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The Gooden School Board of Trustees

The Gooden School, like most independent schools, is governed by a board of trustees.  

The board is comprised of representatives of the entire Gooden community and includes current parents, alumni, parents of alumni, education professionals, Episcopal Church leaders, and community volunteers who bring specific skills and perspectives to the board. 

The trustees, who have ultimate legal responsibility for the corporate entity which is The Gooden School, in practice, restrict their actions to five major areas: 1) the maintenance of the school’s mission and periodic reviews of the mission with input from a wide range of representatives of the school community; 2) the establishment of institutional policy; 3) the provision of material and financial resources for the school; 4) the appointment and support of the head of school, whose responsibility it is to lead the school’s day to day operations; and 5) act as the fiduciary and steward of the care and effectiveness with which policies are carried out.

The board of trustees at The Gooden School also adhere to the National Association of Independent School’s Principles of Good Practice

The current trustees are

Thomas Hurrell, Chair, joined the board in 2010.  He is an attorney who specializes in civil rights, employment, and product liability litigation.  He also manages a fifty-member firm, and he brings 30 years of this professional experience to the board. His son Alex and daughter Katherine both graduated from Gooden, Flintridge Preparatory School, and thereafter George Washington University. His son Luke currently attends Flintridge Preparatory School and his youngest, Toby, graduated with the Gooden class of 2017 and now attends LaSalle High School. Tom’s 20 years as a parent at Gooden have given him unique insight into the traditions and mission of the school.        

Yasmin Anwar joined the board in 2017. She is an attorney representing the intellectual property interests of global companies and brings nearly 20 years of professional experience to the board. She and her husband Robert have two daughters attending The Gooden School in the classes of 2021 and 2022. Yasmin served on the Gooden head of school search committee in 2016-2017 and coaches her daughter’s AYSO soccer team. 

Kevin Brennan joined the board in 2018.  He is head of enterprise solutions at Western Asset Management Company, and he brings 30 years of financial experience spanning strategic leadership, enterprise risk management, and operational process improvement to the board.  He and his wife, Cathy have three children, Michael (class of 2014), Matthew (class of 2012) and Sarah (class of 2020).  Matthew and a handful of other Gooden students helped start the first string ensemble at La Salle High School in 2012.  Kevin has a degree in music is a strong supporter of the arts with a particular affinity for musical theater, classical music, and visual arts. 

Merrily Dunlap joined the board in 2018. She is a retired educator whose long career includes serving for fifteen years as head of school at Saint Mark’s Episcopal School, Altadena, and as the interim head of The Gooden School from July 2015 through June 2017. For nine years, she was a member of the governing board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools and was also a member of the bishop’s staff, where she served as the Executive Director of the Commission on Schools for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles from 1991 – 1998.  Merrily is also the former co-owner of Stepping Stones to Learning, San Marino and Integrated Learning Solutions, San Marino.

Rick Garcia joined the board in 2017. He brings over 27 years of risk management and business leadership skills. Rick has worked in the private sector and in insurance consulting to various organizations. As an active member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, Rick has held various leadership positions, including president of the Los Angeles chapter. He and his wife Antonieta have two girls, one who graduated in 2016 and is attending Mayfield Senior School and one child currently attending The Gooden School in the class of 2019. Rick served on the Gooden head of school search committee in 2016-2017. 

Jasen Grohs joined the board in 2018. Jasen is co-owner of Mur-Sol Builders, Inc., Mur-Sol Real Estate, LLC, and a managing member of two real estate investment LLCs. He brings to the board 29 years of construction development, real estate investing, and property management. Jasen, along with his wife, Jennifer, chaired The Gooden School Annual Fund for four years. He has two children who have attended The Gooden School: Abigail, class of 2016, who currently attends Mayfield Senior School and Landon, class of 2018, who will be attending Maranatha High School.

Catherine Heflin joined the board in 2017 and is a prior Gooden board member and co-founder of the Gooden Strings Program. She works as an analyst at Merrill Lynch and brings more than 20 years of finance and non-profit experience to the board. Cathy is also a member of the Guild of Cancer Support Community and a co-founder of the Flintridge Preparatory internship program. Her daughters Anna and Sophia graduated from Gooden (classes of 2007 and 2010, respectively.) Anna graduated from Westridge School, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has a master's degree in viola performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Sophia attended Flintridge Preparatory School followed by Indiana University, Bloomington. 

​​​​​​Jann Lacoss, Ph.D. joined the board in 2018. Jann serves as associate director of admissions at the California Institute of Technology and brings 30 years of experience in higher education to the team. Prior to Caltech, she was on the faculty of the University of Virginia. Jann is currently involved in the Children, Youth, and Family ministry at All Saints Church, Pasadena, where she also teaches middle school Sunday school. Her son Sam is a 2016 Gooden graduate and attends Polytechnic School.    

Eric Miller joined the board in 2014. He is a managing director at LT Public Relations, and he brings 25 years of professional communication experience to the board.  He is also on the faculty of the USC Annenberg School of Communication.  His daughters Zoe and Grace graduated from Gooden.  Eric is a member of the vestry of Church of Our Savior (Episcopal) where he serves on the usher and endowment committees and is a lay Eucharistic minister.  Eric is also a founding member of the San Marino Venture Group and sits on the advisory board of the Pasadena Symphony and Pops.

Kim Snyder joined the board in 2016. He is the president of the southwest region for Prologis, a global leader in industrial logistics real estate.  Kim brings to the board more than 30 years of experience in real estate development and finance. Kim also serves on the advisory boards at the Peter Drucker School of the Claremont University Graduate School and for the NAIOP, a commercial real estate development association, as well as being a board member of the Inland Empire Logistics Council and FibraPL based in Mexico City.   He and his wife, Meghan, have had two children graduate from The Gooden School; a son who graduated from St. Francis High School and now attends the University of San Diego and a daughter who graduated from Mayfield Senior School and now attends Chapman University.  They also currently have a child attending The Gooden School in the class of 2019.

Karen Lower Stoffers joined the board in 2017. She practiced law for over seven years before becoming an at-home mom. With her husband, Ron, she has two children, both Gooden School graduates. Matthew, Gooden class of 2008, attended Loyola High School and graduated from Loyola University of Chicago in 2016. Claire, Gooden class of 2010, attended Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and is currently a student at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Karen served on the Gooden head of school search committee in 2016-2017. 

Sydney Walker joined the Board in 2015. She brings more than 12 years of professional marketing, advertising, and project management experience to the board.  She has had two boys at Gooden (class of 2016 and class of 2018.) Sydney actively volunteers in various capacities, including Tribe Lacrosse, where she serves as treasurer, and at Gooden, where she has served as a Gooden Family Association executive committee member and co-chair of the 2013 GFA Spring Fundraiser Country Fair.

Darcy Wilson-Jones joined the Board in 2015.  She is a partner at RSM, a global CPA firm. Darcy brings 20 years of accounting and finance experience to the Board.  Darcy has three daughters; Jaden, class of 2016 and currently attending Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Jazmin, class of 2019, and Jenay, class of 2027. Darcy is on the board of Junior Achievement of Southern California, and she teaches Sunday school at St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church in San Marino.

Jennifer Vanderpool joined the board in 2015.  She is a district manager for Starbucks, and she brings more than 30 years of business and leadership experience to the board.  Jennifer is a former member of the Gooden Family Association executive committee.  Her son Parker graduated from Gooden in 2012 and St. Francis High School in 2016.

Lora Unger joined the board in 2015. She has been the chief executive officer of the Pasadena Symphony & POPS since 2014, after serving as their COO for six years. She is also a trained violist, holds a bachelor of arts in music with a minor in business administration from the University of Louisville, and received her master’s in arts administration from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Cincinnati College of Business Administration. She is a member of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras and a presenter at their conferences.

Trustee Emeriti 

Reid Allen joined the board in 1976 and serves as a Trustee Emeritus. He is past president of Pasadena Kiwanis Club, YMCA, and Quarterback Club. He has also served on the boards of Flintridge Preparatory School and the Pasadena Salvation Army. He is past governor of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of Kiwanis International and for 76 years he has been a member of Church of Our Saviour (Episcopal), where he also served on the vestry. Reid enjoys continued work with Gooden, “a precious educational institution guided by a dedicated administration and a devoted teaching staff.”

Tom Janzen joined the board in 2005. An attorney for more than 30 years, he is a partner in the firm Schwartz & Janzen LLP representing design professionals, contractors, and owners in the construction industry. He and his wife Kari, a former president of the Gooden Family Association (GFA), live in Pasadena and have raised three daughters, all of whom graduated from Gooden and Alverno High School. His daughters’ college experiences include attendance at the University of Oregon. Tom sits on several boards, including the University of Oregon College of Arts and Sciences advisory board, which he chairs. He is also a member of the University of Oregon President’s Campaign Cabinet supporting the endowment and capital campaign.  He previously served the City of Sierra Madre with seats on its planning commission, the former community services commission, and the ad hoc committee on finance.    ​

Nadilee Russell, Immediate Past Chair. Nadilee joined the board in 2004 and became board chair in 2015.  She is a senior vice president and managing director at East West Bank, and she brings 30 years of financial and strategic leadership experience to the board.  Her two sons David and Cameron graduated from Gooden (class of 2007 and class of 2013).  David graduated from St. Francis High School and went on to attend University of California, Davis.  Cameron is currently attending St. Francis.