Garth Spiller [President]

Garth was born and raised in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL. Garth spent 18 years in Sales and Consulting in the financial technology space. In his free time, Garth enjoys skiing, tennis, and running. His wife, Chelsea Stoner, is a Montana native and General Partner at Battery Ventures. They have two children, Signe and Anderson, both proud Alta Vista students.

Libby Ludwig [Vice President]

Libby was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana and takes great pride in her Midwestern roots. She holds a B.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Ball State University and obtained her J.D. from The John Marshall Law School. Libby started her career in family law and later worked as a corporate counsel/legal consultant at a software company. Nowadays, Libby spends her time refining her Euchre skills with her high school sweetheart and husband, Tom, who is the Chief Operating Officer at Francisco Partners. Their older son, Grant, is an Alta Vista Middle School student and their younger son, Owen, attends the lower school.

Joanna Mroz [Secretary]

Joanna is the Director of Renal Services at Kaiser Permanente and has a background in engineering, project management and health care operations.  She holds a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from Johns Hopkins, an MS in Materials Science from Stanford and a MPH from UC Berkeley.   Joanna is a NJ native who enjoys dining out in SF, loves Alta Vista camping trips, and likes exploring the SF live music scene with her husband, Jeff who works at Apple.  Their oldest daughter, Alma, is a Alta Vista Middle School Student and younger daughter, Annegret is in the lower school.

Stephen Wasserman [Treasurer]

Steve is the VP of Sales at AcademixDirect, an education technology firm in Silicon Valley. Prior to this, he spent over 15 years in the commercial real estate industry in San Francisco with experience in investments, leasing, and development across various asset classes. Steve holds a M.B.A. from ESCP (Paris, France) and a bachelor's degree from Tulane University. His wife Victoria is also very involved with Alta Vista. Steve’s goal in life is to get his daughter Ava, an Alta Vista student, to go surfing with him at Ocean Beach.

Elena Ro Yang

Elena may often be spotted chasing her sons down the streets of San Francisco as they ride their bikes.  She received her B.A. in History from Yale University and obtained her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. She is currently a senior government lawyer and previously practiced business litigation at the law firms of Latham & Watkins, Silicon Valley and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, San Francisco. Elena also has served on the Board of the Asian Women's Resource Center in Chinatown, San Francisco. Elena and her husband Young, Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo Bank, live in San Francisco with their sons Alex (Alta Vista Class of 2020) and Bryce (Urban School, Class of 2022). 

Steven Comfort

Steven has spent the past 20 years leading sales, marketing and business development teams within young technology companies in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.  He is an advisor to several young companies and is a board member at, a non-profit that helps people learn to make saving money habitual.  A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he enjoys spending free time with the family in SF and Lake Tahoe.  His wife, Marissa Levinson, is a lawyer and native of Geneva, Switzerland. Their daughter, Ariella, is an avid ski racer and AVS third grader.

Hon. David Garcia (Ret.)

When not busy mediating cases, Judge David Garcia competes as a ballroom dancer. David received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of San Francisco and completed his L.L.M. degree at Yale Law School. He was appointed to the bench by Governor Jerry Brown and elevated by Governor George Deukmejian to the San Francisco Superior Court, where he served for many years as a respected judge. David is currently a partner at JAMS (Judicial Arbitration Mediation Services) and specializes in employment, real estate, and business cases. He is also fluent in Spanish. David and his wife, Dot, an artist, writer, and art educator, live in San Francisco with their sons, Alta Vista students Joaquin and Federico.

​Julie Shumaker

When Julie is not serving as a maverick in digital advertising, she can be found running, mountain biking, or SUPing. Professionally, Julie has led revenue growth in a breadth of platforms, including television, web, game console, social, and now mobile at companies from early internet IPO Quokka Sports, Yahoo!, Electronic Arts, and now Zynga where she serves as Vice President, Advertising. Julie has been recognized in Advertising Age’s "Women to Watch" report and named a “Top 25 Executives in Digital Entertainment” by Digital Media Wire. She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Stephanie Weiler, and daughter, Jude, a student at Alta Vista.

Lorie Hirson

Lorie holds a B.A. in Communications from University of Wisconsin, Madison. She spent most of her corporate career working for large, international public relations firms with an expertise in consumer product companies and consumer technology start-ups. In 2009, Lorie stepped away to spend more time with her two boys, Noah and Ari, who attend Alta Vista, as well as to explore some new business ideas and personal dreams. In 2011, Lorie founded PR Select, which took her expertise and applied it to help consumer technology start-ups find the right public relations partner. In addition, Lorie and her husband Ron started the Alcatraz Swim for Sight, which is a non-profit event that raises money for vision research to help eliminate blindness worldwide for future generations. 

Stewart McDowell

Stewart is a partner in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where she is a member of the Corporate Transactions Department and Co-Chair of the Capital Markets Practice. Her law practice involves the representation of business organizations as to capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and general corporate matters. She is also a member of Hipower, an arm of Leading Women in Technology that focuses on accelerating women's leadership roles. Stewart received her B.A. from Princeton University and her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Stewart and her husband, Philip Brady, have twin daughters, Ella and Cecilia, who are Alta Vista students.

Ashley Gould

Ashley was born in the same San Francisco hospital as her two boys, Mateo, an Alta Vista Middle School student, and Alex, an AVS lower school student. She holds a B.S. in Political Economy of Natural Resources from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law. Ashley has over a decade of business experience in the life sciences and technology industries. Ashley and her husband, Carlos Privat, also a Bay Area native, spend most of their free time at soccer games and exploring San Francisco with their boys by bicycle.

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Alta Vista Board of Trustees

The Alta Vista School Board of Trustees works closely with the school leadership team to provide direction and counsel  consistent with the school's mission, particularly with regard to strategic planning, facilities, compliance, finance, institutional advancement, thought leadership, and other critical growth areas of the school.


©2020 Alta Vista School
for curious young minds

Lower School Campus:

450 Somerset Street | San Francisco, CA 94134 | ​Tel: 415-467-3700 

Middle School Campus:

2558 Mission Street | San Francisco, CA 94110 | Tel: 415-510-8492