Daraja Education Fund

Daraja Academy is currently supported by Daraja Education Fund, or DEF.

The mission of DEF is to advocate for and advance quality secondary education for all through sustainable school models.

The DEF Board of Directors is represented by experienced professionals in a variety of fields including education, special events, public relations, and strategic planning.

How does Daraja Education Fund financially support Daraja Academy?”

Our funding comes primarily from individuals who are passionate about girls’ education and empowerment. We have been generously supported by grants from Project Redwood, Dining for Women, and Circle of Women. To make a contribution, visit our donation page.

When were the Academy and the Fund established?

The Daraja Education Fund was established in 2007. Daraja Academy’s first class of girls began in February 2009.

How many staff do the Daraja Education Fund and Daraja Academy employ?

The Daraja Education Fund has four employees: Founders who are Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director respectively, Marketing Manager and Office Manager.

Daraja Academy employs over 40 Kenyans as teachers, administrators, cooks, maintenance workers, and guards.



Board of Directors

The DEF Board of Directors is dedicated to raising funds necessary to build a strong foundation for Daraja Academy, ensuring success long into the future.


Lee Ann graduated from Davidson College with a BA in Economics. After college she taught Government Studies to high school students through the Close Up Foundation in Washington, D.C. She also spent a year teaching English at Kangubiri Girls’ High School outside Nyeri, Kenya. She returned to the U.S. to pursue a MS in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University. Later, she traveled to Malawi and Zimbabwe to do a study for the United Nations Development Program and took a job at the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service to work on the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. In 1991, She returned to the University of Pittsburgh to get her Ph.D. in International Relations and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to do her dissertation research on biotechnology policy at the Commission of the European Union. She and her husband live in Los Altos, California with their two daughters. In her free time she enjoys reading and attending performing arts events. She also volunteers for a wide variety of organizations in her local community.


Susy is currently the Vice President & Controller for Schwab Charitable Fund, a position she has held since 2000 and has held leadership and controller positions at major nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area since 1993. Prior to moving to the Bay Area she was employed in controller positions in the oil and gas industry in Southern California. Susy is a graduate of the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MBA in International Management) and Mount Holyoke College (BA in Latin American Studies). Growing up in Lima, Peru, Susy is bilingual and got an early start with volunteering through her involvement in the Girl Scouts and the Union Church of Lima. Susy has been involved in the local Mount Holyoke Club of Northern California for the last 20 years as past President and current Treasurer as well as leadership positions with her Mount Holyoke class. She served on the Finance Committee of the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College for three years. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Peter and enjoys travel, cooking, reading, hiking, bird watching, and running half marathons.


Mo currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Northgate Capital, LLC in Danville, CA. Mo has an extensive background and over 30 years of experience in senior management positions in the high tech and private equity sectors. Prior to Northgate, Mo worked for organizations including Mohr, Davidow Ventures, Softbank Corp/Ziff Davis, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard. He holds an M.B.A. from Stanford University. Mo is married to his wife Vivienne and has two children. While he now calls San Francisco his home, Mo was born in Kenya and lived there through his high school years. In his free time, he enjoys playing squash, traveling, and supporting girls education. Mo has been an advisor for over five years.


Erika brings over 16 years of experience as a senior business development executive with a focus on sales at FuzeBox, Inc. and Ernst & Young, Australia. She attended the University of Southern California and earned her degree in Political Science. Erika is also a member of the Ernst & Young CEO Diversity Advisory Council and the Australia Senior Women’s Leadership Forum co-chairperson. She served as a mentor to the Head of Fundraising at the YWCA of New South Wales. Erika’s life purpose is to help others, especially women and girls, achieve their potential. She believes that opportunities begin with education.


Diane is currently the Controller with Litman Gregory Asset Management in Larkspur, CA. Prior to joining Litman Gregory she managed the accounting and human resources at Paradise Foods in Corte Madera. Prior to that Diane was the Controller for Terrace Consulting in San Francisco and an Accountant for Arthur Andersen & Co. in the audit and tax divisions in San Francisco. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (BS – Accounting and Finance). Diane is also a Big Sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay. She lives in Marin with her husband and two sons. In her free time she enjoys hiking and biking. Diane joined the Daraja Eduction Fund in 2012 as the Board Treasurer.


Lisa joins the board after thirty years experience with Adventures Cross-Country, a company that offers adventure travel and community service programs around the world to teenagers. As the Founder and Director, Lisa contributed to many facets of the company including marketing, program development, human resources and bookkeeping. Through her travels, Lisa has gained a fondness for Africa, both its culture and its people. With the combination of raising daughters, travel, and work experience, Lisa comes to Daraja with enthusiasm to improve girls education throughout the world. She lives in Mill Valley with her husband, Scott, and their four children, Katie, Sheldon, Heidi, and Willie.


Steve is a Partner and Director of Human Resources with Litman Gregory Asset Management in Larkspur, CA. Prior to that, for much of the 1990’s he was an at-home dad, which followed almost 20 years as a social worker and manager with children’s and teen programs. He has worked with children’s programs professionally, as a parent, and as a volunteer for over 40 years. Steve’s family has been engaged with Daraja since 2009; and Steve taught computer technology, photography and business skills on campus in 2010, 2011 and 2013. In 2011, he and his son, Jono, co-led the first Marin Academy Service Learning trip to Daraja. Steve holds an MSW from Boston University and an MBA from Edinburgh Business School.


Sara holds an MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. She has served on numerous Boards including: La Casa de las Madres, Marin Ballet, Marin Academy and Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth. Professionally, Sara has worked for several international development, non-profit and governmental organizations in NYC, Washington, DC and SF. Most recently she worked as a philanthropic consultant for a family foundation in the Bay Area. She and her husband have three daughters.


Jason grew up in northern California, and received his BA in International Relations at University of San Diego in 1998, then moved to Tanzania to teach at a secondary school. During those 6 months, Jason discovered his passion for teaching. Upon returning home, he earned his teaching credential at Dominican University in 2004 and taught in the public school system for 6 years as a mentor teacher. He was selected as Solano County’s Teacher of the Year in 2007. In 2008, he moved with his wife, Jenni, to Kenya to start Daraja Academy.