Please see the four Board of Directors and Founders at the bottom of this page.
At Woodland Poly, our goal is to offer students (and their parents) an education that is both career technically oriented and college preparatory. We'll meet the needs of all students, whether they are college bound or seeking technical training, while providing them a safe learning environment. We believe children are “thirsty” for knowledge and that fostering their natural curiosity of the world allows them to develop needed life-long learning skills.
Woodland Poly provides students an expansive, rigorous academic and career-oriented education in a safe, small-class-size environment. College and career preparation is not mutually exclusive at Woodland Poly, as both build upon each other and create viable options after graduation for students.
The charter school's schedule will allow students to take courses at local community colleges and in an online setting. Students will engage in a course of study that blends career, high school and college academics, which will lead to multiple pathways after graduation. The culture of Woodland Poly is to promote 21st century workplace skills, civic responsibility and positive social behavior.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
After graduating from Woodland Senior High School in 1982, Gerry entered the United States Navy. Naval training included Nuclear Power Plant and Electrical Applications. After one tour of duty he returned to California and took a job with the local Chevrolet/Toyota dealership in Davis. Gerry fast tracked into management at that dealership and currently serves as corporate operations director for a group of seven dealerships including that Davis location. Gerry also owned and operated his own real estate brokerage in the Sacramento area for 4 years.
Within the automotive industry Gerry has extensive training with Toyota, General Motors, Nissan and Honda. He is currently learning the ways of Volkswagen and Subaru as well. Gerry has had experience with the automotive apprenticeship programs at American River College, Cosumnes River College, Universal Technical Institute and various manufacturer apprentice programs over the years. Gerry is a strong advocate for bringing back meaningful options for students to learn basic trade skills at the high school level in shop classes.
Gerry has been involved with Rotary International, Optimists and various other charitable organizations over the past 25 years.
Hello, my name is Gregory E. Driver; I go by Greg. I currently reside in Knights Landing —which is where I was born and raised — on a family farm. I have chosen to farm, making me the fifth generation, while raising a family of my own consisting of: 5 children — 3 sons and 2 daughters. One 26-year-old daughter recently graduated CSU Sacramento, one 23-year-old son recently graduated CSU Chico, an 18-year-old son and student-athlete is starting at Oklahoma State-Stillwater this summer and my youngest children are a 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. I am an active and engaged member in our community. Examples include: FFA, St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Holy Rosary School and Parish, sports programs and all extra-curricular activities offered to our youth. I have coached at both the high school and junior high levels. In addition, I have been a chairman on several boards and advisory committees. It should be noted, as well, that it is not just me actively supporting all of these entities, but my family and older children also have done, and still do, their part in helping the community. I would welcome the chance to better our current educational system here locally; especially in the realm of better preparing our students for citizenship and career/collegiate achievement.
Jennifer (Branigan) Zane was born and raised in Woodland, and graduated from Woodland High School in 1997. Jennifer graduated from CSU, Sacramento with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accountancy. Jennifer passed the CPA exam in 2001, and became licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in 2004 while working as a Tax Associate for KPMG, LLP in Sacramento. Her public accounting career also includes working as a Senior Tax Associate for Ullrich Delevati CPAs in Woodland.
Jennifer left public accounting in 2005 and converted her license to inactive status when she took a job as Accounting Manager for non-profit Families First, Inc. in Davis. Currently, she is employed as the internal accountant for Tower Investments, LLC in Woodland. Jennifer also held a real estate salesperson license from 2006-2010, and was a substitute teacher for Woodland Joint Unified School District in 2007. She and her husband, Eric, have two sons.
Rick Harrison is a long-time Woodland area business owner and resident who has repeatedly proven his dedication to the community and its schools. Rick earned a B.S. in Agricultural Management from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1981. Prior to that, he graduated from Woodland High School where he was active in FFA. His involvement with agriculture and FFA did not end there, though. Rick has judged student FFA project competition at the local level and is an Honorary Chapter Member of FFA, also receiving the Hometown Heroes award. He has served on the Agricultural Advisory Committee at Woodland High for more than a decade helping teachers create curriculum that will adequately prepare students with the skill and knowledge needed by businesses. The skills he began developing in high school and FFA helped prepare him to become a businessman within the community. He has been in the insurance business for 25 years and is a partner in InterWest Insurance Services. He has earned an Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI) and Agribusiness and Farm Insurance Specialist (AFIS) designations.
Rick’s business ventures are not limited to insurance. He is a partner in Pete’s Valley Cattle, which raises organic, grass fed cattle in California and is active in many ranching activities from pasture to market. He also helped form, and now serves on the Board of directors of Panorama Grass Fed Meats. Panorama is a company which markets organic and natural grass fed beef in the Western United States.
As a business owner, Rick prides himself on using that business to support community and youth. He has received numerous awards for his involvement and dedication to the community, both personally and in business. He regularly sponsors youth and local high school activities and was an assistant high school wrestling coach for two years. Rick advocates a balance between college preparatory curriculum and vocational skills.
Linda Henigan is a fourth generation Yolo County resident, whose family has always been involved in the business of agriculture. “My great-great uncle Byron Jackson invented the deep-well turbine centrifugal pump that are used all over the world, my great-great-grandfather won a gold medal for his Yolo County grapes at the State Fair in 1889, my great grandfather was one of the first settlers to farm Yolo County Spanish Land Grant acres beginning in 1859, and my grandfather was a dairyman and president of the Yolo County Farm Bureau. I feel very fortunate to have grown up in Yolo County and to be part of an industry that takes care of the land and feeds the world.”
Steve Marks, Jr.
Steve Marks, Jr.'s family has resided in Woodland since the 1940s. Mr. Marks graduated from Woodland High School in 1982 and began helping children in 1984. During the summers of college at U.C. Santa Barbara (UCSB), Mr. Marks worked for VisionQuest (www.vq.com), a national company that rehabilitates delinquent youth. For three summers, Mr. Marks lived with and cared for delinquent youth 24 hours a day/5 days a week in VisionQuest programs that included wagon trains, wilderness camps, back country quests and cross-country bike tours.
Sara Garcia-Marks has been working with children for more than 15 years. She has coached at the junior college, high school and club volleyball levels. Currently, she is the executive director of Dynamix Volleyball Club which is a non-profit organization based out of Woodland. The club has served players from Woodland, Esparto, Dixon, Vacaville, Davis, Natomas and Arbuckle. The goals of Dynamix Volleyball Club are to help girls develop the skills necessary to compete at the highest level; to provide then with a strong understanding of the game; to help them discover success by teaching them how to set goals, overcome challenges, sharpen their mental focus, achieve physical fitness and to foster their leadership skills both on and off the volleyball court. Under Sara's leadership, the program grew from two teams to eight and has a satellite team in Arbuckle.
Previously, Sara worked for the Yolo County Office of Education at the now defunct Yolo Youth Academy. The Academy was a county alternative program for at risk teens and was run in a military fashion. She was hired as an instructional leader and assisted students with math, language arts, physical education, social studies and science. Because the school was a one room class that had 7th through 12th grade, she often took on the role of registrar and secretary as well. Prior to that position, Sara was with the El Dorado County Office of Education at the Charter Home Study Academy as instructional leader. She staffed tutorial centers, supervised check-in prior to teacher appointments and graded student work. Sara also worked one on one with the students to help them with assignments and organization.
Sara has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California at Davis in American Studies as well as a Master of Sport Science from the United States Sports Academy.
Keri Frank has more than a decade of experience working in the agricultural field and more than five years as a nutrition seminar, boot camp and weight training instructor; certified personal trainer and coach. Her background includes a stint at Salinas’ Tanimura and Antle vegetable company where she played a management and leadership role in the development and marketing of the first full line of vegetable products targeting children, including the still popular carrot and ranch product, Cool Cut Carrots. Among many marketing duties, she worked with the Produce Marketing Association and the Five-A-Day for Better Health Campaign to create classroom curriculum about proper nutrition. Keri left that job to become a full partner in Elysian Fields Agricultural Communication in Woodland, CA, developing and managing marketing campaigns primarily for Dow Chemical’s agricultural division, Dow AgroSciences. Key responsibilities in that role include creation of educational and training materials for farmers, pest control advisors and pest control operators regarding safety, integrated pest management, land stewardship and effective use of products.
Pursuing her passion for health and fitness, Keri switched gears for five years to become a certified personal trainer and open a gym where teens were encouraged to work out as part of sport conditioning. Coaches from private and school athletic organizations worked with Keri to match appropriate equipment and programming with varying age, fitness levels and sports. She also worked privately with families and teens who were struggling with health- and life-threatening weight problems, eating disorders, injury rehabilitation, drug and alcohol addictions, respect and self-esteem issues. She assisted co-founder Sara Marks and Woodland Christian High School coaches in pre-season conditioning of volleyball athletes, as well. Last year, Keri returned to Elysian Fields, working in the same capacity as before, though she continues to train a few clients in her free time.
Keri received her B.S. in journalism with concentrations in agriculture and public relations from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1995. That same year, a dean’s scholarship recipient, she received an M.S. in agriculture with emphasis in education and business, also from Cal Poly. Over the years, Keri has volunteered at Woodland schools, including Whitehead Elementary where she wrote and received a grant to fund and supply a school garden and incorporate garden experiences in classroom curriculum.
Tanya Praest began her career in education as a Pre-school Teacher, Pre-K Teacher, and Lead Teacher for an after school kindergarten program almost fifteen years ago. After earning her BA degree in English in December 1999, she attended Chapman University to obtain her multiple-subject credential. Twelve years ago while receiving her teaching credential; she was hired as a tutor for the Natomas Unified School District. Tanya worked with students in grades K-6. She was promoted to coordinator of the tutoring program in July 2000 until the program was cut in June 2002. In addition to tutoring, Tanya began substitute teaching for the district in January 2000 and was hired as a 2nd grade teacher in Natomas July 2000. In her ten years with the district, she has taught 2nd grade for two years and has been teaching kindergarten ever since. She has also served on the district’s Health Committee, was the main facilitator for the monthly district kindergarten teacher meetings, and is a Natomas Teacher’s Association Site Representative for her school as well as the Membership Chair. Tanya also served one year as a trustee for the Winship-Robbins School District in Sutter County. Tanya currently serves as Vice-President of the Lee Middle School Booster Club where her daughters attend school, and is heavily involved in school fundraising efforts due to budget cuts.
Tim grew up in Woodland and has been a member of the community since 1976. Tim attended Freeman Elementary School, Lee Jr. High and graduated from Woodland High School in 1985.
Tim developed a passion for all sports, but football in particular and took his talents to Sierra Jr. College and Weber State University located in Ogden Utah. Under the tutelage of Mike Price (Head Coach UTEP) and Bobby Petrino (Head Coach Arkansas), Tim excelled on the football field, but found true passion in teaching and coaching. Tim and his long time friend Steve Marks Jr. coached football for various teams in the Sacramento area in the late 1990s and early 2000.
Tim coached and taught for ten years at St. Francis Elementary / Jr. High School located in Sacramento where Tim lives with his fiancée Jaime Mathews.
Mr. Noha has also excelled in business most recently as a Regional Sales Manager, but now is preparing for his new role as a High school Physical Education Teacher and Administrator.
Karin Rodriguez, a human resources professional at Xyratex International in West Sacramento, next to CCCTEC’s new proposed West Sacramento campus, is a dedicated and well-known member of the Woodland community. She was born and raised in Woodland where she grew up participating in local sports groups like the Woodland Swim Team as early as four years old and attending Woodland schools. Karin values the activities offered to her as a child as those that should be offered to our youth now. She served as a role model to beginning swimmers, ages five to nine, over the summers during college. She knows that it is up to the parents and community to seek out ideal role models, like she was, for our own children and hopes to see this effort create a safer community and learning environment. Dedicated to seeing that idea through, she has started as a member on the Parent Committee for Holy Rosary Parish School in Woodland where her young children attend school now. Karin’s employer, Xyratex, has chosen to focus charitable efforts toward the Yolo County Children's Alliance. She has volunteered as a contact person and donated her time in other ways to that project. Her dedication to youth activities is growing as her children do, and she has served as team mom for her son’s YMCA Youth Basketball team. Karin’s early start in swimming lead to her eventual receipt of a swimming scholarship to Rice University where she earned a B.A. in Managerial Studies.
Pete Benitti has been involved in public education in Yolo County since 1998. His professional training as an educator began with undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in history and international relations in 1994. Pete's education was complimented with graduate studies in the social sciences at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he received a Masters degree in liberal arts and history in 1997. Formal training as both teacher and administrator took place at California State University, Sacramento, where he successfully completed his single subject social science teaching credential program in 2004 and the administrative services credential program in 2008. Pete's education has been bolstered by serving with the University of California Extension, Davis, Center for Human Services in 1998, continuing education through the Yolo County Office of Education, the U.C. Davis History Project professional development for social science teachers, as well as literacy, literature and language development training through the Sacramento County Office of Education, and related ongoing curriculum and training. Since the 2003-2004 school year he has been providing California standard-based, assessment-driven instruction in both English and Spanish as a teacher with Dixon Unified School District, San Juan Unified School District and Washington Unified School District.
Eric Zane was born and raised in Woodland, and graduated from Woodland High School in 1997. Eric graduated from Butte Fire Academy, earned a Fire Science degree from Butte College and graduated from CSU, Chico with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration.
Eric’s fire service career began in college and has worked for Cal Fire (Formerly CDF), Folsom City Fire Department, and is currently a Fire Captain with Woodland Fire Department. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two sons.