Our Team

John D. Gray
John Gray
President and CEO
johng@sscal.com

John Gray, President and CEO, contributes tremendous practical experience to the management consulting team and serves the clients of School Services of California Inc. (SSC) by conducting fiscal health analyses, providing collective bargaining assistance, preparing multiyear financial projections, performing school district efficiency studies, conducting internal control reviews, administering district office organizational reviews, and directing executive search services. John is an established speaker for the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), and the California School Boards Association (CSBA) and routinely presents at their events and conferences. He is an instructor at the University of Southern California Rossier School Business Management Certificate program, the CSBA Masters in Governance program, and the CASBO Chief Business Official Certification courses. He also served as Chairman of the Board for EdSource. Prior to joining SSC, John served as the Director of Fiscal Services for Fresno Unified School District. John received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from California State University, Fresno, and a Master of Administrative Leadership from Fresno Pacific University. Full Bio

 

Leilani Aguinaldo
Leilani Aguinaldo
Director, Governmental Relations
leilania@sscal.com

Leilani Aguinaldo, Director, Governmental Relations brings her diverse public policy experience to SSC to advocate on behalf of clients at all levels of government.  Leilani has served in the executive and legislative branches of government as well as at the school district level, and she has worked on an extensive variety of issues in and out of the education field.  With this rich background, Leilani provides strategic advice to clients to advance legislative, budget and regulatory priorities, and to inform clients about developments in Sacramento that will impact client interests.  Prior to joining SSC, Leilani was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to serve as the Director of Policy and Legislation at the State Board of Education.  Leilani also led government relations efforts for the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Leilani graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Full Bio

 

Danyel Conolley
Danyel Conolley
Director, Management 
Consulting Services
danyelc@sscal.com

Danyel Conolley , Director, Management Consulting Services, has many years of school district administrative experience in the areas of human resources management and labor relations. Danyel has extensive experience in all aspects of school district operations and brings expertise in employee recruitment and selection, professional learning and development, employment and personnel management, compensation and employee benefits, workplace investigations, facilitation, and collective bargaining expertise to School Services of California Inc. Danyel holds a Bachelor of Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Humboldt University. She also earned a Master of Human Resource Management from National University. For more than 18 years, Danyel has served school districts in California and most recently served as the Senior Director of Human Resources at Woodland Joint Unified School District. Full Bio

 

Brianna Garcia
Brianna García
Vice President
briannag@sscal.com

Brianna García, Vice President, has worked with school districts to strengthen their organizations by conducting organizational reviews, comparative analyses of school district resources and staffing, facilities reviews, and charter petition reviews. She has provided guidance to and completed studies for school districts looking to reorganize and those seeking to consolidate or surplus school sites through the 7–11 process. Brianna has extensive experience related to planning and development of public school facilities, including charter schools and Proposition 39 (2000). She has more than 15 years of professional experience in public K–12 education, has worked as a Facilities Development Manager for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and has completed the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education School Business Management Program earning designation as a certified Chief Business Official. Brianna graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Architecture, a Master of Planning, and a Master of Real Estate Development. Full Bio

 

Dave Heckler
Dave Heckler
Director, Technology and Governmental Relations
daveh@sscal.com

Dave Heckler, Director, Technology and Governmental Relations, provides clients with valuable information on what is happening in the State Capitol regarding legislative and State Budget matters. Dave also shares his expertise in education funding as a consultant to several statewide education coalitions, providing detailed revenue analyses and funding projections for special education. Prior to joining SSC, Dave served in the legislative and constituent affairs office for the Secretary of State and represented the Secretary before policy committees. In addition, while working in the Legislature, one of Dave’s major accomplishments was successfully working out various changes to the 2005 federal special education conformity bill (Assembly Bill 1662 [Chapter 653/2005]). Dave is a graduate of California’s public school system and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from San Jose State University. Full Bio

 

Patti F. Herrera
Patti F. Herrera, EdD
Vice President
pattih@sscal.com

Patti Herrera, EdD, Vice President, serves school districts by advocating for public policies that maintain and advance the interests of pre-K–12 and community college students. As part of the School Services of California Inc. (SSC) team, Dr. Herrera provides timely information to pre-K–14 field practitioners across the disciplines on legislative and regulatory proposals that will affect their daily work. Prior to joining SSC, Dr. Herrera led the Governmental Relations Division as the Chief Governmental Relations Officer for the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools. She also spent more than a decade on policy development related to public school facilities at Murdoch, Walrath & Holmes and the Coalition for Adequate School Housing, where she specialized in the State School Facility Program. Through her work in public education policy making and advocacy, Dr. Herrera has worked and developed relationships with key policymakers and staff in and around the State Capitol. Dr. Herrera graduated cum laude from the University of California, Davis, with Bachelor of Arts degrees in both International Relations and Chinese and Russian History, as well as a Doctor of Education. Full Bio

 

Kyle Hyland
Kyle Hyland
Director, Governmental Relations
kyleh@sscal.com

Kyle Hyland, Director, Governmental Relations, supports the governmental relations team by coordinating legislative and policy issues of interest to School Services California’s (SSC’s) clients, including representing their interests at all levels of government, performing research and analysis, developing conclusions, preparing client communications and reports, preparing documents to support or oppose legislative or policy matters, and monitoring meetings of administrative and policymaking bodies. In his time with SSC, Kyle has provided timely information to the field about important events in Sacramento by writing Fiscal Report and Community College Update articles, contributing to SSC’s “Top Legislative Issues” series, and producing the weekly Sacramento Update for legislative clients. Prior to joining SSC, Kyle served as Special Assistant to the Executive Team at the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the statewide nonprofit supporting the California Community College system. Kyle received a Bachelor of Political Science from the University of California, Davis, and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy and Administration at the California State University, Sacramento. Full Bio

 

 

Robert McEntire, Ed.D.
Robert McEntire, Ed.D.
Director, Management Consulting Services
robertmc@sscal.com

Robert McEntire, Ed.D., Director, Management Consulting Services, provides support to school districts, county offices of education, and community colleges to improve operational effectiveness and efficiency. Serving educational agencies to strengthen operations and resource management through organizational reviews, efficiency studies, budget reviews, and comparative analysis of resources and staffing, Robert brings a wealth of experience. His specialized focus areas include governance, management, budget, collective bargaining, debt financing, facilitation, special education, strategic planning, trustee boundary areas, and executive searches. Robert is an established workshop presenter for School Services of California Inc. (SSC) and speaker for the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO). In addition to serving as a content expert on numerous panels, he is also an instructor at the University of Southern California Rossier School Business Management Certificate program and the California School Boards Association (CSBA) Masters in Governance program. Prior to joining SSC, Robert held the position of assistant superintendent/chief business official in medium and large school districts in southern California, and served as a chief financial officer in the private sector. Robert earned designation as a certified Chief Business Official from CASBO and also holds a California teaching credential. Robert is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a Bachelor and Master of Business Administration and a Doctor in Education. Full Bio

 

Matt Phillips
Matt Phillips, CPA
Director, Management Consulting Services
mattp@sscal.com

Matt Phillips, CPA, Director, Management Consulting Services, provides support to school districts for fiscal-related matters such as budget reviews, salary schedule analyses, organizational reviews, and negotiations, including factfinding services. He also participates in presenting workshops across the state on a variety of topics including collective bargaining, district budgeting, federal compliance, and auditing. His accounting and auditing background, experience working in a school district, attainment of Certified Public Accountant license, and completion of the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team Chief Business Official (CBO) Mentor Program resulting in the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) CBO certificate all provide the foundation for his expertise. Matt graduated from the California State University, Chico, with a Bachelor of Business Administration with emphasis in Accounting. Full Bio

 

Charlene Quilao
Charlene Quilao
Assistant Director, Management Consulting Services
charleneq@sscal.com

Charlene Quilao , Assistant Director, Management Consulting Services, brings over a decade of experience to School Services of California Inc. (SSC), providing extensive technical and professional services to local school agencies and community colleges to help them implement and maintain effective and efficient operations. As an integral member of SSC’s Management Consulting Services team, Charlene prepares research and data analysis in order to conduct organizational reviews, efficiency studies, comparative analyses of school district resources and staffing, special education studies, statewide workshops, informative publications, and other client services. She also serves as an SSC search advisor to support local educational agencies in chief business official search services. Charlene received her bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University, focusing on social sciences and research and is an American Bar Association Certified Paralegal. Full Bio

 

Suzanne Speck
Suzanne Speck
Executive Vice President
suzannes@sscal.com

Suzanne Speck, Executive Vice President, provides support to school districts, county offices of education, and community college districts in governance, management, collective bargaining, employer-employee relations, human resources, special education, and general consulting. Before joining School Services California Inc. in 2009, Suzanne served school districts in California for more than 20 years as a special education teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent of human resources. She brings a wealth of experience in the area of employment, personnel management, strategic planning, and organizational development. She served on the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team for human resources in South Monterey Joint Union High School District, Compton Community College District, and Inglewood Unified School District. Suzanne has received advanced training in mediation and facilitation strategies and also has extensive experience leading large and small groups on various topics, including strategic planning, special education allocation plan development, budget advisory committees, and health benefit committees. As a seasoned and skillful facilitator, she is often asked to lead governance teams in the evaluation of superintendents, to mediate conflicts between individual employees and/or groups of employees, and to assist local educational agencies in building more collaborative labor relations. Full Bio

 

Kathleen Spencer
Kathleen Spencer
Vice President
kathleens@sscal.com

Kathleen Spencer, Vice President, works with school districts, charter schools, county offices of education, and community colleges to implement effective and efficient operations through innovative strategies. She serves educational agencies in strengthening operations and resource management through organizational reviews, shared services and efficiency studies, budget reviews, comparative analyses of school district resources and staffing, total compensation studies, and facilities reviews. She specializes in the impacts of federal health care reform and the demands on employers to provide cost effective and legally compliant benefits. Kathleen also provides negotiations support to local educational agencies (LEA) and has prepared and presented many school district factfinding cases, resulting in positive and improved labor relations for both the LEA and employee group. Kathleen received her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sacramento, focusing on social sciences and research. Full Bio

 

Michelle McKay Underwood
Michelle McKay Underwood
Vice President
michelleu@sscal.com

Michelle McKay Underwood, Vice President, provides advocacy services on behalf of School Services of California Inc. (SSC) clients by representing their interests in front of the Legislature, Administration, and various state departments in Sacramento. She is actively involved in advocating on behalf of both school districts and associations, including serving as the lead advocate for the California School Funding Coalition, the Coalition for Adequate Funding for Special Education, Schools For Sound Finance [(SF)2], and the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA). Prior to joining SSC, Michelle served as Membership Director for the California Coalition for Youth, an advocacy association of a diverse group of youth, youth advocates, and youth-serving agencies from throughout the state. Michelle received a Bachelor of Political Science and Psychology from the University of California, Davis. Full Bio

 

Carol Wolfe
Carol Wolfe, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
carolw@sscal.com

Carol Wolfe, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, possesses essential background and experience to provide her with the necessary skills to successfully manage the day-to-day accounting activities of School Services of California Inc. and help steer the company properly into the future. She has more than 30 years of accounting experience, including 9 years in public accounting and the remainder in private industry. Carol graduated from the California State University, Sacramento, in 1987 with a degree in accounting and obtained her Certified Public Accountant license in 1990. Full Bio