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.



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 a principal at Vertex Property Group, a real estate management and investment company.  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.

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.

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.

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. 

Joma Jones

Joma is an attorney with more than 20 years of experience handling employment and insurance coverage litigation. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and is currently Senior Corporate Counsel at Robert Half International. Her husband, Eric Deeds, is General Counsel of Sauce Labs, a software company headquartered in San Francisco. They have two children, Miles and Nora, both students at Alta Vista.  Joma was raised in Noe Valley, where she resides today. In her free time, she enjoys skiing with her family, hiking with friends, exploring new places, and sailing on the bay.

Lauren Lippman

Lauren is a North Carolina native who has lived in San Francisco for almost 15 years. She received her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Journalism and Mass Communications before moving to New York to work at the Guggenheim Museum and, subsequently, in various roles at the auction house Sotheby’s. It was there that she honed her client development and fundraising skills, helping to launch Sotheby’s Diamonds in 2006, and driving major sales and acquisitions in the San Francisco market. Lauren is an avid art collector and amateur archeologist who loves to travel, read, cook, ride horses and spend time with her family. When she and LA-native husband Josh are not chasing after their two young boys (AVS lower school student, Zachary, and future aviator Tucker), she volunteers her time with local and state elections to increase voter awareness and turnout.

Stephen Perkins

Stephen is an investment professional with over 20 years of experience backing growing technology companies as a research analyst, venture capitalist and portfolio manager. A native Californian, Stephen moved to the Bay Area to attend Cal and despite multiple international adventures has always come home for the proximity to skiing, hiking and most of all the unique place and people of San Francisco. Supporting community and education at Alta Vista is consistent with Stephen’s prior board experiences at the Bay Area Discovery Museum and CFA Society of San Francisco. His wife Lynn is the founder of Urbansitter and is also very involved with Alta Vista. Their sons, Ben and Will, are in middle school and Jack is in lower school.


Kimi Peters

Kimi was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan and holds a B.A. in Economics from Keio University. She worked as a TV producer for NHK (Japanese public broadcaster) and an independent film producer. Kimi has also been published extensively in books, magazines, and newspapers. Nowadays, she enjoys producing olive oil at the family farm along with her husband Greg. Their son, Taiki, is an AVS Middle School student and their daughter, Kiko, attends Lower School.

​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.

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Emeritus Trustees

Elena Ro Yang 

Elena’s family is one of the seven founding families of Alta Vista School.  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 is currently on the Board of Urban School.  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 (Urban School, Class of 2024) and Bryce (Urban School, Class of 2022). 

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 a member of Hipower, a tribe of women leaders laser-focused on accelerating one another’s success. 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 who graduated from AVS, Ella (Phillips Exeter Academy, Class of 2024) and Cecilia (The Bay School, Class of 2024).

Dr. Abdur Chowdhury

Abdur Chowdhury is the CEO and Co-founder of Aura Home, a software company specializing in digital photo frames that allow families to share pictures from anywhere. He cares most about building things that connect people. In his 30+ year career, Abdur has launched over 25 commercial products and worked on solving big, tech problems from scaling to spam. BBC dubbed him the “Father of Trending” as the Co-founder of Summize where he created a way to organize real-time opinions on the internet, a technology that merged with and became the foundation for Twitter in 2008. Abdur then became Twitter’s first Chief Scientist where he continued to build out the company’s search, trends and recommendation functions. 


During the early to mid-2000s, Abdur served as the Chief Architect for Search at AOL and held other positions at IIT Information Retrieval Lab, the Georgetown Computer Science Department, and University of Maryland's Institute for Systems Research. An academic at heart, he has been published in more than 100 scientific publications and holds over 50 patents. In 2010, he co-founded the Alta Vista School, a K-8th grade charter school in San Francisco offering STEAM education. In his spare time, Abdur practices martial arts, skis with his family, and reads books that make him smile.

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