As the 2020–2021 school year comes to a close, we are filled with appreciation for the administrators, faculty, and staff at SFFS who navigated the uncertainties and challenges of this past year with determination, aplomb, grace, generosity, and kindness. The virtual Year-End Celebration and in-person 8th Grade Graduation last week powerfully demonstrated that despite the adversity we experienced, the values and connections that make SFFS unique are enduring—and joyful!
As we transition to summer and anticipate with hope what the new school year will bring for our community, we want to take a moment to share with you the transitions taking place on the San Francisco Board of Trustees. Each year we say goodbye to a number of trustees who have completed their service, and welcome a new cohort of trustees to continue the mission of SFFS. SFFS trustees traditionally serve two three-year terms and are selected according to a wide variety of factors, including professional background, skills and expertise, and volunteer experience both at SFFS and beyond. Additionally, trustees bring diversity across multiple areas, including racial, cultural, socioeconomic, and grades represented for those trustees who are also parents at the school. Trustees demonstrate strong alignment with the school’s values and the Strategic Pathways, and often (but not always) have previously volunteered in support of the school.
This year, we want to extend our deepest gratitude to the following trustees as their terms come to a close:
Shabnam Koirala-Azad has served in many capacities during her tenure as a trustee including SFFS Board co-clerk, co-clerk of the Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee, and co-clerk of the Committee on Trustees. She also served on the Strategic Pathways Committee and Futures Working Group, as well as the Development and Quaker Life committees, among a variety of other special committees and task forces including the 2015 Head of School Search Committee. Shabnam, parent of Alia (SFFS Class of 2020), and Ayan (SFFS Class of 2024), is graciously extending her service by a few months as she serves as co-clerk of our current Head of School Search Committee.
Sam Mogannam has generously given his time and expertise to the Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee during his tenure as a trustee, in addition to participating on several special committees including the Access & Affordability Task Force, the Covid Testing Task Force, and Pauline’s Task Force. Sam is parent to Zoe (SFFS Class of 2017) and Olive (SFFS Class of 2021).
Mark Selcow most recently co-clerked the Development and Audit committees as well as the Strategic Pathways Accountability Group. Mark, parent to Lucy (SFFS Class of 2019), Andrew (SFFS Class of 2021), and Nora (SFFS Class of 2023), also served on the Finance and Investment committees as well as on the Futures Working Group and Friends Forward and Cathy Hunter Fund for the Future endowment campaigns.
Chris Valdez served on numerous board committees and task forces during his tenure as an SFFS trustee. Parent of Jesse (SFFS Class of 2012) and daughter Georgia (SFFS Class of 2014), Chris was a valuable member of the Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee, the Committee on Trustees, and the Finance Committee. Additionally, he served on a number of special task forces including the High School Exploration Task Force and the COVID Testing Task Force.
Shabnam, Sam, Mark, and Chris have provided invaluable leadership and dedication to our community, and they have all helped to shape the future of Friends. We are deeply grateful for their many years of service. As they depart, six new trustees will be stepping in to continue the mission of SFFS. As we approach our 20th year, we’ve learned that it is reasonable to expect some level of attrition among our Trustees, particularly as our city and our school community navigate the pandemic. That consideration informs our decision to bring a larger slate forward this year, and we are honored to welcome the following individuals to the SFFS Board of Trustees:
Lucas Fortier Borden is a San Francisco native and a proud member of the SFFS’s first graduating class. After nine formative years at Friends, he attended the Bay School of San Francisco where he further strengthened his connection to mindfulness and community, becoming an integral part of the school’s admissions program. College on the East Coast brought a change of environment, as did a Junior Year stint in Australia. He graduated from Boston College in 2019, majoring in Economics and minoring in Hispanic Studies. That summer, Lucas returned home to SF where he worked as a bookseller at Green Apple Books, before taking his current position at Square, Inc. in the legal department. For fun, Lucas likes to swim in the bay (no wetsuit required) and create digital art.
Chrysty Esperanza is Foundational Counsel Lead at Square, Inc., where she leads the Litigation, Corporate, Privacy, Intellectual Property, and Trust & Safety teams. At Square, she provides strategic counsel and partnership on a broad spectrum of legal and compliance issues. Prior to Square, Chrysty was Sr. Counsel at Electronic Arts Inc. She previously served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, and also as an associate at Farella, Braun and Martel LLP. She received her BA in Mass Communications from UCLA, and her JD from UC Hastings College of Law. Chrysty is a Bay Area native, and has been living in San Francisco for over 20 years. She lives in Noe Valley with her husband, Scott, and their three boys, Tayo (class of 2024), Makana (class of 2027), and Koa.
Jennifer Hsieh has spent the last 12 years leading finance teams at various tech start-ups, serving most recently as Head of Finance at CareZone, a digital health company. At CareZone, she led the company through multiple financings and played an integral role in all strategic and operational decisions, culminating in the sale of the company’s technology assets to Walmart. Just prior to making the leap into the start-up world, Jen was with Goldman Sachs in their Technology, Media, Telecom and Leveraged Finance investment banking groups. She started her career at Deutsche Banc Alex Brown in technology investment banking later transitioning to equity research where she covered the internet sector. While Jen was born in New York, she grew up mostly overseas spending 8 years living in Australia and the UK. She received her BA from Wellesley College and her MBA from the Wharton School. She currently lives in Noe Valley with her husband, P.J. Haley, and her two sons, Quinn (SFFS Class of 2028) and Connor.
Elizabeth Longstreth is an administrative leader for The Permanente Medical Group at the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. She began her public health career helping form the AIDS Research Institute at UCSF, and has worked across the country for organizations ranging from small, rural community health centers to large, urban teaching hospitals. A Bay Area native, Elizabeth earned her BA from Pomona College and her MPH from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. She is also a board member of the San Francisco Public Health Foundation. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Adam and children Birdie (SFFS class of 2025) and Ty (SFFS class of 2028).
Nelly Sapinski is the Executive Director of the Jamestown Community Center, a Mission District based nonprofit serving low income children, youth and their families through programs that include tutoring, before and after school academic enrichment, summer programs, social/emotional support, sports, youth workforce, parent leadership development and organizing, and Afro-Latino arts education and performance. Before becoming Executive Director, Nelly served as both the Deputy Director of Programs and Interim Executive Director. Prior to joining Jamestown, Nelly served as the After School Program Director at Reading Partners, the national literacy non-profit, and managed curriculum, instruction and evaluation for Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. Nelly holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University and a Masters of Education from Harvard University. Nelly’s daughter Katherine Sapinski (SFFS class of 2017) recently graduated from high school.
We are deeply appreciative of the leadership, expertise and commitment of trustees on our Board, and look forward to partnering with our new trustees!
A full listing of the SFFS Board of Trustees can be found here.