The Board of Directors
Mark Skvarna, has more than 25 years of experience in K12 education, including 13 years as Superintendent of Baldwin Park USD. In addition to his experience as a superintendent, Mr. Skvarna also has an extensive track record as Deputy Superintendent of Business Services at the district and county levels, most recently concluding service as the Chief Business Official for the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Mark is also known for his knowledge and expertise in school facilities construction issues having been a district Director of Facilities, and was a certified inspector by the Division of the State Architect (DSA). He also served as Chief of School Police.
During Mr. Skvarna's 25 years of service to public education, he has passed three school bonds and managed hundreds of millions in school construction funding. Mr. Skvarna is a member of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Southern California Superintendents, active and honorary member since 2009. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering, a Masters of Science in Strategic Leadership and a Doctoral Degree in Business.
Darryl Yong, PhD, professor of mathematics and inaugeral interim director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, focuses his research on secondary and tertiary mathematics education. He is primarily interested in how secondary-school mathematics teachers deepen their content knowledge for teaching, gain leadership skills, and learn new pedagogical strategies, particularly through peer communities. He serves on the steering committee for Math for America Los Angeles, an organization that he helped to start in 2007, and has worked closely with the Teacher Leadership Program of the IAS/Park City Mathematics Institute since 2003.
Yong also carries out research on effective strategies for teaching and learning mathematics in higher education. With fellow Harvey Mudd faculty Rachel Levy and Nancy Lape, he has conducted a four-year controlled study of flipped classroom instruction at Harvey Mudd. He has a special interest in inclusive pedagogy and seeks to broaden participation in the mathematical sciences. From 2011–2016, Yong also served as the College’s associate dean for diversity.
Yong received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Harvey Mudd in 1996 (along with a second major in music), a master’s degree in applied mathematics from Claremont Graduate University in 1996 and a PhD in applied mathematics from University of Washington in 2000, where he was a Huckabay Teaching Fellow.
George Charney, Retired Provost, Western University of Health Sciences & Emeritus status. Doctor Charney is an American academic administrator. Diplomate American Osteopathic Board of Anesthesiology, 1981. Executive member School of Arts and Enterprise, Pomona, California, 2003—2004; Fellow: Association of Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators, American Osteopathic College of Anesthesioilogist (chair of colleges 2001-2004); member: American Osteopathic Association.
Graciela Nardi was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During her years of painting, Graciela became fascinated with the New York-based movement of Abstract Expressionism. Expression through color is how she describes her works. In her work, Graciela used an array of illusionist devices. She expresses all of this through colors and texture. The painting’s entire surface is covered with animated brushstrokes, drips, layers, and different medium. She is one of what may be called “post-abstract” painters.
In her style and technique the fictive space is made up of layer upon layer of net that “mirror” her own life and feelings. Her works explores the relationship between two-dimensional painting and three-dimensional sculpture, that she constructs locating her in the innovative art “Combine”.
Edward Tessier. A nationally known and respected activist for persons with disabilities, Ed is also an involved community leader. As founder and director of Designs for Independence, a non-profit consulting firm, Ed successfully lobbied for increased wheelchair access at public establishments across the country. As a businessman in Pomona, California, Ed worked with local community leaders beginning in 1992 to spearhead a massive downtown revitalization campaign that led to an artistic renaissance, a flourishing artist community, and a thriving downtown scene. With over 15 years of experience organizing successful outreach programs, Ed plays a key role in helping Drive Around the World develop and execute charitable projects.
Simeon P. Slovacek, Ph.D., joined CSULA in 1981 as Director of Institutional Research and sometime later joined the Charter College of Education as a full-time faculty member teaching in the Division of Applied & Advanced Studies (formerly known as Educational Foundations & Interdivisional Studies). His currently is Emeritus status. His duties have included teaching, research, scholarship, advisement, research and evaluation project grants and contracts administration, and charter schools governance work. Prior to joining CSULA, he served as Director of Analytical Studies at Cornell University where he earned his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in the field of educational research and evaluation methodology. Dr. Slovacek recently served as Principal Investigator on an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health. As Principal Evaluator of the Program Evaluation & Research Collaborative (PERC) office at Cal State LA, Dr. Slovacek has conducted numerous evaluations and research grants/contracts over the years. He has evaluated evaluation projects with the California Arts Council, the Long Beach Unified School District Healthy Start program (Prop 10), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the Los Angeles Music Center Education Division, Maxine Waters Saturday Academy program (a NASA funded project), National Institutes of Health funded projects such as the Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) programs at Cal State LA, the MBRS RISE and MARC U*STAR programs at Cal State Dominguez Hills, the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program at Charles Drew University, the Cancer Collaborative program at Cal State LA and City of Hope among others. He also served as Site Director on the International Social Studies University/K-12 Exploration Series (ISSUES) program funded by out of Stanford University through the states California Subject Matter Project (CSMP). Dr. Slovacek was also on the California Department of Education’s list of approved evaluators for the State’s Immediate Interventions for Under-performing Schools program. Since 1994, he has served as a founding board of trustee member for nineteen start-up charter schools (serving over 6,000 children) launched by 3 non-profits. Two are in the Los Angeles Unified School District: The Accelerated Schools and The Inner City Education Foundations (for the View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter Schools) and one is in Pomona: The School of Arts and Enterprise. He has served in various board officer capacities. He currently serves as Secretary for all 2 of these non-profits, Treasurer for The School of Arts and Enterprise and is Vice President for The Accelerated Schools board. Their combined annual operating budgets exceed $70,000,000/year. Dr. Slovacek also co-authored the charter petition and helped to obtain district authorization for the recently constructed Marc and Eva Stern Math and Science (MASS) charter school on the Cal State LA campus.
Dr. Slovacek has taught courses in several masters programs (Educational Foundations, Computer Education, Research & Evaluation and Ed. Administration). His areas of expertise include school reform with an emphasis on charter schools, research and evaluation methodology, assessment and testing, statistics, and technology in Education. He also helped to start the Masters program in Research and Evaluation and serves as a core faculty member of the Educational Leadership Doctoral program in the Charter College of Education - the 1st independent Doctoral program accredited at Cal State LA.
Dr. Slovacek has authored and co-authored twenty-eight refereed journal publications, five books and book chapters, and written ninety-six reports (primarily from funded evaluation projects). He has given 119 presentations and 28 invited talks at professional conferences and workshops. He currently serves as Principal Investigator on an R01 grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) investigating the efficacy of the MORE (Minority Opportunities in Research) Programs at three universities (Cal State LA, San Francisco State University and New Mexico State University). Currently, he is Principal Evaluator on close to a dozen evaluation projects.
Dr. Derrick Chau is the Instructional Director at LAUSD. He has more than 14 years of experience in education. He began his career as a Teach for America corp member, teaching high school science in the Long Beach Unified School District. Dr. Chau spent five years conducting education research, earning his Ph.D. in education from the University of Southern California and earning a RAND/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Education Policy at the RAND Corporation. Dr. Chau joined the Alliance in 2004 as a founding teacher and science department chair for Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School, the first Alliance College-Ready Academy. In 2006, he became the founding Principal of Alliance Marc & Eva Stern Math and Science High School, an early college high school collaboration with California State University, Los Angeles. As the principal, Dr. Chau led the school to recognition as a California Distinguished School in 2009 and a ranking of #40 out of all California high schools on the 2011 Washington Post High School Challenge. He has a master's degree in Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University and a doctorate of Philosophy in Education from the University of Southern California.