Kali Ladd, KairosPDX Executive Director
Kali’s background as an Educator spans from teacher to program manager to policy maker over the last 14 years. After spending 4 years as Education Director for Former Mayor Adams, Kali pursued establishing and co-founding KairosPDX. In May 2013, Kali won election to the Portland Community College Board of Directors where she has served for the last year. Prior to her 4 years in the Mayor’s office, Kali worked as a Policy Analyst for State Superintendent Susan Castillo, a SUN Site Manager at King Elementary School, a consultant for the Portland Schools Foundation and the County Commission on Children and Families and a program coordinator of CampFire’s then, pilot school-based programs.
In addition, Kali spent over 2 years in South Africa teaching middle school and developing educational curriculum for the rural community she lived in. There, she also supported the development of two community based projects: a community library and women-owned bakery. Kali resides in Portland’s Kenton neighborhood with her husband and two young children. Kali received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from Boston College and earned a Masters Degree in Education Policy from Harvard University.
Zalika Gardner, KairosPDX Education Director
Former Opal Charter School Anchor Teacher / Equity Consultant. Zalika has worked with primary aged children for the past 20 years. After beginning her teaching career in the Los Angeles Public Schools, Zalika spent the last thirteen years teaching first and second grade at Catlin Gabel School. As an adjunct professor in the Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling for six years, Zalika taught Child Development, Literacy and Historical Perspectives in Education. As a founding partner, Zalika has co-designed the scope, trajectory and focus of KairosPDX program and theory of change. She serves as instructional leader for KairosPDX Learning Academy facilitating partnerships with educational institutions as well as recruiting, sustaining and training educators and volunteers.
Born and raised in N.E. Portland, Zalika continues to reside in N.E. with her husband and 3 children. Zalika received her BA in Psychology from Scripps College and earned her MA in Educational Leadership and Multicultural Studies from Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Kaaren Heikes, KairosPDX Board Member
Kaaren has served in the public education arena for 22 years. For the past ten years, she has served as the key leader in Oregon’s charter school movement, providing extensive technical assistance to charter schools, charter developers, and district sponsors, as well as working at the state level to influence legislation, policy and practices. Kaaren will bring her expertise to the work of building and managing the non-profit as well as providing organizational administration of KairosPDX.
Kaaren is a Northwest native and lives in Portland with her husband and 3 children. Kaaren has earned an M.S. in K-12 Policy and Administration, a B.A. in English, and certification in both in K-12 Administration and Secondary Teaching.
Marsha Williams, KairosPDX Board Chair
Former Project Manager, OHSU, School of Medicine. Marsha has over 14 years professional experience researching, writing, managing and coordinating over 15 research grants in academic medicine. She is first generation American and served for over 6 years with the Haitian Health Institute, in Boston, exposing underserved youth to enrichment and college preparatory programs as well as helping high school students navigate the college application process.
Marsha comes to Oregon from New York by way of Boston and resides in Portland with her husband and two young children. Marsha received her bachelor’s degree in sociology with an emphasis in health, law & society and women’s studies from Brandeis University.
The KairosPDX Board of Directors generally meets on the second Tuesday every other month. The Learning Academy section of the meeting is public.