Advisory Board

Lisa Rijhwani is Chair of the Advisory Board, and Program Supervisor at NOVA in Sunnyvale. Lisa has been a Program Supervisor at NOVA for over 10 years. NOVA is a federally funded employment and training agency that provides customer-focused workforce development services. Lisa has served on the High Tech Advisory Board for over 9 years, with the goal to assist the High Tech Academy to develop and maintain training programs that are relevant to the job seeker and business community.
Hemant Gaidhani is Senior Manager of Technical Marketing at VMWare in Palo Alto. Hemant has over 17 years’ experience in software design & programming, quality assurance, performance benchmarking and technical marketing for multi-tier application and system software. His work experience includes both Fortune 500 companies as well as Silicon Valley startups, such as Unisys, Informix, Commerce One, EMC and VMware. He received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Engineering from B.I.T.S., Pilani, India, and an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University. He has presented at several industry conferences and is the author of numerous publications. He has been teaching at the SCAE’s High tech Academy for many years.
Raimonds Turaids is IT Director at Cadence Design Systems in San Jose. Raimonds started his career with computers in the early 1980s by playing video games. While attending UCSB, he worked at the Instructional Computing lab help desk helping resolve minor computer issues on campus. Off campus, he volunteered in a shelter as a teacher, helping people pick up computer skills to help them in job search. After graduating with a degree in Biological Sciences, Raimonds started working at a San Mateo computer accessories firm as a software quality assurance engineer. During this time, Raimonds began moonlighting at SCAE as a teacher for the school's Networking Fundamentals program. After two years of teaching networking, Raimonds was involved in starting the Windows Server class, which he presently teaches along with GNU/Linux. Raimonds has since moved from Quality Assurance to Infomration Technology. He presently works as an IT director for a San Jose-based electronic design automation firm.
Deepak Vyas is President and CEO of Mastermind Educational Systems, Inc., in Santa Clara. He has over 15 years of IT experience and has formed many hardware and networking programs for the High Tech Academy over the years. He was recognized by the California Legislative Assembly (Council for Adult Education) for Excellence in Collaboration, and by NOVA as an Outstanding Community Partner. His areas of expertise include UNIX Systems, Network and Security administration.
Boris Levit has been a member of High Tech Advisory Board since it's inception in 1998. He brings to the Board an extensive network and many years of experience in Semiconductor and Automation industries. Recently, Mr. Levit served as Vice President of Technology and Strategic Development at Amcor/Anam. He also held executive management positions at companies such as National Semiconductor, Bechtel and others. Boris started his career as a tenure professor of Physics and a researcher at a Maritime University. He holds PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics.
Rosa Levit served as the first Program Manager of the High Tech Academy within Santa Clara Unified School district, prior to joining the board. Due to her tireless effort in founding the academy, developing its extensive curriculum, and establishing the Advisory Board, the program received some of the highest awards and recognition within California and nation-wide. Mrs. Levit has many years of experience in adult education. She holds BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering.
Sonia M. Martin is Project Director for the Career Technical Education grant at Ohlone College in Fremont. Sonia has been in Secondary Education since 1967. She has taught English, Social Science, Chorus and Technology, as well as Report Writing at the community college level.. Though retired from her day job, she still teaches Cisco Networking in the Santa Clara Adult Education High Tech Academy. She is also a substitute teacher in SCUSD. Currently, she is the Project Director for the Ohlone Career Technical Education grant (SB70 – now in its fourth round of funding) which supports career technical education in Santa Clara Unified, Fremont Unified and other districts within Ohlone College’s purview. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books, fishing, hunting and traveling with her husband in their motorhome.
Rochelle Kelly is Director of Educational Operations at the Santa Clara Unified School District. Rochelle began working at Adult Education in September of 1984 as a teacher in the high school diploma program. She became Program Manager of that program in 1990 then Assistant Principal of the school in 1996. In 2006 she became Principal of the Adult School, then Director of Educational Options in 2009. Educational Options is the umbrella for Adult Education, Family Child Education and Wilson Alternative High School in the Santa Clara Unified School District. Rochelle received her Bachelor’s degree and teaching credential from Santa Clara University. She went on to earn her Administrative Credential and Masters in Education from San Jose State University in 2000.
Kathy Martarano shares the responsibility of Director of Educational Options with Rochelle Kelly. Kathy has worked for Educational Options for 30 years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and now director. In adult education, she is currently focusing on a new mission of workforce development: Citizenship/English as a Second Language, Basic Academic Skills, High School Diploma/GED, Career Technical Education and transition to the workforce and/or post-secondary education. What Kathy enjoys most about her job is creating programs to serve the community and being able to work with a diversity of people.
Harichan Ramachandra is an Engineering Manager at Linkedin Inc in Mountain View. Hari has over 14 years’ experience in software design & programming, quality assurance, performance engineering and technical leadership in both Fortune 500 companies as well as Silicon Valley startups, such as IBM, Cisco Systems, Tibco, Yahoo and Linkedin. He has been associated with High Tech Academy since 2004 and was instrumental in forming courses on Java programming, Web development and Whitebox testing.
Ludmila Ponomarenko is Program Supervisor of the High Tech Academy at Santa Clara Adult Education. Ludmila has over 20 years’ experience in software programming and quality assurance. Her combination of administrative skills and experience in the high-tech industry helps to run the program that constantly adapts to rapidly changing industry needs.
Christine Berdiansky is Program Supervisor of Career and Technical Education at Santa Clara Adult Education. Christine has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and an Administrative Credential, and has spent her career in adult education. She has been a supervisor at Santa Clara Adult Education for seventeen years, working in many of the programs offered by the school, and has served in elected position in the California Council on Adult Education. She currently works in Career and Technical Education (CTE).

Teaching Staff

Vladimir Gorlovetsky received his MS degree in Electronic Engineering from Taganrog Technical University in Russia. He has 30 years extensive practical experience in project and program management, systems engineering, production, quality, integration and testing of various products ranging from large complex systems to handheld computers. He has worked for various Silicon Valley companies for many years, specializing in software quality.
Michael Bezman graduated from UCLA with Master Degree in Applied Mathematics in 1995 and has been working in the Silicon Valley since 1997. He is currently employed at a EDA software/design company. His areas of expertise are:
  • Scripting programming using Perl for prototyping and data analysis
  • Efficient Data-structures analysis and development
  • File format processing and Computational Geometry using C++
  • Carrie Huang conducts trainings in Windows Server 2008 Courses. She has taught in University, Community College, Adult School and Private Companies. She held different positions in various high-tech companies including International Business Machines, Seagate Technology and Conner Peripherals. Connie obtained a Ph. D. and MS in Physics, and a MS in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University, as well as a BS in Physics from Nankai University in China.
    Alex Gantvarg received his BS degree in Computer Science from State Technical University, St. Petersburg, Russia. He has many years of experience in system analysis, computer application development, and database design specializing in Java and .Net technologies. He is currently employed as a Senior Software Engineer at Experian. He has been teaching at SCAE since 2002.
    Bhava Avula received his MS degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has more than 10 years of experience in software testing and test automation. He is a QA Manager at Apple Computers in Cupertino, CA. He extensively uses Python at work and has been teaching it at the High Tech Academy for many years.
    Mrudula Gaidhani's bio will be posted shortly.
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