Mike D. Lopez
Insurance Executive — Vantreo Insurance
Mike was fortunate to join business community members who were meeting with the students at Elsie Allen High School. This was the beginning of the Elsie Allen High School Foundation. Since then the Foundation has awarded over 300 scholarships to students pursuing college and career technical opportunities. He has more than 25-years in the insurance industry and has built an in-depth knowledge of risk management, workers compensation and corporate culture training. In his spare time, he is a dedicated IRONMAN Triathlete and avid cyclist going back to 2002. He enjoys playing golf, the outdoors, and spending time with his wife Kelly of 30 years and his three daughters Melissa, Annalise and Jenna in all their academic and sporting events.
Vince A. Figueroa, CPA
President — Figueroa CPA Inc.
As a first-generation college graduate, Vince’s passion lies in helping others through his work and his community involvement. Professionally, Vince founded and operates his own tax practice in Santa Rosa. Personally, he volunteers with many organizations and is currently President Elect for the EAHS Foundation. Although Vince did not attend Elsie Allen High School, he relates with many of the students through his struggles growing up. For that reason, Vince makes it his mission to help other students who are now in the position he once was; hungry for an opportunity to do great things in life. In his spare time Vince enjoys playing golf and spending time with his wife, Lauren, and his friends and family.
COO/CFO — Friedman’s Home Improvement (retired)
David has served on the Elsie Allen High School Foundation for the past two years. He saw this as a perfect opportunity to give back to the community where him and his wife reside. He is passionate about helping students explore their college and career goals. With over 30 years as a CFO he feels that his skill-sets can help the Foundation keep strong fiscal oversight and guide the board from a financial perspective he brings with his career experience. In his spare time, him and his wife enjoy spending time with their two grandchildren, being surrounded by family and traveling throughout the world.
Senior Vice President — Nelson Staffing
Kelley has served on the EAHS Foundation since 2016. It is a perfect fit for her — an opportunity to give back to the community while helping students explore their college and career goals. With over 30 years in the staffing industry at Nelson, she has seen first-hand the importance of helping high school students begin taking steps toward career goals. The Foundation has set up an internship program where they have connected Elsie Allen students with “real life” work experience at companies such as the Press Democrat and Exchange Bank. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, hiking, traveling and spending time with her two daughters and grandchildren in Southern California.
Board of Directors
Financial Advisor — Eagle Strategies
Sanford has worked with New York Life and Eagle Strategies for over 34 years helping individuals, families and businesses alike in creating programs and strategies to best plan for current and future needs. He also teaches an upper level Sales & Marketing course at Sonoma State University, his alma mater. He has a true passion for supporting his local community through extensive fundraising and community outreach. He is dedicated to promoting the vision of Elsie Allen High School Foundation. A self-professed “foodie,” Sanford enjoys cooking, wine tasting and spending quality time with family and friends. He and his wife JoAnne have two sons, Jeremy and Zachary.
Banker — Beneficial State Bank
Nancy is a proud Elsie Allen High School Alumni from the class of 2005. She is a Sonoma County native and works for Beneficial State Bank. She passionately serves on the Board because she believes Elsie Allen is a wonderful school that has yet to get the recognition it deserves. As a mother of two she recognizes how important it is to make sure we all have a bright future, and that starts with community and positive role models. She is all about equity and bringing much needed resources to the EAHS campus. In her spare time she enjoys taking her kids hiking and show them the beauty of nature, and she loves dancing and food.
Accountant — Linkenheimer
Ernesto was born and raised in Santa Rosa. Although he did not attend Elsie Allen he has fought the same battles as students attending the high school. He was born to immigrant parents who did not receive an education past the 3rd grade. He graduated from Montgomery High and attended the Santa Rosa Junior College. In 2016 Ernesto graduated from Sonoma State University with a Bachelors in Accounting and Financial Management. His goal is to inspire students with similar backgrounds and teach them how to navigate the educational system and gain access to resources to help them succeed.
PUERTA Centro Director — Sonoma State University
Gustavo has lived in Santa Rosa for 27 years and his professional career has been focused on education, specifically student enrollment and support programs for first-generation college students. He is currently the director for the PUERTA Program at Sonoma State University and the program’s purpose is to increase the number of Hispanics/Latinx teachers in our area. He is incredibly passionate about the work and mission the Foundation brings to the southwest Santa Rosa community. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, and coaching youth in the art of soccer.
Senior Vice President — Exchange Bank
Ed has served the EAHS Foundation since 2015. Elsie Allen’s mission, its philosophy and its story is what inspired him to join the Foundation. The programs that the Foundation supports enhance self-esteem, allow students to achieve academic excellence, and promote the concept of community. He feels very privileged to be part of the Foundation. Ed has more than 25-years in the financial services industry focused on credit risk management. He has lived in Sonoma County for the past 30 years. He has three children and in his spare time he enjoys jogging, playing basketball and traveling.
Event Planner — (retired)
After a 20-year career managing large-scale special events, Annette now uses her talents to help the Elsie Allen High School Foundation (and other non-profits) with their fundraising efforts. Santa Rosa has been home to Annette for the past 30 years and she enjoys having the opportunity to give back to the community that has given her so much. Although her son attends Santa Rosa High School, Annette chooses to participate on the Elsie Allen High School Foundation Board because of the students and their incredible stories. In her free time, Annette enjoys traveling and golfing with her family and friends.
Sr. Portfolio Manager — Bank of Marin
As a lifelong Sonoma County native Ricardo is passionate about serving his community and he is especially fond of helping others that face similar trials and tribulations as he did as a 1st generation college student. He believes in providing youth exposure to college and career opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be available to them. He is a graduate of UC Davis and holds a Bachelor degree in Economics. He has over 15 years in banking experience with the past 7 years in commercial banking. When he’s not in the office you can find him fly fishing or doing basically any outdoor adventure.
Attorney — (retired)
When Gerald was in college he was the recipient of opportunities and financial assistance that enabled him to complete college and graduate from law school — something that never would have been possible without the support he received. He practiced law in Sonoma County for 40 years, retiring in 2015. Gerald has lived in the Elsie Allen district since before the school opened and his children and grandson attended Elsie Allen High School. This made him aware of the economic disparity between students at Elsie Allen and those in more affluent schools. Gerald is active on the Foundation to help erase barriers and provide those worthy students the same assistance and support he received when he was young.
Herman G. Hernandez
Born and raised in Guerneville, Herman attended the Santa Rosa Junior College and graduated from San Diego State University. He is proud to be the first from his family to graduate from college and is grateful for the support he received on his educational journey. Herman has served on the Foundation since 2012; he also serves on the Sonoma County Office of Education School Board; he is the proud Co-President of the College Tee Project; a member of the Active 20-30 Club #50, and proud Russian River Rotarian. He lives by the Rotary motto, “service above self” and strongly believes that where there’s unity, there’s community and success.
VP of Student Services — Santa Rosa Junior College
Pedro was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and his family migrated to Castroville, California in 1984 to find opportunity. As a kid, Avila and his family worked in the strawberry fields of Salinas, CA. He went on to earn a master’s of business administration from Rockhurst University, bachelor degrees in both Business Administration and Latin American Studies from CSU, Fresno, and a Certificate in Institutional Performance Assessment from Harvard University’s Higher Education Institute. Pedro has worked in the community college system for 18 years and in the private sector for six years. He has led a number of successful community college innovative strategies resulting in transformational change.
Senior Compliance Specialist — Risk Compliance Management, LLC
Maria has served on the Elsie Allen High School Foundation as a community member for the past year. She is a proud parent of an Elsie Allen High School graduate and currently has a son who is attending. She sees serving on the Board as an opportunity to give back to the community. She believes in continuing education and feels she can help parents and students learn the importance of education. There are parents that do not know how to navigate the system and she is confident she can make a difference working with parents exploring their students’ options. In her spare time she enjoys being surrounded by family and is very passionate about exercise and personal development.
Managing Director — Bridge Investment Group
Isela was co-Valedictorian from EAHS’ first graduating class of 1997. Following her graduation from Stanford University she pursued a career in finance that has led her to work for a range of investment management and consulting firms. After spending a decade living on the East Coast, she was thrilled to move back to the Bay Area at the end of 2016. She created the first scholarship fund for EAHS called Lobos for School Scholarship Fund raising over $20k. Isela enjoys competing in endurance running and cycling events, many of which she dedicated to raising funds to support EAHS graduates. Isela and her brother Erik are proud to be the first from their family to graduate from college.
Healthcare — (retired)
Elsie Allen High School provides Richard tremendous inspiration and insight of our community’s past and future. As an Anthropology major he was impressed by the life of Elsie Allen, her courage, creativity and tenacity. His career in healthcare as a director, innovator and survivor of major shifts in public policy, financing and delivery of services, fits well with Elsie Allen student’s zest for learning, creating and collaborating in diverse enterprises. Writing and teaching grandsons how to fish and becoming more skill-full at chess keep him active. With his wife of 40 years, Betsy, a retired teacher, they have made Sonoma County their home for the past 11 years and continue to discover its’ remarkable human resources.
Occupational Therapist — (retired)
Merle is an active member of the Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary Club and in that role she has volunteered with the Elsie Allen Interact Club for 15 years and the past 3 years has been the advisor to that group. Aside from having two grandchildren at Elsie Allen she is frequently on campus because of her volunteer track record. Her additional involvement has been with the Ag department, music boosters and the drama department. She has taught in the classroom at the college level and provided mentorship to students through a program called World of Work with the Chamber of Commerce at the high school level. Maximizing student potential has been a life long passion of hers.
Diocese of Santa Rosa
Rodrigo Garcia-Cruz is currently an Accountant at the Diocese of Santa Rosa. He graduated from Elsie Allen High School in 2008 and received his Accounting and Financial Management degrees from Sonoma State University. In his free time he enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with family and friends. Rodrigo joined the EAHS Foundation because he wants to help all Elsie Allen High School students reach their highest potential and accomplish all their goals and dreams.
Dr. Jim Berger
Dentist — (retired)
Jim is a retired dentist and community activist. Jim and his family have lived in Santa Rosa for fifty five years (when population was 44,000). He chose this city as it was a self contained metropolis with no large cities close to dominate activities. Both Jim and his wife Jody became very active in many non-profit organizations. For the last ten years they have dedicated their time to help raise money and support activities in the Roseland area to help with much needed economic, educational and social support. He feels lucky to be able to support the impactful work of the Foundation.