Our Board of Directors:

Aude Ismaël, co-President

Aude joined PSF in 2009 with her first born. She and her husband Osman not only learnt a great deal about parenting, they also discovered a wonderful community that they are proud to be part of. Both being French, Palo Alto has become home to them and their 3 young children. Aude is extremely grateful to PSF for helping her be a better parent, and for all the friendships she and her children made. She looks forward to many more years there. She is also an active volunteer at Ohlone Elementary. In her free time, Aude enjoys baking, reading, sailing and traveling with her family.

Margaret Rickling, co-President

Margaret is a native of Palo Alto. Although she has traveled and lived all over the world (spending several years in Taiwan and Germany), she is thrilled to have settled here with her husband, David, and to be raising their kids in her hometown. We started in PreSchool Family in 2009 with our first child in the 6-12 month class with Karen and before our second child was born, we enrolled him in the 0-6 month class with Cindy. We enjoy the wonderful community that PreSchool Family has provided as well as being able to give back by hosting the annual PSF camping trip fun party.

Margaret works as a Property Manager and Writer/Editor. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, traveling, camping, biking, and scuba diving.

Carla Kassoff, Secretary

Carla has lived in the Bay Area for the past 14 years. She and her husband joined PSF in 2010 with their son, and have been here ever since. Now their daughter is at PSF and they are grateful to be part of a warm, supportive parenting community. They have made lifelong friends at PSF. Professionally, Carla works with children in a school setting. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and hiking.

Cecily Cheung, Treasurer

Cecily lives in Sunnyvale with her husband Robin and 2 daughters, Agnes and Bethany. She has been a PSF parent since 2008 with Teacher Karen's 6 - 12 months class. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Cecily and Robin are thankful to have found PSF through Cecily's former coworker. Before staying at home with the kids full time, Cecily was a Business Analyst at Chevron. She enjoys reading, dancing, community services, and spending time with her family and friends. Cecily received her BS in Accounting and Finance from Indiana University.

Rachael Ostrowski

Rachael started PreSchool Family in 2012 when her daughter was 6 months old and has seen her oldest complete the program and is enjoying participating with her younger daughter who started in the infant class as well. She and her family are so thankful for what the PSF community provides for her family: an environment that supports parents and children in a loving, accepting community. With little family around, the PSF community has and continues to give the love to her girls and family that facilitate such positive growth.

Prior to being a mom, Rachael was a practicing marriage and family therapist (LMFT). Her interests are couples and sibling relationships and helping families experiencing life with children with developmental disabilities. When not playing with her girls, her hobbies include yoga, pilates, and playing board games.

Parissa Modarres

Parissa has been a PreSchool Family parent since 2012 when her daughter started in Cindy Howard’s infant class. Two years later, her son began his PSF journey in Cindy’s 12-18 month class. PSF has been an invaluable resource for navigating the bumps, inclines, and sudden sharp turns on the road of parenting. Parissa and her husband, Houman, are grateful to PSF for imparting wisdom within a supportive community of families who are sure to remain life-long friends.

Parissa works part-time as a freelance writer and communications professional. In her free time, she enjoys reading, working on her own novel, and watching Game of Thrones with her husband.

Yolla Indria

Yolla lives in Mountain View with her husband, Ariya and their two children. She studied electrical engineering and worked as software engineer before being a mom. A friend introduced her to PreSchool Family and she was lucky to get a spot in teacher Lori 2's class in 2012. She enjoys being in the wonderful and nurturing community of PreSchool Family ever since. She actively volunteers sewing and organizing Caps and Crowns, providing dress-up items to sell at PSF's annual Fun Day.

Snezhana Ballagas

Snezhana and her family first joined the Preschool Family community in 2013 and now have two children in the program. They are most grateful for the nurturing environment for their children and the supportive community for them as parents. Originally from Bulgaria, Snezhana met her husband “Tico” while both were studying in Aachen, Germany. They moved together to California in 2008 after graduating with her Masters in European Studies. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping, baking and spending time with her family and friends.

Rebecca Marasco

Rebecca Marasco is a bay area native who earned her BS in Sociology from Santa Clara University and an MBA from San Jose State University. Rebecca worked in high-tech marketing for many years before staying home to take care of her two daughters. When Rebecca was pregnant with her oldest daughter, she and her husband Marc bought a home in the adjacent Greenmeadow neighborhood. As soon as they bought the house, 3 PSF alum families on their block (including one former PSF teacher) encouraged them to register their unborn daughter in the 0-6 month class. Going through the full program from the 0-6 month class to the Young 5's program Rebecca appreciated the unique and supportive community. Now with a younger daughter in the 2's program and being the Fun Day Book Chair, Rebecca is enjoying meeting families in all of the different PSF classes and expanding her circle of friends.

Kristene Geering

Kristene is a mother of twins, has a Master's Degree and California Teaching Credential in Early Childhood Special Education, graduate-level training in psychotherapy (Dramatherapy), training in mindful education through Mindful Schools, and is an Independent Certified Instructor with the Baby Signs® Program. She went through PSF with her twins from the time they were 6 months old until they were ready for 5-year-old school!

Kathy Chen

Kathy Chen is mother to three girls, all of whom have been students at PSF and Y5s. Kathy has worked extensively in the hospitality industry and operated Just a Party Girl Events while her children were young. Aside from event coordination, Kathy is an attorney formerly focused around issues of immigration and women's rights. She also coordinates and facilitates family programming at St Mark's Episcopal and Menlo church. Kathy is grateful to the PSF community for insight into raising strong willed girls and clues for how to navigate the elementary years.

Jen Aminzade

Jen lives in Sunnyvale with her husband Dan and her two children, Luke and Zoe. She began PreSchool Family in 2013 by enrolling Luke in Teacher Karen’s 6-12 month class and quickly fell in love with the program; today Luke (age 4) continues at PreSchool Family and Zoe (age 1) has also started in Karen's class. Jen grew up in North Carolina and Virginia, graduated from the University of Virginia, and met Dan during her master's studies at MIT. After moving to the Bay Area in 2003, Jen joined AmeriCorps to work with Hands On Bay Area, a local nonprofit that organizes volunteer projects. In 2005, she returned to graduate school to complete a PhD in Atmospheric Science at Columbia University in New York, where she also served as Chair and Treasurer of the Graduate Student Advisory Council. New York was exciting, but California proved too wonderful to leave behind, so in 2011, Jen moved back to the Bay Area, where she delights in the community, the weather, the produce, and her outdoor adventures. Jen currently stays home with the kids and has greatly benefited from the thoughtful, supportive community at PreSchool Family.

Marjan Wilkes

Marjan Wilkes was a student at PreSchool Family with her two children from 1990-1998. In 1995 she joined the staff as teacher for the newborn classes. In 1999 she switched to teaching Fours. She has been co-teaching with special education preschool teacher Amy Kraus since 2011.

Marjan grew up in the Netherlands and has a masters degree in English literature and linguistics. After moving to the United States with her British husband, she completed a masters degree in counseling psychology and became a licensed marriage and family therapist, working primarily with children and families (license currently inactive).

In her free time Marjan likes to read, swim, garden, travel and play with her cats.

Jessie Becker

Jessie became part of the PSF family in 2015, joining Marjan Wilkes and Amy Kraus' co-taught 4s inclusion class with her older son. In addition to the wonderful experience her son had in the classroom, she was thrilled to find a diverse and welcoming community of families. This year, she and her husband Travis are continuing their parenting journey at PSF with their younger son in Lori Sevcik's 2s class, and look forward to lots of learning, laughter, and continued strong friendships in the PSF community.

Jessie grew up on the east coast and moved to California for graduate school in the late 90s. She works full-time in consumer marketing, and when she has a few spare moments enjoys reading and quilting.

Board of Directors Emeritus (partial list):

Maria Brown

Maria and her family feel lucky to have found PreSchool Family during Fun Day in the fall of 2011, when Annabel was almost two and Matthew was on the way. They had just moved to the Bay Area from the east coast and were excited to find a like-minded community to plug into. When it was time for Annabel to start preschool, it was a no-brainer that she'd attend PSF. Both children are now at PSF and their parents are thankful for all they've been learning about their children and themselves along the way.

Maria grew up and studied in New York, working in the advertising industry, where she met her husband Tom, seventeen years ago. Since then, she changed her career path and went back to school, first as a student at Bank Street (a Masters program founded on the ideals of progressive education) and then as an elementary school teacher. Maria is currently back in the classroom, keeping busy with her two children at PSF and carving out some time to read, photograph, try new recipes, travel and connect with friends and family.

Humaira Mahi

Humaira has been a PSF parent since 2010. Originally from India, Humaira moved to the US to go to graduate school and has now lived in the US for over two decades - having lived in North Carolina, Minnesota and Michigan before making the Bay Area her home in 2005. Growing up in Hyderabad, India, in a deeply rooted community of family and friends, has her believe that we can solve almost any issue when we work together – it was a search for a similar sense of community and the belief that it does indeed take a village to raise a child that initially drew her and her husband, Nirmal, to PSF. Having received the wonderful gift of community from PSF, Humaira is delighted to serve on the board and contribute towards fostering this sense of togetherness.

Humaira has a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Minnesota. As an academic she has taught at business schools at Michigan State University and at San Francisco State. Her research on Marketing Strategy and Consumer Behavior has been published in various academic journals. She is also a co-founder of a non-profit in Hyderabad, India started in 2008 in her father’s memory that has adopted several villages and provides healthcare access, education and vocational training to the villagers. Coinciding somewhat closely with becoming a parent, Humaira has seen a shift in her work interests - her current work/research interests are related to providing access to education and health care for the underprivileged (especially children and women) as well as in the use of technology to bring about social change. In her free time, Humaira likes to volunteer, read, cook and garden as well as write. Humaira lives with her husband, Nirmal, and her very chatty four year old son, Siddharth in Mountain View, CA.

Nancy Dugery

Nancy Dugery lives in Redwood City with her husband, John, and their two sons, Paul and Jack. Nancy and Paul started at PSF in September 2010 in Cindy's newborn class. Born and raised in New York City, Nancy and her family are grateful for the wonderful community that PSF has provided in the absence of family nearby. In 2013 Nancy and Jack joined Teacher Maria's 18-30 month class. Before becoming a stay at home mom, Nancy was a bookkeeper and staff accountant at several small Bay Area companies. She enjoys baking, reading, yoga, going to the movies, and spending time with friends in what little spare time she has. Nancy received her BA in History of Art from the University of Michigan.

Jean Lum Hoy

Jean began attending PreSchool Family in 2000, as a parent in Teacher Cindy’s infant class. She and her husband, John, learned so much and enjoyed the wonderful community for eight years with their two children, Rose and Galen.  During that time Jean chaired Fun Day and, as Founding President of Friends of PreSchool Family, collaborated with an amazing team of parents and community leaders to establish the school’s non-profit. She has an Economics/Psychology degree from Claremont McKenna College, an MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, and is trained in landscape architecture. After several years focused on raising a family, Jean is working at a communications and engagement start up. She enjoys cooking, camping (with or without her PSF friends), and exploring new places with her family.

Lisa Ratner

Lisa Ratner spent 8 years in PreSchool Family with her three children, who are now in college or beyond. She and her husband made friends and lasting connections through the PSF program, as did her children. She was later active in the Ohlone, JLS, and Gunn PTAs, as arts coordinator, parent-ed, and membership chairs. She maintains a part-time law practice and is active in at least three acoustic bands, playing fiddle, mandolin and harmonica. She is on the board of the Palo Alto Housing Corporation and has served on the Board of the Friends of the Palo Alto Children's Theater.

Laura Gable

Laura and her daughter joined Cindy Howard's nine-month-old class in 2001 and continued at Preschool Family for four more years, gaining treasured friendships, experiences, and wisdom along the way. A family healthcare event in 2003 inspired Laura to evolve her career from software technical writing to health services. She completed a Bachelor's degree in Nursing from San Francisco State in 2010 and is currently working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Stanford. Laura is also Registrar for the South County service unit of Girl Scouts of Northern California and an active member of St. Bede's Episcopal Church. In their free time, Laura and her family enjoy travel, music and hiking.

Laura feels honored to return to Preschool Family in 2013 as a member of the Friends' Board of Directors. She looks forward to giving back to the school that provided a foundation for her family's early years. She plans to help it grow as a valued resource of the community at large.

Dana Nelson

Dana lives in Palo Alto with her husband, Michael and their two children, Kate and Will. She grew up in Iowa, and before becoming a stay-at-home mom she flew the friendly skies for ten years, traveling all over the world. Dana joins the board with a deep sense of gratitude towards the Preschool Family community that has truly made California feel like home, and whose other students have come to feel like family. In her spare time she enjoys reading, exercising and listening to music.

Amy Darling

Amy was a student at Preschool Family with her two children from 2008-2013. She learned so much as a new parent and the experience was an instrumental part of how she and her husband, Scott, raise their children. With a background in geriatrics, most of Amy’s professional years have been spent working with people dealing with issues at the other end of the age spectrum. In her free time, Amy enjoys reading, hiking, eating and traveling.

Cindy Howard

Cindy Howard joined PreSchool Family in 1990 as a parent in the infant-toddler program. After 9 years as a student in the program, including two years as chair of PSF Family Fun Day, she joined the staff, teaching first the newborn class, and then adding an 18-30 month class. Currently Cindy teaches a 3’s class along with the newborn classes.

Cindy completed her PhD in Civil Engineering shortly before her second child was born. She now has three daughters who are in high school, college, and graduate school. In addition to teaching at PSF, she is also a board-certified lactation consultant.

Jason Laskowski

Born and raised in Indiana, Jason reflects on a childhood full of great memories shared with his parents, older brother and grandparents. Being a small family made them close and instilled him with an appreciation for family and a desire to recreate those same bonds in his family today.

Jason stayed in state for college and upon graduating he choose to defer his invitation to the U.S. Peace Corps for one year. Heʼs glad he did as he and his wife, Jaime, met while serving in Burkina Faso in West Africa.

After service, Jason moved to CA to continue a career in hotel management. After a few years out east Jaime missed CA and she and Jason spent the next few years moving up the Central Coast from Big Sur to Monterey to San Francisco. During that time Jaime and Jason wed and continued to build their life together.

In 2010 Jaime and Jason moved to Menlo Park and in April of that year Indiana Rose Laskowski was born. Jaime returned to work at Stanford Hospital and Jason stayed at home with Indi. When Indi was 9 months old they enrolled her in PSF. There was a period when Jaime and Jason were moving quite frequently for work and curiosity. Since arriving to this community the wanderlust has subsided. Jason equates a large part of their contentment in this community to PreSchool Family and the relationships theyʼve developed through it.

Cathy Siciliano

Cathy is a strategic marketing professional with a passion for online marketing and analytics. She has spent most of her professional career creating customer acquisition and retention marketing programs for internet businesses, and has held marketing leadership positions at companies such as eBay, Elance, Rent.com and Minted.  Cathy loves to run the numbers, and approaches marketing from an analytics perspective.  She has a BA in Urban Studies from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Bilyana Boyadjieva

Originally from Bulgaria, Bilyana moved to the Bay Area in 2003 after having lived the past decade in Washington DC and New York City. She joined Preschool Family with her 2nd child and fell in love with the philosophy and community of this program. She learned and grew with her daughter under the guidance of PSF's wonderful teachers and hand in hand with her fellow parents participating in the classrooms.

At the end of Young Fives and filled with so much gratitude for everything she's learned and all the friendships she's made, Bilyana is happy to join the FoPSF to be able to give back to her favorite program.

Before having kids, Bilyana worked as a 3D animator and special effects artist. Currently she is focused on portrait photography and works mostly with young kids and families. She loves spending time with her family, cooking, Zumba, theater, opera and all art.

Emma Ludwick

Emma Ludwick began at Preschool Family in 2013 with her first child, Katherine, in the infant and toddler program. Emma and her husband, Theo, found the Preschool Family community invaluable in their transition to parenthood and greatly appreciate Preschool Family’s mission to provide both parents and their children with high quality education and meaningful community connections. Prior to parenthood, Emma worked as an early childhood educator and a child development specialist for 10 years and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees related to child development. Throughout her career, Emma has served in several different ECE roles, supporting teacher training, parent education programs, research, educational apps, and the development and implementation of best practices in early childhood education. Preschool Family is an organization near and dear to Emma’s heart and she looks forward to giving back, supporting its continued work, and enrolling in the 0-6 month class with her soon-to-arrive son in the fall.