About Us

Central Valley Holocaust Educators’ Network is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation established in 2009.  We are dedicated to supporting teachers in effectively implementing a Holocaust and genocide curriculum with workshops, follow-up training, ongoing support, consulting and resources.

Board of Directors

Liz Igra, President


 Liz is a retired veteran educator for the Elk Grove Unified School District.  She helped create Sacramento’s Shalom School and has taught every grade level from preschool to graduate school.  Liz, together with her mother, survived Nazi persecution by escaping from a ghetto in Poland.  They walked from Poland across Czechoslovakia to Hungary where they hid until the end of the war.  Liz has shared her story with students and teachers hoping to promote understanding of the Holocaust and tolerance.



 Iris Bachman, Secretary

Iris has been a member of the Board of Mosaic Law Congregation for five years; Life Member of Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women; Financial secretary for Bureau of Jewish Education, Shalom Preschool and Shalom School; Active Board Member of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW); current Chairperson and Elected Director of the Arcade Creek Recreation and Park District.

Naomi Igra

Naomi is an attorney, the daughter of Liz Igra, and graduated from Shalom School.  As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, she is keenly aware of the need to pass Holocaust education from one generation to the next

Jackie Caplan

Jackie is a retired Director of K-12 Curriculum and Staff Development, Sacramento City Unified School District.

Andrea Karsh, Treasurer

Andrea is a retired Clinical Social Worker, Sutter Health, and a former member of Einstein Board of Directors.  She served on the first Board of Jewish Family Service.

Leah Ezray

A retired school teacher who taught grades K-8.  She is especially interested in Holocaust education for the earlier grades.

Elizabeth Steele

Elizabeth participated in the Fullbright-Hayes Seminar in Rwanda 2004: Culture, Ethnicity, National Reconciliation and Development in Post-Genocide Rwanda.  She is a middle school teacher in the Elk Grove Unified School District and has experience in teacher training.

Advisory Board

Tosha Tillotson, Director of Education


Tosha has been a Holocaust Educator since 1999, a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Fellow and a Vladka Meed Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Program Participant.  Tosha was one of only ten American educators chosen to participate in the Holocaust Teachers’ Summit and Study Tour in Poland.  The conference was organized by the Polish National Teachers’ Training Center in cooperation with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and took place in October, 2009.


Susan Hayward, Director of Communications


Susan has worked in advertising, media, and public relations since 1976.  She was the writer/producer for the 2005 “Music of the Holocaust Era” concert which helped raise money for previous Holocaust education workshops.  She is an internationally award-winning writer, producer, voice-over and on-camera talent.



 Iris Bachman

Jackie Caplan

Matt Clausen

Matt is an attorney who contributes his expertise in the law of non-profit organizations to CVHEN.

Leah Ezray

Mary Friedman

Mary has been a Holocaust educator for fifteen years and was a Participant in the Vladka Meed Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Program in 1995.  She has taught at Jesuit High School since 2001.

Naomi Igra

Andrea Karsh

Leslie Fried Kuperstein 

Leslie teaches 6th grade at Shalom School and has taught the Holocaust at 6th and 8th grade levels.  She created age appropriate approaches to the subject at elementary and  middle school levels and at Camp Tel-Yehudah.  Leslie often serves as a Holocaust education resource for local schools.

Elizabeth Steele

Carol Velarde

Carol is the secretary for JCRC and one of JCRC’s representatives to the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of CA (JPAC).  She is president of the Sacramento Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the ACLU Sacramento Chapter’s treasurer and chair of the Community and Legislative Affairs Committee.

Serenity Vontroba

Serenity is a Fellow of Facing History and Ourselves, a teacher, and has taught high school history since 2002.  She developed and has taught a “Holocaust, Genocide and Prejudice” course for Natomas Unified School District.

Jennifer Norton 


Since 1992, Jennifer Norton has taught World and AP European History, English and AP Art History at Argonaut High School in the Amador County Unified School District.  In 2006, she also developed a Holocaust and Genocide Studies elective for her school.  Jennifer is a Museum Teacher Fellow with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and since 2005, has been a museum educator with the Regional Education Corps.  In her outreach work for the USHMM she has conducted workshops across the Western Region.  In the summer of 2009, Jennifer and 15 other US educators were awarded a Fulbright-Hayes grant to Poland.  Jennifer is completing her Master’s degree in history at CSUS with an emphasis on the Holocaust.