board of directors.
Ann K. Allison, Ed.D, Community Volunteer
Ann Allison, Ed.D., a longtime K-12 educator, first became involved with AEF as an A+ School of Excellence™ Principal. During her time as a board member, Ann has been involved in all of AEF’s programs including providing instruction for the Principals Leadership Academy of Arizona and has served for numerous years on the Arizona Teacher of the Year panel. She has been on AEF’s Board since 2004 and was also the Chair of the College of Education at Argosy University, Phoenix, where she established a strong partnership with AEF through the Teacher of the Year and Principals Leadership Academy of Arizona.
Christi Warner Beyer, Warner Group and Community Volunteer
Arizona born and raised Christi Warner Beyer is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and community volunteer. Christ has dedicated over 40 years working as a leader in the non-profit arena and has helped raise millions for Arizona charities over the years. Early in her career, Christi developed residential and commercial planned communities in Arizona. She helped launch Environmental Integrated Technology (EIT), a full-service environmental consulting firm that handle assessments and remediation. Christi was president of EIT for 4 years and holds numerous U.S. Environmental Protective Agency certifications, endorsements and licenses. In 1989 Christi founded Warner Home Imports, an International design and manufacturing company that manufactured and imported from India, China, Thailand, Mexico and Indonesia. Some of Christi’s distinguished clients include COSTCO, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware. In 2003 Christi sold Warner Home Accessories and started Warner Group, a consulting company, in order to spend more time with her children and now consults with companies looking to develop in Arizona and overseas. She has served on many boards and committees, including Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Phoenix Theater, Phoenix Indian Center, Trends Charitable Fund, Heart Ball, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Two Pups Wellness Fund. She has chaired numerous charitable events, including Florence Crittenton, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Beat the Heat, Science Center Gala and Liberty Wildlife. Christi resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband Paul Beyer, their 19-year-old daughter Makaira, and their 16-year-old son Marshall.
John-David Bowman, 2015 AZ Teacher of the Year, Deer Valley High School
John-David Bowman taught eight different Social Studies classes for 10 years at Westwood High School in Mesa. He currently teaches at Deer Valley High School.Bowman has a BA in History and a BA in Political Science from ASU, and a MA in Secondary Education with an emphasis in History from NAU. John-David feels that are tremendous things going on in Arizona schools and we need to celebrate that while also acknowledging where we can improve. Mr. Bowman is Arizona’s 2015 Teacher of the Year.
Jodi Chesbro, 1996 AZ Teacher of the Year Ambassador, Sierra Verde STEAM Academy
Jodi Chesbro has been teaching Language Arts to seventh and eighth graders in Arizona for over 30 years. An Arizona Teacher of the Year Ambassador, Jodi has worked with AEF since she earned the honor in 1996. Not only passionate about students and teaching, Jodi works with the AEF A+ School of Excellence program. “I love visiting fabulous schools across the state and stealing ideas. Observing top-notch teachers in the classroom is the best professional development.” She also worked on the national level with the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools for 4 years. In her free time, Jodi hikes with her husband John, and furry son Buckley.
Suzanne Durkin-Bighorn, President & CEO, The Philanthropy Outsource
Suzanne Durkin-Bighorn began her work in the community as a parent volunteer in the Tempe Union High School District. Her many years of service in the schools lead her to build a career in community relations, leadership development, strategic planning and capacity building, primarily focused in the nonprofit sector. With more than 10 years’ experience, Suzanne has also devoted her life to volunteer service, sitting on multiple boards, commissions, and committees. She is the past President of the Tempe Leadership Council, is on the ASU National Alumni Council, ASU Wings of Gold advisory board, and participates in the Flinn Foundation Leadership dialogs. In May 2018 Durkin-Bighorn completed her Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at ASU, her under graduate degree is in Public Administration and Recreation Management. She and her husband Lyle reside in Tempe, they enjoy golf, ASU athletics, travel, and spending time with friends and family. They have two grown daughters that also live in Tempe.
Mike Gardner, Triadvocates
Mike Gardner is a partner with Triadvocates, one of Arizona’s largest government relations firms, and was recently nominated as one of the top lobbyists in the state. Mike is a 5th generation Arizonan that comes from a family of educators. His father, mother, wife, father-in-law and two brothers are all public school teachers.Mike served in the Arizona House of Representative for three terms and served as Chairman of the Government Operations Committee and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He was frustrated by many key leaders in the state making unfounded critical comments about our education system. As a result, Mike chose to serve on the board of the Arizona Educational Foundation to celebrate the wonderful things happening in our schools.
Marjaneh Gilpatrick, Ed. D., Board Secretary, Grand Canyon University
Marjaneh Gilpatrick, Ed.D., has been a member of AEF’s Board since 2012. She is the Associate Dean of Outreach, Research and Development in the College of Education at Grand Canyon University. Additionally, she serves as the treasurer on the Board of Directors for Educators Rising Arizona; member at large of Arizona Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages; vice-chair of Southeast Maricopa Regional Council of Arizona First Things First; and president of the Arizona School Administrators’ Higher Education Division. Prior to joining GCU, Marjaneh was the Instructional Specialist, Chair of the Reading Department and Coordinator for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) at a junior high school, an adjunct instructor at Maricopa County Community Colleges where she taught ESL and education courses, and a 3rd and 4th grade ESL teacher. She and her husband of 33 years have three children ages 22-29.
Matt Hesketh, Sherman & Howard
Matt Hesketh is a member of Sherman & Howard’s Trial and Litigation Practice Group in Phoenix. He focuses on contractual and business disputes and has significant experience defending public entities. Matt comes from a family of teachers, including his mother who taught in public schools for over 30 years. This led to Matt’s passion for promoting and celebrating achievements in public education.
Gary Hull, SRP
Gary Hull has been a member of AEF’s Board since 2005. He is a Senior Director of Law Services at SRP, where he has worked for the last 25 years. Prior to joining SRP, Gary was in private practice for 10 years. Gary is a proud Sun Devil, with degrees from both ASU and U of A. In addition to serving on AEF’s Board of Directors, Gary serves on the Board of Directors of the Arizona State Parks Foundation. He and his wife, Suzie, have raised two children, one graduating with a teaching degree from NAU and the other graduating with an engineering degree from ASU. Both Gary and Suzie maintain a continuing interest in education at all levels.
Stephen Jordan, Board Treasurer, Desert Financial Credit Union
Stephen Jordan is a Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Desert Financial Credit Union. He has worked at credit unions in California and Arizona that have historical schools-based fields of memberships since 1992. He holds degrees in economics and political science from the University of California, Riverside. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Stephen is active in the volunteer field and serves on the United Way Committee at Desert Financial.Stephen has two grown children. His daughter is a University of Arizona graduate while his son is currently attending Arizona State University.
Renee Levin, Board Vice President, Intel Corporation
Renee Levin joined Intel Corporation in 1995 and serves as the Community Affairs Manager. Her responsibilities include managing Intel’s community grants and strategic relationships, as well as Intel’s neighbor relations program. Renee also helps to activate Intel’s employee volunteers in the community where annually over 5,000 employees in Arizona log over 150,000 volunteer hours. She has been a member of AEF’s Board since 2009. Renee believes that all children deserve a quality education.
Alicia Mandel, Medius Advisory Group
Prior to launching Medius Advisory Group in early 2016, Alicia Mandel was the Chief Learning Officer for Apollo Education Group where she ran the organization’s Learning, Leadership and Organizational Development teams for 7 years. There she was instrumental in building the talent strategy as well as the culture that aligned with the organization’s high performance and growth objectives. Prior to Apollo, Alicia was the acting Chief Human Resources Officer as well as Director, Learning and Leadership at The United States Olympic Committee. She spent the first 17 years of her career in New York City at American Express and Citigroup.
Deea McBride, Wells Fargo
Deea McBride is an Assistant Vice President with Wells Fargo and has been working with the company for over 20 years. Deea earned her Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Political Systems from Northern Arizona University and her Master’s degree in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. She has experience in finance, communications, and training. Deea comes from a long line of educators and joined the AEF Board of Directors in the summer of 2015. She has served on numerous boards of directors and committees for Arizona’s nonprofit community and is looking forward to making a difference in Arizona schools through her work with AEF.
Pamela Roggeman, Ed. D, University of Phoenix
Pam Roggeman, Ed.D, is the Dean for the College of Education at University of Phoenix. She began her tenure as an AEF Board member in January 2018. Before Pam’s second career in teacher preparation began at Arizona State University in 2008, she was a high school English teacher in Pima County for almost two decades. In 1999, she was an AEF Top Five Finalist Ambassador of Excellence. She is a lifetime supporter of and believer in AZ public education.
Brian Schulman, Board President, Weiss Brown
Brian is an attorney at Weiss Brown, where he practices commercial and securities litigation. Brian and his wife Jami moved to Phoenix in 1993 after they both graduated from law school. They have two boys – and two dogs. Brian’s been a member of the AEF Board since 2009.
Ruth Solomon, Community Volunteer
Ruth Solomon has served on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Educational Foundation since 2003. In addition, Ruth serves as President of the Pima County Joint Technological Education District, on the State Board of First Things First and on the State Board of Library and Archives. Ruth served in the state legislature for fourteen years and as State Associate Superintendent of Public Schools for four years. Her highest priority is the welfare of children and their families. She resides in Tucson, Arizona and is the grandmother of two boys, one in middle school and the other at DuPage University in Illinois.
Jessica Taylor, PetSmart
Jessica Taylor is the director of internal communications at PetSmart, Inc., She has spent her career as a communications leader for Fortune 500, non-profit and government organizations, previously serving as the Director of Strategic Communications for Great Hearts Academies, and as the Director of Corporate Communications for Apollo Education Group and University of Phoenix. She has a passion for education and is committed to work that enhances opportunities for under-served populations. Jessica earned her BA in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School at Arizona State University, and her MBA from University of Phoenix. She is actively involved in the community, serves as a school board member, and is a graduate of Valley Leadership Class 38. In 2017 Jessica was named to azcentral’s list of young communications professional helping Arizona find its voice. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and two daughters.
Advisory Board Members
Jeff Guldner, President, APS
Dr. J. Robert Hendricks, Assoc. Professor Emeritus, University of Arizona College of Education
Dr. Daniel Kain, Provost. Northern Arizona University
Jeffrey Meshey, President & CEO, Desert Financial Credit Union
Linda Milhaven, Region Bank President, Wells Fargo
David Rousseau, President, SRP
Dr. Christine Wilkinson, Senior V.P., ASU