About

Board of Directors

2017-2019

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 Celia Jaffe

Celia Jaffe

President

Celia Jaffe

President

All her life, Celia Jaffe has worked with and for children and supported public education. Starting with babysitting, tutoring, working with special needs teenagers, and in local recreation programs, Celia continued to volunteer in schools while earning a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Education from Stanford University. Five years of teaching high school English and ten years as a school board trustee have broadened Celia’s firsthand experience in education. But it is PTA that has been Celia’s passion, cause and joy for over 20 years. From jog-a-thon to parliamentarian to legislation to volunteer coordinator, there are few PTA positions Celia has not tackled, including president of Fourth District PTA. As California State PTA VP for Education and President-elect, Celia has worked with wonderful local PTA leaders throughout the state. Celia, her husband, and their two grown children love trivia and board games.

Head shot of Carol Green

Carol Green

President-elect

Carol Green

President-elect

Carol Green has been volunteering in various levels of PTA for more than 20 years. She has been a local unit president at both an elementary school PTA and a high school PTA, a council president and Ninth District President serving San Diego and Imperial Counties. Green has served on the California State PTA Board of Directors as the Vice President for Communications and Vice President for Membership Services. She works as a public health advocate and in community/media relations for a nonprofit in San Diego County. Green worked for more than 20 years as a radio and television news journalist. She is an active community volunteer including more than 12 years as a Girl Scout Leader and many positions supporting children and arts education. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism from San Diego State University. Green and her husband have three children and a dog.

Head shot of Maria Steck

Maria Steck

Vice President for Leadership Services

Maria Steck

Vice President for Leadership Services

Maria Steck volunteered at a Santa Shoppe 18 years ago and has been hooked on PTA ever since. She has held many different positions over the years at the Unit, Council, and District level. The last 2 years, in addition to being a member of the Leadership Commission, she has been the Regional Leadership Conference Chair for CAPTA. Maria lives in her own version of heaven, Ventura County, with her husband, Bill. They are parents to 3 children, 2 four-legged rescue dogs and an 8-legged tarantula, Harry, they inherited when their middle child moved out for college and “forgot” to take him. In her time away from PTA, Maria manages an Airbnb rental on the beach and does volunteer work with groups that work with the LGBTQ community, a cause near and dear to her heart.

Head shot of Michael Morgan

Michael Morgan

Vice President for Membership Services

Michael Morgan

Vice President for Membership Services

Michael Morgan went to his first PTA meeting over 15 years ago and was amazed at how much things had changed since his time in school. Since that meeting Morgan has served in various positions at the unit, council and district level and has been a part of the Membership Services Commission for the last 4 years. Morgan continues his involvement with PTA because he believes it offers a great opportunity for families to be engaged in their student’s education and that every school deserves a PTA.

Head shot of Heather Ippolito

Heather Ippolito

Vice President for Communications

Heather Ippolito

Vice President for Communications

Heather Ippolito is wife to her high-school sweetheart, Ron, and mother to Liliana. She has a teaching credential and a masters degree in curriculum development. She first began her PTA career while teaching at Valley View Community School in Santa Clarita, California. Heather has proudly served at the unit, council, district and state levels in a variety of positions including president, parliamentarian, secretary, historian, treasurer, vice president, and more chair positions than she can recall! She is so proud to serve on the PTA to benefit the lives of children and families across the state.

Head shot of Heidi Goddi

Heidi Goddi

Vice President for Special Events

Heidi Goddi

Vice President for Special Events

Heidi Goddi has been a PTA leader for over 20 years. She is a past president of Twenty-Second District PTA, which serves the PTAs in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. Heidi has served on the California State PTA board on the Convention Commission, Programs and Member Services, Parent Involvement and Health and Community Concerns Commissions. Heidi lives in Eureka with her husband Martin, where they actively support and advocate for Arts in Education. They have two grown children.

Head shot of Mariaelena Huizar

Mariaelena Huizar

Vice President for Health & Community Concerns

Mariaelena Huizar

Vice President for Health & Community Concerns

Mariaelena Huizar has served on the Board of Managers for 10 years. She is passionate that all children have the best education for a successful life and believes their health and the communities they live in play a critical role in that success. In recent years, she has served on the Legislation Action Committee of State PTA which gives her knowledge of the issues the legislature is addressing that impact children. She believes we as parents, teachers and communities must partner towards a better future for all children. In addition, she has served as President of California Alliance for Schools, Families and Community Partnerships (CASFC), was a member of the California Department of Education, CDE Family Involvement Area Network (FAN).

Head shot of Lea Darrah

Lea Darrah

Vice President for Education

Lea Darrah

Vice President for Education

Lea Darrah has been a PTA member and volunteer since her oldest child, who is now a college graduate, started kindergarten. Over the years she has been active as a leader at PTA units in her community as well as serving on Site Councils and a wide range of district committees. She is a passionate advocate for family engagement and has worked on a statewide task force to teach community members how to advocate for their children. She is also an active community volunteer, including serving as the registrar for the local soccer club. Lea and her husband Matt have four children.

Head shot of Deborah Johnson

Deborah Johnson

Vice President for Family Engagement

Deborah Johnson

Vice President for Family Engagement

Deborah Johnson most recently served as Secretary and the School Smarts Chairperson of the California State PTA. She has served as President at the District, Council and Unit levels. She started her PTA journey 34 years ago when her daughter was 6 months old. She is a kindergarten teacher and a mother of three children, one of which is a high school teacher. Deborah serves as a mentor teacher in two different school districts. Deborah graduated from Sonoma State University and has her Master degree in Early Childhood education. She is constantly reminding her children that we are all lifetime learners.

Head shot of Jeff Price

Jeff Price

Secretary

Jeff Price

Secretary

Jeff Price began his PTA work 10 years ago when his son entered Kindergarten at Longfellow Elementary in Long Beach. In those 10 years, Jeff has held several PTA leadership positions from the unit to National PTA levels. While president of Longfellow Elementary PTA, National PTA chose Longfellow as the “roll out unit” for the new “Family Reading Experience” program. Longfellow Elementary PTA was one of the inaugural units to receive the National PTA “School of Excellence” award and at Lakewood High School PTSA, Jeff unveiled the “Letter in PTSA” program whereby students can earn their high school letter for excellence in membership, leadership and advocacy. Jeff is dedicated to the mission of the organization and to further the great work it does for all children and families.

Head shot of Melinda Kirkland

Melinda Kirkland

Treasurer

Melinda Kirkland

Treasurer

Melinda Kirkland has been involved in PTA for over 10 years, most recently as a Leadership Commissioner for California State PTA. She is a past president of Twenty-Fourth District PTA in San Luis Obispo County and has held many PTA positions at the unit and district level. She has worked for and served on the boards of other non-profit organizations, including a Boys and Girls Club. Melinda has a master’s degree in science education and has been married to her husband, Tom, for 19 years. They have two awesome teenagers and a small menagerie of pets and reside in Atascadero.

Head shot of Tim Davidson

Tim Davidson

Parliamentarian

Tim Davidson

Parliamentarian

Tim Davidson, his wife Kathryn, and two children Ian (19) and Alex (15) live in Marin County. Tim is a retired information technology professional. He holds a master’s degree in business administration and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in cognition and learning. Tim’s ongoing dissertation research is on paternal influences on the psychological well-being and motivation of high school students. Tim has been a member of the California State PTA board of manager since 2007 and served on the California State PTA board of directors in 2013-2015. Tim’s other volunteer interest has been with the Boy Scouts of America where he has served as a nationally-certified Aquatics Director since 2009. Tim’s hobbies include music (he plays piano and a variety of string and wind instruments) and basketball (yes, he still plays, but mostly watches). Tim’s life pursuit is advocating on behalf of children and families.

Head shot of Shereen Walter

Shereen Walter

Director of Legislation

Shereen Walter

Director of Legislation

Shereen Walter has been involved with PTA for over 20 years, becoming involved for the same reason many parents do, to make a difference at her own child’s school. She has found a passion for helping all children and families in California with her work as the Community Concerns Advocate and as the VP of Health & Community Concerns for CAPTA. She earned her BS in Geophysical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and her MBA from the University of California, Irvine. She and her husband, Steve, have been married 34 years and have three grown children, Stephanie, Lindsey and Dylan.

Head shot of Otis Cross

Otis Cross

Chair of the District Presidents

Otis Cross

Chair of the District Presidents

Head shot of Sherry Skelly Griffith

Sherry Skelly Griffith

Executive Director

Sherry Skelly Griffith

Executive Director

Sherry Skelly Griffith has served as the Executive Director for the CA State PTA for four years. Prior to that she worked in education policy in the State Capitol and Washington, D.C. for 30 years. She has served as the Governmental Relations Director on behalf of the Association of CA School Administrators, the Director for the California Curriculum Commission under the State Board of Education and CA Department of Education, Governmental Relations representative on behalf of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, consultant in the California State Assembly to a member of the Assembly Education Committee and served as the legislative director for the non-profit California Children’s Lobby and the California State Student Association of the California State University.

Sherry started out as a preschool teacher, camp counselor and before and after school director. She has combined her passion for education and public policy for more than three decades. She resides in Sacramento with her husband Joel and has three grown children who all attended K-12 public schools and California public universities.