Mr. Ed Novak, President
Ed Novak is an attorney at Polsinelli. He has extensive experience in white-collar crime/special matters. Mr. Novak’s problem-solving skills, combined with his years of experience, enable him to assist clients facing government investigations in many areas, including health care, banking, securities, environment, education, government contracting, and civil rights. His many community contacts and the recognition of his legal peers give him credibility in dealing with clients’ adversaries. He is frequently called to serve as an expert witness or mediator in disputes involving business and government. Mr. Novak is a board member of the Thunderbird Global Council and Greater Phoenix Economic Council. He has also served on the Arizona State Bar Board of Governors. Mr. Novak received his law degree from DePaul University. Two of his children currently attend ASA.
Dr. Javier Cardenas, Vice President
Dr. Javier Cardenas is a pediatric neurologist with Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona, College of Medicine and completed his undergraduate education at Arizona State University. He is a strong advocate for child safety, particularly as it relates to neurological injury and reentry into the school system. Dr. Cardenas and his extended family have been involved in the Arizona arts community for many years. He also has three children currently attending ASA. Dr. Cardenas was the recipient of the ASU Young Alumni Achievement award in 2014 for his work in the field of pediatric traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, specifically, the prevention of concussion injuries in young student athletes.
Dr. Anthony Dietz, Secretary/Treasurer and ASA Cross Country Coach
Anthony Dietz, an engineer and entrepreneur, is the founder of Paxauris, a startup company developing innovative hearing protection products. Dr. Dietz received his undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Sydney and his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. After graduating, Dr. Dietz served with the Royal Australian Air Force at the Aircraft Research and Development Unit where he worked as a flight test engineer. Dr. Dietz then worked in the Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, first as a National Research Council Research Associate, and later as a senior research scientist with MCAT Inc. For the past fifteen years, he has worked at Creare, an engineering research and development firm in New Hampshire, where he led efforts to develop innovative solutions to a wide range of problems including improved hearing protection for Navy crews, superconducting systems for quieter and more efficient aircraft, and advanced sensors for autonomous aerial vehicles. The father of five daughters, Dr. Dietz has coached elementary-school soccer and skiing and he has also coached four middle-school robotics teams in the First Lego League. Two of his daughters currently attend ASA.
Ms. Margery Brown
Margery Brown is the Chief Operating Officer at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council where she oversees the day-to-day operations of an economic development organization with a mission to attract and grow quality businesses and advocate for Greater Phoenix’s competitiveness. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Partnership for Economic Innovation, an organization dedicated to transforming Greater Phoenix into an innovation economy. Prior to moving to Arizona in 2008, Margery worked at both the New York City and Federal Offices of Management and Budget, as well as serving as a Deputy Commissioner for Finance and Administration for the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. Transitioning to the private sector, Margery managed operations in North and South Americas for Cushman & Wakefield, a global, commercial real estate firm. After relocating to Phoenix from New York City, Margery worked with various start-ups and early stage companies. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago and her masters in public policy from the Eagleton Institute of Public Policy at Rutgers University. One of her daughters attends ASA.
Dr. Carlos Contreras
Carlos Contreras is the regional public affairs director for Arizona and Latin America at Intel. As a third-generation engineer, Carlos has built a career focused on technology, creation, and community. Currently, Carlos oversees a team responsible for community engagement, governmental affairs and communication strategy for sites in Arizona, Costa Rica and Guadalajara. These Intel sites count on the talents of 14,000 employees and include cutting edge manufacturing, research and development, engineering labs, shared service centers, and a broad spectrum of Intel business units.
Contreras began his career as a process engineer for Procter & Gamble paper products before attending the Thunderbird School of Global Management where he completed a master’s degree in International Management. He began his career at Intel in 1996 working in finance. He supported capital and materials purchasing, research and development, and served as finance controller for Intel’s Costa Rica manufacturing site. After 10 years in finance, Contreras took on a new role as a regional education manager. This was followed by a four-year assignment in Washington, D.C. as the U.S. education director for Intel. In this role, Contreras developed and implemented programs that mobilized science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in classrooms nationwide and drove education policy change at the national and local level. He additionally oversaw Intel’s education programs in the United States including grants advancing math, science, and engineering pipeline projects such as science fairs, maker education, pre-engineering and coding programs while also providing more accessibility to students. From a young age, Carlos had a natural inclination for hands-on exploration with technology and mechanics. Because of this, he continues to find opportunities for young people to ignite this same passion for creating innovative solutions.
Carlos has served on numerous boards including as founding member of the Maker Education Initiative. He worked directly for Sally Ride and Craig Barrett on President Obama’s STEM initiative - Change the Equation. He served as a STEM Education Industry Advisor for the National Governors Association (NGA), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and White House Science Fair. He currently serves on the Board for Arizona Forward. He has often served as a resource to media on STEM initiatives and the importance of creating access to these opportunities for young people.
Dr. David Garcia
David R. Garcia is an Associate Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Dr. Garcia's professional experience includes extensive work in state and national education policy development and implementation. Prior to his appointment at ASU, he served as the Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Arizona, Director of Research and Policy for the Arizona Department of Education, research analyst for the Arizona state legislature and as a peer consultant for the U.S. Department of Education. His research interests include school choice, accountability and the study of factors that facilitate or distort policy implementation in public education. His scholarship has appeared in numerous journals and books including Teachers College Record, Educational Policy and Social Science Quarterly. In addition, he is currently co-editor of two academic journals, Education Policy Analysis Archives and Review of Research in Education. In 2008, he was awarded the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Garcia has contributed his leadership and expertise to many diverse education organizations including the Arizona State Board of Education, the Morrison Institute for Public Policy and the Helios Education Foundation. He has directed the Arizona Education Policy Initiative since it's founding in 2003 and currently serves on the board of the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise. He has been recognized by Phoenix magazine and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for his contributions to public education. In 2011, he participated in the inaugural class of the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy. Dr. Garcia received a Bachelor of Arts and Honors Diploma from Arizona State University. He holds a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Chicago in Education Policy, Research and Institutional Studies. He is also a veteran who proudly served in the U.S. Army Infantry. Dr. Garcia has one child who attends ASA.
Ms. Joya Kizer
Joya Kizer serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of CASA Unlimited Enterprises, Inc. She succeeded her mother, Yolanda Collazos Kizer, a prominent entrepreneur who founded the local-based retail business in 1989. Joya received her Baccalaureate degree in Zoology from Arizona State University. In Ms. Kizer’s 16-year tenure at CASA, she has held a variety of significant roles in the company as an accounts payable clerk, buyer, and general operations manager. These career opportunities allowed her to ascertain key elements for running a successful business. She has been affiliated with HMSHost, CASA Unlimited, and Desert Jewel. She was elevated to her current role in 2013 and currently oversees five retail stores in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, three venture partnership contracts and continues to build growth opportunities for the business. Ms. Kizer is a recipient of the “Univision/Valle del Sol 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40” for excellence in business leadership and is a member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) organization. She has a large community outreach involvement and donates to many local organizations such as Boyce Thompson Arboretum, ALAC Board of Directors, and Cesar Chavez Foundation. She continues to be a prominent NextGen community figure within the airport concessionaire industry.
Mr. Alex Laing
Alex Laing began studying the clarinet at age 11 in his hometown of Silver Spring, MD. In 2002 he joined the Phoenix Symphony as principal clarinet. An accomplished instrumental artist, Alex's work represents a modern take on orchestral practice. Active in his community as a performing and teaching artist, he is committed to exploring how an orchestra - and an orchestral musician - navigates the push and pull between the tradition of a legacy art form and its unfixed future.
A longtime believer in community engaged music making, Alex recently started The Leading Tone, a non-profit, after school music program. The project brings music instruction to kids while exploring music as a context for youth development. A graduate of Northwestern University, he received his master's degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, an artist's diploma from the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam and a certificate in non-profit management from Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation.
Alex is fortunate to have garnered awards and honors during his career including fellowships from the Tanglewood Music Center, New World Symphony, Aspen Music Festival and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Most recently, received the 2018 Sphinx Medals of Excellence award for artistic excellence and spirit of determination. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for Arizona School for the Arts, he also serves on both the Artistic and Strategic Planning Committees for Gateways Music Festival and co-chairs the Institutional Readiness task force for the League of American Orchestras’ Diversity Forum.
Ms. Marcia Mintz
Marcia is a community leader who has worked globally and nationally in nonprofit management and philanthropy. Her most recent position was President of John C. Lincoln Health Foundation. During her tenure, she raised over $32 million and expanded the role of the foundation by developing new business and community partnerships to increase visibility and resources of the network. Following a merger in 2013 with HonorHealth, she also served as Senior Vice President of Community Benefit of the network.
Earlier in her career, Marcia served as the chief development officer of Valley of the Sun United Way. Prior to that, she worked in the Bay Area creating corporate and individual partnerships for a nonprofit multi-use residential and recreational campus and eight years in global program development. She has worked and lived in Latin America, Cuba, Europe and the Baltic States.She was named one of AZ Business magazine’s 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business in 2014 and a Woman Who Moves the Valley 2012 by Arizona Foothills magazine.
Ms. Adriana Figueroa Murrietta
Adriana Figueroa has spent more than ten years working to improve education for Arizona students. A former director of multicultural community engagement at Expect More Arizona, Figueroa led the organization's statewide outreach and mobilization efforts within the Hispanic and Native American communities and served as the spokesperson and point of contact for Spanish-speaking media.
A proven leader in her community, Figueroa is a graduate of the Hispanic Leadership Institute and Valley Leadership and a founding board member of the Isac Amaya Foundation. She also serves as an advisory board member for Arizona State University Cesar Chavez Institute, Parents Education Network Phoenix and Bi Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona.
Mr. John Snider
John Snider is a Managing Director at RBC Capital Markets where he heads its national Charter School Finance Group. Mr. Snider joined RBCCM in 1989 and in his current role coordinates and oversees the firm’s investment banking efforts for charter schools across the country, with over $2.25 billion of facilities funded since 2000. In his time at RBCCM, Mr. Snider has been involved with a number of other notable public financing projects, including funding of the University of Phoenix Stadium home of the Arizona Cardinals. In addition to his service on the ASA board, Mr. Snider is also a current board member and finance committee chair of the Arizona Charter Schools Association and previously was a board member and President of the Phoenix Boys Choir Association. He received his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Chicago. Two of his children graduated from ASA and one is a current ASA student.
Ms. Kelsey Wolf-Donnay, Honorary Alumni Member
Kelsey Wolf-Donnay graduated from Arizona School for the Arts in 2004 with a focus in ballet after joining in the 8th grade. Upon graduation, she was accepted into the prestigious dance program at the University of Arizona. After leaving University of Arizona, she continued her studies at Arizona State University where she received a bachelor's degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. Ms. Wolf-Donnay is currently the Individual Giving Manager at the Desert Botanical Garden. For more than three years, she worked at Southwest Human Development managing special events. Previously, she served as the chair for Emerging Arts Leaders Phoenix, an affiliate of Americans for the Arts, building a cohesive community of young arts professionals. She is currently a member of the Phoenix Suns Charities, Suns 88 program and Phoenix Philanthropy Group’s Manifesto Project class of 2015-16.