HeadsUp Board Bios

Michelene Moayedi, Executive Director

Michelene has served as HeadsUp Executive Director since 2016, bringing to the role her years of executive experience and community service in education. After studying speech and rhetoric at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Michelene’s first career stint, lasting eight years, was in Silicon Valley and the UK as a high-tech sales engineer. Seeking change, Michelene completed culinary training and worked as a chef for two years before realizing she was in a career not compatible with family life. She then pivoted to serve as Director of Finance for a culinary team-building company. Michelene served as vice president of fundraising at Coleman elementary for three years and as PTO president for an additional three years. Since 2013, Michelene has been a mentor for cancer caregivers through the nonprofit Imerman Angels. Michelene’s two children are now the fortunate beneficiaries of their mother’s culinary training and are students in San Rafael City Schools district. 

Executive Committee

Alicia Malet Klein, President 

Alicia has served on the HeadsUp board since 2007, acting as president since 2013. Following a brief advertising career in Los Angeles, she returned to Marin County in the 1990s to raise her sons and begin her committed work for public education and education equity. Alicia served as trustee on the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Board and, since 2003, has been a teacher for gifted and talented fourth- and fifth-graders at Coleman elementary. For many years, Alicia worked weekly in classrooms to directly support students and their teachers. She has also held a variety of parent leadership positions. Alicia serves on the San Rafael City Schools district’s budget advisory committees and the Parcel Tax Citizens Oversight Committee. She is president of Making Waves Academy, a charter school in Richmond and sits on the Board of Directors of the foundation that supports its facilities and college success program. Her two adult sons attended Coleman, Davidson, San Rafael High and Stanford and she is grateful they both now reside in the Bay Area. Alicia and her husband, Tom, love to hike, read, kayak and travel.

 

Amy Jonak, Vice President 

Amy joined the HeadsUp board in 2008, serving as president from 2010 to 2013. Amy spent over 20 years in editorial development, management, marketing and production for book publishers and book developers including McGraw-Hill, International Masters, Roundtable Press and her own company, LA Press. For more than fifteen years, she has served in a variety of volunteer and board positions focused on education. In the San Rafael City Schools, Amy served many years as PTA president of both Sun Valley elementary and Davidson middle school. She also served on the SRCS Superintendent’s Parents Council and Roadmap to the Future Committee. In addition to her role with HeadsUp, Amy is chair of The Marin School, an independent high school in San Rafael, and sits on the executive board of the Marin Chinese Cultural Association. A graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, Amy lives in San Rafael with her partner, Mary. Their daughter, Sophie, attends CSU Fullerton.

Mariana Lopez Quintanilla, Vice President 

With a demonstrated commitment to public education and education equity, Mariana joined the HeadsUp Board in 2012 to advocate on behalf of the Latinx community. Mariana has worked in San Rafael City Schools since 2008. She was instrumental in coordinating multiple programs and agencies to provide enrichment to district schools and now manages the seven after-school programs operating at Bahia Vista, Coleman, Davidson, Laurel Dell, San Pedro, Short and Venetia Valley. Mariana is a recipient of a 2016 Golden Bell Award for her leadership as Program Director of the Learning Enrichment After-School Program (LEAP) at San Pedro elementary and for creating and operating an engaging blend of academic and enrichment programming. Under Mariana’s leadership, San Pedro LEAP was also recognized by the After‐School Industry for its “outstanding curriculum and use of STEM Activities” and has been designated as a Region 4 Model STEM Program. Mariana also received the 2014 Best Practices in After-School Program Award from Bay Area Community Resources (BACR), which oversees over 70 after-school programs. Mariana is a native of Venezuela and the mother of two adult children.

Laurie Pedersen, Vice President  

Laurie has served on the HeadsUp Board since 2008 and has co-chaired the annual HeadsUp Rockin’Run and Run for Reading fundraiser, requiring coordination of multiple district schools, since 2009. She is deeply committed to ensuring all children in the district discover joy in music and are provided other vital enrichment programs. Laurie has been active in San Rafael City Schools and in leadership roles since 2005, including serving as PTO president at Sun Valley elementary. Laurie spearheaded the initiative to raise funds to purchase uniforms for Davidson’s award-winning marching band. A former software executive, Laurie spent many years developing award-winning children’s educational software, including Carmen Sandiego, Kid Pix and the Zoombinis. She also worked as a consultant developing educational software for children with special needs. Her youngest daughter, a former district student, is now in college; her granddaughter and grandson attend Sun Valley and Davidson.

 

Mary Widdifield, Secretary         

Mary joined the HeadsUp Board in 2009 to support enrichment for all students in the San Rafael City Schools district. As a mental health advocate, Mary recognized the profoundly positive and long-term impact of early-grade enrichment activities and the connection to well being. Mary’s professional life crisscrosses nonprofit and for-profit sectors, including a founding partnership in a computer network consulting firm later sold to a software startup. With her sister, Mary co-authored Behind the Wall: The True Story of Mental Illness as Told by Parents, which was endorsed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness and published in 2015. Mary is a Wilner Award recipient for fiction and has published essays, short fiction and nonfiction. She is also a grant writer. Mary considers parenting teenagers marginally well to be her crowning achievement. Her children attended San Rafael City Schools and she resides with her family in San Rafael.

Sue Murphy, Treasurer 

A longtime San Rafael resident and San Rafael City School alum, Sue is deeply rooted in the community and dedicated to working toward education equity. Serving first on the Sun Valley PTA/PTO Executive Board, Sue joined the HeadsUp Board in 2008. She has worked as a staff accountant for the Mill Valley School district for over a decade and contributes valuable school finance expertise to HeadsUp. As treasurer, Sue ensures HeadsUp maintains fiscal responsibility and transparency so that the foundation mission can be realized. She has also been an active fundraiser for school and club athletics. Her two adult sons graduated from San Rafael City Schools and her daughter is a student in the district.

At-Large Board Members

Courtney Budesa 

Courtney joined the HeadsUp Board in 2016 when her children entered Sun Valley elementary. A San Rafael native and alum of Sun Valley, Davidson and San Rafael High, Courtney looks forward to watching her two daughters follow in her footsteps. Courtney’s passion for education and steadfast belief that all students deserve access to high-quality education is demonstrated in her previous experience as an elementary teacher, as a manager of nonprofit employment programs for San Francisco high schoolers and in her current position as the Director of Internships and Professional Development for the business school at Dominican University. Courtney is a HeadsUp school site liaison and our social media coordinator.

 

Tanya Burdick

Tanya joined HeadsUp in 2013 and has co-chaired the annual HeadsUp Carnival (formerly Summerfest), the foundation’s community-wide and largest fundraiser, since joining the board. Tanya is an active supporter and fundraiser for athletics and enrichment in the community and school district, serving on the SwimMarin Board for eight years and Music Boosters at San Rafael High for three years. Tanya is team parent coordinator for her two sons’ water polo and swim teams. She is also a physical therapist at Kaiser Permanente and a member of the ALS Clinic team. Her two sons attend San Rafael City Schools.

Emily Busch

Emily has been committed to SRCS students since she began working for the district in 1997 as a Classified Account Clerk at San Rafael High School. As a dedicated advocate for students, Emily also stepped up as administrative advisor for HeadsUP Link Crew, a school-wide student mentoring program. Emily was an Administrative Assistant at Davidson Middle School until 2016 when she became Executive Assistant in Business Services in the SRCS District Office. Emily says she loves SRCS and has dedicated years of hard work and advocacy to support SRCS students. She joined the HeadsUp board in 2018, where her experience and knowledge about the diverse SRCS community will continue to benefit all students.

Brooke Hansen

HeadsUp Foundation branding, and the iconic annual Carnival and Rockin’Run lap-a-thon logos, were created and developed by Brooke, a professional graphic designer. Her design has been instrumental in elevating the message of a unified community that is socioeconomically diverse. Students from across the district connect with one another through their Rockin’Run logo tees. Brooke’s design career was launched at The North Face and Smith & Hawken; her client portfolio represents a cross-section of industries in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She has served on the HeadsUp Board since 2009 and has been active on parent leadership boards for two decades, including WeAreSR (San Rafael High School PTO) and as San Rafael High School Art Boosters president. Brooke’s son and daughter attend(ed) San Rafael City Schools.

Tory Harter 

Tory Harter joined the HeadsUp Board in 2021 to support equity in action — appreciating the many ways HeadsUp benefits all students in San Rafael, and creates a more cohesive community. Tory has worked in Marin as a public health nurse since 2002, is passionate about breaking down barriers and problem solving so that everyone living in Marin can access its many resources. In a previous life, she traveled and lived in Ecuador — her current life is in Marin, raising two children (well teens now, albeit she is in a bit of denial) and a menagerie of pets. Having worked on the front lines of the Covid 19 pandemic, she is more committed than ever to creating change in our local systems, especially our schools and believes HeadsUp is a great way to do so. Her children thrived at Davidson Middle School, now attend San Rafael High School and are involved in athletics and student leadership. She learns so much from them and their friends, and is grateful to all the SRCS teachers, staff and administrators who have helped along the way.    

Tracey Hessel

Tracey is deeply connected to the health and wellness of her community through her roles as Associate Medical Director, Pediatrics, at Marin Community Clinics and also as Co-chair of the Marin County HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Lifestyles) Steering Committee and member of the Marin County Oral Health Advisory Committee. Joining the HeadsUp board in 2014, Tracey is a fierce advocate for equity and ensuring that all students in the district have academic opportunities and enrichment programming. She earned her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and completed medical school and residency at UCSF. Both her son and daughter attended SRCS. 

Gina Kossler

Gina joined the HeadsUp Board in 2018 and oversees the annual Consistent Achiever awards ceremony. She has also been an active member of the PTOs at Sun Valley elementary and Davidson middle school. Since 2002, Gina has been a medical social worker at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Her two daughters attend San Rafael City Schools.  

 

Karen Madden

A teacher in the Miller Creek School District since 1996, Karen joined the HeadsUp Board in 2019. She received her BS from UC Davis and teaching credential from St. Mary’s College. Karen has taught in all three Miller Creek district elementary schools, covering Kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade. She took a ten-year sabbatical to focus on raising her three children, during which time she was an active parent volunteer at St. Isabella’s, Mary Silveira Home and School Association and Site Council, the CANDO Education Foundation and the Marinwood Waterdevils. Karen returned to teaching in 2010. Karen and her husband, Ryan, met as Marin Catholic High School students and have lived in the Marinwood community since 2000. They have two daughters and a son. Their family dog, Karina, is a retired Guide Dog for the Blind breeder. Karen's three children attended Miller Creek schools and two were students in the MarinSEL program at Terra Linda High School. Karen enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

 

Whitney O'Neill 

Whitney has supported the annual HeadsUp Carnival (formerly Summerfest), a community-wide fundraiser, for over a decade. She joined the HeadsUp Board in 2016 and is a former Davidson middle school PTO President. Having been a vocal and active bond measure advocate, Whitney is pleased to see the fruition of this community work with new school buildings and upgrades throughout the district. Whitney has worked at Informa, a leading international events, intelligence and scholarly research firm, for nearly thirty years and is currently a project manager. Her two children attend San Rafael City Schools and are active in sports, art and music. 

 

Rachel Street 

Committed to ensuring all San Rafael City Schools students are provided opportunities through enrichment, Rachel joined the HeadsUp board in 2013. She was a HeadsUp site representative for two years at Glenwood elementary and has served on the HeadsUp mini grant committee, which she now chairs, since 2015. Rachel is a freelance content writer and has lived in San Rafael with her family since 2005.

 

Karena Posedel Whorton

A long-time supporter of HeadsUp, Karena joined the board in 2018. She has been a school counselor for more than two decades, serving in SRCS since 2002. She earned her BA in Psychology, MA in Counseling Psychology and MA in Educational Administration. She is currently a school counselor at Madrone High School. Karena is also a parent of two children in the district who attended Glenwood elementary. She was a member of the Glenwood School Foundation, served as a member of Glenwood School Site Council (SSC) and one year as its co-president. She, like many parents, also devotes much of her time as a school volunteer.

School Principal Liaisons

Cecelia Perez

Cecilia exemplifies unwavering commitment to the field of education and working to provide education equity. After 16 years of teaching at Bahia Vista elementary, Cecilia became the school’s principal in 2014. Cecilia is fully bilingual and biliterate in English and Spanish and for many years served as Biliteracy/SEAL Coach at Venetia Valley. Cecilia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University with a minor in Mexican American Studies. In 2000, she earned a Masters of Education in Instruction and Curriculum Design from Dominican University. Cecilia is a lifelong learner. After many years of teaching, she earned a second master's degree in Educational Leadership and also Administrative Services credential from San Francisco State University. Having served the Bahia Vista and Canal communities for the majority of her career, Cecilia feels immensely strong ties to the school, students and families of Bahia Vista. She views her role as principal as an opportunity to serve the school and community, which in turn inspires her to remain a fierce advocate for children and families. She is dedicated to providing a safe learning environment and high quality instructional program for all children. Outside of work, Cecilia is the proud mother of two sons. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, listening to all genres of music, exploring the beautiful Bay Area and cheering on the San Francisco Giants!  

Michael Taylor

Mike has been a member of the San Rafael community since 2009. He became Principal of Coleman elementary in 2016. Before becoming a principal, Mike was a teacher in Kentfield. He taught many grades, and teaching first-graders, in particular, has a special place in his heart. An active advocate for equity and social justice in schools, Mike developed an interest in serving on the HeadsUp Board soon after arriving in San Rafael City Schools. He enjoys spending time in nature and is also an avid photographer of people and places.