Board Member Profiles
Heather Little, President
Board President Little received a BA in Psychology/Communications from Miami University, Oxford and a MEd in Special Education from California State University Sacramento. In her master’s work, she focused on students with moderate to severe disabilities.
Ms. Little currently works for Penumbra, a medical device company with facilities across the Bay Area and Sacramento regions. She is the company’s Senior Quality Training Specialist and is responsible for curriculum development and delivery to ensure the organization’s workforce is successful in their jobs.
Previously, Ms. Little was the Systems Director for First 5 Association, a nonprofit membership organization that focuses on building early childhood systems and supports to ensure that California’s young children are safe, healthy, and ready to succeed in school and life. She also worked for 16 years with the Seneca Family of Agencies, a non-profit that provides vulnerable students with a continuum of community and school-based services, including mental health, education, permanency, and juvenile justice programs. As a teacher, principal/assistant, and quality assurance assistant director at Seneca, Board Member Little says, “I gained a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of children's social-emotional development and well-being, and students' education experiences.”
Ms. Little joined the Board of Education because “I am passionate about education and I am committed to making Alameda schools a place where ALL students learn and thrive, and where teachers and staff are fulfilled and supported,” she says. “I am deeply committed to my community and to engaging with stakeholders in a way that will allow us both to realize the opportunities born out of this struggle with COVID-19 and use the lessons learned to improve education in Alameda.”
Jennifer Williams, Board Vice President/Liaison for Local Revenue Measures
Board Member Williams received her BA in 1990 in political science from the University of California, Riverside, and her juris doctorate in 1993 from McGeorge School of Law. She currently serves as an administrative law judge for the San Francisco Human Services Agency.
From 1999 to 2012, she was a Deputy City Attorney for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. She initially served as trial counsel for the San Francisco Human Services Agency, and then became General Counsel to the Agency and served in that capacity for more than 10 years. She also handled all appeals and writs generated from the City Attorney’s juvenile dependency unit. As General Counsel, Ms. Williams provided legal advice regarding the administration of the dependency division, all public assistance programs, including General Assistance, CalWORKS, and Food Stamps, and the San Francisco Adult Protective Services division. She also worked with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on legislation impacting the populations served under these programs.
Ms. Williams began her career in 1994 when she started handling dependency cases in the Riverside County Counsel’s office at both the trial and appellate levels. She then worked for the Administrative Office of the Courts under a federal grant to improve statewide compliance with Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. There, she spent time in multiple California counties, working with social services agencies, probation departments, and juvenile courts, improving compliance with federal requirements in juvenile matters.
Ms. Williams has argued before the California Supreme Court and on numerous occasions before California Courts of Appeal, and has provided training statewide for agency attorneys and staff handling juvenile dependency matters and public assistance programs. She continues to consult on dependency writs and appeals.
For over a decade, she has been a contributing author to Seiser and Kumli on California Juvenile Courts, Practice and Procedure. In 2016, she was elected to a four-year term serving as a Trustee on the Alameda Unified School District Board of Education, and in 2020, she was re-elected to another four-year term.
Gary K. Lym, Clerk
A native Alamedan, Gary Lym attended Otis Elementary, Lincoln Middle, Alameda and Encinal High Schools and attributes his commitment to public education to his experience in AUSD schools.
He first began attending Board of Education meetings as Lincoln Middle School student as a result of a civic assignment for social studies. “My attendance at these meetings allowed me to understand the important role the school board played in shaping policy for the district,” he says, and also the importance of public service.
Mr. Lym received his undergraduate degree in Accounting and Finance from the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley and his MBA from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. He has worked as an accountant, a professor of accounting, a Director of Finance, and a Controller for several companies.
As a parent, Mr. Lym has served as a room parent, math tutor, lunch supervisor, PTA board member, and member of School Site Council, Principal Selection, and English Language Advisory Committees. He also co-founded a local basketball and volleyball club that provides year-round sports opportunities for more than 300 Bay Area youths and has served as a Board Member and President of his local homeowners’ associations.
In 2022 he was elected to his third term as a Board Member.
Board Member Ryan LaLonde received a BFA in Design from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design. There he focused on culturally responsive design, branding, and intergroup dialogue practices.
Mr. LaLonde currently works as the Director of Communications for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. The DA’s office provides a voice for victims of crime and protects the community through zealous, ethical, and effective investigations and prosecutions.
Previously, Mr. LaLonde worked as a creative director for various companies, building digital branding systems for clients like Proctor & Gamble, Blue Bunny Ice Cream, Heinz, Grip Rite, Ecotools, and Home Run Pizza. For more than a decade, he also worked in governmental affairs and public relations/communications, focusing on designing and crafting brands and communications around children’s mental health, women’s reproductive health, HIV/AIDS prevention, climate change, and family farming. LaLonde’s experience also included work for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on educational efforts, the Campaign for High School Equity, and StudentsFirst.
“Through my work in building brands, I have learned how important it is for an institution to uphold the values it projects in its products,” Mr. LaLonde says. “That same thought process can be applied to our education system – what we say we will deliver needs to be seen in our students’ results.”
Before joining the Board, Mr. LaLonde also served in various volunteer capacities for AUSD. He was a member of Edison Elementary’s Social Emotional Learning and Anti-Bias/Anti-Bullying/Equity Committee and AUSD’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, for instance. In addition, he was appointed to the Measure I Oversight Committee and chaired both the Measure B campaign and AUSD’s LGBTQ Round Table. Mr. LaLonde also served two years on the Edison Elementary School Site Council and held leadership roles in AUSD’s PTAs for six years.