Every year at this time, we report on the comings and goings of the San Francisco Friends Board of Trustees, a milestone in stewarding board leadership that often stretches over months and years. In choosing trustees, who usually serve up to two three-year terms, the Board examines a wide variety of factors including: professional background and experience; skill sets; diversity across multiple areas including racial, cultural, socioeconomic, and ages of children; volunteer experience at SFFS and beyond; and balancing parent and non-parent trustees. Additionally, we seek a commitment to upholding the mission of the San Francisco Friends School.
This year, we will be bidding farewell to the following trustees:
- Shannon Cogen (Tess ’17 and Jack ’14) has served as a clerk of the Committee on Trustees and the Development Committee; as a member of the Finance, Futures, and Community Engagement Committees; and as a co-clerk of the Board. Shannon also co-clerked the search committee that worked to bring Mike Hanas to SFFS and co-clerked our Building Friends Campaign.
- Jim Hansen (Delia ’19 and Jack ’16) has served as a clerk of the Finance Committee; the treasurer of the Board; and as a member of the Investment, Head Search, and Futures Committees.
- Arnie Oji (Zachary ’11) has served on the Equity and Inclusion, Development, and Quaker Life Committees.
- Joel Roos (Will ’15) has served on the Futures and Finance Committees, and this year clerked the Facilities Committee.
We are deeply grateful to Shannon, Jim, Arnie, and Joel for their dedication, wisdom, and support of SFFS’s mission! We will miss them, but expect that they will continue to remain close to our Friends community.
We also welcome three new trustees who are stepping in to help fill their shoes:
- Charles Bello is vice president and team director at ConferenceDirect, a Los Angeles-based meeting solutions company. Charles has over 20 years of industry experience in multiple market segments, including corporate, association, religious, and nonprofit associations. Charles is knowledgeable in site selection and contract negotiations for all types of events, from senior-level board meetings to a city-wide conventions with over 25,000 attendees. Charles was recognized as Rookie of the Year during his first year as a ConferenceDirect associate, and was most recently recognized as one of ConferenceDirect Top 25 Performers. Prior to joining ConferenceDirect, Charles held various leadership positions with IHG, Hilton, and Renaissance Hotels. During his on-property hotel career, Charles spent eight years with IHG in San Francisco, first working at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins and then successfully opening the InterContinental San Francisco. He led the group sales team efforts in the position of area director of sales for the InterContinental Hotels of San Francisco. As a leader in his industry, Charles currently serves on the Board for the Northern California Chapter of Green Meetings Industry Council and is a former member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).
A Boston native and graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Charles relocated to San Francisco in 2000. He resides in the city with his partner Robert, their son Jack ‘25, and their rescue puppy Ripley.
- Rebecca Foster is the executive director of the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund, a nonprofit fund focused on capital solutions to produce and preserve affordable housing. Prior to this, Rebecca worked on public private partnerships in Mayor Lee's office, focusing on issues ranging from family homelessness to citywide broadband. Rebecca spent eight years in public sector and infrastructure investment banking at Goldman Sachs in New York and San Francisco, raising capital for governments, universities, and utilities. She received her BA from Brown University and her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Rebecca is a board member of the Mission Preparatory School and ARTA, a whitewater rafting organization. She lives in the Castro with her husband Doug and three boys Rowan ’24, Henry ’26, and Mattias.
- Clarke Weatherspoon currently serves as the dean of equity and inclusion at the Urban School of San Francisco, where he teaches Identity and Ethnic Studies and Junior Service Learning. At Urban, he directs the Multi-Culti Team, a group of 29 student-leaders, and partners with other administrators to mentor students and teachers on how to make the school more inclusive and enjoyable. In 2017 Clarke earned The Hero Award from A Better Chance for his youth empowerment and advocacy work.
Clarke previously taught on the faculty of Marin Academy and Sacred Heart Preparatory School in Atherton. He holds a Master’s degree in Education from Teachers College at Columbia University and dual bachelor’s degrees from the University of California at Santa Barbara in History and Black Studies. He is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy. A nationally recognized youth water polo coach, Clarke has worked at three major USA water polo clubs in the last 19 years. He is currently the age group program director at the Stanford Water Polo Club, where he mentors coaches and guides the training for 80 youth athletes. Clarke has twice worked for the USA Men's Water Polo National Team and won the Ted Newland Distinguished Coaching Award in 2014. His teams have won numerous state and national titles. He has been a certified yoga and meditation instructor since 2008, and has taught in a broad range of settings from The Ohio State University to the San Francisco County Jail. He is a native of Exeter, NH, and lives in San Francisco with his wife, Joanna Ro.
In addition to these transitions on and off the Board, there are also some Board leadership transitions in process. Seth Brenzel is stepping down as co-clerk of the Board after serving in the role for the past three years, and Michael Feldman will join continuing co-clerk Shabnam Koirala-Azad as the new co-clerk. Maureen MacAvoy is assuming the role of treasurer, succeeding Jim Hansen, whose term ends this summer.
Seth & Shabnam