Governance

SDFAS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and an independent school governed by a Board of Trustees. The Board is comprised completely of volunteers who devote their time to oversight and support of the School and bring a variety of professional backgrounds and skills to the Board. The Board has officers, including a Chair of the Board, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer, and operates according to Bylaws. Significant parts of the Board work are done through its Committees.

The Board’s main responsibilities include:

–       To set the strategic direction of the School;

–       To select, oversee, and evaluate the Head of School;

–       To oversee the School’s financial health.

The Board does not manage the day-to-day operations of the School. The day-to-day operations of the School are managed by the Head of School, in conjunction with the administrative team.  This includes all student, employee, academic, financial, facilities, and other operational matters. All operational matters should be addressed to the Head of School.

Fernanda COELHO Fernanda COELHO
Chair of the Board; Chair of the Head Support and Evaluation Committee

Fernanda Coelho joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2018. She is originally from Brazil and moved to the United States in 2003. Her children have attended the SDFAS since PK-0. Fernanda is a business executive with over 20 years of experience in strategy consulting, venture investing and operations. She is currently the President of Coelho Consulting LLC, a life-sciences advisory and consulting firm. Fernanda received her BS in Chemical Engineering from Escola de Engenharia Maua in Brazil and her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in California.


Emiline CAIRNCROSS Emiline CAIRNCROSS
Vice-Chair; Chair of the Committee on Trustees/Governance

Emiline Cairncross joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2019. Her son starts PK0 in 2021. She is half French, half Italian, and she grew up in the countryside outside of Lyon, France. She speaks English and French fluently. Emiline is an attorney, but is not currently practicing. She started her career at Jones Day as an executive compensation and employee benefits associate where she focused on corporate transactions for public and private companies. Emiline received her B.A. in psychology and French from UCLA and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.


Kyndra LEACH Kyndra LEACH
Second Vice-Chair; Chair of the Strategic Marketing and Community Committee

Kyndra Leach has been an SDFAS Trustee for nine years. She has a child currently attending the school. In recent years, Kyndra has been working as a consultant at Dexcom, Inc. She has been primarily involved in event marketing in the medical device field. Additionally, she has a family real estate development and management business. Kyndra has a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Teresa SEKIGUCHI Teresa SEKIGUCHI
Chair of the Finance Committee; Treasurer

Teresa Sekiguchi joined the SDFAS Board in 2012. After taking a year off in 2018-2019 she re-joined the board in 2019. Teresa and her husband Mauricio have two children, who attended SDFAS from PK to 8th grade and are currently at The Bishop's School. She has a B.A. in Economics and Political Science and a MBA in General Management from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and The Copenhagen School of Business. During her days as a business consultant in companies like at Kearney and Deloitte & Touche, she was involved in strategic development projects in Mexico and other Latin American countries. She has been a professor at the MBA at ITAM and at Universidad Anáhuac in México, teaching New Business and Franchising classes. She is involved in the food and franchising industry in Mexico, as well as in non profit organizations that promote Mexican-Japanese relations.


Etienne CHAPONNIERE Etienne CHAPONNIERE
Secretary

Etienne Chaponniere joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2017 and his two children have been attending SDFAS since PK-0 in 2013. He attended several French schools in foreign countries (including Singapore, Thailand and Austria) and graduated with an MS in Telecommunication from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne. Etienne has 20 years of engineering experience in the areas of telecommunication ASIC design, R&D and Standards. He is currently employed as a Vice President at Qualcomm Incorporated and holds hundreds of US and worldwide patents.


Erica MURPHY Erica MURPHY
Chair of the Development Committee

Erica Shelby Murphy joined the Board of Trustees in 2018. While originally from St. Louis, Erica
and her family have made Southern California home since 2004. Erica has two children that have
attended SDFAS beginning in Kindergarten and PK-0, respectively. Erica’s career as an attorney
began at Stradling, where her practice focused on securities and complex business litigation. In
recent years she has worked as a contract attorney and consultant. She earned her B.S. in
Accounting from Arizona State University and her J.D. from Saint Louis University.


Stacia BALOG Stacia BALOG
Chair of the Financial Aid Committee

Stacia Balog joined the SDFAS Board in 2020. She has three children, one at SDFAS and two at The Bishop’s School. Originally from Los Angeles, Stacia and her family spent five years living in Paris, France. While overseas, her children attended a French International School, as well as the American School of Paris.
Stacia’s career has been in the investment field. She started in the Securities Research Department at Montgomery Securities, later worked in Institutional Sales at Thomas Weisel Partners before working in research at Nob Hill Capital. Stacia and her partner continue the family office investment company they’ve managed since 2012.
In 2017, Stacia and her family completed construction on a not-for-profit school in Zambia. Stacia has ongoing philanthropic activities with a focus on children’s education, military families, and providing resources for families in need. Stacia has a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, at Santa Barbara.


Kurt ORESHACK Kurt ORESHACK
Chair of the Audit Committee; Chair of Campus Task Force/Real Estate Committee

Kurt Oreshack joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in January 2020. He and his wife, Bridy, have three children, each of whom has been bilingually educated from the age of two. He enjoys sailing and visiting national parks (13 down, 49 more to go!). Kurt is a corporate lawyer and is currently the General Counsel of Maravai LifeSciences (NASDAQ: MRVI). He has advised a number of Boards of Directors throughout his career and is an expert in corporate governance matters. Kurt received a B.A. in Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago and a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School.


Alexis NAHAMA Alexis NAHAMA
Trustee

Alexis Nahama joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in January 2020. He is a proud global citizen – French by filiation (parents), born in Trinidad & Tobago, and childhood hopping around South America (Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico). He is married to Andrea (Brazilian from Rio) and has two children (Lucas and Camille) in 1st grade (twins). Portuguese, English, and French are the languages spoken at home. Tash, a Havanese dog, adds a flair of Cuban character to the family mix! Alexis is a veterinarian by training, with a vast experience in clinical drug development, business development, commercialization, and international operations. He currently holds a senior executive role in charge of the neuro-therapeutic (pain) business unit at Sorrento (Nasdaq: SRNE), a local San Diego biotechnology company. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Alexis has served on multiple non-profit boards, scientific councils, and industry trade organizations.


Janice MURABAYASHI Janice MURABAYASHI
Trustee

Janice Murabayashi joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2019. She is of Japanese and Korean heritage, and grew up in Hawaii. Janice is currently the academic dean at The Bishop's School in La Jolla, and has previously taught, coached and worked at independent schools in Hawaii, California and Japan. Janice holds a BA in Urban Studies from Brown University, a MA in Urban Planning from the UCLA, and a MA in Private School Leadership from Columbia University.


Aaron BRENNAN Aaron BRENNAN
New Trustee

Aaron Brennan joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2021. He is a California native and has been in San Diego since 1990. His children have attended SDFAS since preschool starting in 2010. Aaron is a recently retired San Diego City Firefighter and a currently serving officer in the US Navy Reserve. He has a BS in Finance from San Diego State University and an MA in Public Leadership from the University of San Francisco.


Mony LIQUARD Mony LIQUARD
New Trustee

Mony Liquard joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2021. She was born in Cambodia, immigrated to America at the age ten, and is fluent in Cambodian, Chinese, French and English. Mony is a financial services executive with 20+ years of experience in New York. Her husband is French and their three children have all attended the French American School of New York prior to relocating to San Diego. Her family has been exposed to diverse private and public schools in New York, Melbourne, Australia, and San Diego. Mony received her Bachelor of Arts from Willamette University and her Master of International Affairs from Columbia University in New York.