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Our Leadership

Our Board

Our Board

Grow Public Schools Board of Directors

A talented and experienced group of professionals comprise Grow Public Schools’ Board of Directors.

With a strong commitment to the specific needs of the communities we serve, our board includes a community member and parent to represent each area where our schools are located.

Board meetings are open to the public. For information on how to participate, please reach out to Afaf Aldhulay.

Board of Trustees

Tom Mestmaker

Board President

Ernie Unruh

KCSOS Representative

Matt Look
SPGA Parent Representative
Manuel Pantoja
Arvin Community Representative
Kristen Watson
California State University, Bakersfield Representative

Our Team

Our Team

In 2011, the Grimm Family Education Foundation was founded, with the goal of identifying and implementing opportunities to improve student achievement, wellness and opportunity in Kern County.

Barbara Grimm-Marshall


Doc Ervin

Chief Executive Officer

Elysa Vargas

Chief Academic Officer

Lacie Harris

Principal at

Grow Academy Shafter

Alfonso Valenzuela

Academic Data Coordinator

Ricardo Esquivel

Chief of Schools

Kari Heilman

Executive Assistant

Afaf Aldhulay

Communications & Branding Manager

Ashley Blandon

Talent Acquisition Specialist

Steve McClain

Chief Business Officer 

Jenny Bard

Principal at

Grow Academy Arvin

Alan Blandon

Director of Business

Services & Compliance

Elizabeth Ramos

Operations Specialist

Eric Mendez

Director of Human Resources

Jocelyn Scruggs

Family and Community Engagement Coordinator

Maddison Contreras

Office Manager

Melody Castillo

Accounting Manager

Pedro Rodriguez

Coordinator of

Teacher Residency

Rick Phillips

Director of Operations

Sarah Bailey

Human Resources Administrative Assistant

Stephanie Sanchez

Human Resources Manager

Vanessa Francisco

Accounting Clerk

Yolanda Sanchez

Office Clerk



Grow Public Schools will continue to collaborate with other like-minded, reform-oriented non-profits, private companies, and traditional school districts to maximize our collective impact.

The Grimm Family Education Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Bakersfield, California. Working with students, teachers, and parents, the Foundation supports initiatives to improve education and community wellness in Kern County.

We partner closely with the following organizations to provide high-quality academic, back-office management, and health and wellness services for our students:

Edible Schoolyard Kern County is modeled after the pioneering work of Alice Waters and the Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley, California. The Grimm Family Education Foundation created the ESY Kern County programs to encourage children in their discovery and development of a healthy relationship with the food they eat.

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