Our hard working team is drawn from all over the Goleta Valley and from many walks of life. What unites us and inspires us is an investment in our future through the support of excellence in education.
Board of Directors
Dolores Inés Casillas
Emily IzmirianImmediate Past President
Bethany SutherlandExecutive Director
Brady moved to Santa Barbara in 2006 and joined the Board in 2015. His two sons attended Hollister Elementary School and are now in (and almost in) high school. Brady joined the Board to help build support and create equal opportunities for elementary students throughout the Goleta Valley and to raise awareness of these extraordinary students and their dedicated educators throughout the Santa Barbara area.
Born and raised in Michigan, Brady served for five years in the United States Air Force in Louisiana, Germany, and Iraq. After serving, Brady earned an AB in Psychology from the University of Michigan and worked for the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health Department providing social services and support to adults with major mental illnesses.
Brady moved to California in 1998 to attend law school at UCLA. After graduating in 2001, Brady became a litigator focusing on general business, health care, and some employment law in Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and Santa Barbara. After leaving law firm life in 2007, Brady spent time at Raytheon Company and Teledyne FLIR before joining Yardi Systems, Inc. in 2012 where he currently serves as Senior Legal Counsel. Brady also serves on the Board of the University of Michigan Alumni Association’s Santa Barbara Spirit Group and is a past Board member of the Santa Barbara Navy League.
Dolores Inés Casillas
Dolores Inés Casillas is Professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies and Director of the Chicano Studies Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). She is the author of Sounds of Belonging: U.S. Spanish-language Radio and Public Advocacy (NYU Press, 2014), which received two book prizes, and co-editor with María Elena Cepeda (Williams College) of the Companion to Latina/o Media Studies (Routledge Press, 2016) and co-editor with Mary Bucholtz and Jin Sook Lee (UC Santa Barbara) of Feeling It: Language, Race and Affect in Latinx Youth Learning (Routledge Press, 2018).
For the past ten years, Prof. Casillas has done extensive research and community work on promoting academic achievement among Latinx youth and supporting college pathways for them. In addition to GEF, she is also a Board Member of Adelante Charter School, the only dual-language (Spanish-English) K-6 elementary school in Santa Barbara as well as Dos Pueblos Little League (DPLL).
Tim graduated with Honors from UCSB with a major in History and a minor in Sports Management. He received his law degree from Villanova University in 2006 and joined the California Bar in 2008. He joined Allen & Kimbell in 2013 and focuses on advising estate planning clients and structuring and drafting trusts and other estate planning documents. His practice also focuses on advising trustees and other fiduciaries in the administration of trusts and probates.
Tim is a proud contributor to the Santa Barbara community. He serves on planned giving advisory boards for both UCSB and the UCSB Alumni Association. He is a volunteer coach for the Special Olympics, AYSO, Page Youth Center and YMCA. He is an avid sports fan with a passion for golf, soccer, and basketball. Most of all, he enjoys spending time with his wife and six children and cheering on the UCSB Gauchos.
Emily Izmirian has been involved with Goleta Education Foundation since 2008. Since becoming a board member, she has served as President and on the Marketing and Governance committees and is currently involved with the Innovation Grants. She is the Volunteer Coordinator for GEF’s annual Lemon Run.
Emily has a bachelor’s degree in English and minor in Psychology from The George Washington University. She moved to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB for a Masters of Education in Teaching. While at UCSB, Emily was impressed by Goleta schools and decided she wanted to work for the Goleta Union School District. Currently, she teaches sixth grade at Brandon School. She is on the UTP-G negotiations team, collaborating with the district team. She is passionate about improving the education of all students in GUSD schools.
Blair is a working artist, musician and semi-retired arts educator with over 30 years teaching and professional development experience. She is proud of the multi-disciplinary, multicultural, standards-based curriculum she created during the twelve years she spent teaching both art and music to Isla Vista School’s K-6 students. Since 2002 she has been sharing her material in an annual class for UCSB’s Master of Education program, “Integrating Music Into The Elementary Curriculum”. She’s taught summer art classes for Arts at Laguna since 1995.
Also a street painter for 32 years, she is a working public artist, with porcelain tile murals in Santa Barbara and painted murals in Isla Vista. Blair and her husband Tom were among the founding parents of Peabody Charter School in Santa Barbara where, in 1993, they helped establish the “Splash Zone,” an indoor/outdoor ceramic studio that is still going strong today. Tom built it, and Blair received a three-year artist-in-residency grant from the California Arts Council whose focus was telling stories through clay.
Blair has served the community as a member of the GEF board since 2007. She takes pride in the foundation’s community focus, its organization, innovations, improving finances, and the opportunity to continue serving the children and parents of GUSD. In addition to her service on the GEF board, Blair is currently the president of the Looker Foundation, a family foundation based in Los Angeles, founded in 1995. She is also a fluent Spanish speaker.
Matt is a Santa Barbara native who previously worked for Vons and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. Currently, he works for Walpole as a CPA. Matt specializes in individual tax preparation, with knowledge of accounting for businesses.
Matt and his wife are parents to four small children so he is accustomed to little sleep, which is perfect for tax season! Weekends are spent with family enjoying the beach, pool, park, and downtown areas.
Brandon joined the GEF in 2021, and currently serves as the Director of Development at the Lobero Theater Foundation. Previous to that, he was a member of the UCSB Development team for 15 years. Brandon was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Psychology.
He and his wife, Katie, enjoy supporting the local community and attending live entertainment both at the Lobero and the many other great venues our community has to offer. Additional involvements include the First Presbyterian Early Childhood Center and volunteering as a coach for youth sports organizations. He is also a member of the SB Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Brandon and Katie are proud parents to a Goleta Valley Jr High attending son, and a daughter at Kellogg Elementary. Goleta area education, as a result, is both a community interest as well as a family focus.
Dan joined the Goleta Education Foundation Board in 2018. He has worked for the University of California (UCSB and UCLA) since the early 90’s, currently serving as an Assistant Dean in the College of Letters & Science at UCSB. Dan also previously served as a Senior Program Officer and Student Aid Director with the Santa Barbara Foundation.
He and his wife Lisa have one son who attends a Goleta school. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Dan and his family immigrated to Northern California where he stayed through high school. Dan moved to the Santa Barbara area to attend college and graduated from UC Santa Barbara, with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and CSU Northridge with a Master of Arts in Education Administration. Dan also serves on the Board of the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons.
As a lifelong proponent of education at all levels, Dan is committed to helping our community strengthen access to educational resources to support our many deserving and capable students.
Daalia Refaat is a lawyer with 20+ years of experience in all areas of corporate, employment, and business law. She began her legal career in London as an associate in the U.S. capital markets group of an international law firm. After returning to California, Daalia held positions with a number of local Santa Barbara law firms and with Citrix. In addition to her legal practice, Daalia translates her lifelong passion for social justice and equity into creating more inclusive and diverse spaces for individuals and in the workplace. She is currently Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Senior Legal Counsel at Deckers Outdoor Corporation.
Daalia earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Religious Studies from UCSB and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington DC. A true fan of Goleta, Daalia moved back to Goleta in 2005 and can’t imagine living anywhere else. In addition to serving on GEF’s board, Daalia also serves as a board member for CALM, and she has previously served as a board member for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation.
In her free time, you’ll find Daalia out running on the bluffs, volunteering in the community, or spending time outdoors with her two very active boys, a sixth grader at Isla Vista Elementary School, and a freshman at Dos Pueblos High School.
Felicia Roggero received her BA from UCLA and her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Cal Lutheran. She has been an educator for over 30 years in the Santa Barbara area and has always had a passion for student learning. She is currently the principal of Foothill Elementary School and Goleta Family School, which is part of the Goleta Union School District. Felicia became involved with the Goleta Education Foundation as a volunteer as part of the annual Lemon Run. The run is a great community event that initially supported the district’s music and physical education programs. As an administrator, she targeted these funds into her school’s band program to open opportunities for all students. GEF has evolved into much more since then.
Felicia became a Board member because she truly believes in the foundation’s mission of supporting all of Goleta’s school children. Over the last several years, she has served as principal in three very diverse school populations. She sees first hand the impact this organization has on the students and staff she works with daily. In her spare time, Felicia enjoys spending time with her family, especially her children who are both proud graduates of Goleta schools. She also loves taking hikes with her husband and two dogs in the beautiful hills overlooking the ocean. Felicia is grateful to be part of such a dedicated Board who truly believes in providing opportunities for all children.
Bethany Sutherland is a multi-disciplinary problem solver with a passion for cultivating community through collaboration, creativity, and confidence. She holds a B.S. in Engineering Physics and a minor in Art from Westmont College. Since living in Santa Barbara, she has worked across industries in sales, project management, and non-profit executive leadership. Her versatile background includes initiatives in arts education, medical technology, health and wellness, diversity, and STEAM. She is excited to bring her experiences to the Goleta Education Foundation and support strengthening education initiatives in the community.
In addition to her work with GEF, she leads social-emotional learning with AHA! as a facilitator and community liaison. Bethany also enjoys performing and teaching dance in the community. She loves spending time with her husband and friends, enjoying walks on the beach, and hiking the beautiful mountains in Santa Barbara.
Our Kids Are The Future of Goleta
The GEF board of directors has a non-voting advisory board to share information about various issues and programs that are aligned with our mission. Currently serving in an advisory capacity:
- Diana Galindo-Roybal, GUSD Superintendent
- Vicki Ben-Yaacov, GUSD Board Trustee
- Maria Larios-Horton, Principal of Brandon
- Amanda Martinez, Principal of El Camino
- Ned Schoenwetter, Principal of Ellwood
- Abby Vasquez, Principal of Hollister
- Lorena Reyes, Principal of Isla Vista
- Regina Davis, Principal of Kellogg
- Brigitte Haley, Principal of La Patera
- Joanna Lauer, Principal of Mountain View
The Goleta Education Foundation, in collaboration with the advisory board, continues to be a key support for Goleta Valley schools.