Ignited announces five new board members
Press Release – March 24, 2021
Santa Clara, California – Ignited is pleased to announce the five newest members to join our Board of Directors. Each new board member brings a unique perspective and expertise from government, education, philanthropy, and industry that will help fulfill Ignited’s mission to connect underserved students to their future careers.
Ignited was founded in 1985 by 12 of the Bay Area’s leading CEOs and the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley after they realized students were graduating from high school without the math and science skills needed for career success. For the past 35 years, Ignited has provided unique workforce development solutions, including paid teacher summer experiences at companies, universities and nonprofits, programs to develop and deliver industry-critical curriculum, diversity and underserved population programs, career experience weeks, virtual internships, and more. As one of the pioneers of STEM programming, Ignited has helped over 410 companies, universities, and foundations support the needs of more than 2,079 teachers, 770 schools, and 3.3 million students.
The new board members include:
- Faith Dukes, Director of K-12 Programs at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
- Shari Liss, Executive Director of the SEMI Foundation
- Sean Folan, Senior Director of Treasury at Cisco
- Selina Garrison, Director of the Professional Services Financial Data Exchange at Intuit
- Ronnie Versher, Acting Director of Community Benefits at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
“These outstanding leaders bring a wide range of new insights, experience, connections, and ideas to our board,” said Keegan Evans, Ignited’s Board President. “Their passion for education, supporting underserved students and teachers, and the magic that happens when these populations interact with our professional partners is what connects them to our mission. We’re so excited to have each one of them contributing as we evolve and grow Ignited’s footprint in the Bay Area and beyond.”
The five new members join existing board members Patrick Beatty (Naspers Ventures), Keegan Evans (Intuit), Anne Hausler (Merit HR), Anissa Kalinowski (Halo Biosciences), Christine Moon (Bluespace.AI), and Kash Shaikh (Virtana).
Faith Dukes has a Ph.D. in chemistry and over ten years of experience in teaching, community outreach, research, science education, and nonprofit work. She is passionate about connecting teachers with research, work-based learning, and subject matter experts. She says, “as a country, we haven’t really done a great job of supporting teachers and making sure they have the necessary tools to connect to research and the teachers and making sure they have the necessary tools to connect to research and the workplace.” Currently, she serves her community by focusing on STEM education and outreach at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Formerly an American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation, she has experience in STEM education policy, program evaluation and assessment, and federal grant funding. Faith’s career in STEM was inspired by the teachers in her life. “With a mom as a math teacher and aunts that majored in biology, there was an expectation that I would also do well in STEM. I grew up with a confidence in my mathematical abilities that I’m not sure most young girls have. It was instrumental in not only introducing me to the world of science and math but also allowed me to bypass the feelings of imposter syndrome at an early age.”
Shari Liss has invested in educational excellence and equity for her entire career because “educators are a critical part of the equation in terms of supporting students and their pathways into successful careers.” Shari is currently the Executive Director of the SEMI Foundation. She leads all aspects of the Foundation’s strategic direction, member engagement, and operational excellence as it works towards achieving its mission to support education and career awareness in high-tech. Shari brings more than 25 years of experience in education, career awareness, and workforce development throughout the technology industry. She was formerly the CEO of Ignited and during her 20 years with the organization she oversaw a major rebranding program, supported the creation of new programs, and brought in new staff, board members, and corporate partners. Before Ignited, Shari was a teacher and curriculum developer, serving in a variety of positions with a focus on mathematics and at-risk students. She developed an alternative school on the East Coast serving at-risk high school students, created a curriculum for NASA, and established a mathematics program for both gifted and challenged students in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sean Folan, Ignited’s new Board Treasurer, is focused on maintaining Ignited’s strong track record of financial responsibility. He’s energized by helping Ignited continue to “support the teachers and students of the Bay Area” and provide teachers the professional development they need to bring new ideas back to their classrooms. Sean is Senior Director of Treasury at Cisco, where he has worked for over 20 years.
Selina Garrison believes it’s critical to bring cutting-edge high-tech knowledge to teachers. She’s held numerous senior leadership roles in the high-tech industry, including her roles at Intuit, Ridecell, and Paypal. Throughout her career, Selina has transformed organizations and established high-performing teams, enabled revenue growth, and managed large merchant and partner integration services. Her BS in Physics gave her the ability to understand technical challenges, and her studies in Quality allowed her to recognize the importance of the voice of the customer and how driving standards can scale operations. In addition to her professional contributions, Selina was previously one of two Vice Presidents of the Board of Directors for the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy.
Ronnie Versher’s professional career is grounded in providing access to opportunities for those that don’t always have them. As a board member, he’s excited to advocate for the thoughtful and intentional growth of Ignited’s core programs through an equity lens. Ronnie joined the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in Fall 2018 as a Workforce Development Manager in their Community Benefits team. He focused on developing and implementing strategies that connect the community to opportunities at the SFPUC. His work with local government, sister CCSF agencies, education institutions, community thought leaders, and nonprofit organizations advances policies and programs that are key to workforce development, environmental justice, and economic growth and mobility. Ronnie now serves as the Acting Director of Community Benefits and supports the implementation of the agency’s broader mission and commitment to provide customers with high-quality services in a manner inclusive of environmental and community interests. Before joining the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Ronnie managed strategic partnerships and business development for LeadersUp, a national nonprofit with a mission to bridge the divide between the untapped potential of young people and the business challenge of finding and retaining the best talent. Ronnie holds a BS in Finance and Marketing, an MS in Organization Development, and an MBA.
For all media inquiries, please contact Lena Athena at Lena@igniteducation.org.