Kali Ladd, KairosPDX Executive Director
Kali is a social entrepreneur who is a passionate advocate for equity and education transformation with a background that spans from teacher to program manager to policy maker over the last 18 years. After spending four years as Education Director for Former Mayor Sam Adams, Kali pursued establishing and co-founding KairosPDX, a non-profit dedicated to closing opportunity and achievement gaps for historically marginalized children.
In May 2012, Kali won election to the Portland Community College Board of Directors. She currently Chairs the board. In 2016, Kali was appointed by Governor Brown to the Early Learning Council of Oregon where she also currently serves. In addition to her national work, Kali has worked overseas in South Africa teaching and supporting the development of two community based projects: a community library and women-owned bakery. Kali is a 2016 American Leadership Forum fellow and in 2017 was nominated to Portland Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 entrepreneur group.
Kali resides in North Portland with her husband and two young children. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from Boston College and earned a Master’s 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 22 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 resides in N. Portland 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 16 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 three 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 Wednesday every other month. The Learning Academy section of the meeting is public. Please contact Heather at email@example.com to ensure you have building access for the meeting as well as if you are requesting interpretation services.