Our hard working team is drawn from all over the Goleta Valley 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
Dolores Inés Casillas
Brady M. Bustany joined the Goleta Education Foundation Board in 2015, and he and his wife Sydney have two sons who attended Hollister Elementary School.
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 several 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.
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 Grants. 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 School on Wheels to tutor students experiencing homelessness and at 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.
Blair is a working artist, musician and experienced educator who 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, its 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.
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.
Daalia Refaat is a lawyer with 20+ years of experience in all areas of corporate, employment, and business law. She began her legal career in London as an associate in the U.S. capital markets group of an international law firm. After returning to California, Daalia held positions with a number of local Santa Barbara law firms and with Citrix (now LogMeIn). She is currently Senior Legal Counsel at Deckers Outdoor Corporation.
Daalia earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Religious Studies from UCSB and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington DC. In addition to serving on CALM’s board, she has served as a board member for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation.
In her free time, you’ll find Daalia out running on the bluffs or spending time outdoors with her two very active boys.
Dolores Inés Casillas
Dolores Inés Casillas is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano
Studies and Director of the Chicano Studies Institute at the University of California, Santa
Barbara (UCSB). She is also affiliated faculty with Film & Media Studies; Center for Information,
Technology and Society (CITS); Latin American Studies; and Applied Linguistics. She has done
extensive research and community work on promoting academic achievement among Latina/o
youth and supporting college pathways for them.
Her research focuses on immigrant engagement with U.S. Spanish-language and bilingual
media. She is the author of Sounds of Belonging: U.S. Spanish-language Radio and Public
Advocacy (NYU Press, 2014), which received two book prizes, and co-editor with María Elena
Cepeda (Williams College) of the Companion to Latina/o Media Studies (Routledge Press,
2016) and co-editor with Mary Bucholtz and Jin Sook Lee (UC Santa Barbara) of Feeling It:
Language, Race and Affect in Latinx Youth Learning (Routledge Press, 2018).
For the past ten years, Prof. Casillas has been a part of a collaborative, community-based
research project with two UCSB colleagues, Professors Mary Bucholtz (Linguistics) and Jin
Sook Lee (Education). Together, they co-direct a multi-sited study about language, race, and
youth with predominantly Latina/o students. Known as School Kids Investigating Language in
Life and Society (SKILLS), students learn how to use the tools of language analysis to carry out
original research and community action projects on language in their lives. SKILLS combines
research, academic training, and activism by bringing together UCSB undergraduate students
as mentors, UCSB graduate students as instructors, and school teachers as research partners.
SKILLS offers the only Linguistics-based K-12 curriculum in California.
Prof. Casillas is also a Board Member of Adelante Charter School, the only dual-language
(Spanish-English) K-6 elementary school in Santa Barbara. She has volunteered for the
She credits her two energetic boys, ages 8 and 12, for her love of coffee and basketball. She is
married to Dr. Andrew Csordás.
Matt is a Santa Barbara native who previously worked for Vons and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. Currently, he works for Walpole as a CPA. Matt specializes in individual tax preparation, with knowledge of accounting for businesses.
Matt and his wife are parents to four small children so he is accustomed to little sleep, which is perfect for tax season! Weekends are spent with family enjoying the beach, pool, park, and downtown areas.
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 over 30 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 the Goleta Union School District. Felicia became involved with the Goleta Education Foundation as a volunteer as part of the 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 since then.
Felicia became a Board member because she truly believes in the foundation’s mission of supporting all of Goleta’s school children. Over the last several 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.
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
- Julie Bolton, Principal of Brandon
- Amanda Martinez, Principal of El Camino
- Ned Schoenwetter, Principal of Ellwood
- Abby Vasquez, Principal of Hollister
- Lorena Reyes, Principal of Isla Vista
- Regina Davis, Principal of Kellogg
- Celeste Darga, Principal of La Patera
- Joanna Lauer, Principal of Mountain View
The Goleta Education Foundation, in collaboration with the advisory board, continues to be a key support for Goleta Valley schools.