EXECUTIVE BOARD OFFICERS
SMITA GARG, Ed. D. - Chairperson of the Board
Smita is an educator and life-long volunteer with over 25 years of experience with local and international non-profit organizations dedicated to children's education. She has created successful community-wide programs for students and helped with fund-raising efforts in her roles as National Design Lead for Care for Children that supports education of over 50,000 kids in poorest parts of India; Vice President for Prospect High Music Boosters Club that supports a growing Music program; and former Vice President and Director (Enrichment Summer Program) for Moreland Education Foundation. In 2016, Smita was Hospitality Lead for Measure G and Prospect High School Site Volunteer Coordinator for Measure AA Bond Campaigns. Both measures passed successfully.
Smita is an out-of-box creative thinker, an avid Artist, Musician, and Advocate for quality Arts Education in schools. She was recently appointed Arts Commissioner for the city of San Jose. She comes armed with a Bachelor's Degree in Applied Art (BFA) from College of Art, New Delhi, Graduate Degree in Arts Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) also from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At the University of Illinois, Smita was the first recipient of the prestigious Maria Pia Gratton International Award. Smita's research work has been internationally presented and widely published. Locally, Smita has supported many Arts in Education initiatives but most importantly for her, she has loved serving as volunteer Art Teacher for close to 12 years at her daughters' elementary school. Smita's oldest daughter is now a senior at Prospect High School and her younger daughter just started 5th grade.
In her role as Chairperson of the CUHSD Education Foundation, Smita is very excited to serve all 8000 students attending Campbell Union High School District sites equitably. Creating and establishing this foundation with an outstanding team of talented, forward-looking community members has been incredible. This team came together during Measure AA Bond Campaign and and has continued to stay dedicated to helping all students in the district succeed.
Smita's motto in life is to "Dare to dream the impossible and then get down to working on it!" as Walt Disney once said, "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them". Students must feel free to soar and know that their dreams can come true with hard work and consistent support of invested adults and mentors. Those who have found success in life with unconditional love and support, are more willing to mentor others and serve the community when it is their turn. For Smita, that hope forms the basis of her work at the foundation and lies at the heart of it.
ANDREA CIPLICKAS - Chief Executive Officer
Andrea is a CUHSD veteran, having been heavily involved in the community since even before her son Jonas and her daughter Tori began their studies at Branham. Looking for ways to make a difference in both the lives of her children and the school community, she was first involved as a member of the Branham High School Music Boosters where she served two terms as treasurer, one term as president, and helped to coordinate volunteer, food service and production efforts. She has also served as a member of the Home and School Club, a board member of the School Site Council, and was the School Site Volunteer Coordinator for the Measure AA Bond Campaign.
Andrea grew up in New Jersey and attended University of Pittsburgh, studying Sociology and Black Studies. Following that, she immersed herself in the Pittsburgh community, teaching pre-school and running parent support groups through the local mental health agency. After moving to the Bay Area, she worked as teacher and director at the Saratoga Parent Nursery School. More recently, she has been active in her local community volunteering at Bagby Elementary School and working as a reading aid for ESL students. While at Bagby she also co-founded a small education-technology startup, Weave Games, leveraging technology to increase student engagement through whole-class videogames.
Andrea has dedicated her life to helping individuals and building communities. Looking to the future, she is excited to synthesize her experience as an educator, mother, volunteer, and businesswoman to help the CUHSD Educational Foundation reach its full potential!
MARIA NICOLACOUDIS - Chief Financial Officer
Maria Nicolacoudis has worked in community based organizations for over twenty-five years, developing model, state-wide School-to-Career programs for high school youth with disabilities; direct employment counseling and placement services for persons with disabilities; developing and launching successful social enterprise businesses; and consulting with employers locally and nationally regarding integrating their workforce, accommodations and the ADA. Maria is currently the Executive Director of Respite and Research for Alzheimer’s Disease, providing large scale social day programs and caregiver support for individuals and families living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Prior to joining Respite and Research for Alzheimer’s Disease, Maria was the Executive Director of Expandability for 18 years and has served on several Boards and commissions including H.O.P.E., Santa Clara County Committee for Employment of Persons with Disabilities and as a Governor’s appointee to the California Governor's Committee for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities. She is currently an appointee of the California State Secretary of Health and Human services to the California Committee for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities where she has served as chair for four years.
Maria has two daughters at Del Mar High School and is the current president of the Del Mar High School Performing Arts Association and Secretary of the Del Mar High School IB Parent Organization. She also assisted with the Measure AA campaign and is a member of the Del Mar High School Challenge Success team. Maria received a BA from UC Santa Cruz in Psychology, an MA from Santa Clara University in Counseling Psychology and post-graduate certification in Rehabilitation Management at San Diego State University.
NICOLE SHADDOX - Secretary
Nicole Shaddox is one of the founding members of the CUHSD Education Foundation. She has been a dedicated volunteer for the past decade. She was an active volunteer at her daughter's elementary and middle schools. When her daughter entered high school at Westmont she decided to become very involved in supporting the Westmont community and CUHSD. In the last four years she has been part of the Westmont PTSA board, the last two years as president and grad night chair. She was on Westmont’s School Site Council. She is also part of the LCAP and Financial Advisory committees at CUHSD. In 2016, she co-chaired the CUHSD Measure AA campaign. Her passion for volunteering comes from the loyalty of being part of a 3rd generation Westmont and 4th generation CUHSD family. Her dedication to advocating and volunteering on behalf of today’s youth does not stop at there, she is also part of organizations that support and advocates for foster and LBGTQ youth. Also, she is part of organizations that support youth in need of mental health and special education serveries. Her daughter, Samantha, graduated from Westmont HS in June 2017. Nicole was honored by being awarded Westmont’s and CUHSD volunteer of the year in 2017.
Nicole believes . . .“Volunteering for the school district that my family has been part of for the past 50+ years, has been an honor and a gift. I look forward to helping to build a strong, lasting foundation that promotes community and truly impacts, inspires, and supports the whole student. I believe wholeheartedly in supporting, empowering, and inspiring youth. It gives them the tools to succeed in life, in turn helping them become responsible citizens of their community and the world. Every child should be given the opportunities and tools needed to change the world. As a mother, an advocate and member of society supporting today’s youth, I hope that my actions will help bring a better tomorrow. It is our responsibility as adults to empower our youth. I believe that this is what the foundation will do for our community of students.”
BOARD MEMBERS AT LARGE
EVE WALTON - Board Member at Large, Communications Chair
Eve has many years of experience working in the high tech sector as a technical recruiter, human resource manager and program manager. A UCLA Art History graduate, she finds motivation and satisfaction working together with people on a common cause and believes that effective communication is a cornerstone of organizational success. In 2016, she was motivated by the district's aging school campuses and then wide spread lack of air conditioning to volunteer as the Co-Chairperson and Campaign Manager for Measure AA where she helped to lead a large team of volunteers in the successful passage of a facilities improvement bond benefiting the Campbell Union High School District (CUHSD). She is a founding member of the CUHSD Education Foundation and a participant in the CUHSD Facilities Improvement Committee. She has two sons. Her oldest is currently a junior at Branham High School.
Eve believes . . . "Volunteering to help students and the community brings me great joy. I love the camaraderie and sense of accomplishment I feel working together with like minded people on a common cause like the education foundation."
JULIE REYNOLDS-GRABBE - Board Member at Large, Communications Contributor
Julie is a California native and has spent most of her 25 year career in technology. She found her passion for people and technology while at Sonoma State University where she earned a B.S. in Business Administration with an Information Technology emphasis. She has worked previously at Apple, NASA Ames Research Center, Apple again, and Stanford University.
Julie is the proud Mom of two kids, a daughter who is a 9th grader at Prospect and a 5th grade son at Easterbrook Discovery School (EDS) in the Moreland School District. In addition, Julie was elected in 2012 as a Trustee for the Moreland School District (MSD) which feeds into CUHSD. She has also held many leadership roles over the years, including being a founding and board member of the Easterbrook Neighborhood Association, a member, vice chair and former chair of the San Jose District 1 Leadership Group, a former member of the MSD Community Board Advisory Committee (CBAC), a volunteer for Moreland Educational Foundation (MEF), a former member of EDS’ PTO, and an Advisory board member for San Jose's Walk n' Roll program.
In the past 3 years Julie has obtained a Masters in Governance, graduated from the Community Advocates Leadership Academy (CALA) and become a Master Gardener for Santa Clara County. She often DJs dances and events for free in her community.
She became involved with the creation of the CUHSD Ed Foundation while she worked on the Yes on Measure AA Campaign in 2016 and wanted to see the great energy and synergy transform from the successful bond campaign into something that had great potential to help all students in CUHSD.
Julie’s driving force is to make a difference. She often will represent the under-represented and help facilitate mutually beneficial solutions to complex problems. She also believes in equity and approaches all things in her life with a growth mindset. She treasures the life-long connections she has made with Andrea, Eve, Nicole and Smita through this process and is honored to be part of the founding team!
NICOLE ANTONOPOULOS - Board Member at Large, Communications Contributor
Nicole is a proud team member of the CUHSD Ed Foundation and was a communications team member on the Measure AA Campaign Committee with the Founders. Nicole is here because ... "I want the most enriching education for my children - one that goes beyond theory, develops life skills and empowers future leaders. Volunteering my time to achieve this is the best gift I can give my children."
LISA DOWNEY - Board Member at Large
Lisa Downey is thrilled to join the dedicated members of the CUHSDEF in improving the district’s overall well-being for students, staff and families. Lisa traces her educational roots to the feeder schools of Campbell Union High School District, and is now a proud Branham and Ida Price parent. Professionally, Lisa oversees the Environmental and Stewardship grantmaking for the Morgan Family Foundation. She is an active member and the former co-chair of the Bay Area Environmental Education Funders Collaborative (EEFC), which helps build the field of environmental education through leveraged funding, partnerships and learning, and she also serves on the Steering Committee for the California Economic Summit, which is committed to ensuring that California’s opportunities are available to all people.
Lisa most enjoys working alongside people who care about improving their communities, both locally and globally. Before coming to Morgan Family Foundation, Lisa was the Director of Grantmaking and Grantee Impact at Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2), and before that, she spent 14 years living and working in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Lisa takes to heart the “Learn by Doing” motto of her alma mater, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: on most weekends, Lisa can be found biking, supporting marching bands or making stuff.
JENNIFER SMITH - Board Member at Large
Jennifer represents the adult education branch of the Campbell Union High School District. She shares the Foundation’s passion to provide support to all students in the district.
Jennifer has been an educator for twenty-three years. A native of Canada, she attended Queen’s University where she earned her degree in English Literature and Education. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Education from State University New York, Buffalo. For the first ten years of her career, she taught English Language Arts at international schools in Seoul, South Korea, and Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to joining Campbell Adult and Community Education, she also taught in a small rural high school near Fresno, California. Her passion as an educator is to be able to meet students where they are at, and to facilitate an environment where they can excel. She is a strong advocate for adult education because she believes it is never too late to achieve one’s dreams.
DR. ELIZABETH WARD, PhD - Board Member at Large
Elizabeth is delighted to be a volunteer for the CUHSD Education Foundation, and is looking forward to helping bring about positive changes within the community.
Born and raised in Cheltenham, England, Elizabeth was sponsored by GCHQ to earn a degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Warwick, and then took a gap year before pursuing a career. Volunteer work on Iona was followed by a temporary job to earn enough money to backpack solo around New Zealand. Upon returning to England, she was fortunate to land a position at a research and development center, initially processing GaAs FET MMICs. A transfer to the optoelectronics division allowed her to get involved in the design, fabrication, testing and evaluation of InP-based lasers, optoelectronic integrated circuits and novel photonic bandgap devices. She worked on pan-European collaborative research projects, and at the same time was able to earn her PhD in optoelectronics as an external part-time student at Imperial College, London.
Elizabeth moved from England to Campbell in 2004, for what was supposed to be a one-year transfer with her husband’s work in the tech industry. She still lives in Campbell with her husband and their four children, two of whom are at Westmont. She is delighted to be able to volunteer with the same great group of people who were involved in Measure AA. She is currently Vice President of Westmont’s Theatre Arts Boosters, and is a member of the PTSA.
ANDREA FAISS - Board Member at Large
Andrea has dedicated her career to Silicon Valley's nonprofit community. Andrea currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for American Leadership Forum - Silicon Valley, a nonprofit committed to building diverse networks of leaders focused on personal and community transformation in order to create an inclusive and thriving Silicon Valley. She currently oversees operations, finance, human resources and the development and execution of fundraising strategy. As a member of the leadership team she is instrumental in developing organization and program strategy and outcome measurement and evaluation. Among her accomplishments are the development, and continuing evolution, of the organization's first theory of change and comprehensive program impact evaluation process, establishment of a new impact/business model, creation and implementation of a new program strategy during a period of ambitious program expansion, and the design of a comprehensive collection, organization and analysis process that integrates fundraising, member, and program impact outcome data.
Prior to her role at American Leadership Forum - Silicon Valley, Andrea spent nine years at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, one of the nation's largest and most influential philanthropic institutions, where she oversaw a portfolio of more than 100 Silicon Valley performing arts organization grantees, awarding more than $8 million in grants. While at the Foundation she played a significant role in developing the arts education grantmaking strategy, helped develop the Foundation's proposal format, and counseled grant seekers on developing theories of change.
Andrea held senior development positions in Silicon Valley arts organizations including San Jose Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks, and Ballet San Jose. There she developed and implemented the organizations' fundraising campaigns, special events, and volunteer programs. She also served as Producing Director for City Lights Theater Company, where she lead both the artistic and business activities of the theater. While in this position she led the procurement and build-out of a warehouse for a new theater which houses the company to this day and oversaw the production of critically-acclaimed productions, including The Guitarrón, named one of the best shows of the year by The Mercury News.
Andrea performed in, and directed for, local theaters and directed children's and high school productions. She is currently an enthusiastic volunteer student coach and member of the Leigh High School theater department volunteer team, ACTS. She and her husband are proud parents of a daughter who attends Leigh High School.