The collective experience of the founders of Northgate CAPS includes:
• key fundraisers for Northgate Pride, the organization that helped finance renovations of the Northgate HS Gym, Little Theater, and athletic fields, as well as the new Aquatic Center;
• a key community relations organizer who worked with the Northgate HS neighborhood and the City of Walnut Creek to obtain approvals for athletic field renovations (including bleachers, lighting, and scoreboards) and the construction of the Aquatic Center;
• founder and former president of the PEAK Educational Foundation, which raises funds for the six schools located in the Northgate area;
• past president of the Northgate PFC and Valle Verde PTA;
• past vice president of the Walnut Acres PFC and Northgate PFC;
• founder and secretary of the United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation, a philanthropic organization that implemented a funding plan and raised money to continue high school sports throughout MDUSD, when MDUSD became the only district in the region to eliminate high schools sports due to financial pressures in the last recession;
• a current member of the MDUSD 2010 Measure C Bond Oversight Committee and former member of the 2002 Measure C Bond Oversight Committee;
• a member of the MDUSD CUES Committee (Community United for Excellent Schools); and
• other local volunteers who, together, have worked almost 60 years, cumulatively, as school site volunteers, serving on site committees, volunteering in classrooms, and raising additional funds for school programs.
NorthgateCAPS Board of Directors
Linda Loza, President
Linda is a Founding member of NorthgateCAPS and currently serves on the MDUSD 2010 Bond Oversight Committee. She was a member of the 2002 Bond Oversight Committee and the CUES Committee prior to the 2010 Bond. She is a former Board Member of Northgate Community Pride Foundation, The Creek after school program, and a former Trustee of The Seven Hills School. Linda served in a leadership role for the parent organizations at The Seven Hills School and Walnut Acres Elementary. Linda and her husband Ron have two children who attended MDUSD schools (NHS Class of 2010 and Class of 2013).
Alisa MacCormac, Vice President
Alisa is a Founding member of NorthgateCAPS, Alisa is also the Founder of PEAK Education Foundation which supports the educational programs for the schools within the Northgate feeder pattern. PEAK has contributed over $150,000 to our local schools. In addition, Alisa has served on numerous Boards and Committees that support education including the Northgate PFC where she was President, Foothill Middle School PFA, and Valle Verde PTA. Alisa has three children who have attended MDUSD schools (NHS Class of 2011, Class of 2014, and Class of 2018)
Kent Caldwell, Treasurer
Kent is a Founding member of NorthgateCAPS. After earning an MBA degree, Kent had a 32-year career in financial management for Chevron Corporation and McKesson Corporation. Upon retiring in 2009, Kent has focused on helping our local schools. He served as Treasurer for the Northgate High School Athletic Boosters Club for three years. He was Secretary and Founding member for three years of the United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation, which kept MDUSD high schools sports operational when the State significantly reduced the education budget beginning 2009-10. Currently he is serving as Treasurer of NorthgateCAPS. Kent has a daughter who attended MDUSD schools (NHS Class of 2012).
Jim Mills, Community Outreach
Jim began his career in the 1980s, working in New York for television entertainment companies such as Viacom, Showtime and a start-up precursor to A&E. Subsequently, at Citibank, he provided project financing to large real estate clients in the US and Asia. Over the last twenty years, Jim has worked on the development and distribution of new technologies for learning.
Beginning in 1997 at Scientific Learning, Jim led marketing and user support for the start-up’s neuroscience-based software for individuals with language and reading challenges, guiding the Fast ForWord products from clinical trials through market entry and an IPO in 1999, and eventually into over 2,000 schools across the US. In 2004, he joined LeapFrog Enterprises, where he was responsible for product marketing in the K-12 segment, a +$50 million business that primarily served students who were learning to read or struggling with reading proficiency. During his four years there, he led the launch of the Leapster™ handheld learning system into the education market, the development of the first software for providing instruction for English language learners on a handheld gaming platform, and the introduction of the stylus-based Tag™Reading System into the school market.
In 2008, Jim left LeapFrog to assume the new role of VP Education Products at DynaVox Mayer-Johnson, the world’s largest provider of assistive communication technology and now part of Tobii DynaVox. During a critical period in the company’s growth leading up to an IPO, he led a business unit that nearly doubled sales in the education segment and revamped almost all of the education software products. That work included overhauling the sector-leading Boardmaker® products that teachers and resource specialists use to adapt curriculum content for learners with special needs, in over 20,000 schools in 44 countries and 17 languages. He was also responsible for the creation and launch of Boardmaker Studio, a suite of products incorporating new interactivity tools, web functionality and social media support, along with new mobility and app accessibility. In a pioneering social media development for the company, his team also launched BoardmakerShare.com, which within six months became the world’s largest, most active site for posting and sharing teacher and clinician-created adapted instructional content.
More recently, Jim headed up sales and marketing for Sally Ride Science, a San Diego-based company founded by astronaut Sally Ride (and now affiliated with UC San Diego) to promote learning and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in grades 4-8 – particularly among girls and under-represented minority students. Sally Ride Science professional development programs for teachers were sponsored by such entities as Exxon-Mobil, NASA, the Office of Naval Research, Deloitte, Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and the National Math and Science Initiative. His team there re-engineered the library of student and teacher resources for cloud-based delivery and re-launched the national professional development offerings for online delivery using cross-platform learning management systems. The also provided student and teacher instructional supports and training for NASA’s EarthKAM program on the International Space Station.
Currently, Jim consults with companies on the development and distribution of new learning technologies. He also serves on the Steering Committee of Community Partners of the Harvard Business School Association of Northern California, a pro bono consulting organization of HBS alumni. Jim’s clients at Community Partners have included: Ceiba Schools, the Oakland Museum of California, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Science is Elementary, Scholar Match, Envision Education, Music in Schools Today, and the National Interscholastic Cycling Association.
An Iowa native who also attended school in the Netherlands and Berlin, Jim holds a BS in Applied Earth Sciences from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He lives with his wife in Walnut Creek, where they raised two sons and where he has served on the boards of The Seven Hills School and The Ruth Bancroft Garden.