CDS Board of Trustees
The CDS Board of Trustees (‘the Board’), in partnership with the Head of School, serves as the school's governing body.
The Board is composed of current and alumni parents, community members and professional experts who support the mission of the school. In contrast to many independent school Boards, CDS strives to reflect the socioeconomic diversity of the school community.
The Board’s Committee on Trustees (‘CoT’) manages the Trustee recruitment process.
Questions or comments? Please get in touch with the Committee on Trustees at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jeanette Perez, Co-Chair
- Vivien Zraick, Co-Chair
- Jen Hamilton, Vice Chair
- Angela Alvarado, Treasurer
- Meghna Subramanian, Secretary
- Mylene Acosta-Mercado
- DeAndre Calhoun
- Joe Connolly
- Stephanie Holland
- Patricia Kao
- Nicolas King
- Kami Kinkaid
- Brian Kreischer
- Carolyn Laub
- Liza Ramrayka
- Carl Schneebeck
- Michelle Schoen
- Laura Sims
- David Strandberg
- Tina Syer
- Brad Terrell
- Rishi Varma
- Shelly Luke Wille
- Lindsay Woollerson
- Tracy Kirkham, Counsel Emeritus
CDS Trustees serve in a voluntary capacity and come from a wide range of backgrounds, including communications, education, facilities, finance, law, and management.
Trustees serve a minimum three-year term and are encouraged to serve two terms, subject to approval by the Board.
The Board does not make any decisions about the school's daily operations such as admissions, curriculum or personnel. Instead, it thinks strategically to ensure that those operations are in line with the CDS mission, vision, and values. In conducting its business, the Board acts as a whole, rather than reflecting the opinions of individual trustees.
In line with the factors critical to any independent school, the Board’s main areas of focus are:
- To select, evaluate and support the Head of School, to whom it delegates authority to manage the school.
- To develop broad institutional policies that guide the Head in running the school.
- To be accountable for the financial well-being of the school.
See here for more information about the responsibilities of independent school boards from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
The Board’s Committee on Trustees (CoT) is responsible for identifying and evaluating Trustee candidates against a set of recruitment criteria that includes skills, perspective, and diversity of experience. The Head of School and senior admin members sit on CoT to ensure family members throughout the community are considered, as well as people external to CDS such as local community partners.
Trustees often join the Board after involvement as a class liaison, event helper, admissions volunteer, or other meaningful contact with the school. Some have attended committee meetings and have a desire to become more involved with Board work.
In general, the Board looks for Trustees who:
- are aligned to the school’s mission and values
- reflect the diversity of the CDS community as expressed in our Diversity Mission Statement
- have discretionary time to attend monthly Board meetings and actively participate in committee/task force work
- can fulfill Trustee duties including a minimum three-year commitment.
Depending on its current and future work, the Board may also look for a specific skill set or experience. For example:
- Community engagement
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work
- Facilities e.g. architecture, construction, engineering, real estate
- Local government
- Strategic planning
September - November:
- Assess Board needs and analyze Board skills, experience, and diversity.
- Invite recommendations from Board members and school leadership.
- Review pipeline database of potential Trustees.
- Identify a long list of potential Trustees.
- Invite school leadership and Board feedback on the long list.
January - March:
- Outreach and recruitment conversations.
- Present slate to Board for vote.
- New Trustee orientation and onboarding.
"Differences Lift Us" is a core CDS belief, recognizing that our community is woven together with families from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds, nationalities, cultures, races, faiths, sexual orientations, and gender identities.
The Board aspires to reflect this diversity and recognizes that differences make us stronger.
At present, the Board is composed of current parents, alumni parents, community members, and professional experts who support the mission of the school. We continue to explore ways of increasing the diversity of our Board, through expanding our networks and learning from good practice in Trustee recruitment.
To support incoming Trustees, including those new to board work, we have a robust orientation program and a Board Buddy program.
The full Board meets once a month during term time. (Our State of the School meeting in early Spring is open to all.) The Senior Administration and PTTA Co-Presidents are invited to attend all meetings. Committees and ad hoc task forces set their own meeting cadence but typically meet monthly when active.
Trustees are also encouraged to attend CDS events and professional development opportunities. Each year, the Board partners with the administration to host the ‘State of the School’ evening, which provides a snapshot for the CDS community of how the school and its governing body are performing.
We recognize that the opportunities and challenges for our school are constantly evolving. As such, the Board strives to promote a culture of professional development around governance and encourage Trustees to engage in opportunities to broaden their expertise.
Anti-racist education is a key part of professional development across the whole school. The Board recognizes and mirrors this commitment. All trustees are encouraged to sit on the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Committee for at least one year. Board members are also actively encouraged to take part in external anti-racist training and share learning with their fellow trustees.
Trustees typically attend conferences including: