The Board of Directors is the governing body for Da Vinci Schools: LA County known as Da Vinci RISE High.

Lida Jennings, Board President

Dr. Lida Jennings currently serves as Executive Director at Teach for America Los Angeles. She is a skilled leader with more than 20 years of professional experience in team leadership and development, fundraising, strategic planning, and organizational turnaround in non-profit, higher education, and corporate settings. Motivated by opportunities to lead, develop, and grow teams through coaching and leadership development, Lida’s focus is on improving access and opportunities for those living in Los Angeles’ most vulnerable and marginalized communities. Lida previously served as Managing Director of District and School Partnerships and Managing Director of Talent, Strategy & Team Operations – both at TFA Los Angeles. She also served as Assistant Dean at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and as Director of the USC Marshall School of Business MBA Program. Lida currently serves as a member of the Board of Visitors at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Education and on the ExED Board of Directors.

Tom Johnstone, Member

Dr. Tom Johnstone recently retired as Superintendent of the Wiseburn Unified School District during which time he spearheaded the District’s successful efforts in 2017 to secure legislation to develop a unified high school district — a four-decade community dream. Under Tom’s leadership, the community passed two local school bonds — one to purchase land to build a new high school campus in a unique partnership with Da Vinci Schools. In 2017, the District opened the $160 million, state-of-the-art Wiseburn campus in El Segundo which houses Da Vinci’s three high schools that serve as the District’s high schools in a creative district-charter partnership. Prior to taking the helm of the Wiseburn district in 2008, Tom worked for nearly 30 years in the Lennox School District as a teacher, school counselor, elementary assistant principal, principal, director of curriculum, and then assistant superintendent of human resources. Tom was named 2013 Superintendent of the Year by the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology.

Jennifer Morgan, Board Secretary

Jennifer Morgan serves on both the Da Vinci Schools: L.A. County (Da Vinci RISE High) and Da Vinci Schools Boards. She has more than 12 years of experience in the hotel industry, including extensive work preparing The Ritz Carlton, Marina Del Rey Hotel for the successful attainment of the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award for exceptional quality and organizational performance excellence. Jennifer currently serves as Vice President of a South Bay insurance brokerage company and is owner of a home fitness and health business. Jennifer has served as PTA President for several Wiseburn schools and is the mother of two children who are Da Vinci alumni. Jennifer’s outreach to the Wiseburn community was instrumental in the start up of Da Vinci’s high schools.

Aurea Montes-Rodriguez, Member

Aurea Montes-Rodriguez is the Executive Vice President at Community Coalition and has worked at the organization for more than 20 years. Born in Mexico and raised in South LA, she has been a key leader responsible for building the organization’s youth programs to fight for educational equity, leading efforts to keep children in family care and out of the foster care system. Aurea oversees the strategic direction of Community Coalition’s education reform campaigns to address the role policy plays in creating a more equitable society and develop the next generation of leaders. She has championed efforts to strengthen and support family care in South LA and to ensure that children who are no longer living with their parents receive better treatment and a fairer distribution of resources within the child welfare system. Aurea is a co-founder of Partners for Children South LA, a multi-agency initiative that seeks to improve children’s development and reduce the risk of involvement with the child welfare system. She is an ex-officio Board Member with InnerCity Struggle, and a member of the Building Movement Project working to build capacity within the non-profit sector to promote social justice at the national level.

Christopher Taylor, Member

Chris Taylor is Director of System Engineering at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. In his role, Chris is responsible for satellite communication products spanning from conceptual design, proposal preparation, detailed design, manufacturing and test, and operational deployment. Chris leads strategies for future enhancements and capabilities, with focus on performance competitive assessments across satellite payload functions. He manages a project team of over 50 people across multiple simultaneous program phases with budget of over $100 million dollars.  Chris attended Tuskegee University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and earned a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from University of California Berkeley. Chris has served a volunteer help to develop a STEM program at the Boys and Girls Club in Lomita. He has supported recruiting efforts, at UCLA, UC Berkeley, and national diversity conferences. Chris is member of Wiseburn’s Juan Cabrillo PTA, Site School Council, and recent panel member at Da Vinci’s “Honor Roll” dinner. Chris is a California native and has a daughter at Wiseburn’s Juan Cabrillo Elementary.

Dr. Carla McCullough, Member

Dr. Carla M. McCullough is an Efficiency and Operations Consultant who hails from Chicago, Illinois. In her consultancy work, she supports individuals, small businesses, and schools with executive leadership and teacher coaching, as well as effective operations and efficiency practices. Carla began her career as an educator in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She taught 6th grade English and History and Middle School Drama at Gompers Middle School, prior to becoming the school’s Dean of Discipline. Passionate about the learning outcomes of her students, Carla served the Gompers community for nearly a decade before joining the staff of PBS-Health Services as the Assistant Principal and later Principal. In this role she was also elected to represent school administrators on the Principal’s Leadership Cabinet. In addition to her K-12 educational career, Carla worked as an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount University and currently serves on the Associates Board for Teach for America Los Angeles, as well as the board for We The People High School in Long Beach, CA. Carla received a B.A. in Drama and Political Science from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her M.A. in Elementary Education and Doctorate of Educational Leadership at Loyola Marymount University.