About Us

Our Team

The Orangewood team of staff, board members and volunteers is second to none. The longevity of our staff is a testament to our culture and our mission. More than half of our employees have been with us for five or more years and a quarter for 10 or more years. Our Board of Directors is comprised of leaders in all segments of the community. Not to be forgotten are our volunteers who give over 5,500 hours of their time to our youth.

Orangewood Foundation Leadership Team

Sara Bazant

Director of Marketing

Sara has been Orangewood’s Director of Marketing since 2001. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked in corporate marketing for over 15 years with companies including Nestle, Verizon Wireless, and Brown-Forman Beverage Company. About her job, she says, “I love working with donors, the community, and the media. But the best part of my job is telling the inspiring stories of the youth we serve in a way that will inspire the community to get involved.” Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Rick, and their two children, camping, traveling, or watching movies at home. Her stress relievers are currently tap and Irish dance classes.

Tracy Cooper

Senior Development Director

Tracy began at Orangewood Foundation in 2005 as the sole Grant Writer. She has over 25 years of experience at organizations serving youth. Tracy is mission-driven in her work and passionate about helping to improve the lives of children, youth and families. In 2012, Tracy was promoted to her current position of which she says, “My greatest joy is to help staff discover their passion and gifts to support Orangewood’s mission and their own professional growth.” Outside of work, Tracy loves to cook, hike and spend time with her husband, Steve, their five children, spouses and 10 grandkids! Also, as a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher, her desire is to inspire well-being throughout our community.

Sheree Crosby, LMFT

Program Director of Full Service Partnership - Collaborative Courts

Sheree joined Orangewood in 2011 as a Clinical Supervisor and was promoted to her current position in 2016. She has worked with youth in foster care and on probation for over 20 years in Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties. “What I love most about my job,” she says, “is advocating for those who don’t feel their voice matters or are afraid to speak up.” Sheree is married with a young son. She relieves stress by going to the beach to enjoy the waves and watching for dolphins. She loves Mexican food (“I can’t eat enough guacamole”) and watching our local sports teams (“Go Ducks, go Angels!”). She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Alicia Daddio

Director of Transition Youth Services

Alicia is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been involved in the social services industry for almost 17 years. She is passionate about providing high quality services to the at-risk and foster youth population and is deeply connected to the community. She was hired as Orangewood’s Director of Transition Youth Services in May 2018. “What I love most about my job,” she says, “is getting to be a part of the youth’s journey and seeing them conquer and push through adversity and discover their greatest potential.” Outside of work, she enjoys planning her wedding, spending time with her family and friends, exercising with her dog, Bella, kickboxing, doing escape rooms, trying new food/restaurants and traveling.

Lee Fleming

Head of School, Samueli Academy

Lee Fleming is thrilled to serve as Samueli Academy Head of School. After teaching high social studies in the classroom for seven years, Lee worked for the New Tech Network for nearly a decade, traveling to support school leaders in over 150 different schools across the country and internationally. Lee then became a principal at Bonsall High School in North County San Diego where she helped build and lead the school through the first graduating class that launched in June of 2018. Lee came to Samueli Academy in July 2018. She said, “I was moved by the mission to provide a quality education and personalized care to students who are thriving under the warm and collaborative culture at Samueli Academy.”

Linda Giel

Controller

Linda has worked in the non-profit sector since 2009, previously with two organizations that served individuals experiencing homelessness. She came to Orangewood in 2016 and has been inspired by our mission ever since. She says, “I love the fact that I work for an organization filled with dedicated staff who do whatever it takes to make a difference in the lives of the youth we serve. I’m inspired by our mission to help them reach their greatest potential. In some cases, our youth have no idea how great they can be!” Outside of work, Linda enjoys spending time with her husband, Tim and their two grown sons, exercising, skiing, cooking, reading, and playing games.

Linda Levshin

Director of Transition Youth Services

Linda has been working in the nonprofit field since 1987. Before joining Orangewood in 2004, she ran a foster family agency and other community based programs at the David and Margaret Home. About Orangewood’s mission, Linda says, “I love that we have the freedom to develop services that are needed by the youth. It’s an honor to be part of their journey from adolescence to adulthood.” Linda has four children and six grandchildren. When she isn’t working, she enjoys traveling with her husband, Peter. As a stress reliever, Linda likes to do some sort of physical activity each day. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has a 2nd degree black belt in Shotokan Karate.

John Luker

Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer

John’s passion is to help kids have a chance at the life they were meant to have.  So joining Orangewood in 2014 was a perfect fit for him to use his skills as a CPA and live out his passion. What he enjoys most about his job, he says, is, “I’m able to help the organization run efficiently in order for program staff to do their jobs to help youth.” John is married to his wife, Kara, and has three children, a son in the Navy, a daughter at Georgia Tech and the youngest who is five. He was recognized by CalCPA and the Orange County Business Journal as the 2018 Not-for-Profit CFO of the Year. When he is not working and with his family, John loves to either road bike or mountain bike around Orange County.

Lawren Ramos

Chief Program Officer

Lawren joined the Orangewood team as Director of Transition Youth Services in 2017 after serving youth for 13 years with Boys Town, a national youth and family serving organization. In 2018 he was promoted to his current position. He loves the micro and macro aspects of his job, saying, “Every day we strive to build consistent, positive, and supportive relationships with youth. At the same time, we strive to create equity of opportunities for youth in our community.” Lawren currently serves as the President of the Orange County Alliance for Children and Families, and Co-Chair of the Orange County Child Welfare System Improvement Partnership. He and his wife, Summer, have four children. His hobbies include gardening, surfing, hiking and chasing his children.

Anthony Saba

Executive Director, Samueli Academy

Anthony started his career in education in the classroom, teaching business and math. He was named “Rookie of the Year” his first year of teaching. His success in the classroom propelled him into administration. Prior to joining Orangewood Foundation as Head of School of Samueli Academy in 2012, he was the principal of Frazier Mountain High School in Lebec, California where he created an environment where teachers can collaborate and form a common standard and curriculum for students. About working at Samueli Academy, Anthony says, “It’s truly an honor and a privilege to serve the students and families of Orange County, and together we’re building something very special. Samueli Academy is a school that has produced graduates who are knowledgeable and confident.” Originally from Bakersfield, Anthony now resides in Newport Beach with his wife and two children.

Pam Shambra

Capital Campaign Director

Pam has been with Orangewood since 2011. Prior to working at the Foundation, Pam was the CEO of Pretend City Children’s Museum and the Director of Marketing and Development of Discovery Science Center. In a past life, she was also a TV producer at WWL-TV, a CBS affiliate in New Orleans (her hometown). As Capital Campaign Director, Pam likes showing prospective investors Samueli Academy. “They are always highly impressed with the way we teach (project‐based learning), the student engagement, the caring teachers and the general awesome vibe on campus,” she says. Pam loves to hike and take active adventure vacations, and enjoys Blues and Jazz festivals.

Chris Simonsen

Chief Executive Officer

Chris started his career in various finance roles, most recently as the CFO at the Auto Club. He joined Orangewood Foundation in 2007 as the CFO and was promoted to CEO in 2014.  About the Foundation’s mission, he says, “I love the fact that Orangewood will do whatever it takes to support a youth to make positive steps to improve their life.” He continues, “I love seeing a smile on a youth’s face after one of their successes, no matter how large or small it might be. Every day is different.” Chris has four grown children. He loves the LA Kings hockey team and traveling, setting a goal to make one international trip per year. He is passionate about music and has seen his favorite band, Metallica, in concert over 20 times.

Jami Smith

Human Resources Director

Jami has been with Orangewood since 1989. Over the years, she has held a variety of positions including Administrative Assistant and Program Special Events Coordinator. She was promoted to the human resources role in 2003 and has earned her SHRM CP certification as a human resources professional. She loves working with the Orangewood Foundation and Samueli Academy staff. Outside of work, Jami likes to travel and share new experiences with her daughter. She also enjoys walking her dog, gardening, cooking, and watching movies.

Richard Wiepking

Director of Information Technology

Photo and bio coming soon.

Board of Directors

General William Lyon

Founding Chairman

Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, William Lyon Homes, Inc

Greg Dunlap

Chairman

Partner, Deloitte Tax LLP

Cindy Dillion

Secretary

Mediator and Ombuds, ProblemResolved.org

Steve Keefer

Treasurer

President, Secure Global Solutions

Marissa Barth

Vice President, Fidelity National Title Company

Bob Bartholomew

Managing Principal, Windjammer Capital Investors

Stuart Bernstein

Sr. V.P., National Production Manager, Union Bank

Alan Clifton

COO, Passco Companies, LLC

David Dunn

CEO, Athletes First

Richard Dutch

Corporate Business Manager, 3M Health Care and Founding PALS Board Member

Lupe Erwin

Director, Private Client Insurance Services, Wood Gutmann & Bogart Insurance

Bruce Fetter

Community Philanthropist

Joel Goldhirsh

Principal, Goldhirsh & Goldhirsh

Adam S. Horowitz

President, Horowitz Group

Daniel M. Houck II

CEO/President, Universal Asphalt Co., Inc.

Bob Istwan

President & CEO, Motive Energy Inc.

Sandi Jackson

Community Philanthropist

Steve Johnson

CEO, Safety Supply America, Inc.

Chris Jones

President & CEO, Acra Aerospace Inc.

Mitch Junkins

President & CEO, The CDM Company and Founding PALS Board Member

Renee Pepys Lowe

President, RPL and Associates, LLC.

Joe Lozowski

President, Tangram Interiors

Neena N. Master

Director, SoCalGas

Vic Merjanian

Founder & CEO of Titan HST, and Founder & Managing Partner, Kalfayan Merjanian, LLP

Mohit Mittal

Managing Director, PIMCO

Vikki Murphy

Vice President, Wilson Automotive

Ken Parker

Partner, Haynes and Boone, LLP

Lauren Peterson

Vice President & Client Advisor, Whittier Trust

Andy Phillips

CEO, Cliq

Jeff Roos

Western Regional President, Lennar

Timothy Ryan

President, Anaheim Arena Management and COO of the Anaheim Ducks

Susan Samueli

Co-Chair of the Board and Vice President of the Samueli Foundation and Founding Chair of 44 Women for Orangewood

Sona Shah

Chief Education Officer, My Private Professor Tutoring

Rick Sherburne

Executive Vice President, CBRE

John E. Stratman

Senior Director, Public Affairs & Brand Communications, Kaiser Permanente – Orange County

John Stumpf

Business Executive, Core Logic

Kasey Suryan

President, Pacific Drive-Ins, and Senior Vice President, Lyon Living

Shannon Tarnutzer

Community Philanthropist

Kris Theiler

Vice President, Disneyland Park

Charlene Thomas

West Region President, UPS

Paul Tobin

Consultant & Attorney

Jaynine Warner

Pilot, Former Airline Captain

Piero Wemyss

Loan Consultant, Farmers & Merchants Bank

Kimberly Kirksey

Ex Officio

44 Women for Orangewood Chair

Adam Koyanagi

Ex Officio

Orangewood PALS Chair

Emeritus Board

Elizabeth Amendt

Director, Citi Private Bank

Stephanie Argyros

Community Philanthropist

Bob Barth

President, Black Equities Group

Christianne D'Ambrosio

Community Philanthropist

Ron Davis

Founder, Davis Capital LLC

Doug DeCinces

President/CEO, DeCinces Properties

Tom Dobyns

CEO, Mission Community Bank

Patti Edwards

Community Philanthropist

John Hagestad

Managing Director, SARES-REGIS Group

William Healey

Community Philanthropist

Lisa Hughes, CPA

Attorney-at-Law, Hughes & Hughes

Casey Journigan

President, Arcadia Chair Company

Shirley Pepys

Community Philanthropist

Patricia L. Poss

President, C.W. Poss, Inc.

Thomas L. Powell

Attorney-at-Law, Law Offices of Thomas L. Powell

David Ritchie

Senior VP, US Bank

Greg Scott

President, Winfield Management, LLC

Joe Ueberroth

CEO, Ambassadors International

Vikki Vargas

Orange County Bureau Chief, NBC4 Southern California

David Wilson

President and Owner, Wilson Automotive