Interim Head of School

Priscilla Sands

Dr. Priscilla Sands joined SDFAS as Interim Head of School on August 1st, 2023. Dr. Sands comes to us with nearly thirty years of experience as a Head of School, most recently as the Head of the prestigious Marlborough School in Los Angeles.

She is an incredibly experienced, compassionate, and respected school leader who will be leading SDFAS during this transition period until our new Head of School, Isabelle David, arrives. 

Head of School (2024)

Isabelle David

A visionary leader with an inquisitive mind, strong moral compass, and an unwavering dedication to SDFAS’ values of open-mindedness, intellectual curiosity, integrity, empathy, and resilience.

Isabelle David has a Bachelor of Arts from the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle and a Masters degree from Université d’Angers (both with honors). She is fully trilingual – French, English, and German – and has knowledge of Spanish, Italian, and Russian. She has lived in France and Austria. She comes from the French American School of Chicago (EFAC), a K-12 school where she has been the director for the past eleven years. Among her many achievements, she was awarded the rank of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (awarded by the Education Minister of France for services rendered to French Education and Culture).

She is also the President of the Association of French Schools in North America (AFSA), a role she has held since 2016, and has strong relationships with the Mission Laïque Francaise. 


San Diego French-American School is a 501©(3) non-profit corporation and an independent school governed by a Board of Trustees. The Board is comprised completely of volunteers who devote their time to oversight and support of the School and bring a variety of professional backgrounds and skills to the Board. The Board has officers, including a Chair of the Board, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer, and operates according to Bylaws. Significant parts of the Board work are done through its Committees.

The Board’s main responsibilities include:
  • To set the strategic direction of the School;
  • To select, oversee, and evaluate the Head of School;
  • To oversee the School’s financial health.
The Board does not manage the day-to-day operations of the School. The day-to-day operations of the School are managed by the Head of School, in conjunction with the administrative team. This includes all student, employee, academic, financial, facilities, and other operational matters. All operational matters should be addressed to the Head of School.

Aaron Brennan

Chair of the Board; Chair of the Head Support and Evaluation Committee

Aaron Brennan joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2021. He is a California native and has been in San Diego since 1990. His children have attended SDFAS since preschool starting in 2010. Aaron is a recently retired San Diego City Firefighter and a currently serving officer in the US Navy Reserve. He has a BS in Finance from San Diego State University and an MA in Public Leadership from the University of San Francisco.

Zac Cole

Vice-Chair; Chair of the Committee on Trustees/Governance

Zac joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2022. He has two children who started at SDFAS in PK-1 in 2017. Zac lived in San Diego most of his childhood, returning finally in 2017 primarily to join SDFAS. Zac began his career as an aerospace engineer in 1997 designing, building, and flight testing jet engines around the country and overseas, until co-founding an engineering and manufacturing consulting business in 2015

Fernanda Coelho

Second Vice-Chair

Fernanda Coelho joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2018. She is originally from Brazil and moved to the United States in 2003. Her children have attended the SDFAS since PK-0. Fernanda is a business executive with over 20 years of experience in strategy consulting, venture investing and operations. She is currently the President of Coelho Consulting LLC, a life-sciences advisory and consulting firm. Fernanda received her BS in Chemical Engineering from Escola de Engenharia Maua in Brazil and her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in California.

Emiline Cairncross

Secretary of the Board, Chair of the Strategic Initiatives Committee

Emiline Cairncross joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2019. Her son starts PK0 in 2021. She is half French, half Italian, and she grew up in the countryside outside of Lyon, France. She speaks English and French fluently. Emiline is an attorney, but is not currently practicing. She started her career at Jones Day as an executive compensation and employee benefits associate where she focused on corporate transactions for public and private companies. Emiline received her B.A. in psychology and French from UCLA and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Ann Amukele

Chair of the Development Committee

Mony Liquard

Chair of the Audit Committee

Mony Liquard joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2021. She was born in Cambodia, immigrated to America at the age ten, and is fluent in Cambodian, Chinese, French and English. Mony is a financial services executive with 20+ years of experience in New York. Her husband is French and their three children have all attended the French American School of New York prior to relocating to San Diego. Her family has been exposed to diverse private and public schools in New York, Melbourne, Australia, and San Diego. Mony received her Bachelor of Arts from Willamette University and her Master of International Affairs from Columbia University in New York.

Alexis Nahama


Alexis Nahama joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in January 2020. He is a proud global citizen – French by filiation (parents), born in Trinidad & Tobago, and childhood hopping around South America (Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico). He is married to Andrea (Brazilian from Rio) and has two children (Lucas and Camille) in 1st grade (twins). Portuguese, English, and French are the languages spoken at home. Tash, a Havanese dog, adds a flair of Cuban character to the family mix! Alexis is a veterinarian by training, with a vast experience in clinical drug development, business development, commercialization, and international operations. He currently holds a senior executive role in charge of the neuro-therapeutic (pain) business unit at Sorrento (Nasdaq: SRNE), a local San Diego biotechnology company. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Alexis has served on multiple non-profit boards, scientific councils, and industry trade organizations.

Jordan Gold

New Trustee, Chair of the Audit Committee

Paula Marra

Paula Marra joined the SDFAS Board of Trustees in 2023. Originally from Brazil, she came to the United States in 2008. She is Director of an Elementary School in Point Loma, and previously served as Director of Enrichment at SDFAS, which since then has held a place in her heart because of its people, its culture and the school’s vision. She has been an educator for over 25 years and has a broad range of experience as an educator, from teaching assistant to class teacher, grade-level coordinator, chief academic officer and director of enrichment. Outside the classroom she is an educational consultant for curriculum design, teacher training and teacher coaching in the USA and China. She founded the STEAM Special Interest Group at the European Collaborative of International Schools; has been a Design Thinking Coach with the Teachers’ Guild; co-led the 2016 Beating the Odds Summit at the White House; and has co-led workshops at the Stanford d.School, Harvard University Graduate Schools of Education and Design, NYSAIS and the Metropolitan Museum of New York.

Jane Snow

New Trustee

Sophie Lelievre

New Trustee