BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Michelle Bennett: Ms. Bennett is a leadership and change management professional who currently instructs Educational Leadership and Policy Study at Cal State Northridge and National Universities. Prior to teaching, Ms. Bennett served as Director of Operations for the Los Angeles Unified School District overseeing ten divisions. Other LAUSD positions held include Intervention Administrator and Instructional Coordinator. Ms. Bennett is a pioneer in the charter movement holding the position of Principal at Westwood Charter School -- one of the original ten Los Angeles charters -- for two decades. Before joining Westwood, she worked throughout the LAUSD as a teacher, advisor and assistant Principal. Ms. Bennett is an author, presenter, consultant and mentor principal serving the educational community.
Daniel Chang (Co-Chair): Recently appointed to Chief Operating Officer for MLA Partner Schools, a nonprofit organization working to improve schools and empower neighborhoods in Los Angeles’ most disenfranchised communities. Mr. Chang previously served as Vice President of New School Development for Green Dot Public Schools, a nonprofit charter management organization that operates 19 high schools in Los Angeles. Prior to joining Green Dot, he held business development and product marketing positions at enterprise software companies Model N and Desktop.com. Before Model N and Desktop.com, Mr. Chang served as a Financial Analyst at Broadview International, a division of the investment bank Jefferies & Company focused on the IT, communications, healthcare technology and digital media industries.
Natalie Kiwi (Co-Chair): First Founding Parent and Owner/President of Sapient Consultants, a human resources consulting firm specializing in entertainment and new media industries. Ms. Kiwi possesses over a decade of recruitment and human resources experience in the biotech, pharmaceutical and entertainment industries. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Washington University.
Tess Ramin: Ms. Ramin has worked as a freelance e-commerce marketing executive for the last decade. Prior to that, she was a freelance segment producer on various television productions. Other professional experience includes real estate development and property management. Ms. Ramin graduated from Pepperdine University with a BA in Communications and Business Administration. She has two children attending Valley Charter Elementary School.
Bill Roberts (Treasurer): A First Founding Parent of Valley Charter Elementary School, Mr. Roberts is a senior finance and operations executive currently serving as the Global CFO of Panavision Inc. Previously he served as COO/CFO of Laser Pacific LLC, a major post-production company in Hollywood. His background also includes leadership roles in various music industry companies over the past 20 years. Mr. Roberts started his career as an associate in investment banking after earning his BA from the University of Pennsylvania.
Eleonore Rojas (Co-Secretary): Ms. Rojas is a Principal PM and Vice President of Partnerships and Product Integration at Move, Inc., the operator of REALTOR.com®. Eleonore was instrumental in the creation of the Realtor.com/International site from concept and currently leads all aspects of development, audience growth and content and feature evolution. During her time at Move, Inc., Eleonore has lead product development activities in Move’s new homes, residential real estate, and real estate professional software divisions. She has ideated, built and launched REALTOR.com® revenue-generating product lines as well as consumer life cycle engagement programs. Formerly, Eleonore was an independent web consultant for clients in the entertainment, e-commerce and real estate categories. Eleonore grew up in Germany, has lived in Europe and Mexico and now resides in Los Angeles. She is fluent in German, English and Spanish.
Carol Lynn Smith (Co-Secretary): Mrs. Smith is the Director of Finance at CauseForce LLP. CauseForce works with non-profit organizations to help them raise money for their mission. Since its inception in 2002, CauseForce programs have raised over $900 million dollars. Carol Lynn is responsible for the review of all financial statements to all nonprofit beneficiaries along with international payroll and HR for 4 companies. Her two oldest sons graduated from VCMS in 2015 and 2017 and her youngest son is in 4th grade at VCES.
Chris Thinnes: Mr. Thinnes is the Founding Director of the Center for the Future of Education & Democracy (CFED), a new 501(c)3 extending the reach of partnership initiatives in professional learning and community engagement in public and private schools. Through June 2014, he was the Head of the Upper Elementary School & Academic Dean at Curtis School, and helped lead its diversity, cultural competency, technology, partnership, student voice, and transformative learning initiatives for 15 years. He is currently pursuing his EdD in Education Leadership for Social Justice at LMU as he lays the foundations for CFED's work in the years to come. In recent years, Thinnes has served as a member of EdLeaders21's Advisory Group, NAIS's advisory council and diversity (CTA), and the EdCamp Foundations public relations committee. In the 2013-2014 school year, he was honored as a Fellow of the Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence, named one of Carney Sandoe's "8 Thought Leaders to Follow Now," and featured as a panelist for the ASCD Whole Child Town Hall.
Michael Jeon: Mr. Jeon currently serves as VP Finance at GoodRx, a healthcare tech startup based in Santa Monica. Prior to GoodRx, he worked at the leading online dating company, Match Group, managing finance teams for various portfolio companies within the organization, including Tinder, OkCupid and PlentyofFish. Previous roles include finance and corporate development positions at Yahoo, Bertelsmann, and tech startup MyLife.com. Mr. Jeon received his BA in Music and History from Columbia University and his MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Brandee Hemmer: Parent Representative, VCMS. Brandee is an active member of the charter school movement. She serves on the Governing Board of her son's elementary school as well as VCMS. Has attended 2 CCSA conferences, one as a parent rep and most recently, as a Board Member. She has spoken at several LAUSD board meetings in favor of the charter school movement. She works in Van Nuys as the Office Manager and Client/Surety Liason for a well established local company. She is a Co-Chair of the Communications Committee at VCMS and is very dedicated to the idea that since not every child learns in the same way, parents deserve the choice to find the school that can reach their child most efficiently, ensuring their success in education and their future.
Dvora Inwood, Founding Educator of Larchmont Charter School, Larchmont Charter School West Hollywood and Los Feliz School for the Arts; curriculum author for teacher education at Insight Education Group and The New Teacher Project; former teacher at Los Angeles schools (Harvard-Westlake, Archer School, Aviva Center); educational consultant to start-up charter schools. BA, Harvard University; M.A. in Education, Stanford University.