Catherine Meek, Executive Director, has been involved with School on Wheels since 1999, starting as a volunteer tutor. She was elected as a Board member in 2002, Chief Operating Officer in 2005 and Executive Director in 2009. She believes that education is a right of every child and an economic imperative for our society, especially for homeless students if they are to break the cycle of extreme poverty and know that their lives can improve through education.
Catherine’s background is in the organization planning and strategic compensation fields, where she practiced for over 30 years, 16 of these as President of her own firm, Meek and Associates, 12 years as Vice President and Principal of Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby, and two years as Managing Principal at Sibson & Company. Catherine received her MA degree from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Matt Raab, Program Director, is a former elementary school teacher who has worked for School on Wheels in many different capacities since 2004. He has been working with homeless and at- risk children all across the country since 2000. As Program Director, he leads the Program Team to develop and oversee the infrastructure of the tutoring program, including tutor training, academic and career resources, and digital learning. Matt holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Penn State University.
Charles Evans is the Regional Manager for South Los Angeles and oversees our Skid Row and South Los Angeles Learning Centers. Growing up in South Los Angeles he understands the many obstacles that students face. He spent five years working for FAME Renaissance as a Transportation Specialist and Environmental Outreach Specialist, under Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray. Charles is a member at Bryant AME in Los Angeles where he works with young males under the ministry, “Sons of Success.” Charles holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Whittier College.
Jennifer Urick, Operations Director, first joined School on Wheels in 2012 as a volunteer tutor and volunteer tutor coordinator. As Operations Director, Jennifer is responsible for organizational budgeting and financial reporting, human resources and administration as well as IT systems and infrastructure projects. Her background includes more than 20 years of corporate management experience including 16 years in the education/training industry. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan.
Janet Lang, Regional Director, joined School on Wheels in 2005 as a Regional Coordinator. In her current position, Janet manages the activities of all School on Wheels Coordinators. Prior to School on Wheels, Janet worked at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Her background also includes an additional five years experience working with various non-profit organizations and more than seven years experience working with children. Janet graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s Degree in History.
Sinead Chilton, Marketing Director, has been involved with School on Wheels since 2004. She is responsible for marketing, media relations, web design, and fundraising events. As a volunteer tutor in Ventura County Sinead has tutored ten children and is passionate about students succeeding in school despite their circumstances. Sinead received her Bachelor of Science degree from Liverpool University.
Andrea Aguinaldo, Curriculum and Outcomes Specialist, joined School on Wheels in February 2015 as part of our AmeriCorps VISTA Project. She graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a degree in Global Studies. Andrea previously served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with First 5 Siskiyou. During her service with First 5, Andrea was involved in program coordination, research and development. She also helped lead the agency’s early literacy efforts. Andrea believes in education as an important means of empowerment for children and youth. She is excited to work with our team to further develop an academic curriculum that will strengthen the learning opportunities of homeless students at School on Wheels even more.
Natasha Bayus, Team Leader of Volunteer Engagement, started with School on Wheels in 2007. Since joining our organization, she has held positions as a Regional Coordinator and as our Education and Training Coordinator. In her current position, Natasha leads a team to enhance the volunteer experience and empowers tutors with tools to be more effective in filling in the gaps in education. She utilizes skills from her Master’s in School Counseling to increase access to educational resources. Natasha also serves as the director of our AmeriCorps VISTA project.
Ian Chan, Digital Learning Coordinator, joined School on Wheels in 2014. Since graduating from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, Ian has served as an AmeriCorps Member at City Year Los Angeles, a Branch Manager at Revolution Prep, a Director at Achievement Matters, and most recently as a Foster & Probation Youth Education Specialist at Compton High School. Ultimately, Ian believes that education is the driving force for socioeconomic development and individual empowerment, and he is thrilled to launch, develop, and expand our online tutoring and blended learning programs for homeless students across Southern California.
Kenisha Edwards became the South Los Angeles Regional Coordinator in March, 2012. Before joining School on Wheels, she was a teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District and a School Site Reviewer for the Los Angeles County Office of Education where she ensured the sufficiency of textbooks for students; making sure that every student received their necessary textbooks was one of the most rewarding aspects of her job. Kenisha has also worked with the homeless population for over two years conducting outreach in skid row and other underserved communities. She received her BA degree from Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Marisol Farfan, Regional Coordinator, joined School on Wheels as an intern in 2012 and was hired as a full-time coordinator in July 2013. Marisol works with students and volunteers in the East Los Angeles, El Monte, Glendora and Covina areas. She received a Bachelors of Science degree in Rehabilitation Services from California State University, Los Angeles. Marisol has always been a community advocate and believes strongly in changing the world one child at a time.
Lisette Gaeta, Regional Team Leader, joined School on Wheels in 2012 as a Regional Coordinator. In her current role, Lisette oversees the regional activities across five counties. Prior to School on Wheels, Lisette was involved in the nonprofit world, managing volunteers and working with special needs children for over 5 years. Lisette holds a BA in Psychology with a minor in Social Work.
Denice Gonzalez-Kim, Partnership Specialist, joined School on Wheels in 2014 and serves as part of our AmeriCorps VISTA Project. Since graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles Denice has taught English to children in rural South Korea, directed the Saturday Business Academy teaching underserved high school students the importance of financial literacy, and worked in the aerospace industry in the areas of international business development and sales. Denice believes that education and financial literacy are the leading factors for the improvement and empowerment of our underserved communities in Los Angeles. She is excited to join the School on Wheels efforts and to utilize her business development and non-profit experience to improve the lives of homeless children.
Lancella Hunter, Regional Coordinator for the Hollywood, Glendale, and areas, recently finished her AmeriCorps VIP term with Trinity Youth Services, where she worked to serve children in foster care and group home populations. During her term Lancella fell in love with volunteer management and working with volunteers. Prior to serving with AmeriCorps, Lancella spent years as a Substitute Teacher for the Fontana Unified School District. She holds her Bachelors of Arts degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in Psychology from the University of Redlands. After many years of teaching children in the classroom, Lancella is thrilled to continue working for children as a Regional Coordinator at School on Wheels!
Linda Huddle, Special Projects Coordinator, started working for School on Wheels as Ventura County’s Regional Coordinator. Now working part time, Linda encourages mature persons to become School on Wheels volunteers, and supports the Regional Coordinators and students by helping with special projects such as book orders. Linda believes that tutoring/mentoring a student is a cycle where both student and tutor learn and grow from the experience. Previously Linda worked for Ventura County Office of Education in the Homeless Education Project.
Sarah Ikemoto, Digital Learning Center Specialist, joined School on Wheels in 2014 to assist at the Skid Row Learning Center and establish Digital Learning Centers. Prior to School on Wheels, Sarah worked on program evaluation and development projects at Women’s Initiative through New Sector Alliance’s Residency in Social Enterprise. Her background also includes various teaching, tutoring and mentoring positions due to her strong belief that education is the best way to provide youth with greater opportunities and helps generate social equality. Sarah graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology.
Ryan Locante, Technology Administrator, joined School on Wheels in 2009 and finds it more rewarding than anything he’s ever done before. Throughout the years, Ryan has worn many hats at the organization, including processing applications, updating the website and database, coordinating donations, chaperoning field trips, and finding solutions to operational challenges using technology. Ryan holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University in Management Science and Information Systems.
Elodia Lopez de Velarde, Downtown Learning Center Aide, is known as “Miss Ellie” to our students. She has been an integral part of our Skid Row Learning Center since it opened in 2000. She provides the students there with a safe and inviting environment and ensures their nutritional needs are taken care of on a daily basis.
Allison Maldonado, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor, joined the School on Wheels team in April 2012. She began her teaching career as a community college mentor for non-traditional students such as single mothers, first-generation college students and disabled persons. She also worked as a Special Education teacher for the past five years. As a teacher, she led six high-school classes in a service learning project to collect funds and supplies for School on Wheels. While visiting the center, Allison was inspired by the cause and by the work of the volunteers and staff. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in English Literature and Composition. Allison specializes in Individualized Education such as behavior management, modifying curriculum and lessons, and Special Education (IEP) plans.
Blue Mc Donnell, Senior Regional Coordinator for the Westside of LA, grew up in Ireland and began her career at School on Wheels in 2003 as a volunteer tutor. From her first day as a tutor she realized the importance of School on Wheels’ mission and how valuable the organization was to the children and community it served. She believes that the best way one can learn is to teach someone else. We help to educate homeless children but what these children teach us is truly amazing. Blue has had an interesting and varied background including truck driving, embalming, acting and hypnotherapy.
Kyle McDonough, Applications and Social Media Coordinator, has been involved with School on Wheels since 2012. Kyle is responsible for administration and applications processing, as well as volunteer reference checks. He also manages and updates all social media efforts including Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels. Kyle received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Loyola University, Chicago and believes strongly in the mission of School on Wheels and the program’s ability to change lives through education.
Ben McGarry, Marketing and Development Specialist, joined School on Wheels in August 2014 as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. He graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Marketing. Before coming to School on Wheels, Ben served a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA with an affordable housing and home ownership organization in his home state of Virginia. He is passionate about helping others and improving communities, and is excited to use his marketing knowledge to help a great cause at School on Wheels.
Louis Mena is the Regional Coordinator for the Long Beach/South Bay area. Louis has been a tutor, volunteer coordinator and team member for over five years. He is a qualified teacher and worked for many years in the corporate world before switching to follow his passion — working with students at School on Wheels. Louis is currently the President of the Long Beach Homeless Coalition. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University and received his Teaching Certificate from National University, Costa Mesa, CA.
Lilian Pahn, Senior Regional Coordinator, South Orange County, joined School on Wheels in October of 2011. Before joining School on Wheels, she was the Placement Coordinator at Cal State Fullerton, where she coordinated community engagement opportunities for students and faculty. Empowering students to enact real and positive change in their community was one of the most rewarding aspects of her job. She also spent a number of years in Washington DC working for the Brazilian Embassy in DC and Habitat for Humanity International. Lilian received her BA degree from the University of California, Irvine.
Laura Schickling is the Regional Coordinator for North Orange County and has been with School on Wheels since 2014. She received her Bachelor’s degree and Teaching Credential from California State University, Fullerton. After spending time in Language Arts high school classrooms, she joined the Peace Corps and moved to Ethiopia. While Laura’s primary focus was English education, she also spent time in her community working with at-risk youths on gender empowerment, HIV prevention, and food security. Laura is excited to be a part of School On Wheels and to continue the mission of closing educational gaps.
Terrie Soto, Regional Coordinator for Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, has over five years of experience working with families experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Health Education from San Francisco State University, where her passion for social justice blossomed. After living in San Francisco for eight years, Terrie is excited to be serving her home-town of Ventura County and strongly believes in the School On Wheels mission and the power of changing people’s lives through education.
How to contact School on Wheels staff via e-mail:
First Initial and Lastname @schoolonwheels.org
For example, Joe Smith would be firstname.lastname@example.org.