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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

Ric Esquivel

Chief of Schools

Lacie Harris

Grow Academy Shafter Principal

Steve McClain

Chief Business Officer 

Jenny Bard

Grow Academy Arvin Principal

Elysa Vargas

Chief Academic Officer

Alan Blandon

Director of Business Services

Eric Mendez

Director of Human Resources

Rick Phillips

Director of Operations

Kari Heilman

Executive Assistant

Timeshia Mackey

Senior Manager of Programs Improvement

Melody Castillo

Senior Accounting Manager

Pedro Rodriguez

Coordinator of Teacher Residency

Tanya Kelley

Administrator of Special Projects

Jocelyn Scruggs

Family and Community Engagement Coordinator

Alfonso Valenzuela

Academic Data Coordinator

Stephanie Sanchez

Human Resources Manager

Maddison Contreras

Office Manager

Sarah Bailey

Human Resources Generalist

Elizabeth Ramos

Accounting Specialist

Ashley Blandon

Talent Acquisition Specialist

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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