Meet The US Team
The Seattle Office
Cindy Nofziger is the Founder and Executive Director of Schools for Salone. She has worked tirelessly for years to help Sierra Leoneans improve their schools. A former Peace Corps volunteer and now a part-time physical therapist for Seattle Public Schools, Nofziger has dedicated her nonworking hours to finding ways to build schools and train teachers in the West African country.
Natalie Gordon is our Program Officer. She began volunteering with us as an intern in 2014. After recently completing her Master’s degrees in Public Administration and International Studies, Schools for Salone has hired her to work alongside Cindy in the daily operations of Schools for Salone. Having her on board is expanding our capacity and impact helping kids in Sierra Leone.
SFS Board of Directors – Serving Schools for Salone as volunteers
Michael Gibbons, Ph.D. is the president of the Board of Directors of Schools for Salone. He served from 1976-79 as a Peace Corps agriculture extension worker and trainer in Sierra Leone, specializing in rice production (2 yrs in Kukuna Kambia District, 1 yr w/ the Ministry of Agriculture). He has worked since then in basic education, community development and social justice in Asia, Africa, Latin America and low-income areas of the USA with CARE International, Save the Children, Banyan Tree Foundation and Wellspring Advisors. Michael now serves as director of the Children’s Rights and Education Programs for Wellspring Advisors, a consulting company that supports the grantmaking of private donors. Michael teaches courses in the International Training and Education Program (ITEP) at the American University, and courses in international education for George Washington University and Monterey Institute for International Studies. Michael has been back to SL working with NGOs and the Ministry of Education on school development and education since 2000.
Peggy Garber and her husband Steve served in Sahn Malen of Pujehun District in Sierra Leone as Peace Corps Community Development Volunteers in 1967 and 1968 after graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle. After the Peace Corps and helping Steve with several entrepreneurial endeavors, Peggy taught in adult education and at community colleges while helping raise their family. In 1981, she began teaching herself about computers, starting with the first IBM, 2 floppy disk, Personal Computer. Over the years she has done basic programming and network administration, graphics, video and sound editing, educational programs, DVD production and web design. Digital photography has become her passion. In 1995, she started her own company and continues to learn more every year.
Jon Bayley is the secretary/treasurer for Schools for Salone. He is a career teacher and administrator in public and private schools in Washington State. After two years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, and a two-year MAT program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, he was hired as a 7th-8th grade teacher at Thomsen Middle School in Seattle in 1969. A year later, he was hired as the first Middle School Director at Lakeside School, a private school in Seattle. He held that position for seven years, then, after a year-long sabbatical in southern France with his family, returned to Lakeside as a teacher. In 1985 he became director of the Lakeside Educational Enrichment Program (LEEP), which supports mainly inner-city students in Seattle and helps them make the most of their talents. In 1993, Jon moved to Bainbridge High School, a public school in his neighborhood, where he taught English and Humanities. He retired in 2003 after a two-year stint as Scholastic Director of America’s Foundation for Chess, where he helped them develop a curriculum that uses chess to support broader academic and social goals.
Barbara Herz, Ph.D., has worked on girls’ education for more than twenty years. In the 1970’s she headed the U.S. Agency for International Development Division responsible for policy in education, health, and population. She was a member of the U.S. delegation to the UN Conference for Women in Copenhagen in 1980. She then worked in 1981-1999 at the World Bank, where she launched the Women in Development division and then headed another division covering education, health, and population in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. She was a member of the World Bank Delegation to the UN Conference for Women in Nairobi in 1986. She later served as senior adviser for social sectors to Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and is now an economic consultant living in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She holds a BA from Wellesley and a PhD from Yale and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
James Mannah was born in Sierra Leone, raised in Freetown and went to the Albert Academy. He moved to the United States to attend Wisconsin University where he studied International relations and later moved to San Francisco for graduate school at Golden Gate University where he studied International Business. When he discovered Schools for Salone, he liked what the organization was doing and decided to donate as well as hold a few fundraisers. We were really touched by the schools built and hope to continue to help. James, his wife Pam and son, Safa went to Sierra Leone in 2009 to put on soccer clinics at 3 SfS schools. The clinics were well received and James and family found them very fulfilling. He and his family reside in San Francisco.
Dave LaMattina is one of three founders of Copper Pot Pictures, an independent film studio based in New York City. Along with his partners Chad Walker and Clay Frost, Dave traveled to Sierra Leone in 2008 to shoot Copper Pot’s BROWNSTONES TO RED DIRT, a documentary film about a pen pal program that paired students in Freetown with sixth graders living in housing projects in Brooklyn, NY. The Copper Pot team knew nothing of Sierra Leone prior to undertaking the project, but instantly fell in love with the spirit of the students of the Children in Crisis Primary School (CIC) in Cabala Town. Their desire to give something back to the village led to a fundraising campaign centered around the documentary and a partnership with Schools for Salone. Three years after their first visit, Dave, Chad and Clay returned to Sierra Leone for the opening of a new CIC. Dave also captains the Salone Rangers, a four-man squad that competes each year in the World Pond Hockey Championship in Canada to raise money and awareness for Sierra Leone.
Dan Koroma, Ph.D., was born in Rotifunk, Sierra Leone and went to school at the UMC primary school and the Albert Academy in Freetown. He obtained a Bachelors degree from Fourah Bay College in Geography and had a short stint with the UNDP/FAO Land Resources Project. He proceeded to the UK where he obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Ag Economics from the University of Reading. Dan moved to the US to attend graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he graduated with a Masters in Ag Economics, Community and Regional Planning. He later moved to Washington to work at the State’s Department of Ecology (Ecology) as an environmental planner and grants manager. He then went on to work on his doctorate degree at Washington State University and obtained a Ph.D. in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences. He currently works as an Environmental Policy Analyst at Ecology. Prior to that Dan served as manager for the policy and technical assistance unit, Toxics Cleanup Program at Ecology, and as coordinator for the Brownfield’s program at the WA state Department of Commerce.
Will White has over 30 years of experience in financial services, communications and computing industries having worked in Fortune 100 companies as well as venture backed startups. Currently he heads up Payments at Microsoft, which enables customers to purchase products and services in 232 countries. He was introduced to Sierra Leone in 1978 when the Semester at Sea ship docked at Freetown. His time in Sierra Leone made a lifetime impression and his participation with Schools for Salone provides a way to return the gift from many years ago. His previous roles included Vice President at Raymond James, heading up all Architecture, Software Engineering and Operations. He spent six years as CIO at Diners Club International, a division of Citigroup, where he was responsible for Information Technology, supporting operations in 57 countries. He previously worked as the Chief Technology Officer, for USWEST Information Technologies, Inc., now known as Century link, where he was responsible for the IT Architecture and for overseeing its Y2K compliance program. He represented the telecommunications industry as a member of President Clinton’s Y2K Task Force, and has served on the technical advisory boards of Hewlett-Packard and Sequent Computers. Prior to USWEST, he developed and managed software products and systems at NCR Corporation and Teradata, Digital Equipment Corporation and the Boeing Corporation. He has a beautiful wife of 35 years, two children and four grandchildren.
Rick Bellamy has led RPI since 2009, skillfully combining innovative technology solutions with operational management. His leadership style emphasizes building an inspired culture to accelerate growth, and under his guidance, RPI has grown into a global company named to the Inc. 500 fastest growing private companies for five consecutive years. Rick also serves on the Board of Directors for Change Making Change. He loves music and the outdoors and often spends weekends creating and capturing stories while barreling down the side of a mountain on a snowboard or bicycle or backpacking with his kids.
Bidemi Carrol is an education specialist, who currently works as a consultant with the World Bank. She is also co-founder and chair of the Board of The Learning Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the enhancement of literacy and life skills for adolescents in Sierra Leone. Bidemi has a decade of experience working with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and research institutes across Africa on education policy and research. She holds a M.A. in Economics and Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University.
Julie Hearne is the former owner of two successful Seattle restaurants as well as a food consultant and stylist who shares her love of food by teaching cooking classes to the public and educating children about nutrition and healthy eating through hands-on cooking classes. Also, for over a decade she has donated her culinary talents to raise money for such causes as Heart Hope Institute and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and she seeks to empower women in the culinary arts through membership in organizations like the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Women for WineSense and Les Dames d’Escoffier International. Julie was also a past board member of Slow Food International, an organization committed to the production of food that doesn’t harm the environment, animal welfare or our health.
Giorgia Eigen-Zucchi is a teacher by trade and has served on the boards of a variety of educational and adoption related agencies. Born in Milan, Italy, Giorgia moved to Washington DC as a teenager and earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Georgetown University. Upon graduation, she started her teaching career, first as an elementary school teacher and then as a high school English teacher. She left full time teaching in 2002 to care for her four children while continuing as a substitute teacher. Giorgia served on the board of the Washington International School, CISV and the Barker Adoption agency
Jennifer Kempf served in Peace Corps as a secondary education volunteer in Sierra Leone. After volunteer service she worked as Peace Corps staff and earned a Masters in International Education and a teaching certificate. Since then she has taught high school science in Montgomery County, Maryland. She currently teaches chemistry at Quince Orchard High School and also serves as the staff development teacher. Quince Orchard raised enough money to build the SfS school in Robis. She was thrilled to return to Sierra Leone for the opening in 2013 of the school in Robis and to participate in the teacher training for SfS schools. When she’s not teaching in Maryland you can find her in her beloved Vermont, either on her snowshoes or bicycle.