Board Of Directors

Christina L. Suter (Board Chair) is the founder and lead consultant of Ground Level Consulting and has over two decades of real-word experience as a serial small business owner and real estate investor. In her consulting practice, she works with small business owners and property owners to move beyond surviving to thriving, and she has supported numerous companies throughout Southern California and the western U.S. Christina holds a Bachelors Degree in Business, an Associates Degree in Teaching, and a Masters Degree in Psychology.

Marc Futterman (Secretary) has participated in numerous RIE® Board efforts including the Governance Committee; branding and website development; strategic plan; facility move; and developed a building program, design criteria, and preliminary concept design for a new RIE home. A Los Angeles native, Marc has a Bachelor of Science (Architecture) from USC and a Master of Philosophy in Urban Design and Regional Planning from Edinburgh University. After a successful career in real estate development, Marc is now an entrepreneur with a start-up company that provides web-based market analytics and business intelligence software to public libraries, public agencies, and companies nationally. Marc and his wife Mayee live in Encino, California with their eight year old son Jake, a “RIE® baby.” Marc loves coaching Jake’s baseball, soccer, and basketball teams and is learning how to be Jake’s golf caddy.
 Nadal, GailGail Nadal (President) has worked with young children for over 25 years and has a passion for 0-3 year olds. She works for the Yolo County Office of Education as the Director of Early Childhood Education, which serves children of poverty through the county’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs as well as State preschool, and has incorporated the Educaring Approach in all the sites. Gail serves as the Coordinator for the Local Planning Council and is a part-time instructor for the Center for Excellence in Child Development at UC Davis Extension; mentoring and coaching Family Child Care Providers serving children 0-3 years. She is part of the grassroots effort in the Sacramento area to offer RIE® Foundations™ training and workshops to the community. Gail holds a Master’s in Educational Leadership in Child Development from CSU Sacramento.

 Debbie Bergstrom is a Child Youth Program Administrator, WestEd PITC Graduate, PITC Infant/Toddler Specialist and ECE Consultant. For 30 years she has worked in full day care programs, and in supporting and training Family Child Care Providers. Debbie studied at the Pikler Institute in 2008. She is currently a global childcare center consultant based in Oak Harbor, Washington. 


Jennifer Doebler had her life change more than a decade ago with the birth of her first child and a friend’s gift of Your Self-Confident Baby.  Inspired by Magda Gerber’s wisdom and compassion, she attended Johanna Herwitz’s Parent-Infant Guidance™ classes in NYC with her two daughters.  Seeing the Educaring® Approach in action spurred her to want to learn everything she could about how to meet infants during this foundational time of life.  After a career in the corporate world and as an entrepreneur, she is now thrilled to follow her passion for supporting infants, parents and caregivers in their journeys.  In addition to being a RIE® Associate, she has completed Introductory and Advanced-Level Pikler Training with Anna Tardos & Agnes Szanto.  Jennifer facilitates parent and child classes in San Francisco’s East Bay and consults with parents and professionals.  Inspired by the Educaring® Approach, she seeks to ennoble the work of caring for babies and elevate the quality of care they receive. / 

Polly Elam studied and worked with Magda Gerber for 20 years and has been a member of the RIE® Board of Directors since 1986. She has served as President since 2011. Polly studied at the Pikler Institute in 1986, 2005, 2008 and 2012 and presented at the Pikler International Conference in 2007. She is a WestEd PITC Graduate and  has experience as a Regional Child Development Program Administrator and Community College Instructor. She was a contributing writer to Authentic Relationships In Group Care for Infants and Toddlers, RIE® Principles Into Practice. As an ECE Consultant, Polly has worked with a variety of infant/toddler programs and has conducted seminars and training in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and throughout the United States •

jim-franke-imageJim Franke is a retired entrepreneur and businessman who now spends his time raising his two boys and helping both private and not-for-profit organizations set, pursue and meet their goals. From an early age, Jim has been interested in early childhood development and education; and he has pursued this interest both professionally and personally by serving on the Boards of Directors of several non-profits as well as earlier in his career being a member of the non-profit practice at McKinsey & Co. Jim has a BA in Economics and Political Science from Duke University and an MBA from Stanford. Today, Jim is focused on helping RIE® expand to impact as many children, families, and childcare professionals as possible. He is also dedicated, together with his partner Steve Bialecki, to raising their two young boys with respect and understanding.
Giannini, MarcelaMarcela Giannini, RIE® Associate was introduced to RIE over 20 years ago, mentored by Magda Gerber and studied under her tutelage. She also served as Magda Gerber’s personal assistant. She has recently begun facilitating RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ Classes in Orange County, Los Angeles.

Ruth Anne Hammond, author of Respecting Babies: A New Look at Magda Gerber’s RIE® Approach (2009), is a RIE® Associate and Mentor, having studied under its founder, Magda Gerber, and was RIE® President from 2005 to 2011. She teaches at Pacific Oaks College and was Master Teacher in its Infant/Toddler-Parent Program for 17 years. She participates in a study group on affective neuroscience with Dr. Allan N. Schore of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. A former professional dancer, she continues to express her love of movement in her work with infants and toddlers.

imageJill Getto Lee is the mother of twin boys and is a RIE® Associate who specializes in multiples. She holds a Masters Degree from Pacific Oaks College in Human Development Specializing in Early Childhood, and a Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology from Central Michigan University. She currently teaches Parent-Infant Guidance™ classes at the Los Angeles RIE® Center and at BINI Birth Center in Sherman Oaks. She instructs the RIE® Before Baby™, and Nurturing Nanny™ courses at the Los Angeles RIE® Center and serves on the RIE®Board of Directors.  Jill recently joined a study group on affective neuroscience with Dr. Allan N. Schore of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.  She also is a registered consultant for the County of Los Angeles and serves as a community member on the Los Angeles unified School district integrated pest management team, fighting for the safety and health of all students, staff and the environment.
Ryan, DaveDave Ryan joined the board in 2001. He served as the board’s first Board Chair (2010 – 2019) and previously chaired the marketing and governance committees.  He continues as a member of the board and member of the governance committee.  Dave is committed to help the RIE(r) organization stay laser focused on its strategic growth vision & plan to grow access to the Educaring(r) Approach with integrity to the principles and financial sustainability as an organization . A 35-year veteran of the high tech industry at IBM and Intel, Dave has held executive roles focused on ramping new businesses globally across multiple industries.  He is currently General Manager of Intel’s Health & Life Sciences business unit.  After roles based in Munich and Beijing, he now lives in San Francisco Bay area with his wife Patricia Ryan (RIE® Associate & RIE® Mentor  at  Their “RIE® baby” daughter has left the nest and is a college sophomore. Dave earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University, an MBA from Pennsylvania State University and is currently a Wharton Fellow at University of Pennsylvania. Dave has recently been elected President of the Board of Governors of a veterans organization founded by his father, the Escort Carriers & Airmen Association (

Reena Hajat Carroll, MSW,  RIE®’s Chief Executive Officer.  As a non-profit executive for the past decade, Reena brings in-depth experience and knowledge about how to run mission centered non-profits that focus on the best ways to serve our community.   Reena holds a master’s degree in social work from Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work with an emphasis on social and economic development and an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Occidental College.  Prior to joining RIE®, Reena was the Executive Director of Diversity Awareness Partnership, based in St. Louis, Missouri.  In her ten years with the organization, she grew the small start-up non-profit to a robust and sought after diversity resource in the region.  Reena is the recipient of a host of awards including, Bank of America’s Local Hero Award, and the Brown School of Social Work’s Distinguished Alumni Award.  She and her husband, and two small kids are excited to have relocated to Southern California.

Honorary Lifetime Board Members

Ruth Money is a RIE® Foundations™ Mentor Teacher, and an Honorary Lifetime member of the Board of Directors. She worked as a psychologist (MA) before getting into preventive work in early childhood education. Ruth met Magda Gerber in 1985 and became her student and friend. Ruth founded the first RIE® Demonstration Infant-Toddler Care Center in 1988 which functioned for ten years. Ruth and three fellow RIE® Associates established a Sacramento hub offering RIE® Foundations™ training and workshops, a Parent-Infant Guidance™ class, consultation to infant/toddler programs in center care, and a home-based care program. Ruth lives in Carmichael, California.