Blaire was inspired to get involved when her first child, now a teenager, started kindergarten. Their family encountered underfunded schools en masse. With her second child currently in first grade at EHAM, she is using her background in building/running nonprofits and creating/operating programs to help ensure that costs for instruction are covered via grant writing, skill sets learned as a former event coordinator and a directing degree from NYU. Having sat on the L. A. City Parks Advisory Board fighting for facility upgrades, with 11 years of experience serving on school site and district level councils, Blaire currently serves on a small committee alongside Labor Relations during LAUSD contract negotiations representing over 200,000 parents. As an organizer, Blaire has formed partnerships with local businesses, nonprofit organizations, city offices, community groups, and corporations to generate funds and in-kind donations for schools.
She spearheaded the makeover and reopening of a school library during district-wide closures for which she was the subject of NPR’s “When the state won’t pay, schools go DIY,” as well as the construction of garden and green spaces via partnerships with Crate and Barrel, Home Depot, Office Depot and Enrich LA. Her passion has been creating and returning arts programs to public education through partnerships with Education Through Music-Los Angeles, Metzler Violin Shoppe, Saturday Conservatory of Music, Kensington Presents, and The Country Music Hall of Fame (All for the Hall) to form instrumental orchestral Music programs. She also teamed up with LACMA, Elysian Valley Arts Collective (EVAC), Mission Renaissance, and local Angelino artists for the betterment of Visual Arts programs. Blaire is a dedicated advocate of teachers, administrators, parents, and most especially students and has immense love for the chickens in the EHAM garden.
Zack Zarate is a tech and real estate entrepreneur. He’s currently launching a web3 company and a NFT project. Because of his web background, he is the tech mind behind EHPA, bringing them into the the 21st century. Zack is the happy dad of a kindergartener and first grader at EHAM who initially planned on simply volunteering at school to surpass his own parent’s minimal level of engagement. However, upon learning about the needs and high stakes of current day public education, he realized the importance of school leadership+fundraising and dove in, dedicating his time and efforts to EHPA. He is the crazy idea guy, out-of-the-box thinker on the board with degrees in Public Health, Social Welfare and minor in Economics from UC Berkeley. He grew up in El Sereno, lives in Silver Lake and is really into crypto (but is NOT a crypto bro).
Since Blaire won’t say it because she thinks she has too many accolades, Zack wants to let you know that Blaire Lennane is a former Woman of the Year recipient, granted by the Library of Congress. Isn’t she so rad!?
Ingrid Mondragon, born in East Los Angeles, was raised in Mexico until she was nine. While raised bilingual, she feels that Spanish was actually her first language. After studying Accounting, she worked for the nonprofit organization, Autism Speaks, for 9 years but transitioned into Real Estate where she currently manages a portfolio of over 64 commercial and residential properties and commands an army of dozens of vendors/contractors. She’s been building her empire for 7 years now! Ingrid has a son in first grade who started in kindergarten at EHAM last year. They both fell in love with Elysian. After such a positive first year, she joined EHPA specifically to help other parents navigate their children’s educational experience.
She empathizes with parents who struggle to voice their kids’ needs and is passionate about helping them learn how to become more involved. As a Latina mother, Ingrid understands that advocating for your children in a language that may not be your primary tongue can be challenging and may ultimately discourage participation. She is here in the spirit of unity to help everyone understand that we are all here for a common goal: providing the best for the children. Her experience in Real Estate Management makes her an ideal asset in EHPA because just as she acts as a liaison between landlords and tenants, her strong communication and problem solving skills make her a perfect bridge between teachers, faculty, students and parents.
Along with her husband, Emily runs the Sacred Fools Theater, a nonprofit organization. There she is also the Education Coordinator. With degrees in Music, Mathematics, and Musical Theatre from Northwestern University, she has been an in-demand math and science tutor for over 20 years in the Los Angeles Area.
As a professional actor, Emily has appeared in regional theaters all over the country, dozens of television shows, and on Broadway. She is the proud mom of two Elysian Heights students and has been active on the EHPA board since 2018. Emily is dedicated to making our unique, arts-based school shine and loves this community of creative families!
Born in New Jersey and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Alicia Hechter joins the EHPA Board with 20 years of non-profit and operations experience. A product of LAUSD public schools, Alicia grew up participating in various Theatre programs such as Drama Production, Musical Theatre, Stage Crew/Production & Costume Crew as well as competing at festivals put on by the Drama Teacher Association of Southern California and the California Educational Theatre Association. She began her career at Universal Studios Hollywood at the age of 18.
While the majority of her previous work experience is administrative support and customer/client services. She has worked in a diverse realm of industries including: entertainment, non-profit, food & beverage and theme park operations for companies such as Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, The American Cancer Society, Girl Scouts of America, The Melanoma Research Foundation and the American Lung Association where she was nicknamed “Concierge Captain” for her ability to quickly and efficiently solve any problem that came her way. Having raised upwards of $1,000,000 during the course of her career, Alicia is excited to share her talent and efforts with EHPA and continue to spread the importance of Arts Education in Public Education.
Bonus Mom to Ethan & Bree and wife to Lionel, she enjoys creative writing and junk journaling in her very little free time. Currently Alicia is Manager of Customer Success for Groombuggy, a mobile dog grooming company based out of Northern California.
Zulma arrived at Elysian Heights Elementary 18 years ago in 2004 when she brought her son as a student. As a loving mother, she watched him blossom and grow, a fact for which she was grateful beyond words, so much so, in fact, that she decided to pay it forward by turning those sentiments into action and began advocating for the rest of the student body in 2008 and she has never stopped. She is a steady voice of consistency when there is turnover of parents, administrators, teachers, and students. As such, she is the gate keeper, guardian & heart & soul of the school.
Through her fierce loyalty and advocacy for the kids, she has outlasted everyone. She holds within her the history of the school, and knows how every event should run. Now, as the Community Representative and EHPA member, well passed the time that both her son and daughter have graduated from the school, she can be found on any given day in the parent center working with purpose to make sure that our children reap the same benefits that her children did.
Licensed Acupuncturist, Herbalist & Functional Medicine Practitioner
Co-Owner & Manager of Universal Family Wellness Clinic
Mama to Mirah (10) & Mateo Niss (6)
Brooke was born and raised in Los Angeles. She went to college at UC Santa Cruz, as well as various community colleges throughout California, and earned a Master Gardener certificate from UCLA working in countless community & school garden settings. In 2009, she completed her Masters of Science in Acupuncture and East Asian Herbal Medicine at Bastyr University in Washington.
Brooke is deeply passionate about systems for accessing equitable, integrative medicine. After years of study and work in Political Science, and Grassroots Lobbying, Brooke became disenchanted with the political systems. She could see everyday the way environmental racism, food deserts, institutional racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and class so often determined access to quality healthcare and education. And how access to quality healthcare and education was what gave a person the best chance to feel empowered in their lives.
When Brooke was introduced to the ancient practice of acupuncture and Chinese herbal Medicine she felt instantly at home. The understanding that our bodies systems are all interconnected, and that we are interdependent on our environments resonated with her deeply. Brooke has spent the last 16 years studying Eastern and Integrative medicine and is deeply passionate about finding the root cause of illness and disease, and supporting her patients to feel empowered in their health.
When Brooke begin studying Eastern Medicine she was determined to find another model for clinical practice that allowed for access for a more diverse range of people. She learned from the founders of Working Class Acupuncture in Portland OR, and was inspired by their sliding pay scale model for care. Brooke traveled to Cuba in 2008 to study the way in which their globally challenged economy integrated systems of public integrative health, universal medical education, and urban agriculture to provide for their people during times of great struggle.
Universal Family Wellness Clinic was born from the vision of both Brooke and Michael Niss as a sliding scale, private practice acupuncture, East Asian Herbal Medicine, Functional Medicine practice, that seeks to include growing of gardens, and medicinal food production on site. Universal Family Wellness Clinic is the most affordable, high quality holistic medicine in Los Angeles.
Currently, Brooke and her husband Michael Niss run a warm, welcoming, affordable, and state of the art Integrative Medicine Clinic in Silverlake, Los Angeles. They have 2 amazing kids, and Brooke loves to dance, hike, be a part of her community of families, and spend time at the beach.