Are you interested in serving students, educators, and community at TKG? We have been waiting for you! Please keep reading (below) for details.
2020-21 Community Board
Shannon has an A.S. in Business Management, an A.S. in Business Administration, an A.A. in Administration of Justice, and an A.S. in General Studies with an emphasis in Social and Behavioral Sciences from El Camino College. She is currently a fulltime student at CSU Dominguez Hills, pursuing a B.S. in Public Administration with an emphasis in Administrative Management and a Minor in Behavioral Science. She also continues to take courses at El Camino to complete the requirements for an A.A. in Child Development and an A.S. in Marketing. Shannon serves as Vice Chair of an auxiliary fundraising group that plans events and raises money for Rainbow Services, a local nonprofit that provides services for victims of domestic abuse. Shannon is passionate about nonprofit work and is dedicated to helping to grow TKG’s mission and reach. She believes all children should have access to the type of education TKG provides because, among other things, she fully believes it empowers young people to have healthy relationships with themselves and with others.
Magdalena Garcia, TKG Co-Founder
Believing strongly in human development, emotional intelligence and social justice, Lena (as most refer to her) has worked to bring her values of deep respect for personhood to each of her experiences working in pre-schools and elementary schools, both public and private. Lena strives to create connection with children through listening and playing and is always looking for an opportunity for collaboration and learning with adults and children alike.
In her role as Head of Education and Founder, she was responsible for overseeing and mentoring the teaching staff, supporting parent education and developing a proprietary school curriculum. Magdalena has been engaged in educational research and reform over the last 20 years, focused on working with and for children and families from diverse backgrounds. Striving to be of service to a wide variety of people, Lena has shared her beliefs about children and learning as a mentor teacher at both the school and district level. With her strong appreciation for creativity, she has also served as an educational consultant for the Natural History Museum, helping to create project-based, art-infused resources to support museum exhibits. After years of creating and struggling to implement progressive ideas and practices in a public elementary setting, Lena was attracted to helping develop a small, responsive community in its early stages of development. Since her daughter was entering kindergarten, it seemed like a natural fit to join a team of educational activists to co-create a place, TKG, that was more like a home than a school.
Magdalena is a UC Santa Cruz alum with a bachelors in Psychology as well as a UCLA graduate with a masters degree in Education and a multi-subject BCLAD teaching credential focused on bilingual, crosscultural teaching. She specializes supporting students ages 10-12 with writing from a deep and analytical perspective. She lives in Torrance with her husband and daughter.
Mike Dokmanovich is Executive Vice President and head of Middle Market Banking for Comerica Bank, Southern California.
Dokmanovich is responsible for leading all middle market growth strategies, providing business solutions and developing financial initiatives and relationships for companies that have revenue ranging from $20 million to
$500 million. He oversees Comerica’s eight middle market offices located in Los Angeles, Orange, San Fernando and San Diego Counties. Southern California middle market offices service a number of industries and business sectors, including industrial products, business services, consumer products, retail, technology, apparel, and textile, among others.
Dokmanovich has been a Comerica officer in California since 1991 and is a former senior vice president and regional manager for the middle market division in Los Angeles, Calif.
The Ohio native holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and an MBA from Ohio State University. Dokmanovich currently serves on the Board of Directors for AbilityFirst, a Pasadena-based nonprofit organization serving children and adults with developmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. He and his family reside in Redondo Beach, Calif.
Monica is an independent contractor with over 20 years of experience in operations, consulting and financial planning & analysis in both corporate and non-profit organizations. Hailing from Boston by way of Dallas, Monica earned her MBA from Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business and received a BBA in Operations Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her daughters attended The Knowing Garden from 2011-2017. Prior to her role as a director on the TKG Board, she held the role of Board President.
Adam Barshay began investing in real estate over 20 years ago when he formed his first real estate investment vehicle, The Equity Investment Group. Adam has invested in over 200 properties throughout Southern California, many of which required significant rehabilitation. Adam formed Smith & Barshay Realty, Inc. in 2002, currently Barshay Real Estate, Inc. The primary purpose for the formation of this entity was to meet the brokerage requirements of his friends and family, while also allowing him to bring this critical component of real estate investments in-house. Since its inception, Barshay Real Estate, Inc. has transacted over $500 million in real estate investment and residential sales on behalf of its principals and clients. In early 2009, Adam formed Anacapa Ventures to capitalize on real estate investment opportunities resulting from the collapse of the real estate market in what turned out to be the beginning of a time, which would later be coined “the great recession.” In early 2011, Adam saw a niche in the market with the federal reserve promoting a historically low-interest rate environment creating a lack of affordability in the residential housing segment and thus, in turn, a limited supply of available apartment rentals. Foreseeing the increase in rental demand, Adam formed Anacapa Realty Investments, which primary focus was acquiring multi-family apartment buildings in the Los Angeles market. Recently, Adam formed Barshay & Peters Management Company, Inc. a real estate management corporation that specializes in managing multi-family, residential and commercial real estate.
2020 Advisory Board
Laura Premi, Counsel
Laura Premi has over a decade of litigation experience serving a wide range of clients involved in entertainment, employment and contract disputes. She represents small and large businesses as well as individuals and has extensive experience in multi-party complex litigation. She has worked on matters for banks, government entities, property owners, movie studios and business owners. Laura works hard to achieve the best results for her clients, whether that means resolving a dispute prior to commencing litigation or taking a case to trial or arbitration. Prior to joining Cypress, Laura practiced law for 11 years at Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard & Shapiro, LLP.
Laura received her law degree from the University of Southern California Law Center in 2000. While at USC, Laura was a member of the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal and the president of the Student Bar Association. She was awarded a summer grant from USC’s Public Interest Law Foundation, which she used to litigate on behalf of tenants to ensure their landlord was providing habitable living conditions. Laura earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Jill Vengerik, Education Advisor
With 8 years of experience in the MD public school system and 3 years as a private tutor serving the Beach Cities communities, Jill is happy to continue her professional growth with TKG! As a certified teacher with a masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction, she has experience working with kids ranging from ages 3 to 13. The things she finds most rewarding, no matter the age, are the connections she builds with each family and child, and the chance to nurture a lifelong love for learning. Jill lives in Redondo Beach with her husband, daughter, and their awesome cat and dog.
Rick Valdez, Financial/CPA
Richard Valdez, CPA, Sr. Vice President, has over 25 years experience providing financial services to individuals in and throughout the entertainment industry, having participated in the business and financial management of some its most successful members.
As such his experience handling both beginning and established clientele gives him a unique opportunity to help the soon to be successful individual deal with greater financial resources, as well as understand the responsibilities accompanying that wealth.
Mr. Valdez’s area of expertise includes tax planning for high income and net worth individuals. He participates regularly in tax and financial planning courses, has been involved in the planning of major acquisitions and sales of real estate and business assets, having successfully assisted his clients in acquiring millions of dollars of financing for these endeavors. Specific entertainment industry experience includes assistance in the negotiation of the financial structuring of employment-related contracts, in addition to supervising the audits of motion picture profit participation accountings.
He has been a member of the California Society of CPA’s since 1990, in addition to obtaining a California Real Estate Sales’ Persons License in 1998.
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