Growing up, my father worked as a teacher before he went into business and my mother stayed home to care for myself, my brother and three sisters. Observing my father as he carefully prepared for and watched over his students taught me to appreciate teachers and value education.
When I was very young, our family immigrated to Paraguay. There I attended their schools, learning the culture and the Spanish language. From Paraguay, we immigrated to Loma Linda, California.
Interestingly, at the public elementary school I attended in Loma Linda, because there was no one who spoke Chinese, I learned English in school using only the Spanish I had learned in Paraguay. After I learned English, I was asked as a second grader to help another Chinese immigrant who spoke neither English nor Spanish.
These, along with many other childhood educational experiences, has given me great compassion and understanding for students from all backgrounds and ability levels.
After high school, I attended UC Irvine where I met my future husband Steve. We had a long-distance relationship during graduate school. He attended USC Dental School (where he continued teaching as an adjunct professor for many years in addition to his dental practice). I moved to San Francisco to attend UC San Francisco where I received my Doctorate in Pharmacy. Steve and I were married shortly after our graduations from our respective doctoral programs.
It’s been 19 years since we moved back to Steve’s hometown, Westlake Village, where he had attended Westlake Hills Elementary, Viewpoint, and Westlake High School. In fact, Steve used to live right behind the post office where he was close enough to walk to Westlake Hills, and close enough to hop the fence to go to the post office.
Today, like many in our community, we are a busy, active family with 3 wonderful children and 2 beloved rescue dogs. Also, like many here in the Conejo Valley, our children’s educational experiences play a central role in our lives.
My oldest child is a senior at Westlake HS and is looking into a career in the military. My daughter is currently enrolled in a private independent study program because we unfortunately could not find the right fit for her in our public schools. My youngest loves technology and robotics and is thriving at Colina Middle School.
Our family is the perfect example of the Conejo Valley statistic that one in three school-age children do not attend our public schools (see Chamber of Commerce statistics and CVUSD enrollment).
My Career and Community Involvement:
Since 2014, I have been the CFO of First Ave. Education Inc., a successful educational language enrichment program (serving over 600 children annually) for after school, weekend, and summer programs in the city of Arcadia similar to the local Chinese School in Thousand Oaks.
I am the founding director of a new nonprofit Top Goal Education, (established in early 2018) aimed at offering more programs to families lacking access to enrichment programs.
My passion for children also has prompted me to be involved with LoVE (Lilly of the Valley Endeavor). LoVE is a non-profit organization created to help AIDS infected and affected children and their communities starting in KwaZulu, South Africa – the heart of this pandemic. We raise support and awareness in the USA. I have been involved with them for over 5 years, and have successfully run their yearly fundraisers which enabled them to build classrooms, medical clinics, and continue to feed the children.
I also enjoy participating in National League of Young Men with my son as philanthropy chairs, and in National Charity League with my daughter where I was one of the directors for their thrift shop, Fibber McGee’s.
For CVUSD, I volunteer on the GATE (gifted and talented education) Site Council, School Site Council, CTE (career technical education) Committee, as well as an Odyssey of the Mind coach.