LPS is addressing some of the most challenging issues in urban education – and finding solutions.

Board of Trustees

Josefina Alvarado-Mena
Chief Executive Officer, Safe Passages, an Oakland-based non-profit specializing in cross-agency collaboration focusing on improving the health and safety of children and youth. Under her leadership, Safe Passages established a Joint Powers Agreement between the cities of Oakland and San Lorenzo, Alameda County Departments of Probation, Health and Social Services, and the Oakland and San Lorenzo school districts. Ms. Alvarado-Mena also serves as the CEO of the affiliated Youth Ventures. Their major initiatives include wrap-around intervention programs for middle school, violence prevention curricula K-8, an early childhood program for children exposed to violence, and a young offender intervention program. She is the former Director of the Educational Empowerment Program at Centro Legal de la Raza, a legal aid clinic, in Oakland and the former Executive Director of Student, Family and Community Services for the Oakland Unified School District. Ms. Alvarado-Mena is the recipient of the James Irvine Foundation’s Leadership Award with an accompanying grant for Safe Passages. She received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.  

Adam Cioth
Mr. Cioth has a background in finance and education. He worked as in investment banker for ten years at Goldman Sachs in New York and for five years for Volpe Brown Whelan in San Francisco where he served as Head of the Investment Banking Division before launching his own advisory firm, Rolling Hills Capital, serving early-stage technology companies. For the past ten years Mr. Cioth has served on the board of directors of the French American International School and International High School, including two years as Chair of the Finance Committee and six years as Chair of the Board. Since 2003, Mr. Cioth has served on the Advisory Board of the California HealthCare Foundation’s Leadership Program involved with curriculum development, program marketing and selection of program fellows. Mr. Cioth received a B.A. from Princeton University, studied graduate-level International Economics at the Université François Rabelais in Tours, France, and received an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

Marsha Dugan, Chair
Ms. Dugan is a former businessperson, now active in civic affairs and caring for her family. Ms. Dugan’s business background includes 12 years in the oil and gas exploration business, time in Prague with the MBA Enterprise Corps, and work in branding with Prophen. She is active with the St. James Church, serving on the vestry, and co-chairing their program for homeless meals. Ms. Dugan holds a B.A. from Randolph Macon Women’s College and an M.B.A. from UNC Chapel Hill.

D’Lonra Ellis, Vice-Chair
Ms. Ellis is Associate Corporate Counsel with Gap, Inc., where she specializes in intellectual property matters. Previously, she was an associate with Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin’s Litigation Department where she worked on a wide variety of cases, ranging from employment litigation matters to trademark litigation matters. She also represented Leadership Public Schools on a pro bono basis. Ms. Ellis grew up in Richmond, California. She currently sits on the Board of Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, California.

David Finke
Mr. Finke is Managing Director of Russell Reynolds Associates, a member of Russell Reynolds Associates’ Technology Sector and co-leads the Hardware and Electronics Practice. Based in Menlo Park, David conducts CEO, board director and senior-level executive assignments for semiconductor, systems, software and cleantech companies. Additionally, he specializes in operations and supply chain searches, often helping clients to recruit world-class talent from outside their industry or region. His clients include global public companies as well as private equity-backed emerging growth and turn-around businesses. Mr. Finke has held senior management positions with public and private companies in the software, business services, computer systems and consumer electronics industries. Mr. Finke received his B.A., summa cum laude,in East Asian studies from Yale University and his M.B.A., with high distinction, from Harvard Business School. He is fluent in English and Japanese.

Kevin Katari
Mr. Katari is the Co-Founder of Outspace Systems, Inc and former Partner of Norcob Capital LLC, a private investment and advisory firm he joined in December 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Katari was a Senior Advisor (until December 2011) and a Managing Member (until December 2010) at Watershed Asset Management, LLC, a San Francisco-based hedge fund that managed up to $2 billion primarily on behalf of institutional investors. Prior to joining Watershed, Mr. Katari was a co-founder and Vice President of Bluefire Systems, Inc., a software and consulting company that delivered solutions to optimize the supply chains of retailers and consumer products companies. Mr. Katari began his career as a management consultant in the San Francisco Office of McKinsey & Company, Inc., where he served clients in a range of industries on strategic, operational, and organizational issues. Since 2009, Mr. Katari has held several positions, including currently serving as President of the Board of Trustees, for the Seven Hills School in Walnut Creek, California, an independent school that serves 390 students from preschool through 8th grade. Mr. Katari received a M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1995, where he graduated as an Arjay Miller Scholar. He also received a Certificate in Public Management. He earned an A.B. in Physics in 1991 from Harvard University.

Stu McLaughlin, Treasurer

Stuart McLaughlin is a Partner at Sansome Partners, a San Francisco-based investment firm. Prior to joining Sansome in 2000, Mr. McLaughlin was at Advent International, a private equity firm, and at McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm. He was previously a Trustee and Treasurer of the Breakthrough Collaborative, a national summer and after school program. Mr. McLaughlin holds a B.A. from Williams College and an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

Yolanda Peeks, Secretary
Ms. Peeks served Oakland students for over 30 years as teacher, principal, Executive Officer, and Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. In the latter stages of her career, Yolanda joined the staff of the Developmental Studies Center in Oakland as director of professional development, establishing a national cadre of teacher trainers and coaches. Then, as an executive associate with Performance Fact, Inc., an educational leadership development organization, Yolanda focused on enhancing the leadership capacity of district-level and school leaders. After retiring in 2008, Yolanda now consults with educational organizations and continues to volunteer with non-profits that are dedicated to improving the health, academic achievement, and life-long success of children and youth. She believes that out of all of life’s infinite lessons, the ones that are most inspiring are those learned daily in classrooms and are grounded in the unwavering confidence, belief, and trust in one’s own and in young people’s unlimited capacity to learn, overcome relentless challenges, and prosper. 

Dr. Louise Bay Waters, Board President

Dr. Louise Bay Waters is the Superintendent and CEO of Leadership Public Schools. Dr. Waters comes to LPS from the Stupski Foundation where she headed research on districts that have accelerated the performance of students of color and poverty. Her work at Stupski built off of her experience in the Oakland Unified School District. As Associate Superintendent of Student Achievement in Oakland, Dr. Waters led the instructional reforms from 2001 – 2004 that resulted in district achievement gains that out-paced the State. She was also responsible for Oakland’s exit from two long-standing Office of Civil Rights oversight decrees related to bilingual education and disparate academic opportunities for African American students. As a principal in the New Haven district (Union City), she designed award-winning assessment and extended day programs. Prior to her career in district administration, Dr. Waters led the state’s first new teacher program, a partnership between Oakland and the California State University, East Bay. As a professor of Teacher Education at the university, she was head of a number of urban teacher preparation programs.

Student and Teacher Representatives