About the Board

Board of Directors:

Terri Childs


Terri Childs, a 14 year resident of Thousand Oaks, has actively supported public education through volunteer teaching, chairing PTA art programs and serving on several PTA boards. She’s spent the last six years serving on the Board of Directors for Bridges Charter School, including five years as Board President. After receiving her MBA from Southern Methodist University, Terri worked for more than 20 years in high technology marketing and corporate communications. She also graduated cum laude from Pomona College with a BA in Sociology. Terri and her husband Larry have two sons: Jeremy, a recent graduate of Occidental College and now a reporter for the Ventura County Star; and Jamie, a junior at the University of Redlands.

Michael R. Hillis, Ph.D.


Dr. Mike Hillis is currently the Dean of the Graduate School of Education at California Lutheran University, a position he assumed in 2015. As part of his academic career, Dr. Hillis has taught in Tennessee, Washington state, and as a Fulbright Scholar in Norway. Dr. Hillis’ writing and research interests include the moral assumptions of multicultural education, leadership and mimetic theory, and the development of community partnerships. Dr. Hillis has also been active in accreditation work through the years serving as a site visitor for NCATE, CAEP, and multiple state reviews. Most recently, he was elected to serve on California’s Committee on Accreditation.

Carrie Van Acker


Hello, my name is Carrie Van Acker and I have a son here at ROA who has just started high school. Our journey at ROA began when he was in 5th grade. For years Christian begged us to homeschool him, but we didn't see this in our horizon. Luckily, we fell upon River Oaks (after a year of research on many homeschool programs) and decided to give it a try. We are going on our 5th year and could not be more grateful for this independent study program. Our son is not just getting by but thriving.
I am applying for the parent school board position in order to continue the voice of all the ROA parents who love this program and would like ROA to continue to be a viable option for our children.
My background is a Child Clinical Psychologist who worked in community mental health. The last five years I have dedicated my time to my son’s education. As Christian grows in independence, and doesn’t need me as much, this allows me time to volunteer for the school board. I ask for your consideration in voting for me to fill this position.

Martha Mata


My name is Martha P. Mata and I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a little bit about myself. As a 67-
year-old Grandma, I have been blessed to have guardianship of Vincent, who is nine years old, and Charlotte, who is
eight years old. Homeschooling is a new and challenging area of learning for the three of us. My life has been filled with
many things and great opportunities to grow. My education includes an A.S. in Child Development and a B.A. in
Psychology and Speech and Hearing. I have been fortunate to work with people at different levels and ages.
As a long-time Executive Director of Educational Dimensions Incorporated, and later of Livneth Incorporated, the span of
work was inclusive. Responsibilities included management and organization of day-to-day business activities,
organizational policies, developing and directing strategy and giving direction, preparing budgets, revenue and
expenditure reports, and engaging with community groups.
I retired early and became involved in the community. Presently, I am a Board of Directors member of Child
Development Resources (CDR) of Ventura County, President of CDR Policy Council, Vice President of Oversee Committee
for Rio School District, Chairperson for Membership of Lions International Club, member of Retired Senior Volunteer
Program, and a Team Grandma for a soccer team.
As I have gotten older, I have learned so much and have grown by sharing and doing. I believe it is important to
participate and be actively involved in the community. River Oaks Academy is a wonderful venue for learning for us. It
has a great, team-oriented personnel that are always ready to work and help you. The Coaching Teacher is very
responsive and always attentive to detail and need. The various opportunities open for learning blocks is great. I want to
be an active member of River Oaks Academy by participating as a Board Member.


Benny Martinez


Benny Martinez is a life-long resident of Ventura County and has spent the majority of his career in public school finance. He recently retired from the Ventura County Schools Business Services Authority, serving as the Director of School Business Services. During his 10-year tenure, Benny successfully managed 6 charters schools in the County, including the finances of River Oaks Academy (ROA). Benny is an expert in non-classroom-based funding and understands the adversity facing charter schools today. Benny will bring his years of experience and his unique perspective to the board, ensuring that ROA will continue to be financially stable while fighting for the equity of all independent study students in the State of California, especially since most of his grandchildren are homeschoolers!

Recruiting for the Board of Directors

Thank you for your interest in River Oaks Academy.

If you are interested in applying to join the Board of River Oaks Academy please download the board application:

Download ROA Board Application

Fill it out and return it to:

River Oaks Academy Board of Directors

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