Gateway School is led by its Board of Trustees and Head of School, who have distinct responsibilities, and who work collaboratively to achieve the school’s mission and goals. The all-volunteer Board of Trustees ranges in size from 12-25 members. Trustees are elected to three-year terms and are may remain on the Board for additional terms. The Head of School, a faculty representative, and the President of the Gateway Family Association attend all Board meetings.

The work of the Board is done primarily through its seven standing committees, as well as task forces that are convened from time to time to address specific issues. The current committees of the Board are:

  • Executive Committee
  • Development Committee
  • Trustee Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Personnel Committee
  • Facilities Committee

2020-2021 Board of Trustees


Jennifer Ellis President
(Parent of Louisiana ‘21, Julien ‘25) Jennifer grew up in Los Angeles, where she attended small, progressive, independent schools very similar to Gateway. She received a BA from Brown University in Comparative Literature and both an MA in Education and a Professional Clear Teaching Credential from Mills College.  She has worked as an elementary school and college-level teacher, a teacher trainer, and an educational researcher. Since the birth of her first child, she has been working as a SAHM. Jennifer serves on the Bay Area Advisory Board of New Leaders, a national nonprofit that prepares and supports education leaders.
Carol Pelletier Vice President
(Parent of Eva ’23) Carol grew up in the Santa Clara Valley - back when it was filled with fruit and walnut orchards. One of six children, she was raised in a close, extended family with strong ties to their immigrant community. Carol has lived in Santa Cruz for over twenty years and has been involved in various non-profits including Leadership Santa Cruz and Mariposa Arts. Carol began her career in a law firm while earning her B.A. in Business Administration from San Jose State University. She held leadership roles in several organizations including VP of Human Resources and Director of Business Development in legal, finance and high tech industries. Carol has led teams in both established organizations and rapidly growing startups. Currently, she is working as a human resources consultant and executive coach. In 2009, Carol and her husband, Eric, adopted their daughter, Eva through open adoption. Carol enjoys spending time with her family, being a parent volunteer, gardening, and traveling.
Trent Jones Secretary
(Parent of Grace ’20, Nathaniel ’23) Born and raised in northern California, Trent attended Wesleyan University and UC Santa Cruz where he studied Psychology and Theater.  He went on to live and work in London, San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles.  After 8 years of working in theater in New York and regionally, Trent attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and earned his Master's Degree in Film Production.  After an active fifteen year career in film and television, he was ready to come back to the redwoods and coast line of Santa Cruz.  He’s now the Chief Operating Officer for his third generation family business in golf course architecture, Robert Trent Jones II LLC. Trent loves to travel with his family and having adventures with his son and daughter.  Whether they are skiing, hiking, surfing, or just biking to school in the morning, Trent enjoys all the beauty and access to nature that Santa Cruz allows.
Ian Christie Treasurer
(Parent of Kennedy ‘25, Audrey ‘27, Elodie ‘30) Ian is a California native, born in Riverside and raised in Santa Cruz. He attended Cabrillo College, after which he chose to pursue a full-time career in the cycling industry. At the age of 24, he became owner of Summit Bicycles’ two shops. Since then, he has opened two additional locations, Summit’s online shop, acquired Trek Store San Jose, become a franchise owner of Beeline Bikes (a mobile bike repair service), and started San Jose Bike Rentals and Corporate Bike Solutions. Ian also sits on the Board of Directors of the cycling industry advocacy group, PeopleForBikes. He lives in Scotts Valley with his high school sweetheart, three daughters, one dog, two cats, and five chickens. Ian enjoys cycling, gym workouts, carpentry, goofing around with his daughters, and Disneyland.


Paula Grainger Trustee
(Parent of Nate ‘19) Born and raised in England, after a career in publishing, Paula graduated from the University of Westminster in London as a mature student with a BSc in Health Science and Herbal Medicine. After setting up and running a successful herbal apothecary and clinic in Camden, North London, Paula's life changed in 2010 when the California vacation she was taking along with husband Michael and their then 5 year old son Nate was unexpectedly extended by a dust cloud from an Icelandic volcano. ‘Stranded’ in Santa Cruz for an unexpected two week period, they fell for the charms of this city by the sea and decided to relocate. Paula practices, teaches and writes about herbs and has volunteered at Gateway in a number of capacities. She loves to garden, read, travel and cook and continues to explore this beautiful area with her family.   
Denise Hayes Trustee
(Parent of Lily Mae ‘17, Rosco ‘24, Zosia ‘24) Denise was born and raised in Michigan, graduating from The University of Michigan with a BFA in Design and Marketing.  Over the course of her career as Creative Director in Advertising and Marketing, she implemented branding strategies and marketing collateral through supervision of copywriting, photography, graphic design, illustration, set design and styling, and talent casting in developing campaigns for industries ranging from glass manufacturing, banking and kitchen cabinets to real estate development and homebuilding. Denise has been an active member of the Gateway community for over 10 years as mom to a Class of 2017 graduate and currently-enrolled twins. When she’s not keeping up with children’s activities as a busy parent, she’s wrangling wannabe-pony Ibizan Hound Pippi and 29 year old African Grey parrot Henry.  (If she has anything left over to read, travel or be a real artist, she tries to do that too.)
John Hillstrom Trustee
(Parent of Adane ’25) John grew up in Walnut Creek (with a brief stint in South Africa) and moved only an hour away for college to Stanford where he received a BA and an MS in Computer Science. After doing his time at a couple Big Tech companies (including Oracle in New Zealand) and at startups, John has found his niche in the non-profit sector.  He now works at B Lab (the non-profit behind Certified B Corps and Benefit Corporations), where he’s now been the CTO for a decade. John, his wife and son live on the Eastside of Santa Cruz and spend all their free-time biking, traveling, and adventuring.
Karen Jensen Trustee
(Parent of Luke '17, Jack '19). Karen grew up in Louisville, KY. She graduated with a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Louisville. Karen worked in B2B sales and training for 30 years. She coached youth basketball for many years, served on the Santa Cruz Little League Board of Directors and was president of the Gateway Families Association. Karen's also a proud panel moderator for Triangle Speakers, and is active with dog rescue organizations. Karen and her family live on the Westside of Santa Cruz. One of their family goals is to see a ballgame at every Major League Baseball park.
Ole Jorgensen Trustee
Since 2008, Olaf "Ole" Jorgenson has been head of Almaden Country Day School (ACDS) in San Jose, serving 340 children PK-8. Previously he led Hawai’i Preparatory Academy, a K-12 boarding/day school on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Before his work in independent schools, Ole was a teacher and administrator in public and international schools, following a career racing motorcycles. Ole is an active writer and speaker, and enjoys endurance sports. His wife Tanya is a teacher at ACDS and their daughter Juliette, an ACDS graduate, is in high school. Ole previously served on the Gateway Board of Trustees from 2012-2015.
Becky Luksich Trustee
(Parent of Noah ‘21 and Eva ‘23) Becky grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and attended Catholic schools for elementary, and public schools for middle and high school. She graduated from the University of Missouri-St.Louis with a B.A in Psychology. For several years she worked as a Research Assistant at Washington University. She moved to Santa Cruz in 2006 with her husband, who is a Santa Cruz native and has been working as a SAHM ever since their son was born in 2007. She enjoys camping with her family and doing yoga.
Stephanie Miller Trustee
(Alumna ’06) Stephanie is a Santa Cruz native who attended Gateway School from preschool through 8th grade. After attending Santa Catalina School in Monterey, Stephanie received her Bachelor’s degree in History from Santa Clara University. After graduating in 2010, Stephanie was involved in special education in the Hawaii public school system before moving back to Santa Cruz in 2014. For the past four years she has worked at a Title I School in East San Jose, where she teaches 4th grade and 5th grade humanities classes. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys hiking, running and gardening. She is excited to be serving on Gateway’s Board of Trustees and to provide support for other students to have the opportunities Gateway awarded her.
Halimah Prado Trustee
(Parent of Sofia ‘23, Gisela ‘25) Halimah DeLaine Prado grew up in the Philadelphia area. She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Political Science and later obtained her J.D. from Georgetown.  Halimah, her husband, and two daughters live in Santa Cruz.  She enjoys traveling, live jazz, and spending time with her family.
May Roen Trustee
(Mom of Max-William ‘23, Molly '25) May relocated from Norway to Santa Cruz with her family 10 years ago. She started out as a landscape architect, and shifted her career to finance HR and management, adding an executive MBA in financial control from Norwegian School of Economics. May heads up the finance, HR, and Customer Service and is part of the management team at Lookback, a growth-stage user research platform (spin-out from Spotify, Sweden). Lookback is a Silicon Valley / European tech company, with a remote-first culture, and headquarters in Palo Alto. She is also co-funder in Pathogenomix together with husband Oystein. Pathogenomix started as a research-based Norwegian bioinformatics start-up that was restarted in Santa Cruz 5 years ago with local angel investment. May, Oystein, Max-William, and Molly enjoy living on the Westside of Santa Cruz and enjoy the wonderful nature and the local vibe in Santa Cruz.
Michele Shahroody Trustee
(Parent of Kyra '26)  Michele grew up in the Bay Area.  She graduated from UC Davis with a B.A. in Economics and obtained her Master of Tax from George Washington University in D.C. Michele is a CA CPA and currently is the VP of Finance for a private equity firm.  Michele and her family live in the Los Gatos Mountains among the majestic Redwoods.  Michele and her family enjoy spending time in Hawaii and Montana when not in California.
David Wahl Trustee
(Parent of Tyler '18, Sarah '24) David worked as a senior executive at Jabil, a high tech, diversified global manufacturing company until his retirement in November of 2019, after 25 years of service. David was born and raised in the Midwest, he attended high school at Cranbrook, attended college at Duke University, and earned his MBA at the University of Michigan. He feels incredibly fortunate to have had such a rich education and life of learning. David moved to Santa Cruz in 2000 and continues to “learn” from his two kids, Tyler and Sarah. Tyler is the class of 2022 at Santa Cruz High School, and Sarah is on track to be a 2024 graduate of Gateway. When not sheltering in place, David enjoys the outdoors, sailing on the ocean, and golfing on the land. He also opened a barbershop in Aptos called Roosters.