Commissioners' Biographical InformationBiographies of the Advisory Commission on Charter Schools members.
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.
Mr. Engelberg is the Executive Director of Bright Star Schools in Los Angeles. Additionally, he sits on the Boards of Valley Charter Schools and 1in6.org. 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 Stamps.com, 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 Stamps.com 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.
Jon R. Gundry is the Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. He was appointed by the Board of Education in July 2014.Previously the Superintendent of Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), Mr. Gundry has more than three decades of experience as a teacher, principal, and instructional leader. Prior to his tenure with PUSD, Gundry served as Deputy Superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) from 2008 to 2010. Gundry was appointed Interim Superintendent of LACOE in September 2010. As Chief Executive Officer for LACOE and Secretary of the County Board of Education, he was responsible for the financial and academic success of 80 school districts serving over two million children, with $16 billion in school district funding. Before joining LACOE in February 2008, Mr. Gundry served in the Houston, Texas, Independent School District beginning in 1982. His tenure there included 12 years as an administrator, ultimately serving as an executive principal overseeing 17 campuses in a high school feeder system. A 16-year classroom teacher, Mr. Gundry taught English, Spanish, and English as a Second Language in both middle and high school. Mr. Gundry earned a Bachelor of Science in English and Spanish from Northern Arizona University in 1978 and an M.Ed. in Administration from Houston Baptist University in 1996. He was awarded the Texas Excellence Award for outstanding high school teachers in 1989. A Fulbright Scholar, he spent a year teaching in Nicosia, Cyprus, in 1990.
He is a fluent speaker of Spanish, and spent one of his high school years as a foreign exchange student in Bolivia.
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.
Represents: District Board Members
Caitlin O’Halloran was elected to the Dixon Unified School District Board of Trustees in December 2013. Caitlin is the co- founder of the Dixon Montessori Charter School (DMCS), a parent/community-run, site-based, K-8 school. From 2004-2011 she sat on the board of the DMCS where she also served as the school director for one year.
Caitlin began her career with the California State Legislature in 1990 and has developed a professional background in education policy. Her experience includes work for the California Department of Education as a Legislative Representative and as a Legislative Consultant specializing in education for then-Assemblymember Susan Davis. Caitlin staffed Assemblymember Davis’ landmark special education funding reform measure, AB 602, which became law in 1998.
Currently, Caitlin works for Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) as her District Director. In this role she staffs Senator Wolk on education and other legislative issues in addition to leading constituent and local government outreach efforts.
Caitlin graduated from Mills College with a BA in Government and resides in her hometown of Dixon. Caitlin lives with her son Jess who received his elementary and middle school education at DMCS and who now attends Dixon High School.
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.
Represents: District Superintendents
Wesley Sever, Ed.D., is the Superintendent of Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District. He received a Master’s in Educational Leadership from California University, Fresno, and finished his Doctorate in Education from the University of California, Davis.
Dr. Sever began his experiences as a Bilingual Spanish Tutor, then taught 4th, 7th, and 8th grades before becoming an administrator. Dr. Sever spent 14 years in Sanger Unified working as a vice-principal and then as principal. During his time in Sanger, Dr. Sever's school was named a California Distinguished School and a National Blue Ribbon School. Dr. Sever was also a finalist for the Fresno County Administrator of the Year.
In 2009, Dr. Sever received national recognition when he was presented with the Terrel H. Bell Award for excellence in educational leadership. Just before coming to the Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District, Dr. Sever served as an Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.
Dr. Sever has been a member of ACSA since 2001. He served as the Region IX ACSA president in 2015, the Area Curriculum and Instruction representative in 2013, and was the ACSA Region IX Public Relations Representative in 2014.
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.