Board of Directors


Donald Duford is a business leader with over 40 years of management experience in private equity M+A strategies, turnarounds, and start-ups. His experience is primarily in the insurance services sector, including managed care, cost containment, claims, and customer service. He has held leadership positions in Sales, Marketing, and Product Development as well as CEO/President roles. He is active with Social Venture Partners and is committed to working with DEEP to close opportunity gaps for children in southeastern San Diego.


Julia M. Bridi has been in education for over two decades. She has been a classroom teacher, peer coach/staff developer, school administrator, and currently works as an Executive Leadership Coach with the San Diego County Office of Education. Julia believes in school improvement that relies upon a strong theory of action that includes professional learning, high quality leadership, and teacher efficacy. She has been a strong advocate for DEEP since the organization’s inception. DEEP’s theory of action mirrors Julia’s beliefs and espouses a system that promotes equity for all children.


Eric Larson is Vice President, Finance & Treasury Manager at Mission Federal Credit Union. Eric has a 35+ year history in Community Banking in San Diego, having previously held the role of Chief Financial Officer at CalPrivate Bank and prior to that at San Diego National Bank. He believes strongly in educational opportunities for children and the work that DEEP does to create them.


Amanda Bonds serves as Program Director at Words Alive, providing leadership for a portfolio of programs that connect children, youth and families to the power of reading. Amanda also manages agency evaluation efforts and represents Words Alive on multiple education-focused community partnerships across the county. Believing in the power of learning, her teaching history includes college-level writing at UCSD, elementary age classrooms in Jamaica and summer programs at the San Antonio Zoo. As chair of the DEEP’s Early Learning Network, Amanda believes that the greatest opportunities for young people in the Diamond come by way of imaginative and collective effort!


Edward Lopez is the Executive Director of UCAN – the Utility Consumers’ Action Network. A native of San Diego, he has a long record as a nonprofit professional, stewarding an education foundation and also developing an Advanced Energy Community plan for a community-based organization serving neighborhoods in southeastern San Diego. Mr. Lopez served two terms as an elected Board Member for San Diego City Schools, representing District E (Southeastern San Diego). Previously, at UCSD, he managed student retention and outreach efforts, and built partnerships with K-12 schools. With a “DEEP” and abiding belief in education, he looks forward to supporting DEEP as it serves the students and families of San Diego schools.


Judy McDonald is a long time community volunteer. Her current civic involvements are on the boards of The National Conflict Resolution Center, the Arts District at Liberty Station, RISE, and the Parker Foundation. She is the widow of Alex McDonald, an Appellate Court justice, the mother of four daughters, and the grandmother of seven grandchildren.


Norm is the board secretary of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the Jacobs Family Foundation. Norm spent his career as a U.S. Marine Corps Officer, and commercial pilot. He has a strong interest in public policy issues and is an advocate of self-help community change strategies and school reform.  Norm is especially dedicated to improving the education of our children in the Diamond neighborhoods and has been a critical supporter of DEEP since its inception. DEEP has Norm’s wholehearted financial and moral support. He is proud to serve on its Board of Directors.


Deborah Costa-Hernández, Ed.D. is a collaborative educational leader who currently serves as the Statewide Executive Director of the California Reading and Literature Project (CRLP). She has been a teacher, school and district administrator, and leadership coach. Her entire career in education has been focused on the academic achievement of English learners and underserved student populations. In her current position she oversees a number of professional development programs designed to build teachers’ capacity to teach reading/literacy and to meet the academic needs of all students. Dr. Costa-Hernandez has been involved in DEEP from the beginning and is proud to be part of a mission-driven, collaborative, coherent effort to provide wrap around support to students in the schools and communities served by DEEP.


Hugh “Bud” Mehan is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Education at UCSD. He started and directed the Teacher Education Program at UCSD from 1972 until 1998. In 1998, he became the founding director of the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Access, and Teaching Excellence (CREATE), which coordinates efforts at UCSD to improve the academic preparation of under- represented students through partnerships with K-12 schools and the Preuss School, UCSD’s on-campus model charter school. Bud’s service on the DEEP board is consistent with his long-term commitment to improving education in southeastern San Diego.


Kathryn has been with the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC) since May of 2017. As the Senior Program Manager of NCRC’s Center for Community Cohesion (CCC), she continues the work of community engagement through collaborations with local agencies, organizations and residents to promote a culture of inclusivity, community empowerment and cohesion. Dedicated to community advocacy, she has worked in prior years for the Alliance for African Assistance, and the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils. Kathryn is a certified restorative practices circle facilitator, and a passionate advocate for the important role of restorative justice in our educational systems as an alternative to the punitive systems that have disproportionately impacted students of color. She has been actively engaged in DEEP’s literacy outreach in southeastern San Diego.