CCA Foundation celebrates its staff

CCAF board members
CCAF board members congratulate Joanne Couvrette and Gina Mahmood. (L-R) Julie Bronstein, Nancy Coker, Joanne Couvrette, Gina Mahmood, Jane Lea Smith.
(Miriam Bogan


The Canyon Crest Academy Foundation took time out recently to recognize Joanne Couvrette, executive director, and Gina Mahmood, finance manager, for their 10 years of dedication and support to the students of CCA.

Attendees included: Principal Brett Killeen; Assistant Principals Garry Thornton and Brianna Castellanos; CCA classified staff; current CCAF board members Julie Bronstein, Kimberly McSherry, Jane Lea Smith, and Mariah Sharkey-Brumund; past CCAF board members Michele Fortin, Janette Shelton, Amanda Chin, and Marie Vaughn; and CCAF staff, who were all on hand to surprise and congratulate Couvrette and Mahmood for their successful 10 years and wish them 10 more.

Former board member Susan Jentzsch sent her best wishes, “What a privilege it was to work alongside Joanne and Gina. Truly the creative genius and masterful organizer that allowed the foundation to raise extraordinary amounts of money to benefit the CCA students everyday. Here’s to another 10 years of huge success for CCA, Joanne and Gina.”

The Canyon Crest Academy Foundation was established in 2004, the same year that Canyon Crest Academy (CCA) opened its doors to 364 freshman students in portable buildings in a parking lot. Since then, the Foundation has been working to raise funds, mostly through parent contributions, to support the extraordinary range of programs and exceptional quality of education that have become the hallmarks of CCA. Every student at CCA benefits in some way from the generous donations made by CCA families and the community to the Foundation.

Although the Foundation was formed in 2004, the board’s decision to recruit Joanne Couvrette was a turning point for the Foundation. Couvrette recalls, “As the very first executive director of the Canyon Crest Academy Foundation, I was given the opportunity to create an effective nonprofit from the ground up, including collaborating on policies and procedures, a new mission statement, and a new vision for creative special events and general fund campaigns. The result has been to triple annual revenue over the past 10 years.”

Couvrette has a 20-year career as a nonprofit executive. She started her career in management at a Fortune 100 company and was the chief executive of a successful small business prior to entering the nonprofit world. Her daughter is a 2015 CCA graduate.

Mahmood, hired with Couvrette, is a former CPA with a BS in accounting from Florida State University. Mahmood was a CCAF board member prior to her position as finance manager and has a daughter who graduated from CCA in 2014. In addition to preparing the monthly financial statements in line with nonprofit best practices, Mahmood assists an outside CPA firm in completing the annual audited financial statements.

The Canyon Crest Academy Foundation team gets it done, which was never proven more than during the 2020-21 school year when fundraising had to be totally re-imagined. In 2020, Giving Tuesday donations to the Foundation funded a new state-of-the-art live stream TV studio for CCA. The live stream studio was used to film and stream CCAF’s first hybrid event - a 2021 gala. The number of “Dollar a Day” donors during the pandemic school year was 297, which was 121% of the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

The total number of donors in 2020 was 1,243 - while the average number of donors per year is 1,141.

The Foundation staff also includes Nancy Coker, director of events. Coker is also a Foundation board member (since 2014) and has been a volunteer at CCA since 2010. Her son graduated from CCA in 2015, and her daughter in 2018.

Miriam Bogan, marketing and media professional, has been with the Foundation for three years and has a daughter who graduated in 2015. Bookkeeper/Administrative Assistant Lorenda Ballard joined the staff over seven years ago when both her kids were athletes at CCA. Visit for more information. — CCA Foundation news release