Candice-Leigh Baumgardner is a research consultant with a focus on design strategy in the consumer, automotive, and health care industries. She is an Associate Professor of Humanities & Sciences at ArtCenter College of Design, where she also teaches in the graduate program for Systems and Transportation Design and serves as the Director of Social Sciences and Research. She received her Master’s degrees in Choral and Instrumental Conducting from the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. Prof. Baumgardner has contributed to various industry publications, including FastCompany and HOW magazine, and served as an external reviewer for AIGA’s journal, Dialectic. She has served on the board of Peace Montessori (Oak Park, CA) and as a board liaison representing the faculty of ArtCenter College of Design.
With more than 13 years of public relations, new media and branding experience, Dená Brummer is currently a Brand Strategist and Digital Designer with Yellow Brick Creative Studio, a branding and digital collective. Over the last decade, she has worked with leading brands in the consumer, business, and non-proﬁt sectors. Practiced at the art of innovation and the pragmatics of turning strategy into action, Dená focuses on working with companies building their brands through social media and digital marketing.
Dená co-founded Yellow Brick Creative to help clients activate the potential of their brands throughout their operations and in their communications. Whether it is deﬁning brand architectures or developing marketing frameworks, Dená and the Yellow Brick Creative team deliver results through deep collaboration with clients, bringing together and managing the contributions of a diverse set of strategic thinkers and creative practitioners.
Before launching a digital marketing agency in 2012, Dená was a Marketing & Communications Manager with Valley Emergency Physicians. And before that she held senior communications positions at EPA, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, and the Georgia Department of Community Health as Deputy Director of Communications. Her early career includes rich experiences as a press secretary with the U.S. Department of the Army and a newspaper reporter with the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
When she is not working, Dená likes to travel across the world with her family and friends. In her spare time, she spends her summers gardening, camping, reading, sewing and entertaining.
Dená graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Mass Media Arts, with Journalism concentration from Clark Atlanta University and also attained her M.P.A in Crisis Communication from the University of Delaware.
Michel Capobianco obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado and holds AMI Diplomas for the Elementary, Primary, and Assistance to Infancy programs. She completed her Montessori Elementary training at Centro Internationale Studi Montessori in Bergamo, Italy. Her Primary training was completed at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota, and her Assistance to Infancy training was completed at the The Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado.
Michel was a Montessori Guide for a total of twelve years. Prior to joining OKMS, she taught Lower Elementary for four years at a Montessori school in the Bay Area, and during her time at Oak Knoll, she taught Primary for four years and a six-to-twelve class for four years. She is currently in her tenth year at Oak Knoll Montessori School, and her second year as the Head of School. She is also enrolled in the AMI Training of Trainers Program to become a Montessori Trainer at the elementary level.
Aside from deepening her understanding and passion for Montessori, Michel enjoys reading, yoga, bike rides, cooking and entertaining, traveling, and spending time with her husband and son.
Rupert Grant Treasurer
Rupert Grant is a real estate investor who specializes in the purchase of unique Los Angeles area apartment buildings for renovation and sale to savvy investors. With a law degree from UCLA and a Bachelor of Science in Management and Marketing from the University of La Verne, Rupert creates innovative strategic financial plans so that investors can achieve their financial dreams through passive income streams using tools like the Self Directed IRA (SDIRA).
Rupert has an extensive background in securities and investment management having worked in the financial services industry as a stock broker for Nationwide Financial in Woodland Hills, CA.
Rupert is chairman of the Foundation Board of Directors for Eisner Pediatric Family Medical Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center dedicated to providing comprehensive, high-quality health care for all ages. He has served as board member for a variety of local organizations including The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Unified School District Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee, and The Hollywood Beautification Team. He has served as a volunteer Operations Manager for the annual Genesis Open, a PGA golf tournament at Riviera Country Club for two decades.
Rupert is an AYSO soccer coach and Cub Scout pack leader for his two sons and lives in with his family in Pasadena.
Russell Jones Secretary
Russell Jones is a Realtor at Century 21 Golden Realty in Pasadena. He is also the author of “Potty Training Doesn’t Have to Stink.” Russell’s two boys–Noble (2006) and Alistair (2009)–have been at Oak Knoll since 2008 when Noble was in the toddler room. With Noble now in Upper Elementary, and Alistair in Lower Elementary, Russell has seen firsthand how children can thrive in this very special, authentic Montessori environment. He felt it was important to gain a deeper understanding of how his family's school of choice works, so when the opportunity arose to join the board, he took it. Russell cares deeply for Oak Knoll and is grateful for the opportunity to assist in shaping its continued success.
Tricia Lanza Vice President
Tricia has extensive experience in the commercial finance industry and currently oversees the Credit Underwriting and Operations of a privately held company. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a minor in Economics.
Elected to the OKMS Board of Trustees in 2008, she has previously served as Board Secretary, and Board President. She has been an active member of the OKMS community for over 10 years helping support the school’s mission.
A Southern California native she enjoys spending time with her children, hiking, photography, art, and cooking. Her son and daughter started at OKMS in the toddler program and are now in the Upper El and Lower El Programs.
Sonya is currently Vice President, Senior Real Estate Counsel for Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and represents the company in a variety of real estate matters globally. Prior to going in-house, Sonya practiced law in the Los Angeles offices of a couple nationally recognized, multiservice law firms.
Sonya received her J.D. from UCLA School of Law and her B.A. in Spanish and Political Science from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Having served in the inaugural Teach for America corps, Sonya is very interested in issues concerning access to high quality education. Her son, who is currently a student at OKKM’s Loma Alta campus, has been a Montessori student since the age of four. Sonya has been struck by the ease with which learning occurs in the Montessori environment and is convinced that authentic Montessori education, in its capacity to nurture the creative power of each child, has the power to transform not only the way we view education, but our society as a whole.
Cynthia is currently the Sr. Procurement Services Analyst within Business and Finance at the California Institute of Technology. She has worked in Europe and the US in multiple industries including domestic and global manufacturing, marketing and higher education. Her professional career has centered on strategic planning, supply chain management, risk assessment, contract negotiations, and systems implementations. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Indiana University, Bloomington.
Cynthia, her husband Jason, and two children Jacob and Amelia, enjoy reading, drawing, cooking (and eating!), spending time together, and volunteering and playing for the Pasadena Rugby Club, Pasadena American Little League, and the Pasadena Suzuki Music Program. They have been an OKMS family since 2011.