The Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District is governed by five unpaid board members elected into office by the community to serve staggered four year terms. Board meetings are held twice monthly, on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. (November and December meetings occur only on the second Thursday.) Each December, the Board elects one of its members to serve as Board President and one to serve as Board Vice President for the next calendar year. The President of the Board assigns each of the Board members to serve as Chairpersons for the various committees serving the Board.
Rachelle Sherris-Watt, President
Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Rachelle Sherris-Watt moved to California in 1994 to spend a wintry summer working at Kensington Nursery School. A love of cardigans coupled with Kensington's significance to her future husband marked the community as special. She returned to the University of Oregon where she graduated with a degree in English Literature and Theater in 1996.
After a short career in professional theater, she moved to Berkeley and worked to secure medical equipment and services for the disabled. After the birth of her oldest child she joined AT&T, specializing in building communication systems for small businesses. She moved to Kensington permanently in 2003.
She has been a vestry member of St. Clement's Episcopal Church specializing in children's services and youth education. For the last 12 years, she has been a Sunday School teacher, a member of the Outreach Committee and organizer of food drives to benefit people and pets.
Serving on the Board of PINCC (Preventing Cervical Cancer), she was able to combine her passions of healthcare access for all women with political advocacy.
She ran for the Board in 2014 out of a concern over an escalation in community rancor. She chaired the Park Building Committee from 2015, securing a grant from Measure WW and executing an RFP that resulted in a contract with Glass and Associates, Inc., for implementing seismic and ADA upgrades to the Community Center. She was elected Vice President of the Board for 2016 and President for 2017.
She and her husband have 5 children and a high tolerance for noise.
Eileen Nottoli, Vice-President
Ms. Nottoli has been a Kensington resident since 1990. She has a J.D. from the University of San Francisco as well as a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University and a B.Chemisty from the University of Minnesota. She has been in private practice as an environmental attorney for many years where she assisted companies in complying with a wide range of environmental laws. Prior to obtaining her law degree, she was a research chemist for Chevron Research Company and Chevron Chemical Company.
A volunteer with Guide Dogs for the Blind for many years, Eileen has fostered over 70 dogs in various stages of transition. She has also been an active volunteer with the California Section of the American Chemical Society. She has chaired the Section for two terms and has been active in helping to bring resources to K-12 science and high school chemistry teachers. She is responsible for the Section’s annual program to award $500 to an outstanding high school chemistry teacher as well as $500 to the school’s chemistry department.
She has participated in programs to enrich middle school students at Family Science Nights, girls at Expanding Your Horizons events, the public at Earth Day events held at the John Muir home, and more recently at Hilltop School. She is the coordinator of the Chemistry Olympiad for northern California and works with high school teachers to administer the local exam, coordinates the administration of the national exam, and prepares certificates and letters for all students taking the exam.
She has also made dozens of quilt tops and quilts for the East Bay Heritage Quilter’s Children’s Quilt Project which provides quilts for kids in need and to bring a little joy to them.
Len Welsh, Director
Len has lived in Kensington since 1996. He holds a J.D. from Hastings College of the Law, an MS. from U.C. Berkeley’s School of Public Health, and a B.A. from Rutgers University. For most of his career, he was counsel for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), serving also as Special Counsel, Deputy Chief for Health and Engineering Services, and finally Acting Chief and Chief of Cal/OSHA for his last eight years with the agency.
During those eight years, he successfully balanced budgets of over $100 million, including federal matching funds, and left the agency fiscally stronger than it had ever been, thanks to negotiating a new funding structure independent of the General Fund. During his final year of employment with the state he served as Acting Chief Counsel for the Department of Industrial Relations. During his tenure with the state, he testified at numerous legislative hearings on workplace safety and labor law, spearheaded the adoption of new safety and health legislation, and managed the adoption of a number of critical safety and health standards for Cal/OSHA, many of which were the first of their kind in the nation or the most protective of workers in the nation.
Currently, he holds the position of Consultant to the President for Workplace Safety at California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund, works as a litigation strategy consultant for labor-management partnerships, and volunteers substantial time to animal rescue, donating heavily to the Milo Foundation and Good Newz Pittie Pups Rescue. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Good Newz.
Len applied to fill a vacant seat on the KPPCSD Board in January, 2013, became President of the Board in December 2014, was officially elected to the Board in November 2015, and completed his third year as president at the end of 2016.
His accomplishments while on the Board include, among other things, negotiating final settlement of litigation with Bay View Refuse and Recycling that was initiated prior to his tenure on the board, reinstating a positive relationship between Kensington and Bay View, negotiating the new contract with Bay View that Kensington is currently party to, initiating an ad hoc committee to control vegetation on Kensington Park grounds to reduce fire hazards, raising the issue for study of the possibility of unifying the Kensington Policy Protection and Community Services District and the Kensington Fire Protection District, and directing the Chief of Police/General Manager to modernize the District’s Police Force weapons and officer safety policies.
Sylvia Hacaj, Director
Ms. Hacaj has lived in Kensington since 2008. She has served on the Boards of the Kensington Property Owners Association and Kensington Education Foundation.
In a career spanning twenty-five years, Ms. Hacaj has been leading advocacy efforts and developing strategic priorities for nonprofits, foundations and progressive businesses. She has also served on a variety of national and local boards.
Her career began in Washington, DC as a legislative analyst for the U.S. Congress where she helped establish the AmeriCorps national service program. She was later appointed Deputy Director of Government Relations for the Corporation for National and Community Service.
In subsequent senior management roles at a public affairs firm and international nonprofit Save the Children, she improved advocacy efforts of organizations dedicated to the environment, public health, consumer protection and education; secured funding for children’s literacy and health programs; and worked to establish the National Commission on Children and Disasters.
She continued to work for Save the Children after moving to the San Francisco Bay area and then joined the World Affairs Council of Northern CA as a Vice President, spending 4 years co-curating and producing its annual Global Philanthropy Forum.
In 2014, Ms. Hacaj established a consultancy and coaching practice assisting organizations and individuals to identify and leverage core strengths, sharpen leadership and other professional skills, and achieve enterprise or personal goals.
Ms. Hacaj has a BA from The American University and certificates from Indiana University and San Francisco State University.
Christopher Deppe, Director
Christopher Deppe is a software developer, entrepreneur, musician, and community volunteer. Originally from Sacramento, Christopher has lived in Kensington since 1996.
During the past 11 years, Christopher has worked at Microsoft and, more recently, at Apple. While at Microsoft, he led the development efforts to create the first version of Outlook for the Mac, overseeing teams in California and Beijing. At Apple, he worked on overall desktop system performance issues, coming up with innovative solutions to long-standing difficult problems. Currently, Christopher is a partner in a new venture that is developing apps for mobile devices designed to help musicians improve performance.
Earlier in his career, Christopher operated his own software company in Los Angeles, The Netherlands, and the Bay Area. His clients included Apple Computer, Dreamworks, SFMOMA, The Audubon Society, Sony Pictures, Hanna-Barbera, and Dutch Telecom.
Christopher has also studied classical music and worked professionally as a musician. He earned his BFA in Performance (Double Bass) from California Institute of the Arts. Specializing in the Early Music field, Christopher plays Baroque and Classical pieces on the original instruments of the time. He has performed and recorded with many of the top early music groups and artists in Europe and America, including John Eliot Gardiner, Frans Brüggen, Christopher Hogwood, Ton Koopman, The Hanover Band, Musica Antiqua Köln, Sigiswald Kuijken, and the American Bach Soloists.
Christopher’s participation in local Kensington issues initially focused on addressing traffic concerns to improve safety and quality of life. He has worked with local and county officials to resolve traffic problems, leading to better road marking and signage, getting Supervisor John Gioia’s help with Kensington traffic calming efforts, and new speed signs around Kensington. He recently sat on the Ad Hoc committee as a member of the consolidation sub-committee.
Christopher and his wife, Maria, can often be seen around Kensington walking their two Bernese Mountain dogs, Largo and Storm.