Board of Trustees

Laura Cottril

Laura joined the Orinda Academy Board in 2016 and is a member of the Fundraising and Marketing committees. She is a past President of the Orinda Academy Parents Group (OAPG) for two years as well as past speaker chair, crab feed fundraising co-chair and volunteer coordinator. In spring of 2016, Laura initiated a parent and administrator liaison group with other parents and staff, since named PALS, which works together on school mission and special projects.

Laura holds a B.A. in Graphic Design from Iowa State University and worked in the advertising and marketing industries for thirteen years managing production of print and display materials. Since 2003 Laura has worked as an entrepreneur as a family portrait photographer. She has earned her professional credentials from Professional Photographers of America of Master, Craftsman and Certified Professional Photographer. Laura has created philanthropy programs through her business, raising over $40,000 for local schools, including Orinda Academy.

Laura served on the board of the Northern California Photographer’s Association for seven years, including President, Chairman of the Board and Speaker Chair.

Laura’s main interests outside of photography are yoga, travel, healthy cooking and community building. Laura is married and a parent of two boys, one of which is an Orinda Academy sophomore. He has attended the school since the sixth grade and has benefitted greatly from the individualized learning and warm community.

For Laura, the most rewarding aspect of serving as an Orinda Academy trustee is shining a light on this exciting opportunity for students who may otherwise fall through the cracks and helping to sustain and grow the school. Laura thrives in community and relationship building as well as the opportunity to bring fresh energy and perspectives for school longevity.

Norm Coleman

Norm is a founding member of the Orinda Academy community beginning in June,1982 as a mathematics and social science teacher. Norm joined the Orinda Academy Board in 1995 as Secretary/Treasurer. Norm currently serves as President of the Board, College Counselor, Dean Emeritus and is the leader of the Finance Committee.

During his time at Orinda Academy Norm has been Academic Dean, Dean of Students, Assistant Head of School, College Counselor and has taught every math class at OA from business math through precalculus as well as World Geography, United States History, Civics, Physical Education, Creative Writing, and he created the film course in Visual and Performing Arts. Norm formalized the Student Council and served as their advisor for many years. Norm also helped with the creation of the Orinda Academy basketball team and served as assistant basketball coach for ten years. He can still be found operating the scoreboard at home games. Norm has enjoyed attending a variety of school activities with Orinda Academy students and colleagues from the nearby California Shakespeare Festival to far away places like Los Cabos, Mexico.

Norm earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley and his teaching credential at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Norm has lifetime California teaching credentials in Mathematics and Social Science.

Norm was born in San Francisco and is a lifetime Bay Area resident. Norm enjoys time with friends and family, movies, music, walking, traveling, and sports. Norm is an avid San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors fan.

David Richardson

Dave Richardson has been an Orinda Academy trustee since 1996. Prior to joining the Orinda board, he served eighteen years as a trustee at Mid-Peninsula High School. Dave has worked in education for the past forty years. Two of those years Dave was employed as a Social Studies and English teacher in the public school system, and thirty eight years working in independent schools, the last thirty seven as an administrator/teacher at Mid-Peninsula High School in Menlo Park. In his independent school career, Dave has filled numerous roles including business, facilities, payroll, human resources, government compliance, student records management, and school strategic planning committees. Currently, Dave is the Academic Director and College Advisor, and the American Government teacher at Mid-Peninsula. Current additional duties include teacher evaluation, supporting student activities, serving on the school’s leadership team, and being responsible for the school’s accreditation including acting as the school’s Self-Study Coordinator and serving on committees that visit other schools undergoing accreditation.

Dave graduated from California State University, Chico with degrees in History and Political Science. He earned a Standard Secondary Teaching credential and a two Single Subject Teaching Credentials in History and Government from CSU, Chico. Much later in his career, Dave received a certificate in College Admission Counseling and Career Planning from University of California, Berkeley Extension.

Dave has lived in the Bay Area since 1961. He has been married to his wife Sandra for the past twenty nine years and they have one daughter who recently graduated from college. His interests outside of school include playing golf, reading, cooking, and watching and attending sporting events.

Collin Pugh

Collin joined the Orinda Academy Board in 2016 and is a member of the Finance Committee. Collin graduated from Orinda Academy in 2001. After leaving Orinda Academy, Collin attended Saint Mary’s College of California where he attended his B.A. in Communication with a Religious Studies minor (2005) and a Masters degree in Counseling specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy (2014).
Collin is currently a Student Engagement and Academic Success Coach & Coordinator of the Tutorial and Academic Skills Center (TASC). He has worked at his alma mater for the past eight years after a three year experience in corporate America working for Enterprise Rent A Car.
Collin’s main interest include sports both participating and watching. Collin is an avid swimmer. Collin is recently engaged and resides in Moraga. Collin looks forward to beginning a family of his own with his fiance in the future.
Collin was motivated to join the Orinda Academy Board because as a former student he sees the benefits of OA’s mission and vision. He credits Orinda Academy for developing his intellectual foundation and providing him with the tools to become the Valedictorian of his graduating class at Saint Mary’s. Collin believes the individualized support Orinda Academy is able to provide while promoting the development of the whole person (academically, socially, psychologically) is what sets the school apart.

Dennis Erokan

Dennis Erokan brings some 40 years of marketing strategy and information industry experience to the Orinda Academy.

A pioneer in niche market publishing, Dennis created BAM Magazine in 1976 to give the West Coast entertainment industry a way to reach young people at a reasonable cost. An innovator from the start, he made BAM the first publication to be distributed free at point-of-purchase in retail outlets throughout California. In 1978, Dennis founded the Bay Area Music Awards, more commonly known as the “Bammies.” He produced the internationally recognized awards program for 27 years, which attracted over 6,000 music industry leaders annually.

In 1984, Dennis launched MicroTimes. This magazine focused on the heroes in the computing industry instead of the endless descriptions of electronics and became the nation’s largest regional computer magazine with a circulation topping 200,000 when sold in 1999.

From 2000 to 2005, as director of the Alliance of Chief Executives, Dennis worked closely with 50 of the 250 members, gaining valuable insight into the strategic issues and marketing challenges that many companies face.

Dennis teaches Public Relations at St. Mary’s College of California and serves as a board member for the Berkeley Playhouse.

Steve Podell

Steve joined the Orinda Academy Board in 2017 and is a member of the Finance and Fundraising committees. Steve is a graduate of the Athenian School in Danville, and served on the Athenian board of Trustees for many years where he was on the Facilities, Finance, and Executive committees at various times. Steve and his wife Vickie, live in Piedmont and have three high school students, one of whom is a freshman at Orinda Academy.

Steve has a BSEE from Swarthmore College, and started off designing computers and cancer treatment physics machines, then transitioned to software, and has been a software development leader for many years at various companies throughout the bay area.

Prior to having kids Steve actively raced sailboats in San Francisco. Now he enjoys day sailing, skiing, scuba-diving, photography, hiking, travel and bike riding -- almost anything that gets him (and the kids) outdoors on the weekends.

Steve’s son has greatly enjoyed and benefitted from his time at Orinda Academy. Steve joined the Orinda Board to help further its financial strength and to help lay plans for a sustainable and promising future.

Trudy Hsu

Trudy joined the Board in 2017 and sits on the Marketing/Admissions committee. As a parent of an Orinda Academy junior, she is a member of the Parent Group and focused on enhancing fundraising by automating ticket sales for the annual crab feed.

Trudy holds a B.A. in political science from Wellesley College and a MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She specializes in medical marketing and has developed and launched products in several areas such as oncology, women’s health and pulmonology. In her free time, Trudy enjoys reading, the SF Opera, Pilates and jelly beans.Trudy appreciates the opportunity to serve as a trustee - supporting Orinda Academy’s growth as it fulfills its mission by inspiring students’ success and helping them fulfill their potential.

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