A State-Approved California Public School
Ross Valley Charter was incorporated under California Law in 2014 as a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation and has 501c3 status with the IRS as a charitable and educational institution.
RVC is authorized by the California State Board of Education and its oversight agency is the Charter Schools Division of the California Department of Education. RVC’s board meetings are held in public, and agendas and supplementary materials, including historical financial reports, can be found at the Board Meeting link below.
In the interest of complete transparency, our 3-year line item budget can be found here and the accompanying narrative here. After three years, the budget, has an ending reserve of $485,330. The budget and narrative make clear that RVC has no affiliation or ongoing contracts with any charter management entities or any private companies or individuals, other than its legal counsel Young, Minney & Corr, and service providers for items such as software, accounting services, special education, and communications. For more information see the Finances section in this page.
RVC is governed by two distinct bodies: the Ross Valley Charter School Board of Directors and the Leadership Council. Both include parents, teachers and the School Director, to ensure input and engagement from different perspectives.
RVC’s Board has been holding monthly public meetings since RVC was authorized in 2016. The Board is responsible for setting policy, approving employee hiring, approving and monitoring the school’s annual budget, assuring legal compliance, and overseeing long-term planning. The Board is subject to the Brown Act (open public meeting law) and uses a formal process during its meetings. To request email announcements for upcoming Board meetings, email: conn.hickey@rossvalleycharter.
RVC’s Leadership Council has monthly meetings to discuss activities that guide the day-to-day school operations, including monitoring the educational effectiveness of the program, providing updates from the Community Council, fostering a school culture of community and cooperation, and making recommendations to the Board about how RVC can best meet the needs of students and families. The Leadership Council includes both voting and non-voting positions; parent members will be elected at the fall and spring community meetings. All families and teachers are welcome to attend meetings and give input.
If you would like to read the Ross Valley Charter Bylaws, visit here.
Conflict of Interest Policy
If you would like to read the Ross Valley Charter Conflict of Interest policy, click here.
Our Governing Board Members and Officers
RVC is the creation of local public school teachers and public school parents. It is governed by a Board of Directors made up of parents and education and business professionals. Three of the seven board members are representatives of RVC teachers and parents.
- Sharon Sagar, Chair, Community Member - Term expires 6/30/19
- Sonya Stanley, Vice-chair, Community Member - Term expires 6/30/20
- Kristi Kimball, Parent Member - Term expires 6/30/20
- John Kirk, Parent Member - Term expires 6/30/20
- Chris Lyons, Teacher Member - Term expires 6/30/19
For a schedule of Regular Board Meetings and Meeting Agendas please visit here.
If you would like to be notified of upcoming meetings please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Members and Officers
Kristi Kimball, M.P.A. - Parent Member
Term expires 6/30/20
Kristi Kimball is the Executive Director of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation. The Foundation focuses on improving the quality of K-12 education for all children in California and nationwide through investments in high-performing charter schools, human capital development for teachers and school leaders, education technology and policy work. Prior to joining the foundation, she worked as a consultant and strategic advisor to a number of education foundations and non-profits. Kristi also worked for 8 years as Program Officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where she managed more than $85 million in grants. Her portfolio included investments in networks of model schools and school districts, research and evaluation, communications and state policy work. Kristi served in the U.S. Department of Education during the Clinton Administration, in the Education Policy Research Center at the Urban Institute, and in the Education Office of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Ms. Kimball holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a Masters in Public Administration from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
John Kirk, CPA/MA - Parent Member
Term expires 6/30/20
John H. Kirk, Jr., has been with the San Rafael CPA firm of Jorstad Incorporated since 1999. John is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara in business economics with an accounting emphasis and holds a Master’s in tax law from Golden Gate University. John worked as an accountant for Headlands Mortgage in Marin County for three years before joining the audit staff of Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP. John and his wife have two children, one at Manor and one at White Hill. He has been a resident of San Francisco Bay area for over forty years.
Chris Lyons - Teacher Member
Term expires 6/30/19
Chris Lyons teaches a 4th/5th grade class at Ross Valley Charter. She taught in MAP for nine years before the program was terminated by the District, and previously taught in the Dixie School District, for a total of 22 years of elementary teaching experience. Chris has taught all of the elementary grades, kindergarten through fifth. She has served on School Site Councils, District Advisory Teams, and numerous district committees. She has also been a mentor teacher, taught a class for Marin County's Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (“BTSA”) program, and received a Golden Bell award. She has been trained at the Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University in New York, and has also attended professional development workshops in Project Based Learning and Childhood Creativity. Chris served as president of the San Anselmo Cooperative Nursery School when her children were students there. Both her sons are MAP program graduates.
Sharon Sagar, Chair - Community Member
Term expires 6/30/19
Sharon Sagar previously served on the Ross Valley School District Board of Trustees for 14 years. She served as School Board President, and on almost every districtwide committee at some point over those 14 years. In addition, Sharon served in many capacities as a parent volunteer including as Site Council President and PTA President, and on many fundraising committees. Some of the many district and countywide committees that Sharon has served on include Budget Committee, Superintendent Search, Policy committee, Strategic Planning Committee, negotiations representative, Facilities Committee, District English Language Advisory Committee, District Round Table, Safe Routes to Schools, YES Foundation board representative, Marin County Joint Legislative Advisory Representative, Wellness Committee, Tech Committee, and Marin County School Board representative. Sharon worked on several parcel tax and bond campaigns for the Ross Valley School District. Sharon also served as co- president of the Marin Education Task Force, a collaborative network of schools feeding into the Tamalpais Union High School District. Sharon has taken the California School Boards Masters in Governance training program twice. Sharon was an active founding member of the Innovative Learning Community/MAP and values offering educational choice to the families of the Ross Valley School District. She is committed to collaborative decision-making and partnerships between administration, teachers and parents in public education. Sharon currently works in a school business office.
Sonya Stanley, MBA, Vice-Chair - Community Member
Term expires 6/30/20
Sonya Stanley has been involved in education for the past 17 years and actively participated in MAP for 12 years with 4 years as the Facilitator of the MAP Advisory Board. Sonya was a weekly classroom volunteer during the 12 years her three children were enrolled in the program. Sonya’s interest in education took an unexpected turn 4 years ago when she discovered her youngest child had a learning disability. She has been passionate about Special Education and learning disabilities, particularly dysgraphia, ever since. Sonya has extensively researched the field through reading all of the latest research and consulting with experts across the United States. Sonya has put this expert knowledge to use by consulting with other Marin County families and a local preschool to increase their understanding of the field and help them navigate the world of Special Education. Sonya serves as the Chair of the Special Education Advisory Committee (which is a part of SELPA) for Marin County. She also served as the parent representative for the Marin County SELPA Strategic Planning Steering Committee and has built a network of contacts in the special education community. Sonya served as the chair of the White Hill Site Council for many years and is currently a member of the Drake Leadership Council and a board member of the Cure Me Too Childhood Cancer Foundation. Sonya’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s in Economics from UCLA (Magna Cum Laude) and an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. Sonya’s work experience also included work as a Product Manager for the HJ Heinz Company. Sonya, her husband and their children reside very happily in Fairfax, California.
Luke Duchene, School Director - Board President
Luke Duchene has a wealth of experience and expertise as a teacher, school leader and community builder. He recently served as Assistant Principal for the San Francisco Unified School District in San Francisco. Before that, he was a classroom teacher for seven years.
Luke’s received a BA with Honors from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, a Masters in Education from National University, and participated in the Educational Leadership Development Academy at the University of San Diego. Mr. Duchene holds both a California teaching credential in Social Sciences as well as an Administrative Services credential.
Luke lives with his family in Fairfax and his two sons are students at RVC.
Conn Hickey, MA - Treasurer
Conn Hickey has been deeply involved in the Ross Valley School District since 2000. He served as the School Board Liaison for the first MAP Advisory Board in 2001 and has attended most school board meetings since. He was a YES Foundation Board and Executive Committee Member from 2002 until 2007. He was a district Trustee for almost seven years between 2003 and 2011, during which time he became the board expert on school finance, renewed a parcel tax, and helped shape and pass the Measure A bond measure in 2010. He is currently a member the District’s Measure A Citizen Oversight Committee. He graduated from the California School Board Association’s Masters in Governance Academy in 2008 and the Association of California Administrators School Business (2013) and Superintendents (2014) Academies. He recently retired from a 27-year executive management career in Information Technology with Westamerica Bank, where he managed an annual profit center budget of $8,000,000, supervised 50 employees, and negotiated and managed all IT contracts and led IT projects for the bank. Conn has written on Common Core implementation in guest editorials for the Marin IJ over the past year.
Elizabeth Ellis, Office Manager - Board Secretary
For the last six years, Elizabeth has served as the Administrative and Communications Coordinator for the YES Foundation in Ross Valley. She has also served in various roles in Marin businesses and nonprofits. Her connection to the local area is strong, and she has much experience serving families in our community.
Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado. She lives in Fairfax and her two children, now in middle school, went through the MAP program.
Ross Valley Charter is a nonprofit organization with 501c3 status. It is authorized by the California State Board of Education. This authorization must be reviewed and renewed every five years.
Ross Valley Charter has been supported for the last three years by donations from families and community members interested in creating a new public school option in Ross Valley.
Four fiscal years of financial statements, from April 2014 through June 2017 are available here.
In those 26 months RVC raised a total of $80,645 entirely from RVC families and friends and spent a total of $75,218. Most of this ($56,220) was spent on legal fees necessary to develop the charter petition and get it approved, and unsuccessfully trying to lease Red Hill from the District. The rest of the expenses through those years was spent on miscellaneous consulting regarding the petition and SELPA application ($8,698), liability insurance ($4,683), and various outreach and web site expenses ($4,531). No funds were paid to the parents, teachers or volunteers who donated thousands of hours to develop RVC. There were 14 four-year loans provided from family and friends in 2015 that totaled $80,000. These appear as liabilities on the 15-16 FY financial statement.
Financial statements for the 2016-17 fiscal year ending June 30, 2017 can be found here.
RVC has received a federal startup reimbursement grant for $375,000 through the California Department of Education (CDE). Since beginning operations in the fall of 2017, RVC has been funded primarily by per pupil revenue from the CDE under the state’s Local Control Funding Formula and Special Education funding through the El Dorado County Charter SELPA. RVC has also received a 4-year low-interest rate charter school startup revolving loan of $250,000 from the California Department of Finance to assist with cash flow as RVC builds its reserves, which after three years are currently projected to be $458,330.
Click here to see the RVC 3-year line item current budget, narrative and cash flow approved by the RVC Board December 12, 2017, along with a Power Point explanation.