Alta Vista Board of Trustees

The Alta Vista School Board of Trustees works closely with the school leadership team to provide direction and counsel consistent with the school's mission, particularly with regard to strategic planning, facilities, compliance, finance, institutional advancement, 
thought leadership, and other critical growth areas of the school.

Dr. Abdur Chowdhury -

Abdur is into cave diving, aikido and teaching his daughter how to rock climb.  
He is currently involved in guiding and building early-stage technology companies.  
Abdur has a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from George Mason University and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology.  He has worked as both a researcher and a developer and has launched over 20 commercial products, filed more than 20 patent applications, and written over 80 scientific publications.  Abdur previously served as the Chief Scientist of Twitter, 
the Chief Architect for Search at AOL, and held positions at IIT Information Retrieval Lab, Georgetown Computer Science Department, and University of Maryland's Institute for Systems Research.  He was a co-founder of, acquired by Twitter in 2008.  He and his wife Ana, a native of Guatemala, live in San Francisco with their daughter Alexis, an Alta Vista student.

Nathan Dintenfass [Vice President] -

Nathan fell in love with San Francisco nearly 20 years ago and never looked back.  He is currently a partner and co-founder at Hotel Delta, a new product development studio.  His previous experience spans software engineering, product management, and marketing.  He has held senior roles in two venture-backed startups and been a founder at two others. Nathan created one of the first online classroom environments called Nicenet in 1996, a service used by over two-million students and teachers and still available today.  Nathan holds a B.A. in Political Science from Macalester College and an MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business where he was also a Haas Innovation Fellow after graduation.  His wife, Christina Sabee, is a professor at SFSU, and his two sons, Dylan and Kai, are both Alta Vista students.

Hon. David Garcia (Ret.) -

When not busy mediating cases, Judge David Garcia competes as a ballroom dancer.  David received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of San Francisco and completed his L.L.M. degree at Yale Law School.  He was appointed to the bench by Governor Jerry Brown and elevated by Governor George Deukmejian to the San Francisco Superior Court, where he served for many years as a respected judge.  David currently is a partner at JAMS (Judicial Arbitration Mediation Services) and specializes in employment, real estate and business cases. He is also fluent in Spanish.  David and his wife, Dot, an artist, writer and art educator, live in San Francisco with their sons, Alta Vista students Joaquin and Federico.

Craig Greenwood -

Although Craig is a fair-water swimmer, you often will find him hanging out at the Dolphin Club.  He received his B.A. from UC Berkeley and is a licensed California Real Estate Broker. Craig also is a Principal and co-founder of Prado Group, a real estate development and investment management company in San Francisco, where he leads the acquisitions, asset management, and property management teams.  Craig's wife Marina is founder and principal of Activa PR, providing public relations services to technology companies.  They live in San Francisco with their children, Julian and Mia, both Alta Vista students.

Lorie Hirson -

Lorie holds a B.A. in Communications from University of Wisconsin, Madison. Lorie spent most of her corporate career working for large, international public relations firms with an expertise in consumer product companies and consumer technology start-ups.  In 2009, she stepped away to spend more time with her two boys, Noah and Ari, who attend Alta Vista, as well as to explore some new business ideas and personal dreams.  Lorie founded PR Select in 2011, which took her expertise and applied it to help consumer technology start-ups find the right public relations partner.  In addition, Lorie and her husband Ron started the Alcatraz Swim for Sight, which is a non-profit event that raises money for vision research to help eliminate blindness worldwide for future generations. 

Renée Machi Lawson [President] -

Renée is a fourth-generation San Franciscan.  (Her favorite sweets come from Stella in North Beach and Dianda's in the Mission.)  Renée received her B.A. in German from Santa Clara University, attended Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, obtained her M.A. in German from University of California Santa Barbara, and her law degree from University of California Los Angeles.   Her legal career has been focused on serving technology clients, and she currently is Deputy General Counsel at Zynga.  Her daughter Isabelle is a fifth-generation San Francisco native and Alta Vista student.

Stewart McDowell -

Stewart is a partner in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where she is a member of the Corporate Transactions Department and Co-Chair of the Capital Markets Practice.  Her law practice involves the representation of business organizations as to capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and general corporate matters.  She is also a member of Hipower, an arm of Leading Women in Technology that focuses on accelerating women's leadership roles.  Stewart received her B.A. from Princeton University and her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.  Stewart and her husband, Philip Brady, have twin daughters, Ella and Cecilia, who are Alta Vista students.

Joanna Mroz [Secretary]-

Joanna is the Director of Renal Services at Kaiser Permanente and has a background in engineering, project management and health care operations.  She holds a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from Johns Hopkins, an MS in Materials Science from Stanford and a MPH from UC Berkeley.   Joanna is a NJ native who enjoys dining out in SF, loves Alta Vista camping trips, and likes exploring the SF live music scene with her husband. Her husband, Jeff Snodgrass is a Senior Manager of Product Engineering at Maxim Integrated. Their oldest daughter, Alma, is an AVS student, and their younger daughter, Annegret, looks forward to her "AVS Aviator" days starting next year.

Elena Ro Yang [Treasurer] -

You will often find Elena chasing her sons down the streets of San Francisco as they ride their bikes!  Elena received her B.A. in History from Yale University and obtained her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.  She is currently a senior government lawyer and previously practiced business litigation at the law firms of Latham & Watkins, Silicon Valley and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, San Francisco.  Elena also has served on the Board of the Asian Women's Resource Center in Chinatown, San Francisco.  Elena and her husband Young, Vice President at Wells Fargo Bank, live in San Francisco with their sons Bryce and Alex, both Alta Vista students. 

Julie Shumaker

When Julie is not serving as a maverick in digital advertising, you can find her running, mountain biking, or SUPing. Professionally, Julie has led revenue growth in a breadth of platforms including television, web, game console, social, and now mobile at companies from early internet IPO Quokka Sports, Yahoo!, Electronic Arts, and now Zynga where she serves as Vice President, Advertising.  Julie has been recognized in Advertising Age’s "Women to Watch" report and named a “Top 25 Executives in Digital Entertainment” by Digital Media Wire. She lives in San Francisco with her wife Stephanie Weiler and daughter Jude, a student at Alta Vista.

Garth Spiller

Garth was born and raised in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.  He holds a B.A. in Economics from Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL.  Garth spent 18 years in Sales and Consulting in the financial technology space.  In his free time Garth enjoys skiing, tennis, and running.  His wife, Chelsea Stoner, is a Montana native and General Partner at Battery Ventures.  They have two children, Signe and Anderson, both Alta Vista students.

Stephen Wasserman -

Steve is currently the VP of Sales at AcademixDirect, an education technology firm in Silicon Valley.  Prior to this, he spent over 15 years in the commercial real estate industry in San Francisco with experience in investments, leasing and development across various asset classes.  Steve holds an MBA from ESCP (Paris, France) and a Bachelors from Tulane University.  His wife Victoria is also very involved with Alta Vista.  Steve’s goal in life is to get his daughter Ava, an Alta Vista student, to go surfing with him at Ocean Beach.

Christy Witherspoon

Christy is our tireless Alta Vista camp counselor (and amazing campground chef) - leading both seasoned campers and newbies to a wide array of Bay Area parks for fun family overnight adventures.  Christy is a private professional conservator in San Francisco, advocating for incapacitated seniors in our community.  Christy's husband, Korku Dadzie, originates from Ghana and is a telecommunications engineer and "futbol" enthusiast.  Their daughter Kokwe is an Alta Vista student.


Alta Vista School 
a forward-looking school for curious young minds |  
(415) 467-3700