Board Members

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ISSAC is grateful for the time, efforts, and commitment of each ISSAC Board Member.

They offer invaluable life and professional experience to lead our school...for the benefit of our community and the education of our children.


Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer (Retired), Santa Monica-Malibu USD

Dr. Chiung-Sally Chou is a life-long educator. She has been a very strong supporter of public education as well as programs that support the students beyond the school day. Dr. Chou has had extensive experience in the field of education. She was most recently the Chief Academic Officer of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District where she oversaw curriculum and instruction as well as student services for nearly 12,000 students. She also served as the Deputy Superintendent of Instructional Services for Compton Unified School District and the Associate Superintendent for Student Support Services of San Francisco Unified School District. She has served as teacher, program specialist, district administrator, and assistant principal, and principal. She is a leader in her field and has initiated numerous successful programs to increase student achievement through promotion of collaboration, professional development and other support systems.

Dr. Chou was educated in Taiwan, Japan and the United States. She has a B.A. in Intercultural Studies, a M.A. in Political Science and a M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Organization. She possesses a teaching credential, a Cross Cultural, Language and Academic Development Certificate (CLAD), and an

Administrative Services Certificate in the state of California. Currently, Dr. Chou serves on the Board of Trustees of Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC,

her alma mater; Board of Directors, Los Angeles Leadership Academy, a charter organization in East Los Angeles; the part time Executive Director of the Global Education Collaborative, a charter organization in South Los Angeles; the Executive Director (pro bono) of the AJ Wang Foundation Scholarship Fund; the President of the Chou Family Scholarship Fund and the Advisor of the Emily Shane Foundation. She also provides consultations to schools and

businesses in California, China, and the Philippines. During her spare time, she mentors other educators, provides advice to budding entrepreneurs, and gives lots of love to her son’s family and grandchildren.

JAD Allam

Jad graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the American University of Beirut and a Master's of Operations Research from Georgia Tech. He currently holds the position of Group VP, GPD at Applied Medical, a medical device manufacturing company, where he has been for the past 14 years.

Growing from an entry level engineer to a managerial position at a medical device company helped Jad gain experience in solving technical, managerial and compliance related challenges. He brings this experience to our team to help ISSAC grow and serve a larger part of the community.

With ISSAC, Jad shares the belief in the value a multilingual environment brings to the development of students and the "no-limit" approach that helps teachers educate and cultivate students beyond their age associated grade level. He is committed to help ISSAC continue its success and educate and empower future global citizens.

EMILY Maekubo

Emily Maekubo began with a degree in education and 13 years of teaching in a foreign language program. She takes pride in her success at motivating students in a challenging curriculum, and creating joyful relationships between teacher and students.

Emily has a business degree (MBA) and decades of corporate experience in accounting, finance, sales and operations, mainly in the automotive industry. Working at Toyota and Hitachi, Emily has been managing complex global operations successfully to goals, while maintaining budget constraints and reporting requirements. This experience gives her an excellent perspective to contribute in a governance role at ISSAC.

Global citizenship education is of particular interest to Emily, and she has experience with multinational business operations, and can advocate for preparing students to be ready for the responsibilities of career in a global economy.

Emily brings to ISSAC her fine-tuned understanding of establishing a culture of care in an educational environment, and her vigilance and understanding of fiscal responsibility in order to build a financially healthy organization.

THU Nguyen, JD

Thu is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and Southwestern Law School SCALE 2-Year JD Program, with extensive experience in project management and complex litigation.

Born in Vietnam shortly after its infamous civil war, Thu left the country at the age of 11 with her family to become political refugees to the U.S. As a beneficiary of countless humanitarians, dedicated volunteers, and life-long mentors along the way, Thu believes it is her duty to pay it forward in every community in which she lives. Thu is especially passionate about empowering children and youths to break socioeconomic barriers through education, an experience she has personally lived from a life of poverty in Vietnam.

For all her academic accolades and professional achievements, Thu is most proud of her work as a mother, blessed by her five-year old’s boundless creativity, kindness, humor, and incredible potential.

With ISSAC, Thu shares the humanities it aims to nurture in our children as global citizens of the world. Thu intends to leverage her aptitude for finding creative solutions, and considerable management background, to maximize available resources for a safe, clean and engaging learning environment.


Carmen Basu, born and graduated in Guatemala, Central America. Completed B.S. in Criminal Justice in the United States. Joined the Team of Alegria's Services in Downtown Los Angeles servicing the Hispanic community by providing tax preparation and interpreting services. Started volunteering at different shelters and organizations at the age of 19. Coming from different backgrounds made it easy to understand other cultures and their needs. Participating and organizing Cultural and religious events for the Indian Community. Active member of Bengali Association of Southern California and Dakshini Bengali Association. After becoming a mother decided to practice meditation, personal guidance and mindfulness by attending workshops at the Self Realization Fellowship in Hollywood.

During 2013 started helping with fundraisers as well as school events at Catholic schools in Hollywood. Moved to the City of Costa Mesa during 2016 and joined Paularino Elementary PTA where I volunteered in every possible way. The most rewarding experience was being part of the Reading Program at the school Library. Seeing children achieve their reading goals within weeks was the greatest reward. PTA gave me the opportunity to use my experience and talents by being part of the Executive Board as the Membership Chairman/Vice President.

Some of the very successful events I had the pleasure of chairing and organizing were Trunk-or-Treat, Ceramic Night, Multicultural night, Donuts with Dad, two Scholastic book fairs, Muffins with Mom and co-chaired for many other events like Winter Dance. I was also an elected member of the School Site Council at Paularino Elementary. During that time I was able to advocate for all the needs of the students. Have been an active member of ELAC supporting the community and encouraging non-English speakers to share their stories and participate in all school activities. Had completed parenting workshops for NMUSD including Heroes and Anti-bullying by Ms.Trudy Ludwig just to mention a few. 2019 was a difficult year as we had to experience bullying at school. I was already an anti-bullying promoter but having my son experience it was definitely a challenging situation. Thanks to our positive attitude and right guidance we damages bullying caused and my son now knows how to immediately identify and speak up not just for himself but for others as well.

KIM, Hopko

Coming from a family of educators, mother, sister and cousin were all teachers Ms. Hopko naturally followed that path into special education. Ms. Hopko entered the field of Special Education as a Speech Pathologist after earning a Masters from Central Michigan University.

She moved to Southern California and took a position with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) as an Aphasia teacher. This led to a 38 year career with LACOE serving as a teacher, in various administrative positions including principal, consultant, SELPA Director and the last years as Director of Special Education for LACOE.

Ms. Hopko always had a passion for students with disabilities and insuring that they received an equal education to their general education peers. She worked on many local, regional and state level committees and groups that implemented law and regulations to do just that.

Since retiring from the LACOE Ms. Hopko has worked as a Senior Consultant with a Special Education Management Firm to continue her work in the realm of charter schools and school districts. In her free time she enjoys knitting, reading, and walking.