Urban Discovery Academy

Skip to main content
Board of Trustees » Board Members

Board Members

MaeLin Levine - President
Dr. Edward Abeyta - Vice President
Esther LaPorta - Secretary
Paul Ryan - Treasurer
Ann Hart- General Board Member
Ron Miriello- General Board Member
Andrea Myers - General Board Member
*Term renewal occurs annually

Board Member Biographies

MaeLin Levine, AIGA Fellow - President
MaeLin Levine is a partner in the national award winning design firm, Visual Asylum, located in downtown San Diego. Ms. Levine has extensive experience in leading nonprofit organizations as well as professional experience in working with many nonprofits on fundraising efforts as a consultant. Ms. Levine currently serves as Education Chairwoman on the Board of Directors of AIGA San Diego. Ms. Levine’s professional experience also includes brand developed for educational resource materials such as National Geographic School Publishing, Pearson, McGraw Hill, La Jolla Country Day School, USD, and UCSD. Ms. Levine is an educator at Point Loma Nazarene University and San Diego City College, and a former participant in the CCDC’s Downtown Educational Task Force. Ms. Levine received her BFA degree in communications design from the University of Denver, and attended an Executive Development program at the Harvard School of Business. A passionate advocate for innovative education, Ms. Levine was the lead petitioner for Urban Discovery Academy’s charter petition with two children, one currently enrolled in UDA.
Edward L. Abeyta, Ph.D. - Vice President
Edward Abeyta is Director of K-16 Programs at UC San Diego (UCSD) Extension. Prior to joining UCSD Extension in 1995, he began his service at UCSD as a counselor for the Early Academic Outreach Program serving underrepresented students in San Diego high schools and later assumed the role of Registrar and Director of Academic Services at UC San Diego Extension. Dr. Abeyta has a B.A. from the University of New Mexico, a M.A. from the University of San Diego and his Ph.D. in Post Secondary Adult Education from Capella University. He has been recognized from UCSD and the UC Office of the President for his involvement in staff diversity and development initiatives. In 2008, he was selected to a two year term as the Staff Advisor to The Regents where he served on the UC Diversity Commission, Post-retirement Task Force, and The Regents UC Commission on the Future. Dr. Abeyta is also Trustee of the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, board member on the San Diego Workforce Partnership Workforce Advancement Committee and Youth Council, and founder of the Science, Technology, Engineering, +Arts, and Math STEM to STE[+a]M global network. 
Esther M. LaPorta - Secretary
Esther LaPorta is currently working as an independent fundraising consultant. Ms. LaPorta retired from the University of San Diego (“USD”) as Associate Vice President for University Relations where she held many other leadership and development positions during her 16 year tenure at USD. Prior to her work with USD, Ms. LaPorta served as Executive Director of the Palomar College Foundation and Director of Development for University of San Diego High School. Ms. LaPorta volunteers her time as President of the board and member of the Community Council for Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community and as a member of the Cabrillo-Diego Branch of the American Association of University Women, where she also once served as Branch President. Ms. LaPorta has also been involved in numerous other nonprofit organizations. Early in her career, Ms. LaPorta also taught speech and drama. Ms. LaPorta holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama and English from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Ms. LaPorta’s career and interests have been devoted to education, to nonprofit management and to resource development.
Paul Ryan - Treasurer
Paul Ryan is a seasoned executive who has experience leading a wide variety of business functions across multiple industries, with experience in both Europe, Asia Pacific, and the United States. He currently leads partner strategy and transformation activities for Hewlett Packard Enterprise Group. He lives in San Diego with his wife and daughter, enjoys biking, skiing, and cooking, and in 2008 he was involved in the creation of Urban Discovery Academy Charter School in downtown San Diego. Mr. Ryan also holds an Executive Degree in Business Administration and Accounting from Cambridge University, England.
Ann Hart - General Board Member
Ann Hart is a retired educator with over 40 years of experience working in public schools.She is currently a consultant for the California Division of AVID(Advancement Via Individual Determination), a not-for-profit organization, that serves schools across the United States, Canada, Australia, and Department of Defense (DOD)schools in Europe. Dr. Hart was formerly superintendent of both the Catawba County School District and the Chatham County School District in North Carolina. She taught in elementary, middle, and high school, worked as an administrator at the site and district level, and served as a state Math Coordinator in North Carolina. Dr. Hart attended public and DOD schools in California and South Carolina. She received her BA and MEd from Clemson University, EdS from East Carolina University and EdD from North Carolina State University.
Ron Miriello - General Board Member
Ron Miriello is an award-winning creative director, designer, brand strategist, sculptor, speaker, marketer, and communications leader. For more than 30 years, he has helped organizations connect with their customers and other constituents- by using creativity, strategy and design as a language, rather than a discipline. Throughout his career, Mr. Miriello has worked with such diverse brands as HP, Sony, Sprint, Nordstrom, Disneyland, and Adidas.Today, as director of MIRIELLO Brand Expression, he continues to use design and brand expertise to help organizations address their challenges, achieve their goals and improve their communities. As a key contributor to design thinking in San Diego, Ron is a founder of AIGA San Diego and an AIGA National Fellow, and he works with such initiatives as the San Diego Innovation Museum, Urban Discovery Academy, the San Diego Community Cycling Center, and San Diego Airport Art program. Mr. Miriello also has extensive experience helping commercial and residential developers transform built environments into vibrant places of activity. He operates both from the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego as well as the village of Radicondoli(Si) Italy, where he is developing an exhibit about handcrafted products in a world of mass production. He studied at Colorado State University and also in Italy Instituto La Poggerina.
Andrea N. Myers - General Board Member

Andrea Myers is shareholder with the firm Seltzer | Caplan | McMahon | Vitek . Her practice emphasizes complex business litigation, real property disputes, professional liability defense, and employment litigation. Ms. Myers received her B.A. in economics and government from Claremont McKenna College in 2003, and her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2008. While in law school, Ms. Myers received multiple honors in legal research and writing, and the award for excellence in oral advocacy. She was also the recipient of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Law of the American Democracy. Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Ms. Myers worked as an analyst for Mercer Consulting. Ms. Myers was a summer associate at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek in 2007.