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Board of Trustees

Orinda Academy is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) governed by a self-selecting Board of Trustees. The Board works closely with our Head of School and helps steward the financial health and sustainability of the school. OA trustees bring diverse perspectives and areas of expertise to inform their decision-making and policy setting, in the best interest of serving our school mission and community.

Laura Cottril portrait

Laura Cottril

Laura joined the Orinda Academy Board in 2016 and became Board Chair in 2017. She was previously President of the Orinda Academy Parent Group for two years. Laura has a BA in Graphic Design from Iowa State University and holds a Master and Craftsman distinction from the Professional Photographers of America. She previously served on the board of Northern California Professional Photographers and has been active in the professional photography industry for over twenty years. For Laura, the most rewarding aspect of serving as trustee at Orinda Academy is supporting this exciting opportunity for students who may otherwise fall through the cracks and helping to sustain and grow the school.

Collin Pugh portrait

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 received his BA 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).

Trudy Hsu portrait

Trudy Hsu

Trudy joined the Board in 2017 and sits on the Marketing/Admissions Committee. Trudy holds a BA in Political Science from Wellesley College and a MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. 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.

Steve Podell portrait

Steve Podell

Steve joined the Orinda Academy Board in 2017 and is Secretary and Finance Chair. 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 has a BSEE from Swarthmore College and started off designing computers and cancer treatment physics machines, then transitioned to software.

Paul Epstein portrait

Paul Epstein

Paul holds a BA in Classical Civilization (emphasizing Greek Theater) from the University of California, Berkeley and an MA in Psychology and Drama Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. After more than twenty years as a Jewish educator – teacher, principal, specialist, consultant and board member – Paul now pursues several creative endeavors. He has cowritten a young adult novel which he is now actively marketing to agents and publishers; he is transforming his photography hobby into a commercial enterprise; and he studies clowning at the San Francisco Clown School. 

Helena Maus

Helena is the CEO of one of the largest tech-focused marketing and communications firms in the world, Archetype, where she plays a pivotal role in attracting and retaining great people and a portfolio of magnetic brands. You’ll also find her working on client campaigns, leading messaging and story creation for Archetype’s clients, and playing an integral role during high stakes moments in time, including company crises. Helena also serves as Chairperson at The Outcast Agency and Nectar Communications. Previously, she served as CEO at Bite, was Partner at The Outcast Agency and held a number of in-house roles at Yahoo!, including Chief of Staff. Helena came to the Orinda Academy Board of Trustees soon after her son enrolled mid-way through his Sophomore year. The marked improvement in her son’s emotional health and ability to be successful academically drove her to want to get more deeply involved in OA to help ensure other families would benefit from the warm community and committed teachers and staff.