Board of Trustees

Trustee Profiles (2019-20)

The Board of Trustees is composed of a vibrant group of accomplished individuals who bring a diverse array of backgrounds, experience and expertise to guide the board's work in the governance of the school.
ALLAN SCHWEITZER '79, Chair

Allan Schweitzer is Chair of the Board of Trustees, succeeding Stephen D. Rose in June 2017. Allan is a portfolio manager at Beach Point Capital Management, where he focuses on opportunistic credit mandates. Previously, he was chief investment officer and senior portfolio manager at Post Advisory Group, where he specialized in high yield securities. Before that, he was a senior high yield analyst at Trust Company of the West (TCW), where he specialized in healthcare, media, and the telecommunications industries. Allan has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Washington University at St. Louis and an MBA from the University of Chicago, with a concentration in analytical finance and international economics.
 
Allan is an alumnus of the Curtis School 6th Grade Class of 1979. A member of the board since 2014, Allan has served on the Head of School Search Committee and Committee on Trustees and has chaired the Advancement and Major Gifts committees.
 
Allan and his wife, Lily, are the parents of Jade (’17) and Jonah (’19), who attend Brentwood School, and current Curtis students Benjamin (’23), and Ethan (’23).


ERIKSON ALBRECHT

We are pleased to announce that Erikson Albrecht has joined the Board of Trustees as a new member this year. Erikson is a current Curtis parent and is Directing Attorney at Bet Tzedek Legal Services, a non-profit law firm that provides free legal services to more than 20,000 individuals each year. He supervises many of Bet Tzedek’s legal policy and programs, including conservatorship, guardianship, unaccompanied minor removal defense, in-home supportive services, and a transgender medical-legal partnership.
 
Prior to joining Bet Tzedek, Erikson was a criminal defense attorney and Deputy Public Defender in Santa Cruz County. During college and law school, he worked at the Ariel Foundation (now the Ariel Education Initiative), addressing the academic and social service needs of children and their families in an underserved community on the South Side of Chicago. This effort culminated in the creation of a new public school with an innovative investment curriculum.
 
Erikson previously served on the Board of Directors of Journey Out, a non-profit organization leading the fight for freedom and survival of people whose lives have been impacted by human trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation.
 
A graduate of the University of Chicago, Erikson earned an A.B. in Public Policy. He received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Institute of Technology.
 
Erikson and his wife, Melissa, are the proud parents of a daughter, Quinn, who is in 2nd grade, and adoring uncle and aunt of Curtis students Harper (5th grade) and Gideon (’19) Evans.

KAVITHA BHATIA, M.D. FAAP

We welcome to the Board this year Dr. Kavitha Bhatia. Dr. Bhatia is the Chair of the Prime Healthcare Foundation, one of the nation’s largest health systems, and serves as Prime’s Chief Medical Officer of Strategy, leading strategic innovation, system-wide value creation and excellence initiatives. She is Founding Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for California University of Science and Medicine, a newly established non-profit medical school made possible by the Prime Healthcare Foundation.
 
Kavitha graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in Physiology and Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego. She received her medical degree from the UCLA School of Medicine, graduating with Honors and Letters of Distinction in Doctoring. She earned a Masters of Medical Management from the USC Marshall School of Business and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
 
Her career has focused on improving the health and lives of others. Her experiences have been broad, including practicing pediatrics, caring for the dying in the slums of Calcutta and teaching inner city youth. She was awarded a Miraculous Medallion from Mother Teresa for her work with Missionaries of Charity, and she has been an advisor for national and global causes including the World Children’s Initiative. Kavitha is also Executive Director of the Reddy Family Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving healthcare and educational opportunities for the underserved through educational grants and charitable initiatives.
 
Kavitha and her husband, Sunny, are the proud parents of Shay (6th grade), Lia (5th grade) and Layla (3rd grade).

DILIP BHAVNANI
 
Born in Manchester, England, Dilip Bhavnani is the chief operating officer of Sunscope, one of the largest promotional products companies, where he started working while earning a bachelor of arts degree in economics from UCLA. Dilip holds more than 300 patents issued by the US Patent Office, and has another 100 pending.

In the last decade, Dilip started investing in new opportunities, including real estate development, mortgage banking, the restaurant industry, plastics manufacturing, and membership services.
 
Dilip and his wife, Kamila, are the extremely proud parents of Asher (’24), Jai (’14) a senior at Windward School, and Anika (’11), a junior at the University of Miami. Both Kamila and Dilip have been active participants in the Curtis community since 2004 and have enjoyed every moment. Dilip has served on the board’s Finance Committee and the Buildings & Grounds Committee.
 
Dilip also sits on the executive committees for several Los Angeles based non-profit organizations, including Housing Hope LA, Arts District BID, Arts District Los Angeles, Central City East Association, Industrial District BID, Sadhu Vaswani Mission and Re-ignite Hope. He is especially proud of his work in helping establish Re-ignite Hope, which helps people who are homeless or financially disadvantaged learn the skill of welding. In the last few years, over 400 students have become certified welders and more than 260 are working full time.

STEVE CHANG

Steve Chang joined the board in 2018 after serving on the board’s investment committee as a parent member since 2015. He brings extensive experience and deep expertise in investment to the board.

Steve is the founder and managing partner of Allomer Capital Group, a private investment firm that provides long-term flexible capital to businesses in partnership with management. Prior to founding Allomer, Steve co-founded Clearlake Capital Group, a private equity firm, where he was a partner and a member of the investment committee. He was also formerly a partner and member of the investment committee at Tennenbaum Capital Partners, a principal at Barnard & Co., and an investment banker at Goldman, Sachs & Co.
 
Steve has been a member of the board of directors of a number of public and private companies including currently serving as a director of Alterian Software and CellControl.
 
Steve graduated from Stanford University with bachelor and master of science degrees in Biological Sciences and a bachelor of arts degree, with distinction, in Quantitative Economics.
 
Steve and his wife, Julia, are the proud parents of son Hunter (’23), who enters third grade this year, and Anabelle (’26) and Cody (’26), who are new Curtis Kindergarteners.
 
SHADI DANESHRAD

Shadi is well known within the Curtis community for her years of service to the school both as a member of the Parents Association and the school’s Advancement Committee.

A member of the board since 2015, Shadi brings expertise in early childhood education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Lake Forest College and pursued a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education at Pepperdine University. Shadi is a certified Montessori School teacher, who has taught in the Montessori system and at Circle of Children Preschool in Santa Monica.

Shadi has fulfiilled many roles in the Parents Association and served two terms on the Executive Committee. Beyond Curtis, the Daneshrads actively support a number of organizations, including Joyful Hearts, Cancer Free Generation, Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, Greenpeace, and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Shadi also serves on the executive board of the Israeli Sports Center for the Disabled. Family is Shadi’s true passion. She and her husband, Paul, are the proud parents of Talia (’13) a freshman at Tulane University, Bryce (’13) a freshman at the University of Wisconsin (Madison), and Bennett (’15) and Ryan ('19), who attend Brentwood School.
 
RACHEL EDWARDS

Rachel Edwards grew up in El Paso, Texas, and moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive). Rachel began her career in the audit practice at KPMG. Most recently, she worked at Causeway Capital Management LLC, specializing in financial reporting, budgeting and analysis. Rachel retired from the corporate world several years ago in order to focus on her family. She and her husband, John, have two sons, Jake (’14) and Matt (’16), who attend Windward School.
 
During her ten years as a Curtis parent, Rachel was an active contributor to the Parents Association, serving as Treasurer of the Executive Committee, Fair Treasurer, Treasury Coordinator, Allocations Chair, Grade Representative and Room Parent. At Windward, she served as a Vice President of the Parent Guild Executive Board. Rachel began her tenure on the Curtis Board of Trustees in 2014 as Secretary of the Board.
ROB FRIEDMAN, Parliamentarian

Rob Friedman joined the Curtis Board of Trustees in 2015. He is one of the leading executives in the entertainment industry, currently serving as Chairman & CEO of Global Road Entertainment. From 2012 to 2017, Friedman was Co-Chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group following Lionsgate’s acquisition of Summit Entertainment, a company he founded and built into a leading motion picture production and distribution company. While at Lionsgate, Rob was in charge of all aspects of feature film acquisition, production and distribution operations.
 
Formerly, Rob was with Paramount Pictures as Vice Chairman of the Paramount Motion Picture Group, adding the role of Chief Operating Officer and overseeing seven divisions including UIP Distribution, Paramount’s joint venture with Universal for the international distribution of its films. Rob also created Paramount's specialty film division, Paramount Classics. Earlier, Rob was at Warner Bros., where he held a series of positions including President of Worldwide Advertising and Publicity with responsibility for the global marketing of Warner Bros’ films.
 
Rob is a longtime leader in the Special Olympics movement. He has served on the southern California board of the Special Olympics for the past 16 years; he founded the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games Organizing Committee; and he played an integral role in bringing the 2015 World Games to Los Angeles. Rob also serves on the boards of United Friends of the Children, UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television, International Medical Corps, and the Saban Community Clinic.
 
Rob and his wife, Shari, are the proud parents of Curtis Cougar Jolie (6th grade) and alumna Brooke (’18).
 
VANESSA KEITH GARCIA, Secretary

Vanessa Keith Garcia brings professional experience and a background in elementary education to the Board of Trustees. She was a founding teacher of the Muscota New School in New York and has supported several new teachers in gaining skills in curriculum development and authentic assessment methodology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UCLA and a Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

An active volunteer in the Parents Association, Vanessa co-chaired the 2015 Curtis Gras Fair and has co-chaired the Cougar Wear, Family Based Service and Fair Sponsorship committees for several years each. She was a Parents Association Representative for Diversity and Inclusion and was instrumental in founding the Parents Group on Inclusivity (PGI), which is a critical part of the school’s ongoing work on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Vanessa currently serves the greater Los Angeles community as member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Junior League of Los Angeles. She is also actively involved at Brentwood School and with her daughters' Girl Scout troops. To continue to give back and uplift others, the Garcia family regularly volunteers with Big Sunday, L.A. Works, One Voice and various local youth groups.
 
KATHERINE HOLMES-CHUBA

Katherine Holmes-Chuba is Dean of Faculty in the Upper School of Harvard-Westlake School. Since beginning her tenure at Harvard-Westlake in 1985, she has been a dean of students, has coached tennis and soccer, and has served as Chair of the History Department in the Upper School.

Katherine is a Fulbright Scholar, and she received the Garret-Harden Junior and Senior Teaching awards at Harvard-Westlake School. Katherine graduated from the Madeira School, in Virginia. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College, in Massachusetts, and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Michigan.

Katherine’s husband, Dan, is an animation director and producer. Their two children, Nick (Curtis ’04) and Olivia (Curtis ’06), attended Harvard-Westlake School and graduated, respectively, from the University of Southern California (2014) and Barnard College (2016).

SHARONI D. LITTLE
 
Dr. Sharoni Little, CEO, The Strategist Company, LLC,Associate Dean/Senior Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and Professor, Clinical Business Communication, USC Marshall School of Business, is a global organizational and leadership consultant, educator, corporate facilitator, and media commentator. An author and renowned scholar, she is an expert on workplace inclusion and equity, social justice and empowerment, strategic leadership, and global communication. Sharoni has been featured in various media outlets, including her TEDx talk, The Gift of Corrective Lenses, is completing her forthcoming books, The Perpetual Surveillance of Black Men (2020), and Diapers and Dissertations: Women, Education, and Work (2020).
 
Sharoni earned her Ph.D. from Indiana University in Rhetoric and Cultural Studies, an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California, and her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Organizational Communication from California State University, Los Angeles.
 
In addition to her scholarly and advisory efforts, Sharoni is an educational and social advocate who currently partners with the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, the Children and Nature Network, and the Obama Foundation’s, Fresh Tracks Leadership Development program. Sharoni has also partnered with California State University, Los Angeles, College of Professional and Global Education undergraduate program for incarcerated students at a California State Prison in conjunction with criminal justice reform efforts. Additionally, she was the founding COO of the Yetunde Price Resource Center established for children and families impacted by violence in Compton, California, a founding member of the Compton Human Trafficking Task Force, has served as the Coordinator of the Empowerment Congress, a Los Angeles based civic engagement non-profit, is a member of the Los Angeles County’s, Policy Roundtable for Childcare and Development Commission, partners with the Children’s Defense Fund, and sits on several boards of trustees.
 
While she values her role as a strategist, advocate and scholar, Sharoni’s most cherished role is being the proud mother of twin Curtis alums, Jared Savage (’11) and Jaren Savage (’11), who are juniors in college.

JIM MILLER '90

Jim Miller joined the board in 2016. A member of the Curtis 6th Grade Class of 1990, Jim has many fond memories of his years on the Mulholland campus. Curtis has always held a special place in Jim's heart, but he connected more closely again with the school when he joined the Alumni Council. He has been a member of that advisory and steering group for eight years, and he served as its Treasurer for two years. Since joining the Curtis parent community in 2013, Jim has dedicated significant time and energy to the school, serving on both the Advancement and Major Gifts committees. Jim currently chairs both the Advancement and Major Gifts committees.
 
Jim brings broad legal experience to his role on the board. He is a founding member and partner of Miller Barondess, LLP, a trial and litigation boutique firm in Century City, where he works alongside his Curtis alumnus brother, Dan Miller '87, and father, Skip Miller. Jim manages the firm and litigates cases in many different areas, including entertainment, healthcare, real estate, finance and technology.

Jim has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from UCLA and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School. 
 
Jim and his wife, Betsy, are the proud parents of two Curtis Cougar girls, Hailey (5th grade) and Leah (3rd grade).

TRACY MINKER '88, Vice Chair

Tracy Minker brings extensive experience in corporate strategy, management and digital platforms to the board. She is a principal and owner of Mendelson & Associates, Inc., a fine jewelry design, manufacturing, and retail corporation that supplies the country’s largest retail chains including Kay’s, Jared’s, Zales, and The U.S. Military Retail Exchanges. Tracy is responsible for corporate strategy and is the head of the e-commerce and retail divisions. Previously, she led the Strategic Accounts Group for the parent company of Realtor.com, focusing on the residential real estate market with clients that included Fortune 500 companies.

A native of Los Angeles, Tracy is an alumna of Curtis School’s 6th Grade Class of 1988 and Marlborough School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Bates College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business & Management.
 
Tracy has been active in Curtis’s Alumni Council since 2007, and she served as its President from 2013 to 2015. She and her husband, Scott, are the proud parents of Curtis students Ethan (6th grade) and Ainsley (2nd grade).
ALEX NEHORAI, Treasurer
 
Alex joined the Board of Trustees in 2015, bringing real estate and business experience. As founder of Sterling Capital, L.P., he invests in a broad range of real estate assets. His real passion, however, is entrepreunership. His businesses include a packaging distribution company as well as a licensing company carrying products featuring such brands as Disney, Marvel, Lucas and various professional sports franchises.

Alex is a graduate of the Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Southern California. Beyond Curtis, Alex has served on the boards of the Zimmer Children's Museum, Israel Bonds and other business organizations. He is also a founding board member of Gen Next.

Alex and his wife, Atoosa, have three children, Lauren (’14), Jonathan (’16) and Julia ('19). Their dedication to their family is the driving force behind their commitment to Curtis.

KEVIN NEWMAN '83

Dr. Kevin Newman is Curtis alumnus and an educator with more than 20 years’ experience in independent schools. He is the assistant head of school and collegiate division director at Windward School, where he has been since 2010.
 
Before Windward, Dr. Newman was a dean and the associate director of college counseling at Brentwood School for eight years. He also sat on the admissions committee at Brentwood and was director of the Summer Program for two years. Along with time spent at Crossroads, New Roads, and Menlo School, Dr. Newman was a lead consultant in change management for Accenture Consulting for three years. 
 
In addition to being an administrator at Windward, Dr. Newman serves as the regional board chair and a member of the national board of trustees of NatureBridge, a nonprofit organization that provides multi-day environmental education programs in national parks to 30,000 children and teens each year. In the past, Dr. Newman also served as board chair for The Growing Place, a nonprofit early childhood development center in Santa Monica.
 
Dr. Newman holds a BA degree in history from Brown University, an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management, and a doctorate in education leadership from UCLA. He is an alumnus of the Curtis 6th Grade Class of 1983 and of the Harvard School Class of 1989. Dr. Newman and his wife, Amy Weimer, have two children who attend local independent high schools.

PRISCILLA SANDS

Dr. Priscilla Sands is the Head of School at Marlborough School. Dr. Sands’s career has been focused in independent schools and encompasses a broad range and depth of experience as a teacher, administrator and educational leader. She began her career teaching drama and English at her alma mater, the Agnes Irwin School, in Pennsylvania, and was later appointed as the school’s Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. In 1996, she became Head of School at Springside School, in Philadelphia, and she was appointed President of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH), when Springside merged with its brother school, Chestnut Hill Academy, in 2011.
 
While at SCH, Dr. Sands established the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, a program focused on helping students build the skills and mindset required for success in the 21st century. She has long been a champion of design thinking and project-based learning, and she is currently working to create a mindfulness program.
 
Dr. Sands has been a member of the Curtis Board of Trustees since 2016. She has also been a trustee for the Haverford School and Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, and she served as Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools and President of the Headmistresses Association of the East.

CRAIG VARNEN

Curtis parent Craig Varnen joins the Board this year after already serving the school well as a member of the Board’s Finance Committee.
 
A long-time partner at the law firm of Irell & Manella, Craig is an experienced trial attorney who has represented clients in a broad range of complex, “bet the company” disputes. Craig’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on defending companies and their boards of directors and corporate officers in securities-related lawsuits and regulatory proceedings. Craig is also regularly retained to provide advice on issues of fiduciary duty, conduct high profile internal investigations, and handle cases involving trade secrets and employment contracts. He is a member of Irell’s Executive Committee, Vice Chair of the Litigation Group and Chair of the Securities Litigation Group.
 
Craig graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, San Diego, where he received a B.A. in Economics. He attended law school at the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated Order of the Coif and was an editor for the California Law Review. Prior to joining Irell & Manella, Craig clerked for the Honorable Cynthia Holcomb Hall of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
 
Craig supports a number of local and national charitable organizations and regularly volunteers at pro bono legal organizations and non-profit law firms that provide free legal services to people who live at or below the poverty level.
 
Craig and his wife, Ashley, are the proud parents of twin boys Hunter and Luke, who are in the 2nd grade.

JON WIMBISH

Jon Wimbish is the Head of the Middle School at Harvard-Westlake and has more than 20 years’ experience as an educator in independent schools.

A native Southern Californian, Jon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Princeton University and a Master of Arts degree in English from Middlebury College. Jon began his career at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, New Hampshire, returning later to California to take a job at Harvard-Westlake, where he taught English and public speaking and served as both a middle school dean and an upper school dean before assuming his current role.

Jon has had a lengthy parallel career in athletics. At Princeton, he played football and volleyball, and he continues to be involved as a member of the Executive Committee of Friends of Princeton Volleyball. Between Cardigan and Harvard-Westlake, Jon has coached teams in football, volleyball, basketball, baseball and golf.

As a Curtis parent, Jon served on both the Advancement and Planning committees of the board. Beyond Curtis, he is a member of the Bel Air Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council, and he is a regular volunteer with New Friends Homeless Center in Encino.

In addition to his service on the Board of Trustees, Jon is a member of Curtis's "Envision Our Future" Strategic Planning Committee.

Jon and his wife, Amanda, who is the Chair of the English Department in Harvard-Westlake’s Middle School, are the proud parents of Curtis alumnus Franklin ('19), now at Harvard-Westlake, and Curtis 6th grader Lila ('20).


RACHEL YANG

Dr. Rachel Yang joined the board in 2017. An author and educator, Dr. Yang has a Ph.D. in Technology Management, a Master of Science degree in Decision Analysis, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. She has taught at UCLA Anderson School of Management, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and New York Institute of Technology, and she has been a guest professor at several other universities.
 
Dr. Yang is an advisor to the International Leadership Foundation and is a recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Award. She uses her expertise in education, technology, and fundraising to serve local and global communities.
 
At Curtis, Dr. Yang has been an active participant in the Parents Association, in fundraising, and in the life of the school. She was an Auction Committee Chair and an International Lunch Day Chair, and she has served on the school’s Strategic Planning, Advancement, Annual Fund, and Major Gifts Committees. In addition, Dr. Yang has hosted graduation and grade parties and chaperoned class field trips and orchestra and choir trips.
 
Dr. Yang and her husband, Don Ho, are the proud parents of three children: Angel Hoyang (Harvard '22, HW '18), Joy (HW '22, Curtis '16), and Glory (HW '24, Curtis '18).