About

Board of Directors

2015 – 2017

Strong leadership is essential for any association, and our board members ensure California State PTA is delivering on our mission to positively impact the lives of children and families.

Head shot of Justine Fischer

Justine Fischer

President

Justine Fischer

President

“PTA at its heart is about supporting and nurturing children and their families, and creating opportunities to build meaningful relationships and communities. There are 9 million kids in California and our support has lasting effects throughout their lifetime!”

Justine Fischer serves as chairman of the Board of Directors and chief executive officer of California State PTA. She has been deeply involved in providing training and outreach to thousands of parents across the state to help them understand and engage in their local schools, such as through the Local Control and Accountability Plan/Local Control Funding Formula processes and through creating diverse and inclusive school communities. She also serves as a member of the Education Coalition Leadership Committee and on numerous task forces and workgroups including serving as the vice president for the EdSource Board of Directors. Professionally, Fischer has worked for many years serving the needs of children with learning disabilities, foster youth and migrant families and communities in Southern California. She holds a BA in radio/TV/film communications with a specialization in industrial-education media from California State University Northridge. She is a married mother of two: Her son is an airman in the U.S. Navy and her daughter recently graduated college.

Head shot of Dianna MacDonald

Dianna MacDonald

President-Elect

Dianna MacDonald

President-Elect

“PTA gave me the education and knowledge to be an advocate for my own children, and it changed my life and theirs. I have seen first-hand the impact we make with changing laws to support children and families in California, and that’s powerful for me. I have experienced the change in my life and the lives of my children that being involved in this amazing organization has made. If it can change my life and my family’s, it can change others’ as well.”

Dianna MacDonald has served PTA at the local, regional and state levels in various roles including serving as the family engagement advocate, vice president for education and leadership mentor. Her work has focused on early childhood education, supporting military families and closing the achievement gap. She is a National PTA presenter, a national Issue Forum Moderator and has received extensive training in building inclusive and equitable communities. A strong believer in early-childhood education and family engagement, MacDonald is looking forward to doing more outreach to the youngest Californians and their families. MacDonald recently served as a school board trustee as well a member of the California School Boards Association Delegate Assembly. She and her husband Mike have three sons, and she credits PTA with teaching her to an advocate for her own children, and then to become an advocate all children across California.

Head shot of Mary Galuska

Mary Galuska

Vice President for Leadership Services

Mary Galuska

Vice President for Leadership Services

“PTA has been my passion since I was inspired at my first California State PTA convention in 1991, and I’ve stayed involved because I want to be part of the state PTA’s mission to ‘positively impact the lives of all children.' PTA is the only nonprofit in the world whose sole purpose is to work to better the lives of all children, and being involved in this organization -- no matter how small of a time commitment you may have – is so rewarding in the smile of every child you touch.”

Mary Galuska has worked at all levels of PTA for 25 years. In her new office, Galuska will coordinate training and assistance to local PTAs to help them support student success at their schools. Her previous roles include serving as the vice president for programs and member services, secretary, Reflections Art Program coordinator, Arts Committee chair and chair of the district presidents. She currently is the coordinator of the Orange Unified School District’s Arts Education Alliance and is president of the Friends of the Orange Public Library. Professionally, Galuska holds an MBA from Northwestern University and has worked as an account executive in the telecommunications industry and in real estate. She has been married to husband Aleck for 32 years and has three grown children: Kelly, Andy and Katie.

Head shot of Kathy Steinberg

Kathy Steinberg

Vice President for Programs and Member Services

Kathy Steinberg

Vice President for Programs and Member Services

"The importance of PTA as an advocate for every child is as important today as it was 118 years ago when it was founded. Membership in PTA gives one the strong voice of 800,000 fellow members and nearly 4 million nationwide, all of whom share a common goal: working for every child with one voice."

Kathy Steinberg’s previous PTA roles include Thirty-First District PTA president, vice president for community concerns, vice president for education and federal legislation advocate. In her new office, she will promote and oversee PTA’s many unique programs, grants and scholarships to assist local PTAs, schools and students. Professionally, she specializes in conflict management/mediation and is experienced in the operations of nonprofit corporations. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and holds an advanced certificate from Cambridge University. Steinberg and her husband, Bob – both graduates of Duke University School of Law – have two sons.

Head shot of Carol Green

Carol Green

Vice President for Communications

Carol Green

Vice President for Communications

Carol Green will lead efforts on internal and external California State PTA communication as well as on concerns related to mass media and their effects on children, youth and families. She became a PTA member in 1997 when her oldest daughter started kindergarten and has volunteered at various PTA levels since then, including council president for the Chula Vista Council of PTAs, council president for the Sweetwater Secondary Council of PTSAs and most recently serving as Ninth District PTA president covering San Diego and Imperial Counties. She works in community/media relations for community coalitions focused on preventing and interrupting drug use among youth in San Diego County. Green spent more than 20 years in radio and television news as a producer, reporter, writer and anchor. She has been active locally as a Girl Scout leader and is a past president on the board of trustees of San Diego Junior Theatre. She has a BA in communications and journalism from San Diego State University. Green and her husband, Jonathan, have three children.

Head shot of Barbara Harris

Barbara Harris

Vice President for Convention

Barbara Harris

Vice President for Convention

“My mom always said, ‘You can’t make change unless you get involved.' When I joined PTA, I had no idea how much it would change my life. PTA gives me a sense of accomplishment and belonging – working to make a positive impact on kids, providing resources to parents and teachers, and helping the community understand the complexities of public education. Anyone can join PTA, whether you have kids in school or not. PTA has a rich history of making change for the benefit of children and public education. Kids don’t have the power of the vote, but adults do: When we band together to speak up for children, it’s a mighty voice that is heard loud and clear in the halls of government.”

Barbara Harris has been involved with PTA for 13 years and currently is serving a third term on both the California State PTA Convention Commission and the Resolutions Committee. In her role as Vice President for Convention, she will oversee the association’s yearly convention, which hosts thousands of local PTA volunteers, parents and child advocates each year. Harris holds a BS in business and management and is retired from Pacific Gas and Electric Company, where she had a career in nuclear security. A native Californian, Harris resides in Paso Robles with her husband, Mark. They have one daughter, Kiana, who is starting her second year at a private university in Pennsylvania studying paleontology.

Head shot of Deborah Kemper

Deborah Kemper

Vice President for Community Concerns

Deborah Kemper

Vice President for Community Concerns

Deborah Kemper has volunteered for PTA for more than 25 years. As Vice President for Community Concerns, Kemper will testify on and respond to major community issues affecting California children, families and neighborhoods. She has previously served as the California State PTA secretary, as president for Seventeenth District PTA and as the first president of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, for which she received a PTA Golden Oak Service Award. Kemper holds an MBA with an emphasis in international business, and is the associate executive director for the San Mateo County Bar Association. She lives in San Carlos with her husband, Cliff; they have five children – Marc, Brittany, their adoptee Milo and two foster children, Nowa and Capri.

Head shot of Celia Jaffe

Celia Jaffe

Vice President for Education

Celia Jaffe

Vice President for Education

“Children’s lives are better because of what you do when you’re involved in PTA, plus you work with great people and learn so many new skills yourself. At all levels of its work, PTA does important and meaningful things for kids. I love being part of it.”

Celia Jaffe will lead California State PTA’s work on key education initiatives and policies. Jaffe was appointed by the California Superintendent of Public Schools to serve on the California Department of Education Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee (PSAA) and is a member of the California Department of Education’s Smarter Balanced stakeholder group. She also serves on the CORE/SQIS Oversight Panel working with school districts that were granted a waiver form the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) from the U.S. Department of Education. From 2004 to 2014, Jaffe served as an elected trustee of the Huntington Beach City School District and also served on the Delegate Assembly of the California School Boards Association from 2009 to 2014. She earned her BA in English and MA in education from Stanford University. She and her husband, Harvey, have been married 30 years and have two grown children, Diana and Jacob.

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Laura Mudge

Vice President for Health

Laura Mudge

Vice President for Health

Laura Mudge is California State PTA's Vice President for Health.

Head shot of Colette Rudd

Colette Rudd

Vice President for Family Engagement

Colette Rudd

Vice President for Family Engagement

Colette Rudd -- a PTA volunteer since 1989 -- has been elected as the Vice President for Family Engagement of the California State PTA. She has been a member of the California State PTA Board of Managers since 2009, serving as the chairman of the School Smarts Parent Engagement Program Committee and a member of the Family Engagement and Finance Commissions. She will lead the association’s work to empower, involve and engage families in their children’s schools and the broader community. She also served as the PTSA president at Aragon High School and the PTA president at Sunnybrae Elementary. As president of the 17th District PTA, she represented all PTA members of San Mateo County on the California State PTA Board of Managers. Professionally, Rudd managed drug research and development projects, most recently as an associate director of toxicology at XenoPort, Inc. She received a BA in biology from the University of California, San Diego, and a PhD in molecular biology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She and her husband, Marion Weiler, raised two children, Kari and David, in San Mateo.

Head shot of Brian Bonner

Brian Bonner

Vice President for Membership

Brian Bonner

Vice President for Membership

“PTA provides great opportunities to support – and work on behalf of – children and families. It’s the association that works at the local, state and federal levels to address the needs of all children. From local elementary schools to the halls of Congress, PTA seeks to improve the opportunities for children to reach their potentials.”

Brian Bonner is the California State PTA federal advocate and vice chair of the National PTA Legislative Committee. In his new office, Bonner will coordinate statewide efforts to promote PTA membership. He has served on the California State PTA Board of Managers since 2005 and on its Board of Directors as a vice president and chairman of district presidents. Bonner also was president of Ninth District PTA and San Diego Unified Council of PTAs. He worked for 21 years as a legislative analyst for San Diego County after serving as a probation officer for 11 years. He has been married for 33 years.

Head shot of Sherry Elkington

Sherry Elkington

Treasurer

Sherry Elkington

Treasurer

“PTA is important to me because it means seeing the positive impact that we have for all children. Family engagement equals children being successful in school, graduating and going to college, and we need parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts to be a part of their and other children’s lives.”

Elkington has been active in PTA since 2000, having served on the Convention, Finance and Leadership Commissions as well as chairing the Audit Committee. In her new office, she will work with the California State PTA Board of Directors, Board of Managers and staff to develop and oversee budgets for the statewide nonprofit association. She has coached junior high girls’ volleyball for six years. She has been married for 30 years and has two sons.

Head shot of Sue King

Sue King

Secretary

Sue King

Secretary

“I have two adult children with six granddaughters: All of these children’s educations result from the California public-education system. I want them to have a quality education and PTA is a big part of that quality education. PTA is the best way parents can get involved in, not only their child’s education, but the education of children in the entire school community. PTA provides a forum for parents and community members to make their school community a better place.”

Sue King has more than 35 years of experience in PTA, first serving as the ice cream chairman when her daughter was in first grade. In the office of secretary, King will serve as official transcriptionist and reporter of Board of Directors actions. She currently serves as the mentor for three PTA districts and previously has served as the state vice president for leadership services, communications and member services. King also is a past California State PTA parliamentarian and membership chairman. She has been active in band boosters and youth soccer. Her family includes her husband, Michael, two adult children – Stephanie and Andy (Brenda) – and six granddaughters aged 20 to 5 years old. In addition to the duties of the secretary to the Board of Directors and Board of Managers, King plans to engage in outreach to local associations, councils and PTA districts so constituent organizations can be the best path to family engagement.

Head shot of Kathy Stevenson

Kathy Stevenson

Parliamentarian

Kathy Stevenson

Parliamentarian

Kathy Stevenson previously has served PTA as convention vice president, treasurer, exhibits chairman, vice chair of the Convention Commission and as a member of the Convention Steering Committee, Convention Management Committee, Bylaws Committee, Resource Development Committee, and the Convention and Finance Commissions. As Parliamentarian, Stevenson will oversee local and regional PTAs’ governing bylaws. She has been actively involved in PTA since 1993 and has served as an officer at the unit, council and district levels. Stevenson is a registered nurse and works as a hospital transition-planning project manager. She resides in Santa Clarita with her husband, Craig.

Head shot of Shayne Silva

Shayne Silva

Director of Legislation

Shayne Silva

Director of Legislation

"Remember no matter how much fundraising you do, it will never equal the impact of one piece of legislation."

In her role as Director of Legislation, Silva will coordinate the association’s State Capitol advocacy programs, priorities and initiatives. She has been a proud member of PTA for 25 years and has received PTA Honorary, Continuing Service and Golden Oak Service Awards. She has served as an advocate for the California State PTA for seven years. Prior to that time, she served six years as an education commissioner after serving as the Thirty-Second District PTA president.

Head shot of Annette Lewis

Annette Lewis

District Presidents

Annette Lewis

District Presidents

Annette Lewis serves as the Board of Directors representative of all of California State PTA’s 28 regional districts. In her role, she works with other district presidents to ensure children and families have a strong advocate voice throughout California, and works to grow membership to add new voices to the organization.

Head shot of Sherry Griffith

Sherry Griffith

Executive Director

Sherry Griffith

Executive Director

Sherry Griffith has worked in education policy for 30 years in the State Capitol and in Washington, D.C. For the past 13 years, she has worked on behalf of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), including representing ACSA before the U.S. Department of Education, Congress, the California Legislature, the governor and the California Board of Education. Most recently, she worked as the director of governmental relations at ACSA, where she served as part of the statewide Education Coalition.

Prior to ACSA, Griffith spent five years as the executive director of the California Curriculum Commission and as an education administrator and division director overseeing 32 staff at the California Department of Education. She also served under the chief deputy superintendent as chief consultant and legislative representative on behalf of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin.

Her wide range of experience also includes four years working for a member of the Assembly Education Committee, and serving as the legislative director for the California Children’s Lobby as well the California State Student Association representing California State University students in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Starting out as a preschool teacher and the first college graduate in her family, she has combined her passion for education and public policy these last three decades. She and her husband Joel have three children: two in California public universities and a senior in public high school.