Greetings from the Executive Director

Thank you for visiting Bridge the Gap College Prep’s website. It is an honor and privilege to serve as Executive Director. I am grateful to work alongside our outstanding board members who are committed to guiding the long-term success of the organization while helping to develop the financial resources needed to ensure Bridge the Gap College Prep remains in strong fiscal health.

Our vision is to ensure that all of our Bridge the Gap College Prep students are prepared to succeed and graduate from college.

The ability of at-risk students to strive and succeed in a challenging environment drives the work of our Board of Directors, staff and volunteers. Based on extensive research and our results, we know that offering Marin City youth an opportunity to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through a college education will change their lives and their family’s lives forever.

Since we expanded operations and
opened our high school program
in 2012, 100% of our high school
seniors have graduated high school
and matriculated to college.

Our dedicated teachers and volunteers focus on developing the academic skills, personal characteristics and family support our students need to succeed in college. We strive to do this in the most cost effective manner and collaborate with schools and other agencies to provide the support our students need to reach their full potential.

We are humbled by our generous donors, volunteers and Advisory Council who enable us to support our hard working students. Thanks to our donors, every year, we are able to raise the funds needed to meet the organization’s operating expenses. We operate efficiently due to our dedicated team of volunteer tutor-mentors who represent 36% of our total workforce hours.

AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE ARE SUCCEEDING. Since we expanded operations and opened our high school program in 2012, 100% of our high school seniors have graduated high school and matriculated to college. The laser focus of our programming is to continue this success.

I thank all who have stepped up to provide the support and resources needed to create our growing community of college bound students. I look forward to working together to continue empowering Marin City students to create a dream and develop the skills to reach it!


All my best,

Laura Cox
Executive Director


Board Members

Kevin Johnson, Board Chair
Vice President, Portfolio Manager and Analyst for Dodge & Cox

Kevin is a Vice President, Portfolio Manager and Analyst for Dodge & Cox, one of the country’s largest independent investment management firms. He joined Dodge & Cox in 1989 and is a shareholder of the firm. In addition to working with many of Dodge & Cox’s non-profit clients, he is a member of the firm’s Charitable Giving Committee and has served on a number of non-profit boards. He is also currently on the board of the San Francisco Zoological Society, The Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco and a member of the Stanford Business School Trust Endowment Fund. He received his B.A. degree from Harvard College in 1984 and his M.B.A. degree from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1989.

Jani Ross, Vice Chair
Former Associate Head of School at the Branson School

Jani has been an educator all of her professional life. She earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and continued her graduate work in Education at Mills College. Jani has taught at the middle school and high school level in both public and independent schools. She was Associate Head of School at the Branson School for nine years. She has served on the board of Trustees and as a consultant to the Board of several local schools. As a partner with McClure, Mallory, Baron & Ross, Jani heads the college counseling department where she works with families of college bound students. Students who have learning disabilities and/or ADHD are an especially important part of her practice. Jani has served on WASC Visiting Committees, conducts workshops for parents and counselors and participates in professional development sessions for the Western Association of College Admission Counseling (WACAC). She sets time aside each year to visit colleges as a way to stay current with colleagues and campuses.

Sheryl Ott, Secretary
Serves on the parent association boards for Marin County Day School and The Urban School of San Francisco

Sheryl has actively supported both public and private education in Marin County for over 10 years, formerly serving as board President for the Foundation for Reed Schools and the Belvedere Hawthorne Nursery School. She currently serves on the parent association boards for Marin Country Day School and The Urban School of San Francisco. Sheryl’s involvement with Bridge the Gap College Prep, as the Founding President of the Advisory Council and member of the Board of Directors, is a natural extension of her interest in closing the education gap in Marin County and her passion for community welfare. Together with the Advisory Council, Sheryl works to promote the BTGCP programs, increase the organization’s visibility, collaborate with like-minded philanthropies and develop deeper community understanding. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Oregon State University. Sheryl lives in Tiburon with her husband and their two children.


Kathy Jones, Treasurer
Assistant Head of School for Finance and Operations at Marin County Day School

Kathy is the Assistant Head of School for Finance and Operations at Marin Country Day School. Kathy and her husband recently relocated to the Bay Area from New York City, where she served as Director of Finance and Operations at The Spence School from 2008 to 2011. Prior to that, she spent four years at Kent School, first as Controller and Director of Business Services and then as acting Chief Financial Officer. She holds a B.S. in Accounting from Duke University and an M.B.A. from The University of Chicago. 

Paul Austin Jr.
Director for Manzanita Marin City Recreation Center

Paul Austin Jr. was born and raised in Marin City, California. After graduating from Tamalpais High School, Paul attended Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, for 4 years where he majored in early childhood education. In 2004 he returned home to Marin City as Director of the Marin City Recreation Center. His work with the youth, teens and adults of Marin City, and surrounding communities includes intramural sports activities including softball and basketball, young men’s groups implemented around mentoring youth and dealing with behavioral issues, and strong partnerships with community organizations, the Sausalito/Marin City School District and several county agencies all with the goal to guide our children with a positive light. Paul graduated from Dominican University in May 2014 with a BS in Psychology. 

Bonnie Brown
Bridge the Gap College Prep Advisory Council President

Bonnie chaired Bridge the Gap College Prep’s 2016 Vines & Vision gala and has served on the BTGCP Advisory Council since its inception. She served on the Discovery Museum Council, helped found the Book Fair at Marin Horizon School, served on the Parent Council at Little Red School House, and helped initiate the Chadwick School Diversity Council. She was a member of the Mel Wong Dance Company, taught dance at the 92nd Street Y, Walden School, Hunter College, and gave master classes at various U.S. universities. Bonnie owned a greeting card company, Cards With Character, illustrating and writing copy.  She was a dance major at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  

Denni Brusseau
Co-Founder of Bridge the Gap College Prep

Denni Brusseau is the Co-Founder of Bridge the Gap College Prep. Her desire to help children reach their fullest potential can be seen in the agency’s growth and program expansion. Denni has over 30 years of business experience in retail management with Macy’s that she brings to her position as Executive Director from 1995 to 2015. Born and raised in Marin County, California, she graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Liberal Arts and Social Welfare.

Ned Klingelhofer
President of Bitterroot Enterprises, trustee of Main Academy and the BridgeBuilders Foundation

Ned received a BA in Political Science from Brown University in 1989 and a MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA in 1994. For the next 20 years Ned worked at the firm SF Sentry Investment Management as an equity analyst, trader and a portfolio manger for one of the firm’s hedge funds. Ned currently has his own investment advisory business, Bitterroot Enterprises.  Ned serves as a trustee for the Bridgebuilders Foundation, he is on the board of Marin Academy as well as Bridge the Gap College Prep.

Jon R. Love
Executive Recruiter, Investor, Philanthropist and Family Guy

Jon has been an active supporter of education and family related causes, and has a particular interest in helping kids in need.  He has run his own retained executive search business for the past 18 years, focusing on helping venture capital funded Internet startups build senior management teams in high growth, rapidly changing environments.  Along the way he has invested in and worked with many amazing entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and new businesses, from Hotmail back in the early days of the Internet to Facebook, LinkedIn, StubHub and over 70 others along the way.  Jon has a B.S. in Psychology, Minor in Business Administration, from The Pennsylvania State University.  Jon is a resident of Mill Valley, CA, where he is happily married and the proud father of two sons, and often found coaching basketball, running, biking and enjoying the natural beauty of Marin County.

Luis A. Ottley, Ed.D.
Head of School at Marin Horizon School

Luis is Head of School at Marin Horizon School in Mill Valley since 2011. He was the Principal of Middle School at Fieldston School in New York City for four years, responsible for the leadership and operation of close to 400 middle school students and approximately 60 faculty and staff members. He was the Middle School Director at University Preparatory Academy in Seattle for two years and spent four years as Assistant Head of the Lower School (315 students) at The Shipley School near Philadelphia. Luis began his career with ten years in Maryland schools, the first three at West Nottingham Academy, and the next seven years at The Bullis School in Potomac, MD as a teacher, Director of the Summer Institute, Foreign Studies Program, and Assistant Admissions Director. He received his B.A. degree from Allegheny College, his MBA from Johns Hopkins Univeristy and his Ed.D from the University of Pennsylvania.

Lori Shannon
Former educator at the Ursuline School in New Rochelle, NY

Lori moved to the Bay Area 10 years ago, having lived the majority of her life in Westchester County, NY. As an educator, she taught at the Ursuline School in New Rochelle, NY, having two separate tenures; the first, teaching Physical Education and Health, the second, focusing on reading and language development. As a community volunteer in Marin County, she has been active in her children’s school (MCDS, San Domenico and The Urban School of San Francisco), the Marin Literacy Program and Aim High. Lori is also active as an annual fund solicitor for her alma mater, Skidmore College. Lori graduated with a BS degree and teaching certification for grades K-12 in Physical Education and Health. She has completed 24 credit hours in a Special Education Masters Program. She enjoys the outdoors, travel, but most of all, making a difference in the lives of children through education. Lori lives in Tiburon with her husband. Her children reside in Manhattan. 

Florence Williams
Vocational Education to Adults teacher through the Marin County Office of Education’s ROP Program

Florence Williams is a founding board member of Bridge the Gap. As a secondary education teacher, she taught or many years in San Francisco high schools. Currently, she is teaching Vocational Education to Adults through the Marin County Office of Education’s ROP Program.She also serves as Chairperson for two other agencies in the community – Marin City Community Development Corp, and the Community Land Corp (part owners of the Shopping Center the Ridgeway Apartment Complex). Since the late seventies, she has lived in Marin City and for most of those years she has been a member of Peoples Inter-Cities Fellowship Church. She takes great joy in working with Pastor Small and serving in the Singing and Prayer Ministries, where she also serves as chairperson of the Women’s Department.


Kathy J. Williams
Marin County Human Rights Commissioner

Kathy J. Williams received her B.A. from Stanford University and her M.B.A. from the University of Southern California in international business. In 2009 she helped startup and run as COO Vivo Girls Sports, Inc. Prior to vivoGS, Kathy worked as the senior consultant for MJCalhoun Consulting. She has over 20 years of varied management experience in personnel, regulatory and government affairs including working as Director for International and Regulatory Affairs in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles for Flying Tigers and Federal Express. She also served as Director of Admissions at Marin Horizon School. Currently she is a Marin County Human Rights Commissioner, serves on the board of the Carlston Family Foundation, and has served on the boards of The National Conference for Community and Justice, Marin Horizon School, and The Mountain Play Association.

Robert Hunter, Founding Board Members/Emeritus
Registered Investment Advisor

Bob is a Registered Investment Advisor based in Marin, with clients throughout the Bay Area. Prior to that, he worked as a stockbroker for some of Wall Street’s largest firms. He brings more than twenty years of investment experience to his wealth management work. He is a Founding Board member of Bridge the Gap. He has a special interest in at-risk youth and brings personal insight to the challenges they face. He has a Bachelor of Science Business Administration degree from Dominican University and he completed the Certified Portfolio Management Program at the Investment Institute.

Our Staff

For well over a decade, BTGCP operated as an entirely volunteer-driven community based organization. To support substantial program and organizational growth in recent years, BTGCP has grown to a staff of four (Executive Director, Educational Director, Director of Development and Communications and a Volunteer Manager), nine part-time teachers and dozens of volunteer Mentor-Tutors.

Jennifer Nichols
Volunteer Manager, August 2011 – Present

Jennifer has a deep commitment to improving education as evidenced by her tenure as Chair of the Business Campaign and Community Relations for the Tamalpais High School foundation. In this capacity Jennifer built relationships with businesses, organized community outreach strategies and managed the implementation of school improvement programs. In addition, Jennifer served on the Marin Country Day School Parent Board for eight years. In her various capacities, including as trustee, President of the Parent Board and Vice President of Fundraising, Jennifer was responsible for overseeing, coordinating and supporting 50 parents on the parent board and managing 25,000 volunteer hours annually.

Jennifer is responsible for volunteer recruitment, screening and management.

B.A. Colgate University
Masters in Public Health, Population and Family Health, Columbia University

Jeannine Doherty
After School Program Teacher Grade 4, March 2010

Jeannine is a founding Teacher in our After School Program. She brings over twelve years teaching experience with grades Pre School- 5th, primarily with Pre-3rd grade. Jeanine is a K-2 Literacy Specialist, adding an expertise particularly important with early learners. Originally our K-2 teacher, her experience with the beginning grades allows her to identify foundational gaps and provide focused and effective interventions and as well as accelerated academic support for her high performing students. Jeannine is warm and welcoming to her students and committed to their academic and personal growth and success.

B.S. Chico State University
California Multiple Subject Clear/CLAD Teaching Credential San Francisco State University

Hope Feldman
After School Program Teacher Grade 4, August 2013

Hope’s experience with Americorps Reading Partners working as the Site Director at Bayside Elementary School makes her a great addition to Team BTGCP. Hope has extensive experience working with the children in Marin City and possesses a deep understanding for the challenges and barriers faced by the students and community . She is sensitive to cultural differences and knows how to support children through challenging situations.

B.A. Sociology, Minor in Education, University of California, Davis
Currently enrolled in Teaching Credential Program for Multiple Subject and Special Education, Dominican University of California

Joann DiSano
After School Program Teacher Grade 5, September 2012

B.A. Sociology, Loyola Marymount
Masters in Literacy and Language Arts, Loyola Marymount School of Education
California Teaching Credential, Single Subject English

Elizabeth Bamberg-Guzman
Evening Program Teacher 1-3, September 2009

Liz joined Bridge the Gap as our Teacher/Coach for grades K-6, and is currently our 1-3 Grade Teacher/Coach in the Evening Program. Liz is a credentialed teacher with 25 years teaching experience, primarily in underserved communities in San Francisco. She is a Bilingual Spanish teacher and has many years of experience working with recently arrived Spanish speaking families in the Bay Area. Currently at Yick Wo Elementary School in San Francisco, she also taught a 4/5th combination classroom at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy with a Full Inclusion Program from 2003-2008. Liz has also worked with Linking San Francisco, as the Professional Development Coordinator for Service Learning, a SFUSD teacher development program for project based service learning.

B.A. Indiana University
Multiple Subjects Clear/CLAD Credential San Francisco State University
Liz has been working at Holy Names University on a Masters and certificate in Educational Therapy.

Isaias Franco
High School Program Lead Teacher and Advisor, August 2012

Isaias comes to BTGCP with over 7 years in the education field. He is During the day, Mr. Franco is a resource teacher for the Novato Unified School District and has his Master’s in Education. Mr. Franco grew up in Southern California and moved to the Bay Area two years ago to implement new high school programs for special education students. Mr. Franco enjoys outdoor activities and pushing students to reach their full potential. Mr. Franco is a first generation college graduate and wants to assist students so they can experience the gift of higher education.

B.A. Social Sciences, California State University of San Marcos
Masters in Special Education National University, Carlsbad, California
Special Education Credential National University, Carlsbad, California

David Snaith
High School Program Mathematics Teacher, January 2013

B.A. Mathematics, Humboldt State University
Single Subject Credential Mathematics San Francisco State University

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