Board of Trustees, 2020-2021
Cherise Sonderman (Chairwoman)
Since 1998, Cherise Sonderman has served as Vice President of Retrotel, Inc., a communications equipment company specializing in both new and refurbished equipment; selling throughout the U.S., to businesses of all sizes, including government agencies, hospitals, universities, as well as Internet based systems to local companies. She graduated from the University of Southern California, School of Engineering with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. Throughout her career, Cherise has focused on rick management, business accounting, human resources, insurance, and business organization. She has continually been a volunteer throughout the Sonderman Family’s 15 years at the school. Cherise volunteered in the classroom, often as room parent, served on the Parent’s Association at different times, previously served on the MWPV Board for 6 years, and has returned to the board of PVS September 2018. She also serves on the board of the Academy of Musical Performance, a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of the Desert’s young musicians. Cherise and her husband, Brian, are the parents of Jake, Class of ’20, and Luke, Class of ’24.
See her family testimonial. https://www.pvs.org/testimonials/the-sonderman-family-palm-valley-school-is-a-family/
Stone James (Vice-Chair)
Mr. James brings more than 20 years of private management and public sector collaboration experience in land investment and development. Most recently, he served as the Vice President for Land Advisors Organization for the entire Coachella Valley, Imperial Valley, and Morongo Basin. Beyond his professional experience, Mr. James also brings a long list of civic involvement including being a current member of the City of Indio’s General Plan Advisory Committee and previous involvement as a commissioner for the City of Indio’s Planning Commission and Land Use Committee, member of the City of Palm Desert’s Envision Palm Desert 2033 General Plan Update. He has also served as a Sworn Reserve Deputy, EMT, and Search and Rescue Team Member for the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, as a Water Rescue & Search and Rescue Team Member for the Spokane County Sheriff, and as a Volunteer Fire Prevention Ranger with the United States Forest Service.
Nate Otto’s roots go back 100 years in Palm Springs which drives his devotion to seeing the Coachella Valley’s residents flourish. With the mindset that one of the ways to help bring jobs to an economically separated area is attracting job makers from larger markets. He feels that having a school that can compete in a larger market is an important piece to accomplish that goal.
Mr. Otto is truly a product of the American dream and believes that it takes a village to raise children to flourish and be the best version of themselves and a great school is a huge part of that. His daughter joined the Palm Valley alumni at the beginning of middle school and now as a High school student is well on her way to accomplish that goal. Sceptic of the school at first, Nate is now an ardent supporter and has been a board member for almost 2 years.
Starting from modest beginnings Nate has been responsible for building high end custom homes in the most exclusive and expensive areas of LA. In just 4 years he was responsible for building $50 million dollars’ worth of product. At today’s prices that has more than tripled. Today Nate works in the renewable energy sector and is well known in the industry for innovation and regularly works with CTO’s of manufacturers that are on the leading edge of the industry.
Beyond the board of Palm Valley School, Nate Otto has served on the Sustainability Commission of Palm Springs and is the current Treasure of Desert Arc a non-profit serving 700 mentally challenged adults throughout the region. He has also served on sub committees for his church, Coachella Valley Association of Governments, partnered with Coachella Economic Partnership as well as worked with over a hundred non-profits in the area through his companies outreach which earned his company the Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation award from the Association of fundraising Professionals.
Roger Snoble is the retired CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, having retired in April 2009. In 2011 He was inducted into the American Public Transit Association’s “Hall of Fame,” culminating a 42- year career in public transportation. It started in Akron, Ohio, where he earned a BS in Education majoring in Urban Geography and MS in Economic Geography from the University of Akron while working for local planning organizations and Akron Metro. He moved to San Diego, CA. in 1973 as a transportation planner for San Diego Transit Corporation and became its President/General Manager in 1979. In 1993 he assumed the position of President/Executive Director of DART (Dallas Area Transit Authority) and, in 2001, moved on to Los Angeles.
Non-profit Board of Directors he has served on include: The African Conservation Center-US-Founding Board Chair, The Living Desert-past Chair, Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, Dallas Zoological Society-Past Vice Chair, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, California Transit Association-Past Chair, American Public Transit Association-Past V. P. of Finance and Budget., San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau-Past Chair & Vice-Chair, San Diego-Imperial County Council of Girl Scouts-Past Second Vice-Chair, San Diego Rotary Club 33-Past Treasurer, Secretary, Mission Hills Country Club Board of Governors and Employee scholarship Fund and Stone Ridge Home Owners Association.
He is married to Theresa Hall and is a Stepfather to twins Andrew & Hannah Hall, seniors at Palm Valley School.
Briana Jordan is the Vice President and CFO at Brudvik Inc Electrical Contractor in Palm Springs. Briana attended Western Washington University and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 2003. She began working at Brudvik in 2004 and now is a Corporate Officer and Board Member for the company. Her day-to-day duties include managing receivables, managing payables, insurance policies, banking, contracts, advertising, financials, taxes, collections, directly supervising the Rental Department, managing the office staff and more. Briana also serves as a Vice President on Palm Valley’s Parent Association where she helps plan events and fundraisers for the school.
Melinda Drickey is the executive director and a trustee of the Richard Brooke Foundation, a private foundation that supports nonprofit organizations in the Coachella Valley and Omaha, NE. Melinda graduated from an independent, college preparatory school in Omaha, NE and went on to earn degrees in finance and economics from Southern Methodist University as well as graduate degrees in business administration and secondary teaching from the University of Nebraska. She is a member of the Women Leaders Forum and serves on the boards of The Living Desert and the College of the Desert Foundation.
Sarah L. Dunn, Ph.D.
Dr. Sarah L. Dunn, is an Associate Professor at California State University, San Bernardino on the Palm Desert Campus in the Kinesiology Department. Her areas of scholarly expertise are in the early mechanisms for disease risk in young adults which include: inflammation, metabolic dysfunction, adiposity, and vagal insensitivity. More specifically, she is interested in how lifestyle interventions, incorporating healthy nutritional choices and physical activity prevent disease and the comorbidities associated. Dr. Dunn obtained her bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of New South Wales and University of Sydney, both in Australia, and recently joined the CSUSB community after a tenured professorship at the University of La Verne in La Verne, CA. She currently holds a Fellowship in Curriculum Assessment and is passionate about research and the idea of systematic inquiry and adding to the scientific body of literature. In 2020 she completed a 4 year grant, funded by the W.M. Keck Foundation, for Broadening Participation in Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) in STEM. That grant was based on high impact research immersion experiences promoting key learning outcomes while increasing STEM retention and success for undergraduate students. Dr. Dunn sits on the Board of Directors for the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research and previously served a three-year term on the Southwest American College of Sports Medicine, Board of Trustees. She is the mother of Emerson, Class of 2030, and Harley, Class of 2035, and has volunteered over the years for the Parents Association and in the classroom.
To contact the Board of Trustees at Palm Valley Private School, email them at BOT@pvs.org