Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees holds the school and the mission in its trust. Its role is to protect and nurture the core values of the school while simultaneously planning and preparing for the future.
This strategic planning includes ensuring the fiscal health of the school so that it may best serve the program today and will continue to best serve future generations of students. The Board hires, supports, and empowers a Head of School who is entrusted with executing the school's mission.
The Trustees and the Head of School collaborate together to support and create an engaging, nurturing, and forward-thinking institution that holds the best interests of its children at the forefront at all times.
Our current board has 19 members comprising of nine women and ten men, (fifteen of whom are current parents, five of whom are alumni parents) a faculty member, and the Head of School. Each of our Trustees brings a wealth of experience and wisdom to the Board, and together they provide a strong overall perspective.
2017-18 Board of Trustees
Lara Bergthold*, Principal Partner at RALLY, is a campaign and communications strategist with a wealth of experience as a philanthropic advisor, and political and communications strategist. Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Lara received a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. She serves as Board Chair of People for the American Way and sits on the Rock the Vote Board. Her proudest work involves hanging out and reading books with her son Eli (4th), who enjoys fast cars, math and science, talking about stuff and playing with friends.
Matthew Brown* was born in Burbank, CA was raised in Glendale and Corona del Mar, CA. Upon graduating from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, Matthew received a Masters in Latin American Studies from UCLA, a degree he earned while living in Costa Rica. Matthew lived in Oaxaca, Mexico for ten years, working in a Zapotec Indian village overseeing the production of artist designed weavings for Matthew Brown Hand Loomed Carpet Studio. In 2001 he returned to Los Angeles and established a landscape design firm, working in both residential and commercial design. He and Lisa Margulis have two daughters, Oaks Alumna Georgia ('17) and Olympia (4th). Matthew serves on the Building & Grounds Committee.
Elizabeth Cunningham, Faculty Representative. Elizabeth grew up in the woods and farmland of the mid-Atlantic, north of Baltimore. She graduated from Vassar College with a BA in English, focused primarily on creative writing. Immediately following graduation she began work towards two Master's degrees from Lesley University through Urban Teacher Center, and began her teaching career at Washington Latin Public Charter School in Washington D.C. Her teaching experience there included fifth through tenth grade as a special education and English teacher. Moving to Los Angeles to teach third grade at The Oaks was an exciting opportunity to deepen her practice as a progressive educator. The years spent in this community have offered rich and generative experiences in collaboration, self-focus, and allyship that she eagerly anticipates carrying forward with the work of the Board.
Bernard Friedman* is a parent of Oaks student, Akiva (5th) and Oaks Alumnus Nathaniel ('17). He is a biotech entrepreneur, who in partnership with Johns Hopkins and Yale Universities, has developed two commercial ventures, IMMUNOVA and CELLUNOVA. He concurrently follows his interest in documentaries through his production company, “Flying Mind”, which has produced three features, “Bending the Arc”, “Bogalusa Charm”, & “N of 1”
Donald E. Grant Jr.* and his wife Erika are the parents of Princeton (3rd). Donald is originally from Buffalo, NY and holds a B.S. in Biology and a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Multi-Cultural Community Psychology. Donald began his career as a middle school science teacher in Baltimore MD before overseeing a specialized branch of foster care systems for LA County Department of Mental Health. In addition to serving as the Executive Director of Mindful Training Solutions, a training and consulting firm, he currently serves as the Associate Dean of the School of Human Development at Pacific Oaks College where he oversees both Bachelors’ and Masters’ degree programs in Human Development and Organizational Leadership and Change. Donald is also a grant writer who oversees several grant programs that he has successfully written for Pepperdine University. Through his work as a media mental health consultant and writer, Donald works to increase awareness on mental wellness issues, education, parenting, child development and socio-cultural events. Donald currently serves as a co-chair of the EISJ Committee.
Adam Greenfield* is a native Angeleno, who holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. Adam has more than 17 years of experience as a fundraising, cause marketing and corporate relations professional. Prior to starting his own consulting firm, the Do Good Consulting Corp., Adam served as Senior Director with Capital Strategies, one of the leading political and non- profit consultancies in California. He was the Director of Corporate Relations at Global Green USA, a leading environmental non-profit, and he has also held positions in the Corporate Communications department of Rolf Global, as well as Human Rights Watch. Adam lives in Hancock Park with his wife, Ellen, and their two daughters, Harper (5th) and Sasha (2nd).
Ted Hamory, Head of School. Ted’s career in education began over twenty-five years ago, as a bilingual teacher with Teach for America. Within a decade he had co-founded a small, bilingual charter school in downtown Long Beach, California. This school, which opened in 2000 with 70 students, brought progressive, public education to an underserved, ethnically diverse community. He then led the expansion of the school to three campuses, serving grades K-12, with 700 students. In 2010, Ted became the fourth Head of The Oaks School, a progressive K-6 school in Hollywood, where he is thrilled to help build on the school’s solid reputation for creating thoughtful, compassionate students who love to learn. Ted earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, a Master of Arts in Education from Pepperdine University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University, where he studied Economics and Spanish. Ted enjoys spending time with his large family of six children, ranging in age from 24 to 1 year old, reading and working in his garden.
Phil Hay*, Vice Chair and his wife, Karyn Kusama, are parents of Michio (5th). Phil was born in Decatur, Illinois, and was raised mainly in the environs of Akron, Ohio. He received his BA in English Literature from Brown University and was part of the Fiction Workshop at UC Irvine, where he earned his MFA, as well as taught undergraduates in composition and fiction. Phil is a screenwriter, fiction writer, producer, and director. With his writing partner, Matt Manfredi, he wrote or co-wrote films including crazy/beautiful, R.I.P.D.,Clash of the Titans, Ride Along, Ride Along 2, and The Invitation. At The Oaks (which he loves dearly!), Phil is a member of the Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Committee and a library volunteer.
Randy Hermann**, Finance Chair and his wife, Anne Sanger Hermann, are parents of Oaks Alumna Cate ('15) and Oaks Alumnus Jack ('12). Randy is headed into his fourth year on the Board and although Cate has moved on from The Oaks, the family feels truly grateful to always be a part of the community. Originally from San Francisco, Randy moved to Los Angeles in 1994 from New York, where he worked on Wall Street. For the past 22 years, Randy hasworked in the film industry and is currently the CFO of Red Granite Pictures. Prior to his current position, Randy was CFO for Exclusive Media, Essential Entertainment, and Mandalay Pictures. In each of these companies he has been responsible for, amongst other things, developing the business and strategic plans. In 1990, Randy received an MBA in Finance with a concentration in Strategic Planning from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1984, he received a BS in Natural Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. From 2003-2010, Randy served as a member of the CHLA finance and audit committees.
Sara Lamm* and her husband Matt Aselton are parents of Juno (5th) and Obi (3rd). Sara is co-chair of the Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Committee and was part of The Oaks delegation at the 2017 Visions PACE Training, as well as the 2013 Wildwood School Summer Multicultural Institute. She has trained with the Oakland-based organization Mindful Schools and is certified to teach mindfulness skills to children grades K-8. Sara belongs to the National Council of the non-profit, environmental law firm Earthjustice. She is also a documentary filmmaker, whose work has appeared at MASS MoCA, The American Visionary Art Museum, The Sundance Channel, and on National Public Radio. Her most recent film, Thank You For Coming, premiered at the LA Film Festival. Sara grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and lived in New York City for ten years before making her way west.
Leslie Margolis*, PA President. Leslie, parent of Leo (4th) and Lucy (2nd), is President of the Parent Association at The Oaks. She also volunteers on the Art, Library, Book Fair, Gala, and Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice Committees. She is the award-winning author of numerous books for children. Her two series, the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries and the Annabelle Unleashed novels, are published by Bloomsbury. Her single titles, including If I Were You, We Are Party People and Ghosted are published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. She is currently working on The Fortunes Five for Penguin Random House. Leslie has led fiction writing workshops at 826NYC in Brooklyn and Writopia Lab in Silver Lake. She was an editor and writer in New York City for many years, before returning to her native Los Angeles in 2012. She has a BA from Clark University and a master’s degree in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics.
John Melissinos* and his wife Candice Culnane are parents of Oaks Alumna Chesney ('17) and Logan (4th). Born and raised in Rochester, NY, in 1986 John received a B.A. in History from Cornell University. In 1989, he graduated from the UCLA School of Law. From 1993-1994 John lived in Nanjing, China while studying at the Johns Hopkins University- Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies. John has practiced as a lawyer in Los Angeles for over 23 years. He is a partner with the Century City law firm of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP, where he concentrates on financial restructuring matters and represents companies, trustees and other participants in bankruptcy cases. John currently serves as Vice President of the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum, a professional organization that also serves as a bridge between the legal community and the federal bankruptcy judges in the Southern California area. Over the last several years, John has been active as a coach and referee in AYSO’s Region 78.
Rene Rivera* and his wife, Stacey Martino, are proud parents of Ava (4th), Luna (1st), and Jai Rafael, a baby boy. Rene was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, where he attended Incarnate Word College before graduating from Juilliard in New York. He has worked professionally on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in regional theater and film and television. His critically acclaimed solo play, The King of the Desert, has been utilized as a community outreach tool for both urban youth and the Mexican American community. He is a student of Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication and has attended several immersion workshops and retreats, including Family Heart Camp, which focuses on compassionate family living. Inspired by his exposure to this work, he completed The Parenting Educator Program at ECHO Parenting.
Abby Sider* and her husband David Shayne are the parents of Molly (6th) and Nora (4th). Abby received a B.A. from McGill University in Montreal and an M.A. in Latin American and Museum Studies from NYU. She became an editor at the Brooklyn Museum and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, working on exhibitions, catalogues, and web articles. After moving to L.A. in 2002, she became a freelance editor for clients including the Getty, the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, and Los Angeles magazine. At the Oaks, which she loves, Abby has been PA President and has co-chaired Gala, Hospitality, Library, and EISJ.
Avi Sylbert** and her husband Mark Sylbert are parents of Oaks Alumnae Nikhila (’14) and Isvarya (’16). Avi was born in Hyderabad, India and grew up in New York City. Upon graduation from New York University with a BA in Journalism, she published music criticism in periodicals such as the Village Voice and SPIN. Avi's poetry and essays appear in numerous anthologies including: Indivisible: Through a Child’s Eyes, Poems and Stories About War; The Meanings of Dress; Body Outlaws, Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image; and Listen Up, Voices from the Next Feminist Generation. When she moved to Los Angeles in1993, she served as a crisis intervention volunteer with LACAAW Peace Over Violence's rape and battering hotline. In 1996, her debut novel, Where the Oceans Meet, was published by Seal Press. For many years, she has been involved with Artwallah, an annual arts festival of the South Asian diaspora, and served as its curator of literature in 2006. Avi was Enrollment Parent at All Children Great and Small and also served on the preschool's board. While Nikha and Isa attended the The Oaks, Avi was a Mighty K and 4th grade room parent, a volunteer in library and art and a member of the Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice Committee for nine years.
Colleen McCaw Standish* and James Standish are the parents of four Oaks children, Audrey (’10), Wren (’13), Linden (’15), and current student, North (4th). Colleen is originally from Butte, Montana and has a degree in English, (Creative Writing) from USC. Before kids and parenting she worked at KPFK Radio as an Assistant to the Program Director. She also worked as an Assistant to poet, Carol Muske-Dukes, and worked as well for PEN Center West. She served as Vice-Chair and Secretary on the Board at The Neighborhood Nursery School (at various times) while her kids each attended pre-school there. She and her husband Jim opened (owned and operated) Lark Bakery in 2006, which they sold in 2011. She has been a member of The Oaks community for 14 years and has, among other things, volunteered at the school (at various times) as Room Parent, Hospitality Co-Chair, Library volunteer, Art volunteer, Annual Fund committee member, and for the the last four years has served as a Library Co-Chair. She is currently serving on The Oaks Self Study steering committee for CAIS Accreditation. She is an avid walker, orchid grower and reader of poetry.
Lisa Tarlow-Thurnauer* and her husband Thomas Thurnauer are parents of Sadie (2nd). Lisa is currently President of the Hollywood Heights Association, the neighborhood that encompasses the Oaks School and the Church, and has served in that role for the past 5 years. Her years of service on the Board of the HHA dates back to 2011. Since Sadie began at The Oaks, Lisa has volunteered for the Art room, the Book Fair and the Gala. She holds a BA from Hunter College in New York City, where she went on to work in script development and as a producer on short films. After moving to Los Angeles in 1999, Lisa went on to producing still photo shoots for advertising and editorial campaigns and continuing as a freelance stylist. Lisa and her family strongly support Best Friends Society Animal Rescue. Lisa is currently co-producing the LilySarahGrace Kids Craft Fair, where all proceeds fund arts programs in public schools and gives grants to teachers to deliver instruction via arts infused inquiry based learning.
Abby Weintraub* and her husband, Matt Manfredi, are parents of Sofia (3rd) and Max (K). Abby was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from Brown University, where she received a B.A. in Psychology. She then went on to study graphic design at Pratt Institute in New York City. A designer and obsessive reader, she combined the two, and worked on staff in the art department at Alfred A. Knopf Publishing in New York City for eleven years designing book covers. In 2007 she moved to Los Angeles, and opened her own design studio, where she still designs covers, as well as other design materials. Abby is a co-chair of the Book Fair, and is on the Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice Committee. She is also an art and library volunteer.
David Yorkin*, Board Chair is the parent of Dinah and Dolores (5th) and a member of “Wandering Oaks” parent musical group. A Los Angeles native and graduate of Tufts University, he has worked in various capacities in the film and television business, primarily writing and producing. He is also involved in buying and selling of vintage instruments, and is passionate about teaching and exploring guitar with a focus on jazz with a handful of students. He and his wife, Alix Madigan, are actively involved with Nephcure Kidney International, an organization that funds research in search of a cure for kidney disease. He is most recent project is “Confessions of A Guitar Dealer,” published by Hal Leonard Press.
** Alumni Parent