Board of Trustees
Independent school boards are "trustees" of the organization, which differs from the more familiar board of "directors" that's common in the corporate world. Focused on governance instead of operations, independent school trustees are the stewards of the school’s mission and are fiduciaries charged with long-range strategic planning. They hold the school "in trust" for future generations. To read more about the role of school boards in independent schools, click here.
Wildwood School Board of Trustees 2018-2019
Amy Ardell has extensive experience in education as a teacher in K-12 and higher education. After receiving her BA degree in Latin American history at UCLA, she began her teaching career as a high school Spanish teacher in Japan. A master's degree in education from UCLA followed, after which she transitioned to work as a bilingual elementary school teacher in Salinas, Saratoga, and Santa Monica, California public schools. In 2006 Amy earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education in Language, Literacy, and Learning. Amy joined the faculty at Chapman University in the Teacher Education department in 2010, and is a clinical faculty member. Her scholarly work has been published in Teaching Education, Urban Education, The Reading Teacher, and the Journal of Literacy Research. Amy and her husband Jim have two children enrolled at Wildwood.
Joel Brand is the chair of the Board of Trustees. He is an investor, communications consultant, and a former journalist. He brings a broad range of experience in communications, public policy, political advocacy, and organizational development. He has consulted for organizations in the U.S. and overseas. As a journalist specializing in conflicts, Joel worked for leading national and international news organizations, including Newsweek, The Washington Post, and as an on-camera reporter for CNN, among others. Locally, Joel has served on the boards of a number of nonprofit organizations and currently serves on an advisory board for the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, Joel and his wife Kristina Deutsch have two children enrolled at Wildwood.
Lisa Eisenpresser is an entrepreneur and producer currently making a documentary film and overseeing L/Studio, a premium storytelling platform created by Lexus. In addition to creating the TV series, Motor City Masters and numerous original web series, Lisa was President of Relativity Digital Studios which produced feature films and episodic shows. She was also a founder of three companies: The Story Lab, a division of global agency, Dentsu Aegis, which produced award winning branded content; SaysMe, backed by Intel Capital and partnered with Comcast Cable, which enabled individuals to create and run their own political ads on TV; and Sunshine Direct, a full–service direct response TV venture that launched celebrity lifestyle brands. Lisa grew up in New York City and graduated from Brown University where she received a Ford Foundation Grant in Modern Culture and Media. She and her wife, Angela Courtin, have two children enrolled at Wildwood.
Lisa Flashner is recent past chair of the Board of Trustees. She is the Chief Operating Officer of the Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine at the University of Southern California. First joining USC in 2009, she has put her leadership skills to work to pursue her passion for making a difference in healthcare. Lisa oversees the financial and business operations of the group as well as personnel related matters, donor relations, and strategic planning. She received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Illinois, a law degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, and is a certified public accountant. Prior to joining USC, she was a partner at New World Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on investments in early stage technology companies. She joined New World from the investment banking group at Robert W. Baird & Co., where she was a lead banker in the information technology and telecommunications industry. Prior to her work in investment banking, Lisa practiced corporate law and was a tax accountant at Arthur Anderson & Co.
John D. Friedman, MD is the Chief of Outpatient Cardiac Imaging at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. John is board certified in nuclear medicine and in internal medicine with a subspecialty in cardiovascular disease. He has written or co-written numerous papers for peer-reviewed publications and has presented lectures, both locally and nationally. A native of Los Angeles, John received his medical degree from USC and completed his internship, residencies, and fellowships at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. John served on the board of the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles. He and his wife Jeannie Gold are parents of three Wildwood alumni, Sam '96, Julie '05, and Charlotte '07.
Chelsea Hadley is director of The Shifting Foundation, a nonprofit grant-making organization that primarily supports artists who have distinguished themselves in the fields of visual art, music, and literature. Previously, she worked in nonprofit fundraising as director of major gifts at LACMA during the museum’s expansion and construction of BCAM and the Resnick Pavilion. She was also West Coast director of development for People for the American Way, a progressive advocacy organization founded by Norman Lear. Chelsea began her career in the arts as the Los Angeles director of New York City-based Pace/MacGill Gallery, and she has worked with LA- and London-based fine art companies to produce specially commissioned editions with numerous artists, including Ed Ruscha, Chris Burden, and William Eggleston. She is active with LACMA’s Art Here and Now (AHAN), the Hammer Circle and Reboot. Chelsea grew up in Washington, D.C., and received her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College. Chelsea and her husband, Justin Reinhardt, have two children at Wildwood.
Andrew Horn is the chief financial officer of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where he has been the primary financial executive since 2001. Before joining the academy, he was an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers and an officer in the U.S. Navy. Andy earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California. Andy and his wife Heather have two children who attend Wildwood.
Nina Jacobson is a senior film executive and producer whose career includes stints at DreamWorks, Universal, and Disney, where she served as President of Walt Disney Motion Picture Group. As an executive, she shepherded The Sixth Sense, Remember the Titans, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Pirates of the Caribbean. In 2007, Jacobson formed her own production company, Color Force. Under the new Color Force banner, Jacobson produced Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and The Hunger Games films, among others as well as American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson. Nina is active with The Jewish Federation, ReFrame (a joint venture between Women and Film and Sundance) and KCRW. Nina is a graduate of Brown University. She and her partner, Jen Bleakley, have two children at Wildwood.
Ashley Kramer spent 14+ years in the film industry as a studio executive at 20th Century Fox, a producer at Pandemonium Films, and as head of production and development for Illumination Entertainment. Ashley grew up in Houston, TX and earned B.A. and B.F.A. degrees from Southern Methodist University. She attended USC’s Peter Stark Motion Picture Producing Program where she earned an MFA degree. Ashley and her husband David have two children enrolled at Wildwood.
Grant Mitchell and his wife Tiziana, own and operate Aesthesia Studios, a commercial photography and video production facility located in West Los Angeles. As president of a closely held family corporation, Grant also oversees a portfolio of hotels, commercial real estate, and real estate development among other assets. In his life before children, Grant enjoyed a career in film and TV production that spanned feature, documentary, and commercial production. He serves on the Board of Managers of Bald Head Island Limited, a North Carolina real estate development company and as board chair of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. Grant graduated from the University of Texas, Austin, and later completed a directing fellowship at the American Film Institute. Grant and Tiziana have two children at Wildwood.
Susan Olsen is an educator with extensive and diverse 7-12 classroom experience. She graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in English from Kenyon College in 1991 and took her first teaching job at a small Quaker school outside Philadelphia. She earned master’s degrees at Harvard University in theology and in education administration, planning, and social policy. At the Divinity School, she also completed the Program in Religion and Secondary Education. After graduate school, Susan taught English at Baltimore City College High School. In 1999, she joined the faculty at Brentwood School, served as English department chair in her last three years, and founded a free, after-school English as a Second Language program for adult kitchen and custodial staff. Susan left teaching in 2005 to stay home with her children, but she has continued to find new ways to be involved in education. She served on her sons’ preschool board for three years, two of them as president. She took a full- time subbing position at Santa Monica High School for the spring semester, 2016, teaching English to juniors and seniors. She continues to be a regular substitute in the English department at SAMO. Susan and her husband Keith have three sons at Wildwood.
Sanford Panitch is currently President of Columbia Pictures. Sanford has served as a visiting adjunct professor at Tulane University in New Orleans teaching creative writing and is a member of the Tulane’s Dean’s Advisory Council. Sanford and his wife Kristen have one child at Wildwood, and a daughter, Georgia at Oberlin College, who is an alumna of the Wildwood Class of '16.
Cynthia M. Patton serves as senior vice president and chief compliance officer, responsible for Amgen’s worldwide compliance and business ethics organization. Cynthia joined Amgen in 2005, and most recently was a vice president in the Amgen law department with responsibility for commercial legal activities in the United States. Prior to that position, she served as the lead commercial lawyer for both the oncology and inflammation business units. Before joining Amgen, she spent seven years as general counsel of SCAN Health Plan, a California Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Prior to SCAN, Cynthia served as assistant general counsel of UniHealth. She began her legal career at Atlanta-based Alston & Bird in 1986 and has worked at Los Angeles law firms specializing in healthcare corporate and securities law. Cynthia previously served as a board member of Watts Healthcare Corporation and Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of Wildwood and Westside Neighborhood Schools, and a board member at The Music Center. She received her juris doctor from George Washington University and her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College. Cynthia and her husband Patrick Robison have two children; their daughter Sarah is an alumna of the Wildwood Class of '14.
Lee Rosenbaum, serving his 12th year as a Trustee, was a Wildwood parent for 18 school years and 37 parent-years. Lee has served as Board president and before that as co-chair of the Board’s Development Committee. He has served on almost every committee of the Board. Prior to his Board service, he co-chaired the Annual Giving campaign and was an Annual Fund volunteer for several years. Lee is a co-founder of Equitable Stewardship for Artists, LLC, representing writers and directors in the television and motion picture industry. Lee received an A.B. with Distinction from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He and his wife, Corinna Cotsen, are parents of Chiara '11, Emmett '13, and Anthea '16.
Andrew Solmssen is managing director of POSSIBLE, WPP’s largest digital agency. In 1999, he co-founded Schematic where his work won three Emmys, among other awards. He grew the company from three people to one of the world’s top digital agencies. Andrew also served on the Men’s Advisory Council of the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center and is an advisor and board member for several companies. He received his bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College. Andrew and his wife Bonnie have two children enrolled at Wildwood.
Art Streiber is a Los Angeles-based freelance photographer specializing in portrait, reportage, entertainment, and advertising photography. His clients include all of the major national magazines, television networks, and motion picture studios. In 2005, Art was included in American Photo magazine’s list of The 100 Most Important People in Photography and in 2008 he was presented with the Pacific Design Center’s Stars of Design Award for Photography. Art served as co-bureau chief for Fairchild Publications in Milan, where he contributed to Women’s Wear Daily, W magazine, and M magazine. He currently serves on the Board of the Los Angeles Center of Photography and the PhotoPlus Expo Advisory Board. Art is a Stanford Associate, a recognition for alumni volunteers who go “above and beyond” in service to Stanford. Art and his wife Glynis Costin have two daughters who attended Wildwood. Siena is an alumna of Wildwood’s Class of '14 and is currently a senior at Stanford. Kayla is an alumna of the Class of ’17 and will be attending Barnard College in the Fall.
Paige Tolmach is a leading expert on environmental toxins and their effects on children. Featured on CNN, Big Ideas for a Small Planet, the Los Angeles Times, and more, Paige co-founded The Little Seed in 2007, a one-stop eco-conscious store in Los Angeles that helps raise awareness about the dangers of toxic chemicals in our homes. In 2009, The Little Seed helped launch Seventh Generation's “Million Baby Crawl” which demanded that Congress change federal laws to keep toxic chemicals out of our homes. In 2010, Paige and her business partner collaborated with Target to bring The Little Seed’s eco-sensibility and eco-awareness to the public. Continuing to advocate for children, Paige is currently directing her first documentary film about her high school’s cover up of the sexual abuse of many male students at the hands of the school’s coach in the 1980’s. Paige and her husband Matt have a child enrolled at Wildwood.
Azizi Williams is the assistant head of Sequoyah School, an independent progressive school located in Pasadena, California. After graduating from high school in Pasadena, Azizi was awarded the California Youth Leadership Award from the University of California, Berkeley. At UC Berkeley, Azizi attained her Bachelor of Arts in sociology while working as an assistant teacher in the university preschool program and pursuing a certificate in early education. In 2002, Azizi was given the opportunity to be a lead teacher at the UC Berkeley Harold E. Jones Child Study Center, the longest continuously running child study center in the United States. In 2007, Azizi returned to Southern California where she taught a kindergarten/1st grade class for two years before becoming assistant head at Sequoyah.
Azizi received a Master of Arts in educational leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University in May 2017. Azizi has served on the Alumnae Board at Westridge School for Girls and is on the board of the Southern California People of Color in Independent Schools, which works to promote equity, diversity, and social justice in independent schools. Azizi and her two daughters, ages 10 and 13, live in Sierra Madre, California.