Board of Trustees at Gateway

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Board of Trustees

Inspired Leadership

Gateway's Board of Trustees is a group of individuals who bring their passion, expertise, and leadership to Gateway. They ensure that Gateway continues to thrive and achieve its ambitious mission.

Board Meeting Dates, Agendas, Minutes

Board of Trustees

Therese Arsenault

Therese is a founding math teacher at Gateway Middle School, where she currently works as a Math/Science Instructional Coach and Math Interventionist. She works closely with new teachers, supporting their learning as they develop expertise. She graduated from Simmons College with a degree in nursing, and from Elmira College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education with master’s degrees in education. Therese is currently a member of the Exploratorium’s Teacher Leader Institute, where she works as a mentor teacher to San Francisco science teachers and co-facilitates professional development for teacher leaders throughout California. When not working, Therese enjoys traveling, spending time with her two sons, and exploring the natural history of northern California. Originally from the East Coast, she currently lives with her husband, David, in San Francisco.

Beth Berliner

Beth is a graduate of Lehigh University and holds a MSEd in Guidance and Counseling from Hunter College. Beth worked for the N.Y.C. Board of Education at an alternative high school where she developed and implemented a counseling program for students who were at-risk in larger school settings. After relocating to San Francisco, Beth became the program coordinator for The College Bound Foundation, a nonprofit that connected students who live in San Francisco Public Housing with mentors. She served on its board for six years following her employment there. She was also a board member at the San Francisco Day School, where she served on numerous committees and was an officer on the board's executive committee. In addition to her volunteer work at Gateway Public Schools, Beth is a Court Appointed Special Advocate for SFCASA. In 2008, she created Revamp, a wardrobe consulting business for women in transition. Beth and her husband have two sons.

Allison Thoreson Bhusri

Allison graduated from Dartmouth College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has 20 years of business experience in corporate finance, private equity investing, marketing, and general business management. She is currently an early-stage investor with Broadway Angels. Previously, she was a consultant at eBay in the Business Incubation Group. Prior to eBay, she spent four years in brand management at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.

Cynthia Billops

Cynthia strongly believes that comprehensive, positive, societal change will happen when and if underrepresented and under-resourced people are allowed to build the confidence and skills necessary for them to find solutions that are specific to their own communities and experience. Graduating from SFSU in 1996, Cynthia parlayed her BA in English into a decade long career in website design, application development and user/data analysis. She spent the next decade getting her Masters and Doctorate (EdD) from Mills College; adding a second daughter and a wife to the family mix and continuing in Business Systems director positions; overseeing IT teams as they planned, implemented and maintained SaaS architecture. Recently, Cynthia decided that what she REALLY wants to do is become a sort of "sherpa” for Women of Color living in marginalized communities who are trying to break into IT. To this end, she started a Social System Support Services initiative (“Elevate4S”) and has accepted the Executive Director position at “StrideLabs” - a non-profit whose mission is to create access, provide training and support historically underserved people in STEM environments. Cynthia is Co-Chair of the GHS Parent Association and is delighted that both of her daughters have been able to experience the fantastic-ness that is Gateway Public Schools.

Sapna Boze

S​apna Boze is the Secretary of the Gateway Board of Trustees. She is fulfilling her passion to help provide exceptional education and nurturing environments to all kids. Sapna was formerly board co-chair of Gateway and prior to that she served as Treasurer. She also serves as a trustee at The Hamlin School for Girls and Lone Mountain Children’s Center. Prior to focusing full-time on the nonprofit sector, Sapna was in corporate finance at Autodesk, and prior to that at Cisco Systems. She earned her B.S. in Managerial Economics from U.C. Davis and her MBA from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, where she served on the Alumni Board. Sapna and her husband, Brandon, live in San Francisco with their three daughters.

Sara Byrne

Sara Byrne joined the Gateway Board of Trustees in 2016. Previously, she served as a co-chair for the Gateway Matters of the Mind Luncheon in 2014 and 2015. Sara has resided in San Francisco for thirty years, after moving from her hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. Sara is an active volunteer at several local organizations benefiting education, kids, community, and sports including San Francisco Day School, serving in many capacities, and is a past Board member of Lone Mountain Children's Center. She currently serves as President of the Marin Academy Parents’ Association Board and is a member of the Marin Academy Board of Trustees. Sara lives in San Francisco with her husband, Tom and their three children. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Finance and Real Estate. Sara worked at Montgomery Securities in the Sales and Trading division for more than thirteen years. She is an avid tennis player, skier and hiker and enjoys traveling with her family.

Dan Carr

Dan grew up in a small New England town, attended college at Boston’s Northeastern University, and then headed west to San Francisco in the fall of 1995. Dan spent the next decade traveling the globe as a professional touring musician and putting his time in as a bartender and waiter when he was back home. After getting married and having a son, Dan hung up his touring shoes and dove into a career in the service industry. He and his family moved back to Hanover, New Hampshire where he bought a small pub, and they lived the quiet life for a few years. Although the bucolic setting was amazing, the sights, sounds, tastes, and quality of life on the West coast tugged them back. After a short stint in Portland, Oregon working for the well known Chef’s Table Hospitality Group, Dan and his family completed the circle and moved back to the Bay Area.

Dan is currently a partner and the General Manager of Urban Putt and lives happily in the Sunset with his 8th grader Dash, his wife, Amanda, and a gaggle of furry and finny family members. The whole family considers the Bay Area home for good and takes every opportunity to engage in all the wonderful available activities. Dan, Amanda and Dash are thrilled to be a part of the Gateway community and feel very lucky to have found their way there. Dan has strong ties to the music and restaurant community, and hopes that he can use his skills and contacts to help Gateway reach its goals. 


Elizabeth Colen

Elizabeth has a long history with the Gateway community as an alumna of Gateway High School and as a founding teacher at Gateway Middle School. After graduating from Gateway High, Elizabeth went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in US History from Whittier College. After graduation, she became a Graduate Teaching Fellow at The Broadoaks School of Whittier College where she earned her secondary Social Science teaching credential, multiple subject teaching credential, and Master's Degree in Education. After an additional year of a teaching internship at Whittier’s laboratory school, Elizabeth returned to Gateway Middle School in 2011 as a founding teacher. At Gateway Middle her roles have included 6th grade Humanities teacher, 8th grade Humanities teacher, Advisory Lead, Student Activities Lead, 8th Grade Team Lead, volleyball coach and yearbook advisor. She is also an active participant in Gateway Middle’s relationship with Facing History serving on the Teacher Leader Board, and as a facilitator for the Middle School Consortium. This close relationship with Facing History and her work with colleagues using the Facing History curriculum has made Gateway Middle the first middle school in Facing History’s Innovative Schools Network. Last year, Elizabeth also worked to complete her National Boards Teaching Certification through Stanford’s Graduate School of Education National Board Resource Center. 

Katie Colley

Katie Colley is a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School and received her undergraduate degrees in English and Organizational Development also from Vanderbilt University.  Katie has practiced law as a litigation associate, managed human resources and philanthropy at a technology start up, and currently owns a franchise location of Drybar. Katie is passionate about children and equality, and has previously served on the boards of non-profit organizations devoted to education and adoption. Katie and her husband live in San Francisco with their four children.

Mark Felton, Ph.D.

Mark is a Professor of Teacher Education and Associate Dean for Research in the Lurie College of Education at San José State University. As a teacher educator and research psychologist, he focuses on dialogue and the development of evidence-based reasoning in history and science classrooms. He has applied this work to support young adolescents' academic literacy in projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Office of English Language Acquisition. He earned a B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University (1990) and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Development from Columbia University (1999).

Sharon Gillenwater


Sharon is an expert in account-based marketing and CXO engagement programs. She has worked as a consultant to Fortune 500 technology companies, including EMC, IBM, VMware, RSA, Symantec, Cisco, Microsoft, NetApp, VMware, Adobe, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Siebel Systems and Google. In response to an increased focus on CXO engagement and strategic account marketing, Sharon in 2008 founded Boardroom Insiders, a content company that provides the most in-depth executive profiles on the market today. Boardroom Insiders customers include Microsoft, IBM, HP, CA, EMC, Vodafone, Cisco, Tableau, Citrix, UPS and USPS. In the words of one of her longtime clients, "Sharon is the type of secret weapon that everyone wished they had in their arsenal." Born and raised in San Diego, California, Sharon worked as a freelance writer before earning a master's degree combining international relations and business from the University of California, San Diego. After moving to San Francisco in 1995 she worked in sales and marketing management for startup companies. She still lives in San Francisco with her husband and two boys.

Susan Masto


Susan Masto is the Board Co-chair of the Gateway Board of Trustees. Susan was born and raised in Bay Shore, NY. Susan graduated from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY with a BA in English Literature. Following college, she worked in the Investment Banking Division at Morgan Stanley & Co. in New York. After a move to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1994, Susan worked in the development department of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum where she worked on the museum’s capital campaign and helped organize corporate constituent and membership events. Susan moved to San Francisco in 1995. From 1995 through 1999, she was the director of special events at Hambrecht & Quist, a small boutique investment bank. Susan is currently a member of the board of trustees of The Urban School of San Francisco. For many years, Susan also served on the parent board at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, CA. Susan lives in San Francisco with her husband, Chris, and has four children.

Harper Matheson

Harper feels fortunate to have seen Gateway grow from its inception- her mother, Lisille Matheson, helped to start the school, working to get the charter passed and find Gateway's first home. With a deep belief in and connection to Gateway's mission, she is grateful for the opportunity to serve on the board. Harper graduated from Tisch School of the Arts and later received an MBA from Stern at NYU. She has spent her career in the hospitality industry, helping to build, finance and operate restaurants in New York and San Francisco. 


Sharon Olken

Sharon Olken is the Executive Director of Gateway Public Schools. In 2000, Sharon joined Gateway’s faculty as a Humanities Teacher. Since then, Sharon has been a Lead Teacher, Dean of Faculty, and served as the Principal of Gateway High School for seven years. During her tenure as principal, Gateway was recognized as a California Distinguished School and as a top-performing charter high school by the US Department of Education. In 2011, Sharon helped launch Gateway’s second school, Gateway Middle School. Sharon is inspired by the potential of young people and by Gateway’s amazing teachers and staff, who help students get on the road to college. Sharon earned her B.A. from Harvard University, where she was captain of the varsity soccer team, and earned her M.A. in Education from Stanford University. Sharon taught a course in the Stanford Teacher Education Program called “Educating for Equity and Democracy,” and worked for Senator Feinstein for two years before beginning her career in education. Sharon is proud of her Bay Area roots, her San Francisco Giants, and her very well behaved dog, Cody Ross.

Molly Orner

Molly Orner joined the Humanities department at Gateway High School in the fall of 2007. An East Coast transplant, Molly moved to California following graduation from Oberlin College. As a Teach for America (TFA) corps member she taught at a continuation high school in San Jose for two years. After completing her TFA assignment she took a break from teaching to work in non-profit development. During this time she realized that she profoundly missed teaching and left the development world to earn a credential and M.Ed from Stanford University. Molly is a parent of two SFUSD elementary school students. She identifies her happy place as one with books or nature, preferably a combination of the two.

Mary Plant-Thomas

 Mary Plant-Thomas is excited to begin her sixth year as part of Gateway High School's Science Department, teaching Biology 10 and AP Biology. Mary earned her undergraduate degree from an unconventional combination of Wellesley College and UC San Diego. She then went on to get her Masters in Education from UC Santa Barbara's Teacher Education Program where she was a Noyce Scholar. While at UCSB, Mary was able to participate in an international exchange that enabled her to observe another education system by student-teaching in Denmark! In addition to loving teaching and science (especially biology), Mary has a passion for theatre and can frequently be found rushing off to see plays all around the Bay Area.

Kevin Rafter

Kevin has more than 15 years of experience in the social sector helping organizations and leaders understand their impact and strengthen their work. Kevin is currently a Senior Evidence Director at Project Evident partnering with nonprofit service providers to strengthen their evidence-building muscle. His community service includes advisory roles for 826 Valencia and the Center for Effective Philanthropy, and he is a former president of the board of the North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association. A native of the Bay Area, Kevin and his family have lived in San Francisco for the past 15 years, where his two children attend parochial and public school. He rises early most mornings to run in Golden Gate Park or swim with the University of San Francisco Masters Swim Team.

Laura Spivy

Laura received her MBA from Stanford University and a BA in Economics and East Asian studies from Wesleyan University. Laura has a diverse business background with experience in corporate finance, private equity investing, and general business management and operations. Laura previously ran operations for a division of health clubs for 24 Hour Fitness and did general business consulting to startups in the health and wellness industries. During Laura’s tenure on the Gateway board she has chaired the finance and faculty affairs committees, and participated in the investment, audit, and development committees. Laura is currently a trustee at San Francisco University High School, on the Stanford Business School Fund Council and formerly was a trustee and chair at San Francisco Day School. Laura and her husband, Greg, have four children who are college, high school and elementary aged.

Dina To

A Los Angeleno transplant who has resided in the Bay Area for over 20 years, Dina joined the Board in 2017. She is deeply invested in the San Francisco community, serving as a volunteer, board member, and advisor to organizations focused on changing the educational narrative for underserved students. Dina has toggled the nonprofit and legal sector and is currently in-house as a Product & Privacy Counsel. Prior to that, she’s been a Donor Relations Manager for a global health nonprofit, a Trial Attorney for the Department of Justice and a Legal Director at Yahoo!. She was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Hastings College of the Law. Dina and her husband reside in San Francisco with their 3 sons.

Valerie Toler

Valerie is a native San Franciscan. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of California at Davis and a registered nursing degree from CCSF. She is currently an Associate Manager of Drug Safety at Quark Pharmaceuticals. Valerie is an active sustainer in the Junior League of San Francisco, the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary, and an Auxiliary member of the Friends of Smuin Ballet. She enjoys creative crafts and is a passionate foodie.

Julie Wise

Julie is the proud mom of a Gateway High School graduate. She joined the Board in 2012 and helps with development meetings and events. Julie also coordinates volunteers and supports teachers for GMS and GHS. When not at school, she can be found walking her two dogs and looking for sea glass on Funston beach.

Cathy Cockrum Dean

Emeritus Trustee

Cathy graduated from Brown University and Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. She has 15 years of experience in financial services, industrial manufacturing, and high technology businesses. In the past, she has taken leadership roles with the national Board of Reading Partners, the Brown Club of Northern California, the Junior League of San Francisco. Cathy served as the chair of Gateway’s Board of Trustees from 2005-2009. Currently, Cathy serves on the Regional Board for Reading Partners, the Advisory Board for the Breakthrough Collaborative site at San Francisco Day School, and the Board of Trustees of San Francisco Day School. Cathy and her husband, Sandy, have three children.

Lisille Matheson

Emeritus Trustee

Lisille is one of Gateway's founders and the founding board chair. After seeing Gateway through its tenth anniversary year, Lisille moved to emeritus status. She has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Oxbow School and the San Francisco Education Fund. She has served on advisory committees for the Schools of the Sacred Heart and the Charles Armstrong School. Currently, Lisille consults with and oversees the daily operation of the Art4Moore Fund, a small fund that gives grants for art supplies and instruction to students of all ages. Lisille and her husband moved to California in 1982 as owner/operators of Mount Veeder Winery in Napa, CA, where they lived for ten years. They have two grown children.

Joyce McMinn

Emeritus Trustee

Joyce is an elementary school teacher who has been tutoring children of all ages since 1982. Her community service has included several volunteer organizations and boards, including the Diversity Task Force of the Junior League of San Francisco and Youth Advocates. She is married with three children. Her daughter graduated from Gateway in June 2002. For several years Joyce and her husband chaired the Gateway Parent's Annual Fund.

Gale Mondry

Emeritus Trustee

Gale, one of Gateway’s founders and a past board chair, practiced law for twenty years, eleven of them as Vice President for Legal Services at California Pacific Medical Center. Currently Gale serves as the board co-chair of Urban Adamah, an urban farm and Jewish environmental center, and board chair of Beyond Differences, whose mission is to inspire students at all middle schools to end social isolation and create a culture of belonging for everyone.. She is also a board member of Education Pioneers and Children's Council of San Francisco. Gale and her husband, a former high school teacher, have four grown children and four grandchildren. Their daughter graduated from Gateway in 2004.

Suzanne Schutte

Emeritus Trustee

Throughout her career, Suzanne has been an educator committed to improving the quality of public education. Early on, she taught at Denby High School in inner city Detroit, before serving for over a decade as a lead teacher for special education programs at Evanston Township High School in Illinois. Since returning to her native San Francisco in 1993, Suzanne taught within SFUSD prior to working for ten years as the Associate Director of College Counseling at The Urban School. Suzanne was a co-founder of Gateway High School, where she also served as its second board chair. Suzanne is currently a member of the advisory boards for UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education and Ten Strands, an environmental education non-profit. Previously, she was a member of the board of trustees at The Urban School, as well as Marin Country Day School, and acted as a member of the advisory boards for Aim High and the Parent Education Network. 

Peter Thorp

Emeritus Trustee

Peter was the founding principal of Gateway and served as its executive director until 2007. Peter then became chief of staff, and for six months the interim chief executive officer, of the California Charter Schools Association. In 2010 he moved to Rwanda to be the founding head of school at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology, a boarding school for 270 A-level students. Prior to becoming Gateway's principal in 1998, Peter was the headmaster of Cate School in Santa Barbara, and he taught history for 18 years at Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs. Peter graduated from Williams College with a degree in art history, has a M.Ed. from Boston State College, and has done advanced study at the University of Colorado and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Peter is the father of two daughters--Amy who was with him in Rwanda for two years as the university counselor and now lives in Boston, and Elyssa who lives in San Francisco with her husband and son (making Peter a very proud grandpa!). He is the volunteer college counselor at Mandela International Magnet School and a search consultant for Wickenden/DRG, an firm that finds heads of school for independent and charter schools. Peter lives in Santa Fe NM with his wife Brigitte Uwantege and his stepdaughter Keza.