Our hard working team is drawn from all over Goleta and from many walks of life. What unites us and inspires us is an investment in our future through the support of excellence in education.
Board of Directors
Lisa Murphy Rivas
Elizabeth O’Black Gans
Lisa Murphy Rivas
Lisa Murphy Rivas is a dedicated mother, community volunteer and public outreach, government relations and nonprofit management professional.
Lisa was born and raised in Santa Barbara and left to attend CSU, Long Beach where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with an option in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. After 16 years in Los Angeles and Orange counties, she returned to Santa Barbara where she and her husband Noel Rivas are raising their sons; Ethan, an 8th grader at Santa Barbara Middle School and Kyle, a 6th grader at El Camino Elementary School.
She has nearly 30 years of experience in public outreach and government relations, in addition to extensive experience with nonprofit organization management.
She is principal at LMR Consulting.
Emily Izmirian has been involved with Goleta Education Foundation since 2008. Since becoming a board member, she has served on the Marketing and Governance committees and is currently involved with the Innovation Grant. She is the Volunteer Coordinator for GEF’s annual Lemon Run.
Emily has a bachelor’s degree in English and minor in Psychology from The George Washington University. She moved to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB for a Masters of Education in Teaching. While at UCSB, Emily was impressed by Goleta schools and decided she wanted to work for the Goleta Union School District. Currently, she teaches sixth grade at Brandon School. She is on the UTP-G negotiations team, collaborating with the district team. She is passionate about improving the education of all students in GUSD schools.
Additionally, Emily volunteers with Transition House by making lunches for residents and supporting their fundraising efforts. She donates time to Habitat for Humanity’s New Home Construction projects and their A Brush with Kindness program to complete small home improvement projects for low-income homeowners. She has supported after-school homework help programs at various schools and Santa Barbara Central Library.
Elizabeth O’Black Gans
Elizabeth O’Black Gans, Libby to most, holds a BS in geology from UC Santa Barbara, where, in addition to deepening her love of the outdoors and understanding of earth science, Libby learned the art of map making. Shortly after graduation, Libby started Gans Illustrations and began working on maps and scientific illustrations for publication, most recently co-authoring Roadside Geology of Southern California. While Libby’s main vocation of the last fifteen years has been raising a family, she is currently employed in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Santa Barbara City College, and continues to work on geologic maps and illustrations as projects arise. Additionally, Libby volunteers many hours at local schools and sports programs, and is involved in community bicycling advocacy and safety organizations, as well as sits on the board of GEF where she serves, among other capacities, as the Race Director for the Lemon Run. Between work responsibilities, you’ll find Libby on her bike, on a trail run, or enjoying family time.
Felicia Roggero received her BA from UCLA and her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Cal Lutheran. She has been an educator for the last twenty-nine years in the Santa Barbara area and has always had a passion for student learning . She is currently the principal of Foothill Elementary School which is part of Goleta Union School District. Felicia became involved with the Goleta Education Foundation as a volunteer eight years ago as part of their annual Lemon Run. The run is a great community event that initially supported the district’s music and physical education programs. As an administrator, she targeted these funds into her school’s band program to open opportunities for all students. GEF has evolved into much more in the last few years.
Felicia became a Board member because she truly believes in the foundation’s mission in supporting all of Goleta’s school children. Over the last eight years, she has served as principal in two very diverse school populations. She sees first hand the impact this organization has on the students and staff she works with daily. In her spare time, Felicia enjoys spending time with her family, especially watching her children play sports throughout the year. Both children are proud graduates of Goleta schools. She also loves taking hikes with her husband and dog in the beautiful hills overlooking the ocean. Felicia is grateful to be part of such a dedicated Board who truly believes in providing opportunities for all children.
Brady M. Bustany joined the Goleta Education Foundation Board in 2015 and he and his wife Sydney have two sons who attend Hollister Elementary School. Brady is the GEF Board Secretary and a member of the Governance Committee.
Brady was born and raised in Michigan, served for five years in the United States Air Force in Texas, Illinois, Louisiana, Germany and Iraq, and returned to Michigan to attend the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. After graduating, Brady worked for the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health department providing social services and support to adults with major mental illnesses.
Brady moved to California in 1998 to attend law school at UCLA, and practiced in both Los Angeles and Portland before settling in Santa Barbara in 2006. Brady is currently Senior Counsel at Yardi Systems, Inc., a software company headquartered in Goleta, where he has worked for the past five years. In addition to his work with GEF, Brady also serves on the Board of the University of Michigan Alumni Association’s Santa Barbara Spirit Group and is a past board member of the Santa Barbara Navy League.
Mark Jackson joined the Goleta Education Foundation Board in 2015. He works as a Certified Public Accountant at Walpole & Co., LLP., a CPA firm based in Goleta. He and his wife Kristin have one son and one daughter who attend Goleta schools. Born and raised in Nebraska, Mark moved to the Santa Barbara area in 1999 and graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics with an emphasis in Accounting.
Blair is a working artist, musician and experienced educator who recently retired from 12 years teaching music and art to Isla Vista School’s K-6 students. She is proud of the multi-discipline and multi-cultural curriculum she created, and the annual seminar she teaches for UCSB’s Masters of Ed program is based on it. In addition, Blair teaches summer arts classes for the Arts at Laguna summer arts camp. Blair also speaks fluent Spanish.
A street painter for 29 years, she has painted as far away as Japan. Blair is also a working public artist, with porcelain tile murals in Santa Barbara and painted murals in Isla Vista. Blair and her husband Tom were among the founding parents of Peabody Charter School in Santa Barbara where in 1993 they helped establish the “Splash Zone”, an indoor/outdoor ceramic studio still going strong today. Tom built it, and Blair received a three-year artist-in-residency grant from the California Arts Council whose focus was telling stories through clay.
Blair has served the community as a member of the GEF board since approximately 2007. She takes pride in the foundation’s community focus, it’s new organizational structure, greatly improved finances and clarity of mission. She enjoys applying her artistic talent at the Kid’s Art Table for the annual GEF Lemon Run fundraiser. “GEF is happening!” she says.
In addition to her service on the GEF board, Blair is currently the president of the Looker Foundation, a family foundation based in Los Angeles, founded in 1995.
Michael Parisse is a Goleta native (since the age of seven) with two children currently enrolled in Goleta schools. He has been involved in the Goleta Education Foundation since 2015 and has been an active student advocate at his children’s local school since his return to Goleta in 2012.
Michael is an Information Technology professional who has traveled the world installing IT systems, managing new hospitality builds and consulting with hospitality brands on their IT requirements. He can be found on his downtime watching football, enjoying the sun and collecting old IT equipment.
Dan joined the Goleta Education Foundation Board in 2018. He has worked for the University of California (UCSB and UCLA) since the early 90’s, currently serving as an Assistant Dean in the College of Letters & Science at UCSB. Dan also previously served as a Senior Program Officer and Student Aid Director with the Santa Barbara Foundation. He and his wife Lisa have one son who attends a Goleta school. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Dan and his family immigrated to Northern California where he stayed through high school. Dan moved to the Santa Barbara area to attend college and graduated from UC Santa Barbara, with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and CSU Northridge with a Master of Arts in Education Administration. As a lifelong proponent of education at all levels, Dan is committed to helping our community strengthen access to educational resources to support our many deserving and capable students.
Our Kids Are The Future of Goleta
The GEF board of directors has a non-voting advisory board to share information about various issues and programs that are aligned with our mission. Currently serving in an advisory capacity:
- Donna Lewis, GUSD Superintendent
- Sholeh Jahangir, GUSD Board Trustee
- Ryan Sparre, Principal of Brandon
- Sarah Bautista, Principal of El Camino
- Ned Schoenwetter, Principal of Ellwood
- Felicia Roggero, Principal of Foothill and Goleta Family School
- Elizabeth Blair, Interim Principal of Hollister
- Mary Kahn, Principal of Isla Vista
- Kim Bruzzese, Principal of Kellog
- Sonia DeHay, Principal of La Patera
- Abby Vasquez, Principal of Mountain View
The Goleta Education Foundation, in collaboration with the advisory board, will continue to be a key support for all Goleta schools to enhance the educational experience for all students.