People & Contacts

Board of Trustees

Members of the Board of Trustees

List of 18 items.

  • Alix Merkley ’75

    Alix Merkley ’75 is one of our founder Isabelle Buckley’s five grandchildren; her mother, also Isabelle, was one of Isabelle Buckley’s four children. Alix attended Buckley on the Stansbury campus during elementary school and graduated from Dominican University of California. A former school teacher, Alix currently resides in Napa where she works as an interior designer and, with her husband, owns Shackford’s Kitchen Store. She joined the board in 2016.
  • Anne-Marie Balzano

    Anne-Marie Balzano is the director of leadership and governance at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), a non-profit membership association that provides services to more than 1,900 schools and associations of schools in the United States and abroad. Anne-Marie designs and implements learning opportunities for school administrators and trustees, and conducts research on issues facing independent schools. A former head of school and associate professor of education leadership, Anne-Marie earned her BA from The American University in Washington, D.C.; her masters in Teaching from Notre Dame de Namur University; and her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Mills College. She became a trustee in 2020.
  • Ben Vega, Board Chair

    Ben Vega is the general counsel for the Meruelo Group, a privately held company with interests in professional sports, media, gaming, banking, construction, food services, and real estate. Ben graduated from Harvard College in 1995 and Harvard Law School in 1999. He and his wife Belinda are the parents of a Middle School student. Ben joined the Buckley board in 2019.
  • Brian Nussbaum

    Brian Nussbaum is a partner in the audit and assurance practice of Deloitte & Touche LLP with more than 18 years of public accounting experience. Brian serves clients ranging from emerging growth start-up businesses to international public companies and is the leader for the Deloitte Los Angeles emerging growth company practice. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a BS in business administration and a masters in accounting. He and his wife Dana are parents to two Buckley students, one in Middle School and another in Lower School. Brian chairs the investment sub-committee of the budget and finance committee. He joined the board in 2019.
  • Chip Sellers, Parliamentarian

    Chip Sellers is the executive vice president of LaSalle Mortgage Real Estate Investors, Inc., formerly Latitude Management Real Estate Investors. He served as a trustee at Hollywood Schoolhouse, serving for several years as chair. He graduated from Carleton College with a BA in economics and received his MBA in finance from the University of California at Los Angeles. Chip and his husband Brett have two Buckley students in Upper School and Middle School. He joined the board in 2017 and became chair this year.
  • David Sadkin, Treasurer

    David Sadkin is president of Bel Air Investment Advisors LLC, which he joined in 2006. He is responsible for advising individuals, families, endowments, and foundations, chairs the firm’s management committee, and is a voting member of the investment committee. He is a member of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors and serves as a co-chair of the Young Governors. He is also a member of the Temple Israel of Hollywood Board of Trustees, and serves as the assistant treasurer and a member of the finance, personnel, and endowment committees. He participated in the Geller Leadership Project at the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and also sits on the board of directors of Terror Free Tomorrow, a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization which researches and advises on practical solutions to extremism world-wide. David and his wife Liz are parents to two Buckley students in Middle and Upper School. David joined the board in 2019. He is treasurer and chairs the budget and finance committee.
  • Frank Jung

    Frank is the co-founder and co-head of the Digital Media department at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), focusing on selling series and movies, brand synergy, talent representation, building new businesses, and advising on investment and strategic partnerships. He has also led the charge in the creation of new companies and advising companies in the digital space. A graduate of the University of Washington and a trustee at Hollywood Radio and TV Society (HRTS) and the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE), Frank is the father of Buckley Lower School students Preston and Viviana.
  • George Ellis

    George Ellis is the Director of Program Management in the North America Strategy team at Kenvue, formerly the consumer health care division of Johnson & Johnson that oversees brands such as Band-Aid, Neutrogena, Tylenol, and many more. A technology professional for more than 16 years, George started his career in the Finance Division at Goldman Sachs as a Senior Associate in the Controllers Technology Office before moving on to Johnson & Johnson, where as IT Director he helped innovate the company’s Skin Health technology strategy. A graduate of Syracuse University, George is the father of three Buckley students, Alexander, Cameron, and Sebastian.
  • Jackie Goldberg ’91

    Jackie Goldberg ’91 is Design Director of Alexa at Amazon. She is dedicated to defining exceptional customer experience and developing outstanding teams by partnering design with technology. She is an active advocate of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, ArtCenter College of Design, and is a graduate of Yale. Jackie sits on Buckley’s Alumni Engagement Board and joined the Board of Trustees in 2020.
  • Jennifer Sheffield

    Jennifer Sheffield is an experienced commercial attorney and the Chief Legal Officer of HeyTutor Inc., an edtech company that partners with school districts across the country to serve students with a range of academic backgrounds and socioemotional skills. She is passionate about education and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives having previously served on the Board of Directors for The Sherman Oaks Nursery School and as President and a Board Member for the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington. Jennifer and her husband Ted are parents to two children in the Buckley Lower School. A dedicated volunteer, Jennifer has held various positions in the Parents’ Association and serves on the Admission Welcoming Committee and Buckley Fund Volunteer Team. 
  • Joss Hastings

    In her current role, leading campaign strategy and execution for Disney’s global consumer products business, Joss is responsible for creating integrated marketing campaigns to drive retail sales, build brands and optimize commercial impact for The Walt Disney Company’s portfolio of franchises around the world. Since joining Disney in 2007, Joss has held a number of senior positions across the company. Initially responsible for leading Communications for the company’s TV business in EMEA, she went on to head Communications for The Walt Disney Company in the UK before moving to the U.S. in 2014 as Vice President, Franchise and Retail Communications.
  • José-Manuel de Castro, Secretary

    José-Manuel de Castro is an experienced employment and business litigator, and the Managing Shareholder of De Castro Law Group, P.C.  He is a graduate of New York University School of Law and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. He previously served for a number of years as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Hollywood Schoolhouse. He joins the Buckley Board of Trustees for the 2021-22 school year and is a member of the Board’s Committee on Trustees and Audit Committee. José-Manuel and his wife Gina are parents to Buckley tenth grader, Olivia.
  • Karen Richardson ’95

    Karen Richardson ’95 is a former official in President Barack Obama’s administration, having served as an advisor in the White House and deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Public Affairs at the U.S. State Department, as associate director in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and as an advisor to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett on international issues. Karen has a BA from Howard University, a JD from Howard University School of Law, and a masters in international affairs from the London School of Economics. Karen graduated from Buckley in 1995 and joined the board in 2016. She chairs the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee.
  • Kirsten Berkman Winikoff

    An active member of the theatre community for 20 years, Kirsten currently serves as a producer for Olympus Theatricals, a New York-based company that acquires, develops, and produces commercial theatre projects. Previously, she worked in various capacities at East of Doheny, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT), The Araca Group, and The Lark Play Development Center. A graduate of Northwestern (BA) and NYU (MA), Kirsten is also a former middle school history teacher and currently serves on the boards of New Dramatists playwrights center and Congregation Temple Judea. She is a parent to Buckley Lower School students Tessa and Tali.
  • Mark Nehoray

    Mark Nehoray is a senior partner at Deloitte Tax LLP.  He served as a non-trustee member of the board’s audit committee for three years before being named a trustee in 2017. He chairs the Audit Committee. Mark and his wife Farah are parents of two Buckley alumni from the classes of 2011 and 2016.
  • Peggy Procter

    Peggy Procter is a lifelong educator who presently serves as head of Echo Horizon School, a pre-K-6 school in Culver City. Peggy holds a bachelors in government and Spanish from Dartmouth College and and a masters in Spanish language and culture from Middlebury College. She is passionate about multicultural global education; diversity, equity, and inclusion;  innovative, student-centered curriculum and pedagogy; and teacher development. Peggy joined the board of trustees in 2020.
  • Shari Rosenthal, Vice President

    Shari Rosenthal is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Manning & Kass, where she leads the firm’s products/liability and landlord/tenant/habitability teams. She received her JD from Southwestern University School of Law following her undergraduate studies at Syracuse University. Shari served for 10 years on the board of trustees at The Willows School in Culver City, including a term as co-chair of the board. She and her wife Marlene King are parents to a Buckley Upper School student.  Shari joined the board in 2019.
  • Vincent Travaglione

    Vincent Travaglione is an educational administrator and consultant with more than two decades of experience and joins the Board of Trustees for the 2021-22 school year. Prior to his time with Buckley, Vincent served as a Consultant, Director of Admission and Director of Enrollment Operations and Data Management at La Jolla Country Day School in California, The Elisabeth Morrow School in New Jersey, Whittle School & Studios in Washington D.C. and UWC ISAK Japan. He has also served as a board member at KIPP: Adelante (a public charter middle school) and the San Diego Tennis Federation as well as a reader and/or selection committee member for the Gates, Caroline Bradley and Point Foundation’s educational grant programs. Vincent deeply believes in educational environments which take seriously their role in contributing to a better world and cites this as a key reason he has joined The Buckley School Board of Trustees.

The Role of the Board of Trustees

As the Board of Trustees, we hold the school “in trust,” using the school’s mission statement and strategic goals as guideposts for board decisions. The head of school, our only employee, guides the school’s daily operations, administration, and staff. As a board, we are focused on its future, with the goal that school will remain a dynamic, nurturing learning community, financially healthy, and relevant for our students, their children, and their children’s children. We do this by fulfilling four responsibilities: setting the school’s strategic direction; ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations; accounting for both the financial stability and future of the institution; and selecting, supporting, and evaluating the head of school.

A significant portion of the board’s work is done through its eight committees: advancement, audit, budget and finance, buildings and grounds, executive, diversity, equity, and inclusion, investment, strategic planning, and trustees.

We are current parents, alumni, parents of alumni, and friends of the school, who go through a rigorous vetting and training process facilitated by the committee on trustees. As prospective trustees are considered, we intentionally seek those who bring a diverse set of skills, talents, and experiences to the board. The composition of the board changes every year, as terms expire and new trustees are elected. Trustees can serve up to three, three-year terms and participate in at least two board committees each year of their trusteeship.

Trustees Emeriti

Mike Ahmar
Andrea Alberini
Valeria Balfour
George Bender
Valerie Benzimra
Ellen Buckley (deceased)
Paulette Cohen
Philip de Toledo
Anita Dymant
John Emerson
Tracy Esse
Robyn Field
Leslie Goetzman
Patricia Goldberg
Denise Gutches
James P. Higgins
Lela Hung
Martin Irani
William G. Isaac, Sr. (deceased)
John Lawrence
Maurice Marciano
James L. Owens (deceased)
Frank Price
Carol Ramsey
Fredric N. Richman
Bruce Rosenblum
Vernon Scott III (deceased)
Terry Semel
Dale Snodgrass
Eric Stern
Arthur Swerdloff
Richard O. Thies (deceased)
Janet L. Wagner (deceased)
Ronald Wanglin ’71
Jane White (deceased)
Robert Wilson