Escondido, CA
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A Step Beyond announces the appointment of six board members

A Step Beyond, a Creative Youth Development nonprofit in Escondido announced that it will be welcoming six new members to its board of directors.  These members are Bonnie Platt, Candise Holmlund, Jose Villarreal, Dan O’Connell, Leslie O’Connell, and Jonathan Fikse all from North County.

Bonnie Platt has served on the board of several nonprofit such as Horizon Christian Fellowship, Santa Fe Christian School, and the National Charity League among others. She has her BA in economics from Stanford University and her MBA in finance from UCLA.

Candise Holmlund is a Partner and Certified Financial Planner with Weatherly Asset Management. Candise is active in community, civic, and charitable organizations such as the Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, the RSF Foundation Women’s Fund, and The Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation Estates and Trusts Council.

Jose Villarreal is the current vice president, Academic, Innovation, and Personnel at Epiphany Prep Charter School in Escondido. He has held multiple positions as principal and vice principal in San Diego including Vista Magnet Middle School, and Rancho Buena Vista High School and has taught at California State University San Marcos. He holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from CSUSM/UCSD. 

Dan O’Connell currently serves as the vice president, AT-ES Operations and Continuous Improvement at Nordson Corporation. He is an alumni of Notre Dame and has experience in the fundraising and philanthropic arm of corporate social responsibility from his time working with Nordson.

 Leslie O’Connell is a former finance professional and has her business degree from Bucknell University. She is an accomplished ballet dancer having trained and performed with the New Jersey Ballet. She also facilitates a monthly book club for at-risk teens within the Juvenile Court and community schools. 

Jonathan Fikse is director of finance, Packaging Southwest Division, Liberty Diversified International. He has held numerous finance and operating roles in the packaging industry. Jonathan has a BA from Hope College, a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Michigan, and is a Certified Public Accountant.

  About A Step Beyond 

A Step Beyond is an after school Creative Youth Development program helping underserved youth break the cycle of poverty through offering dance training, academic support, and family services to over 180 students from Escondido and San Marcos. 

A Step Beyond is located at California Center for the Arts at 340 N. Escondido Blvd. in Escondido. Its office can be reached at 760-670-3250.  To learn more, including performance dates for our upcoming student concert, and further information, visit 

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