Steering Committee


Lynne H. Brown, Ph.D., Non-profit consultant

Lynne H. Brown utilizes twenty five years of experience in software and semi-conductor companies to assist non-profits with program evaluation and outcome research and fundraising. Selected volunteer activities include: Board of Directors, Fairground Heritage Foundation of Santa Clara County; San Jose Arts Commissioner; Grant Evaluator, The 100 Women Foundation, and Secretary Elect, Los Gatos Morning Rotary; past Trustee and continuing volunteer for the San Jose Museum of Art; and past founding Director of Community Outreach, Silicon Valley Business Travel Association.  Recipient of District 7 Certificate of Appreciation for Community Involvement and Service to the Santee Neighborhood, Dr. Brown plays a key role in the ongoing revitalization of the Santee Community in South San Jose. Dr. Brown also serves as an occasional advisor to several Silicon Valley start-up social enterprises. In addition, she is the Associate Director for Evaluation and Outreach of the Sunday Friends Foundation. Dr. Brown holds a BS and MS in Experimental Psychology and a PhD in Applied Statistics from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. She and her husband, a Senior Scientist at NASA Ames, are long-time residents of Almaden Valley.

Juan Cruz

Juan Cruz,  Franklin-McKinley School District

FMSD Superintendent Juan Cruz has called San Jose home for the past 24 years. He attended San Jose State University where he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science and a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership. Mr. Cruz completed his student teaching at Yerba Buena High School and subsequently was hired to teach Social Science at Yerba Buena High School. After teaching for seven years, Mr. Cruz left Yerba Buena High School as he accepted the position of Associate Principal of Educational Development at Piedmont Hills High School. Shortly thereafter, he returned to serve for nearly seven years as Principal at Yerba Buena High School.  He was appointed as Superintendent for Franklin-McKinley School District in July 2015.

Chris Funk

Chris Funk, East Side Union High School District

Chris Funk is the East Side Union High School District Superintendent and a native of San Jose who received his MA in Social Science from San Jose State University in 1991. His career in education started in the classroom as a teacher at Yerba Buena High School. Eighteen of his 22 years in education were with the San Jose Unified School District where Chris served for five years as the Principal of Lincoln High School. During Chris’ tenure, Lincoln High School earned a 21st Century School of Distinction, Lighthouse Award, California Distinguished School Award, a six-year WASC accreditation and improved its API score by 30 points to close the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students by 106 points, a 40% decrease in the gap. He has also spent time as Director of Human Resources and Assistant Superintendent, Division of Instruction. Chris resides in San Jose with his wife Leslie, a chemistry teacher at Leland High School and their two sons, a freshman and senior at Lincoln High School.

Greg Kepferle

Greg Kepferle, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County

Greg Kepferle has been CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County since 2005. Prior to that he was Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Santa Fe, New Mexico and at Catholic Charities of the East Bay. Greg earned a BA in Philosophy/Peace Education from St. Louis University, an MA in Philosophy from Loyola University/Chicago and Master of Divinity degree in 1987 from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. He has demonstrated effectiveness in building and sustaining relationships with parish communities and outside partners and he has successfully advocated at the national, state and local levels on housing and human service issues. Since he has been at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, he has taken a leadership role in the community in addressing the root causes of poverty through the “Campaign to Cut Poverty in Half by 2020”. Under his leadership, programs and services that directly serve the poor and needy have expanded by 50% and advocacy and social policy —to address the root causes of poverty— have been strengthened.

Dr. Mary Ann Dewan

Dr. Many Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County of Education

Dr. Mary Ann Dewan is the County Superintendent of Schools for the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Dr. Dewan is recognized for her expertise and experience in early learning, data driven decision-making, special education, education reform, and change leadership. She is passionate about equity, social justice and is a champion of quality educational opportunities. She has served in the roles of Deputy Superintendent, Chief Schools Officer, Assistant Superintendent, Executive Director, Director of Special Education, principal, and teacher. Dr. Dewan has served as an adjunct professor in the areas of special education, educational leadership, and teacher preparation.

HaNhi L. Tran

HaNhi L. Tran, Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office

HaNhi L. Tran currently serves as a Deputy District Attorney for the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. Ms. Tran earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard University in 2006 and her Law Degree from UCLA in 2010. Ms. Tran joined the District Attorney’s Office in 2012, where she has worked on the Major Narcotics Vendor Prosecution Unit, Family Violence Unit, and the Community Prosecution Unit. In 2017, Ms. Tran was presented with the George W. Kennedy Excellence in Prosecution Award from the San Jose Police Department. Prior to joining the District Attorney’s Office, Ms. Tran served as a C.V. Starr Lecturer of Law at Peking University School of Transnational Law, in Shenzhen, China. She hails from Garden Grove and Westminster, diverse towns in Southern California similar to San Jose.

Eddie Truong

Eddie Truong, The Silicon Valley Organization

Eddie Truong is the Sr. Manager of Public Policy and Workforce Development at The silicon valley organization (The SVO), an industry association of 1,400+ business members. Prior to joining The SVO, Eddie did government relations and education policy advocacy at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a trade association of 400+ businesses. Eddie is an East Side alumnus and lifelong resident of San Jose, graduating from Evergreen Valley High School and earning his B.A. in Asian American Studies from the University of California, Davis. Through his community service, Eddie serves as Chair of the East Side Career Pathways advisory board and is on the Steering Committee of the Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative.

Sara Reyes

Sara Reyes, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County

Sara Reyes is the Director of the Children, Youth, and Family Development Division at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. Ms. Reyes has been with CCSCC for 11 years and manages over 25 contracts with the Division budget exceeding 4 million dollars. Ms. Reyes holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts from The National Hispanic University and a Masters in Public Administration from San Jose State University. Some of her active memberships include the Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative Governance Board, and Los Padrinos Board for the Washington United Youth Center. Ms. Reyes volunteers at St. John Vianney School, Alum Rock Little League, and the Police Athletic League’s Berryessa Cougars Football. 

Jolene Smith

Jolene Smith, FIRST 5 of Santa Clara County

Jolene Smith is the Chief Executive Officer of FIRST 5 Santa Clara County. Since the passage of Proposition 10 in 1998, Jolene has been instrumental in establishing FIRST 5 as an organization that supports the healthy development of children prenatal through age five and enriches the lives of their families and communities throughout Santa Clara County. During her tenure as Chief Executive Officer, FIRST 5 has been recognized for its leadership on ensuring that the healthy development of our youngest children is viewed as a high priority in the county. Through her efforts, she has worked to engage and unite the community through strategic partnerships and collaborations to tackle challenging issues such as children’s health insurance, early literacy, high-quality early education, screening and assessment for developmental delays, model court programs, and a cross-disciplinary, cross-sector community of learning. Under her leadership, FIRST 5 has worked closely with policymakers and elected officials at the federal, state, and local level to create the necessary change in our laws and in our politics to improve the lives of the people in the community.

Thanh Tran

Thanh Tran, Franklin-McKinley School District Board

Thanh Tran was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Franklin-McKinley Elementary School District in 2014. He was born and raised in San Jose and attended Franklin-McKinley schools from Kindergarten to 8th grade. He is currently Board Clerk, Chair of the Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative Steering Committee, and Board Representative on the Budget Advisory Committee as well as the East Side Alliance Advisory Steering Committee.



Angel Rios, Deputy City Manager

Angel Rios, Deputy City Manager

Angel Rios Bio coming soon!






Maya Esparza, Dist. 7 Council Member

Maya Esparza, Dist. 7 Council Member

Maya Esparza Bio coming soon!






Maimona Afzal Berta, FMSD Board

Maimona Afzal Berta, FMSD Board

Maimona Afzal Berta Bio coming soon!




Founding Members


Madison Nguyen, Former Vice-Mayor of San José, Member of the San Jose City Council 2005-2014

Madison Nguyen was the first Vietnamese American to serve on the city council of any major metropolitan area in the United States. On January 25, 2011, Nguyen was sworn in as San Jose’s first Vietnamese American Vice Mayor. During her time serving on the Council, Vice Mayor Nguyen made significant progress on some of the most pressing issues that affect the city including affordable housing, economic development, public safety, and transportation. She worked to make the City of San Jose a safe and healthy place to live, work, and play. She also served as the Vice Chair of the Public Safety, Finance and Strategic Support Committee; Vice Chair of the Rules and Open Government Committee, Member of the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force, San Jose/Santa Clara Water Treatment Plant Advisory Committee, Silicon Valley Rapid Transit Policy Advisory Board (BART), Housing and Community Development Advisory Committee as well as other key commissions and committees. Prior to her election to the San Jose City Council, Vice Mayor Nguyen served as the President of the Franklin-McKinley Board of Education and was a Founding Member of the Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative (FMCI). She is also a published author. Her first book is entitled, “Vietnam to America: My Journey of Dreams.” Vice Mayor Nguyen received her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her Masters Degree in Social Science from the University of Chicago.

Nicole Kade

Nicole Kade, Co-Chair of Education Committee

Nicole Kade joined the Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative in 2010 as their first teacher representative. Less than a year later she was selected a Co-Chair of Education Committee. As Co-Chair she ensured that the teacher perspective was represented in the decision-making process. Her passion for making sustainable change in the Santee community helped to create measurable goals and concrete action steps. She has demonstrated a deep desire to work collaboratively with teachers, administrators and community members as the committee works toward the development of a Community School model and develops better data collection tools.

Jaime Lopez

Jaime Lopez, M.S.W., LCSW, Santa Clara County of Social Services

Jaime Lopez was the Assistant Director of the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) for the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency (August 2006 – December 2015). Mr. Lopez graduated with a Master’s of Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Social Welfare, in 1978 with a concentration in Gerontology. He began work in 1978 in San Francisco City and County as a mental health clinician serving the geriatric and adult populations. He began work with Santa Clara County Mental Health in 1984 first as a line clinician in an adult mental health clinic then promoting later to a clinic manager over multiple sites and programs for children and families. He promoted again as the Family and Children’s Division Director in the Santa Clara County Mental Health Department where he served for eight years before moving to Social Services as the Assistant Director for DFCS. He has been involved in numerous county, State and Federal system collaborations and projects with Juvenile Probation, First 5 Santa Clara County, County Office of Education, School Linked Services, various school Districts, Mental Health, Dependency and Delinquency Courts, Alcohol and Drug Services, Public Health and many Community Based Organizations.

John Porter photo

Dr. John Porter, Jr., Former Franklin-McKinley School District Super-intendent

Dr. John R. Porter, Jr. is the former Superintendent of Schools in the Franklin-McKinley School District. Over the past 35 years, Dr. Porter has created a series of unique school, district, and community designs using the concepts embedded in the standards-based reforms, academic and applied learning integration, and new forms of youth apprenticeships as one holistic model. He has also created several unique safety-net and acceleration programs to bring at-risk students in elementary, middle, and high school up to grade level in literacy and mathematics. The most notable of these was the Saturday Science Academies designed with Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to accelerate literacy scores for students in Grades 4-8 using real science problems developed by NASA’s Educational Division and JPL. As a public-private systems change expert, Dr. Porter provides business leaders, educators, and government leaders with practical steps and models to enhance integration between different institutions and develop new cooperative governance structures.  He has also developed a systems change approach for restructuring all schools, K-12, using applied learning and high academic standards as the foundation and catalyst for reform.  These programs have been designed to serve all students regardless of their post-secondary goals.


Buu Thai, FMSD Board Member

Board Member for FMSD Buu Thai has lived in South San Jose for over 32 years. She is an alumnae of the Franklin McKinley School District and has served on the Franklin McKinley School Board for nine years. Ms. Thai is currently in an Educational Leadership Doctorate Program at San Jose State University.

Susan Meyers

Susan Meyers, Ph.D., San Jose State University

Dr. Susan Meyers earned her Bachelor’s Degree and Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley and her Master’s Degree and Teaching Credentials at San Francisco State University.  She taught children with special needs in the Cupertino and San Jose Unified School Districts before joining the faculty at SJSU where she served as Professor and Dean of the College. Dr. Meyers was elected President of the California State University Dean’s of Education, President of the National Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities and the Governance Board of American Association of Teacher Educators. She was the founder of ComUniverCity San Jose and the founding Director of the Franklin McKinley Children’s Initiative.

Former Members


Elaine Chin, San José State University

Elaine Chin began her appointment as Dean of the Connie L. Lurie College of Education at San José State University in June 2009. Prior to that, she was the Associate Dean of the Lurie College of Education from 2007-2009. She has held a number of administrative and faculty positions, including Department Chair and faculty for the Teacher Education Division in the College of Education at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and faculty in the School of Education at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is a former high school English and Journalism teacher. She has been active in research on alternative teacher certification programs, policies governing teacher licensure, socialization into the professions, and the development of professional expertise by novices in the fields of journalism, medicine, chemistry and K-12 teaching. Her publications include articles and book chapters in Educational ResearcherWritten CommunicationThe Journal of Learning Sciences and The International Handbook of Educational Policy.


Johnny Cepeda Gogo, Office of the District Attorney, Santa Clara County

Johnny Cepeda Gogo graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 1991 with a B.A. in Political Science; he graduated cum laude from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 1996. He began his career as a prosecutor with the Guam Attorney General’s Office and worked as an associate attorney with the law firm of Calvo & Clark (Guam). He joined the Santa Clara County D.A.’s Office in 1999.  He’s member of the Santa Clara County Bar Association and activities include volunteering to help with the Law Related Education Committee [SCC High School Mock Trial Program], the Diversity Committee and the Judiciary Committee (Co-Chair). He is also an active member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley (APABASV) and the National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association (NAPIPA). In 2013, he was presented with the George W. Kennedy Excellence in Prosecution Award from the San Jose Police Department, the Diversity Award from the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Unity Award from the Minority Bar Coalition and the Clayton L. Haupert Excellence Award from the Santa Clara County D.A.’s Office. In 2014, he was presented with the Movers of Mountains Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley and in 2015, he was presented with Service to Youth Award from the San Jose Job Corps.

John Gundry

John Gundry, Santa Clara County Office of Education

John R. Gundry is the Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. He was appointed in July 2014. Previously he was the Superintendent of Pasadena Unified School District. Prior to his tenure with Pasadena Unified, 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. Before joining LACOE in February 2008, Mr. Gundry served in the Houston, Texas, Independent School District for more than two decades. His tenure there included 12 years as an administrator and 16 years as a classroom teacher, where he taught English, Spanish and ESL 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 is a fluent speaker of Spanish, and spent one of his high school years as a foreign exchange student in Bolivia.

Jennifer Cater

Jennifer Cater, Community Leader

Jennifer Cater is a parent of 3 children who have attended S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Academy Public Elementary School (Students Understanding Community and Culture for Equitable Success in School) and J.W. Fair Middle School. Jennifer has volunteered for Sacred Heart Housing Action Committee, People Acting with Community Together, and District Seven United Neighborhood Association. She currently volunteers for McLaughlin Corridor Neighborhood Association, La Mesa Verde Neighborhood Gardens, and Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative. Jennifer is a firm believer in the public school system.

Tam Nguyen

Tam Nguyen, San Jose City Council

Tam Nguyen was elected to the San Jose City Council in November of 2014. Prior to his election, he was an attorney and served as legal counsel for Ly Tong and other prominent Vietnamese leaders. Tam is the 7th of 10 children; he immigrated to the United States in 1975 at the age of 18. In 1980, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree, he moved from Missouri to San Jose. He worked as a Senior Design Engineer at Tandem and took MBA classes at night. Tam left the engineering world in 1987, after learning from his MBA research assignment that the Vietnamese-American community needed help in legal representation. He earned his MBA that year and began attending Lincoln Law School. In 1991, Tam earned his Juris Doctorate and began work as a legal advisor for many local organizations. He had previously been very active in the Vietnamese community since moving to San Jose and has continued that level of involvement for the past 34 years.

Rudy J. Rodriguez, Franklin-McKinley School District Board

Rudy J. Rodriguez currently sits in the Board of Trustees of the Franklin-McKinley Elementary School District.  Rudy was elected in 2010 to the Board of Trustees of the Franklin-McKinley Elementary School District and has served on the Board of the SOMOS Mayfair Organization. In addition, Rudy was the Deputy State Director for Youth for California LULAC. His other prior board experience includes serving on the Mexican Heritage Corporation, City of San José’s Small Business Development Commission, Chicano Latino Caucus of the California Democratic Party, Junior Achievement, MACSA El Portal Leadership Academy, Central San José YMCA, and Latino College Preparatory Academy. Of greatest reward to Rudy’s community involvement is his volunteerism as a mentor and advisor to Latino youth.  Rudy is a current member of the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, and Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity.