Board of Directors
|David Wilbur, chair||Joyce Robinson, vice chair||Evan Pan||Lisa Brown||Margarita Buitrago|
|Marlen Gomez||Giselle Navarro-Cruz||Inga Rodriguez||Patricia Huffman,
past chair emeritus
David Wilbur, chair
Evan Pan, treasurer
Joyce Robinson, vice chair
José Sandoval, secretary
Patricia Huffman, past chair emeritus
Paul F. Pulver, chief executive officer
Prior to joining Options for Learning, Paul served as the executive director for Pathways LA, as vice president of development and communications for Maryvale, and as executive director for United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Orange County. Paul has actively participated on numerous boards and committees at the county, state, and national levels. Currently, he is the vice president of the board of the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles (CCALA), a unique partnership of 10 member agencies that deliver services to thousands of families and child care providers across Los Angeles County. Additionally, he is a board member of Su Misericordia, a faith-based organization serving the indigenous people in Maneadero, Mexico. His prior affiliations include: UCP National Affiliate Services Committee; chair of the UCP National Affiliate Charter Task Force; chair of the Orange County United Way Council of Organizations; and board member for the National Catholic Development Conference and Orange County United Way.
Paul holds a bachelor of arts degree in Christian ministries, as well as a ministry credential from Azusa
Dominic R. Alpuche, chief financial and administrative officer
Prior to his position with Options for Learning, Dominic served as the director of finance and senior fiscal officer at the University of California at San Diego Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), as chief business officer for the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California, assistant director of business and technology for the Center for Urban Education, and assistant director of budgets and compliance for the TRiO Programs and School for Early Childhood Education.
Dominic earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy management from USC and a master’s degree in business administration, accounting, and finance from the Florida Institute of Technology.
Mildred Balderrama, Head Start South El Monte director
As a leader within the agency, Mildred's goal is to continually equip her staff with the tools to become the leaders of tomorrow. For the last 20 years, she has actively participated in church and community activities, raising funds for at-risk youth and women. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking for her family and friends.
John Beck, chief information officer
at the Walt Disney Company and Sony Pictures. He has a bachelor's in economics
Leslie Carmell, vice president of communications
Leslie earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in the study of women and men in society at the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in management with an emphasis in information systems from the University of Redlands.
Thessia Carpenter, vice president of finance
Previously, Thessia proudly flourished as a Head Start parent, where both she and her children benefited immensely. She believes her passion translates into the work that she produces and the insight she provides in ensuring that all grants are in compliance and no child is left behind. She believes every family deserves an equitable start in life and the same opportunity she did to succeed.
Veronica Covarrubias, interim Enrichment Program director
Kimberly Dobson Garcia, vice president of strategic initiatives
Jeffrey Espinoza, director of procurement
Jeffrey earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Redlands and a master’s degree in health services administration from California State University, San Bernardino.
Norma Herrera, Resource and Referral/Stage 1 director
Norma earned a bachelor's degree in liberal studies and a master's degree in education with an emphasis on early childhood education.
Katie Lam, controller
Niland Lim, State Preschool director
Niland is an active board member of EveryChild California and holds a bachelor's degree in child development from Cal State Fullerton.
Tracy Lynch, chief program officer
Tracy holds a bachelor's degree in business marketing with a minor in child development from Cal State Fullerton.
Denise McCullough, Full-day Preschool director
Denise holds a bachelor's degree in child development from the University of La Verne.
Candy Meade, Subsidized Department division director
Kelly O’Connell, deputy chief, Child Care Services
She has held a variety of leadership roles in the field including: current president of EveryChild California Southern Section; president of the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles; appointee, First Supervisorial District of the Child Care Planning Committee, and vice president of the Resource and Referral Network.
Rosemary Olachea-Heaslip, Surround Care director
Her dedication and passion are just as vibrant today: She is committed to being an advocate for the Surround Care program and the services the agency provides to the community. She values the integral interpersonal relationships with parents, school district personnel and especially all of the staff that make Surround Care a valuable division within the agency. “I am proud of all that we have accomplished together with a common goal to be the best we can be through the delivery of an educational supporting and nurturing program for years to come," Rosemary shares.
Pedro Ramirez, budget director
Mercedes Rosales, Head Start Pasadena director
up in Los Angeles allowed her to identify the need for free, quality preschool programs and
motivated her to seek a profession in early childhood education. She attended Cal State LA
and has worked in state-and federal-funded preschool programs in various roles. Mercedes
joined Options for Learning in 2010.
Ruby Sevilla, Early Head Start director
education for 18 years, 13 of those in head start and state-funded programs. She has served as the division director of Early Head Start since December 2011.
As the division director, Ruby works closely with the Fiscal Department in developing and monitoring budgets, collaborates with community organizations to serve children and families, and focuses on providing high-quality comprehensive services.
In her spare time, she enjoys running and training for marathons, spending quality time
with her family, and traveling to new places. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology
from the University of La Verne.
Cesar Soto, facilities director
management and has served as the facilities director at Options for Learning since 2015.
During his time with the agency, Soto has addressed and reversed several fiscal impacts
in state-funded projects, overseen the unification of the Facilities Department and
spearheaded the transition to a paperless process. Soto holds a bachelor's degree in
business administration and business organizational management from the University of
La Verne and a project management certification from the University of Redlands.
Melissa Takeda, human resources director
Hawaii and an MBA with a focus on human resource management from Hawaii Pacific
Terry Talavera, Child Care Services operations/Food Program division director
Prior to working at Options for Learning, Terry utilized her passion for early childhood education and development by working as a preschool teacher at East Los Angeles College Child Development Center and Los Angeles Child Care Child Center. Terry has served as an advisory board member for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Roundtable for the past 25 years. She currently serves as a member of the CACFP Roundtable Executive Committee and holds the position of treasurer.
Additionally, Terry has participated in work groups with the California Department of Education and the United States Department of Agriculture to develop materials for the Child and Adult Care Food Program community, representing Options for Learning and CACFP Roundtable. For 10 years, Terry participated in the Avon Walk, walking 39.3 miles to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research and treatment. In honor of her mother, whom she lost to breast cancer, Terry and her family raised more than $150,000.
Terry is an active member of her community and enjoys volunteering for events at her granddaughters’ school and supporting local nonprofit organizations, especially those serving children. Terry’s greatest passion is spending as much time as possible with her family, which includes her husband, Peter, two successful children and three grandchildren.