MEET OUR BOARD MEMBERS
David Rattray, Chair
David Rattray officially joined the Chamber in 2003 after being a strategic partner for several years. Since 1998, he has led UNITE-LA in building business and educational partnerships toward a goal of improving the academic achievement and enthusiasm for learning for all Los Angeles students. Previously Rattray spent more than 20 years in the food service distribution industry. Rattray serves on the L.A. City Workforce Investment Board and Youth Council and is vice chair of the State Workforce Investment Board’s Lifelong Learning Committee. Rattray earned his M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. When Rattray really wants to shine, he plays his tuba.
Jennifer Peck, Vice Chair
During her tenure, Jennifer has developed and implemented initiatives to build high quality after school and summer learning programs for students in low-income communities across California. Jennifer’s leadership has enabled PCY to bean influential policy-development and advocacy organization that has improved the reach and effectiveness of public funding for youth programs in California and across the country.
Jennifer led the creation of the California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance, the California Legislative Task Force on Summer Enrichment, California’s Summer Matters Campaign, and the California Community Schools Network. Prior to joining PCY, Jennifer spent eight years as an appointee of President Bill Clinton at the U.S. Department of Education, where she supported implementation of numerous initiatives including student loan reform, School-to-Work, and 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Jennifer has a B.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Colgate University and she is the mother of Emilia, a rising 7th grader who is enormously patient with her mother’s work schedule.
Peggy Agron, Secretary
Peggy Agron is Kaiser Permanente’s National Director of Healthy Schools and serves as the Chair of the Advisory Group for Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools, a comprehensive effort to create a culture of health and wellness for students, staff, and teachers in K-12 schools.
Prior to this role, Peggy was the Chief of California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) for 11 years at the California Department of Health Services. In 2004, California Project LEAN received the Innovation in Prevention Award from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. The award recognized the joint effort with the California School Boards Association to educate school decision-makers on the importance of nutrition policies.
Ms. Agron was part of a national expert panel that developed standards for school foods sold outside the school meal programs. These standards were incorporated into California’s first legislation to address this issue in California schools. Ms. Agron’s past positions included Marketing and Media Specialist, Public Health Nutritionist, Health Promotion Consultant, and College Instructor. She received her Master’s Degree from California State University, Long Beach, and her Bachelor’s Degree from Brooklyn College.
Thomas Helfrick, Treasurer
Previously, Tom had three years of experience serving several of PwC’s investment management and insurance clients in Los Angeles as a Senior Associate in PwC’s Asset Management practice.
Tom’s primary work had been with investment managers, which includes both public and non-public clients. Tom is a Certified Public Accountant licensed to practice in California. Tom earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from UC Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business.
Blair Blackwell, Board Member
In this role, Blair Blackwell is responsible for leading Chevron’s education focused social investment initiatives in the United States.
Blair serves on the Partner Advisory Council for 100Kin10, a network of partners designed to fuel the next generation of innovators and problem solvers by providing America’s classrooms with 100,000 excellent STEM teachers as well as the Advisory Council of Engineer Girl.
Blair has over 15 years of experience with the private sector, nonprofit organizations and international organizations in Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia and the United States. Previously, she served as director of private sector initiatives for the International Crisis Group. Prior to this position, she was executive director of Princeton in Africa.She earned a bachelor’s degree in Slavic languages and Literatures from Princeton University, and is a Board Member of Princeton in Asia.
Benito Delgado-Olson, Board Member
Benito graduated with a double major from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. During his senior year, he founded the student group that would eventually evolve into present day K to College. From its starting point, Benito has recruited a professional board of directors, designed, developed and implemented the proven K to College business model, secured both public and private partnerships at the state and local level and fundraised several million dollars for program operations. As the Executive Director, Benito is responsible for implementing K to College’s strategic plan in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner.
He is also responsible for the day-to-day operation of the organization, serves as the chief public information officer and works in collaboration with the board to shape the future goals of the organization. Since its founding, Benito has received several awards on behalf of K to College. Most recently he was recognized as a Hometown Hero by Comcast and the Bay Area News Group and honored as a recipient of the New Leaders Council ‘40 Under 40 Awards’ for his entrepreneurship in the nonprofit sector
Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez, Board Member
For six years Nancy served as a Commissioner at the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women, where she was a leader of the team that created the internationally recognized Cities for CEDAW Campaign and championed local initiatives to reduce domestic violence and human trafficking; improve gender equality and advance girls’ services.
Her previous experience includes 17 years in Washington DC beginning at the Democratic National Committee, a key role in Barbara Boxer’s first run for the US Senate and a senior role as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Relations in the Clinton Administration from 1993 to 2001.
Once in California full time, Nancy worked with Americans for Gun Safety as well as an Energy Efficiency Company, then returned to government as the Director of Government Relations then Mayor Gavin Newsom at the City and County of San Francisco from 2008-2011.
She is the National Board Treasurer of Emerge America and on the Board of the SF National Council of Jewish Women. Kirshner-Rodriguez graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received the Alumnae Medal of Honor for her service to the college.
Ken Maxey, Board Member
David N. Plank, Board Member
David was was previously on the faculties at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Plank is the author or editor of six books, including the AERA Handbook on Educational Policy Research. He has served as a consultant to international organizations, including the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Ford Foundation, and also to governments in Africa and Latin America. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1983.
Susan Salcido, Board Member
Susan has served in several roles at the County Education Office since 2006 as director of Secondary Support. Following that assignment, she was appointed assistant superintendent of Instructional Services, after which she was named deputy superintendent.
As a former principal and high school English teacher, Susan has spent her career as an educator dedicated to supporting student success, while also actively promoting educational and administrative professional learning.
Susan received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCSB, and is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education (EdD) in Organizational Change and Leadership at the University of Southern California. In March 2016 she was appointed to the California Practitioners Advisory Group by the California Department of Education. She is also chapter board member of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), and was recognized by the ACSA region as Administrator of the Year in 2017.
Gerald Solomon, Board Member
Prior to this position, Mr. Solomon served as President & CEO of Public Health Foundation Enterprises (PHFE) for seven (7) years
where he transformed the organization from an LA-centric provider of funding and services into national prominence.
Mr. Solomon offers a diverse executive leadership background, having served as President and CEO of several highly successful and nationally recognized nonprofit as well as for-profit organizations, including a distinguished 18 year career as a civil trial attorney and Judge Pro Tem.
MEET OUR STAFF
Jessica Howard, Director of STEAM Initiatives
These initiatives include the annual California STEAM Symposium and the California Alliance for Next Generation Science Standards (CA4NGSS) coalition. Her work has increased the quality and accessibility of STEAM professional learning opportunities for educators, helped build and communicate support for more equitable standards implementation, and brought private and public funders together to better resource California’s teachers, students, and schools.
Prior to joining CDE Foundation, Jessica worked in higher education as an undergraduate admissions officer at the University of Southern California and as a Congressional district staff member. She holds a M.S.Ed. in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Art History from Williams College. Based in Los Angeles, Jessica also volunteers with several non-profits in the Southern California region to support equity in expanded student services, arts and STEM education, and college access. Teachers are her heroes.
Ed Honowitz, Senior Director, California Labor Management Initiative
Ed’s work in the California State Senate focused on K-12 education policy, school-based health, community schools partnership strategies and cross agency collaboration.
Ed was a school board member in the Pasadena Unified School District for 12 years. He was elected twice as a member of the California School Boards Association delegate assembly and served on the School Boards Association legislative and conference committees.
Ed has presented at both the California and National School Boards Association annual conferences on community engagement, arts education and community school collaboration and at the California League of Cities annual conference.
Ed is currently a board member of the California Alliance for Arts Education and is a member of the Public Engagement Panel of Advisors for the Institute for Local Government.Ed and his wife live in Pasadena.Their three children are products of Pasadena public schools and the University of California System. Go Bears and Gauchos!
Adam Ebrahim, Director, CA Labor Management Initiative & Collaboration in Common
Adam on Collaboration in Common: “The most powerful source of my own growth as a professional educator was the wisdom and support of other educators. Connecting educators through Collaboration in Common across the state of California around the things that matter most in their classrooms is extremely exciting.”
Neetu Balram, Director of Communications
Her experiences working with local parents, teachers, and school and district administrators have given her a unique perspective on the important role these partnerships among the adults play in providing all students with a high quality education.At this critical time for California’s public school system, Neetu’s work includes communications about the ongoing work to successfully implement the California Next Generation Science Standards, the California Dashboard, and other recent updates to improve California’s public education system.
Neetu lives in Oakland and holds a B.A. in both Economics and History from the University of California, San Diego
Shelly Masur, CEO
She is a City Council Member in Redwood City and a former school board member in the Redwood City School District in San Mateo County, where she served for 10 years.She is a frequent speaker on developing and operating community-school and civic partnerships to leverage funding and improve outcomes for children, and on successful community outreach and communication.
Shelly holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health and lives in Redwood City with her husband and two of her high school-aged children. Shelly also has a daughter away at college.
Wendy Dougherty, COO
Wendy has significant consulting experience from her work at KPMG providing strategic advice on grant making effectiveness and measuring social impact for international funders, private foundations, and public charities. At West Ed, she provided consulting services to state-level education agencies and associations in the area of standards, assessment and accountability.She most recently was engaged on The Big Lift collective impact initiative with Daly City Partnership and Jefferson Elementary School District, one of seven districts participating in the San Mateo County collective impact initiative aimed at improving PreK-3rd grade literacy, focused on high-quality preschool, reducing chronic absence, providing summer learning, and engaging families to support learning in school and at home.
Wendy lives in San Carlos with her husband and daughter. Wendy has served as a PTA Board Member and is a member of the American Evaluation Association. Wendy received her Master of International Affairs from UCSD’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, and her B.A. from Duke University.
California Education Policy Fund
California State University
Council of Chief State School Officers
David & Lucile Packard Foundation
Dirk & Charlene Kabcenell Foundation
First 5 California
S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation