Our Board of Directors is a talented group of local community leaders with expertise in a wide range of areas, including school development, youth equity programming, fundraising and development, international education, community relationships and organizing.
Yensi Jacobo is passionate about ensuring young people have the resources, support systems, and spaces they need in order to succeed and feel seen. In 2007, Yensi became the first in her family to graduate high school and in 2011 she earned her bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy with a minor in Gender Studies from the University of San Diego. Yensi earned her master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Societal Change from Soka University of America. In May 2020, she joined Petaluma People Services Center as Director of PEACE, where she is committed to serve and uplift as many young people as possible. Yensi believes that when we acknowledge and center those who are not being adequately served by existing systems we are able to move forward to create opportunities anchored in equitable access to resources and capital. In her free time, Yensi enjoys traveling abroad, trying new foods, playing tennis, reading novels, volunteering in the community, and hanging out with her 8-year-old nephew.
Beth Fox, MNA, has a strong background in helping educational institutions and nonprofits find ways to increase revenue, build community partnerships and connect to their stakeholders. . With 30 years of experience in private, public and residential schools, as well as family foundations and nonprofit organizations, Beth has been successful in helping organizations achieve more with less by focusing on development strategies and processes. Her background includes fundraising, marketing, finance, and strategic planning.
Jeanne Kearns is a Sonoma County native with nearly two decades of development experience. She currently works as Executive Director of the American Heart Association’s North Bay operations. Jeanne is committed to building high quality, impactful relationships and believes passionately in a culture of health for the North Bay where healthy choices are equitable, accessible, and easy to make and where everyone in North Bay can live their best life, without worrying they are one heartbeat away from heart disease or stroke. Before joining the AHA, Jeanne was the Vice President of Resource Development with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin, preceded by nearly a decade with the University of California, Santa Barbara where she was responsible for diversifying revenue streams for sustainable and strategic growth.
She has served in development roles with Bay Area arts and education non-profits including California Film Institute, San Francisco Film Society and Stanford Jazz Workshop.
Vanessa Luna Shannon is a second generation Mexican-American who was born and raised in the Napa Valley and East Bay, and has been serving and supporting marginalized students for over 20 years. She is committed to preparing historically underrepresented students to complete their college education and advance into positions of leadership in the community. With an education in Clinical Psychology and training in mental health care, she has experience working in several community based organizations and schools as a substance abuse counselor, youth case manager, and multi-disciplinary program manager for families affected by the criminal justice system. In March of 2013, Vanessa was hired by Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) to be the Director of the Gateway to College Academy, a Petaluma City Schools charter high school located at SRJC Petaluma. The Gateway to College Academy sunsetted in spring 2020 and since then, SRJC has committed to grow early college credit pathways, including dual enrollment, and placed Vanessa at the helm. In addition to her work at SRJC, Vanessa is a board member for Petaluma Health Center, a committee member on the City of Petaluma Transit Advisory Committee, and contributes to equity initiatives for vulnerable communities. As a mother of three, everyday she strives to raise compassionate, courageous, and socially conscious agents of change.
Karen McGahey is retired from the Sonoma County Office of Education after 29 years in the field. She was a Director in Educational Support Services, wearing multiple hats, including being the director of Arts Education. Before becoming a member of ESS at SCOE, she served as a principal of several elementary schools, 15 years of which were in Petaluma City Schools. Karen is also a Fellow with the National Equity Project, and has supported many schools and districts throughout Sonoma County in the pursuit of policies and procedures that build academic structures that give ALL students access and opportunity to achieve his/her academic and social-emotional potential. She continues to work as a coach, supporting new principals’ growth grounded in the California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders. She is a member of the Sonoma County Arts Education Alliance, which in 2019, wrote the Sonoma County Arts Education Template. She works with Creative Sonoma overseeing grants for districts to use the template to create custom arts education plans. She has already provided consultancy to three districts and three schools to create their plans, and is about to provide consultancy to another round of grantees. She is the proud parent of three adults sons, their wives, and seven grandchildren.