Donn Merriam
Mr. Merriam is a licensed architect with over 20 years experience in school building design and construction.  One of his most recent projects was the replacement and campus enhancement of West Contra Costa County's DeAnza High School.  He has recently been elected to the Emeryville School Board and is participating in the development of Emeryville's new Center of Community Life, a very innovative use of space for the housing of a K - 12 school, and community-based health and recreational faculties for all ages.

Elizabeth Isono
Board Secretary
Ms. Isono, MSOTR/L is an occupational therapist currently in private practice in the East Bay Area with an undergraduate degree in neuropsychology from Santa Clara University and a master’s degree from Stanford University. Currently, she provides service to children, adolescents, and young adults with varying diagnosis impacting their functional performance at school, home or in the workplace. She works privately and also contracts with multiple schools throughout the Bay Area. Ms. Isono has been practicing since 1980, and her experience has dealt with children and adults with varied diagnosis in acute care, rehabilitation, educational and outpatient services. Her philosophical approach is based on the understanding of the neurologic, physiologic, motoric, sensory, and social cognitive aspects of a client, collaborative work with the team is essential to the multidisciplinary approach that she feels best supports her clients’ development. Ms. Isono has spent time presenting at conferences, publishing papers and writing chapters in books specific to educating therapists. Her patient/client contact includes working at Stanford Hospital for over 10 years, as well as with individuals at multiple hospitals in Southern California.
Liz has taken this vast experience and applied its foundational knowledge to her current work, which primarily addresses students’ functional and educational needs. Liz has worked to educate teachers, staff and parents in surrounding communities about sensory processing and its impact on learning, execution and functional level of independence.

Allan Chatman
Dean of Students and Board Staff Representative


Mr. Chatman has been working at The Phillips Academy for 27 years.  He began his career as a teaching assistant and became an active, contributing member to the high school program as a special education teacher shortly thereafter.  In addition to providing instruction in English and the Social Sciences, Allan coaches football, co-leads the Student Council, and serves as a mentor to many of The Phillips Academy students. 

​Alison Fingerut

Board Parent Representative

Alison Fingerut, MSOTR/L is an occupational therapist currently in practice with Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) specializing in pediatrics birth to three years old.  Prior to CCCOE, she worked for Contra Costa Children’s Services (CCS) and contracted with Golden Gate Regional Services.  She has an undergraduate degree in Human Development from UC Davis and a master’s degree in occupational therapy from Columbia University.  She has been practicing in the bay area in various capacities since 1994.  She previously sat on the board of directors for Behavioral Intervention for Autism (BIA) in Emeryville for 6 years.  She has 2 children, Amanda (18) at Acalanes High School and Steven (15) who currently attends The Phillips Academy. 

Taka Yokoyama



Taka Yokoyama has a background in project management and public speaking, and is currently a consultant at Navint. He specializes in the Lead-to-Revenue operations and technology of B2B enterprises. He is also a classically trained and licensed civil engineer with experience designing campuses for physical security. He is the former Chair of the Structural Engineers’ Association of Northern California’s Disaster Emergency Services Committee, working with the California Office of Emergency Services in coordinating post-disaster building safety assessments. He’s earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and his MBA from The Wharton School. 

Courtney Groden
Trustee/Deputy Treasurer


To contact the Board of Trustees directly, please email us at


For general school information and admissions inquiries, please go to Contact Us.



Steven Lei.jpg
Alison Fingerut.jpg
Taka Yokoyama_ASCE nom.jpg