Board of Trustees
GATE Academy is a California non-profit corporation with Board members serving on a voluntary basis. The Trustees have oversight responsibilities for financial management of the school and governance according to mission.
Sara Dawson brings a wealth of experience to GATE in small business administration and bookkeeping. In addition to her full time job and managing the books for several small businesses, Sara has also dedicated endless volunteer hours to GATE Academy over the last six years, including founding and heading the Parent Coordinating Committee, organizing and handling logistics for field trips and overnights, and spearheading various activities and events. Sara serves as chair of the Finance Committee and implemented GATE's 2011/12 comprehensive technology upgrade. Sara’s critical thinking skills, extensive knowledge of business administration and bookkeeping, and passion for GATE's mission make her an invaluable asset. Sara is a principal of Omnirax, a custom furniture manufacturer in Sausalito. Sara has a daughter at the school.
Steven A. Nielsen
Steve Nielsen is a registered patent attorney writing patents in the fields of mechanical and electrical engineering, optics and medical devices. Steve manages Nielsen Patents, a boutique patent prosecution law firm in Marin. A graduate of UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, Steve has also chaired the Marin County Bar Association's Intellectual Property Section, and is the author of several continuing legal education videos on patent prosecution, ethics, and elimination of bias. A former GATE parent, Steve served as chair of GATE's first finance committee, and continues to serve on that committee. Armed with a BS in Computer Science, Steve has been instrumental in GATE's continuing technology upgrades. Steve was enticed to return to GATE as a board member when his twin daughters matriculated into high school.
Tracy Kiles is a graduate of Tufts University, earning her B.A. in international relations, followed by an M.A from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her career began with corporate and foundation fundraising at the African Medical and Research Foundation, and eventually she worked for OPIC, the United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank in assessing political risks. After a hiatus during her son's and daughter's early years, Tracy went on to manage web-based content for Eyetide Media, and also founded Media Moms. Currently, Tracy focuses on freelance writing and grant development. She brings a wealth of outside experience to the Board especially with her knowledge about outside resources available to gifted children. From time to time, Tracy substitute teaches, and the GATE kids love her.
Jennifer S. Muller
Jennifer Muller is a Managing Director at Houlihan Lokey, where she heads their Financial Advisory Services for the San Francisco Bay Area. She speaks frequently at corporate and legal symposiums on corporate finance and valuation. Her professional clients are typically boards of directors, special committees, and other fiduciaries. Jennifer is a mathematics/economics graduate from Claremont McKenna College, and has substantial experience advising all types of entities on financial and valuation issues. Jennifer has been active in community service, donating her time to the Belvedere-Tiburon Joint Recreation Committee and the Belvedere Community Foundation. Jennifer is delighted to serve on GATE’s board of trustees, helping to position GATE’s students for success in a world of rapidly changing economics, social and political structures, educational opportunities, and scientific discoveries. Jennifer's son has spent summer camp time at GATE Academy.
Diane Rittenhouse, MD, MPH
Diane Rittenhouse is a strong supporter of providing academically gifted students with the individualized, inquiry based learning that they receive at GATE Academy. She is a family physician and a professor at the Phillip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UC San Francisco. Diane is Associate Director for Health Policy in the new UCSF Pathway to Discovery in Health and Society, a mentored educational track for students, residents and fellows in the UCSF schools of medicine, nursing and pharmacy. She has been a leader in the effort to develop and integrate a new required comprehensive 4-year health policy curriculum for the School of Medicine. She has received a Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Diane is co-investigator for three large national studies of physician practices funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the California HealthCare Foundation, and The Commonwealth Fund. She has been invited to speak to members of the U.S. Congress on the role of the primary care in health reform. Diane holds an M.D. from the University of California, Davis, and an M.P.H. with an emphasis in Health Policy and Management from the University of California, Berkeley. Diane has three children at the school.
Jack Strange has made a career of providing exceptional learning opportunities to both the gifted as well as the economically disadvantaged within a framework of inquiry-based learning coupled with a highly integrated curriculum that stimulates students to seek to see the unseen… to be curious enough to ask questions that others don’t, and then get excited when you uncover the truth. After nearly two decades in high tech, Jack Strange followed his bliss and changed careers to teaching. He is a professional educator now in his fourteeth year of teaching science, mathematics and economics to middle school and high school students. Mr. Strange is also the founder and director of the Sonoma Marin Debate Society; an acclaimed and unaffiliated interscholastic debating team. For nearly twenty years prior to teaching, Strange was both an innovator and entrepreneur in computer hardware and software technology that served the engineering, scientific and medical markets. He has held positions in product marketing up to, and including, the executive levels in start-up companies, as well as in well-known global technology firms such as Xerox, Canon and Autodesk. Mr. Strange earned a B.A. in economics with a minor in physics from Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT and has pursued courses of independent continuing studies in physics, economics and education at Stanford University, CalTech and UCLA.
Victoria Talkington, JD
Victoria Talkington believes that GATE Academy’s inquiry-based educational model for gifted children sets a national standard. She currently also serves the school as its Executive Chair. Ms. Talkington graduated from Yale University with a degree in molecular biochemistry and biophysics, and obtained her juris doctor from Harvard University. She has clerked in Washington D.C. for the United States Tax Court, and began her legal career assisting emerging technology companies with financing, mergers and acquisitions, and stock option plans. She served as managing partner of a Marin County based law firm until her retirement from active legal practice. During that time, she also served on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood of Marin, was selected by the Marin County Bar Association to serve in a statewide, year long court/community planning outreach initiative (Courts and Their Communities), and was twice named the Marin County Legal Aid Society’s volunteer of the year for her pro bono assistance of indigent families. While raising her two children, she has chaired the Site Council for a local public elementary school, led the Mill Valley Planning Commission as its chair, started a community organization rebuilding the steps and lanes system of Mill Valley, obtaining a $1M grant funding for that program, and served as treasurer for a Marin County Supervisor campaign, among other activities. She was named Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 2010 Citizen of the Year for her civic work. Victoria's son is a 2013 graduate of GATE Academy.