Board of Directors
Kenji was born and raised in Marin County, in San Anselmo and San Rafael. He attended public schools and graduated from Sir Francis Drake High School. At NGS, Kenji oversees the organization’s fiscal management and general administration. He also supports Sally with facets of executive management, and provides leadership with strategic planning, board relations and governance. His professional experience includes service at several nonprofit and educational institutions, in both administrative and program-focused roles.
He is currently a Senior Program Officer at the Sobrato Family Foundation, where he leads funding and program strategies to improve outcomes, Pre-K to college, for English Learner and low-income students in the South Bay and in select communities across California. Kenji has held previous roles at The James Irvine Foundation, San Francisco State University, as a consultant to the San Rafael City Schools, and at the Youth Leadership Institute. Early in his career, he enjoyed teaching in the Ross Valley School District and in a rural village in Japan through the JET Program.
Liz Katz is a graduate of Vassar College and the Iowa Writers Workshop. An experienced teacher, Liz has taught high school English at the Cranbrook Schools (Michigan) , Phillips Exeter Academy (New Hampshire), and Rocky Hill School (Rhode Island), where she was also Assistant Dean of Students. Her writing has appeared in journals such as Oleander Review, Interim, The Formalist, and Poetry. She is currently the Director of Enrollment Management at Ring Mountain Day School in Mill Valley, California. She has tutored students at Next Generation Scholars since 2011. She lives in San Rafael with her wife, Travis, and her twin sons.
Lilly Fu - CFO
Lilly currently serves as CFO at GreatSchools.org, an online service that promotes parent engagement by publishing ratings of schools and guides for choosing a good school. She has previously worked at the Stupski Foundation that funds district-level education reform, and also worked in finance positions at Sony Pictures, AT&T and Oracle.
Lilly was one of the first recruits of Teach for America and taught elementary school in Oakland. She is a graduate of Wellesley and the Kennedy School at Harvard. She currently lives in Mill Valley and has two school-age kids.
Evelyn grew up in Marin County and graduated from The Branson School. She has a degree from Brown University in Economics and Organizational Behavior and Management. Evelyn is a Senior Vice President with Wells Fargo Bank and is an active volunteer in the community. Evelyn and her husband Peter share their home with their two teenagers, their dog Cranley, and their desert tortoise Gobi.
Nicole Bussi earned her J.D. from U.C. Hastings in 2007 and practiced general litigation in San Francisco and Maui. Nicole earned a double B.A. from Santa Clara University in Liberal Studies and Spanish. During her time at Santa Clara University, she spent time teaching in urban schools in San Jose. Nicole has always believed education is the key to all success, and is excited to be a part of Next Generation Scholars and support hard-working students find opportunities to better their future. Nicole lives in Lucas Valley and spends most of her days chasing around her three young children.
Vivien currently works in Executive Search & Transition Services at the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) helping to place executive leaders in Bay Area nonprofits. She previously worked with CVNL as an AmeriCorps VISTA providing support for CVNL’s education and training programs and for events including the Marin Nonprofit Conference, Heart of Marin, and Marin Human Race. Vivien has also worked as a teacher for Next Generation Scholars and has taught English abroad in both Vietnam and Spain. She continues to volunteer and has worked with organizations like the International Rescue Committee helping refugees to acclimate to the U.S.
Vivien has a Masters in International Social Development from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from UC Davis. She speaks conversational Vietnamese and intermediate Spanish.
Nghiem graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Theology with a focus in social justice and ethics. After graduating, he went on to teach in Chicago Public Schools as part of the Inner-City Teaching Corps where he was a teacher’s assistant, lead teacher and mentor teacher for grades Kindergarten through fourth. Nghiem also has a Master's of Education from Northwestern University, where his thesis project explored how technology can bridge the gap between low-income families and student achievement.
As an alum of NGS, he continues to have close ties to the program's mission, students and families. Nghiem is currently the Assistant Director of Admissions at Marin Academy where he outreaches to prospective schools, supports current students and families, helps manage the database of incoming applications, and helps oversee the Admissions Fellows and Daily Visit programs.
Outside of work, Nghiem can be found exploring the Bay Area with his family and friends, watching and playing all types of warm-weather sports, learning about and trying new types of food, and on the dance floor where he's been known to do a pretty good Bruno Mars impression.
Sarah is an NGS alum and a recent graduate from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her B.A. in Linguistics and minored in Consumer Psychology. Her two seemingly unrelated interests in language and marketing merged perfectly when she became Linguistics Project Manager for Lexicon Branding in Sausalito. In addition to engaging with a wide network of linguists in over 80 different countries, she also conducts her own research on the way the sounds in a brand name can change a consumer's perception of that company or product.
As a Korean speaker at home but an English language learner in school, NGS helped Sarah turn her split lifestyle into a powerful passion for linguistics and education. Sarah is excited to be joining the board to ensure her fellow NGSers feel empowered too.