Meet the Board
Board Member, Treasurer
Chris Basanese recently retired from a 40 year career working in the treasury departments of two Silicon Valley firms. During those years he was responsible for banking, insurance, investing, and corporate governance. A BA in Economics, received many years ago at UCSB, facilitated this career. Chris has been married for over 42 years to his wife Norma and together they have five children and soon to be six grandchildren. In addition to work and family, Chris is very active in his Church. Chris became aware of BalanceSCC following the marriage of his son Paul to Ashley Basanese. Chris first started assisting Ashley and BalanceSCC by volunteering his time to assist in some financial and budgetary planning. From this role Chris was honored to be asked to join the Board and looks forward to continuing to support the work of BalanceSCC.
After graduating from college, Lurena continued in school and received a master’s degree in school psychology. While serving as a school psychologist for Clovis Unified School District in Clovis, CA, she continued her studies graduating with a Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Special Education from California State University, Fresno in 2014. In the Fall of 2014, Lurena became the Director of Student Services for Soquel Union Elementary School District, where she served for five years. It was during this time that Lurena became closely associated with Balance SCC as they were the primary provider of support for SUESD’s students with special needs. Lurena is very excited to join the board of Balance SCC and looks forward to being a part of its future.
Board Member, Secretary
Bob George is the brother of our founder, and former Executive Director, Vicky George. Balance has played a large role in Bob’s life since its inception. Through the ups and downs, Bob has taken pride in watching Balance grow into the amazing and successful organization it is today. Based in the UK, Bob spent thirty five years in the Fire Department. The last twenty of these years were as Captain in a busy metropolitan area. Bob is currently semi-retired and is looking forward to taking a more active role in BalanceSCC. He is passionate about our cause and will strive to maintain Vicky’s values and principles.
Tye Ripma first connected with BalanceSCC as the Inclusion and Behavior Specialist for the Soquel Union Elementary School District where he helped design an inclusion program for students with behavioral differences. He became an associate trainer for BalanceSCC in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Schools in 2015. Mr. Ripma currently works as a Program Associate with the WestEd Center for Prevention & Early Intervention. In this role, he works primarily with state and local educational agencies to help them meet their special education fiscal reporting requirements. Mr. Ripma is a founding member of REENVISIONED, where he spends his personal time catalyzing conversations about the role school should play in individual and societal flourishing. He has a credential in Early Childhood Special Education, is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA), and holds a Master’s Degree in Education Policy and Leadership from Stanford University.
Annette Kanna Taylor
Annette Kanna Taylor is a retired educator with 26 years experience in teaching and administration. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism Public Relations, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and a Master's Degree in Education Administration. During her career, she served as a Middle School teacher, as an Assistant Principal, and as a Principal, at both the Elementary and Middle School levels. As an administrator, she was fortunate to manage multiple Special Education classes and programs, which gave her a passion for serving students with unique needs. While Principal at Main Street Elementary School in Soquel, Annette worked closely with BalanceSCC and realized first-hand the positive impact the organization has on schools, students, and families in Santa Cruz County. She is excited to join the board and support its mission to enrich the lives of people with unique needs.
Melinda Vahradian is a special education teacher with 39 years of experience in Santa Cruz County. She is currently the RSP teacher at Happy Valley Elementary School. She first connected with Balance SCC when she had several students at New Brighton Middle School who were receiving one-to-one support from Balance aides. She is honored and excited to be on the board.
Marc Yellin is a UCSC Slug (BA ’75, MA’77) and has lived in Mid-County with his family since 1987. Marc is a full time Emergency Medicine Physician at Dominican Hospital where he also serves as one of the Assistant ED Medical Directors. His interests and professional activities involve our local EMS system, Disaster Management and Mental Health and he serves on several local commissions and committees focused on those areas.
Marc and his family became involved with Balance in “the early days” when their son, Aaron was born some 20+ years ago. Aaron had multiple medical challenges and required significant assistance and support to allow him to grow, find joy, and comfort. Their family as a whole also needed support in order to meet the challenges faced, persevere and remain “whole”. “Vicky George and the Balance staff were on our speed dial, tolerated our frequent calls, supported and guided us in our never anticipated journey.” Some of the early strategy sessions for developing Kid Quest took place around the Yellin dining table. Balance SCC became an integral part of their lives.
In his local work with Mental Health and the Special Needs Communities, Marc is all too aware of the critical role served by an organization such as Balance SCC. The importance to the client and their families is unmeasurable.
“I am honored to be allowed the opportunity to serve on the Board of Balance SCC to help promote, solidify and expand its services and role in our community.”
Past Board Members
Shannon Crane, *Founding Member*
Vicky George, *Founding Member*
Mary Willis, *Founding Member*