Our Board

If you have an interest in joining our Board of Trustees please review the Board Roles and Responsibilities 

and then contact Steve Montoya, Chair of the Governance Committee.


Carla Rayacich, Founder

Carla Rayacich is an experienced, successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, and the mother of two delightfully dyslexic children--twins. She has an MBA from Stanford University. She has worked with children Preschool through Elementary in music education, and mindfulness practices that improve learning. When her own children struggled to learn both in a traditional setting and in a school geared for dyslexics, she went in search of methods that would be more effective for her twins. She brought together a group of experts who integrated the best techniques to create the unique curriculum of Athena Academy. Carla used her skills as an entrepreneur and manager to start up and lead the organization, and to find the best people to teach the children.

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David Pritchard, President

Dave Pritchard has over 30 years’ experience in the biopharmaceutical industry with a focus on general management, business development and financial management. He served as CEO of KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, and chief business officer of Rinat Neuroscience, Matrix Pharmaceutical, Metabolex, and Triton Biosciences.  He was part of successful drug development teams for multiple sclerosis, cancer, and pain.

David holds an MBA degree from Stanford University, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell.   Mr. Pritchard serves or has served on the nonprofit Boards of Directors of BayBio, San Mateo Park School, Association of Bioscience Financial Officers in northern California, 942 Market Street HOA, and the Biotech Business Development Roundtable of Northern California.


Matthew Duncan, Vice-President

Matthew Duncan is a Partner at Ernst & Young LLP and the father of two children, one who is gifted with Dyslexia and attends Athena Academy. Matthew has lived and worked in Australia, Vietnam, Nepal, Eritrea, the United Kingdom and the United States. Matthew’s work experiences include serving as a Project Manager for the Fred Hollows Foundation, an international development organization working towards eliminating avoidable blindness. Matthew is an IRS-­enrolled agent permitted to practice before the IRS. Matthew has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering (Hons.) from the University of Technology, Sydney, as well as a post-­graduate diploma in operations management and an MBA from Macquarie University, Sydney.




Diana Ungersma brings her experience in growing a start-up as the founder and CEO of Smilin Dogs, a dog daycare, hiking, boarding, and training business in San Carlos, California. After growing the business to employ 50 people and serve 200 clients per day, she sold the company in 2015. Ms. Ungersma spent her 12 years prior in technology, specializing in mobile software and cloud-based services.

As Director of Product Management at PacketHop, Diana was responsible for business strategy, market definition, and product implementation. She also served in marketing and product management positions at iAnywhere, AvantGo, Maxspeed, Banta Digital Services, Data-Based Marketing, and the Wall Street Journal.

Diana holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Communications from the California Polytechnic State University. As the parent of a child gifted with dyslexia, Ms. Ungersma is passionate about supporting students to achieve their full potential, and also serves as volunteer mentor in entrepreneurship for at-risk high schoolers through BUILD.


Steve Montoya, Trustee

Steven Montoya is high technology start-up executive with over 35 years of experience in engineering, operations, and marketing. He has experience in launching four start-up companies, including StrataCom, which he helped guide from start-up, through successful IPO, through acquisition by Cisco Systems in 1997 for over $4 Billion. Currently, he is Senior Vice-President Engineering at Crop One Holdings directing the development of grow platforms for indoor vertical farming.

Steve is also involved in giving back to the community through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and is a former Trustee of the UC Davis Foundation. Both he and is wife have established scholarships at their respective universities and support a variety of non-profits focused on education. Steve holds BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from University of California. He also holds an MBA from Pepperdine University.


Dan Cristiani, Trustee

Dan Cristiani is a Bay Area native and lifelong educator. He spent several years teaching history and the social sciences at the middle- and high-school levels, and has been an administrator and school leader at two local independent schools.

He recently oversaw curriculum and instruction for grades 5-12 at The Nueva School, and he is currently serving as Senior Research Analyst at The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

Prior to jumping into the classroom, Dan was a Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education, where he supported a program focused on educational equity and school reform.

He holds a PhD in Political Science from the UC San Diego and a BA in Government from Georgetown University, and he has received grants and honors from the Fulbright Commission, the Germanistic Society of America, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, among others.

He is an avid soccer fan, and loves bringing his young kids to soccer games whenever he can.



Heather Knape, Trustee

Heather Knape writes for Edventure More, a non-profit education support organization whose mission is to make equitable, high-quality STEAM & SEL education programs accessible to all communities. She has also edited curriculum for the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley, worked as Interim Communications Manager for Education Outside and moderated the Food Lit Book Club at San Francisco’s 18 Reasons.

Leading up to her foray into the non-profit world, Heather designed websites and photographed families while also parent-teaching at a cooperative nursery school in San Franciso. Before that she graduated from Kenyon College with double majors in English Literature and Studio Art, then began her career as a support rep at an Internet Service Provider while also an Intern and then Fellow at Mother Jones Magazine.

Heather subsequently become a UNIX systems administrator, programmer and finally manager of a gaggle of youthful tech-gurus at a 1990s SOMA start-up. That experience inspired her to focus on promoting progressive education, in hopes that all children will grow up to earn a living by following their passions.


Amanda Phillips, Trustee

Amanda M. Phillips has been a sole practitioner attorney with focus in the areas of Family Law, Estates, and Real Estate for twelve years. She completed her B.A. in Communications in only three years at U.C. Davis and went onto law school at U.C. Hastings.

Amanda is a trained mediator and litigator and always leads with an amicable approach to resolving conflict. Amanda also has her real estate license and works on both residential and commercial properties in the Bay Area Peninsula.

Amanda is born and raised on the Peninsula and comes from a family with a variety of learning differences. She is committed to evolving an academic environment for dyslexic minds and the unique contributions they offer to the world.



Joe Anzalone, Trustee

A 25-year Silicon Valley veteran, Joe Anzalone has broad expertise in operating, advising and financing emerging-growth technology companies. Prior to joining his current employer Tech CU, Anzalone served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer at New Resource Bank in San Francisco where he was responsible for both the product and services strategy and market development.

He also founded Allegiant Ventures, a technology venture fund, and was president and COO of MediaG3, a broadband wireless provider. In addition to his expertise with early-stage companies, Joe's substantial banking experience includes 15 years at Silicon Valley Bank in a variety of executive positions.

Joe is an alumni parent.


Pradeep Sandhu, Trustee

Pradeep Sandhu is a technology strategist and accomplished Leader working with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) . Pradeep brings expertise in helping enterprises in developing technology strategies, steering transformation programs and leading organization change management. After a career built over 15 years  in India, Hong Kong, Japan and Canada, Pradeep moved to the Bay Area in 2011. During this time he also developed expertise in engaging with multicultural teams.

Pradeep has passion for giving and building communities for various causes and this motivated him to join The Athena Board. Currently and in the past, he held similar Board level positions and contributed significantly in similar roles (e.g. DUSD/Kolb Board as VP, Art Society in SF). Pradeep has been instrumental in raising funds for social causes and helping non-profits navigate through the transformational changes.

He likes being close to nature and likes hiking, surfing and biking. Despite his busy schedule, Pradeep spends quality time with his 2 Boys - one in high school and other in elementary school.