The Golden Oak Montessori School Board of Directors is comprised of volunteer parents, Montessori experts, and community members. Board members are selected based on their expertise and skills, their commitment to Montessori education, and their desire to represent the school’s student population and uphold the school’s mission.
Luz Casquejo Johnston, serving as Board Chairman
Dr. Luz Casquejo Johnston has been in the field of education since 1997. Her Montessori journey started as a primary student in a Montessori pre-school in the ‘70’s. In addition to this personal experience, she has been a Montessori parent and lower elementary classroom teacher; served on the founding faculty and the governing board of Eagle Peak Montessori School; and was the principal of a Montessori learning center for the largest independent study charter school in Southern California. She completed her Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2013 at UC San Diego and CSU San Marcos. She has presented at the American Montessori Society annual conference and was the Program Director for the Montessori Teacher Education Program at Saint Mary’s College. She is currently the Program Director of the Master’s of Arts in Education and Director of the Center of Environmental Literacy at Saint Mary’s College. She is delighted to serve as the Chair for the Board of Directors of Golden Oak Montessori School because it aligns with her passion for Montessori in the public sector.
Jorge Espinosa, serving as Board Vice Chairman
Very active in the Hayward business community, Jorge is involved in several cultural and civic organizations and has served on boards for other non-profit agencies including Ruby’s Place, a non-profit agency located in Hayward that provides shelter and support services for women and children. Jorge’s business skills are an asset for the GO Board and he currently serves on GO’s Audit Committee. In Mexico, Jorge was quite involved with a Montessori school owned by his aunt. Three of his children attended Montessori schools.
Joe Schenone, serving as Board Treasurer
Joe is a finance professional, currently serving as Corporate Treasurer and Division CFO for a public FinTech company based in San Francisco. With his professional background, he brings extensive experience in strategic planning, risk management, and corporate governance. Joe grew up in Hayward, attended local public schools, and became the first member of his family to graduate from a university when he earned his degree from UC Santa Cruz. He has been a Montessori parent since 2015.
Amy Compani, serving as Board Secretary
Amy has ten years of professional experience as an Investigator in the Public Safety sector. She has developed a diverse skill set including attention to detail and organization that she brings to the Board. She understands the importance of high quality education programs, as she is a first generation college graduate. She is involved in supporting facility improvements at Golden Oak and is accessible to staff, students, and parents through her on-site volunteer work in the classroom and library. Amy has been a resident of Hayward for over ten years, and her husband owns a small business in the City. Her two daughters attend Montessori programs.
A seasoned executive with expertise in knowledge management, communications and process improvement, Kristin brings professional experience in leading organizations governed by stakeholder-derived boards. In addition, Kristin has experience in grant writing, strategic planning, and product development. With two children who have blossomed in the Montessori classroom, Kristin is passionate about Golden Oak Montessori School’s mission and vision.
Mynor is a seasoned accountant specializing in restaurant finances with over 20 years experience in budget management and cost control. He has been the CFO for several successful restaurants in the SF and Bay Area. He is currently a partner in his own accounting company and one of the owners of Nomica Japanese restaurant located in San Francisco. He has served at his local restaurant associations and trade organizations. He was born in Guatemala, speaks fluent Spanish, and grew up in San Francisco. He has been a Montessori parent since 2013.
Roman offers 30+ years of diverse work experience as a professional educator, starting as a classroom teacher and advancing to serve in the capacity of leadership coach, trainer, and consultant. He has served in the settings of public school district, county office of education, university system administration and educational non-profit, mainly in California but also nationally and overseas. Roman has substantial experience on non-profit boards, as well as dozens of advisory committees and councils. He is committed to equity, access, and choice. Roman's wife, Annette, is a talented artist and designer from Uganda, and his sons, Eli and Issac, attend Golden Oak.
Nayir is a seasoned administrative and operations executive with fifteen years of management experience, ten years in HR, and 22 years of retail experience. She currently serves as Chief Administrative Officer for DNA Genetics and on the board of Harborside, Inc., a publicly traded Canadian company. Nayir holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Computer Information Systems from San Francisco State University. In 2011, she earned her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification. Nayir has volunteered at Golden Oak in various capacities over the last three years, and supported the fundraising efforts for the last two. She has two daughters, ages 8 and 11, who attend Golden Oak Montessori. As a child, Nayir attended a Montessori school in Santa Barbara, which ignited her appreciation and love for the Montessori method.
Nikitha Madison earned a Bachelors of Science degree from San Jose State University with a concentration in Marketing. She enjoyed a career with various Silicon Valley companies - including NBC Internet, VeriSign, and ReachLocal - in market research, sales, advertising, account management and project management roles. Prior to founding businesses in the construction, wellness, and beauty industries, Nikitha took time off to raise her two sons. She currently serves on the board for CBC Build, a privately held construction consulting firm. She and her husband have marveled at the way in which a Montessori education has transformed their sons' lives. Her vision is to facilitate this unique experience for other families who desire a Montessori education for their children. She has volunteered in the community for 7 years and is honored to support families and the Montessori community.
Cynthia Gordon da Cruz
Dr. Gordon da Cruz has worked in multiple areas of higher education: student affairs, leadership development, advising multicultural and student advocacy groups, teaching, and research. Previously, she has worked at the Ohio State University, University of Washington, Harvard Graduate School of Education, University of California Berkeley, and Saint Mary's College of CA. She has taught courses such as Justice, Community and Leadership; Leadership Development; Educational Inequality; College Student Development; and graduate classes in Research Methods and Action Research. Her own research focuses on community-engaged scholarship, antiracism, and critical democratic citizenship. Dr. Gordon da Cruz is currently the Coordinator of Institutional Research at Chabot College and aims to provide research to maximize student success, educational equity, and justice. As a Golden Oak Board Member, Dr. Gordon da Cruz is committed to a public Montessori option. She believes all children have the right to be respected for their individuality and innate desire to learn and that all children have the right to access a school environment that enables them to develop freely.