Our Board of Directors

Eugene Straub
President

Prior to joining Citizens of the World, Mr. Straub served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Youth Policy Institute. Previously, he has served as Chief Operating Officer at Larchmont Charter School, Chief Financial Officer for the marketing firm IMMS, and Chief Operating Officer of Break the Cycle Inc., where he had oversight of development, program implementation, public policy, and all financial activities. He also served as Senior Vice President-Studio Operations for Twentieth Century Fox, where he was responsible for daily operational activity of the 54-acre studio lot and had oversight of an $85 million operating budget. Mr. Straub serves on the Board of Directors for Larchmont Charter School, Bert Corona Charter Middle School, and Monseñor Oscar Romero Charter Middle School and was a founding board member of Valley Charter School. Mr. Straub earned a B.A. in Finance from Michigan State University and has received a Diplôme de Cuisine with honors from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France.

Joe Lucente
Treasurer

Joe Lucente is a pioneer in the charter school movement and recognized as one of the state’s leading experts in charter school finance. In 1993, Joe led the conversion of one of the first conversion charter schools in California. Once considered one of the worst elementary schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Fenton Avenue Charter School became a California Distinguished School and a national model of a successful conversion charter school honored by the White House, U.S. Congress and California Legislature. A fearless warrior for charter school student equity and as past-President of the California Network of Educational Charters (CANEC), Joe was a driving force in the creation of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA).

Now retired from Fenton, Joe utilizes his 45 years of experience in both the private sector and public education by advising current charter school operators and serving on several boards of organizations benefiting charter school students. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Fenton Charter Public Schools, where he continues to provide guidance to three additional charter schools, Fenton Avenue Charter School, Fenton Avenue Primary Center, and Santa Monica Charter School.

Sandra Mendoza
Secretary

Community-at-large organizer: Sandra’s most recent activist endeavor was to establish the OUC (Organized Urban Communities), an organization which hosted its First Annual Earth Day event at McArthur Park. The Metropolitan Democratic Club, a Club established to help develop, secure and empower the democratic base in the communities of Pico Union, McArthur Park, Westlake and Downtown L.A. In addition, the MDC has recently established a scholarship fund for high school seniors in these communities who have demonstrated traits or abilities to be political activists and/or organizers. Sandra latest ventures: helping develop content for a progressive show en Espańol through the start up nonprofit organization, ECO Broadcast System; the Vice Chair of the Crown Jewel Club Foundation – a (501c3) nonprofit organization with an after school program which teaches ten year old girls etiquette; and she is also a current board member of the East Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club.

Local leader: Sandra was a board member of the Pico Union Neighborhood Council, and remains an active Ex-Oficio. For the ’05 L.A. Mayor’s race, she completed two voter registration projects for Southwest Voter Registration & Education Project (SVREP) – a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which focuses on activating the Latino and other minority base votes.

Political organizer: she is a member of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Central Committee, and for the state – Assembly District 46th E-Board Rep. A Democratic GAIN and Emily’s List trainee. For the last presidential election, Sandra worked as a Field Organizer in Clark County, Nevada (a county which went blue) for the Nevada Coordinated Campaign for the Democratic Party – managing two staging sites (Laborer’s and Plumbers & Pipe Fitters Union Halls) with a territory that covered nine assembly districts in minority based areas, mobilized over 800 volunteers on election weekend ‘04. Most recent campaign job was as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Ron Calderon for State Senate Campaign for the June 6, 2006 Primary. Lead Organizer for the California Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign Victory 2006 (November ’06 general election cycle).

Mary G. Keipp
Board Member

Mary G. Keipp graduated from Stanford University, 1959-1961. Program Director, Community Based Learning Program, Office of Instructional Development, UCLA, 1989 to present where she was responsible for the overall management of CBL Program, an umbrella entity for numerous projects serving adolescent youth in the Los Angeles community. The largest project is the Workforce Investment Act, a school to career transition program targeting approximately 5,000 at-risk high school youth yearly throughout the city of Los Angeles. Duties include oversight of all aspects of the program from fund development to management of a $2,000,000 per year budget. Supervision of 30 full time staff and 40 part-time volunteer and work-study UCLA student tutors. Extensive liaison work with business and community-based organizations that partner with the program. Membership on several Workforce Investment Board policy committees in relation to this program.
Current duties also include development and management of several smaller programs, utilizing UCLA students in educational outreach activities. The Los Angeles Bridges program, as one example, is an early intervention program targeting at middle school students, funded by the Los Angeles City Council, in which UCLA students provide peer counseling and tutoring to students at Audubon Middle School. This is part of a collaborative effort with 12 other agencies; duties include total supervision, all collaboration activities and management of contract and fiscal components.
Other programs include a Media and Technology Program working with the Los Angeles Unified School District and a Teen Self-Sufficiency Program providing tutoring to identified high risk and special education high school youth.

Carlos Vaquerano
Board Member

Carlos Antonio H. Vaqueráno, a naturalized U.S. citizen from El Salvador, currently serves as the Executive Director of the Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF). Carlos founded SALEF in 1995, and served as its volunteer President and de facto Executive Director for two years. He has served on the boards and committees of many community and professional organizations, including the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), Latino-Hispanic Heritage Committee (1997); Mayor Tom Bradley’s Advisory Committee on Central America (1986-87); the United Way Planning Council of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Region (1993); the Community Advisory Council for the President of the University of Southern California; Co-founder of the Central American Festivities Committee (COFECA); Co-founder of the Salvadoran American National Network (SANN); Habitat for Humanity; Rebuild L.A. (RLA). In 2004 he was appointed by Mayor James Hahn to serve as the Chair of the Los Angeles-San Salvador Sister City Committee, an organization; that he him self established since 1997. Carlos served as an appointee to Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa’s Transition Team, and is currently a member of his Council of Education Advisor.

As an active member in the Los Angeles community, Carlos works closely with key elected officials, community leaders and financial institutions to advocate for a better quality of life for the community he serves. Through his active involvement in the community, Carlos has been instrumental in promoting the inclusion of Latinos and Central Americans in leadership positions, including commissions and boards at the local and state levels.

Alex Reza
Board Member
Michael Green
Board Member