Vince A. Figueroa, CPA
President/CPA | Figueroa CPA Inc.
As a first-generation college graduate, Vince’s passion lies in helping others through his work and his community involvement. Professionally, Vince founded and operates his own tax practice in Santa Rosa. Personally, he volunteers with many organizations and is currently President Elect for the EAHS Foundation. Although Vince did not attend Elsie Allen High School, he relates with many of the students through his struggles growing up. For that reason, Vince makes it his mission to help other students who are now in the position he once was; hungry for an opportunity to do great things in life. In his spare time Vince enjoys playing golf and spending time with his wife, Lauren, and his friends and family.
ANYA CUNNINGHAM, CPA
Alumni - Class of 2000
CPA | Linkenheimer llp, cpa's & advisors
Anya joined the foundation in October 2020. Originally from Ukraine, Anya now calls Sonoma County home. She is an Elsie Allen Alumni, class of 2000. As a critical component to educational success, the Foundation allows the opportunity to affect so many lives in such a positive way and Anya is excited to be a part of that. She is looking forward to giving back to the school and the community that supported her throughout her education, and who is currently working to have a positive impact on its current and future students. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Brandon and two sons Max and Jack. Anya also enjoys traveling, hiking, Pilates, yoga, meditation and spending time with friends and family here in Sonoma County and her native Ukraine, among many other things.
Attorney | Friedemann Goldberg Wargo Hess LLP
Mia is a Sonoma County native and local estate planning attorney with a passion and commitment to promoting and supporting education. She is very proud to be part of a thoughtful, supportive and action-oriented team committed to helping the Elsie Allen students excel and succeed in life. In her spare time, she is chasing after her toddler and soaking in as much time outside gardening, running, and playing as possible.
INSURANCE EXECUTIVE | VANTREO INSURANCE
Mike was fortunate to join business community members who were meeting with the students at Elsie Allen High School. This was the beginning of the Elsie Allen High School Foundation. Since then the Foundation has awarded over 300 scholarships to students pursuing college and career technical opportunities. He has more than 25-years in the insurance industry and has built an in-depth knowledge of risk management, workers compensation and corporate culture training. In his spare time, he is a dedicated IRONMAN Triathlete and avid cyclist going back to 2002. He enjoys playing golf, the outdoors, and spending time with his wife Kelly of 30 years and his three daughters Melissa, Annalise and Jenna in all their academic and sporting events.
Board of Directors
Dr. Laura Alamillo
Dean School of Education | Sonoma State University
Laura Alamillo is the Dean of the School of Education at Sonoma State and has worked in the CSU system since 2004. She is a scholar in the field of language, literacy and culture. She received her Ph.D. from the school of education at the University of California at Berkeley. Dean Alamillo was instrumental in building graduate programs and key in supporting the teacher residencies in the Central Valley. Dean Alamillo comes to Sonoma State with a vision of continuing the work of justice-oriented teacher preparation and expanding teacher residencies in Northern California. She is committed to increasing racial diversity in the teaching profession and hopes to improve the educational experiences of children in the region by working closely with district partners in Sonoma County.
Branch Experience Manager | Redwood Credit Union
Rene is the Branch Experience Manager at Redwood Credit Union’s North Dutton location. He has been in the financial industry since 1992, formerly working for Wells Fargo Bank and Exchange Bank before joining Redwood Credit Union in 2007. Born and raised in Healdsburg, Rene currently resides in Windsor and is raising five amazing young adults with his wife Elizabeth. He enjoys the outdoors, hiking and cycling to take in nature in all its splendor. Very involved in his community, Rene has worked with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for many years, serving as past President and in other capacities. He’s a founding board member of Los Cien Sonoma County and is a strong believer in supporting organizations and causes that value equity and inclusion. The Elsie Allen Foundation is very much aligned with Rene’s values and beliefs.
Event Planner | Retired
After a 20-year career managing large-scale special events, Annette now uses her talents to help the Elsie Allen High School Foundation (and other non-profits) with their fundraising efforts. Santa Rosa has been home to Annette for the past 30 years and she enjoys having the opportunity to give back to the community that has given her so much. Although her son attends Santa Rosa High School, Annette chooses to participate on the Elsie Allen High School Foundation Board because of the students and their incredible stories. In her free time, Annette enjoys traveling and golfing with her family and friends.
Occupational Therapist | Retired
Merle is an active member of the Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary Club and in that role she has volunteered with the Elsie Allen Interact Club for 15 years and the past 3 years has been the advisor to that group. Aside from having two grandchildren at Elsie Allen she is frequently on campus because of her volunteer track record. Her additional involvement has been with the Ag department, music boosters and the drama department. She has taught in the classroom at the college level and provided mentorship to students through a program called World of Work with the Chamber of Commerce at the high school level. Maximizing student potential has been a life long passion of hers.
VICE PRESIDENT | EXCHANGE BANK
Veronica Rincon is vice president and branch manager of Exchange Bank’s Stony Point office. She has over 20 years of banking experience, having worked for Wells Fargo, Washington Mutual and Chase Bank. Veronica has been a resident of Sonoma County since 2007 where she lives with her husband and three children. Veronica is a member of Spring Hills Community Church and the Redwood Empire Cursillo Community. Veronica felt called to serve on the Elsie Allen High School Foundation Board in honor of her cousin Roosevelt “R.J.” Bailey, a graduate of Elsie Allen High School who passed away on September 6, 2020. Active in the community, Veronica also serves as a board member for The Living Room, a non-profit organization serving Sonoma County women and their children experiencing homelessness.
BOARD MEMBER / SONOMA COUNTY FARM BUREAU
Emily is a fourth generation Santa Rosa attorney practicing at the law firm of Geary Shea O’Donnell Grattan & Mitchell. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Tennessee, and a law degree from The American University in Washington D.C. She also attended The Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law as a student of the International Asian Studies program. Emily serves on the board of directors for the Valley of the Moon Children’s Foundation, the Sonoma County Bar Association, Listening for a Change, and is a member of the executive committee of the Sonoma/Napa/Marin chapter of the American Inns of Court. Having had the great privilege of so many educational opportunities, she is passionate about assisting youth with their future educational goals, making involvement with Elsie Allen High School and the foundation a perfect fit. In her spare time she volunteers at the children's home, the Humane Society of Sonoma County, and the Charles M. Schulz Museum. Otherwise, she can usually be found swimming, skiing, or spending time with her large Italian family.
Ms. Stark has worked for three major universities as the key interface between business, government, and higher education. She has run trade associations supporting business growth and success. Ms. Stark has also run economic development initiatives that focus on creating jobs through entrepreneurship, business retention and business recruitment. In these roles, her primary responsibility has been to create vital partnerships with the private and public sectors that promoted the economic prosperity and quality of life of the region. Most recently she retired from Naturally North Bay, a private trade association she founded ten years ago for local food manufacturing which includes over 50 companies in Sonoma County.
Board Member | Sound Ideas
Don Mills, established Sound Ideas as a company whose number one goal is to offer comprehensive, reliable, and responsible personal service to its clients. Don completed the Business & Marketing program at Sonoma State University in the early 90’s. He immediately started learning video production and marketing while working with Post Newsweek Cable for the next 8 years as a Senior Marketing associate. Don started Sound Ideas in 1996 as a co-operative group of passionate media artists. This diversity helps us keep up with quickly changing technology while producing better work for our clients. Sound Ideas enjoys giving back to Sonoma County by working with nonprofits that benefit children in our communities. Don measures his success by the happiness of his friends and family around him and devoting his attention to his family. Past President Active 20-30 Club Fall 2001, Board Member Sonoma County Alliance, Executive Board for the Childrens Child Care Council Sonoma County. I love Bicycling around Sonoma County and also love Northbay Dart League.... Proud Father of two awesome Kids, Helen & James. Recently an owner of Cuver Belgium Brewery in Windsor!!
Principal | Elsie Allen High School
Gabe is a lifelong resident of Sonoma County and has dedicated his professional career towards working with youth. He has worked with youth in a variety of roles. From a tutor during his college years to a certificated teacher then a counselor and now the proud Principal of Elsie Allen High School. His belief is that education can change a student’s life and it’s that belief that drives his work. In his time off he enjoys spending time and having new experiences with his wife, 5 daughters and 2 grandsons. He also enjoys watching sports and reading about history. He is also a huge advocate for closing the School to Prison Pipeline.
Dr. Carolyn Anderson
Professor Emeritus | Humboldt State University
A teacher and professor in the field of Education for over 40 years. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Education at the University of Illinois. Carolyn has focused her professional career on instructional design, multicultural education and distance learning. In that capacity, she has worked with the: D.O.D. schools in Puerto Rico, University of Colima, Mexico, University of Western Australia, and Native American Center at HSU. She has been a member of the EAHS Foundation Board since 2013, serving as its secretary for 3 years. She is a member of the EAHS Ag Boosters, a past president of the Valley of the Moon Rotary and current member of the Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary. Her vision is for all youth to have the necessary support to be able to dream, plan and achieve.
Student Outreach Specialist | Santa Rosa Junior College
Juan is originally from Mexico City and has lived in Sonoma County since 1994. He lived most of his young life in Mexico City and moved to the United States after finishing Middle School. Juan is a former student-athlete (soccer & tennis) and graduated from Napa Valley College & Sonoma State University. He received his Master's degree in Education & Leadership from Concordia University. For Juan, education is one of the most important foundations and continuous enrichment any person should have. Juan has been working with SRJC since 2008 in a variety of Student Programs; Health Career Pipeline Program, Healthcare Workforce Development Programs, MI CASA student center, and Connections Learning community. While at SRJC, Juan has committed his life to promote higher education and improving the lives of first-generation and low-income students. He devotes his time working with and motivating high school and college students pursuing a college degree to achieve academic success.
Senior Compliance Specialist | Risk Compliance Management, LLC
Maria has served on the Elsie Allen High School Foundation as a community member for the past year. She is a proud parent of an Elsie Allen High School graduate and currently has a son who is attending. She sees serving on the Board as an opportunity to give back to the community. She believes in continuing education and feels she can help parents and students learn the importance of education. There are parents that do not know how to navigate the system and she is confident she can make a difference working with parents exploring their students’ options. In her spare time she enjoys being surrounded by family and is very passionate about exercise and personal development.
Dr. Jim Berger
Dentist | Retired
Jim is a retired dentist and community activist. Jim and his family have lived in Santa Rosa for fifty five years (when population was 44,000). He chose this city as it was a self contained metropolis with no large cities close to dominate activities. Both Jim and his wife Jody became very active in many non-profit organizations. For the last ten years they have dedicated their time to help raise money and support activities in the Roseland area to help with much needed economic, educational and social support. He feels lucky to be able to support the impactful work of the Foundation.
Alumni - Class of 2013
Academic Advisor | UC Santa Barbara
Micaela (Mica) is an Elsie Allen alum, class of 2013. She is a Chicana, former teen parent, and was born and raised in Santa Rosa, CA. She is also a proud first-generation, a transfer, and a non-traditional college graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Upon graduating from Elsie Allen, she attended Santa Rosa Junior College, transferred to UCSB, and in 2019 she received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Applied Psychology. Shortly after receiving her B.A., Mica worked as the Programs Assistant for the ONDAS Student Center and Transfer Student Center at UCSB for 2 years, supporting the first-generation and transfer student populations. She is now an Academic Advisor in UCSB’s College of Letters & Science. Mica is dedicated to supporting, mentoring, and motivating traditionally underserved and minoritized students through her roles and community involvement. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dancing, watching sports, and spending time with her friends and family.
Alumni - Class of 2003
Farmer/Owner | Rivers Edge Homestead
Sierra Bruhn is an Elsie Allen Alumni and graduate of the class of 2003. She is a 6th generation farmer in Sonoma County. She graduated Chico State University with a BS in Agriculture Education in 2009. She came back to EAHS to student teach in the agriculture department with her own agriculture teacher and founder of EAHS FFA, Annette O'Kelley and Debi Batini. She was hired at Petaluma High School and taught agriculture education for four years before she became a stay at home parent and farmer. She now has two beautiful daughters and an egg delivery business with 250 chickens and helps alongside her husband to run the family ranches. Her passion is her family living and being stewards of the diversified Crane Ranches and keeping agriculture alive within her community through exposure and education. Elsie Allen High School and staff gave her a starting point for her success. She is very excited to give back to a campus and student body that laid the foundation of her accomplishments today.
Alumni - Class of 2004
Associate Director of Nursing | Napa Community Health
Yudith is currently the Director of Nursing at Napa Community Health. She is a proud 2004 Elsie Allen High School Alumni, and graduated from Sonoma State University in 2010 with her Nursing degree. She has the honor of leading and partnering with over 30 nurses and many other members of the diverse care team at SRCH. Elsie Allen motivated her to strive high regardless of her barriers growing up. She considers herself an original dreamer and understands the challenges and what it's like to grow up being undocumented in Sonoma County. She strongly believes in the work the Foundation is doing to inspire, guide and empower students to achieve their goals. She is married to Andres Correa who graduated from Elsie Allen in 2008. Once a lobo, always a lobo.
Herman G. Hernandez
Consultant/Owner | Hernandez Consulting
Born and raised in Guerneville, Herman attended the Santa Rosa Junior College and graduated from San Diego State University. He is proud to be the first from his family to graduate from college and is grateful for the support he received on his educational journey. Herman has served on the Foundation since 2012; he also serves on the Sonoma County Office of Education School Board; he is the proud Co-President of the College Tee Project; a member of the Active 20-30 Club #50, and proud Russian River Rotarian. He lives by the Rotary motto, “service above self” and strongly believes that where there’s unity, there’s community and success.
Co-Owner/Operations Manager | Bacchus Landing
Francisco Lopez is Operations Manager at Bacchus Landing in Healdsburg, California. Francisco manages all day-to-day operations for Bacchus Landing. Francisco earned his B.A. in History and Masters of Education from St. Mary’s College. After 15 years of teaching high school English and Social Science, Francisco decided to move back to Sonoma County and explore a career in the wine industry. Francisco and his sister, Monica, founded Aldina Vineyards in 2016 as a tribute to their parents, Al and Dina Lopez. A few years later, the Lopez family purchased the property that would become Bacchus Landing, where Francisco and Monica began designing a unique concept for a wine tasting collective. Francisco enjoys spending quality time with his family, dirt biking and traveling. Francisco is a passionate advocate for the community and is a member of various community Boards and is enrolled in Leadership Santa Rosa Class 37.
Dayane E. Mendoza Solis
Accounting Associate | Elliott CPA Group, Inc.
Dayane moved to Sonoma County at the age of nine. She is a Sonoma State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and a minor in Economics. She was the first in her family to graduate college, and is thankful for all the invaluable support she received from mentors and organizations similar to the Elsie Allen Foundation. Dayane values education and is passionate about empowering others to reach their full potential; she believes we all have the ability to positively impact someone’s life. Dayane is actively supporting her community through mutual aid, and by volunteering as a member of various organizations throughout Sonoma County.
Healthcare | Retired
Elsie Allen High School provides Richard tremendous inspiration and insight of our community’s past and future. As an Anthropology major he was impressed by the life of Elsie Allen, her courage, creativity and tenacity. His career in healthcare as a director, innovator and survivor of major shifts in public policy, financing and delivery of services, fits well with Elsie Allen student’s zest for learning, creating and collaborating in diverse enterprises. Writing and teaching grandsons how to fish and becoming more skill-full at chess keep him active. With his wife of 40 years, Betsy, a retired teacher, they have made Sonoma County their home for the past 11 years and continue to discover its’ remarkable human resources.
Alumni - Class of 1997
Managing Director | Bridge Investment Group
Isela was co-Valedictorian from EAHS’ first graduating class of 1997. Following her graduation from Stanford University she pursued a career in finance that has led her to work for a range of investment management and consulting firms. After spending a decade living on the East Coast, she was thrilled to move back to the Bay Area at the end of 2016. She created the first scholarship fund for EAHS called Lobos for School Scholarship Fund raising over $20k. Isela enjoys competing in endurance running and cycling events, many of which she dedicated to raising funds to support EAHS graduates. Isela and her brother Erik are proud to be the first from their family to graduate from college.
Dr. Mariana G. Martinez
Alumni - Class of 1998
Director College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) | Mendocino-Lake Community College
Mariana is an alumna of Elsie Allen, class of 1998. Mariana is the founder of the Yolotli Scholarship, 2014, that supports graduating EA students. As an alumna, Mariana, understands the importance of community support for the academic success of young adults. She has been in education, higher education specifically, for over 15 years. She is the first in her family to attend, graduate college and earn a doctoral degree. Her work is on accessibility and educational equity. As the Director of CAMP, Mariana continues her work on providing college access to minoritized students. Prior to Mendocino College, Mariana worked at Sonoma State University, and has studied out of the state, giving her insight on first generation college students' experiences across various institutions of higher education. Mariana is also the mother of a 6 year old, Xoaquin.
Attorney | Retired
When Gerald was in college he was the recipient of opportunities and financial assistance that enabled him to complete college and graduate from law school — something that never would have been possible without the support he received. He practiced law in Sonoma County for 40 years, retiring in 2015. Gerald has lived in the Elsie Allen district since before the school opened and his children and grandson attended Elsie Allen High School. This made him aware of the economic disparity between students at Elsie Allen and those in more affluent schools. Gerald is active on the Foundation to help erase barriers and provide those worthy students the same assistance and support he received when he was young.