owner and founder of Art Is Luv, which provides exposure for artists through marketing, social media, and branding. She is an art consultant and engineer and has 20 years of experience as a Civil Engineer and over 10 years of experience as a curator for the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Gallery, where she is now Art Committee Chair. She was appointed by the Mayor’s office to the City of Oakland Public Art Advisory Committee, where she now serves as co-chair. Most recently, she was appointed by Mayor Libby Schaaf as one of 11 Cultural Affairs Commissioners. Her passion and appreciation for art and community-based initiatives have been long-standing and have developed since childhood.
Her clients and collaborators also include large nonprofits such as The San Francisco Foundation, Libra Foundation, AIDS Health Organization, East Bay Community Foundation, and a host of others.
Personal Statement: "Since joining the Redwood Day Community as a parent, I have had the privilege of watching my children and their classmates burgeon into even more compassionate and forward-thinking young scholars. Redwood Day is, without a doubt, an incubator for greatness. I can't wait to witness how my children will pour all of this magic into the world."
Louise Bedsworth | Finance Committee Chair
Parent of Alumni
B.S., Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering and Ph.D. in Energy and Resources, both from the University of California at Berkeley.
Louise Bedsworth is the Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council, a state agency that brings together multiple agencies and departments to support sustainable communities emphasizing strong economies, social equity and environmental stewardship. Prior to joining SGC, Louise was the Deputy Director of the Office of Planning and Research in Governor Jerry Brown’s office. At OPR she led work on a number of collaborative research initiatives and climate change adaptation and resilience, including development of the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program and implementation of the State’s $70 million grant awarded under the National Disaster Resilience Competition. Before joining OPR in 2011, Louise was a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, where her work focused on climate change adaptation, local government action on climate change, and transportation. She has also held positions at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Redefining Progress, and the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis.
Personal Statement: Our family loves being part of the Redwood Day community. I have been thrilled with the academic, social, and emotional experience each of our children is having at Redwood Day. The school has provided a warm and nurturing environment and has been incredibly thoughtful in engaging our kids and helping them navigate many of the challenging issues going on in the world around us today. I feel like we have a true partner in helping our kids to become prepared, thoughtful, and engaged people.
Elyse Whitehead | Secretary
Redwood Day Parent
B.A. in Psychology and American Studies, with highest honors from UNC-Chapel Hill and JD, magma cum laude from UC Hastings
Elyse is the proud parent of Eleanor (4th) and Henry (2nd). She and her husband Todd joined Redwood Day because of the strong sense of community -- a community that celebrates individual children and works to make them not only engaged learners but good people and citizens. Elyse is thrilled to be in her third year of service on the RDS Board of Trustees. She serves on the Finance, DEIB, and Compensation Committees and as Secretary for the Board.
Elyse was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, and earned her B.A. with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go Tar Heels!) and her J.D. with highest honors from UC Hastings. Elyse spent over a decade in private practice at the boutique law firm of Keesal, Young & Logan, where she made partner and advised clients on a range of business matters and represented them in litigation. In 2020, Elyse joined Plaid, a fintech company whose mission is to unlock financial freedom for everyone. There, she leads the Enterprise Solutions team -- a team of dedicated and solutions-oriented attorneys and legal professionals whose focus is providing proactive, holistic, and practical advice on antitrust/competition, global employment, intellectual property and innovation, litigation, privacy, and regulatory matters. Elyse also serves as the Executive Sponsor for the Legal Team's DEIB Committee, a group dedicated to championing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within recruiting, hiring, and the workplace.
Outside of work, Elyse enjoys listening to true crime podcasts (strongly recommend "Bear Brook"!), taking long walks to enjoy the beautiful Bay Area weather, and playing 20-questions with Eleanor and Henry.
Christine Chen | Strategic Planning and Futures Committee Chair
Redwood Day Parent
B.A., International Relations, Pomona College
Christine Chen is a Partner and head of Communication Strategy at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, a full-service advertising agency. Her role focuses on brand positioning, audience development, media investments, creative development, and new business.
Over her 15+ years in advertising, Christine has led strategic thinking on a range of clients, including Adobe, Doritos, GoPro, Häagen-Dazs, Levi’s, Nest, Nickelodeon, and Twitter. She has also consulted on pro bono efforts, including an Oakland-based literacy organization, Super Stars Literacy, and a foundation using technology to fight child exploitation, Thorn.
She lives in Oakland with her husband, Rob, and two sons, Oliver and Jack, but is considering getting a female cat to balance things out. She is an avid cook and baker, fan of live sports and standup comedy, and amateur interior designer.
Personal Statement: "When we first visited in 2009, Redwood Day fit our idealized view of a school so easily. And the school has exceeded our expectations by celebrating kids for who they are, stimulating their desire to learn, and encouraging them to speak up for themselves and others. Now with two kids at Redwood Day, we have witnessed how the school has evolved while staying true to its roots. I’m excited to help Redwood Day tackle new ambitions and grow while continuing to evidence the school’s values."
Brandi Catanese | Trustees Committee Chair
Redwood Day Parent (Olivia '22 and Lily '26)
B.A., UC Berkeley; Ph.D., Stanford University
Brandi is currently an Associate Professor of African American Studies and Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, UC Berkeley, where she has taught since 2003. Her courses focus on African American cultural history, performance theory, and dramatic criticism. Her research focuses on the power of representation to both reflect and actively shape widely held understandings of racial identity. In addition to her teaching and research, Brandi has extensive higher ed administrative experience spanning from curricular redesign, public programming, and admissions policy to equity and campus climate work and doctoral program administration. Her hobbies include cooking, being in nature, and traveling.
Other Redwood Day Involvement: Classroom volunteering, PGA Faculty Appreciation Committee (since 2018)
Personal statement: "Redwood Day has been a fantastic fit for our family! I am honored to serve on the Board and to help ensure that the learning environment at Redwood Day continues to prepare students for their next challenges in these rapidly changing times."
Monica Espinosa | Trustee
Redwood Day Parent
B.A., Economics and Legal Studies, University of California, Berkeley; and J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law
Monica has been a proud Redwood Day parent since 2018. Her involvement at Redwood Day has included serving as co-chair for the PGA’s Prism Committee, a room parent, and a tour guide for prospective families.
Monica received her Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Economics and Legal Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she served as editor of the Hastings Law Journal.
Monica’s professional work focuses on providing reentry legal support as an attorney at Root & Rebound, an Oakland-based nonprofit whose mission is to restore power and resources to families and communities most harmed by mass incarceration through legal advocacy, public education, policy reform, and litigation. Monica’s prior experience includes post-conviction capital defense in habeas level appeals, civil legal aid, and family law litigation and mediation.
Monica serves on the East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association Board of Directors and is secretary and member of the EBLRLA Scholarship Fund Board of Directors. She has served as secretary on the Alameda County Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee. She spends her time outside of work cheering her family on at sports and music events, learning to play piano, and planning and enjoying road trips and outdoor adventures.
Personal Statement: Redwood Day means so much to our family. The Redwood Day faculty, staff, curriculum, and community go above and beyond to nurture and support every child’s growth from day one.
Cathy Hunter | Trustee
BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design; MEd from Loyola College with an emphasis on women in leadership
Cathy Hunter has spent over forty years in independent school education, serving as teacher, dean, division head, head of school, trustee, and consultant. Born in London and raised in upstate New York, her career began on the east coast; after several years of teaching (Phillips Academy Andover and Maumee Valley Country Day School) she served as department chair and dean at St. Timothy’s School in Baltimore, Maryland for eleven years and Upper School Head at Head-Royce School in Oakland, California for twelve years.
Cathy was founding Head of School (2002-2016) at the San Francisco Friends School where she and her team built an exceptional program based on Quaker values, raised over twenty million dollars to transform the hundred year-old Levi-Strauss factory into an award-winning school facility, and pioneered numerous partnerships with organizations in San Francisco’s Mission district. Cathy spent the 2016-17 school year in London as a consultant at King Solomon Academy, and the following year as Interim Head of School at Marin Horizon School.
Personal Statement: "As a long-time resident of Oakland and an even-longer-time independent school educator, it is a delight to join the leadership team of Redwood Day School. The school is at once filled with a vision for the future and a grounded celebration of the "now-ness" of childhood. Redwood Day occupies an important place in the Bay Area educational landscape; I'm honored to help the school ask questions that drive its continued healthy growth and development."
Benjamin Jones | Trustee
Redwood Day Parent (Jack '28 and Parker '28)
B.A. Stanford University, J.D. Northwestern University School of Law
Ben is a Senior Counsel at Google, where he leads a team of lawyers supporting the advertising business and works on legal and regulatory compliance matters around the world. Before joining Google, he was in private practice in San Francisco. Ben and his wife Betsy live in Oakland, and their sons -- Jack and Parker -- both attend Redwood Day. Ben volunteers as a baseball coach in NOLL/SOLL and enjoys playing golf, following NBA basketball, and playing soccer, baseball, and basketball with the boys.
Personal statement: "Redwood Day means a lot to our family. The boys have found an amazingly diverse, kind, and creative group of classmates; the teachers and staff work tirelessly to create an environment where the kids feel supported and learning is an adventure, and we've made great friends among the parents. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to volunteer on the Board to help support the school and our community."
Renuka Kher | Trustee
Redwood Day Parent (Anamika '26 and Anand '29)
Renuka received her bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Michigan and completed her graduate work at Emory University, where she received a master's in public health from the Rollins School of Public Health. She is an alumnus of the Coro Leadership Program and also holds a certificate in Innovation Leadership from California College of the Arts.
Renuka Kher has supported entrepreneurial efforts in under-resourced communities for her entire career. She has spent 16 years in various roles in philanthropy and managed and directed over $150M. Her professional experience spans the public, private, philanthropic, and non-profit sectors. She has served on the board of and as an advisor to many of the nation’s leading social change organizations including, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Beyond 12, Year Up, Global Citizen Year, and Revolution Foods.
Most recently, she served on the executive team of Tipping Point Community a nonprofit grant-making organization that fights poverty in the Bay Area. During her six-year tenure at Tipping Point, she helped lead the growth of the organization as its Chief Operating Officer and also founded T Lab, Tipping Point's R+D engine.
Before joining Tipping Point, Renuka served as a Principal at NewSchools Venture Fund whose work is focused on education and prior to that, she was a Senior Program Officer at the Robin Hood Foundation where her work included developing and implementing a strategy for a $65 million relief fund, one of the nation's largest, created to respond to the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
Her work has been featured in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, OZY, and Social Startup Success. Renuka received her bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Michigan and completed her graduate work at Emory University, where she received a master's in public health from the Rollins School of Public Health. She is an alumnus of the Coro Leadership Program and also holds a certificate in Innovation Leadership from California College of the Arts. She currently lives in Oakland with her husband and two young children.
Personal Statement: "Our kids love Redwood Day! I am so honored to be on the board and to contribute to this beautiful community."
Jared Leiderman | Trustee
Redwood Day Parent (Hazel '26 and Tovah '29)
B.A., Swarthmore College; M.B.A., Harvard Business School; M.P.A., Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Jared is a parent of a first-grader, Tovah, and a fourth-grader, Hazel, and has loved seizing opportunities to volunteer with their classes.
Professionally, Jared finds his passion supporting social and environmental change around the world. As the Chief Financial Officer of the DRK Foundation, a global venture philanthropy organization, Jared drove investments and core support for over 100 early-stage organizations focused on racial justice, educational access, climate change, and global health, among others. He was a Finalist for the S.F. Business Times Nonprofit CFO of the Year in 2021. Jared previously supported access to great education through Juma Ventures and the New Teacher Center and has been a mediator for over 20 years.
Jared is currently the board chair of Hopebound, which provides free mental health counseling to adolescents, and is a volunteer adviser to a range of other nonprofit organizations. He has also served as Treasurer on the boards of Bay Area-based Essie Justice Group and Open Door Legal. Jared loves cooking elaborate Mediterranean feasts and exploring national parks with his family.
Personal Statement: "Our family loves Redwood Day School, which has been a wonderful place for our children to thrive! I'm excited to support the school's continued efforts to build a welcoming, diverse, engaged community."
Leah McGowen-Hare | Trustee
Redwood Day Parent
B.S. in Computer Science and a M.S. in Technology Education
Leah inspires people to build and create on the Salesforce Lightning Platform. She has 20+ years of experience in technology; mastering a variety of roles, including Consultant, Developer, Manager and Technical Trainer. Her career reflects the evolution of computing technology. She's worked in mainframe, personal computing, client-server and cloud computing. Leah uses her knowledge and experience to demystify and make technology more accessible to youth, girls, communities of color and Veterans’ through organizations such as BlackGirls Code, Technovation, Girls Who Code, and Vetforce and was recently awarded Powerful Woman of the Bay 2016 Honoree for her efforts.
Leah is also a feathered keynote speaker at conference and panelist on panels discussing women and diversity in tech. She and her husband, Shane are the parents of twins, Simone and Quincy in the 4th grade and Desmond, an alum who is graduating from High School this year and headed off to college.
Allan Ng | Trustee
Parent of Three Redwood Day Children
B.A. Economics and Philosophy, Columbia University; MBA, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
Professional Experience: Marketing Executive
Other Redwood Day involvement: Former PGA Communications Secretary; Room Parent
Allan has more than 20 years of experience leading marketing teams at Fortune 500 and early-stage companies. He is the VP of Marketing for Freenome, a biotech company, and has held marketing leadership positions at Google, Livongo, and Yahoo. He also serves as an Advisor to young companies and is a member of the Go-to-Market Council for Canvas Ventures, a leading venture capital firm.
Allan is passionate about his community and has previously served as a Board Member for Friends of the Elderly, a non-profit social services organization, and the San Francisco International Program, which brought individuals from developing countries for training to serve as civic leaders back in their home countries.
He and his family live in Oakland, and his three children attend Redwood Day. He loves to play guitar and enjoys cooking for family and friends.
Personal Statement: “Our family has benefitted deeply from Redwood Day's commitment to fostering a nurturing community that allows our children to learn, grow, and thrive. I'm honored to help the school in its own growth and development.”
Erik Soderberg | Trustee
Redwood Day Parent (Hanna 2024, Lukas 2021)
B.S. in Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech, M.S. in Civil/Structural Engineering at University of Texas
Professional Experience: Erik is the president of Liftech Consultants Inc. and has a passion for working on port, marine, and heavy-lift structures. In his spare time, he enjoys being the assistant coach for his kids’ club soccer teams, cheering on his kids at their swim meets, playing tennis, hiking, and mountain biking.
Personal Statement: We are fortunate to be part of Redwood Day, a school and community that fosters learning and purpose.
Susan Webster | Trustee
Redwood Day Grandparent (Sally ’29 and Maddie ’31)
B.A., Economics, Wesleyan University
M.S. in Accounting, NYU Stern School of Business
J.D., Fordham University School of Law
Susan is Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Fremont Group, a private investment firm in San Francisco. She is a member of the Fremont Group Investment Advisory Committee and Board of Directors. Prior to joining Fremont, Susan was a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York City. For more than thirty years, she represented public and private companies on a wide variety of corporate transactions and counseled boards of directors and senior management on general corporate issues, including corporate and board governance.
Susan and her husband Carl live in Russian Hill in San Francisco. Their son Matt, his wife Lauren, and their daughters Sally and Maddie live in Montclair, and the girls are in Kindergarten and Second Grade at Redwood Day. Susan and Carl also have an adult son Robbie who lives in New York City. In addition to spending time with family, Susan is an ardent reader and enjoys swimming and travel.
Susan currently serves on the Board of Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services, an organization that provides support to underserved children and their families in New York City. She is a Trustee Emerita of Wesleyan University and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Wesleyan Athletic Advisory Council. Susan is an emerita member of the Fordham Law School Advisory Board and served for fourteen years as a Trustee and Secretary of St. Bernard’s School, a K-8 school in New York City.
Susan is honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Redwood Day Board.
John Loeser | Head of School, Ex-Officio
Redwood Day Parent
B.A., Education and Psychology from Swarthmore College and a M.Ed. in School Leadership from Harvard University.
John Loeser has been Head of Redwood Day School since 2011. Prior to Redwood Day, John was the Assistant Head of School at The Carey School in San Mateo, CA for seven years. He began his teaching career as a 5th grade teacher at Chenery Middle School in Belmont, Massachusetts and spent eight consecutive summers as an advanced mathematics instructor and Academic Dean at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, teaching students in grades 5-8 and leading a diverse faculty in the development of a rigorous academic program. John has written extensively for teachers in training and enjoys every opportunity to help new and veteran teachers hone their craft. He has led many initiatives in schools including those focused on differentiated instruction, curriculum development, faculty professional growth, diversity, social-emotional development, service learning and long-term sustainability. John holds a B.A. in Education and Psychology from Swarthmore College and a M.Ed. in School Leadership from Harvard University.
Deann Hays | CFOO, Ex-Officio
B.S. in Accounting from Colorado State University
Deann is a career finance professional with more than 20 years of financial management experience developed in both public accounting and private sector environments. She joined Redwood Day as the school’s CFOO in July of 2018. Prior to working at Redwood Day, Deann spent approximately five years as the Finance Director of the American Community School of Abu Dhabi. She holds a BS in accounting from Colorado State University and is a licensed CPA.
Deann thoroughly enjoys working at Redwood Day and loves the energy and enthusiasm of the students. In her free time, she enjoys reading, travel, exercise and spending time with family and friends.
Irene Lee | PGA Co-President
Redwood Day Parent (Saskia ‘21 and Christian '24)
B.A., University of Pennsylvania
MHA, University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health
MBA, University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business
Irene is a hospital administrator who has worked within academic medical centers for over a decade and was an Administrative Director at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston before relocating to California with her family. After an extended absence, she recently re-entered the workforce and is now a practice manager for John Muir Health in Walnut Creek.
Irene lives in Oakland with her husband, Todd, and two children. She enjoys cooking, playing tennis, hiking with her family, and keeping up with current events. She is also a devoted Philadelphia sports fan. Irene has previously volunteered extensively within OUSD, as well as for her children’s sports teams and the East Bay Children’s Book Project.
Personal statement: We are very grateful to be a part of the Redwood Day community. In addition to providing high-level academic and enrichment experiences, we appreciate the school giving our children the space to try new things, make mistakes and grow as individuals.
Elizabeth Van Benschoten | PGA Co-President
Parent of: Aden Pemberton '25
Education: B.A., Women Studies and Political Science, Brown University; MBA, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
Elizabeth has 20 years of experience financing multifamily affordable housing and other community development needs. She currently serves as a Managing Director with MUFG Union Bank overseeing lending and low-income housing tax credit investing in Northern CA, and before that, worked with Bank of America and leading Bay Area real estate developer BRIDGE Housing.
Elizabeth lives in Oakland with her husband, Chris Pemberton, and their son Aden. They are lovers of camping, international travel, and cheering Aden on in soccer and Lacrosse. Elizabeth loves to geek out on kid's books and creative games that can be played off a screen. As a passionate supporter of education, Elizabeth volunteered with OUSD previously and currently serves as a founding board member of the Oakland Fund for Public Innovation.
Other Redwood Day involvement: Co-Chair Art Committee 2021-22 school year, volunteer at the Book Fair
Brief quote about why you wanted to join the board: As a newer member of the Redwood Day School community, it is important for me to contribute to supporting the faculty, programming, and experience of all students. By being a part of the PGA and Board I am able to contribute time and talent, better understand the backbone of the school, and lend my voice to the vision of Redwood Day.
Alex Pollard | Faculty Trustee
6th and 7th-grade science teacher, advisor, and Grade Level Dean
B.A. in environmental science and a Master's in Education from the University of Florida
Professional Experience: Alex has nearly 10 years of classroom teaching experience and has served as a seasonal educator at the Palm Beach Zoo in Florida. Alex has been a member of the Redwood Day community since 2018 and stepped into the role of Grade Level Dean in 2020.
Outside of School Alex works with the Exploratorium as a teacher leader supporting early-career science teachers in the Bay Area, supporting and leading workshops for Bay area science teachers, and developing an anti-racist science curriculum.
Personal statement: I did not know what it meant to be a part of a community until I started working at Redwood Day. The trust that I feel from John and Karina, My colleagues, students, and parents allows me to bring my authentic self to school every day. I am grateful that our students get the opportunity to learn in an environment that values them for who they are.
Hobbies: For fun, I enjoy playing Magic the Gathering or reading Manga.
Emily Hedges | Faculty Trustee
Kindergarten (KA) teacher
Parent to a current second grader at Redwood Day and a preschooler.
BA in Community Studies from UC Santa Cruz and a Masters in Education with an emphasis in Educational Therapy from Holy Names University
Professional Experience: Emily is approaching her 15th year of teaching in early childhood education.
Outside of school, Emily is passionate about social-emotional learning and child development. Being a parent and teacher definitely requires a growth mindset and a lifelong learner of best practices and research in early childhood development. I am passionate about the science of reading and how best to support early readers.
Personal statement: It is an absolute honor sharing community with some of the best colleagues, mentors, families, and students in the Bay Area. Redwood Day is home to me, and witnessing the growth of my kindergarteners each year is an incredible gift. It is so special to be both a teacher and parent in such a loving and caring community.
Hobbies: In my free time, I love adventuring around Oakland with my wife, Kate, and two daughters, Lennon and Eve. Kate and I were both born and raised in Oakland and share great pride in our city. We love drinking local coffee, gardening, going to the beach, and spending time with our family and friends.