Board of Trustees
The Laurel School Board of Trustees is charged with establishing and supporting the school’s mission and long-range vision as well as broad priorities and policies for the operation of the school. Board members monitor the school’s academic and fiscal progress as it sets and approves the annual operating budget, including tuition and fees.
Current and former parents, administration, and members of our community at large make up our esteemed board. We welcome you to learn more about each member.
Meet Our 2016-2017 Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees
Betsy Stone Trigonis
Simone Haas, President
Simone Haas is a San Francisco native and a current parent at The Laurel School. She currently serves as a volunteer board member for the San Francisco Opera Medallion Society Board. Additionally, she is a member of the Board for Bread and Roses Presents. Simone is a certified parent mentor through Support for Families, and she has held many volunteer positions at The Laurel School including room parent, gala co-chair, and PGA chair.
Simone received her B.A. in journalism from the University of San Francisco. After receiving her A.S. degree in veterinary sciences, she served the animal community as a registered veterinary technician working at hospitals throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area.
Angie Yancey, Vice President
Anglia Benjamin Yancey is a retired nurse-attorney. For 14 years she practiced law in San Francisco as a trial attorney representing patients injured through medical negligence.
Anglia earned a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Arizona in 1982, and a J.D. from Golden Gate University in 1988. Anglia and her husband, David, live in San Francisco with their two sets of twins, all of who attend The Laurel School.
Janelle Lawson, Secretary
Janelle Lawson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of special education at San Francisco State University, and co-coordinator of the mild/moderate disabilities program. Her primary teaching responsibilities include courses related to understanding, assessing, and instructing individuals with mild/moderate disabilities. Dr. Lawson’s primary research interests include supporting equitable measures of special education teacher efficacy, investigating pedagogical practices and instructional delivery designs for improved teacher preparation, and increasing the strategic recruitment and retention of special education teachers.
Richard Seifert, Treasurer, Parent
Marcia Spitz, Founder/Board Emeritus
Marcia Spitz founded The Laurel School in 1965 for children who had learning differences and needed a special school to call their own. She has spent many years teaching and was intimately involved with the school until she retired. She has a bachelor of science in education from Trenton State teachers college and a master's in education from University of SF.
Hal Hensler, Head of School
Hal Hensler brings a wealth of experience to Laurel and the board, as we steer Laurel to become an even greater asset to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Janet Birenbaum, Alumni Parent, Lawyer
Robert Binion, Lawyer
Born with a progressive hearing loss and raised in a family of teachers, Robert understands that different students have different needs and believes everyone should be given the opportunity to succeed.
Robert is an attorney assisting businesses and individuals in litigation, risk management, and regulatory compliance. He is a graduate of San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). Robert lives in San Francisco with his wife, two children, and many pets.
Wenner Exius, Writer, Strategist, Creative
Wenner’s mom said he started reading when he was two. He suspects it was more like four. Then he wrote and delivered his first speech when he was six. Addicted to the applause at both triumphs, he began subjecting his family to endless play and music recitals in the living room. It’s no surprise that such a flair for the dramatic propelled him into the narrative arts for a career in writing.
By combining strategic empathy with over 10 years of marketing expertise, Wenner works with teams to build a bridge between business and creativity. Sometimes it's about writing a powerful brand promise. Sometimes it's about crafting engaging content. Sometimes it's about developing a national campaign. But mostly, it's about giving the audience a beautiful and simple story to connect with every time.
Wenner’s current projects include content writing for eBay Inc., creative strategy for SheShreds.com, and branding for OnPointe Training (health and fitness). Before that, he worked for Digitas, Razorfish, and EnergyBBDO agencies on brands like AT&T, the Canadian Cancer Society, Kellogg’s, Mary Kay, Pratt & Whitney, and even Santa Claus. Prior to those clients, he helped produce and promote content for the world’s first music portal RollingStone.com (in partnership with TheSource.com and DownBeatJazz.com).
Already a student dancer and cellist, Wenner is also pursuing his passion for health with certifications in wellness coaching and corrective exercise. He is pleased to bring his marketing expertise and personal passions to the Laurel School and help shape the wellness and education of children with learning difficulties.
Wenner moved to San Francisco from Montreal, by way of Chicago, where he received a bachelor of arts in communications from DePaul University. And on occasion, he still holds a recital or two in the living room.
Susan Giles, Alumni Parent
Susan helped found BuildingWise, LLC in 2007, and as president, she leads all strategic operations as well as manages the daily work flow of the office. Susan started her career in marketing and advertising, working as art director for clients like AT&T and Proctor & Gamble at the NYC agency FCB (Foote, Cone, and Belding). She developed a passion for promoting a healthier environment rather than laundry detergent, so she headed back to school to get her master’s degree in environmental studies. In her spare time, Susan serves on the board of trustees at The Laurel School in San Francisco and spends time in the kitchen canning fruits of the season.
Patricia Hickey, Parent
Patricia Hickey is a current parent at the Laurel School. In addition to being a parent at the school she believes deeply in the mission of the school – every child can succeed given they have the learning environment that works for them. This year, she’s chairing the Annual Fund campaign. In the past, she served for several years as a member and president of the Florence Crittenton Services Board of Directors. Additionally, she held several volunteer positions at her children’s past school including PA treasurer, advisory board member, annual campaign chair and technology committee chair.
She received her B.S. in Business Administration from Northeastern University in Boston. She and her husband live in San Francisco with their two children Joseph at Laurel School and Hannah at Mercy High School San Francisco.
Barbara Morgan-Zaney, Alumni Parent
Barbara Morgan-Zaney’s son Jack attended Laurel from kindergarten through eighth grade, graduating in 2013. Barbara volunteered for the Laurel Parent Guidance Association (PGA) wearing many hats: co-chair, room parent, fundraising dinners, auctions, annual fund, and capital campaign.
In addition to her efforts at Laurel, Barbara has been a docent at the California Academy of Sciences since 2008. Barbara received her BA in business economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She worked in finance and investment banking for over 10 years.
Believing strongly in the mission of The Laurel School, Barbara brings her organizational skills, financial background, and love of science and education to the board. Barbara and her husband Kevin live in San Francisco with their two children.
Betsy Stone Trigonis, Alumni Parent
Betsy Stone Trigonis is an alumni Laurel parent. Both of her sons attended Laurel and benefited from the small class size and individual instruction. As a Laurel parent, she was one of three parents who revitalized the Parent Guidance Association. Betsy was an extremely active parent volunteer, supporting development as she chaired multiple annual auctions, chaired the annual fund, and served as PGA treasurer.
Betsy is originally from New York City and moved to San Francisco in 1990, opening J & B Produce with her new husband Jim. She worked at Britex Fabrics for 16 years. Betsy has a BA in economics from Russell Sage College in Troy, New York.
Elizabeth White, Parent
Elizabeth White has worked over 20 years in the technology area as a manager, project lead, software developer, and customer field support representative in the United States and Europe. She has worked at CA software companies that include Apple and Sun Microsystems. Elizabeth has volunteered for many opportunities at The Laurel School including: gala co-chair, room parent, field trip chaperone and recently grant writer. She introduced the Salesforce Non-Profit Starter Package cloud software to The Laurel School in September 2013. The Salesforce software has helped The Laurel School centralize their school community members thus strengthening the school's fundraising abilities.
Originally from the Boston area, Elizabeth earned a B.S. in computer science and graduated from Merrimack College (North Andover, MA) via a full scholarship. She and her husband have lived in CA for over 14 years. Their daughter, Hailey, is a thriving student at The Laurel School.
Trevor Wright, Alumni Parent
Trevor Wright is currently seed stage investing as well as managing his charitable foundation. He is a successful entrepreneur with two liquidity events in 2012: he co-founded Vitrue and sold to Oracle, and he co-founded Black Bag Advertising and sold to Essence Digital. Prior to this, Wright has had other failures and successes. Wright sits on the board of a company he co-founded, DogTime Media, which operates the highest traffic pet websites: DogTime.com and CatTime.com.
Trevor received a B.A. from Boston College in 1994. Trevor and wife, Karen, reside in San Francisco with their four children and a guinea pig. Their second son, Jonah, is a proud Laurel student.
Our minutes are on file in the school office.