Board of Trustees

Our mission at PUC Schools is to develop and manage high quality charter schools serving at risk students. Create school programs and cultures that result in college graduation for all students. Focus on developing secondary schools partnered with strong feeder elementary programs. Uplift Communities through Educational Partnerships.

Board Members

Dr. Manuel Ponce, Board Chair

Manuel Ponce was born in Panorama City and raised in Sylmar by his parents, both of whom are educators. His upbringing instilled in him the importance of education as a mechanism for change and equality for all people. At an early age Manuel began working with youth in the community by volunteering at the local recreation center as an athletic coach. Manuel attended Herrick Avenue Elementary and Porter Magnet Middle school. Upon graduating from Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, he began working in education as a teacher’s assistant and was named the aquatics administrator for Alemany High School’s Water Polo and Swim teams. Manuel joined PUC as a science teacher at Lakeview, after teaching for six years at a small, private elementary school in San Fernando. After one year as a teacher at Lakeview Charter Academy, Manuel applied for and was hired as principal. During his current tenure as principal, Lakeview’s API score has grown from 735 to 856; the school was honored with the Title I Academic Achievement Award and received a 6 year WASC accreditation.

Manuel received an Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts from Los Angeles Mission College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies from California State University, Northridge. He was a Fellow in the Charter School Leadership Academy at Loyola Marymount University where he earned a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership with a certificate in Charter School Leadership and Special Education Administration. In 2010, Manuel was named Student of the Year for the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University. In 2012, he earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Loyola Marymount University and now serves as a part-time professor.

Mr. Jesse Almeda, Treasurer

Marketing Coordinator for Alta Planning + Design

Jesse completed his B.A. at UCLA and is also a PUC alumni who was part of the founding class of PUC CALS Early College High School in Northeast Los Angeles, which was the first PUC high school. Jesse, like the other 2 alumni on the board, embodies a solid commitment to and understanding of the mission, vision and goals of PUC.

Ms. Dorothy Lee, Board Member

Vice President of Client Management and General Manager of Southern California for EdTec
Dorothy Lee is the Vice President of Client Management and General Manager of Southern California for EdTec, a social enterprise that provides business and development support for charter schools . She has worked with a range of schools, from charter developers as they get authorized to established networks. Dorothy holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a BBA from the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Ms. Jessica Lopez, Secretary

As a graduate from CA State University Northridge and a PUC alumni who attended PUC schools in the Northeast San Fernando Valley from grades 6 -12, Ms. Lopez brings a depth of understanding and commitment to the board that is highly unique. Along with our other two board members who are also alumni from our schools, Ms. Lopez represents what it means to manifest the achievement of PUC’s 3 Commitments and understands what is required in our schools in order for our students to achieve these accomplishments. Ms. Lopez plans to earn a degree in law.

Ms. Genesis Morales, Board Member

Marriage and Family Therapist

As is the case with Jessica Lopez, Genesis is also a PUC alumni who completed her undergraduate work at the University of CA Santa Cruz and earned her Marriage and Family Therapist certificate at USC. Genesis attended PUC schools in Northeast Los Angeles from grades 6 -12 and as such brings a deep knowledge, understanding, and commitment to the board.

Ms. Juana Maria Valdivia, Board Member

Director of Student Outreach and Recruitment, California State University, Northridge

Juana Maria Valdivia was born and still lives in the city of Pacoima.  She is the youngest of nine children raised by hard working parents who migrated from Guanajuato, Mexico.    Even though, her parents did not speak English and only completed some grammar school they knew an education would make a difference in the life of their children.   She obtained a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts and a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from CSUN.  She currently provides leadership and guidance for the Student Outreach and Recruitment team at California State University, Northridge.  She has worked in the field of higher education for more than 18 years, promoting college awareness to students and parents. She is a proud parent of two students at PUC Triumph Charter Academy.