OUR PARTNERS AND ASSOCIATES

FRANK COSCA, President

     Dr. Cosca began as a teacher and an elementary assistant principal in Santa Ana Unified School District. He then served as an elementary and later a junior high school principal in Fullerton School District. Dr. Cosca went on to become the Superintendent of the Eastside School District in Lancaster for three years, Central School District in Rancho Cucamonga for six years and finally the Superintendent of Ontario Montclair School District in Ontario for the remaining eleven years of his career.

     Dr. Cosca has led or been part of searches for more than twenty years. However, since retirement in 2000, he has been the President of The Cosca Group (TCG) and involved himself in all searches TCG has conducted.

     Dr. Cosca has served as an advisor to ACSA, CSBA, the State Secretary of Education and the State Superintendent of Schools.

STEVE GOLDSTONE, Chairman

     Dr. Goldstone has served for over twenty three years as superintendent of both urban and suburban unified school districts throughout California. Prior to serving as superintendent Dr. Goldstone was an assistant superintendent, principal, counselor and teacher.

     Dr. Goldstone served as the Founding Dean of Touro University’s College of Education. He has been an Associate Professor at USC, University of La Verne, and California State University Hayward.

     Dr. Goldstone earned his doctorate from the University of Southern California and an MA in administration and a BA in history from California State University Northridge.

GEORGE BLOCH, Vice President

     Dr. George H. Bloch has over forty years of experience in K-12 education. He has served as teacher, coach, high school principal, assistant superintendent, and finally as a superintendent. Dr. Bloch has served as a superintendent in districts in the central valley and southern California with student enrollments from 17,000 to 35,000. 

     In 2001 Dr. Bloch was awarded “California Superintendent of the Year”. While a superintendent, he was on the Executive Committee of American Association of School Administrators, the Board of the Urban Superintendents’ Association of America and he served for six years on the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission. 

     Dr. Bloch’s association with national organizations gives him a strong recruiting network across America.

THOMAS HALVORSEN, Secretary

     Dr. Tom Halvorsen has served children for over thirty-nine years. He was a teacher in the Los Alamitos Unified School District for five years and assistant principal in the Lennox School District for one year. In the Savanna School District (Anaheim, CA), Dr. Halvorsen served as a principal for eight years, assistant superintendent for three years and superintendent for twenty-one years. He also has served as an adjunct professor with California State University, Fullerton.

     Dr. Halvorsen received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from California State University, Long Beach in Education Leadership. He received his Doctorate Degree in Education Administration from the University of Southern California. Dr. Halvorsen is currently serving on: the Board of Governors of the USC Alumni Association, the Trojan Club of Orange County Board and is a board member of the Pivot Charter School.

PAT PULEO, Chief Financial Officer

     Pat Puleo has had a comprehensive career in education. She served as Director of Education Programs, University Extended Education, at California State University, Fullerton, for six years. As part of that responsibility, she led outreach efforts, on behalf of the university, in several districts throughout Southern California in the areas of district program development, evaluation, curriculum and instruction, grant evaluation, support to underperforming schools, and administrator mentoring, 

     Prior to her tenure at CSUF, Pat was the Director of Education Services in the Fullerton School District, principal, and coordinator of special programs. She has distinguished herself throughout her career as evidenced by her being recognized as Administer of the Year in Orange County during her tenure as principal and received the Outstanding Service the University Award from the College of Human Development and Community Service, CSUF, in 2000. 

     She has been working as a private consultant for ten years in district strategic planning, instruction, curriculum, evaluation, and mentoring throughout California.

TAHIR AHAD, Partner

     Mr. Ahad is the president and chief executive officer of Total School Solutions (TSS). He founded the firm in 1999 and has been instrumental in maintaining the highest quality of services offered by TSS and earning the confidence of clients TSS serves. Besides his executive responsibilities at the firm, Mr. Ahad continues to be involved in providing direct services to TSS clients; primarily in the areas of efficiency studies, performance audits and evaluations, systems improvement, and developing and implementing best educational management practices.

     Mr. Ahad has had a distinguished career in public education, serving as chief business official in five school districts. Besides his successes as a chief business official,

     Mr. Ahad is recognized for his knowledge of educational programs and expertise in employee-employer relationships. Mr. Ahad has developed excellent working relationships with employee associations and their leadership.

     Mr. Ahad holds a Masters Degree in business administration from Arizona State University and is a Certified Public Accountant in California.

WILLIAM BRAGG, Partner

     Dr. William Bragg joined The Cosca Group after spending the last nine years as Superintendent of the Cupertino Union School District where he systematically developed a non-linear design model for building a district wide strategic plan. 

     Dr. Bragg brings 37 years of experience as a classroom teacher, elementary principal, assistant superintendent of human resources and a deputy superintendent of instruction.   

     Dr. Bragg has written and presented extensively in the areas of Building Leadership Capacity, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change. 

     In addition to working with The Cosca Group, he is an assistant professor in educational leadership at Chapman University. 




JAN BRITZ, Partner

     Dr. Jan Britz has served as an educator for over 40 years. Prior to retiring in 2015 as Superintendent of Burbank Unified School District, she served as the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction there. She also served as Director of Human Resources in South Pasadena Unified School District. As a resident of Simi Valley, she worked in Simi Valley Unified School District for 23 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal of a junior high school, middle school, and high school.

     Dr. Britz received a B.A. degree from Eastern Michigan University, a M.S. and M.A. degree from California State University, Northridge, and a Doctoral of Education from USC.

     Dr. Britz also served as an adjunct professor at California Lutheran University, Moorpark Community College and California State University, Northridge. In addition, she has taught Leadership workshops and classes at professional conferences and colleges. Jan has been recognized with awards for her work as an administrator from ACSA and others from Ventura County, as well as community groups and parent organizations.

JAIME CASTELLANOS, Partner

     Mr. Jaime Castellanos has been an educator for more than 34 years. He received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Loyola University of Los Angeles. 

     During his career, he has served as a middle and high school teacher, assistant principal, high school principal, assistant superintendent of secondary education, and as Superintendent of the William S. Hart Union High School District. His experience as an educator has encompassed serving in small rural school districts and large suburban districts ranging in size from 3,000 to over 24,000 students.

     Mr. Castellanos has served as president of the ACSA South Coast Santa Barbara Chapter, treasurer of ACSA Region 13, and as a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita. He has been honored by being selected as ACSA Region 15 Superintendent of the Year, Marcus Foster Memorial Award recipient, Golden Oaks PTA award and the Latino Chamber of Commerce Educator award. He brings expertise and experience in the areas of curriculum and instruction, budgeting, school facilities and mentoring staff. 

THERESA DAEM, Partner

     Dr. Theresa Daem is a former California school superintendent, serving six years as Superintendent of the San Bruno Park School District and nine years as Superintendent of the Laguna Beach Unified School District. 

     In 2009, she founded the National Association of School Superintendents (NASS), an organization focused on the unique challenges and district needs of America's top educational leaders; she was executive director until July 30, 2016, and continues to actively support the organization. According to Daem, "Quality teachers are the essence of quality education, but they truly flourish in great districts, and these are the result of great leadership."

     Daem began her career as a high school English teacher and served in numerous school district administrative positions before assuming the top district leadership role. She has written more than 100 articles on successful school district leadership and presented at numerous professional gatherings and meetings. She has also been an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University, a School Support Team Leader for the Nevada Department of Education and a member of numerous boards and advisory groups. She earned her B.S. Degree and her M.S. Degree from Eastern Montana University and her doctorate from the University of Southern California.

GENERAL DAVIE, Partner

     Dr. Davie has served as a K-12/Adult educator for 46 years. His experience includes classroom teaching-preschool through sixth grade, elementary school principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. Dr. Davie served 16 years as Superintendent in the Natomas and San Juan Unified School Districts in Sacramento County. The districts served student populations ranging from 2,500 to 45,000 students. 

     While serving as Superintendent, Dr. Davie received recognition for his work with school districts and the community. He received the Marcus Foster award from the Association of California School Administrators and Superintendent of the Year from the Sacramento Urban League.

     Dr. Davie has served on the Board of Directors of the California Association of School Administrators. He has worked on various projects with the California School Boards Association and the California State Department of Education.

     He gives back to the community by serving on the Board of the Sacramento Children's Home. Dr. Davie was recognized, January 2014, as Educator of the Year by the Carmichael California Chamber of Commerce.

     Dr. Davie brings knowledge and hands on experience in assisting Boards to reach their goals.

JEANNE C. DAVIS, Partner

     Dr. Jeanne C. Davis has over 40 years of experience a general education teacher, special education teacher, special education director, SELPA director, professor of special education and a consultant to districts in improving their programs.

     Dr. Davis is the CA CASE (Council of Exceptional Children's Administrators of Special Education) president and has served as Chair of the SELPA Directors Organization. She has experience assisting districts, Counties, and SELPAs select exemplary administrators of special education.

TOM GARNELLA, Partner

     Dr. Tom Garnella (Dr. “G”) has enjoyed a broad, practical educational background. He is acutely aware of all aspects schools as well as the many specialties that are within the realm of school business services. His 38 years as an educator included both the classified and certificated arenas, having served as a noon aide, elementary and middle school teacher, middle school assistant principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent.

     During his teaching years, Dr. "G" taught in the then Yorba Linda as well as Beverly Hills Unified school districts. As a site administrator, he served in Charter Oak Unified. He has also been the Assistant Superintendent, Business Services in the San Marino Unified, Savanna Elementary, and Central School districts and jointly served as Superintendent in the Coast Joint Union High School and Cambria Elementary School district. Since his retirement from the Ontario-Montclair School District, where he served as its Assistant Superintendent, Business Services, he has served as the Interim Assistant Superintendent, Business Services in both the Perris Union High School District and Ontario-Montclair.

     Dr. Garnella has a BA in Elementary Education and a MA in Educational Administration from Cal State, Northridge. He earned his Doctorate in Educational Administration with a specialty in school finance and curriculum from USC.

     He is a former member of the Chaffey Community College Board of Trustees. He remains busy in educational circles and is involved in numerous community activities in the Hemet, California area.

LYNNE KENNEDY, Partner

     The professional career of Lynne B. Kennedy, Ph.D., spans 36 years in education. She began her teaching career in the Rialto Unified School District as a secondary mathematics teacher. She moved through the educational ranks holding positions of junior high and high school assistant principal, middle school principal, Director of Categorical Programs, Assistant Superintendent, Associate Superintendent and Superintendent. Additionally, she has worked for Chapman University as an adjunct professor.

     Dr. Kennedy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Redlands, with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Upon completing her undergraduate work, Dr. Kennedy obtained a Masters Degree in School Administration from Cal State, San Bernardino, and a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University. Her dissertation, “Policy as School Reform: Selection Criteria and Student Access to Algebra I”, received the Claremont Graduate University, Urban Leadership Achievement Award and the Phi Delta Kappa award for Dissertation of the Year.

In addition to her professional life, Dr. Kennedy has a long history of community service. She is a charter member of the San Bernardino Valley chapter of The Links, Incorporated. The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of women who are committed to serving their communities. Links members contribute more than 500,000 documented hours of community service annually – strengthening their communities and enhancing the nation. A very important component of Dr. Kennedy’s service to the community also includes her active role in the church. Since the early 1980s, she has taught confirmation classes, served as church board secretary and participated in visitation and community outreach. For the last five years, she has been active in the greeter ministries and small-group Bible study for the Hillside Community Church in Rancho Cucamonga.

     Dr. Kennedy remains active in the academic arena as an educational consultant to school districts and mentor to school administrators.

DOROTHY M. LEVEQUE, Partner

     Dr. Dottie Leveque enjoyed a 38 year career in education, serving as a teacher for 10 years in a variety of cultural and linguistic settings: Bloomington Public Schools in Minnesota; Many Farms Elementary Boarding School on the Navajo Nation for the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Stockton USD, California; and Taos Municipal Schools in New Mexico. The next 28 years were spent in various levels of educational administration: Principal of a 1-8 private school (3 years); Middle School Assistant Principal (5); Director, Instructional Services (12); Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services (8). Dr. Leveque was also certified in Strategic Planning Facilitation, Curriculum Auditing, and English Language Development.

     Education: BS in Elementary Education, College of Saint Teresa, Winona, MN; MA, Theology, St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA; MS, Education, California State University, Fullerton, CA; and Doctor of Education, University of Southern California.

     Currently, Dr. Leveque is the President/CEO of Pathways/Africa, a small nonprofit organization based in Claremont, California and Arusha, Tanzania. The mission of the organization is to empower and assist the people of Africa through the mutual development of sustainable resources for community planning, education, and health services. Pathways volunteers are working primarily with schools in South Africa and Tanzania at this time, with smaller projects in Kenya and Zimbabwe.  

JOY MAHDESIAN, Partner

     Dr. Joy Mahdesian obtained her BA and MA degrees from California State University, Northridge. Her doctorate degree is from the University of Southern California. 

     She is a twenty year superintendent. In addition, Dr. Mahdesian has been a teacher, reading specialist, coordinator, assistant principal and principal. Dr. Mahdesian is a member of the CSBA Superintendents Committee and Legal Alliance Board of Directors. 

     Dr. Mahdesian is part of the California School Business Officials Strategic Planning Team. She is dedicated to learning and teaching.

KENNETH NOONAN, Partner

     Ken Noonan served as a teacher and administrator in California public schools for forty years, thirty as a superintendent in three K-12 districts, Corcoran, Gilroy and Oceanside. He earned his BA, MA and Administrative Authorizations at CSU Los Angeles, Whittier College and Claremont Graduate School respectively. He served on the State Board Of Education for four years, two years as president.

     Ken Noonan has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) was the founding president of the California Association of Bilingual Educators (CABE), and is a founding member of The California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators (CALSA). He is a member of the Board of Directors of ConnectEd in Berkeley, The President's Advisory Council at California State University San Marcos and the Board of Directors of the Mira Costa College Foundation in Oceanside.

     Ken Noonan has had over twenty years of experience assisting directly with superintendent searches He is retired, is a partner in The Cosca Group and lives in Oceanside, California 

BARRY PULLIAM, Partner Emeritus

     Dr. Barry Pulliam, has served public education for more than thirty years. Most recently he provided leadership as the County Superintendent in San Bernardino County. Best known for his innovative, visionary applications of technology and his aptitude for educational capacity building with business, government and community partners, Barry has secured millions of dollars of additional funding and in kind academic support for students in urban, suburban and rural environments.

PATRICK SAYNE, Partner

     Dr. Patrick Sayne, has served for over 30 years as a superintendent. He was superintendent of Paso Robles Joint Unified School District in San Luis Obispo County for ten years. He has been superintendent in Warner Union Elementary School District, San Diego County, Valle Lindo School District and Lakeport Unified School District. He was Superintendent in Paso Robles JUSD from 1998 until he retired in 2008. 

     Dr. Sayne has taught a variety of elementary grades and Cal State University, Fullerton. In 2006 he created a cohort under the USC aegis for aspiring school business officials. He coordinates and teaches in this certificate program for the University.

     He is a graduate of Cal State University Long Beach with a B.A. in Russian history in 1968 followed by an M.A. in Education in 1977. He earned a doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Southern California in 1988.

     He is active in the Association of California School Administrators, serving on the Superintendency Committee and teaching school budget and leadership for the new superintendents program sponsored by ACSA.

His community involvement includes service on the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and remains a member of the Paso Robles Library Foundation Board of Directors as well as serving on the Board of Directors of San Luis Obispo County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

JOEL SHAPIRO, Partner

     Joel Shapiro has served as a professional educator for 42 years. Mr. Shapiro received his B.A. at Rutgers University and M.A. at California State University Northridge. He served as a teacher in the Lancaster School District and the Glendale Unified School District. In Glendale he also held the following positions: middle school assistant principal, elementary principal at two schools, middle school principal, coordinator of professional development, and director of curriculum and instruction. 

     After 28 years in Glendale, he served as assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent in the Burbank Unified School District. He then served as superintendent in the South Pasadena Unified School District for four and one-half years, retiring in 2014.

     Mr. Shapiro has been involved in leadership positions in regional and statewide organizations to advance teaching and learning. He was chair of the Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability Committee for a region of the Association of California School Administrators, also serving on the state council. He served on the Board of Directors of the California Staff Development Council. He was a member of the Superintendent’s Advisory Group for EdLeader 21, a national network of school districts committed to promoting 21st century learning for all students. He was also a charter member of the Board of Directors of the Burbank Arts Education Foundation. He has received honors from ACSA, chambers of commerce and community organizations, as well as parent organizations.

     Mr. Shapiro has been an adjunct professor at Occidental College and California State University Northridge. He currently provides training and executive coaching to school districts through Pivot Learning partners.

MARK SKVARNA Partner

     Dr. Mark Skvarna has served as superintendent of the Baldwin Park Unified School District for 13 years, retiring from the position in 2014. He was formerly a Deputy Superintendent for Baldwin Park Unified for three years and Assistant Superintendent for La Canada Unified school District for two years.

     As a representative of the California Department of Education, Dr. Skvarna served on the Advisory Commission on Charter Schools. In 2013, while serving as Superintendent of Baldwin Park Unified, Education Trust West noted that out of the 148 largest unified school districts in California, Baldwin Park Unified was ranked #1 for closing the achievement gap for students of color and low income.

     Dr. Skvarna holds a Master’s of Science degree in Strategic Leadership and a Doctorate of Philosophy.

LAURA TELLEZ-GAGLIANO, Partner

     Dr. Laura Tellez-Gagliano was appointed Superintendent by the Alhambra Unified School District Board of Education in July, 2012. 

     Dr. Tellez-Gagliano began her educational career as a classroom teacher in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). After serving nine years with LAUSD, Dr. Tellez-Gagliano worked for the Garvey School District for seventeen years in the capacities of Resource Teacher, Assistant Principal/Intermediate School, Principal of two elementary schools, Director of Curriculum and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.

     Dr. Tellez-Gagliano received her Bachelor's Degree and teaching credential from Loyola Marymount University. She received a California Administrative Services credential from California State University Los Angeles. In 2007, she received her Doctorate Degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne. She retired in June of 2017.

DORIS WILSON, Partner

     Dr. Wilson graduated from Southwest Missouri State College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s Degree from Azusa Pacific College in Education Administration and Doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California. Dr. Wilson’s professional career includes thirteen years as a teacher, twenty years in public school administration and ten years as professor and administrator for the University of Southern California.

     Dr. Wilson served as the Superintendent of Schools in Sunnyvale Elementary School District (1992-1997) and Desert Sands Unified School District (1997-2007).

     Dr. Wilson is Associate Dean, CSUSB, Palm Desert Campus.  Doris is a core member of the CSUSB doctoral faculty, specializing in Strategic Planning and Accountability. 

MARA WINICK, Partner

     Dr. Mara Winick is an Associate Professor of Management and Chair of the Business and Accounting Department at the University of Redlands. 

     She is trained as an organizational researcher and known for designing inclusive processes for collecting and interpreting important information about public school performance in America. 

     Dr. Winick’s expertise is in developing statistically sound scales that assess a school’s student learning environment. She also develops vehicles with district office staff to evaluate and improve department and district office performance.

IRENE NEWTON, Associate

     Irene Newton, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Education and Speech Pathology (1963) as well as her Master of Arts degree in Speech Pathology (1965) from the University of Southern California joined the Rialto Unified School District in 1964 for the start of a stellar 38 year career with that district. During nearly four decades in Rialto USD, she held a host of positions: Speech Therapist, School Counselor, K-12 Consolidated Projects Program Specialist, Elementary Principal, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, and District Superintendent. The diversity of these positions provided Mrs. Newton the opportunity to work with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and governing board members in setting and achieving many educational goals of the district.

     Of special note was her assignment as Principal of Bemis Elementary School which housed six pre-school through sixth grade classes from the Office of the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. The challenge was to integrate the county students with the district students while developing and implementing a district Gifted and Talented (GATE) magnet program. The process went so well that Bemis Elementary was recognized and rewarded for Excellence in Education by the United States Department of Education as a "Blue Ribbon School."

Mrs. Newton was well-known during her entire career for her ability to work collaboratively with all personnel and members of the community and solving matters before they problems and big issues. Her steadfast leadership facilitated the 29,000 student district to effectively deal with a burgeoning student growth population which necessitated the building of five new elementary schools, one new middle school, and one new comprehensive high school.

JACK MCLAUGHLIN, Associate

     Prior to becoming Superintendent of California’s Stockton Unified School District in 2006, Jack served one term (2001-2004) as the State of Nevada's Superintendent of Public Instruction. At 26 he was the youngest ever to receive a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Southern California. Before his service in Nevada, Dr. McLaughlin was in California public education for 37 plus years, with 26 of those years as Superintendent in Berkeley Unified (1994-2001); Hemet Unified (1987-94); and Sunnyvale School District (1974-87). He was a teacher, principal and Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services from 1963-74, serving all levels K-12.

     While attending Antelope Valley College, Jack was selected All-Conference in football and received the Most Valuable College Athlete award. In 1999, he was named by the American Association of School Administrators as the California Superintendent of the Year. In 2008, he was presented the Joseph B. Whitehead Educator of Distinction Award.

     Professional contributions include service as President of Association of California Urban School Districts, Founding Member of the Minority Student Achievement Network, California State Budget Review Committee Member, California Special Education Task Force Member, Charter Member of the California Education Research Council, Member of Council of Chief State School Officers, Commissioner of the Education Commission of the States, WestEd Board Member and California Special Olympics Advisory Committee.

     After his term as the Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction and prior to his Stockton Superintendency, Jack toured 25 state departments of education reviewing data infrastructures on behalf of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

     Since retiring from Stockton Unified in June 2008, Dr. Jack, in addition to his continued educational work at the national level, has been pursuing motion pictures and television as a screenplay writer. He has several active projects involving academy award winning actors in the works and has published mR. bERZERKELEY: The Naked Mayor of Berkeley, and the POLAR Principle: Successful Decisions in School, Life and Work by Following the Path of Least Anticipated Resistance.

     Jack and Sheryl McLaughlin are residents of Carson City, Nevada, have four grown children and four grandchildren.