headshot of Ziem Neubert

Ziem Nguyen Neubert

Executive Director
Ziem joined Project Cornerstone in May 2015, after serving in the public school system for over 20 years as classroom teacher, Educational Services coordinator, assistant principal, and principal. Currently, Ziem collaborates with schools and partners to help them build Developmental Assets for their communities. She trains administrators, faculty, staff, parents, and community members in various workshops, including the “Take It Personally” series. Ziem holds a Master of Arts in Education (Administration and Supervision) from San Jose State University, a K-12 Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Music from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She is a graduate of the Silicon Valley Organization’s “Leadership San Jose 2017” class, a cohort of professionals who explore a range of sectors that together create a vibrant community, with the goal of expanding their own civic engagement. Ziem is a mother of two children and enjoys cooking, Pilates, learning, volunteering, and spending time with her family.

Debbi Headley

Middle School Coordinator
Debbi is thrilled to be a part of the Project Cornerstone team as the Middle School Services Coordinator. She is passionate about education and helping students and the caring adults in their lives thrive. Debbi has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Michigan and a secondary teaching credential. She also has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University and an administrative services credential. She taught high school math and science and was a high school administrator. She also currently mentors teacher candidates through the Stanford Teacher Education Program. Debbi and her husband have a full and joyful life with their four school-aged children. She loves volunteering at her children’s schools, including being actively involved in the Project Cornerstone ABC program as a reader and school lead.

Lori Maitski

ABC Program Coordinator, Preschool/Transitional Kindergarten Coordinator
Lori Maitski first became involved with Project Cornerstone as a parent facilitator for Taking Asset Building Personally (now known as Take It Personally) study groups in 2002, and joined our staff in 2004. She works with adult volunteers in the Asset Building Champions (ABC), Preschool/Transitional Kindergarten, and FUNvisor programs and is a facilitator for Take It Personally study groups. Lori’s prior experience includes teaching a bilingual kindergarten/first grade classroom and more than ten years of active volunteerism in her children’s schools. Lori enjoys helping other parents learn more about the asset approach to parenting, keeping track of her two adult children and spending time with her husband.
photo of staff member Sofia Montejo

Sofia Montejo

School Support Specialist
Sofía was born and raised in Mexico City where she started her career as an English as a Foreign Language teacher and teacher trainer for the prestigious institute The Anglo in Mexico. She worked with children, teenagers and adults, and quickly realized the impact of motivation in the learning process. She moved to Singapore where she taught Spanish and French at United World College. Here she worked with children and parents from all corners of the globe. Through working with a diverse yet tightly-knit community she saw the role of caring adults in youth success. After 11 years, she came to Silicon Valley as a mother of 2. She has been a volunteer for Project Cornerstone for over 6 years, and brings a passion and commitment to raising healthy and strong children who feel they belong wherever they are. She loves words, learning about different cultures, and spending time in nature with her husband and 2 boys.

Ladan Ralston

Youth Services Coordinator
Ladan has been a Project Cornerstone ABC volunteer at her children’s school for over 8 years. She has been active in her work with the community, local elementary school and middle schools for the last decade. Ladan drives Project Cornerstone’s Expect Respect Workshops in elementary and middle schools for students with the goal of creating a caring school environment for all. With a degree in Business Administration and Management, Ladan comes from a background of leading sales organizations in the Silicon Valley for over 15 years. In her free time, she loves cheering for her teenage kids in sports, school, and in life as well as time at the beach with them, her husband and dog.

Brenda Serna

Los Dichos Program Coordinator
Brenda manages the Los Dichos program and supports our ever-growing work in the Spanish-speaking community. She also facilitates Take It Personally parent groups and conducts presentations on Developmental Assets. Brenda has prior experience in the non-profit sector and working with the Latino population as an after school program coordinator for the Cesar Chavez Foundation. Brenda holds a Master's Degree in Social Work with certification in Spanish Language Counseling and Child Welfare and Attendance in addition to a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from San Jose State University. She is passionate about contributing to the well-being of youth and serving the Silicon Valley Communities.

Elizabeth Franco

Director of Development and Communications
Elizabeth helped to establish Project Cornerstone at her children's school, working with the ABC program, Expect Respect and the middle school book clubs program. She has a passion for building strong communities and worked for over a decade with at-risk children and families as both an educator and a social worker. She has worked in elementary schools in East Los Angeles and San Jose, where she first began partnering with Project Cornerstone. Elizabeth has a Master's degree in Social Work from San Jose State University and a Bachelor's degree in History from Loyola Marymount University. In her position with Project Cornerstone she works to secure continued funding for our programs and to maintain communications with our community.

Michelle Onishi

Director of Administration
Michelle joined Project Cornerstone after serving as the ABC lead volunteer at her children's elementary school for five years. With a degree in business administration and twelve years of experience in database management and customer support, her skills help keep Project Cornerstone's countywide programs running smoothly. In her free time, Michelle enjoys spending time with her family.