Urban Discovery Schools

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
Nancy Scull - 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 Schools’ charter petition with two children, one currently enrolled in UDS.
Edward L. Abeyta, Ph.D. - Vice President
Edward Abeyta is Associate Dean and Director of Pre-College Programs at UC San Diego (UCSD) Extension. Prior to joining UCSD Extension in 1995, Edward 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. In 2010 he established the UCSD Extension Pre-college Programs & Outreach division where he currently serves as the Director.

Dr. Abeyta has a B.A. from the University of New Mexico, an M.A. from the University of San Diego, and his Ph.D. in Post-Secondary Adult Education from Capella University. Edward has been recognized by UCSD and the UC Office of the President for his involvement in staff diversity and development initiatives. In 2008 Edward was selected for a two-year term as the Staff Advisor to The Regents where has served on the UC Diversity Commission, Post-retirement Task Force, and The Regents UC Commission on the Future. In 2018, he was appointed to the UC Scout Advisory Board. Scout is one of the University of California's Student Academic Preparation and Educational Partnerships programs that develops and delivers UC A-G approved online classes and curriculum to students in California and around the globe.
Esther M. LaPorta - Secretary
Esther LaPorta is currently working as an independent fundraising consultant. Clients have included Helen Woodward Animal Center, Episcopal Community Services, La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, NSCAD University in Halifax. Ms. LaPorta retired from the University of San Diego (“USD”) as Associate Vice President for University Relations where she held multiple leadership and development positions during her 16-year tenure. Prior to her work with USD, Ms. LaPorta served as Executive Director of the Palomar College Foundation. Ms. LaPorta is a founding Board member of Urban Discovery Schools. In addition to her involvement with Urban Discovery Academy Schools, Ms. LaPorta volunteers her time as President of the Board for Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community and as a Docent in the Rare Book Room of the downtown San Diego Central Library. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama and English from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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 the 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, and community leader. For more than 30 years, he has helped organizations better connect with their audiences by using creativity, strategy, and design. Throughout his career, Mr. Miriello has worked with such diverse companies as HP, Sony, Sprint, Nordstrom, Disneyland, Qualcomm, and TaylorMade. Today, as director of MIRIELLO Brand Expression, he continues to use design and brand expertise to help organizations address their challenges and achieve their goals. As a key contributor to design thinking in San Diego, Mr. Miriello is a founder of AIGA San Diego and an AIGA National Fellow. He supports such initiatives as the San Diego Innovation Museum, Urban Discovery Academy, the San Diego Community Cycling Center, and the San Diego Italian Film Festivale. He has extensive experience using design to help commercial and residential buildings become vibrant places. He operates both from the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego and Siena Italy. He is an alumnus of Colorado State University and the Instituto La Poggerina, Florence Italy.
Nancy Scull - General Board Member
Coming Soon!