Westchester Secondary Charter School

Graduations on June 7th!  8th grade at Horace Mann Auditorium, 9:00-10:00, 12th grade at the Playa Vista Center Pointe Club at 5:30.
Governance » Board of Directors

Board of Directors

WSCS continues to seek qualified board members to help us realize our vision of a community-based secondary charter school in Westchester. For more information, please contact us at info@westchestercharter.org.

The founders of WSCS are parents, teachers, and community members who all are committed to public education and who believe the establishment of this school is necessary not only to serve its students, but also to reinvigorate and stabilize all of the public school offerings in Westchester. The founders have demonstrated their commitment to public education through long and dedicated education careers in Westchester, countless volunteer hours to the local schools and their support groups, and making substantial financial contributions. Many of the founders have worked together across several schools and sat on community boards and committees together.

Janet Landon Janet Landon, Principal and Co-Founder

Janet Landon, Principal and Co-Founder, has 20+ years of experience in education, with credentials in Administration Tier One, Secondary English, Multiple Subjects, Gifted, Schools Attuned, and CLAD. Before founding WSCS, she was a theater and English teacher who spent 11 years running an award-winning drama program at Orville Wright Middle School. She donated her time to Westchester High School, as the school re-established its musical theater program. She also served on the faculty at Westside Global Awareness Magnet, as well as Huntington Park High School in its Renaissance School of the Arts, part of a program recently re-constituted through the District’s Public School Choice Program. Ms. Landon has served in leadership positions throughout her tenure in the Westchester community, including service on the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa’s Education Committee. She was active in the District’s i-Design movement, serving on the Transition Team at Westchester High School and the Autonomy Exploratory Committee at Orville Wright Middle School. Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Landon was a professional actress in New York City and Los Angeles, and founded/operated Shanklin West Theatre Company.

Ms. Landon believes that all students have the right to a quality education supported by caring professionals dedicated to that purpose. She is dedicated to WSCS’s core values/mission of ensuring a rigorous liberal arts education for all.

Ryan Gales Ryan Gales (Board Chair)

graduated from Westchester schools and UCLA. He graduated with a civil engineering degree, and works as the Director of Business Development and Community Outreach Coordinator with Jenkins, Gales & Martinez, Inc., a firm with extensive experience in school construction, including LAUSD and charter schools. Mr. Gales also served in the administration of Mayor James Hahn, managing a community improvement program in South and West Los Angeles. He serves on the board for the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce and volunteers with the YMCA’s Youth and Government Program. Mr. Gales is passionate about serving and developing the community he has called home for more than 30 years. Chair: CEO Support and Evaluation. Chair: CEO Support and Evaluation.

Lacy Billingsley Photo Lacy Billingsley (Board Member)

Lacy Billingsley began his relationship with WSCS in 2014 as a volunteer math tutor. During this time period, he learned the mission statement of the school not just from reading it on a piece of paper, but witnessing it first hand through student interactions. As a tutor, it was his goal to use his resources to help give students the best educational experience possible. As his resources have increased over time, he wanted to contribute more and joined the board this summer. Lacy currently works for Helix Electric as a project manager and engineer building large projects on the west side of L.A.. Raised in Oakland, he was a member of the Bay Area Inner City Leadership Alliance and the Scientist Executive Board at Cal Poly SLO. His degree in Electrical Engineering is from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

Andrew Montealegre (Board Member)

is an Urban Planning graduate from UC Berkeley. He served LA City Planning for 30 years,17 of those supervising and counseling in the details of getting projects filed, approved or appealed. Projects ranged from Hollywood/Highland to complex hillside homes. He created the Master Application Form still used today, the first digital forms, and was the primary reference for designing of the Department's case tracking system. Andy supervised the Public Counter during the years when it generated cases numbering over 10,000. To the best of his knowledge Andy is still the only person in LA's permitting complex to have fully participated in the process they were administering. He designed, entitled, financed, and constructed his home (a second is yet to be built) undergoing reviews for specific plans and hillside projects including two public hearings. Andy was a pioneer in the use of video in planning. In 1983, while developing Hollywood station area plans for the Red Line subway, he created a video to communicate issues surrounding the revitalization of Hollywood.

Carol Moreno Photo Carol Moreno (Board Member)

is a resident of Ladera Heights and has been a Counselor with Green Dot’s Animo Leadership Charter High School for 10 years. She holds a degree in sociology from UCLA and a Master’s degree from LaVerne University, and is fluent in Spanish. Ms. Moreno has a strong commitment to ensuring students receive a great public education that prepares them for college. She is excited about using her vast experience in college counseling to help WSCS prepare its students for college, and for making sure the local community has options when selecting their K-12 education. Chair: Academic Excellence.

Debra Silva Photo Debra Silva (Board Member)

is a Southern California native who lives in the Westchester community. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Business Management and Marketing. For the last 15 years, Ms. Silva has enjoyed a successful sales career at Xerox Corporation supporting a wide range of clients from multiple industries. Ms. Silva has a passion for both participating in and supporting the arts after retiring from a 20-year semi-professional ballet career and being trained as a classical pianist. She donates and volunteers regularly with local dance and music programs. Ms. Silva has been actively involved in marketing and fundraising events for WSCS since the school’s inception and is excited to join the board and provide her expertise in developing partnerships with local businesses. Co-Chair: Communications and Public Relations.

Gwen Vuchsas Photo Gwen Vuchsas (Board Member)

is a resident of Playa del Rey, a local business owner, and a long-time community leader. She has been an LAX Coastal Chamber member for 25 years and is a past Chairman of its board. She is currently chair of the Chamber’s Education Committee. As a Rotarian for 23 years and past Rotary President, she is a founder of the Teacher Mini-Grant Program and the Westchester July 4th Parade, and is Vocational Service Chair for the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club. She cares deeply about education and has been involved with local schools for over 20 years. She recognizes that WSCS is a major asset to, and greatly needed in, the community and wants to help promote its growth. She is excited to help WSCS become the neighborhood middle and high school in the neighborhood. Co-chair: Development, and Communications and Public Relations


Emeriti


Yasmin Dunn, Board member emeritus

Community member and teacher coach Yasmin Dunn was selected by the WSCS faculty to be their representative on the Board of Directors during the school's opening year. She is now Assistant Principal at St. Bernard's High School in Westchester. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University and former high school teacher, Ms. Dunn has extensive experience in charter schools, including KIPP and ICEF schools. As a Professional Development Coach with Catapult Learning, she trained teachers in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and data-driven instruction. She was an adjunct professor in the Shirley M. Hufstedler School of Education at Alliant International University, where she taught graduate level courses in the teaching credential program. Ms. Dunn helped to oversee WSCS’s successful application to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for accreditation. Fluent in French, she spent five years as Director of Teacher Development and Training for Kaplan Paris. 

Rebecca Bernal, Board member emeritus

A former field deputy with State Senator Curren Price, and formerly for his State Assembly office, Rebecca Bernal has represented and been active in WSCS’s target areas of Westchester, Playa Vista, Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights, and the surrounding communities. She staffed Senator Price in the policy areas of education, health, and the environment. Before graduating from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, Ms. Bernal attended Kentwood Elementary, Orville Wright Middle School, and Westchester High School. She has been an active volunteer with the Westchester/Playa Education Foundation and sat on the governance councils for Kentwood Elementary and Orville Wright Middle School. She has been an advisor for the YMCA’s Youth and Government Program, a swim instructor, a horse trainer and equestrienne, and a blue-ribbon baker for the Los Angeles County Fair. These experiences underscore her enthusiastic support of WSCS’s comprehensive mission.


Wendy Gladson, Board member emeritus

Former Board Chair Wendy Gladson has a thriving real estate practice that includes many of the target areas for WSCS. She has extensive lobbying experience locally and in Sacramento in her role as Vice-Chairman of the Public Policy Committee of the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Board of Realtors, including most recently lobbying for the extension of the homebuyers tax credit. She has also been a Director of the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors and a local Director to the California Association of Realtors. Ms. Gladson has a passion for participation in and support of the arts and public education, having worked as a professional actress, and volunteering philanthropically with the Ebell of Los Angeles, the Assistance League of Southern California, and the Westchester/Playa Education Foundation. She was a founding sponsor of the Westchester's Family of School's Public School Expo/5K.

Rodrigo Gomez, Board member emeritus
 
Rodrigo Gomez was born in Managua, Nicaragua and was raised in Southern California. He graduated with an economics degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. Currently, Rod works as the Manager of Finance for the WW Sales & Marketing Division at Herbalife International. Mr. Gomez is married and a proud father of three girls. He has over 15 years of finance experience in varied industries. This is his first year as a member of the board.  Mr. Gomez looks forward to serving and developing the community through his role.
 
Rachel Horning, Board member emeritus

Rachel Horning has been an active member of the Westchester community for her entire life. She is Communications Director for the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce. She holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley in sociology and public policy, and grew up attending public schools in Westchester. At Berkeley, Ms. Horning was an elected student representative and worked for the External Affairs Vice President, training students to lobby for higher education. She interned with Congressman Henry Waxman. She mentors local high school students through the YMCA’s Youth and Government program. She is excited to help make WSCS into a premier school for Westchester and surrounding communities, especially by building its relationships with local businesses and community organizations.
 
Andy Inkeles, Board member emeritus
 
Andy Inkeles is an 8th grade parent whose background combines corporate leadership and volunteerism. He has been an active parent at WSCS since its inaugural year. He is currently a Corporate Director at Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), leading up CSC's Enterprise Risk, Issue and Opportunity Management Office. Prior to joining CSC in 2011, Andy spent 20+ years in various leadership positions at aerospace and defense companies in Southern California. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and has attended numerous certificate programs in leadership, communication, and executive coaching.  He brings to the board a wealth of experience and knowledge, as well as the passion to drive continual improvement at our school. As President of WSCS’s support organization, the Friends of WSCS, during the 2013-14 school year, he helped establish the foundation for a strong partnership between the Friends, the board, and WSCS faculty. Mr. Inkeles’s "can do" attitude has driven him to lead many successful fundraising events and campus beautification activities.
 

Terry Marcellus, Board member emeritus

 

Terry Marcellus is a lifelong resident of Westchester.  He is a graduate of Westchester High School, as are his three daughters.  He holds a B.A. from UCLA where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and he holds a Juris Doctor degree from the UCLA School of Law.

 

For more than 20 years he conducted a private legal practice specializing in family estate and small business planning and contracts.  More than fifteen years ago he joined the management team of a client in the architecture and engineering field and became the initial Contract Manager for the Alameda Corridor development program. He has held contract management, deputy director, and principal-in-charge positions on numerous programs, including the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles Community College District construction bond programs.  Currently he serves as the Commercial Contract Manager for the team providing program management services to the California High Speed Rail Authority.

 

Throughout his career, Mr. Marcellus has been an active and involved member of the Westchester/Playa del Rey community.  He has served as president of the Westchester Vitalization Corporation, the Westchester/LAX Chamber of Commerce, the Westchester Family YMCA and the Westchester High School Booster Club.  As chairman of the Education Committee of the Westchester Playa Neighborhood Council, he was a leader in the effort to make local public schools a viable alternative for Westchester and Playa del Rey families.  Mr. Marcellus received the Howard Drollinger Achievement Award in 2008 in recognition of his outstanding work with education in the local communities.

 


Lisa Regan, Board member emeritus
 
Lisa Regan holds her Doctorate in Education at the University of Southern California, where she also teaches. Her academic focus is accountability dynamics and effective school leadership models in urban settings. She has been an assistant principal at two LAUSD secondary schools, a local district coordinator, and a central office curriculum specialist. She has published widely in reading/language arts, gifted education, and special education. She has extensive experience with WASC, small learning communities, and English Learner students.

Tony Shen, Board member emeritus

Tony Shen has served as Ministry Assistant and Pastoral Intern at Del Rey Church in Playa Del Rey since 2011. Prior to that, Tony was Vice President of Marketing and Development at Green Dot Public Schools, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening public schools in Los Angeles and operator of several high-performing public charter high schools and middle schools. Tony also served as a founding board member at KIPP Academy of Opportunity from its inception in 2003 until 2008, when it became part of KIPP LA Schools. Before his involvement in education, Tony helped grow several entrepreneurial technology and internet companies and, early in his career, was a strategic management consultant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Hong Kong. He is a graduate of public schools through high school; of Harvard University, where he studied economics; and of UCLA, where he earned his MBA.

Guadalupe Simpson, Board member emeritus

Guadalupe Simpson has extensive service as a teacher, counselor, administrator, and university professor throughout a distinguished career as an educator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish Literature from California State University, Los Angeles, a Master of Science Degree in School Counseling from California Lutheran University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California. She is currently an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department at California State University, Northridge.
 
Ann Wexler, Board member emeritus
 
Ann Wexler, parent of a junior, holds a B.A. in Music Education from Northwestern University, an MBA in nonprofit arts management from UCLA, and a law degree from UCLA. She is an attorney who represented families in special education matters. Before law school, she spent more than a decade as a nonprofit arts fundraiser, including at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, LACMA, and the USC School of Fine Arts. Ms. Wexler has been a parent advocate for, and a volunteer with, the Westchester public schools for more than 15 years. She has held many board positions and offices, in PTA, Booster Clubs, LEARN and School Site Councils, and local district committees. She was active in the District’s i-Design movement in Westchester and sits on the board of directors for the Westchester/Playa Education Foundation. Her daughter graduated from Westchester public schools, as did her husband. Ms. Wexler volunteered as a vocal coach at Westchester High School, where she was glad to help drama kids and football players alike develop their talent in high school musicals.
  
Consultants

 

The founding team of WSCS knows that there is a wealth of experience and knowledge that has developed since the inception of charter schools in California 20 years ago. The Board has selected consultants in the areas of charter development, management and finance, and law to supplement its own areas of expertise and experience. These firms also train and educate the Board, critical in helping to ensure a successful experience for WSCS, its students, families, and personnel.

  

ExED

 

ExED is a non-profit organization that assists Southern California charter schools with the essential functions securing affordable facilities, complying with state and federal regulations, accounting and payroll. ExED has worked with more than 75 charter schools serving more than 15,000 students. ExED has worked with WSCS since prior to its incorporation, and provides WSCS’s back-office services.

 

Young, Minney & Corr LLP

 

Young, Minney & Corr LLP (YM&C), formerly Middleton, Young and Minney (MYM), is the premier charter school law firm California and represents more than half of California’s charter schools. It has been a leader in charter school representation since the passage of California’s Charter Schools Act of 1992, and it offers expertise in every facet of charter school creation, expansion and operation – including charter school petitions, renewals and revocations, employment and labor law, non-profit incorporations, board governance, facilities, student issues, policy development and more. YM&C represents WSCS; the firm provides legal services and advice in all areas on charter school law, and training to WSCS’s Board of Directors.

 

California Charter Schools Association

 

WSCS is a member of the California Charter Schools Association, which advances the charter school movement through state and local advocacy, leadership on accountability, and resources for member schools. CCSA is a trusted source of data and information on California’s charter schools for parents, authorizers, legislators, the press and other interested groups.