The Edison High School Board is comprised of dedicated individuals from a variety of backgrounds who generously offer their knowledge, talents, and experience to serve our school and our students.
Verna has been a school administrator for the past 40 plus years. She is known for helping organizations and institutions create and foster a climate where everyone feels welcomed, valued, and respected. Verna was the first African American female to enroll in undergraduate school at the University of Mississippi, where she earned a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology. She received an M.A. in Education from Lewis and Clark College and is completing a doctoral dissertation at Portland State University. Verna has served as the vice principal of Five Oaks Middle School, the principal of Cedar Park Middle School, the principal of Montclair Elementary School and the K-12 Administrator for Counseling and Diversity for the Beaverton School District. She is a firm believer that all children deserve quality teachers—people who believe in them, who have the skills to help them learn and perform at high levels, and who are passionate and knowledgeable about what they teach.
Pat is currently President of Becker Capital Management, Inc., and also a member of their Board of Directors. Since graduating from the University of Portland in 1988, Pat has worked in finance. Prior to joining Becker Capital Management, Inc., he was Vice President of Grove Securities. His earlier corporate positions included General Motors Acceptance Corporation, Toyota Motor Credit Corporation, and Merrill Lynch. Pat has been a regular guest on CNBC, commenting on the markets and technology. Pat and his wife Tabitha have 4 children. In his spare time, Pat enjoys fly fishing, skiing and golfing.
Ann brings a diverse business, education, health and community service background to Board of Directors. She has served as Vice President and President of Emerson Ecologics, Inc., a dietary supplement distribution company. Ann’s experience in community service includes working for a public housing agency and a neighborhood health center, where she identified the needs in housing, healthcare and education for inner city residents. Ann and her husband Joe have six children; one is a graduate of Edison.
Brittney attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, and earned her M.A. in Teaching at the University of Portland in 2000. She has worked as a substitute teacher for Edison and as a middle school language arts, reading, and drama teacher at Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro. She loves music, dance, and theatre, and has worked for the Young People’s Theatre Project for almost 20 years as a drama teacher and choreographer. Brittney is currently a stay-at-home mom and school volunteer, as well as a board member at the Young People’s Theatre Project and the Clark Foundation. Her family includes husband Chris Brooks, daughter Haven, and labradoodle Lucky Star.
Dean is a principal with Ferguson Wellman Capital Management and a member of the equity team. He also heads the firm’s Alternative Investments strategy. He joined the firm in 1994 after 11 years with Kidder Peabody Asset Management in New York City. Dean was born and raised in New York and earned his B.A. in finance from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He is also a board member of the Citizens’ Crime Commission and Portland Japanese Garden. Dean enjoys tennis, boating and traveling with his family.
Max is the Chief Financial Officer at Ardon Health. After graduating from the University of Idaho, Max relocated to Oregon in 1988. Max’s son Casey graduated from Edison in 2018 and now attends Western Oregon University. Max has directly experienced the life-changing impact that Edison has on its students which is why he is so proud to serve on Edison’s Board.
Sherry grew up in Southern California, she and her husband, Con moved to Bad Tolz, Germany and then on to Fayetteville, NC while he was in the military. The family then relocated to Sacramento, CA then on to Tulsa, OK and finally settling in Portland in 1987. Sherry began her Real Estate practice in 1988 and has helped over 2100 families find the perfect home. She has been named Realtor of the Year for the Portland Metro Area as well as served on the Board for RMLS. Sherry’s grandson attended Edison for 4 years and graduated in 2018. She is a strong believer in Edison and the success it helps students achieve. Her family includes her husband, son, daughter-in-law and two amazing grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, wine tasting and hanging out with their two dogs, Bode and Jackson.
After college and a stint in the U.S. Navy, Gary returned to college and graduated from Lewis & Clark with a law degree in 1975. He has practiced law for over 30 years and is currently an owner with Gravey Schubert Barer. Gary, along with his wife Heidi, serve on the Board for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. He has also served on the Board of Visitors for Lewis & Clark Law School and helped with fundraising efforts. Gary believes “Edison is a unique opportunity for kids with educational challenges to reach for and become the best they can be.” Gary and Heidi have two children, Jordan and Alexa.
Jim is the current Chair of Edison's Board of Directors. Having earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Davis, Jim has worked in the building construction industry for more than 30 years. He is President of Fortis Construction, Inc. Jim and his wife Rose have four children. Their son Michael graduated from Edison in 2013. Jim recently completed an eight-year term on the Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School Advisory Council.
Larry is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Great Ajax Corp., a publicly-traded real estate investment trust. Mr. Mendelsohn is also a founder, and has been a partner since 1995, of Aspen Capital, a private equity firm with expertise in residential, commercial, distressed securities and hospitality. Since 2002, Mr. Mendelsohn has also been the managing member of Flanders Street Capital Management LLC, which manages distressed corporate debt and equity, financial services and real estate investment trust investments. In his spare time, Larry enjoys watching English Premier League soccer and is definitely a dog person.
Dan is a CPA with GeffenMesher. In the spring of 2004, he found himself at a career crossroads. After 16 years with Big 4 firms, he knew he needed a change, yet the timing wasn’t right. In October of that year, he finally brought his experiences, warmth and sense of humor to the firm. In 2016 Dan was asked to join the Edison board by friend and board chair Pat Becker. “I knew anything Pat would be involved in was a good cause.” Dan and his wife Heather are proud parents of two grown daughters. In the fall you can catch Dan tailgating outside of Reser Stadium.
Originally from Dayton, Ohio Wendell moved to Portland in 1978 and began playing basketball for Portland State University. In 1980 a unique opportunity presented itself and he moved overseas where he played basketball in France for 5 years. Wendell returned to Portland and began working for a construction company. In 1992 he opened his own painting business; WCTJ, Inc. Wendell and his wife Phyllis are “Edison parents” and have 4 children. In his spare time he still enjoys playing basketball, watching the Blazers, and grilling ribs.
Bringing over 20 years of financial leadership in the advertising industry, Claudia Valderrama joined the Edison Board of Directors in 2020 when her son, Nathaniel started as a freshman. Claudia currently works at Weiden + Kennedy as the Global CFO, a position she has held since 2007. She oversees the finances of all the offices in the network and is involved in all major decision-making as part of the global team. As much as it runs counter to her years of training, she believes valuing creativity over the bottom line ends up bringing the agency more billings in the long run. In 2016, Claudia was named a W+K stakeholder (partner).
Claudia lives in Portland with her husband, daughter, and son. When she is not with her family, Claudia loves to give back to her community, by volunteering for her kids’ school and in her church and has served as a board member for a number of organizations including the Youth Charity League, OMSI, and Jesuit High School. In 2017, she co-founded YCL a nonprofit with a mission to transform the lives of young people through community service.
Jeff has over 36 years of experience in various engineering and management positions with Portland General Electric, having retired in 2020 after serving as Project Manager helping to support PGE’s operations after joining the Western Energy Market in October 2017. Jeff spent his first nine years providing engineering support to Generating Plants at PGE. He moved into a management roll in 1992 and has worked as supervisor of Transmission Engineering, Manager of Distribution Engineering, Operations Manager for the Utility Asset Management Group, and System Planning and Engineering Manager. A 1982 graduate of Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, Wheeler earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently resides in Hillsboro with his wife Carla. Jeff enjoys spending time with his family, woodworking, and playing golf and tennis. He has held numerous positions with a variety of civic organizations including school board chairman for the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering (ACE) Academy in East Multnomah County, and The Oregon Sports Authority.
Summer Widmer graduated in 2001 with a degree in biology and a minor in exercise science. She was one of the first students to be accepted into the Entrepreneurial Scholars Program at the University of Portland. Summer has been linked to many successful start-up companies in Portland and helped develop a patented medical device. Her biggest joy is to grow something out of nothing with her keen unorthodox marketing and sales expertise for causes, companies and brands she cares about. Summer thinks her best accomplishment thus far is her beautiful family, husband and partner in crime DJ Widmer, and her two boys, Jameson & Ford.
Originally from Montana, Mike, and his wife Sherri, have called Portland, Oregon home since 1996. Mike is a career commercial banker and currently serves as the President for the SW Washington Region of Washington Trust Bank. Prior to this, Mike was with HomeStreet Bank, Columbia Bank and oversaw their Portland Metro Commercial Banking, he also served as Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer for Northwest Bank. Mike believes it is important to serve his community whenever he can add value. He has a strong connection to his church and to organizations that serve the disabled and disadvantaged. Mike volunteered as an Edison Board member from 2001–2007, and he returned to the Edison Board in 2013. Go, Ducks!
Located in Portland, Oregon, Edison High School is a private school dedicated to meeting the special education needs of Learning Disabled teens (LD teens). Our students' learning differences include dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Asperger syndrome, Tourette syndrome, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, auditory processing, visual processing, communication disorders, executive functioning weakness and nonverbal learning disorders.