A Thank You for 'Spill the Tea'

The Foundation for Fresno Unified Schools hosted its first-ever ‘Spill the Tea’ panel. This event was a high tea that honored and recognized International Women’s Month, with proceeds going to support students. Guests had the opportunity to engage with a panel of students and women in leadership from a variety of industry sectors, including education, law enforcement, mental health services, agriculture, social equity, and restaurateurs. The theme celebrated “embracing and challenging educational traditions.” Fresno Unified wishes to extend its thanks to all those who participated. We look forward to more events in the future.

High tea in Fresno on March 7, 2024, in honor and recognition of International Women’s Month! Join participants from across the valley to engage with a panel of students and women in leadership from a wide variety of industry sectors, including education, agriculture, restaurants, and more! Have the opportunity to hear about what is on the horizon for The Foundation for Fresno Unified Schools and learn how you can become a founding member of the Women’s Affinity Group and Circle of Excellence!

Our Special Guest Panelists include:

Nikki Henry, Moderator

Nikki Henry is the Chief Communications Officer for Fresno Unified School District serving over 70,000 students and more than 10,000 employees. Nikki has led Fresno Unified’s strategic planning process, worked as a critical part of the bargaining team averting a teacher strike, and has worked diligently to build a proactive and strategic communications culture over one controlled by reactivity and crisis. Nikki’s goals are to humanize the district, or as she calls it “The Fresno Unified Family”, and to build students, families, and the community’s confidence and pride in Fresno Unified and the Fresno community. Nikki is a mom to her beautiful toddler girl, Betty Mae, wife to her firefighter husband, and a strong advocate for building authentic, supportive, and diverse leaders.

Mindy Casto, Deputy Chief, Fresno Police Department

Deputy Chief Mindy Casto has been with the Fresno Police Department since 1992 when she started her career as a police Explorer while in high school. She has served as a detective, neighborhood policing bike officer and a peer support companion officer at the rank of officer. Deputy Chief Casto sits on the board of directors for the Marjaree Mason Center, Fresno Police Chaplaincy and Fresno Police Officers’ Foundation. Upon promotion to Deputy Chief in 2022, Deputy Chief Casto was assigned to the Support Division, which includes Traffic, 911 Center, K9, Skywatch, SWAT, EOD, Student Resource Officers, Crisis Negotiators, Crime Scene Investigations and more. Deputy Chief Casto is fully committed to making Fresno one of the safest large cities in California and the Fresno Police Department the best department to work for in California.

Jennifer Davis, PsyD, Senior Psychologist, Supervisor

Dr. Jennifer Davis is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is a Senior Psychologist, Supervisor at one of the largest women’s correctional institutions in the world. There she serves as Clinical Director of a mental health program which is comprised of approximately 100 women who have been diagnosed with severe mental health issues that impair their ability to function. Prior to holding this position, she spent several years providing psychotherapy and assessment to chronically mentally ill women. Her clinical work focused on the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD and complex trauma. Dr. Davis teaches suicide prevention, interactive crisis management, and communication skills to a broad range of professionals.

Liset Garcia, Farmer and Operator, Sweet Girl Farms

Lifelong entrepreneur, Liset Garcia, began selling produce at just 8 months old in Los Angeles, where her parents operated from rundown pickup trucks. Eventually, they settled in Reedley, CA, establishing their farm. Liset now runs "Sweet Girl Farms," selling farm-fresh produce grown by her family. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Merced. Additionally, she completed Reedley College's Healthcare Interpreter Certificate program and pursues online courses in Human Biology as a hobby.

Robin McGehee, LGBTQ+ Liaison, City of Fresno

Robin McGehee was born in Jackson, Mississippi. She moved to Fresno in 1996, to pursue a Master’s in Communication at Fresno State. She is a full time professor at College of the Sequioas, and works for the City of Fresno as their newly appointed LGBTQ+ Liaison. After standing up for her family, around the debate of marriage equality, she co-organized the National Equality March, and the direct action non-violent civil disobedient organization, GetEQUAL, and was arrested 5 different times advocating for full equality for LGBTQ Americans. She has been invited to the White House by both the Obama and Biden Administrations for her civil rights work.Her proudest accomplishments are her 2 children, Sebastian and Jackson, and marrying her wife on the first day it was legally possible in 2015.

Lorraine Salazar, Owner of Sal's Mexican Restaurant

Lorraine Salazar, along with her brother Karl are third-generation partners of Sal’s Mexican Restaurants, founded in 1942 by their father, Sal. Despite intending to pursue law school after graduating from UCLA in 1982, Lorraine returned to manage the business after her father's passing, learning the ropes from a young age. Passionate about Mexican cuisine, Lorraine travels yearly to different regions of Mexico, learning from local chefs to bring authentic flavors to Sal’s menus and earning recognition, including Restaurateur of the Year. She is actively involved in various organizations, serving on the Foundation Board of Governors for California State University, Fresno, and was honored as one of the Top 10 Professional Women by the Marjoree Mason Center.

Lindsay Sanders, Superintendent, Fowler Unified School District

Lindsay Sanders has been deeply invested in the welfare of our youth as an educator for over twenty-six years. She has served a variety of educational roles that include being a coach, teacher, head counselor, site and district administrator, and now currently the superintendent of Fowler Unified School District. A core focus for all positions that she has held is creating positive inclusive learning environments for students, staff, and families. Some of her key leadership qualities include a deep understanding of organizational culture, school culture, distributive leadership, academic programs, and creative problem solving. Lindsay continues to advocate for all students so that they have access to an equitable and rigorous educational experience that develops lifelong learners who have a competitive and interconnected world view.

Thank you to our Sponsors: