Educate Our State is a grassroots, parent-led organization educating and uniting Californians to advocate for
systemic change that will provide all students with a high-quality public education. Add your voice now!

Board of Directors

The Educate Our State Leadership Center Board of Directors is committed to supporting leaders across the state to improve public education in their communities. We share a common passion: to make the education system in California better for all kids.

Katherine_1_-_Copy.jpgKatherine Welch, Chair (Piedmont)

Katherine is galvanized by the message and the approach of Educate Our State, and first joined the board in 2011. She served on the board of Gateway Public Schools in San Francisco from 2008-2014 and also on the board of Head Royce School in Oakland. Most recently she chaired Delaine Eastin's campaign for Governor in 2016-18. She has a diverse business background with experience in corporate finance, venture capital, non-profit education and general business management and operations. Katherine has been actively involved as a volunteer in the non-profit sector for over 20 years in many capacities. After a tireless effort to raise funds for her children’s public school district several years ago, she realized that, more than ever, systemic change in California’s public education system is the only solution for our children – and parents are the best messengers for that change. Katherine graduated with an MBA from Harvard University and a BA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University.

Kilty Belt-Vahle (San Francisco)

Kilty Belt-Vahle (San Francisco)

Kilty is an advocate for progressive causes. While signing online petitions for every possible progressive cause, wishing to effect change, she became aware of the power of the petition. With two children in public elementary school in the Mission, the need to better fund the schools became personal. Thus she became lead to Educate our State, and presented this need before the SFUSD Board for the Educate Our State Initiative in 2014. She also volunteered for No on Prop 2 in 2014. Using the Spanish she learned while living in Spainperiodically over 20 years, she reached out to the Latino community, educating her school community, friends and neighbors about the urgent need for policies that fund our schools. Her interest and activities in social justice reach back to her undergraduate days. She studied and wrote about the socio-political artists of history to earn a BA in Art History at the College of Wooster in Ohio, while she was promoting whistle-blowing movies and canvasing for women’s health care rights in her extra-curricular hours.

Hope Wedemeyer Salzer

Hope Wedemeyer Salzer (Piedmont)

Hope Wedemeyer Salzer Hope's steadfast vision is to restore California's public education system to its position of national prominenceafter decades of passive neglect.  As President of her local League of Women Voters, she is committed to delivering robust voter education to motivate voters to confidently participate in democratically-driven change. Moreover, Hope perceives public education to be the link to improving our economy and society noting that education generally correlates directly with better health, environmental stewardship, and self-sufficiency.  Hope's two children participate in the California public school system where she has been a indefatigable andubiquitous volunteer and activist since 2009.   She received her B.A.  from Wesleyan University and, prior to motherhood, developed professional skills with a career in Management Consulting and Direct Marketing mostly for Fortune 100 Companies in the financial services, communications and healthcare industries.


Ruth Burton, Secretary (Bakersfield)

Ruth was born and raised in Honduras. She and her husband Bruce moved to Bakersfield twenty-five years ago, where she found her passion for teaching.  Ruth worked with migrant children in the rural areas of the southern San Joaquin Valley as a teacher, utilizing her bilingual teaching skills to offer new immigrants into the U.S. an education that included a great deal more than academics.  While any good teacher can attest to the energyrequired in a normal classroom, this migrant population also confronts the challenging issue of poverty, which requires a level of teacher commitment far and above a traditional school environment.  Ruth committed her heart and soul to this profession for almost 15 years and recently retired from the classroom.  She has four children: daughters Ruthie and Ana, both married with children and living in the bay area.  Ana is a teacher, and Ruthie is an Industrial Engineer.  Her son Danny, also married, after eight years in the Navy, lives in Los Angeles, and works for Wells Fargo. Her son James graduated from Haverford College and works for City Bank in South Africa. .  Ruth studied English in England, accounting in Honduras, and worked for almost a decade for the Central American Bank for Economical Integration.  She earned her Masters degree in Spanish language, literature and culture at UC Santa Barbara.c

Suzy Pak, Treasurer

Suzy Pak, Treasurer (Lafayette)

Suzy has a background of more than 19 years in asset management and is currently Client Service Manager for ClearBridge Investments, an equity manager of Legg Mason, Inc., with over $58 billion under management. She is a co-founder of Lafayette for Education, a group of concerned individuals whose focus is to identify, secure and support ongoing revenues for its school district. Suzy is an active community volunteer with service on the boards of the Junior League of San Francisco, the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center (SFCAPC), the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation, and the Springhill Elementary Parent Faculty Club. Suzy is a product of California public schools and wants to make sure her two daughters have the opportunity as well. She joins the Lafayette School Board in December 2014. She has a BA in Economics from UC Santa Cruz and an MBA from San Jose State University.

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published this page in ABOUT 2012-02-21 16:27:59 -0800