Board Members

Gary Tomak
Gary Tomak - President
(760) 771-8753
Trustee Area 3
Mr. Tomak has served on the Desert Sands Unified School District Board of Education since 1999. He has written numerous in-depth articles on successful schools and proven academic programs which have been published both locally and nationally. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Syracuse University in New York with a major in Finance. In 1993, he received his MBA from Claremont University in California. Mr. Tomak is a veteran of the United States Air Force and has completed a twenty-five year career with the Federal Aviation Administration as an air traffic controller and supervisor at the Los Angeles Air Traffic Control Center. He also is a commercial pilot and has taught many years as an instrument flight instructor. Locally, Mr. Tomak serves as a volunteer with several organizations including the Friends of the La Quinta Library. He continues to be a member of Claremont University’s Peter F. Drucker School of Management alumni board. Nationally, he is associated with the Center for Education Reform which advocates high standards, accountability, school choice, and proven instructional programs.
First elected in November 1999.  Current term expires in December 2020.
Wendy Jonathan
Wendy Jonathan - Vice President/Clerk
(760) 771-8751
Trustee Area 1
Wendy Jonathan is a former school teacher with twenty-five years of experience as an elementary school teacher; her last eleven with the Desert Sands Unified School District. She retired in June 2012 from Ronald Reagan Elementary School. Mrs. Jonathan has her GATE credential as well as her International Baccalaureate credential. While teaching she served as the GATE Coordinator, Odyssey of the Mind Coach, Science Fair Coordinator, and Math Field Coordinator. She continues to volunteer her time as a judge at the district science fair and as an Ophelia Mentor at PDHS. In 2017, California School Boards Association appointed Wendy to serve as the Director for Imperial and Riverside County. Mrs. Jonathan attended the University of Southern California, where she met and married her husband, Sabby Jonathan. Together, they raised their two sons, both of whom received their education through DSUSD. Wendy is an active member in the community where she involved with number of organizations including the Palm Desert Rotary, Indio Women’s Club, California Women Lead, Alumni Council for Leadership Coachella Valley, Family YMCA of the Desert, and Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley. She also serves as a representative for the Riverside County Committee on School District Organization, member of the Oversight Board of the Successor Agency to the Palm Desert Redevelopment Agency, the Executive Committee for the Advancement Board for Cal State San Bernardino, Palm Desert Campus, and Board of Directors for Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce.
First elected in November 2012.  Current term expires in December 2020.
Michael Duran
Michael Duran - Board Member
(760) 771-8755

Trustee Area 5
Mr. Duran is an active educator who has worked for Desert Sands Unified at Indio High School and John Glenn Middle School, as a teacher, counselor, swim and water polo coach. While an employee, Mr. Duran was twice elected President of the Desert Sands Teachers Association. He was elected to his current position on the Desert Sands Board of Education in November of 2006. Mr. Duran is a graduate of the University of Southern California earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the Entrepreneurial School of Business and has a Master’s Degree from Azusa Pacific University, earning his Pupil Personnel Certificate in counseling. Mr. Duran has resided in La Quinta, California for 22 years. He has three daughters. All attend public schools in Desert Sands. Mr. Duran is currently employed as a counselor in the Palm Springs Unified School District. 
First elected in November 2006.  Current term expires in December 2018.

Donald B. Griffith
Donald B. Griffith - Board Member
(760) 771-8750
Trustee Area 2
Donald B. Griffith is a former school teacher with nine years middle school teaching experience. He taught mathematics at Palm Desert Middle School from 1989 to 1992. While teaching in Los Angeles County, Mr. Griffith taught Mathematics, Science, English, and Physical Education. Mr. Griffith has been an attorney since 1992 and in private practice since 1995. Mr. Griffith was on the Desert Bar Association Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2010 and was president of the Desert Bar Association from October 2008 to October 2009. Prior to being elected to the Desert Sands Unified School District Board, he served on the Washington Charter School Governing Board from 2000 to 2002. Mr. Griffith has participated as a coach in both the Palm Desert Youth Sports League and Palm Desert Youth Soccer League. He also volunteers his time as a regional and state judge for Odyssey of the Mind academic competitions. Mr. Griffith has a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University Fullerton and a Juris Doctor degree from California Southern Law School. He and wife, Donna, are residents of Indian Wells and their son attends college in Texas.
Appointed in June 2008 and first elected in November 2008.  Current term expires in December 2018.
Linda Porras
Linda Porras - Board Member
(760) 771-8752

Trustee Area 4
First elected in November 2016. Current term expires in December 2020.

Gabriella Barnes
Gabriella Barnes - Student Board Member, Horizon School
Erica Ferrara
Erica Ferrara - Student Board Member, Shadow Hills High School
Joseph Gonzalez
Joseph Gonzalez - Student Board Member, Indio High School
Samia Gonzalez
Samia Gonzalez - Student Board Member, Amistad High School
Santiago Magana
Santiago Magana - Student Board Member, La Quinta High School
Emily Polakov
Emily Polakov - Student Board Member, Palm Desert High School
Carsyn Zepeda
Carsyn Zepeda - Student Board Member, Summit High School