Board of Directors

Our Board is comprised of dynamic business, education, and community leaders who generously volunteer their time and expertise to guide Education Alliance in its mission. Three permanent members include the Superintendent of the Washoe County School District, and both Presidents of the University of Nevada, Reno, and Truckee Meadows Community College. We are thankful for our Board’s 100 percent financial support!


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Traci Davis
WCSD Superintendent
Marc Johnson, Ph.D.
UNR President
Karin Hilgersom, Ph.D.
TMCC President
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Executive Board

Alex Woodley
Acting President
City of Reno
Customer & Code Enforcement Services Manager
 Dave Bianchi
Northwestern Mutual
Senior Financial Representative
Nanette Quitt
NV Energy
Northern Nevada Labor Relations Manager
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Mariluz Garcia
Dean’s Future Scholars Director
Darcy Marud
Yamana Gold
Executive Vice President of Enterprise Strategy
J. Kyle Dalpe
TMCC Designee
Interim Dean of
Technical Sciences
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Joe Cline
UNR Designee
Vice-Provost of
Undergraduate Education
David Lasic
WCSD Designee
WCSD Chief of Staff
Kendall Inskip
Executive Director
Education Alliance
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Board of Directors

Natha Anderson Melissa Burnham Bill Cathey David Dehls
Mariah Evans Kris Layman Mindy Lokshin Susan Mayes-Smith
Chris Morgan Ben Rogers Michelle Sanchez-Bickley Bonnie Saviers
Eric Scheetz John Slaughter Dena Strotman

 B C D E G H J L M Q R S W



Dave Bianchi

dave_bianchiMr. Bianchi, a second generation Nevadan, currently serves as a Financial Advisor at Northwestern Mutual. He earned his finance degree at University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and has a strong commitment to the community as a founding president of the Boys and Girls Club and help found Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful. With a wife as a retired educator, a daughter who is a principal, and two grandsons in the Washoe County School system, Bianchi knows the importance of a quality and engaged educational system.

A teacher that inspired him: I was inspired in high school by two teachers, one of English and the other of Government, who made learning fun. The Education Alliance provides an opportunity to make a difference in the educational life of our community.

Melissa Burnham, Ph.D.

P-MelissaBurnham0645smDr. Melissa Burnham is the Associate Dean for the College of Education and a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and Early Childhood Education. Dr. Burnham obtained her Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of California, Davis.

Most memorable experience as a volunteer in education: Being involved directly with students and teachers by volunteering in my son’s classrooms throughout his education in the district


Bill Cathey, Ph.D.

billcatheyDr. Cathey started his professional career as a physics faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno 1967 and retired as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Programs and Professor of Physics in 2013. Professor Cathey’s research was related to the electronic structure of metals and alloys, including alloys that absorb large amounts of hydrogen. His teaching experience included introductory through graduate-level physics as well as interdisciplinary courses and lectures on the history and social impact of the automobile. Cathey holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics, University of Tennessee, a Master’s of Science in Physics, University of Tennessee; and Ph.D. in Physics, University of Tennessee.

Joe Cline, Ph.D.

joeclineDr. Cline is professor of chemistry and vice provost for undergraduate education at the University of Nevada, Reno. As vice provost, Cline oversees University assessment and accreditation, the development of academic curricula, and the periodic review of all instructional programs. The Advising, Writing, Math, and Tutoring Centers, the Honors Program, the Intensive English Language Center, Service Learning, and the Core Curriculum report to the vice provost for undergraduate education.

Dr. Cline earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at the University of Virginia and a Doctorate in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. As professor of chemistry, Cline’s expertise is in molecular spectroscopy and dynamics and he has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate researchers in his research activities


J. Kyle Dalpe, Ph.D.

Dalpe_1011_mm_crpKyle Dalpe, Ph.D. has worked at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) since 2002, currently serving as the interim dean of technical sciences. From 2013-2016 he held the position of chief of staff and associate dean. In spring 2016, he served as Acting President during a transitional time in college leadership. He previously served as the director of the institutional advancement and public information offices.

Prior to joining TMCC, he was the director of marketing and public information at Mohave Community College in Kingman, Arizona; coordinator of university publications at the University of Texas at Tyler; and an instructor and photographer at Kilgore Junior College in Texas. Dalpe also teaches graduate classes in educational leadership at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Dalpe earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in photojournalism from the University of Connecticut, a Master of Arts in journalism/speech/political science from the University of Texas at Tyler, and a Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership from UNR.

Kyle’s most memorable experiences as a volunteer in education: My fondest memories are from commencement ceremonies. That’s when we see all of the students’ accomplishments come together as they move to the next step.

Traci Davis

TD1As the Superintendent of the second largest school district in Nevada, Ms. Davis oversees the day-to-day activities of the district. Prior to her current role, she served as WCSD deputy superintendent. As a native Nevadan, Davis is committed to closing all achievement gaps for students with her motto “Achievement is not a place, it is a belief!” She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and master’s degree of Education from Lesley University.


David Dehls

David currently services as a CB Service Delivery Manager for Charter Business Solutions. David’s commitment to our community runs strong with his board positions at KNPB and the Reno Lions Club.


Mariah Evans

Dr. Evans is a Professor in the Department of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), Coordinator of the Applied Statistics Program (APST), faculty member of the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station, and faculty member of the Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. Program at UNR. Dr. Evans received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. Before joining the University of Nevada, Reno in 2006, Dr. Evans was Senior Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Evans has written many journal articles on how and why children succeed in education, most notably on the influence of books and reading.


Mariluz Garcia

mariluz_garciaMs. Garcia currently serves as the Director for the Dean’s Future Scholars program at UNR. In her role, Garcia works with low-income, first-generation college students in a variety of settings to focus students on achieving college success. She earned her master’s degree in School Counseling from the University of Nevada, Reno, and is currently working on her doctorate in Equity & Diversity.

Most memorable experience as a volunteer in education: Volunteering for the AmeriCorps program for one year in Longmont, Colorado.


Karen Hilgersom, Ph.D.

khilgersom-prez-300x400Prior to joining Truckee Meadows Community College, Dr. Hilgersom served as the president of Sullivan County Community College, SUNY Sullivan, in Loch Sheldrake, New York. Dr. Hilgersom earned her master’s degree in Rhetoric and Communication at and a doctorate in Educational Policy and Management from the University of Oregon. She began her community college career as a faculty member in 1986, which included full-time faculty and chair experience at Spokane Community College in the Communication Studies department.



Marc Johnson, Ph.D.

Johnson-VerticalDr. Johnson’s tenure as president of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) has been marked by record student enrollment and academic achievement, advancement of the University’s research and innovation agenda and a deep commitment to partnering with the state of Nevada and its communities to further business, industry and economic diversification.

A career as a faculty member, researcher and administrator – including roles at several notable land-grant universities – led Dr. Johnson to the University, where he was named the institution’s 16th president in April 2012.

Prior to joining UNR, Dr. Johnson was dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University. Johnson received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Emporia State University, a master’s degree in international development from North Carolina State University, a master’s degree in economics from Michigan State University, and a doctorate of agricultural economics from Michigan State.



David Lasic

davidlasicMr. Lasic currently serves as the Chief of Staff for the Washoe County School District. In this capacity, Mr. Lasic is responsible for the coordination of resources to schools and departments in order to make sure the goals of the District’s Strategic Plan Envision WCSD 2020 are met. Working in collaboration with Academics and Operations, the Chief of Staff assists other departments with communication between the Leadership Team, Superintendent, and Board of Trustees. Lasic holds a bachelor’s degree from Regis University of Colorado and a master’s degree from National University of California.


Darcy Marud

darcymarudMr. Marud currently serves as the Executive Vice President, Enterprise Strategy for Yamana Gold. Prior to his current role, he held the position of Vice-President of Exploration for Meridian from 2004 and the position of exploration manager for South America from 1997. Mr. Marud has a combined 27 years of experience as a gold exploration geologist in the Americas with companies such as Homestake, FMC Gold Company and Meridian Gold Inc.


Chris Morgan

Chris 201303 - Portrait 1 - 8x10 SmallMr. Morgan currently leads the Mobile Lab Program for Deloitte’s Leadership Center for Clients in the United States. In the Lab, He applies design thinking and research-based content to create immersive, interactive facilitated sessions to help teams achieve breakthrough solutions to their most complex strategic and adaptive challenges. Mr. Morgan has accelerated the performance of over a hundred teams from around the U.S., Canada, Europe, Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, and India. Mr. Morgan completed his undergraduate studies in economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Institut d’Etudes Politique in Grenoble, France and his master’s degree from the Haas School at the University of California, Berkeley.

Early education included a deep appreciation of the book, “Where The Wild Things Are” which fed his imagination and gratitude for home.


Nanette Quitt

nanette_quittMs. Quitt has more than 15 years’ experience in Human Resources management with a comprehensive resume comprised of work in the private and public sectors, technology, utilities and healthcare industries. In her positions, she has overseen a variety of key Human Resources functions including recruitment and employment; training and development; risk and compliance; workers compensation, compensation and benefit programs; and labor and employee relations. Quitt earned her bachelor’s degree from Oregon Institute of Technology, is a Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and holds her Senior Professional in Human Resources Credential (SHRM-SCP)

A teacher that inspired her: My middle school English teacher who inspired and continues to inspire me today – She recognized my unique perspectives, curious personality and afforded me opportunities to take risks while being supported and encouraged!


Ben Rogers

rogers_1Mr. Rogers has worked as a business analyst, a newspaper reporter, a teacher, and a scientist at various labs, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Since 2004, he has been the Principal Engineer at NevadaNano. Ben is an accomplished author, including The Flamer (Aqueous Books), Nanotechnology: Understanding Small Systems (CRC Press), the first-ever comprehensive college textbook on nanotechnology, and Nanotechnology: The Whole Story (CRC Press). Both his bachelor and master’s degrees are from the University of Nevada, Reno.

A teacher that inspired him: I had an English teacher my senior year of high school — he stood six foot six, had a big mustache.  He was born in China to Russian emigrants. He’d played forward in the NBA for a decade, during which he once held the league record for fouls.  He later became a poet and an English teacher, where in the late 90’s he could be found looming over the desk of a young and impressionable Ben Rogers while reciting for the class, in his booming voice:      
WHENAS in silks my Julia goes      
Then, then (methinks) how sweetly flows      
That liquefaction of her clothes.


Michelle Sanchez-Bickley

Sanchez-Bickley-0008_mm_fl_CroppedMs. Sanchez-Bickley joined Renown Health in 2002 and has been the vice president of Human Resources since 2008. She has more than 20 years of HR leadership experience and 14 years have been in healthcare. Prior to joining Renown, Michelle was living in the San Francisco Bay Area and worked in consulting and financial service industries. With a bachelor’s degree in political science and justice studies from Frostburg State University in Maryland, Michelle earned her Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development from Georgia State University in Georgia. She is a certified senior professional in human resources (SPHR) and a Senior Professional Human Resources Credential (SHRM-SCP).

A teacher that inspired her: There have been several teachers that have inspired me throughout the years, but the very first one I remember well was my first grade teacher who always greeted each student every day with a smile, and told us we could do anything we put our minds to.

Bonnie Saviers

bonniesaviersMs. Saviers has been a freelance writer and editor for the past four years, following a career in public relations and communications. She previously worked for Washoe County Library System, Washoe County School District, Sierra Pacific Power Company and the MGM Grand Hotel-Reno. She holds bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and has completed numerous graduate courses in Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.

She has lived in Reno since 1972 and has been a member of the Public Relations Society of America, Sierra Nevada Chapter, and International Association of Business Communicators, Silver State Chapter. Ms. Saviers is a past board member of Truckee Meadows Tomorrow and is currently on the board of directors of the Northern Nevada Literacy Council. In addition, she volunteers for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and at the Brown Elementary School library.

A teacher that inspired her: My fifth grade teacher — I was a quiet, shy child and she took me under her wing and made me feel stronger and more confident. After my family moved to another state the following summer, she and I stayed in touch through letter writing and that helped me though a rather difficult transition to sixth grade in a new school.

John Slaughter

johnslaughterAs Washoe County Manager, Mr. Slaughter serves as liaison between the Board of County Commissioners and elected and appointed department directors, governmental jurisdictions, community and business groups, employees, and county customers. He also oversees the Manager’s Office, which facilitates presentation of issues to the Board for their consideration and ensures effective implementation of direction given by the BCC. The Manager’s Office also houses the Communications division, Internal Audit division, and Management Services division. Slaughter holds a bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University and a master’s degree from the University of Kansas. He has also received the Continuing Education Certificate in Public Management from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Dena Strotman

Headshot_IMG_2922Ms. Strotman currently serves as the Director of Human Resources for Port of Subs. In her role she has responsibility for managing human resources functions for all restaurants/operations, covering eight states and 130+ restaurant locations. She holds a bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University and holds a professional human resources certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

A teacher that inspired me was known as the toughest, most demanding teacher in the school. I begged my parents to help me change teachers – they didn’t. He pushed me and others in his class harder than any other – a total mind trick, yielding positive results. He was able to make me believe more in me than I saw in myself.


 Alex Woodley

Alex Carlos Woodley has worked at the City of Reno since 2004, currently serving as the Code Enforcement Manager. He has served in many different capacities for the City as the Downtown Revitalization Manager, Customer Services Manager, and Acting Community Development Director. Prior to his 20 years in municipal service he served in the United States Marine Corps during Desert Storm as a Sergeant. He is a first-generation college graduate (Nevada) who attended public schools in The Bronx.
My fondest memories as a volunteer in education is when I speak to young Latinos and African Americans and have the privilege to share my experience of growing up in the projects, attending public school, being raised by a single grandparent in poverty, and yet able to become a professional, working in government and I get to show them how important education is and how anything is possible with the proper education.


Education Alliance