Brenda Payne (President): Brenda’s career in education began at a northern California magnet school for gifted and talented learners. It was there she introduced a curriculum in inventions to her 3rd and 4th grade students that spread throughout the district. She later became principal at a K-8 project-based learning school in Sonoma County, followed by principal of Natural Bridges Elementary School in Santa Cruz, assistant principal at Mission Hill Middle School, and finally principal at Main Street Elementary School in Soquel Union Elementary School District. In fall of 2015 she served as interim superintendent/principal at Pacific Elementary School District in Davenport. It was there that she brought Invention Education full circle back to the 5th/6th grade students at Pacific School, where 4 of the winners from that event continued on to the National Invention Convention Entrepreneurship Expo competition that took place at the US Trade and Patent Office in Alexandria Virginia. Since September, 2016 she has led the first state California Invention Convention competition and has continued to provide fund development, program development, professional development and support to teachers and districts. Brenda’s goal is to bring invention and entrepreneurial skills education to students throughout the state of California.
Grinell Smith (Vice President) is an associate professor of education in the Lurie College of Education at San Jose State University. Dr. Smith specializes in sociological foundations of education and inquiry science instruction and has been involved in K-12 science education for 19 years, first as a science teacher and lead instructor and science curriculum developer for the University of Alabama’s award-winning Integrated Science program from 1993 to 2004, where he received recognition as the nation’s best K-12 distance educator. At San Jose State, he leverages his expertise as a member of the Teacher Education department, helping K-8 teachers develop in the use of inquiry approaches to science education, and has extensive experience planning, instructing, and facilitating STEM teacher professional development programs, logging hundreds of hours as an in-service provider in connection with several NASA, NSF, and privately funded projects. He is an active scholar whose work examines the role of high-stakes assessment and other recent trends on school practice, instruction, and teacher preparation. His scholarship, teaching, and service is informed by a holistic view of the teacher and the student, and his overarching goal is to help teachers, students, and communities move beyond current narrow conceptions of the purpose of schooling toward more progressive ideals.
Thomas P. Scully (Secretary) served for six years on the School Board of the Bonny Doon Elementary District in Santa Cruz County, two years as president. He is the founder and owner of Experienced Safety Educators which provided training and consulting throughout Silicon Valley. He was a fire captain for the City of San Jose for 27 years and has been an instructor for the Center for Domestic preparedness in Anniston, AL. Most recently, he provides safety audits and training for Booster Fuels, Inc. Tom has authored articles on emergency response and safety has been an invited speaker on safety issues. In addition to his expertise in safety issues, Tom has also been a facilitator for the Franklin Covey Leadership Center.
Joyce Matlack (Treasurer) is the Principal at Matlack-Van Every Design, which specializes in creative orthodontic and dental office design. Joyce has specialized in orthodontic and dental office planning and design since 1988. As a licensed interior designer, and dental hygienist, she speaks at conferences and dental graduate programs throughout the country, as well as contributing to newsletters, design manuals, articles and online resources. She was intrigued early on by the work of the California Invention Convention and sees it as an important component of creating the problem-solvers we will need in our future.
Donald R. Boys is President of Central Coast Patent Agency, a full-service Patent Law firm operating on the California Central Coast for twenty-five years, and specializing in rapidly creating patent portfolios for start-up companies and patents for established companies and for independent inventors. He is a member of the Federal Patent Bar and is a Professional Mechanical Engineer. Don graduated from Purdue University in Indiana with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering; worked in aerospace engineering at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft in Hartford CT.; worked with General Motors for thirteen years developing robotic and automatic processing equipment; developed automated vacuum systems and magnetically-enhanced sputtering equipment for Varian Associates for seven years; founded Lodep Engineering (which merged with Genus, Inc. to develop one of the first cluster tools) and then moved into the intellectual property world in 1988.
Claire Castagna has over thirty-six years in public education as an elementary bilingual teacher, principal, and mentor for Santa Cruz City Schools, the Santa Cruz New Teacher Center and most recently as Assistant Superintendent for Instruction for the Sunnyvale School District. She earned her Master’s degree in Linguistics from Cal State Long Beach and holds teaching credentials in Elementary Multiple Subjects, Secondary Spanish, Bilingual Bi-cultural Education, TESOL and School Administration. Since retirement in 2014, Claire has continued to be professionally involved as a tutor and trainer for the Literacy Program of the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County. She is a lifelong advocate for public education and especially for a system that empowers teachers and students as the key drivers to learning. She is excited about supporting the development of the CA Invention Convention as a means to deeply engage students and their families in learning.
Krista Colquitt is a passionate, results-oriented leader with a successful career in corporate America in innovation & design, statistical problem solving, and continuous process improvement. She is a recognized expert in International Strategic Management, Agile Program Management, Statistical Process Control and Quality Engineering. Along with her Masters’ degrees in Human Resources Management and International Business, she holds multiple professional certifications from the American Society for Quality, Agile Alliance and the American Council for Exercise, is certified to teach Zumba Fitness and is a Certified Health Coach. Krista has worked for organizations with operations in over 140 countries as a Six Sigma Master Black Belt trainer, leader of global teams in Customer Support Excellence and process improvement, and as an award examiner for Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) administered through NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and the United States Department of Commerce. Krista is routinely asked to mentor, coach and participate as an ‘Executive on Loan’ for new businesses and Intern Development Programs. Her true passion is helping others and volunteering with LifeLab, STEMie, and California Invention Convention. As a judge at local and state Invention Conventions, she feels strongly that the invention process and guidance provided by CAIC for young children and educators instills confidence and skills that will serve them well throughout theremainder of their lives and careers.
Linda Fawcett is a 28 year resident of Santa Cruz County. Her background is in education and non-profit administration. She has been a teacher, and the Executive Director of the San Joaquin County Women’s Center. She moved to Santa Cruz in 1991 and became engaged in the community through the League of Women Voters, Board work at Mountain Community Resources in Felton and later with Community Bridges Board. She also served on the Board of the Community Foundation and continues to serve on the Girls in Pajaro Valley project through the Foundation.
Linda worked at ETR Associates in Scotts Valley as their Development Director and as the Director of Training. ETR is a national health organization that mainly addresses health risk behaviors of adolescents through research, training and education.
Linda is active in community service through the Felton Library Friends, Women in Philanthropy at United Way, California Invention Convention and the San Lorenzo Valley Rotary Club.
Gerald Zanzinger has practiced law for over 45 years, mainly in San Mateo County. He first became involved with the California Invention Convention as a judge at the state Convention and was impressed and inspired by the energy and creativity of the young inventors.
Anne Cawley previously worked in the high-tech sector both in major companies and as a consultant in marketing and sales, product development, and business development until she retired in 2006. She came out of retirement to work with the United Way of Santa Cruz County as Co-Director of Marketing and Community Engagement. In 2013, she retired (again!), until becoming involved with the California Invention Convention in spring of 2016. Her duties range from creating and maintaining the web site, creating brochures and other marketing materials, assisting with running the state-wide Invention Convention, supporting the Professional Development Training and generally helping where she can.