Board of Directors

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Meetings are generally held on the 4th Wednesday of each month with some exceptions.

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Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is charged with the direction of Almond Acres and its solvency, making personnel, financial, curricular and other major decisions.

Ed Surber

Ed Surber

President

Parent Board Member

edward@almondacres.com

Term Expires: 06/30/25

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HEART
I have two children who attend AACA, Charlotte (10 years old) and Cody (6 years old). When our daughter was in pre-school we were exploring options other than the public education route because we felt there wasn’t the proper amount of family involvement with the education process and also we were not excited about putting our child through the “traditional” path of education. As we started exploring AACA we realized that this was the perfect path for our child. The approach to teaching young people to be the “best versions of themselves” and to become great citizens was in line with our parenting philosophy. The faculty, staff, parents, and students at AACA are amazing and I truly feel like we are part of an extended family that is helping our children be the best versions of themselves.

MIND
I have a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I earned this degree in 2002. I started out working for an engineering contracting firm in Bakersfield, CA designing automation and control systems for food & beverage and oil & gas manufacturing facilities. After nearly 2 years, I went to work for Paramount Farms (now Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds) as a Project Engineer working, again, on designing automation and control systems for various pistachio and almond processing and manufacturing lines. While at Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds (WP&A) I moved into various roles such as Reliability, Human Resources, Operations, Finance, Accounting, and Information Technology. I was with WP&A for about 14 years. From WP&A I moved into a President & CEO role for CherrCo, Inc., which is a Michigan-based tart cherry cooperative. CherrCo is the largest tart cherry cooperative in North America involved in the sales of nearly 100 million pounds of tart cherry products around the world. I am still actively leading the CherrCo organization. Towards the end of 2018, I started an engineering and consulting company that services a plethora of business types across the country. The name of this company is The CnC Group, which was inspired by my two beautiful children, Charlotte (C) and Cody (C). My passion for everything I do professionally is centered around people, processes, and products.

BODY
Personally, I tend to gravitate towards anything that has to do with exploration, adventure, and the outdoors. I am a commercially rated pilot. I love riding anything with two wheels. I love to see new things whenever I can. I love hiking and just being outside. I would consider myself a “foodie”; I love to eat unique and good-tasting foods. And I enjoy doing all these things with other people, especially my friends and family.

SOUL
Most people will see me and describe me as having an outgoing personality who loves to engage and interact with others. But in order for me to maintain my extroverted self, I need my alone time to reflect, regroup, and recharge. I do this through a healthy balance of spirituality, self-reflection, exercising, discussion with close friends, listening to inspiring podcasts, self-guided meditation, and reading the occasional “motivational” book. I strive to always look at myself in the mirror constantly and constantly work to be a better version of myself; perhaps why I’m so strongly drawn to AACA.

Salvador Cota

Salvador Cota

Vice President

Parent Board Member

salvador@almondacres.com

Term Expires: 06/30/24

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HEART
I have three children and two nieces that have gone to AACA. I love the change I have seen in my children. They are excited to go to school every day and have demonstrated a greater passion for their education. The methods AACA uses to educate our children are top-notch.

MIND
I dedicated 12 years of my life to the United States Army. I am trained in the IT field and use my skills to improve AACA in any way I am able. 

BODY
I used to run incredible distances. Now I have shared my love for running with my children. They all participate in AACA’s Cross Country program.

SOUL
I “sharpen my saw” by going to the park with my family and enjoying their presence.

Xavier Villa

Xavier Villa

Secretary

Community Board Member

xavier@almondacres.com

Term Expires: 01/28/24

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HEART
I was a very shy kid in my early youth but things turned around for me when I joined 4-H. I participated in 4-H for 8 years and greatly attribute this club to helping develop me as a well-rounded individual. 4-H focuses on building the youth’s mind, heart, health, and service to the community.  Unfortunately, this focus is mostly lost in today’s public school system, where instead, a simple copy-and-paste approach to learning is instituted. This approach would not have helped me break out of my shell and gain confidence in my communication and leadership abilities. Fortunately, all is not lost. I was thrilled to learn from Director Mr. Bourgault that, “at Almond Acres, our mission is to grow great kids!” I deeply resonate with the pillars of Almond Acres and love that they are embedded into education at every level. The children are our future and great kids foster a great community. I am proud to serve and be a part of the Almond Acres Charter Academy family where the youth’s overall well-being is our top priority!

MIND
I graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. My family and I own and manage a bamboo farm and nursery called, Paso Bamboo. We install live bamboo plants to provide privacy screening from neighbors or anything unsightly. We provide educational tours on bamboo growing, maintenance, and harvesting. I also buy older homes and remodel them to a comfortable living standard to then be rented out in San Miguel. It has been a great pleasure getting to know the community through both of these ventures and this area has become a place I call home and not just somewhere I live.

BODY
Soccer is the sport I love to play. My passion for soccer is also shared with my wife and we participate in our local co-ed indoor soccer leagues. I enjoy working with my hands both at the farm and in construction. Going on a hike to explore national parks is always a treat and cherish the view at the top after climbing through the day.

SOUL
I enjoy quiet prayer, reflection, and meditation in my bamboo groves to help refresh my mind and maintain grounding. Spending time outdoors in nature is one of my favorite ways to unwind. I also find reading a good book and playing the saxophone to help ease the mind and warm the soul. Laughter is the best medicine, and I would say I am happiest when I am surrounded by loving family and friends.

Diane Ward

Diane Ward

MEMBER

SLOCOE Representative

diane@almondacres.com

Term Expires: 12/30/24

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I have served on the AACA Board as the authorizers’ representative since the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education took over as the authorizing agent. I have served on the SLOCOE Board since 2001.

HEART
I believe strongly that involved parents know what is best for their children’s education and that one size does not fit all.

MIND
I have been the active parent of 4 adult children and have always been involved with their education, beginning with co-op preschool and seeing them through their college degrees.

BODY
I am a walker, hiker, and swimmer. My favorite place on Earth is any beach.

SOUL
My Christian faith is a huge part of who I am. I believe I am here as a server. I love AACA and am happy to be able to help them achieve their mission to grow great kids.

Shiloh Hamon

Shiloh Hamon

member

Parent Board Member

shiloh@almondacres.com

Term Expires: 06/30/25

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HEART
I have been a mom at Almond Acres since 2013. I currently have a 5th grader at AACA. We had three kids, Jack, Soren, and Selah. In 2014, our middle son passed away in a tragic accident. We chose to share the pain of losing our son openly, and it created a strong community for us in Paso and at AACA. The school staff and leadership were excellent in the support during our time of grief.

I am involved in many different ways. As a volunteer, I am happy to help as much as possible, attending field trips, helping in classrooms, backstage on plays, and on the auction committee. For five years, I coached a Destination Imagination team and twice took the team to the global stage. I was the school facilitator of the Destination Imagination program before covid.  I teach an enrichment art class. I understand the true heart of the school, what it has been in the past, and what it can be in the future as we grow.

MIND
I attended Colorado Christian University, where I majored in youth ministry. Shortly after graduating, we moved to California so my husband could eventually take over the family business, Hamon Overhead Door Co., which he accomplished in 2019. I worked as a nanny and at the family business until we began having kids in 2007, and I was able to be a stay-at-home mom. I am also a substitute teacher for the resource team.

BODY
I love to walk, whether with moms from school or just the dog, getting outside every day fills my cup.

SOUL
I am an artist. It has taken me years to claim this title because I paint abstract paintings. But as I get older I have discovered how much being creative with paint recharges my soul. I also am a big fan of tv, movies, and food!

ASHLEY LUNDY

ASHLEY LUNDY

MEMBER

Parent Board Member

ashley@almondacres.com

Term Expires: 06/30/25

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HEART
I have three children and two nieces that have gone to AACA. I love the change I have seen in my children. They are excited to go to school every day and have demonstrated a greater passion for their education. The methods AACA uses to educate our children are top-notch.

MIND
I dedicated 12 years of my life to the United States Army. I am trained in the IT field and use my skills to improve AACA in any way I am able. 

BODY
I used to run incredible distances. Now I have shared my love for running with my children. They all participate in AACA’s Cross Country program.

SOUL
I “sharpen my saw” by going to the park with my family and enjoying their presence.

Pam Gildersleeve-Hernandez

Pam Gildersleeve-Hernandez

Member

Community Board Member

pam@almondacres.com

Term Expires: 11/02/25

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Pam Gildersleeve-Hernandez is a public educator who taught for 17 years and has served in leadership positions ranging from assistant principal to superintendent. The U.S. Department of Education has recognized her for her innovative leadership in small school districts. Ms. Gildersleeve-Hernandez brings a strong background in school governance, school finance, curriculum and instruction, professional development, and special education to her role on the board.
Glen Smeltzer

Glen Smeltzer

MEMBER

Community Board Member

glen@almondacres.com

Term Expires: 06/30/24

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Bio coming soon.

David Bruner

David Bruner

member

Community Board Member

david@almondacres.com

Term Expires: 09/27/26

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Coming soon!