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,

LauraCox-signature

Laura Cox
Executive Director

 

Board Members

Kevin Johnson, Board Chair

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.

 

Kathy J. Williams, Vice Chair

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.  

 

Jani Ross, Secretary

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.  

 

Ned Klingelhofer, Treasurer

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.

 

 

Paul Austin Jr.

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, President, Advisory Council

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

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.

 

Kathy Jones

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.

 

Jon R. Love

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.

 

Sheryl Ott

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.

 

Luis A. Ottley, Ed.D.

Luis is Head of School at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Atlanta, GA.  Previously, he was Head of School at Marin Horizon School in Mill Valley for six years. 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.

 

Alyene Schneidewind

Alyene Schneidewind is a Transformation Executive and Strategist, with more than 20 years in the technology industry.  Currently, Alyene is the Vice President of Strategic Alliances leading Salesforce’s most innovative partnerships.  She has also held leadership roles in Strategy, Consulting, Professional Services and Human Resources.

A Michigan native, Alyene earned a degree in Social Relations from Michigan State University.  She currently lives in Tiburon, California with her husband and two daughters. Alyene and her family love the outdoors, Bay Area sports and are passionate advocates of the Paley Institute, a nonprofit that provides medical care for rare pediatric orthopedic conditions. In her local community, she has served as a board member of the Belvedere Tiburon Child Care Center, and a coach for Tiburon Girls Softball.  She also serves as an advocate for Genesys Works students, a non-profit and social enterprise, changing the trajectory of life for disadvantaged high school students through meaningful work experiences.

 

Lori Shannon

Lori moved to the Bay Area 16 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

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.

 

Robert Hunter, Founding Board Member/Emeritus

 Bob is a Co-Founder of Bridge the Gap. He has a special interest in at-risk youth and brings personal insight to the challenges they face. He 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 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

Laura Cox, Executive Director

BTGCP’s Executive Director was chair of BTGCP’s Board during the creation of the strategic plan and oversees programmatic implementation in partnership with both BTGCP’s K-8 Scholars Director, William Woods, and High School and College Success Director, Andy Robles. Laura has dedicated much of her work in the last 15 years to education and youth, with an emphasis in Marin County. She brings a wide range of managerial skills from her experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors.  She previously worked as Development Director for World of Children, President of The Reed Schools Foundation, and as a strategic consultant for numerous nonprofits.  Before working in the nonprofit sector, Laura was employed at Del Monte Foods in Brand Management and at Avon Products in Strategic Planning. She received her MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and her BA from the University of CA, Santa Barbara.

 

William Woods, K-8 Scholars Director

An experienced education professional with a wide range of experience with non-profits, management, youth leadership development, and counseling, William hails from Memphis, TN where he was most recently an Academic Advisor with KIPP Memphis Collegiate Schools.  KIPP is a non-profit network of college-preparatory, public charter schools featured in the film Waiting for Superman. KIPP Collegiate Schools serve elementary, middle, and high school students, preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and life. William holds an MA in Education – Curriculum Design from Union University and a BS in Business Administration from Mississippi Valley State University. William is responsible for developing and implementing all proposed K-8th grade programming, based in part on his past experience developing and running service-oriented project based learning programs.

 

Andy Robles, High School and College Success Director

Andy was born and raised in Southern California and grew up in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood where he encountered many barriers to his academic success.  The youngest son of immigrant parents from Mexico, he became the first in his family to graduate college with a BA in Psychology from California State University, San Bernardino in 2006.  Andy began his career in nonprofit at Goodwill Industries as a case manager for people with disabilities, then as a job developer for underrepresented people in the San Bernardino and Los Angeles communities. He then worked as an elementary school teacher and administrator at a small private school in Orange County, CA where he fulfilled his desire to be an educator for four years.  Andy then received an MBA from the University of Redlands, after which he took a position at the Simon Family Foundation, a nonprofit youth development and college access program.  As the Director of Programs, he was responsible for the long-term success of over 200 high school students and several hundred more college students across the country.

 

Naiesha Luckey, Volunteer Coordinator and Case Manager

Naiesha is an experienced education professional that has worked in education for many years serving the communities here in the Bay Area and Sacramento Area. She worked in K-12 schools in various roles. Her experience includes teaching, student advising and case management, community outreach, teacher training and curriculum development. Most recently she worked as an educational consultant providing academic coaching, mentoring, training and leading the professional development of teachers.

Prior to her work as a consultant, Naiesha dedicated her time to being a classroom teacher and academic Liaison at St. Martin de Porres located in Oakland, Ca where she worked for 5 years teaching Fourth Grade and supporting the Extended Day Program as the Academic Liaison. She completed her undergraduate studies at California State University, Sacramento where she completed her degree in Ethnic Studies and Child Psychology. She also possesses a graduate degree in Education from National University where she specialized in transformative education and U.S Education in a global context.

 

Bonnie Kirkpatrick, Director of Development and Communications

An experienced sales and fundraising professional, Bonnie previously worked in development for Bioneers, an environmental non-profit, and led numerous Annual Fund campaigns at local independent schools in Marin County.  She spent 15 years in executive sales in the Information Management industry in New York and San Francisco before moving into the nonprofit sector.  She strongly believes in the power of education and personal connection to increase opportunities for low-income communities.  Bonnie received her BA in Communications and French from the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

 

Cheryl Finley, Data Manager and Development Associate

 

Paige Thomas, Director of Events 

Jenny Peng, Operations Director 

Maria Eriksson, Program Assistant


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