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Commissioners' Biographical Information

Biographies of the Advisory Commission on Charter Schools members.

Brian Bauer | Dr. Arturo Delgado | Ari Engelberg | Atyani Howard | Dr. John Porter
| Dr. Mark Ryan | Christopher Thomsen | Curtis L. Washington

Brian Bauer

Represents: Charter Schools

Brian Bauer began his tenure on the ACCS in 2008 and has been its chair since 2010. He is the Executive Director of Granada Hills Charter High School, an independent public school in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Since its conversion to independent charter status in 2003, the School's API has soared over 100 points to 878 (2012), the highest of any public comprehensive high school in Los Angeles. Granada Hills Charter is top school of choice with over 2,000 students on its annual wait list.

Granada Hills Charter is a 2011 California Distinguished School and an International Baccalaureate World School. The school's Academic Decathlon team claimed back-to-back National Championship titles in 2011 and 2012, the first ever charter school to do so. Signature programs include a required summer transition academy for in-coming 9th grade and new students and a year-round, NCAA-certified virtual program serving over 150 students.

Mr. Bauer is the Chair of the Executive Council of the LAUSD Charter Operated Programs Unit and of the CCSA's Member Council. He was recently named to the CCSA Board of Directors. He has served as an Executive Coach for various charter schools throughout the state and the L.A. Mayor's Partnership Schools. He taught English, Spanish and ESL for seven years in several Los Angeles Unified schools and was an assistant principal for almost three years in various high schools before becoming principal at Granada Hills High School in 2000 before the charter conversion.

He received his BA from Yale, a Masters from CSUDH and UCLA, and is still writing his PhD dissertation at UCLA. Between his teaching and administrative assignments, Mr. Bauer spent two years in Colombia, South America as a Fulbright Scholar, and during the 2007 summer, was on a special educational leadership project in Brazil under the auspices of the U.S. State Department and the Fulbright Association.

Mr. Bauer serves as a trustee on several education, community service, and family philanthropic Boards. He presently resides in Los Angeles. In his "free" time, Mr. Bauer plays paddle tennis at the beach and is an avid traveler.

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Dr. Arturo Delgado

Arturo Delgado, Ed.D., was appointed Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools by the Board of Supervisors in 2011, designating him as the top education leader of the nation’s most populous and diverse county. As county superintendent, he is responsible for ensuring the financial and academic stability of 80 K-12 school districts, which serve more than two million preschool and school-age children.

Previously superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District for 12 years, Dr. Delgado now serves as chief executive officer for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and as secretary to the County Board of Education. Among his top priorities is to improve educational programs and opportunities provided by LACOE to youth detained in the county's juvenile detention facilities.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Dr. Delgado began his education career more than 33 years ago as a bilingual teacher in the Baldwin Park and Rowland Unified School Districts. He has received numerous awards for institutional and community leadership, including Educator of the Year by Hispanic Heritage Magazine.

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Ari Engelberg

Mr. Engelberg is the Executive Director of Bright Star Schools in Los Angeles. Additionally, he sits on the Boards of Valley Charter Schools and Mr. Engelberg was a founding partner of the Los Angeles Social Venture Partners and has previously held positions on the boards of Bright Star Schools, Ethos Water, eTeamz, CoreObjects Software, the Sherman Oaks Nursery School, the Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund of Los Angeles, the Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles, and Jewish Big Brothers-Big Sisters.

In 1996, while attending graduate school at UCLA, Mr. Engelberg co-founded, which is now the Internet postage leader, commanding over 85% market share. Mr. Engelberg was responsible for venture capital relationships, regulatory relationships, and strategic partnerships. In 2000, he left to co-found Archive, Inc., a data storage services provider, which was sold in 2002. Mr. Engelberg then returned to his alma mater, Harvard-Westlake School, to teach American history and coach basketball for several years before becoming Bright Star Schools’ first Executive Director in late 2007.

Mr. Engelberg holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Psychology from UC Berkeley and a Juris Doctor and Masters of Business Administration from UCLA. He was appointed to the ACCS in November of 2012 to fill a two-year term already in progress which expires December 31, 2013.

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Atyani Howard

Atyani Howard is the Chief Academic Officer of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (CNCA), a network of eight high-performing PreK-12 charter schools in downtown Los Angeles. During her time as Chief Academic Officer, CNCA has produced strong academic outcomes for all students and successfully opened three new schools. As Chief Academic Officer, her primary focus is on developing a meaningful professional learning community where school leaders become outstanding instructional leaders. Her goal is to ensure that all Camino Nuevo schools provide excellent classroom instruction on a daily basis and that all students leave school prepared for college and career.

Mrs. Howard has been a teacher and administrator at CNCA since 2002. She served as Principal of Camino’s Burlington campus from 2006-2011, during which time performance on the Academic Performance Index increased by more than 120 points. During her tenure, the school also received a number of awards, including the Title 1 Academic Achievement Award (2010 and 2011), the California Association of Bilingual Education Seal of Excellence, the California Distinguished Schools Award, and the California Business for Education Excellence Award.

Mrs. Howard began her teaching career in the Chicago Public School System in 1997 and has also taught college-level English writing courses as an adjunct professor.  She serves on the Boards of Directors of the G.A.L.S. charter school and Pueblo Nuevo Development, a community redevelopment organization. Mrs. Howard holds a B.A. with honors in Multicultural studies and English and an M.A. in English with honors from Northwestern University.  She is also the proud parent of Quincy and Oliver, her fraternal twin sons who attend a charter school in Southern California.

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Dr. John Porter

Represents: District Superintendents

Dr. John Porter is currently the Superintendent of Schools in the Franklin-McKinley School District in San Jose, California. Formerly, he held the same position in Ridgewood, New Jersey as their Superintendent. Prior to his New Jersey experience, he was the Director, America's Choice School Design: High Schools at the National Center on Education and the Economy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing and enriching education and human resource institutions through policy analysis and development, institutional design, and technical services. There he led the implementation of the America's Choice School Design in 32 high schools and twelve districts around the country. He also coordinated three regional educational reform initiatives with business leaders and higher education partners. Most recently, he co-designed the Franklin-McKinley Children's Initiative (FMCI), which is a comprehensive educational reform and wrap-around service model within a cluster of schools in the highest poverty area in the district with over 40 agencies and community partners.

In addition to the above activities, he has studied and conducted tours of the workforce development and educational systems in Denmark, Germany, England, and Scotland. It is through these experiences that he learned the value of having a portfolio concept of different school designs within a jurisdiction all leading towards high standards (which is now Board policy in the Franklin-McKinley School District).

He is the past Chairperson, Santa Clara County Superintendent’s Association, and currently a member of ACSA’s State Superintendents Council.

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Dr. Mark Ryan

Represents: Charter Schools

Dr. Mark Ryan is currently the Superintendent of the North Valley Military Institute College Preparatory Academy and from 2007-2014 was the Commandant and then Superintendent of the Oakland Military Institute. He has taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels for more than 20 years in both catholic schools and public schools and he has been an elementary vice principal, high school vice principal, and high school principal. He was the principal of St. Matthias High School in Downey, CA when they were recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Mark holds a BA in Liberal Arts and Masters in Educational Administration, both from Mount Saint Mary's College in Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Southern California. He also holds California Multiple Subject, Single Subject, and Designated Subjects credentials as well as a California Administrative Services credential.

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Christopher Thomsen

Chris Thomsen was elected to the board of the Sequoia Union High School District in 2009.  The district serves more than 9,000 students in southern San Mateo County, who attend four comprehensive high schools, four charter schools, and a continuation high school within the district.  He is also a member of the Delegate Assembly of the California School Boards Association.

Mr. Thomsen is the executive director of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences at Stanford University, an organization he helped launch in 2004. Over the past 15 years his focus has been largely on institutional planning efforts of the University, leading initiatives such as the President’s Commission on Technology, Teaching and Learning. For three years he took leave from Stanford to serve as a principal in an early-stage investment group. Capitalizing on technology transfer from UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, he co-founded four biotech companies, and served as president and CEO of one of these, Tao Biosciences.

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Curtis L. Washington

Represents: Teachers

Curtis L. Washington, an educator for 23 years, is a physics teacher at Mills High School in Millbrae in the San Mateo Union High School District.

Mr. Washington was reappointed to the ACCS for another two-year term commencing January 2013. Mr. Washington is a strong advocate for public education and a former member of the California State Board of Education.

His work with the California Teachers Association (CTA) includes serving as chair of the union’s high school restructuring task force, as a member of the CTA workgroup on educational change, and as the union’s liaison to Cal-OSHA. He was appointed by former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin to a committee on the state’s high school exit exam.

He earned his teaching credential and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Princeton University, and a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University. He is a former engineer for United Airlines and a former management consultant.

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Questions: Charter Schools Division | | 916-322-6029 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, February 12, 2015

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