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|Board of Trustees|
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|Faculty & Staff Directory|
TOM PICKETT, Chair
Tom Pickett is the Chief Financial Officer at Curvature, a leading global provider of networking and data center equipment and services. Tom also serves on the Board of Managers of Weber Logistics, a western region provider of logistics services.
Prior to his current position at Curvature, Tom has had more than 35 years experience as a senior finance and operations executive with companies ranging from technology based start-ups to a multi-national publicly traded corporation in the information services business.
With extensive experience in independent school leadership, Tom served on the Board of Trustees of Marymount of Santa Barbara for seven years, leading the Board in his last two years of service. In addition to his non-profit experience with independent schools, he served on the Board of Directors for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara for five years where he worked on the Strategic Planning, Development, and Personnel Committees. As a member of the Laguna Blanca School Board of Trustees since 2010, Tom has served as the Treasurer and as a member of the Finance and Executive Committees.
Tom completed the Executive Program in Strategy and Organization at Stanford Business School, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Virginia and various courses related to initial public offerings and SEC reporting.
He and his wife Catherine have two daughters: Caroline ’11 who is attending Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and Olivia ’14 who is attending Santa Clara University. Catherine has played an active part of the School community as a class parent, leader of the Faculty/Staff Appreciation Lunch program, as well as a member of the Jogathon fundraising committee.
MASON FARRELL '80, Vice-Chair
A Laguna alumus from the class of 1980, Mason is currently Senior Vice President at the Capital Group Companies, a privately-owned global investment management firm based in Los Angeles and founded in 1931 by the Lovelace family; a family with deep ties to the Laguna Blanca community. The Capital organization provides mutual fund investments through American Funds and Capital International Funds. Mason works with high-net-worth individuals, families, endowments and foundations through Capital Group Private Client Services.
Mason served on the Laguna board during the 90s and helped oversee the acquisition and opening of the Lower School campus in Montecito. He has remained an advisor to Laguna and has served on committees since leaving. He has extensive board experience having served as a trustee for the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara, The Santa Barbara Foundation and the El Adobe Corporation. He currently serves on the boards of the Lobero Theatre and Ganna Walska Lotusland, where he is past-president.
Mason is a graduate of North Carolina State University where he played Division I soccer. He started his professional career working with Michael Towbes which led to the founding and operating of two real estate firms, Martin Farrell Homes, Inc., a residential development company, and M3 Multifamily, LLC, a company that operates and manages apartment communities. He joined Capital Group in 2011 after selling both real estate ventures and “checking out” to travel with his family through England, France, Egypt, Israel, Turkey and Greece.
The son of a business turn-around specialist, Mason lived all over the country as a child before his family finally settled in Santa Barbara in 1975. He and his wife Julie, a UCSB graduate, have two children, Cooper ’15 and Henry '17, and live in the Santa Ynez Valley.DAWN LAFITTE, Secretary
Dawn and her family moved to Santa Barbara in 1999 and are actively involved in the community. In addition to Laguna Blanca’s Board of Trustees, she currently serves as a Trustee at Lotusland and is a member of the National Charity League. She previously served on the boards of Knowlwood Tennis Club, the National Charity League, and was an active member of the Lobero Theatre Associates, Storyteller Committee and Santa Barbara Cotillions and Supper Club.Dawn and her husband, David—a local attorney and board member at Crane Country Day School—have three daughters: Allie ’12 currently attends Texas Christian University, Caty ’14 attends Santa Clara University, and Emily '16. Dawn has assisted with fundraising and annual funds at all of her daughters’ schools.
BRENT BICKETT, Treasurer
Brent B. Bickett is Executive Vice President of Corporate Finance for Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (FNF), the nation’s largest provider of title insurance and related real estate transaction services; personal lines insurance; and invests in a variety of privately held companies. In addition, Brent serves as Executive Vice President of Corporate Finance for Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (FIS), a leading provider of core processing and payment processing solutions for retail banks, community banks, and thrifts both domestically and internationally. Brent’s primary responsibilities include all merger and acquisition related activities and strategic initiatives for FNF and FIS.
Prior to joining FNF in 1999, Brent was a Managing Director in the Investment Banking Division of Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. Brent joined the Laguna Blanca Board of Trustees in March 2009 and is a member of the Finance & Executive Committees. He is simultaneously serving on the Board of Directors of Remy International, Cascade Timberlands and American Blue Ribbon Holdings, Inc.
Always the team player, Brent competed on the varsity water polo team at the University of Southern California where he earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration. In 1990, he received his M.B.A. from the Anderson School at UCLA.
He and his wife Sue have three children, Brandon '12 who attends USC, Ryan '15, and Kelly '18.JAMES JACKSON '78, Member-at-Large
Jim Jackson has held a variety of positions in corporate marketing and brand management during his career. Earning his marketing stripes at General Mills, Jim worked on national brands such as Hamburger Helper, Kix and Lucky Charms, before moving to Nestle where he managed Carnation Evaporated Milk and later Nestle Toll House Morsels.
After moving back to his hometown of Santa Barbara in 1996, Jim consulted on marketing issues for local companies, prior to serving as the Vice President of Marketing for College Enterprises, a provider of printing and educational services on over 1,000 campuses across the U.S. Since 2001, Jim has been involved in the management of the Alisal Guest Ranch in Solvang as the Chief Operating Officer.
Jim is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Braille Institute of America, a member of the Board of the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, former Chairman of the Board of Laguna Blanca, and a former board member and Vice Chairman of Direct Relief International. He holds a B.A. in English from Stanford University and an MBA, with an emphasis in Marketing and Finance, from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Jim and his wife Chana live in Montecito and have two children, Nicholas '04 and Ryan.ALISON WRIGLEY RUSACK, Member-at-Large
Alison Wrigley Rusack is co-owner of Rusack Vineyards, a boutique winery in the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara, California. She is also Vice Chairman and First Vice President of the Santa Catalina Island Company, which handles commercial real estate, hotel, restaurant, and activities and adventure operations on Catalina.
Prior to entering the wine business, Alison worked for 16 years in the entertainment industry in Southern California, most notably for Disney Consumer Products in Burbank, serving in both business and creative capacities. She holds a B.A. in Film and Broadcasting from Stanford University.
Alison is a member of the National Board of the Smithsonian Institution and a lifetime member of the Benefactor Member Board for the non-profit Santa Catalina Island Conservancy. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment and the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Southern California.
Alison and her husband Geoff, who has also served as Laguna Blanca Board Chair, have been active members of the Laguna community for seventeen years. They are parents of Parker ’15, Hunter ’09, a recent graduate of Bowdoin College, and Austin ’11. All three boys began attending Laguna Blanca in kindergarten.
MARGARET BAKER, Trustee
Margaret Baker has a rich background in education. In 1969, she received a BA in history from the United States International University. From there, she obtained her teaching credentials and an MA in special education from UC Santa Barbara, as well as an MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. She is also a California certified mediator.
Margaret began her career teaching elementary school for the Carpinteria Unified School District and later moved to curriculum and program development for grades K-9. She has served as a counselor for St. Vincent’s School and a therapist for both Cottage Care Center and Project Recovery, which are rehabilitation programs focused on treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse.
Margaret has served on many boards, including Crane Country Day School, It’s For the Kids Foundation, Dream Foundation, Padaro Lane Association, Serena Cove Owner’s Association, and Rehabilitation Institute of Santa Barbara. In addition to Laguna Blanca School, she currently serves on the boards of Cottage Health System and Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
Margaret has three children who graduated from Laguna Blanca: Anne ’92 , Brian ’96, and Elizabeth ’02. In her free time, she loves to cook and drive to Napa to visit her oldest daughter’s two-year-old twins.
GREG BARTHOLOMEW, Trustee
A native Southern Californian, Greg Bartholomew is a Partner at Hayes Commercial Group, a commercial real estate brokerage based in Santa Barbara and serving clients throughout the Central Coast. Greg has been actively involved in the sales and leasing of commercial real estate in the greater Santa Barbara area since 1992. Prior to joining Hayes Commercial Group, he was Senior Vice President at Pacifica Commercial Realty.
Greg has significant elementary school leadership experience, having served as a founding Board Member of Roosevelt Elementary School’s Foundation and PTA to PTO transition team. He is a current member of the Board of Directors of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, serving on the Finance, Investment and Audit Committees, and he previously served on the Executive Committee chairing both the Audit and Finance Committees. Greg also served a six-year term as a Board Member for the Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara.
Greg holds a B.S. in economics from Bates College, Lewiston, Maine. He and his wife, Jane, reside in Santa Barbara with their three children, Chris, Will ’17, and Allison. Jane has been actively involved with Laguna Blanca School by chairing the Jogathon, serving as a room parent and taking on the role of Vice President of Finance for the Parents’ Auxiliary during the 2014-2015 academic year.
RANDALL FOX, Trustee
Randall Fox is an experienced real estate, land use and zoning; business and corporate; estate planning/trust administration; and complex litigation lawyer. He has been with Reetz Fox & Bartlett LLP since 1978 and is known for his strategic thinking, quality execution, and ability to get things done.
Fox has over 30 years of experience as an attorney with a client base that ranges from individuals and their families to small start ups, local businesses and nonprofit entities to large landowners, major corporations and the FDIC. He was an instructor in real estate law at Santa Barbara City College and has been a panel attorney for the California Association of Realtors since 1990.
Community involvement has been a cornerstone of Fox’s career. He has been active in the Santa Barbara County Bar Association as a director and as Chairman on the section on Business and Corporate Law. He has served as a director of the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Chancellor’s Council at the University of California Santa Barbara, a trustee and past Chairman of Laguna Blanca School, a director and past Chair of the Rehabilitation Institute at Santa Barbara, and a director of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. Fox currently serves as a trustee of Laguna Blanca School, where he is a member of the Finance Committee and the Committee on Trustees, and as a director at nonprofits Zona Seca, Exploring Solutions Past: The Maya Forest Alliance, and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
His son attended Laguna Blanca from grade K through 12, graduating in 2003.
KAREN FRY, Trustee
Karen Fry was raised in Connecticut and earned her BS from Denison and Marymount College and her MBA from Boston University. After college, Karen worked in the fashion industry for several years before accepting a fixed income sales position with the major Japanese Investment Bank, Nomura. This necessitated a move to move to London, England where she met and married her husband Simon.
A keen yoga and gym enthusiast, Karen, subsequently left Nomura to develop KX Gym, a private members club that offers Spa, Fitness and Restaurant facilities in heart of one of London’s most fashionable districts in Chelsea. The club is now 14 years old and Karen is still busy with all aspects of its operations including the recruitment of trainers and spa technicians, working with the nutritional aspects and menu planning and, primarily, the introduction of new and innovative fitness and lifestyle techniques.
Karen and her family lived in Santa Barbara for about six months in 2000 and have been regular visitors ever since. After more than 23 years in London, the family decided to make a permanent move to California in 2013.
In her free time, she enjoys yoga, running, cycling, hiking, and spending time with her family.
Simon and Karen have one son, Jack, who will be graduating from Laguna in 2018.
CHRISTIAN HEYER, Trustee
Christian has over twenty years of fixed income derivatives, real estate development and entrepreneurial experience. Currently he is a real estate consultant to an independent asset management company that provides advisory services to European investors. He is also a partner at a privately owned real estate company based in Santa Barbara. Previously, he worked for the interdealer brokerage arm of Compagnie Financiere Tradition in London. Having been involved in a range of small to large companies over his career both as an employee and an investor, Christian provides operational, business development, financial, and restructuring skills to companies.
Christian has served on numerous local non-profit boards, including Santa Barbara County Parks Foundation, Crane Country Day School, and Knowlwood Tennis Club.
He and his wife have two children, Natasha Heyer ’17 and Oliver Heyer attending his last year at Crane School. Christian and his family moved to Santa Barbara in 1999 from London, England. Christian attended junior high and high school in Santa Barbara, and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Mary’s College of California, Moraga.
Brett Hodges is a fifth generation Californian who has lived in Santa Barbara since 1976. Brett grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Lancaster University in England, where he received a degree in Religious Studies.
After college, Brett wrote and produced educational and documentary films for schools and PBS. Since 1999, Brett has developed and managed several consumer rating websites. The first, RemedyFind.com, allowed users to rate health treatments for numerous conditions, and the second site, RightPet.com, allows pet owners to share their thoughts on the animals they have kept.
Brett has served as a director of the Santa Barbara Boys Club, Elings Park, the Hope Ranch Park Homeowners Association, and Direct Relief International. He is an owner of San Marcos Growers, a wholesale landscaping plant nursery in Santa Barbara. Brett and his wife Natalie have a daughter, Lillie, who attended Laguna Blanca since kindergarten, graduating in 2011.
STEPHANIE NICKS, Trustee
Stephanie Nicks, the daughter of an American military officer, had the privilege of travelling extensively, living and attending schools throughout the United States and Europe. She earned a B.A. degree in English Literature from Valparaiso University, Indiana.
Stephanie pursued a fashion career in Chicago, founding and opening her own production company. Becoming well-versed in all aspects of print production and marketing, her company produced many high-end catalogs and national advertising campaigns. It was on multiple productions that Stephanie met her husband, Dewey Nicks. The two joined forces and for the next thirteen years she worked as the executive producer for their company Concrete and Clay. Living between Los Angeles and New York City, they photographed and produced editorials, advertising campaigns, commercials, documentaries, and short films.
Since becoming a stay at home mother of twins, Stephanie has volunteered her time for charitable fundraising and marketing; The Susan G. Komen Foundation and Mentor LA. being two of her favorites. Presently, she is on the committee for the Breast Cancer Research Center in Santa Barbara and doing work for the Ayenda Foundation, a non profit dedicated to building schools in Afghanistan. Stephanie is also the west coast contributing editor for the blogsite Momfilter.
Stephanie lives in Carpinteria with her husband Dewey and their twins George '22 and Madeleine '22. Dewey and Stephanie directed and produced three short films, which have been shown at Laguna Blanca’s annual fundraisers in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
LAYLI SOBHANI, Trustee
Originally from Santa Barbara, Layli Sobhani has moved all around the country. She is an interactive marketing professional with over 18 years of experience in all areas of marketing communications, including brand strategy and positioning, brand management, public relations, advertising, event marketing, internal sales, and product development and launch. Layli has broad industry experience in online, high-technology communications and consumer products, having worked with companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Mentor Corporation (Johnson & Johnson), ValueClick/Commission Junction, Boeing, L-3 Communications, DIRECTV International, Murad Skin Care, and Astrolink/Lockheed Martin.
She currently is the Director of Digital Marketing for Biosense Webster, a Johnson and Johnson company, where her responsibility includes establishing and driving the worldwide digital strategy. Prior to her role with Biosense, Layli was the Director of Interactive for Ethicon, Inc., a Johnson and Johnson Family of Companies. Her responsibility while at Ethicon was developing and implementing a Worldwide Professional Education strategy relative to critical, global interactive and technology projects which supported the continuum of education. In this position, Layli came to appreciate the impact online education can have around the globe.
Layli earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science from The University of California at Santa Barbara and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Southern California.
She and her husband, Celso, have two sons—Nikolas and Gabriel—both who hope to attend Laguna Blanca.
MARINA STEPHENS, Trustee
Marina Mirkin Stephens was born in Sankt Petersburg, Russia. At the age of 18, she immigrated with her family to the United States. She attended University of Houston, receiving a B.S. in Communications in 1983 and J.D. (honors, law review) in 1993.
In 1993, Marina became an associate with the international law firm Mayer, Brown, & Platt. In 1994, she was appointed the head of the firm’s office in the Kyrgyz Republic (Central Asia). The office specialized in natural resources, emerging markets, and project financing. In 1997, Marina and her husband Len Homeniuk – a gold mining executive, relocated to Toronto, Canada where she joined the international law firm Baker & McKenzie as a local partner, continuing to specialize in emerging markets, natural resources, and energy. In 2000, after the birth of her third child, Marina left the firm and continued to work exclusively for one of her clients, Centerra Gold Inc. and affiliated companies, as an international legal advisor in charge of government relations until 2008. After the family moved to Santa Barbara in 2009, Marina became General Counsel for Trade Ideas, LLC, a private analytical trading platform company based in Encinitas, CA.
Marina and Len have three children. Jessica Stephens – a Claremont McKenna College graduate currently working for Google, Inc., Madeleine Stephens '11, and Anton Homeniuk '18.
Marina is a member of Texas Bar Association. She is actively involved with B’nei B’rith Congregation of Santa Barbara. In her spare time, she continues to pursue her life-long passion, creative writing.
ANDREW TOBIAS, Trustee
A native of Great Britain, Andrew brings a wealth of executive management experience to the Laguna Blanca Board of Trustees. He currently serves as President and CEO of Tobi Products, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of household products serving the United States and 62 international markets. He also serves as President and CEO of Pool Devil USA, Inc., designing and manufacturing household consumer and fitness products on behalf of third party inventors. He was previously the President of Thane International Inc., which at the time was the largest infomercial company in the world.
Andrew studied in the Cambridge area Technical College system in the United Kingdom. He and his wife, Lizzie, have a daughter, Holly ’17, attending Laguna Blanca School.
GEOFREY WYATT '79, Trustee
A native Southern Californian, Geofrey Wyatt is the President of Wyatt Technology, a family-owned Santa Barbara company that produces laser-based analytical instruments for biotechnology, pharmaceutical, academic, and government research institutions. Geof joined the company as its second full-time employee in 1983—just shortly after graduating from Yale University with a B.A. in English. Prior to his undergraduate career, Geof attended Laguna Blanca School from the First to the Twelfth grades, where he enjoyed everything Laguna has to offer. After four years with Wyatt Technology, Geof once again journeyed East where he obtained his MBA from the Harvard Business School. In 1989, he returned to his position in Santa Barbara where he has been ever since.
Geof has served as a trustee for the Cold Spring School, and for over a decade was on the board of the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum—the last two years of which he was President. Geof and his wife Laura met through their mutual interest in art and are avid collectors of contemporary art and photography. But most of all, Geof and Laura are the proud parents of Spenser '15, with whom they enjoy playing and watching any and all sporting events they can. When not involved in those activities, Geof is usually pining for his next fly-fishing trip on the Provo River in Utah.
HANI ZEINI, Trustee
Hani Zeini is a successful business leader with 25 years of experience in the healthcare/life-science arena. In 2006, Hani founded Sientra, a medical device company focused on the Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery markets utilizing implantable silicone technology, and has been serving as its Chief Executive Officer. Hani is a 12-year veteran in the Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery market where he previously served as Executive Vice President of Inamed Aesthetics (now Allergan Medical) with responsibility for North America and International markets. He has been directly and deeply involved in this market and its development over the past decade. He pioneered the concept of the Plastic Surgery Ecosystem™ and has been passionately presenting and promoting its principles worldwide.
Hani started his career at the Dupont Pharmaceuticals Company where he spent over 12 years in a variety of positions with increasing responsibility in sales, marketing and general management, culminating with his role as Senior Vice President, Global Health Systems. Prior to joining Inamed, Hani was the Chief Operating Officer at Acurian, Inc., a development stage venture capital backed clinical trials company. Before Acurian, he held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer at Pharmasmarket.com, an Internet-based healthcare marketplace.
Hani holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. In 2003, he completed the Stanford Executive Program at Stanford University, Graduate School of Business. Hani serves on the Advisory Board at Image Reborn Foundation in Park City, UT, which is focused on Women “Living beyond Breast Cancer” through a program for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer with focus on encouraging women to reclaim their sense of personal power, and strengthen them in their journey towards healing. Additionally, his company Sientra is a national sponsor of the Breast Reconstruction Awareness campaign commissioned in 2012 to bring awareness of reconstruction options available to women who have experienced breast cancer.
Hani and his wife, Amal, have two children currently attending Laguna Blanca School, Rhami ’20 and Lana ’25.