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

2018-2019 Board of Trustees


Paula Grainger Vice President
(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.   
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.
Marlyene Schwartz Secretary
(Grandparent of Calvin ‘24,  Hope ‘25) Marlyene grew up in southern California attending school in Pasadena and San Gabriel.  She earned a BS in Food Research from UC Davis, and an MA in Nutrition and a secondary teaching credential at CSULA. Two of her grandchildren attend Gateway School and she has enjoyed working with the Board and staff at the school. She has also participated on the Board of Trustees of both Coastal Community Preschool, and High Point Academy, where she worked for 23 years.  She is a teacher in the school program at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and a member of their Volunteer Council. She enjoys knitting, crocheting and quilting.  
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.


Nick Folger Trustee
(Parent of Isabel ‘15, Sophie ‘18, Scarlett ‘21) Nick was born and raised in Washington, D.C., but his parents had nothing to do with politics.  He went to Harvard for his B.A. in the 80's and Stanford for business school in the 90's.  After five years as an expat in Amsterdam, he happily settled in Santa Cruz with his wife Katherine.  He is now managing BioCareers, a company he founded to help PhDs in the sciences to take their skills into the many different areas of the economy that need them.
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.
Trent Jones Trustee
(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.
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.
Chase Kaljian Trustee
(Parent of Cole ‘24, Stella '27) Chase was born and raised in the Central Valley of California where his family continues to farm. He graduated from UCLA with a BA in economics and from Columbia Business School with an MBA that included an emphasis in real estate finance. He is a self-employed consultant specializing in corporate real estate. Prior to consulting, he oversaw real estate and construction for the berry company Driscoll’s as well as for several investment companies on the East and West Coasts. Chase lives in the Seabright area of Santa Cruz with his wife and two children and they often bike to school.
Matt Merrill Trustee
(Alumnus ’00) Matt was born and raised in Santa Cruz, where he attended Gateway from pre-school through eighth grade. He began working at Gateway when he was 16-years-old, first in the After School Care program and then at Camp Gateway in the summer for seven years. Matt received his B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from UCSC, and a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University.  He currently works as a therapist at Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, providing counseling services to at-risk youth. He enjoys living in Aptos with his wife and daughter.  
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.
Carol Pelletier Trustee
(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.
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.