Our Board

Our dedicated and enthusiastic board members are committed to providing Gunn seniors with financial assistance to further their education.

2016-17 Board Member Group Photo (Credit: Butch Garcia)

Thank you to our outgoing 2016-17 board members for your service : Kim Cowell, Markus Fromherz, Lynne Russell, Denise Herrmann, Butch Garcia and Joan Lin!

Meet our current 2017-18 Members of the Board:

AishaProfile2015Aisha Piracha-Zakariya, Chair

Aisha currently has children at both Gunn and Terman, and has been an active member on the PTA Board and Site Council at their schools since 2006. She is a digital marketing consultant who works with Silicon Valley start-ups and non-profits, and began her career in banking in New York City.  Aisha is a contributing writer for Palo Alto Pulse and serves at 1st Vice President on the board of the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto. She also advises international non-profit, Behbud Association which focuses on women’s empowerment in Pakistan.

Growing up in S.E. Asia while her father worked for UNICEF, she observed the impact education had on the lives of children, which instilled a lifelong desire help those who have potential, but limited means. Drawn to the Foundation’s mission to help hardworking seniors who show great potential after receiving a world class education from Gunn, Aisha believes they should have the opportunity to attend college, regardless of their financial circumstances.

She received her BA in International Development from Smith College, and joined the board in 2016. Aisha lends her marketing, communications and fundraising expertise to the foundation.

Kathie Laurence, Gunn High School Principal 

Kathie joins the Gunn Foundation board this year as our high school’s new Principal, who has a standing seat on the board.  Her connections to Gunn and Palo Alto run deep.  As an alumnus and parent of a Gunn graduate, Kathie is excited to work with our foundation and share her insights and enthusiasm for our students and the foundation’s mission.  

Upon accepting her new role as Gunn’s Principal, Kathie had this to say: “I was very fortunate to have obtained a high-quality education when I was a student at Gunn and I am excited to return and work in partnership with faculty, staff, students, parents, and community members to make sure every Gunn student has the opportunity, access, and support necessary to reach his or her fullest potential.”  

Sunita Verma

Sunita has four children, two who are alumni of Gunn High School and attending college. She has a senior at Gunn High School, and a 7th grader at JLS.

Sunita has always viewed education as paramount and was the first from her family to go to college. She has a BA from UC Berkeley, and is helping others find their path as a college counselor at College Track. She has also served on the Human Relations Commission for Palo Alto and has been part of the PTA since 2002. This is Sunita’s third year with the board and she heads up our Scholarship Committee.


Vanessa Mock, Treasurer

Vanessa is a parent of a Gunn alumnus and a sophomore.  She grew up in Panama and was the recipient of a scholarship that enabled her to attend the American University in Washington DC. 

She has been an active volunteer throughout the years since her children were in pre-school and wants to give back to her community by helping young people attend college and support them in the journey towards achieving higher education.  She is married to a Gunn alumnus and joined the board in 2016.

Tarn Wilson

Tarn has been an English teacher at Gunn High School for seventeen years. She is a founding member of the Focus on Success program and has seen first hand the difference the Gunn Foundation has made in her students’ ability to attend the colleges of their choice.

She earned a Masters in Education from Stanford and an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop and published her first book in 2014. As a member of the Gunn High faculty, she helps ensure our ties to the school remain strong.

Tammy Truher, Corresponding Secretary

Tammy is a Gunn High parent, with a student in 9th grade and a 7th grader at JLS. She is currently a volunteer for All Students Matter, at Brentwood Elementary School in East Palo Alto. She meets weekly with small groups of 4th and 5th graders, concentrating on reading, comprehension and fluidity. Her relationships with these students and watching them learn to love reading led her to the Gunn Foundation, wanting to help kids achieve their goal of going to college. 

Tammy’s passions are community building and fundraising. At Fairmeadow Elementary School, she co-chaired the online and gala auctions, walk-a-thon, and was a PiE Chair. She is VP, School Support at JLS Middle School. She worked as an Executive Assistant at a range of companies, including Marin Country Day School, Mother Jones Magazine, InterWest Partners, and A9. 

Tammy and her husband have lived in Palo Alto since 2006. She enjoys walks with her family and dog, boating on SF Bay, Giants baseball, and coffee at Philz.


Guillermo Viveros

Guillermo currently has a senior at Gunn and a 9th grader at Castilleja School in Palo Alto. His expertise is in finance and treasury management in the high-tech industry. Guillermo’s experience includes strategic planning and business modeling for diverse businesses, the development of financial infrastructures, mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures and system implementations. He is also on the Board of Directors for Gardner Health Services in San Jose which provides high-quality, comprehensive healthcare to people of all ages, backgrounds, and life circumstances.

Guillermo believes deeply in the mission of the our foundation. He benefited directly from scholarships during his undergraduate education thus has first hand knowledge of the impact of scholarship programs like the Gunn Foundation can have in helping students achieve their goals.

Guillermo received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an MBA from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA. He joined the board in 2017 and serves as our Investment Management Adviser.


Rachel Golden

Rachel’s older son graduated from Gunn in 2015, and her younger son will graduate in 2018. Rachel has had many positive experiences seeking her own education and would like all students to have the same opportunities as she has had.

She studied biology at Harvard followed by a masters and doctoral degree from the UCLA School of Public Health.  She has worked throughout California in the public, private, and non-profit sectors as a specialist in Maternal and Child Health focusing on under-served and underrepresented populations in order to decrease health disparities and improve the health of all families. Rachel has been serving the board since spring of 2017.


Althea Brown

Althea joined the board in 2017 and is Senior Counsel at Google.  

She is a future parent of a Gunn student and looks forward to serving on the board to help support our Gunn seniors achieve their educational goals and attending college.

Rachel_KnaussProfilejpgRachel Knauss, Corresponding Secretary

Rachel is a parent of two future Gunn students who are currently attending JLS Middle School.  Before moving to Palo Alto in 2006 from Wisconsin, she completed a Masters Degree in Social Work at University of Wisconsin Madison and worked in the field for 10 years with various under-served populations across the spectrum from children to the elderly. Currently, Rachel volunteers in her children’s schools and locally, and is always on the lookout for ways to build community around her. 

She sees being involved as a Gunn Board Member as an exciting way to help motivated young people succeed, and she is honored and humbled by the mission and purpose of the board. Rachel joined the board in 2017.

Applying to the Gunn Foundation Board:

Gunn Foundation recruits members to the Board on a rolling basis, as board member terms expire every three years.  If you would like to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of a Gunn Foundation board member, please contact us.  You may also submit an application and we will let you know if there are any board positions open at that time.