branson

Branson, like most independent schools, is governed by a Board of Trustees. The board comprises 25 members who represent the Branson community as a whole. Current and former parents, alumni, and occasionally educators from outside the school serve on Branson’s board.

The board commits itself to following the National Association of Independent Schools' Principles of Good Practice. The board does not involve itself in the day-to-day operations of the School. Instead, the board focuses its efforts on governance, long-range strategic planning, and fiduciary responsibilities. The board’s sole employee is the Head of School.

In order to view a short biography of any individual trustee, click on their name below.

2014-2015 Board of Trustees

Dr. Kevin Louie, Board Chair
Kevin and his wife Carol live in Tiburon and are the parents of Rachel (Branson 2012) and Ryan (Branson 2014). Kevin received a B.S. in Biology from Tufts University and an M.D. from the University of Michigan. He moved to San Francisco to complete his internship and training in Orthopaedic Surgery at UCSF. After his residency, he completed a fellowship in Orthopaedic Traumatology at San Francisco General Hospital before entering private practice. Kevin is currently on staff at California Pacific Medical Center and previously was affiliated with The Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children when it was located in San Francisco. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCSF and has served in executive positions for various professional organizations, including the Western Orthopaedic Association and the Limb lengthening and Reconstructive Surgery Society of North America. Kevin and Carol co-chaired the 2010-2011 Annual Fund and look forward to continuing to support Branson.
Marlene Bates
Marlene Bates, who holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing and a CFA (Certified Financial Analyst) accreditation, is entering her 10th year at the Charles Schwab Company as Chief of Staff and Managing Director of Administration and Strategic Initiatives for Schwab Client Solutions, a division that combines fixed income solutions, trading platforms, international retail, the Schwab Center for Financial Research, cash and margin lending strategy and advice solutions. She assumed this role after having completed six years in the Risk and Credit Management Group, where she was tasked with managing the company’s Structured Products investment portfolio. Prior to that position, her career spanned 11 years as a Financial Analyst and Risk Manager at the CALyon Group (a French banking group) with postings in Paris, New York, Hong Kong and London. Marlene was Head of the Finance Committee of MoAD (the Museum of the African Diaspora). More recently, Marlene became an advocate for "mainstreaming" children with special needs after her own son, Alexander, was diagnosed with a profound binaural hearing loss.

In her free time, Marlene, who with her husband Ernest lives in San Rafael, likes to travel, read French and Spanish literature, play the piano and train for marathons. She is also the proud parent of a junior and a sophomore at Branson (Class of 2016 and Class of 2017).
Ben Bodipo-Memba '87
A member of the class of 1987, Ben returned to the Bay Area in February of 2012 as an assistant volleyball coach at UC Berkeley, where he will be entering his 3rd season.Ben attended San Diego State University and was a member of the USA Men’s National Volleyball Team for 3 seasons, playing professionally at the highest competitive levels.He is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), currently representing division one assistant coaches as a member of the AVCA Education and Publication Committee. Ben also serves as a mentor in the AVCA Coaches Mentoring program and spent six years representing the ACC on the AVCA Assistant Coaches Committee.Ben lives in San Rafael.
James Burnes '91
Jaime and his wife Dayle live in Belvedere with their three children: Jack, Brad and Tayte. Jaime received his Bachelor of Science from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley with a major in Finance. After graduating from Berkeley, Jaime moved to New York to pursue his career as an investment banker in Healthcare. Jaime has 18 years of banking experience and helped build out the Life Sciences franchise at Lehman Brothers where he worked for six years. Jaime has also worked at Credit Suisse, UBS, and Oppenheimer.Over the years, Mr. Burnes has been instrumental in raising capital and executing M&A transactions for several high profile Life Sciences companies. After living in New York for 12 years, Jaime and his wife decided to return to Marin to raise their children. Jaime is currently the Co-Head of the Healthcare Group at Cowen and Company, a pre-eminent growth focused investment bank.Jaime enjoys spending his free time with his family skiing, wakeboarding and running.
Stacey Case '77
Stacey Black Case is a proud alum of the Branson School, Class of 1977. She received her B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley, her Master’s degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the London School of Economics, and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She has served on various Boards, including: the Exploratorium, the San Francisco Ballet and the Town School for Boys. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Walnut Management Company, and a Director of ABC2 (Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure), a non-profit foundation.

Stacey lives in San Francisco and has two children, JD age 19 and Charlotte age 14, a freshman at Branson.
Michelle Douglas '83
Michelle Douglas comes from an old line Branson family. She graduated from Branson in 1983, and has two brothers who are also graduates of Branson: Kelly ('80) and Alex (92'). In addition, Michelle’s father served on the Board of Trustees during the nineties. Her nephew ('09) and niece ('11) graduated from Branson. This is Michelle’s third term and eighth year on the board. This year she is Chair of the Head Assessment Committee and she also serves on the Parent Survey Task Force.

After graduating from Wesleyan University in 1987, Michelle attended Hastings College of the Law. She practiced business law with a San Francisco law firm, Steinhart and Falconer, and then went in-house with a cellular company. Currently, Michelle is the CEO of the Douglas household, managing her four children: Jake (19) - a sophomore in college and graduate of Branson, Alec (18) - a graduate of Branson, Amanda (15) - a sophomore at Branson and Summer (9) – who attends San Domenico School. Michelle and her husband, Kevin, have been wonderfully supportive and generous.
Kate Duhamel
Kate Duhamel is an independent filmmaker working in San Francisco. She is currently making a series of dance films through her production company, Fountain 3 Films. Kate has also written and directed a feature film and four short films that have shown in film festivals around the country, and she has produced three short documentary films for two humanitarian organizations. Kate is also currently building a website for independent filmmakers. Kate serves on several boards including SFJAZZ, San Francisco Ballet, and Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Previous board positions include Chair of Right To Play US, Chair of the Far West Freestyle Ski Division, and she served on the California State Film Commission. Kate attended Stanford University, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She lives in Marin with her husband and has three sons.
Maureen Fan '82
Maureen Fan, class of ‘82, is a freelance journalist and former foreign correspondent. Maureen was based in Beijing for the Washington Post from 2005 to 2009, first as correspondent, then as bureau chief. As New York Bureau Chief for the San Jose Mercury News, she covered 9/11 and postwar Iraq for Knight Ridder Newspapers. She has worked as staff writer at the New York DailyNews, Newsday, the Los Angeles Times, and the South China Morning Post. She has advised San Francisco-based Link TV and served on the Asia Society’s Northern California program committee. As a former John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University, she studied design thinking, strategic philanthropy and entrepreneurship. She has also taught storytelling and reporting to non-journalists. After graduating from Branson, Maureen studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara.She got her start as a journalist there, writing for the independent student newspaper TheDaily Nexus. Maureen lives in Berkeley with her husband Steve, an investigative journalist and Redwood alum, and stepson Will, a student at Berkeley High School.
Seth Ferguson '81
Seth and his wife Alison met at Branson and graduated together in 1981. They both grew up in Mill Valley and now live there with their two sets of twins, Bryce and Elise (Branson Class of 2014) and Claire and Renee (entering 8th grade at Marin Country Day School). Seth is a Managing Director and Co-Head of Mergers and Acquisitions at Stifel, a full service, mid-market focused investment bank. He has 27 years of banking experience and was previously employed by Morgan Stanley, General Atlantic, Robertson Stephens and UBS. Seth graduated from Harvard College Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude with a major in Government. He enjoys bicycling, running, skiing, hiking, traveling and collecting wine.
Julie Flynn
Julie Flynn is a native of Washington, DC.She received her B.A. from Yale University and worked in public relations for several years before attending Stanford Law School, where she received her J.D.She practiced commercial litigation in San Francisco for several years before moving into the area of family law.Julie and her husband, Greg (Branson ’82) live in San Francisco with their twin sons Jamie (Branson ’16) and Michael (Lick ’16) and daughter Sarah (Convent Elementary ‘15).Julie is on the Board of Governors of the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco and is a member of the Smithsonian National Board.She previously served on the Board of Trustees of Schools of the Sacred Heart San Francisco, and on the Board of Directors of the Edgewood Center for Children and Families.
Dr. Kim Fullerton-Nelson
Kim joined the Board of Trustees in September of 2014. Born in Ohio and raised in New Jersey, Kim moved to Marin County in high school. She received her B.A. from UC Berkeley, where she studied physiology and dance. Before attending UC San Francisco School of Medicine, Kim worked as a health care advocate in San Rafael and as a Spanish-English translator in Ecuador for Interplast. After graduating from UCSF, Kim trained in emergency medicine at Stanford. She decided to leave clinical practice to raise her four children and pursue her interests in education, public health and violence prevention. Kim worked with the founders of QuestBridge to select and mentor students for the Quest Scholars Program, based at Stanford University. She then developed a nationally-recognized violence prevention curriculum in her work for Physicians for a Violence-free Society. For many years, Kim served on the board of The World Family: Ethiopian Orphans and Medical Care. In April of 2014, she joined the board of Beyond Differences. A life-long dancer, Kim performs with Alan Scofield’s performance dance troupe. Kim and her husband live in Ross with her four children (two of whom currently attend Branson). During her free time, Kim enjoys traveling, hiking and skiing with her family.
P. Joseph Grasso (Joe)
Joe began his career in finance at Wertheim & Company, in New York.He then moved to Sutro & Company in San Francisco as a Senior Managing Director of Trading, and Member of The New York Stock Exchange.In 1984, he became a General Partner at Montgomery Securities.In 2003, he left Banc of America Securities and founded Visor Associates as CEO.

Joe has served as Board President of The Greater Bay Area Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and Board President of Marin Special Olympics.He started a long distance running team 30 years ago, and continues to train athletes every Saturday at the College of Marin.He has served on the major donor committee for the Reed School Foundation.His newest charitable endeavor is working to raise funds and increase the public profile of RotaPlast International.RotaPlast is an organization dedicated to reconstruction surgery in third world countries, and Joe has volunteered on missions to Nepal and India.

This is Joe's sixth year on the Board.He is currently a member of the Committee on Trustees, the Development Committee, the GGBTS Task Force and the Head Assessment Committee, and previously served on the Annual Fund Committee.Joe resides in Tiburon with his wife, Victoria.Their son, Philip ’06, is a graduate of Occidental College.
David Golden
David is a Managing Partner at Revolution Ventures, an early-stage venture capital affiliate of Revolution LLC, a private investment company organized by AOL co-founder Steve Case. Revolution invests in technology-enabled disruptive businesses across a variety of industries; and its investments include Zipcar, Revolution Money, Extend Health, and LivingSocial. Previously, David spent 18 years, including five years as Vice Chairman, with J.P. Morgan Securities (and its predecessor company Hambrecht & Quist). He was the director of J.P. Morgan's global investment banking practice for technology, media and telecommunications clients and was a member of the investment bank's management committee. He also served as Executive Chairman at Code Advisors, a private merchant bank in San Francisco focused on early-stage technology companies, from its founding in 2010 through 2012.

He received an A.B. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

David and his wife Susan live in San Francisco and have a daughter, Amanda, who graduated from Branson in 2011. They have another daughter, Jenny, who is in the 12th grade at Branson. David was a trustee of Burke's for six years, and he served on the search, finance and communications committees. David currently serves on the board of directors of Barnes & Noble, Blackbaud, Everyday Health and Vinfolio.
Lauren Lamm
Lauren and her husband Bill live in San Francisco. They are the proud parents of Madeleine, a senior at Branson; William, a freshman at Branson, and Christopher, who attends Marin Country Day School.

Lauren received her B.A. in Political Science from Emory University and her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. She has focused most of her career in Management Consulting (Boston Consulting Group, CSC Index and ZS Associates), serving clients in a variety of industries from finance, healthcare, and consumer goods, to nuclear power and oil refining. Her area of particular expertise is Change Management. She most recently ran the GST Change Management Practice at ZS Associates, a global pharmaceutical and healthcare consulting firm. Lauren currently works part-time as an independent consultant.

Lauren has served on several Boards in San Francisco, including the National Charity League, SF Ballet Auxiliary, SF Zoo Auxiliary, Lone Mountain Pre-School, and the Association of Presidio Neighborhoods, and has served as a Deacon at Calvary Presbyterian Church. In her free time she enjoys hiking, cooking, and relaxing with family and friends.
Elsa Leung
Elsa was born in Taipai, Taiwan and immigrated to San Francisco when she was 7 years of age with her parents and seven siblings. She grew up in San Francisco, where she enjoyed the culture and richness of a diverse melting pot. She and her husband, Kurt, moved to San Rafael to raise their two children, Tyler (Berklee College of Music, 2019) and Sophia (Branson, 2018) eighteen years ago. Elsa received her B.S. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley where she was passionate about gender and racial equality, especially regarding the rights of women and the people of the Asian American community.

Elsa is the Founder and CEO of Elsa L, a consumer product based business that has supplied national retailers for over twenty years. She travels regularly to China, India, and Viet Nam, where her products are manufactured.

An active member of the education community, Elsa served on the Saint Mark's Board for nine years. Tyler and Sophia both attended Saint Mark's from kindergarten through their eighth grade graduation. Elsa was also a Vistage member, a CEO organization, for seven years, and she served on the board of Bridge of Promise. While on the Saint Mark's Board, she was an active member of committees that were instrumental in spearheading the first endowment campaign, she helped to bring Chinese into the Saint Mark's curriculum, and helped create the Tuition Support Program. She has and will continue to champion the school's strategic plan, diverse and generative thinking.
David H. Liu
David grew up in Cambodia. As a teenager, David lived in Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines as a refugee.In Thailand, he worked for the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, as an interpreter.In the Philippines, he assisted the US Embassy in the processing of Indochinese refugees.David resettled in the U.S. in 1980.He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.David began his career at AT&T Bell Labs in New Jersey, designing industry’s first optical fiber-to-the-home product, where he received a patent.He moved to the Bay Area in 1990 and worked for telecom companies designing and managing successful products in the Digital Loop Carrier, DSL and VDSL areas. David was an engineering executive at Cerent in Petaluma, developing highly successful products in the optical networking arena; he worked for Cisco after Cisco acquired Cerent in 1999.Currently, David is CEO of Belwes LLC. David was a Trustee of Saint Mark’s Board for six years.He is also an active volunteer at a Cambodian orphanage.David lives in Tiburon with his wife, Yujing, and two sons, Jeffrey (Branson Class of 2012) and Victor (Branson Class of 2014).
Avid Modjtabai
Avid Modjtabai is Senior Executive Vice President, Consumer Lending for Wells Fargo & Company. A 21-year veteran of Wells Fargo, Avid has served in a number of leadership roles, including head of Technology and Operations, Chief Information Officer, Director of Human Resources and head of Internet Services Group. She was named as one of the “Most Powerful Women in Banking” and one of the “Top 25 Women to Watch” by U.S. Banker, one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business” by the San Francisco Business Times, and one of “The Innovators”by Bank Technology News. Additionally, she received the “Ellis Island Medal of Honor,” awarded for her outstanding personal and professional achievements, coupled with preserving the richness of her heritage.

As an active member of the community, Avid is an advisory member of the Columbia Business School Social Enterprise Program and Stanford Center on Longevity.

She received a B.S. in industrial engineering from Stanford University and an M.B.A. in finance from Columbia University. Avid lives with her husband, Hossein Namdar, in Kentfield. Their son Cyrus (Branson Class of 2013) is a sophomore at Connecticut College.
Kate Moore
Kate and her husband Loren live in Mill Valley and are the proud parents of two Branson alums, Kevin, Class of '93 and Allison, Class of '97. Kate received her B.A. in English from Wellesley College and her M.A. in Education from Stanford University. While at Stanford, Kate began her teaching, working in the San Francisco Unified School District. On completion of her graduate work, she moved to the central coast, again to teach in a large public school with an at-risk student population of English-language learners. Marriage took her to the L.A. area, where she began her independent school teaching at the then Harvard School for Boys. Thirteen years at Harvard offered Kate opportunities to hone her teaching skills and do extensive curriculum development in collaboration with Dr. Robert Archer and Philip Holmes. Returning to her Bay Area roots, she was fortunate to discover Branson and began teaching there in the fall of 1984. At Branson Kate taught English, chaired her department, facilitated WASC reports, and introduced the school's Lesson Study program through PETL, the Project for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
Bruce Raabe
Bruce lives in Kent Woodlands with his wife Sara Wardell-Smith and his step-son Benjamin (5). His son Jordan (Class of 2007) graduated from the Dodge College of Film at Chapman University and is now a budding cinematographer in Los Angeles. His daughter Brooke (Class of 2014) now attends U. C. Davis.
Bruce is the President of Relevant Wealth Advisors. Bruce's tenure includes over twenty years of honing and developing a consultative wealth management process for Bay Area high net-worth families and private foundations. Bruce received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Davis, and his M.B.A. in Finance from Golden Gate University. Bruce is a member of the Council on Foundations Philanthropic Advisory Network, The Marin Estate Planning Council, The Financial Planning Association, and the CFA Institute. Bruce has also served on the boards and committees for several Bay Area non-profit organizations (Buck Institute Advisory Council, Buckelew Programs, Family Service Agency of Marin, the Marin Valentine’s Ball, Sunny Hills Services, USF Center for Global Justice, and HelpMarin.org). As an accomplished pilot, scuba diver, and cyclist, Bruce enjoys the adventures offered by the great outdoors.
Jani Ross
Jani Ross earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and continued her graduate work at Mills College.Jani has taught at the middle school and high school levels in both public and independent schools in the Bay Area.Her administrative experience began at Mount Tamalpais School, Mill Valley, and continued for nine years at the Branson School where she was Associate Head, Acting Head and Director of Admission.

Jani leads the College Counseling department of McClure, Mallory, Baron and Ross.Her background in schools, especially high schools, and her understanding of the developmental stages of students help her demystify the college search process. Jani conducts workshops for parents and counselors and participates in professional development sessions for the Western Association of College Admission Counseling (WACAC).She sets time aside each year to visit college campuses. An important part of her practice is advising families of college bound students who have learning disabilities and/or ADHD.

Jani has volunteered as a WASC Visiting Committee Member and has done project work for the Buck Institute for Education, a subsidiary of the Buck Foundation.She is a member of HECA, WACAC and NACAC.She has served on the Board of Marin Montessori School, Saint Mark’s School and currently serves on the Board of Bridge the Gap College Prep in Marin City, CA.

She and her husband, Terry, live in Mill Valley where they raised their two children Dana Ross Rogers (Branson’95) and Daniel (Branson ’97).They have three grandchildren, Caroline (5) and Fletcher Rogers (3), and Emma Ross (3).
Semi Salmi
A native of Finland, Semi and his wife, Andrea, reside in San Rafael, CA and are parents of Ava (18, Branson senior), Otto (18, Branson senior), and Isabella (19, Branson class of 2013). Semi is a principal of SCS Advisors, Inc., a hotel investment firm that he co-founded in 1997. SCS, in partnership with private equity firms, has acquired 26 hotels and developed 3 hotels. In addition to its investment and development activities, SCS serves as an asset manager and currently oversees 18 hotels on behalf of various ownership groups. Prior to SCS, Semi was a vice president of JMB Realty Corporation, a graduate of the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, and attended high school at the American International School in Vienna, Austria.
Mary Sauer
Mary Sauer, a native of St. Louis, MO, attended Washington University where she earned a B.F.A.She later received an M.B.A. in finance and marketing from The Wharton School.Mary and her husband Bob Doris founded and ran Sonic Solutions, a public software company specializing in digital audio and video applications.Sonic was acquired in 2011, and Mary is now enrolled in a master’s degree program in humanities at Stanford.

Earlier in her career, Mary worked as the director of marketing of the Pixar group at Lucasfilm, and as a management consultant for Touche Ross and Arthur D. Little.Mary has served on the board of the Mount Tamalpais School in Mill Valley and as a trustee for the Buck Institute in Novato.

Mary and Bob are the parents of two daughters:Annie, a sophomore at Branson, and Clare, who is deceased.The Sauer-Doris family enjoys sailing and has sailed the eastern coast of the US and Canada and more than a dozen countries in the Mediterranean, Baltic, and Caribbean seas.
Greg Swart
Greg Swart has served as Chief Financial Officer of Farallon Capital Management, LLC since 2002.Prior to joining Farallon, Greg worked at Goldman Sachs for twelve years, primarily based in the Cayman Islands where he managed a business unit providing accounting and administration services to hedge funds.Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Greg worked for six years at Ernst & Young in his native New Zealand.Greg graduated with a diploma in Business Studies from Waikato Institute of Technology, and has been a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand since 1989.

Greg & his wife Ann live in Tiburon with their 4 children: Simon ’13, Jane ’14, David ‘17 and Kate who is in the 8th grade at MCDS.
Kareem Weaver '90
Kareem has worked to uplift youth through education. He has served as an urban educator who excelled at moving underserved and under-skilled students into academic proficiency. After completing undergraduate work at Morehouse College and his graduate work at the University of South Carolina, Kareem joined Teach for America and received Oakland’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 2001.

He trained to be a principal through New Leaders for New Schools and accepted the challenge of leading one of the worst schools in California and turning it into a successful STEM school. Within three years, student proficiency in science went from 14% to 81% and Kareem was given the 2011 OUSD Educational Leadership Award for his work as a principal. He now serves as New Leaders for New Schools’ Executive Director in the Bay Area where he is expanding educational opportunities for students living in poverty by recruiting and training transformational school leaders for high-needs schools.

His community organizing has helped to bridge the cultural, ideological, and political divides between traditional civil rights groups and education reform efforts. He and his wife, Amy, have three children.
Ellyn Weisel
Ellyn Weisel is a native of New Hampshire. She received her B.A. from Colby College. Ellyn and her husband Brett live in San Rafael with their three children Ben ’17 and 13-year olds girls Anna and Hailey.

Ellyn, a nonprofit consultant currently working for the DripDrop Foundation, has extensive experience in helping mission-driven organizations design and execute a comprehensive and sustainable fundraising strategy.Ellyn was the Chief Development Officer at 10,000 Degrees from May 2012-May 2014.Before working at 10,000 Degrees, Ellyn served as Vice President of Development at Common Sense Media for five years. She began her professional career at International Management Group (IMG), a worldwide leader in sports and entertainment events marketing and management, talent representation, and production. While at IMG, she worked in corporate consulting and was Vice President of that group.

Ellyn is actively involved in non-profit work. From 1995-1999 she served on the Board of Sportsbridge, a mentoring program for underserved middle-school girls in San Francisco. From 1998-2009, Ellyn served on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco (BGCSF), one of the largest providers of services to at-risk youth in the Bay Area. She was Chair of the Marketing Committee from 2000-2003 and Chair of the Board from 2004-2006. Ellyn served on the Board of Trustees of Marin Country Day School from 2006-2012 and Board of Trustees of Holderness School in Plymouth, NH from 2010-2013. She currently serves as Chair of the Holderness Fund and recently joined the board of Common Sense Media.

Trustees Emeriti

Inducted 2005:
Dick Barker
Larry Mindel
Lois Tukman