Board of Trustees

Read the September 2018 annual message from the Board of Trustees to the school community, published in our school newsletter.

The PKS Board of Trustees provides governance and oversight to PKS. As stewards of the school’s mission, Trustees are responsible for establishing the school’s direction, and setting out the corresponding strategic priorities with input from PKS faculty, staff, and leadership, and feedback from the parent community. The Board hires, supports, and evaluates the Head of School, who carries out the strategic priorities and is assessed by the Board for meeting goals and milestones. Trustees also have fiduciary responsibility, ensuring that PKS is on sound financial footing and meeting its financial obligations.

Front row   (left to right): Dave Gebala, Sheryl Nicol, Karen Gull0, Julio Moreno, Jimmy Quach.   Middle row  : Mike Kim, Rob Zivnuska, Anu Menon, Cheng-Ling Chen, Rachel Bordoli (2018-2019 Trustee).   Top row  : Jed Lau, Amy Liaw, Chasse Carroll, Katie Biber, Leo Ma, Ranee Lan.   Not pictured  : Emma Cocks, John Stricklin, Laura Nadler, Luke Felker, Mark Roche, Melody Meckfessel, Robert Tsai.

Front row (left to right): Dave Gebala, Sheryl Nicol, Karen Gull0, Julio Moreno, Jimmy Quach. Middle row: Mike Kim, Rob Zivnuska, Anu Menon, Cheng-Ling Chen, Rachel Bordoli (2018-2019 Trustee). Top row: Jed Lau, Amy Liaw, Chasse Carroll, Katie Biber, Leo Ma, Ranee Lan. Not pictured: Emma Cocks, John Stricklin, Laura Nadler, Luke Felker, Mark Roche, Melody Meckfessel, Robert Tsai.

2019-2020 Board of Trustees

Amy Liaw

Amy Liaw is a marketer with expertise in digital marketing, brand management, and product development across consumer and retail industries. She has a proven track record of achieving significant revenue and market share gains in both global and domestic markets. She previously served on the board of directors at Adolescent Counseling Services which supports Bay Area teens. Amy also proudly volunteered as the PKS Parents Association Vice Chair and enjoyed helping to build the vibrant parent community. She holds a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management. 

Born and raised in Taiwan, Amy’s early education experiences were in traditional Chinese schools with heavy emphasis on rote memorization. At thirteen, she immigrated to the Bay Area. She has a soft spot in her heart for Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish as this was her first exposure to English literature. Despite decades of living in the US, she still counts and dreams in Mandarin and misses most references to 80’s pop culture. When she and her husband Eric discovered PKS, they fell in love with the possibility of raising bilingual children through the progressive approach. She is excited and scared for fall of 2022 when she will be a mother of a PKS middle schooler, an elementary schooler, and a preschooler.

Anu Menon

Anu is passionate about promoting the rights of women and disadvantaged communities domestically and internationally. She is currently the Interim Director of Graduate Support at De Marillac Academy in the Tenderloin. Prior to that she led Community Partnerships and Development at Help a Mother Out, a local nonprofit that works to improve baby and family well being by increasing access to diapers for families in need. She previously served as the Director of Admissions and Operations at Presidio Knolls for three years. She has worked on a range of civil and human rights issues at the City and County of San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, ACLU of Northern California, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Stanford Community Law Clinic, and Human Rights First.

Anu holds a BA from Stanford University, a MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley. Anu, her husband and her son are excited to be active members of the PKS community at this exciting time in the school’s development.

Chasse Carroll

Chasse Carroll is a literary studies and creative writing major who swore she’d never be a teacher and then promptly became one. Her teaching career began in Taiwan, where she taught English. The different ways  those students learned English led to an interest in cognitive development and a MA degree and teaching credential from UC Berkeley.

Chasse taught elementary and middle school, mentored student teachers, served on leadership teams, and led school reform in Daly CIty for 10 years.  Along with UC Berkeley, Chasse has a BA from Beloit College and attended National Taiwan Normal University. Chasse has served on the Middle School Planning Committee at PKS. She lives in the Mission with her twin sons, who attend PKS (and love to correct her Mandarin pronunciation).

Dave Gebala

Dave Gebala and his wife, Cindy, have lived in San Francisco since 2008. They have been part of the PKS community since 2013 when they enrolled their eldest daughter in preschool. Over the years, the PKS progressive, language immersion program has transformed Dave into quite the comedian: every time he attempts to say something in Mandarin the kids break out in fits of laughter.  To make up for this deficiency Dave has been an enthusiastic room parent for each of his daughter’s classes and continues to be active in the broader school community.

Dave grew up on various Navy bases scattered around the US, but was fortunate enough to end up in the Bay Area.  Dave is a product manager with 20+ years of experience in analytics including Data Visualization, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence.  School and work have taken him to a variety of overseas locations, but Noe Valley in SF is where he and Cindy are raising their two daughters.  On weekends, you can find them biking with the kids or running with the family dog at Crissy Field. Dave holds science and engineering degrees from MIT and an MBA from Stanford.

Emma Cocks

Emma served as in-house counsel for a federal agency for over a decade and then moved to the client side where she works on the acquisition of all things real estate portfolio related, whether A/E services, capital construction, repair and alteration, or maintenance. She also acquires and disposes of federal real estate. Saving money for the taxpayer drives her work life, but what Emma loves is her family and her friends. Emma and her husband Rob joined the PKS community in the fall of 2013 when their daughter Charlie entered the preschool as a toddling two year old. Their circle of friends has been expanding ever since. Emma and Rob, with barely passable Franglish and Spanglish skills respectively, are constantly amazed by the Mandarin chatter that comes from the backseat during carpool.  

Emma has been a room parent three times, given many an admissions tour, and chaperoned multiple field trips over the years at PKS. Most recently, she served as the Communications Chair for the Parent Association. Emma and Rob moved to San Francisco from Atlanta in 2000 and live in Noe Valley. She still longs for the warm nights of the South. Emma holds a JD from Golden Gate University and a BS in Biology from Emory University.

Jed Lau

Jed and his wife Elisa have two children at PKS. Originally from Northern Virginia, Jed was dragged to Chinese school for 2 hours every Sunday, for over 12 years, only to be surpassed by his kids in their first year of preschool at PKS. He has been a room parent for both of his kids’ classes, and has served as the parent liaison for Admissions. Jed has held leadership roles in software engineering and product management, at both enterprise- and consumer-focused companies. He has been with early-stage startups for the past 10 years and is now working on an education technology startup. Jed earned a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from UNC Chapel Hill, and an M.Eng. in Computer Science from Cornell University. His interests include education, eldercare, travel, and karaoke, and he can often be seen biking the kids to/from school on the family’s cargo bike.

Jimmy Quach

Jimmy Quach grew up in San Francisco, which means he grew up as a die-hard Giants and Warriors fan when the teams were bad.

Jimmy’s passion is the alleviation of global poverty through market-driven businesses, and he is the founder and CEO of Good Paper. As the world’s leading fair trade greeting card company, Good Paper employs survivors of human trafficking in the production of its handcrafted cards. Prior to this, Jimmy held positions in the nonprofit sector and in software product management. Jimmy has an MBA from UC Berkeley and a BA in Applied Math from Harvard.

Proud members of the PKS family since 2012, Jimmy and his wife Ivy live in Potrero Hill with their three daughters. Because sports fandom has come a little too easy for the girls so far (too many championships too quickly), Jimmy is teaching them valuable life lessons in loyalty and disappointment by also training them to root for Cal.

John Stricklin

Raised in Hawaii on the islands of Oahu and Maui, John has been a designer, real estate developer, investor and builder based in San Francisco since 1989.

John's primary focus is on land acquisition, entitlement, design and development of apartment buildings, infill mixed/use commercial buildings, condominium buildings and single family homes. As an individual and through partnerships he builds in both California and Hawaii.

Julio Moreno

Julio Moreno is a professor of Latin American history at the University of San Francisco. Born in the Salvadoran countryside, Julio fled his country’s civil war to avoid military recruitment at the age of fourteen and navigated through the U.S. educational system as an undocumented immigrant in East LA. 

Julio has served as the Director of the Center for Latino Studies in the Americas, Executive Director of the Pan-American Society, and Faculty Director of the Privett Global Service-Learning Program at the University of San Francisco. His leadership in these organizations included partnerships with NGOs as well as coaching others on the establishment of over thirty sustainable development projects in Bolivia, India, and Uganda. 

Julio has authored multiple articles and books, including Yankee Don’t Go Home, a book on Mexican nationalism and American business culture in Mexico. He is also co-author of Reflections, a Harcourt Publishers’ six-volume book series for elementary schools in California, and contributing author and co-editor of Beyond the Eagle’s Shadow, a book that looks at new interpretations of Latin America's Cold War. Julio received his PhD from UC Irvine, where he focused on US business and diplomacy in Latin America. 

At PKS, Julio has served on the Middle School Planning Committee. Julio’s daughter is in her sixth year at PKS.

Karen Gullo

Karen Gullo is an award-winning writer and journalist who has been reporting on business, government, politics and law for major news organizations in San Francisco, Washington and New York for more than two decades. She is currently an analyst and media relations specialist at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the leading nonprofit defending civil liberties in the digital world. At EFF Karen writes about user privacy, government surveillance and copyright, and develops media strategy.

Previously Karen was a reporter at Bloomberg News in San Francisco, where she covered legal issues in the tech and financial services industries. On the international front, Karen was a China-Hong Kong journalism fellow at the East-West Center, engaging in dialogue with government officials, business and community leaders and university students in Beijing and other cities across China. In Washington, Karen was a reporter for The Associated Press, where she was an investigative reporter and covered the Justice Department and politics, including the 2000 presidential election. Karen is the recipient of national and local journalism awards, including the Jesse H. Neal Award Business Journalism Award.

She is a native of Chicago and resides in San Francisco with her daughter, who has been attending PKS since 2012. Karen has been a PKS room parent and a member of the school's marketing committee.

Katie Biber

Katie Biber is a leader with deep experience counseling high-growth technology companies. She presently serves as general counsel at Anchorage, a digital asset custodian for institutional investors. Previously, she served as general counsel at Thumbtack and senior counsel at Airbnb.

Before moving to the Bay Area, Katie worked for more than 15 years at the highest levels of politics and government. She served as general counsel to the Romney for President campaign in 2012 and has counseled countless other candidates, party committees, corporations, and nonprofits in enforcement and compliance matters. She also has significant experience navigating clients through investigations by the Justice Department and congressional committees.

Katie received her BA with high honors from George Washington University and her JD from Harvard Law School. She and her husband Mark have two sons in their seventh year at PKS. Katie is the only member of her family (other than the dog) who does not speak fluent Mandarin, but she endeavors to learn a little more every day.

Laura Nadler

Laura is a strategy and finance executive with over twenty years of leadership experience in the financial services and payments industries. She is currently SVP of Corporate Finance at Visa. Prior to joining Visa, Laura held finance, strategy and operating roles at Charles Schwab, Allstate, J.P. Morgan, Bank One, and Smith Barney. She has also served on the Boards of several non-profit organizations, including as Treasurer and President of the Board of The Arts of Life, a Chicago-based studio for artists with developmental disabilities. Laura holds an MBA in Finance from NYU and a BA in History from Williams College.

Laura, her husband David, and their son joined the PKS community when they moved to San Francisco in 2012. 

Leo Ma

Leo Ma is a Principal with Century Urban, which provides real estate advisory and consulting services to clients including public agencies and institutions as well as private developers and property owners. Additionally, Century Urban provides asset and property management services and evaluates and pursues select acquisition and/or development projects as potential investment opportunities.

Leo has an extensive background in real estate development and investment. He has served as Chief Financial Officer for Waypoint Homes, a leader in the emerging industry of single family rental, and Executive Vice President, Investments for Kenwood Investments where he was involved with the redevelopment of Treasure Island in San Francisco. He has also held roles at several other real estate companies including the urban real estate group of MacFarlane Partners where he led investments in urban infill development projects and Catellus Development Corporation where he worked on the development of the Mission Bay project in San Francisco.

In addition, Leo is a licensed architect in California, and his experience includes work as an architect with several architecture and planning firms. He holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management, and both a Master of Architecture and a BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley. Leo, his wife Ming Ming, and their daughter are thrilled to be a part of the PKS community.

Luke Felker

Luke serves as Head of School of The Bay School of San Francisco, an independent high school located in the Presidio of San Francisco. From his first experience with PKS a few years ago, Luke was struck by the school’s work to synthesize the best of progressive education with Mandarin language immersion as a compelling vision for a highly impactful and relevant education. Luke is an educator who greatly appreciates the dedicated communities, eminent nimbleness, and commitment to innovation found in young institutions like PKS.   

Prior to joining Bay, Luke spent ten years leading Madison Country Day School, a PK-12 IB World School in Madison, Wisconsin. Luke is deeply immersed in the wider independent school community, including current service on the Board of CATDC (California Teachers Development Collaborative) and ISACS (Independent Schools Association of the Central States).  

Luke received his BA from Dartmouth College and his MS in educational leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mark Roche

Mark Roche and his wife Kirsten have two children at PKS, with a third hoping to join his big brother and sister soon. Mark grew up in upstate New York, studied Chinese while at Middlebury College, and spent time living in Harbin, Qingdao, and Beijing, China before going to law school. Mark received his law degree from Georgetown and moved to San Francisco in 2006.

Mark is a partner at Baker McKenzie where he focuses on corporate tax and white collar disputes. He also co-chairs the firm’s California pro bono program, where his practice ranges from advocacy on behalf of children in special education matters to appellate advocacy before the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court. Mark and Kirsten have been active members of the PKS community since 2014. They live with their three kids and over-sized dog in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond.

Melody Meckfessel

Melody Meckfessel is a hands-on technology leader with more than 20 years experience building and maintaining large-scale distributed systems and solving problems at scale. As VP of Engineering, she leads the team building DevOps tools and sharing DevOps best practices across Google and with software development and operations teams around the world. Her team powers the world's most advanced continuously-delivered software, enabling development teams to turn ideas into reliable, scalable production systems. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Melody programmed for startups and enterprise companies before joining Google in 2004.

In her free time, Melody is passionate about producing her own wine under the label, Poundstone Wines. She was inspired by her childhood growing up on a ranch in Northern California.

Melody is the proud mom of a daughter who began PKS in 2012, has been a room parent, and now a PKS girls volleyball coach.

Mike Kim

Mike is a Bay Area native who worked and studied throughout the US and abroad for over a decade before returning home. Currently, he is a cofounder and head of a startup that is developing Swaddo, an app that improves the care of young children by facilitating better communication between parents and their caregivers. Mike holds a BS from UCLA and an MBA from Georgetown University.  

Mike, his wife Agatha, and their two children have been part of the PKS family since 2013. He is a strong proponent of using sports as a tool to build confidence and improve health in young people. Mike enjoys being a parent coach for PKS soccer and baseball at the preschool and early elementary school levels. 

Back in 2006, Mike caught a foul ball off the bat of a Chinese Taipei player during a game in the World Baseball Classic held in the Tokyo Dome. Having no previous connection to Chinese language or culture, Mike could never have imagined a time when his own children could ask that very player in Mandarin to sign the ball and read his signature too. This is now their reality and it’s absolutely amazing!  

Ranee Lan

Ranee has held a number of executive management roles in the consumer internet industry, most recently as Vice President at Art.com, where she launched a new business line of contemporary art sourced from emerging artists worldwide. Prior to that, she was Senior Director of Business Development for Washingtonpost.com / Newsweek Interactive where she negotiated and managed all operational and strategic partnerships. Ranee has also worked at deviantART, Time Warner, AOL and McKinsey & Co. She has a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern.

Ranee grew up in Chicago in a Thai-Chinese immigrant family with quadrilingual parents, yet somehow managed to become a stereotypical monoglot American. She is committed to ensuring that her children don’t suffer the same linguistic fate. Ranee lives in the Barbary Coast neighborhood of San Francisco with her monolingual husband Jeremy, and her bilingual daughter and son. She serves on the board of the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association where she is working to transform San Francisco’s northeast waterfront into a more livable, family-friendly community.

Robert Tsai

Robert arrives at Presidio Knolls School by way of rural Pennsylvania and Louisiana. He and his family have been part of the PKS community since 2012, where his spouse is a regular guest speaker and where their children are happy students. Robert has been a repeating room parent, explored San Francisco as a chaperone on many field trips, and tried to keep up as a volunteer parent coach for the boys' PKS Pandas soccer team.

Outside of school and family life, Rob is a software engineering professional who has delivered a wide range of products, from very small electronics to very large internet-scale systems. He was on the founding teams for Google/Android contactless smartphone payments, and for Google[x]/Verily medical devices and surgical robotics; he currently works on vehicle controls software at Cruise. Rob holds a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.Eng. from Cornell University, both in Computer Science.

Rob Zivnuska

Rob works at an investment bank, where he helps boards and management teams navigate crises and other challenges with their investors. Rob previously lead the Americas Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment team at BlackRock, where he advocated for the implementation of best practices by public company boards. Earlier in his career, Rob was an attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP focusing on mergers, acquisitions and other corporate matters. Rob holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A in International Relations from the University of California, Davis.

Rob and his husband John were delighted to join the PKS community in 2014, after their daughter prophetically observed “This is my school!” at the start of her first preschool tour. They knew for sure that PKS was the right school for their family a few months later, when she broke into a duet with her grandmother to Teresa Teng’s classic 月亮代表我的心. Rob has served as a PKS room parent and on a sunny weekend afternoon can usually be found cheering on the PKS Pandas soccer team.

Sheryl Nicol

Sheryl has worked as a human resources executive in both tech and academia, and as an attorney in Canada. She has also served on the Board of Golden Gate Mothers Group and held roles as Treasurer and Membership Chair. Sheryl currently works with the admissions office at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. She holds a BA in Criminology and Chinese Studies from the University of Toronto, a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School and an MBA from UC Berkeley.

Sheryl is a native of Canada who moved to the Bay Area in 1995. She and her husband Craig have been proud members of the PKS community since 2012, when their daughter and son joined the preschool. At PKS Sheryl has been a room parent for several years and contributed to the yearbook and library committees.