Who We Are
MEF is run by a Board of Directors that is comprised of dedicated parent and community volunteers with professional experience in a variety of areas, including fundraising, finance, business, education, and marketing.
MEF Board Members are strong supporters of all schools in the Martinez Unified School District (MUSD), and understand that a public education is free, but a great education is not. The MEF Grant Program was established to fund requests from educators for the benefit of our MUSD students. MEF Board Members are proud to subsidize the huge gap in state funding necessary to guarantee our students quality programs and services.
Rochelle is a long time Martinez resident and her two young adult children are alums of Morello Park, Martinez Junior High School (MJHS), and Alhambra High School. She worked for over 25 years in Brokerage Operations and Institutional investments and was Managing Director of Investment Operations with global responsibilities until she retired to begin an “encore career” as the owner of her own personal training business. Rochelle became an MEF Board Member in 2015 and has volunteered on the Outreach, Grant, and Marketing/Public Relations Committees. She has also served as both the MEF Vice President and President. Rochelle believes in supporting grants for alternative classroom furniture and funding such items as Hokki Stools, a creative seat for those having a challenging time sitting still, as they enable students to focus and achieve their full potential. Rochelle is also proud that MEF has funded grant requests for the MJHS Robotics Program and is excited that it teaches students about technology, coding, and process development.
Cheryl graduated from the University of the Pacific and has been a Martinez resident for 28 years. After a career in management and personnel, she found her calling as a volunteer, serving on the boards of Buena Vista Auxiliary of Assistance League of Diablo Valley, Pleasant Hill Aquatics, and the Morello Park and Martinez Junior High School PTAs. Cheryl is also a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and a CASA Team Leader. She is passionate about enhancing the educational experiences of our Martinez students and became a MEF Board member in 2009. Cheryl has served the Foundation as Recording Secretary, Vice President and President. She has been involved with the Martinez Unified School District as a Para Educator, and a committee member of the Local Control Accountability Plan, Curriculum Advisory Council, Alhambra High School WASC, three different school Site Councils, and AHS Grad Night. Cheryl is honored to be a member of MEF, a non-profit, all volunteer organization, that, since 1986, has funded educator grant requests totaling over $3.3 million – all for the benefit of our Martinez Unified School District students.
Bobbi is a 43-year Martinez resident with a degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Southeast Missouri State University and a Master’s in Education Leadership from Cal State East Bay. Bobbi taught for 22 years in the Martinez Unified School District (MUSD) and then went into administration for Benicia schools. She first became active with MEF in 2015 as the MUSD School Board Liaison, and after leaving the school board, continued volunteering with the education foundation because she valued its dedication to making our schools better. It gives Bobbi great pleasure to see the teachers in MUSD receive financial help to make their classrooms a special learning environment for their students. Bobbi believes that providing funds for technology, books, furniture, and experiences, all help MEF create dream classrooms.
Phil served for six years in the United States Air Force, and along with many medals, awards, and citations he also received an honorable discharge. He has a degree in Organizational Development from the University of San Francisco and has been employed for 15 years with a financial services/business consulting firm as their Chief Operations Officer and Senior Consultant. Phil joined the MEF board in 2021 and comes with a variety of previous volunteer experience, including: Hospice of the East Bay as a Family Support Specialist, Commissioner for the City of Martinez Veteran’s Commission, and a member of Alhambra High School (AHS) Boosters and Grad Night committees. He was also a member of the Morello Park Elementary Parent Educator Program (PEP) and has coached a number of youth sports teams. Phil is excited to work with MEF to support students and teachers by providing the necessary tools and equipment for the most enhanced learning environment.
Dr. Julie Synyard
Julie has been working with MEF since October 2020 when she started as the new Superintendent of Schools. This is her 21st year in education, with prior experience as a para-educator, teacher, assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent of educational services. Julie attended UC San Diego, San Francisco State University, St. Mary’s College, and the University of Southern California. She has been married for 18 years and has one son who is 9 years old. Julie is grateful that the MEF Grant Program helps to enrich our students’ academic experiences and appreciates the opportunities that are afforded to enhance experiential learning, expand resources in the classroom, and promote academic and social-emotional growth.
Jenn Zauner Clauson
Jenn is a graduate of Tufts University and has an MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Jenn is a Marketing & Customer Engagement leader with over 15 years of experience helping companies leverage data and technology to drive demand and deliver great customer experiences. A believer in philanthropy, she has served on the board of Planned Parenthood Northern California and became an MEF Board Member in 2005. Jenn has served on a variety of foundation committees, including Marketing/Public Relations, Website, Community Outreach, and the Run for Education Family Fun Night. She is passionate about raising the visibility of MEF in our community and continues to be impressed with the support our community gives to education. The more people understand how MEF supports our schools, the more we can do to directly impact our student’s education and future, as well as the future of Martinez.
John is a 20-year resident of Martinez and his two children have attended local schools since their kindergarten days. John is an attorney practicing in medical malpractice defense. He is an active volunteer, serving on his high school alumni board, his church council, and on committees for professional attorney groups. John joined the MEF Board in 2015 and believes the MEF grants supporting classroom technology, the dramatic arts, and music are extremely beneficial to our schools and it’s these programs where we most easily see student progress.
Jack retired from the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office after 30 years working as a trial lawyer and managing attorney. He has lived in Martinez since 1982 and is an active member of the Executive Board of the Retiree Support Group of Contra Costa County, working to protect the benefits of retired public servants. Jack joined the MEF Board in 2011 and has been the Race Director for the Annual MEF Run for Education since 2012, though his wife and daughter have been participating in the Run for years before that. Jack comes to MEF believing that spending our community resources on helping today’s young people succeed will save all of us from having to spend much more in the future were they to fail.
Dylan is a life-long Martinez resident who attended Martinez Unified School District (MUSD) schools, graduating from Alhambra High School in 1989. Dylan is employed by Contra Costa County as a Deputy County Counsel and serves on the City of Martinez’s Park, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission. He has been a member of the Martinez Education Foundation for over 15 years, serving on finance and fundraising committees. As a parent of school aged children (13 and 8), he has seen how the MEF Grant Program benefits all students by providing much needed resources directly to the classrooms. He looks forward to growing MEF’s donor base so that MEF can continue to support MUSD and all the students throughout the district.
Carol joined the MEF Board in 2020 soon after retiring from Chevron. During her 35-year career with the company, she managed local and global education partnership programs as well as Chevron’s giving, matching and volunteer program for U.S. employees and retirees. In 1993, she established Chevron’s first education partnership initiative with Martinez Unified, Mt. Diablo Unified, San Ramon Valley Unified and Walnut Creek School District involving thousands of volunteer hours and annual classroom grants. She has lived in Martinez for 30 years with her husband Gary and daughter Erin. As a parent to a MUSD student, she has been an active volunteer at Morello Park Elementary, served on the Morello Park PTA and was a member of MUSD’s first Technology Committee. Carol is immensely proud of the work MEF does to enhance student learning in Reading, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) and Music.
Mike graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree from University of Nevada-Reno and worked for the Shell Martinez Refinery for over 30 years. He is now employed by the Martinez Refining Company and is a former Martinez Citizen of the Year. Mike has served on a variety of committees for the Martinez Unified School District and volunteers with Main Street Martinez. He serves on the MEF Finance Committee and the Run for Education Committee. Mike believes that supporting grant requests for robotics inspire a student’s curiosity, creativity, and invention through connected play and coding.
Anne grew up in Martinez and is a proud alum of John Swett Elementary, the Martinez Junior High School (MJHS), and Alhambra High School. Anne taught English and Yearbook at MJHS from 2012-2019. Anne served on the board of Creative Play Center and joined the MEF Board in 2019. As a parent of a Las Juntas student, Anne is especially proud of the work MEF does to get students and teachers the resources they need to make Martinez schools awesome.
Martha has been a Martinez resident for 34 years and for 21 years was employed by the Martinez Unified School District as an Alhambra High School Technology Specialist. Martha has volunteered with the PTA, Alhambra High School Athletic Boosters, and joined the MEF Board in 2017. As the MEF Grants Chairperson, Martha is especially proud that since 1986, MEF has contributed over $1.3 million in support of Martinez Unified School District technology grants.
Shannon graduated from St. Mary’s College and has been employed for more than 30 years as an administrative assistant and office manager. Shannon has been a board member for the Martinez Pee Wee Baseball and Martinez Little League and joined our MEF board in 2016. She is an enthusiastic volunteer and after the 2017 Sonoma fires, helped at the Bodega Bay Shelter and Information Center. Additionally, Shannon has raised funds for local food banks, underprivileged Oakland schools, and the Martinez Education Foundation. Shannon is proud that the MEF Grant Program supports the Martinez Unified School District and improves the classroom experience for all our Martinez students.
Leslie is a 22-year Martinez resident with two (now young adult) children who matriculated through the Martinez Unified School District and now enjoy very successful careers because of it. Prior to joining MEF, Leslie served on the PTA of Morello Park Elementary for six years in various capacities, including chairing their biggest annual fundraising event. She was the Director of the “Parent Educator Program (PEP)” at Morello Park for five years, leading a team of volunteer parents in teaching resiliency skills once per week to students in grades 3-5. And it was through her time volunteering on the Alhambra High School “Grad Night” committee (serving as Chair for two years) that she gained an appreciation for the lasting power a unique and robust educational experience can have on both students and teachers. An experience that can be made richer with the support of volunteer hours and MEF grants. Countless MUSD graduates over the years come back to Martinez and share their gratitude and special memories around the incredible support and life preparation provided by our programs, teachers and volunteers. Leslie graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Business Administration degree, and received an MBA in Organizational Development from Golden Gate University. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources, and is currently the Onboarding and Transitions Leader for Ernst & Young LLP’s West Region. Leslie is excited to bring her experience and passion around diversity, inclusiveness and communications to MEF as it continues to support the long tradition of learning excellence in Martinez.