Who We Are

Hillsdale named a “School of Opportunity”

The National Education Policy Center out of the University of Colorado has named Hillsdale a “School of Opportunity”, the first in California to earn the gold level and one of 8 schools to be so recognized across the country this year. The Washington Post, September 2016.

The Hillsdale High School Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises funds to sustain Small Learning Communities at Hillsdale. The organization consists of an Executive Director and thirteen active board members, plus ad-hoc committees. The board is comprised of parents, alumni, faculty and staff who contribute a wide range of expertise. See how you can get involved

MEET THE BOARD

  • Akhila Aiyer (President)

    Akhila moved to San Mateo in 2010 with her husband after living in Atlanta for over 20 years.

  • Holly Allen

    Holly was born and raised in the SF Bay Area and has lived here most of her life.

  • Dave Chandler

    After living in San Francisco for twelve years, Dave moved to San Mateo in 2004

  • Yvonne Chen

    Yvonne owns a small business in Foster City where she leads the sales and marketing team. 

  • Ritu Dhawan

    Ritu an original native of India, came to US to pursue higher education.

  • Jeff Gilbert (Lead Principal)

    Jeff is the Lead Principal at Hillsdale High School. He received his Masters of Education,

  • Don Leydig (VP and Co-Chair of Alumni Committee)

    Don is a Founding Member, Past President and now

  • Michael McCall (Faculty Liaison)

    Mike has been teaching math at Hillsdale High School since 2012.

  • Bridget Michelsen (Secretary)

    Bridget is a life long resident of Foster City. I graduated Hillsdale High School,

  • Rev. Dr. G. Penny Nixon

    Penny has been the Senior Minister of the Congregational Church of San Mateo (CCSM),

  • Terri Schmier (Treasurer)

    Terri has lived in San Mateo since 2000 with her husband, Michael, and two daughters

  • Gina Vallée

    Gina was born and raised in San Francisco.

MEET THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Jennifer Burke Russell  joined the foundation team in July 2015. Her most recent position was at Stanford University where she worked for four years in fundraising and program management for students pursuing an MBA in the public sector, nonprofit, or socially responsible business. Prior to that, she worked at The Development Fund, a national nonprofit, as a Program Director for six years designing, launching, and raising money for public purpose community development financing intermediaries.  Her other work experiences include paralegal work, banking, consulting, and teaching middle school in Thailand. Jennifer’s volunteer experiences include running large fundraising events for St. Paul’s School, serving on the PTA of Foster City Elementary School, and coaching her kids’ soccer teams.  Jennifer attended both Dartmouth and Vassar colleges graduating from Vassar with a BA in History. She studied International Business at the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University in the Netherlands while earning her MBA from UC Davis. As the mother of one current, Gillian (2021), and two future, Sean & Fiona, Hillsdale students, Jennifer is heavily invested and dedicated to the school’s continued success.

MEET THE BOOKKEEPER

Karen Christensen has lived in San Mateo for 25 years with her husband and son, class of 2018, and daughter, class of 2022.  She is originally from Santa Rosa and graduated with a BS in Accounting from University of San Francisco.  She has worked in public accounting (Ernst & Young), a publicly-traded corporation (Harris), start-ups and non-profits (Community Gatepath and LiveMoves, formerly InnVision-Shelter Network.)  She also served on Laurel Elementary PTA board and Site Council and Hillsdale Music Boosters board.  She is also a founding member of the Laurel Green Team with the environment being one of her passions.  Karen joined the Foundation team in 2019 and is excited to help support the HHS Foundation in achieving its goals.

FOUNDATION HISTORY

Founded in April 2007, the Hillsdale High School Foundation serves as the school’s primary fundraising entity. The HHSF kicked off its fundraising efforts with an event honoring Homer Zugelder and Rich Mazzoncini, two respected and admired Hillsdale coaches. In 2009, district budget cuts endangered Small Learning Communities. HHSF now focuses its fundraising campaigns to insure that SLCs continue to thrive for Hillsdale students. Learn more

We Need Your Help

The SLC model is more ‘resource intensive’ than traditional models

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How Your Money Is Spent

See how donations are allocated

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Ways to Donate

There are many ways to contribute and we make it easy

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Hillsdale High School

We proudly support this great school

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