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Our Board

Pilar Buelna
Board Chair, Governance Committee
Divisional Director of Social Services, The Salvation Army California South Division

Pilar Buelna currently serves as the Divisional Director of Social Services for The Salvation Army’s California South Division, which covers nine counties from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Services under her purview include child development and youth centers, emergency housing for families, transitional housing for veterans, permanent housing for families living with AIDS, mental health services, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.   

She sits on the board of Los Angeles County Emergency Food and Shelter Program and in 2016 Mayor Garcetti appointed her to the Cultural Heritage Commission. She is a founding member of Equitas Academy Charter School, located in the Pico Union Community where she was raised.  

Ms. Buelna began her career as a children’s social worker with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and at City of Hope National Medical Center as a medical social worker.  

She received a Masters in Social Work from San Diego State University, a Bachelors in English Literature from California State University Northridge, and is a licensed psychotherapist in the state of California. 

Prabhu Reddy
Board Member & Treasurer, Finance Committee (Chair), Facilities Committee

Operator in Residence, Charter School Growth Fund


Prabhu Reddy is an Operator in Residence at the Charter School Growth Fund, a nonprofit that identifies the country’s best public charter schools, funds their expansion, and helps to increase their impact. At CSGF, Prabhu spends his time solving challenges related to building and financing school facilities. Before joining CSGF, Prabhu was Chief Financial Officer of KIPP Bay Area Public Schools, a network of high-achieving public charter schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he helped lead the organization’s growth from seven to fifteen schools. In his role, he was responsible for developing a best-in-class finance team, financial strategy and planning, financial stewardship, and real estate financial strategy. Prior to his role at KIPP Bay Area Public Schools, Prabhu was Director of Finance and Operations with KIPP San Diego. Prabhu began his career as a member of the Investment Team at Pantheon Ventures. He earned a BS in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.

Aarthi Sowrirajan

Board Member, Finance Committee, Facilities Committee

Director, Turner Impact Capital, LLC

Aarthi Sowrirajan is a Director at Turner Impact Capital and Regional Director of Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund. Based in Los Angeles, Ms. Sowrirajan manages the Fund's business development efforts for the West and Southwest regions, including identifying high-performing charter school partners. In addition, she is responsible for underwriting, structuring, negotiating and executing investment opportunities, managing Fund finances, investor relations and the various strategic needs of the Fund. Prior to joining Turner-Agassi, Ms. Sowrirajan was an Associate at Deutsche Bank Securities in the Structured Products Group, underwriting deals and structuring debt financing for non-prime mortgage originators and credit card companies through bond offerings in the capital markets. She has also held a position as a Summer Associate at Credit Suisse within various Equity and Debt Sales and Trading teams. Ms. Sowrirajan is a graduate of the University of Chicago (B.A., Honors, Economics) and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (M.B.A.).


Oliver Bajracharya

Board Member, Governance Committee (Chair), Audit Committee

Attorney, Christie, Parker, Hale, LLC

As a patent and trademark attorney, Mr. Bajracharya counsels clients with respect to their intellectual property assets and helps them manage and grow their portfolio. He has worked extensively with domestic and international companies specializing in various areas of technology, including medical devices, consumer electronics, sporting equipment, and apparel. Mr. Bajracharya works at Christie, Parker & Hale, a Pasadena law firm specializing in intellectual property, and in his spare time he enjoys playing soccer and cooking. Mr. Bajracharya received a BS in Mechanical (Biomedical) Engineering from Cornell University and a JD from Tulane Law School.
Julie Troletti

Board Member & Secretary, Academic Committee (Chair)

Principal, Our Community Charter School

Julie Troletti has spent the past 12 years in education, starting in the classroom and working her way into administration. Along the way, she has earned a Master of Education in Elementary School Education, a Master of Education in Administration Services, a Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership, and clear credentials in both Multi-subject teaching and Administrative Services. Additionally, she attended the federally funded Charter & Autonomous School Leadership Academy (CASLA) through the California State University system. Currently Julie serves as Principal at Our Community Charter School She is an alumni of the University of La Verne, CSU Dominguez Hills, and University of Southern California.


Tyler Bell

Board Member, Governance Committee, Advocacy Committee

Consultant, Annenberg Foundation

Tyler Bell is a graduate of Morehouse College where he earned his degree in Political Science. After college, Tyler has actively continued to pursue his passions in people, education and technology. He has taught high school, worked on Capitol Hill, and helped lead a startup to achieve incredible success serving as their Head of Talent. Currently, Tyler is serving as a Consultant for the Annenberg Foundation where he is utilizing his skills and background to scale Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion efforts across the Tech and Venture Capital ecosystem in Los Angeles.


Josephti Cruz

Board Member, Academic Committee, Facilities Committee, Audit Committee

Wealth Management Advisor, TIAA

Josephti Cruz has been a Wealth Management Advisor with TIAA for 6 years, both in in their Los Angeles and New York offices, where she specializes in providing financial planning solutions for her individual clients. Having served In the financial services industry for over 19 years, most notably with AllianceBernstein, Josephti held a variety of client service, marketing, and management roles in their Private Client, Institutional and Retail divisions as a Vice President. Prior to joining TIAA, she was a financial advisor at Chase Private Client and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, where she worked with high net worth individuals to streamline and simplify their financial lives. Josephti holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UCLA. She holds FINRA Series 7, 63, and 65 registrations in addition to maintaining licenses Life, Accident and Health insurance and Variable Annuities in all appropriate jurisdictions.


Aaron Perez

Board Member, Finance Committee

Aaron PerezDirector of Strategy and Operations, NFL Media

Prior to the NFL, Aaron Perez spent most of his professional career in management consulting, helping companies develop long-term strategies and align their organizations to achieve its goals. Throughout this time, he also worked directly with several non-profits in Los Angeles and the Bay Area as a volunteer, consultant, and board member. A native of the San Fernando Valley, Aaron earned a BA in Economics from Pomona College and MBA from the UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business.

Deepa Krishna

Board Member, Development Committee (Chair), Advocacy Committee

Deepa KrishnaConsultant

Deepa Krishna has more than15 years of experience in media and entertainment having worked at Miramax, The Weinstein Company, and WWE, and her desire to work in service led to public sector experience with the City of Boston as a Rappaport Public Policy Fellow. She currently works as an independent consultant for social enterprises, non-profits, and media companies on operations and strategy-related projects, with a focus on organizational management as well as digital/social media expertise. Deepa holds an MBA and an MS in Information Systems from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business and a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Claudia Chung Sanii

Development Committee, Governance Committee

Character Technical Director, Walt Disney Animation Studios


Chung Sanii joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2012 as a character technical director, specializing in character simulation. Claudia was the Simulation Supervisor for Zootopia. She also tailored costumes for Oscar winners Big Hero 6 and Frozen. Prior to her role at Disney, Chung Sanii spent 10 years at Pixar Animation Studios, where she contributed to Oscar winners Brave (as simulation supervisor), Up (as character cloth lead), Ratatouille, The Incredibles and Finding Nemo. Chung Sanii attended University of California, Berkeley, majoring in computer science, with a passion for special effects and animation.

Alyssa Valentine

Academic Committee

Realtor, COMPASS

Originally from Pennsylvania, Ms. Valentine moved to Los Angeles over 10 years ago after beginning her real estate career in Lake Tahoe. Having learned the business from a few top West-side agents, she obtained her license in 2005 and focused her attention on the East-side communities she has always loved. With a recent move to Nourmand & Associates, she and her husband serve a variety of clients throughout greater Los Angeles ranging from first time buyers, experienced investors and everyone in between. Throughout her career, Ms. Valentine has earned numerous sales awards for top production. As a Keller Williams Realty agent, she served for two years on the Agent Leadership Council, a board of the top agents nominated to serve the needs of the community and assist in the education of new trainees. She has also compiled extensive renovation experience having fixed and sold nine properties in 2010 & 2011 in addition to her traditional real estate business. Ms. Valentine is a graduate of Indiana University.
Brett Snyder

Finance Committee

Founder, Cranky Flier LLC

Mr. Snyder is the founder of Cranky Flier LLC, a company focused on assisting air travelers via its Cranky Concierge (crankyconcierge.com) air travel assistance service and CrankyFlier.com website. He has an extensive background with the travel industry, having worked for USAir, America West, Eos, and United in the areas of revenue management, marketing, sales, and strategy. Prior to founding his own company, Mr. Snyder worked for PriceGrabber.com, a comparison shopping site with more than 24 million unique users per month, where he built and managed the travel site in addition to managing new products for the site and community efforts. In his younger days, he was the youngest known travel agent in the United States at the age of 12. Mr. Snyder has a BA in Marketing and Tourism Studies from The George Washington University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Kim Ishikawa

Development Committee

Director of Annual Giving, LACMA

Kim Ishikawa is the Director of Annual Giving at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). She has the privilege of connecting with the museum’s supporters to share the impact of their philanthropy and engage them with LACMA’s collection and exhibitions, curatorial projects, and educational programs. During her four years at the museum, she has helped raise over $8 million in revenue. Kim is a native angeleno with a career in nonprofit development, previous organizations include National Public Radio (NPR) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Kim holds a BA in Political Science from UCLA.


Carlos Zamora

Development Committee

Marketing Associate, Multiquip

As a firm believer in education, Carlos Zamora welcomes the opportunity to join Equitas Academy’s Development Committee. He previously volunteered at UCLA assisting a Development team raise funds to provide scholarships to underprivileged students, medical services to downtown’s impoverished community and renovation to school facilities. He majored in Communications at Chapman University and is interested in pursuing a postgraduate degree in the future. Carlos has worked on marketing teams and ad agency accounts across Los Angeles including Sony Pictures, Boeing and Princess Cruises. Currently, he is Marketing Coordinator at Multiquip, an international construction manufacturing and distributing firm. In his free time, he enjoys learning more about his field of study, playing guitar and reading. With family living in Pico-Union since the 80s, he is happy to serve the community.


Yvett Merino

Governance Committee

Yvett MerinoCo-Producer, Walt Disney Animation Studio

Yvett Merino has been with Walt Disney Animation Studios for over 20 years. She first began as an assistant in the Technology Department and was promoted to Administrative Manager.  After 10 years in the Technology Department, Yvett moved into the world of production, working as a Production Supervisor in Editorial on "Tangled", with the stereo team "The Lion King 3D", and then to "Wreck-It Ralph" where she worked in Technical Animation, Effects and Lighting. Yvett was promoted to Production Manager on the Academy Award®-winning "Big Hero 6" and most recently on "Moana".  Today she is working as a Co-Producer on a feature film currently in development. Yvett lives in Los Angeles with her family. She has an undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and recently finished her Master of Business Administration at Loyola Marymount University.