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Junta Directiva

Dedicación. Experencia. Pasión.

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Board Chair 

Kelly Felton

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Board Member

John Phan

John’s passion is to help “close the achievement gap” in underserved communities. His focus has been on advising top preforming schools meet their facilities needs. Over the past five years, he has advised more than 40 charter schools with their facility financings, include two schools in Orange County, California.

John is the Founder and Executive Director of Campanile Group. John began his public finance career over twenty years ago, helping schools, colleges, cities, counties, and water agencies finance their capital projects. 

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Board Member

Cherlynn Mendoza

Cherlynn Mendoza is a tenacious advocate for education, parental school choice, and children with special needs.  Ms. Mendoza’s career has focused on Human Resources and ensuring legal and ethical compliance with the vast array of local, state and federal rules and regulations overseeing the modern workplace, both brick-and-mortar and remote operations, particularly those that have expanded under the COVID pandemic. 


Because a significant portion of a school budget is human resources related, Ms. Mendoza’s experience in employment administration and oversight will be keenly valued.

In addition to her employment administration skills and management, she is an ardent advocate of the arts and for children with special needs.  She has worked closely with Autism Comprehensive Educational Services in its educational and parent programs and continues to coordinate community benefit fairs and resources for families seeking support.  Ms. Mendoza is fully bilingual and a product of public education in California.

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Board Member

Chad Soleo 

Chad Soleo serves as the President & Chief Executive Officer at Green Dot Public Schools. He has also served as the Chief Operating Officer, Vice President of Advancement, an Area Superintendent, prior to which he was the founding principal of Ánimo Pat Brown Charter High School, and an assistant principal at Locke. Ánimo Pat Brown became a California Distinguished High School under his leadership. Chad began his career as an English language arts teacher at Alain Leroy Locke High School through Teach for America. At Locke, Chad ran a college preparatory program that lead to a significant increase in college awareness and graduation rates, while pursuing his graduate degree in Secondary Education at Loyola Marymount University. Chad has also taught within the charter school leadership cohort for Loyola Marymount University’s School of Education administrative credentialing program, and has lead professional development in Los Angeles Unified School District, within the Southern California AVID community, and within the Teach for America organization. Chad earned his undergraduate degree in English Literature from the University of Arizona.

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Board Member

Mike Tardiff

Mike Tardiff is a native Californian - his family’s roots go back 100 years in Orange County. Mike and his wife Mercedes are long time Santa Ana residents - where they raised their 3 daughters who now have families of their own.

Mike attended parochial elementary school and Mater Dei High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from California State University, Fullerton. Mike owns and operates, along with 2 of his daughters, Tardif Sheet Metal - a Santa Ana metal fabricating and contracting business.

Business Owner successful in operations management, competitive analysis and financial management.  Mike has demonstrated success in growth and innovation. Capitalizing on new trends and technologies to boost business initiatives and reach sales objectives.

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Liderando Explore Public Schools

 Tom Torkelson

En 1998, Tom Torkelson fundó IDEA Public Schools, Inc. junto con JoAnn Gama, ex de Teach for América miembros del cuerpo, en Weslaco.  Su misión era crear escuelas charter para atender a los estudiantes de escasos recursos, comenzando en Donna, Texas en el Valle del Río Grande.

Para 2008, IDEA tenía 10 escuelas y atendía a 4000 estudiantes, pero desde entonces ha crecido para atender a más de 83 000 estudiantes.
Las clasificaciones de escuelas secundarias de US News & World Report enumeran siete escuelas preparatorias para la universidad IDEA, tres de las cuales informaron tasas de graduados que oscilan entre 98 y 100% y cuatro de las cuales no tenían tasas en la lista. Sus clasificaciones estatales de Texas oscilaron entre el 15 y el 67. Seis de las escuelas recibieron clasificaciones de medallas de oro.

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