JSAF Officers

Rachel Kaganoff Stern


In addition to serving as the President of the Junior State of America Foundation, Rachel Kaganoff Stern serves as a Director and a Member of the Executive Committee for the Alliance for College Ready Schools, LA’s largest Charter Management Organization. She serves on the Board of the Sanford Public Policy School at Duke University and she serves on the Steering Committee of the Women in Leadership Initiative at Princeton University.

She is the former Co-Chair of the Women’s Political Committee, a Los Angeles-based political action committee that raises money for Democratic women candidates for office. She was a long-time member of the Board of Planned Parenthood’s Advocacy Project, as well as on the board of the Planned Parenthood Volunteer Guild.

Rachel spent 15 years as an Associate Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica. She worked across a number of research areas including health care, civil justice, and national security policy. Her primary responsibilities were to design and implement case studies. Her final project at RAND was a two-year study evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the programs used to compensate losses resulting from the September 11 Terrorist Attacks (*Compensation for Losses from the 9/11 Attacks, *RAND 2004). Prior to working at RAND Rachel spent two years working as a researcher at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington, D.C. Rachel graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in Politics from Princeton University and has a master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University.

She is married to Eric. H. Stern (Berkeley ’87) and the mother of Henri and Jonah Stern (19 & 17). Rachel was a member of JSA from 1978 to 1982, serving on State Cabinet in a number of positions, and as Chapter President at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California. She attended Summer School at U.C. Davis in 1980, and attended the first Washington D.C. Summer School in 1981. She worked as a Resident Advisor for the Junior State at UC Davis, Stanford and Georgetown, and in 2014 she served as Interim Program Director for the Southern California region.

Both of her children have been avid participants in the Junior State. Her eldest son Henri Stern, served as the Angeles Region Mayor and the Director of Debate for Southern California Junior State. Henri attended JSA Summer School at Princeton, Stanford, Georgetown, and JSA’s Diplomat Program in Beijing, China. Henri is now a sophomore at Stanford University. Jonah Stern is very active in JSA as well, and has spent the last three years serving on the Southern California JSA Cabinet. He is Co-President of the Buckley School JSA Chapter.

Gabriel Stempinski

Vice President

Gabriel Stempinski is the Founder and CEO of New Leaf, an IT and Management Consulting firm which specializes in managing large enterprise IT projects and tactical alignment post M&A. He is additionally an authority on the Sharing Economy and the Co-Author of a leading book on the topic “It’s a Shareable Life”. He additionally invests in and advises startups in the Collaborative Consumption / Sharing Economy space. Prior to founding New Leaf, Gabriel served in the US Navy on board the USS Enterprise working in the Reactor Laboratories department.

Gabriel is an alumnus (Class of 99’) of the Claremont JSA chapter from Claremont California and re-engaged with the Junior State in 2012 as a volunteer teaching debate workshops at the Northern California Fall State. Shortly before being asked to join the board in 2015 he lead a group of JSA students in the design, building, and launch of JSA’s first ever mobile application for conferences. He is passionate about fostering a spirit of activism and volunteerism within the community.

Gabriel currently lives in Orange County with his wife and three children.

Shayna Mittler Van Hoften


Shayna (Mittler) van Hoften counsels primarily local governments on ethics and governance laws, public procurements and contracting, civil rights law compliance, administrative procedures, constitutional matters and more. A partner at the law firm Hanson Bridgett LLP in San Francisco, Shayna serves as General Counsel for the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and the five retirement boards for employees and retirees of the Sacramento Regional Transit District. She also sits as the primary deputy to the General Counsel of the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (Caltrain) and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.

Shayna credits JSA with providing the foundation upon which she has built her entire career advising public agencies and public officials, as well as private entities with government-related interests. Shayna enjoyed four active years in JSA including terms as Chapter President, Golden Gate Region Vice Mayor and Northern State Chief of Staff, as well as recognition as Northern State Statesperson of the Year in 1993. She attended and then worked at the JSA Summer Schools at Yale and Georgetown. Shayna earned her B.A. in Public Policy/Politics from Pomona College and then worked in political and policy communications in Washington D.C. before returning home to California to attend U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and Boalt Hall School of Law, where she earned an M.P.P. and J.D.

Lorrayne Ward


Lorrayne Ward is currently Executive Administrative Director at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. The Dell Medical School is the first new medical school to be created at a Tier One research university in the past 50 years, and Lorrayne was part of the founding team for the School. Her current role encompasses business and strategy for a Department covering 11 clinical specialties, and she has grown the team to over twenty faculty and staff. She has worked in healthcare and business internationally and domestically for over a decade. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School (MBA), Harvard Kennedy School (MPP) and Harvard College (BA). More importantly, in the late 1990s she was a JSA Chapter President (West Torrance High School), two-term Angeles Region Mayor, Southern State Statesperson of the Year, and a graduate of the Stanford and Georgetown Summer Schools.

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