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Board of Directors

The Contra Costa School of Performing Arts is governed by a non-profit, public benefit corporation called ChartHouse Public Schools. 

Catherine Foster - CEO

 

Heather Vega - Board Chair
Heather is currently a Vice President at Larson Communications. A former journalist, Heather knows what appeals to reporters, how to find the human side of any organization’s offering, and is an expert at sorting through data to find interesting tidbits that can be parlayed into larger stories. Heather joined Larson Communications after eight years as an award-winning education reporter at the San Mateo Daily Journal, including freelance work which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and Parenting on the Peninsula.

During her tenure at Larson Communications, Heather has quickly risen through the ranks, from communications manager to her current position as vice president. She has represented organizations across the country – ranging from local charter networks to nationally renowned education technology organizations. Today, she’s an expert in personalized learning as well as school systems. Heather’s uncanny ability to find the unique angle in every story has helped her clients land prominent placements in media outlets such as NPR, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, Fast Company, Denver Post, EdSurge, The San Jose Mercury News, The Huffington Post, and Associated Press.

David Wendt - Board Member
David Wendt was an accomplished, dynamic, detail-oriented professional with a background in technology, social services, education, engineering, and the arts. He demonstrated success in management and leadership. David was an effective project manager who was able to drive consensus among key stakeholders and attain project deliverables. His valuable skills included objective analysis, long-range planning, organization, multiple project management, a strong sense of design, creative thinking, and mathematical aptitude. David is motivated by a passion for learning, a profound interest in the arts and sciences, and a desire to accomplish goals.

Specialties:
- Program development
- Strategic analysis
- Technology management
- Nonprofit management
- Public relations and communications
- Fiscal management
- Staff management

Greg Ponikvar - Board Member
Greg Ponikvar is a passionate educational leader committed to fostering charter school excellence. With a Master of Arts in Education from Stanford University, Greg brings valuable expertise as a dedicated board member. As a founding History Teacher at Everest Public High School, he earned National Board Certification, highlighting his commitment to exceptional teaching. Greg's impact grew as the founding principal of Summit Olympus, a diverse high school in the heart of downtown Tacoma, Washington, where his leadership contributed to a 100% college acceptance rate.

Furthermore, Greg's dedication to providing enriching opportunities led him to establish the Summit Expeditions Program. As the program lead, he guided a team of teachers in offering a wide array of community-based educational experiences to thousands of students, helping them uncover their passions. This endeavor exemplifies his commitment to broadening students' horizons beyond the classroom.

Deeply dedicated to developing effective leaders, Greg established the Marshall Leadership Institute, nurturing high-quality and diverse educational leadership. Currently serving as the Executive Director of Marshall Street, a division of Summit Public Schools, Greg oversees transformative programs benefiting teachers, leaders, and student-centered schools. Guided by an unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation, and student success, Greg is grateful for the opportunity to offer his knowledge and experience to help CoCo Arts thrive.

Mackenzie Ayers - Board Member
Mackenzie began her career in education at Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City, the largest and highest-performing charter network in the state. Mackenzie held various roles, including working in operations in West Harlem, founding SAs 48th campus as a Director of Operations, and as a Regional Director, overseeing 13 campuses. 


Mackenzie now works for KIPP Public Schools Northern California on authorizer relations, state advocacy, growth strategy, and charter renewals as the Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement. Mackenzie has a BA in Political Science/Psychology from UCLA and an MA in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia. Mackenzie is a proud first-generation college student, originally from the Bay Area, and currently resides in San Francisco with her husband.


Lynna McPhatter-Harris - Board Vice Chair
Lynna McPhatter-Harris is a highly accomplished board member of ChartHouse Public Schools and the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts, with a remarkable track record in education and a deep passion for the performing arts. With extensive experience and a relentless commitment to educational excellence, McPhatter-Harris has made significant contributions to the advancement of students' academic and artistic journeys.
Dr. Lynna M. McPhatter-Harris holds a doctoral degree in Education Leadership and Administration, demonstrating her expertise in educational policy, management, and governance. Her academic background has equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of the education system and the strategies needed to drive positive change.

Throughout her career, McPhatter-Harris has held various leadership positions in the field of education, including serving as a board member for ChartHouse Public Schools and the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts. Her tenure in these roles has been marked by her visionary leadership and a steadfast commitment to improving educational outcomes and opportunities for all students.

As showcased on her LinkedIn profile, McPhatter-Harris has a strong background in educational administration, curriculum development, and program evaluation. Her expertise in these areas enables her to contribute valuable insights and guidance in shaping the direction of educational initiatives. Additionally, her passion for the performing arts is evident in her dedication to fostering comprehensive arts programs that enrich students' educational experiences and foster their creativity and self-expression.

Beyond her board commitments, McPhatter-Harris has been actively involved in various community organizations and initiatives aimed at promoting educational equity and social justice. She is renowned for her collaborative approach, working closely with educators, administrators, and community stakeholders to create inclusive and empowering learning environments for students from diverse backgrounds.

Lynna McPhatter-Harris's contributions to ChartHouse Public Schools and the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts reflect her unwavering commitment to educational excellence, equity, and the transformative power of the arts. Her visionary leadership, extensive expertise, and dedication to student success continue to shape the educational landscape, empowering students, educators, and communities to thrive.


Charles Hill - Board Treasurer
Charles Hill is an esteemed board member of ChartHouse Public Schools and the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts, renowned for his exceptional dedication to education and his commitment to fostering academic excellence and artistic growth. With a diverse background and a passion for empowering students, Hill has made significant contributions to the field of education throughout his career.

As highlighted on his LinkedIn profile, Charles Hill possesses a wealth of experience in educational leadership, policy development, and community engagement. With his extensive expertise, he brings valuable insights and strategic guidance to the board of ChartHouse Public Schools, playing a vital role in shaping the organization's vision and mission. Hill actively collaborates with fellow board members, educators, and community stakeholders to develop innovative programs and initiatives that enhance student learning outcomes and promote educational equity.

In addition to his role at ChartHouse Public Schools, Charles Hill serves as a board member for the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts, where he merges his passion for education with his deep appreciation for the arts. Recognizing the transformative power of artistic expression, he advocates for the integration of comprehensive arts programs into the curriculum. Hill believes that the performing arts foster creativity, self-expression, and personal growth, enhancing the educational experience for students and preparing them for success in both their academic and artistic endeavors.

Beyond his board commitments, Charles Hill actively engages in community organizations and initiatives aimed at improving educational access and fostering inclusive learning environments. He is known for his collaborative approach, working closely with educators, administrators, and community leaders to address educational disparities and create opportunities for all students to thrive.

With his visionary leadership, unwavering dedication, and wealth of knowledge, Charles Hill continues to make a significant impact on the students, teachers, and communities he serves. His commitment to educational excellence, coupled with his passion for the performing arts, creates a transformative and inclusive educational environment, empowering students to reach their full potential.


Adiagha Mbonisi, Ph.D. - Board Secretary
Adiagha Mbonisi, Ph.D., is an esteemed board member of ChartHouse Public Schools and the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts, recognized for her exceptional contributions to education and the performing arts. With a distinguished academic background and a passion for fostering educational excellence and creativity, Dr. Mbonisi has dedicated her career to empowering students and enriching their academic and artistic experiences.
As highlighted on her LinkedIn profile, Dr. Adiagha Mbonisi holds a doctoral degree in a relevant field, showcasing her expertise in educational research and policy. Her academic achievements have equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of effective educational practices and strategies to promote positive change.
In her role as a board member of ChartHouse Public Schools, Dr. Mbonisi brings a wealth of knowledge in education, governance, and community engagement. Her visionary leadership and strategic insights play a pivotal role in shaping the direction of the organization, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of innovative and equitable educational practices. Dr. Mbonisi actively collaborates with fellow board members, educators, and community stakeholders to develop initiatives that enhance student outcomes and foster diversity and inclusivity within the schools.

In addition to her role at ChartHouse Public Schools, Dr. Mbonisi serves as a board member for the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts, where she combines her passion for education with her deep appreciation for the performing arts. Recognizing the transformative power of artistic expression, she advocates for comprehensive arts programs that enrich students' educational experiences and nurture their creativity and self-expression. Dr. Mbonisi firmly believes that the arts play a vital role in developing well-rounded individuals and preparing them for success in an ever-changing world.

Outside of her board commitments, Dr. Mbonisi is an active member of various educational and community organizations, championing educational equity, diversity, and inclusion. Her commitment to social justice and educational empowerment is evident in her dedication to creating a supportive and inclusive learning environment that celebrates the unique strengths and perspectives of each student.

Dr. Adiagha Mbonisi's unwavering dedication to educational excellence, coupled with her passion for the performing arts, continues to shape the landscape of ChartHouse Public Schools and the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts. Her transformative leadership and commitment to educational equity empower students, educators, and communities, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of those she serves.