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Executive Director

Dear SoCal CAIS Colleagues,


The Alliance Board of Trustees is excited to introduce Dr. Dana Coleman as the next Executive Director for the Independent School Alliance. Dana will bring the bold vision, passion for the mission, and commitment to access and excellence that has been the hallmark of the Alliance since its founding and that will lead the Indeoendent School Alliance confidently into the future.


Dr. Coleman was identified through a national search with a highly competitive candidate pool, and it became clear to the search committee that her talent, experience, and character presented an ideal match as our next leader. With a career in education spanning classroom teaching, school administration, and leadership development, Dana joins us from the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University, where she inclusively lead and directed clinical education efforts in the Department of Educational Leadership. Dana has worked directly with School of Education candidates, faculty, and staff to ensure that  leadership programs and fieldwork opportunities are designed with a focus on culturally-responsive pedagogy

and inclusion. A graduate of UCLA with a Master’s in Special Education from National University, Dana completed her Doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice at LMU, including her dissertation, “The Schooling Experiences of African American Males Attending Predominately White Independent Schools.” A native Angeleno, Dana also brings to the role her experiences as an Independent School Alliance parent and board member, as her son attends Westside Neighborhood School and she serves Curtis School as a trustee. Our Board looks forward to her distinguished service as a leader in our independent school community in Los Angeles and nationwide.

The Independent School Alliance celebrates an exceptional year and looks to the future with confidence and conviction about the renewed relevance of our important mission. As we congratulate our college-bound graduates of member schools, we also celebrate a 90%+ acceptance and placement rate for this year’s cohort of talented Alliance candidates. Looking forward, we feel the “fierce urgency of now” as we welcome Dr. Coleman to partner with staff, member schools, and Independent School Alliance families to connect dynamic students to life-changing educational opportunities. We thank our search committee, chaired by board members Jeff Clifford and Alma Medina and including Jeanette Woo Chitjian, Director of Admission at Marlborough School, for its dedication and service.



For 38 years, the Independent School Alliance has connected talented under-represented students with our partner schools, changing our schools and our society for the better. I find the Independent School Alliance to be one of the most powerful ways our LA community of schools collaborates, and we are honored to stand on the shoulders of our founders and continue this work. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Dana Coleman—together, we look forward to opportunities to connect in the fall about ways the Alliance can continue to fulfill its mission in the lives of our students.



Mark McKee

President, Board of Directors

Head, Viewpoint School


Board of Directors, 2021-2022


Kirsten Albrecht

Alex Amin

Greg Barnes

Jeffrey Clifford

Brent Epstein

Rose Helm

Edward Hu

Monica Mange Johnson

Mira Lee

Mark McKee, President

Alma Medina, Secretary

Michael Richter

Muhammad Shahzad

Nina Shaw, Vice President

Noah Shore

Azizi Williams

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