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Board of Trustees

Our trustees are volunteers who offer St. John’s sound judgment, professional expertise, practical skills, and donations.

As an independent school, St. John’s Parish Day School is governed by a Board of Trustees whose members serve the school on a voluntary basis.

Governance

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the following:
  • assuring the relevance and fulfillment of the school’s mission;
  • hiring, supporting, and evaluating the Headmaster;
  • securing the financial sustainability of the school.
 
Stewards & Cheerleaders. As stewards, Board members guard the school's human, physical, and financial resources. As cheerleaders, they embrace the school's mission, promote the school in the larger community, and support the school's development efforts.

Visionaries. Board members see the school's current reality with clarity, deeply understand its mission and potential, and think toward the future. They see the school as a whole (even as their vision is informed by their particular experience of the school) and understand it in a larger context. In a way, Board members are more focused on how the school could serve their grandchildren than on how it serves their own children today.

Active Planners. Board members create a strategic orientation or plan and use it as a living document to keep them focused on goals (and not personalities, passing crises, or minutiae).

Collaborators. Board members work extensively with one another, with committee members from across the school community, and especially with the Head of School, whom they hire, evaluate, and support. Authority is vested in the Board as a whole, and each Trustee must support the decisions of the Board and respect confidentiality.

Committees

Executive Committee – Consists of Board's officers, the church Rector, and the Head of School. Reviews all matters which it determines to be of strategic importance to the school that will come before the full Board. The Executive Committee also evaluates the Head of School.

Committee on Trustees – Determines and evaluates the composition of the Board and its leadership, takes responsibility for policy and by-laws, and leads the on-going effort to support the growth and development of the Board and its individual members.

Finance Committee– Develops and monitors the long-range financial plan and annual budget of the school and oversees the endowment, audit, and financial policies of the school.

Development Committee – Oversees all advancement activities of the school including fundraising, marketing, communications, and enrollment management.

Buildings & Grounds Committee – Oversees all aspects of the campus grounds and physical plant, including monitoring the cleaning service as a joint schoo/church committee.

The Board of Trustees pursues best practices and often refers to standards set by NAIS, the National Association of Independent Schools, which publishes these Principles of Good Practice for a school's Board of Trustees.


Board of Trustees
Kathy Carter
Board of Trustees, President
 
It is an honor to serve as President of the Board of Trustees for SJPDS. When asked to join the Board I was thrilled to give back to this wonderful school, which provided an enriching and wonderful education for my daughter. I have 19 years as an administrator for the public school system. Nine of those years were at Pre-K to 8th grade school, while also serving as the administrator liaison for the only Judy Center in Howard County serving children from birth to age 5. Before becoming an administrator, I taught special education for students in Pre-K to 5th grade in several schools in the county.

"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom"--Aristotle
Faculty Representative
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Priscilla (Denny) Donovan
Board of Trustees, Member
 
Denny Donovan is a lawyer who has practiced various areas of civil law since 1983, first for ten years in New York City and then in Maryland since 1994. She and her husband Dan presently have their own law firm in Baltimore, Donovan & Rainie, LLC, which represents individuals and corporations in litigation, arbitration, mediation, employment law, corporate law, and securities law. Denny and Dan are the parents of three young adults.

Denny has a long connection with St. John’s. She has been a parishioner of St. John’s Church since 1995, having first met the staff there when two of her children attended St. John’s Parish Day School pre-school from 1995 to 1997. Denny is an active volunteer in her community. She has served on the board of the Baltimore Wellesley Club since 2005, and is currently Co-President. Since 2010, Denny has served as chair of the publicity committee and also assisted with fundraising for Hope in the Harbor, an annual gala held in Baltimore to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Denny also served as President, Vice President, and After Prom Co-Chair for the Centennial High School PTSA from 2003 through 2010 and actively volunteered for the theater and music departments at Centennial High School.
 
 
Board of Trustees, Member
 
Professionally, I am the VP of North American Television for Sesame Workshop, the independent non profit organization which produces Sesame Street and so much more. My work focuses on getting Sesame Street in front of as many preschool children as possible so they can benefit from the rich curriculum and be ready for school when they begin formal learning -- especially disadvantaged children.

I have been a parishioner at St John's for 18 years. We have raised 2 daughters in the St. John's youth program. I have enjoyed being a Sunday school teacher, Discovery Weekend DGL and a youth leader from Breakfast club, Rite 13, J2A, YAC and currently SWAGG. I have participated in mission trips and the 2014 Pilgrimage to Ireland. 
 
Board of Trustees, Past President
 
St. John's has been an extended family for my family since the very beginning. My wife, Faith, and I married at St. John's 19 years ago. We have two children - Molly who is 10 and Sam who is 12. Both of them went to Early Childhood back in the day when we had to camp out overnight to make the admissions cut! I am the President of Gawthrop Builders, LLC, a licensed General Contractor based in Howard County. This marks my fourth year on the Board of Trustees. I served on the Architectural Committee during the school's expansion in the late 90s. I currently serve on the Buildings and Grounds Committee of St. John's Episcopal Church. I'm also a Youth Leader for Rite 13 our youth faith formation for children in 6th and 7th grades. I've served on the Outreach Committee as Rebuilding Together House Captain and Habitat House Captain as well as leading Senior High Youth Group work trips to New Mexico, Alabama, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Jamaica. I am "ALL IN" for St. John's - church and school. 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sue Grosso
Associate Head of School and Head of Early Childhood 
Board of Trustees, Member
 
Mrs. Grosso began her career at St. John's in 2002 as a teacher for our 3's program and has served as the Head of Early Childhood for two years. Mrs. Grosso has been a consistent partner partner in leadership at St. John's by working on multiple committees including Emergency Preparedness, Chapel, Head of School Search, the AIMS Steering Committee, and faculty member of the Board of Trustees. As the Associate Head of School, Mrs. Grosso will continue to lead our successful Early Childhood program in addition to supporting the management and growth of the school as a whole.

Mrs. Grosso attended Lafayette College where she earned her degree in Metallurgical Engineering. Mrs. Grosso has extensive experience working with children and developing programs for children. Mrs. Grosso developed and implemented the Early Childhood "Lunch and Learn" Program, offering enrichment activities in science, literature, and art. She has spent over 20 years as a volunteer and program director for Girl Scouts in the United States and South Korea. She has also been active in developing programs for various vacation bible schools, PTA's and leadership programs. She is a Board Member of the Howard County Youth Program and volunteers her time for many organizations including the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center, American Heart Association and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Mrs. Grosso resides in Ellicott City with her husband, niece and nephew and is the grandmother of a beautiful baby girl. Mrs. Grosso loves to go to the shore, traveling and spending time with her friends and family.
 
Board of Trustees, Member
 
I have been a resident of Ellicott City for ten years and Howard County for 17 years. I am a lawyer by training, and I work for TD Ameritrade as their Chief Privacy Officer and Associate General Counsel for Information Protection. My group handles legal questions regarding both handling of personal information, and protecting other information assets of the company , such as patents and confidential information. I also handle legal issues related to social media. I received my law degree from the George Washington University Law School and my undergraduate degree from Rice University. 
 
My family and I began coming to St. Johns about four years ago after searching widely for a church home that felt comfortable with the right combination of spiritual growth, opportunities for children’s education, and welcoming community. Since then we have become involved mostly through programs that involve the youth, but also participate in other programs.
 
John Hendon
Board of Trustees, Treasurer
 
Sandy Hornor
Board of Trustees, Sr. Warden, St. John's Episcopal Church 
 
Sandy has been a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Ellicott City since 1995. He and his wife, Cynthia, were married at St. John’s in 1996 and their three children were each baptized here and also attended the Parish Day School. Since 1995 Sandy has enthusiastically served St. John’s in a variety of different capacities. His service includes: Junior Warden, Investment Committee (chair), Buildings and Grounds (chair), Vestry Nominating Committee (chair), St. John's Parish Day School Board (trustee), member of the Vestry, Rector Calling Committee, Finance Committee and the Rector’s Strategic Visioning Task Force. Sandy enjoys contributing to St. John’s through these various roles and being an active participant in many of our ministries. Professionally, Sandy has worked in the financial services industry since 1987.
 
Brad Lieberman
Board of Trustees, Junior Warden
 
Brad has been a member of St John's since the early nineties. His wife Debbie is very active in the life of the church as well. Their children graduated the day school, were confirmed at St. John's, and were eager participants in the various youth programs. Brad started volunteering with the youth program prior to the church’s introduction of Journey to Adulthood. He has served on the Youth Leadership Committee which was instrumental in hiring two youth directors as well as once associate rector.

In the more recent years, Brad has served on the Vestry and as Junior Warden. As a Vestry member Brad served on the Buildings and Grounds and Stewardship Committees. The Junior Warden's role gave Brad the opportunity to help oversee the management of the grounds and the facilities of St John’s 13+ acre campus. Currently in the 3rd year of this role, some of Brad’s major accomplishments are the overseeing of capital projects with funds from the Capital Campaign, instituting the church and school green initiatives, and the successful hiring of a professional facilities manager. In addition, Brad oversaw the quick restoration of the campus after several major storm events plagued our area, and co chairs the biannual campus clean up that hosts over 70 participants. Brad serves as chair of Buildings and Grounds, is an active member of the Day School board, and serves on the Stewardship Committee. Professionally Brad is employed in the forest products industry.
 
Board of Trustees, Member
 
I am a second grade teacher at Laurel Woods Elementary, a public Howard County school. I have been teaching there for 5 years. I have also taught fourth and first grades. I have my bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education from Notre Dame of Maryland University. I recently received my master's degree in Educational Technology and Leadership from Loyola University.

I have experience working in a Title I school with students coming from very diverse backgrounds. I work with special education and ESOL (English learners) students on a regular basis. My professional interests include using different technologies with my students and writing instruction. I also participate in many extracurricular events at Laurel Woods such as the school play, reading tutoring, and family involvement nights.

I have been attending St. John's for my entire life. I attended the Parish Day School for 3 years. Currently, I am a leader in the Journey to Adulthood program. I have been working with the youth for 7 years.
 
Mary Kathryn Martinez (Katie)
Board of Trustees, Member 
 
Katie is pleased to be a member of the Board of Trustees. She is the mother of a St. John’s graduate (2014), a past Parent’s Association treasurer and a current member of St. John’s Church. She has been fortunate to be part of numerous efforts within the church to include the 2013 mission trip to India and helping to coordinate the 2014 International Gala that raised needed funds for India, Kenya and Haiti. Katie also served on the strategic planning committee and the capital campaign.

Katie is a Lead Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton; working on healthcare management projects. She holds a BA from Franklin and Marshall College, an MBA from American University and a Business of Medicine Certificate from John’s Hopkins University. During her professional tenure, she has also worked as a social worker with Catholic Charities, served as a director of a national healthcare non-profit and held administrative roles within local healthcare / hospital systems.

In her spare time, Katie and her husband, Greg, love to watch their daughter’s travel softball games. She is also an avid reader and participates in multiple book clubs throughout Howard County.
 
Board of Trustees, Parents' Association President
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Rev. Jenni Ovenstone Smith
Associate Rector, St. John's Episcopal Church
Chaplain, St. John's Parish Day School
 
The Reverend Jenni Ovenstone Smith has been employed at St. John’s Church and Parish Day School since October 2008. As chaplain of St. John’s Parish Day School, Jenni works with the Head of School to shape and support our community’s spiritual life and formation, particularly through our chapel program. She also facilitates the pastoral care of our students, staff, and families. Jenni was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 2003, having received a Masters of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA.

Since her ordination, Jenni has served in several congregations in the Dioceses of Virginia and Maryland. Through these contexts of different settings and sizes, Jenni has found great joy in helping people of all ages discover the true selves they were created by God to be, and to claim in their daily lives the gifts they have been given and called by God to use. In her current role as Associate Rector for Children and Youth and Chaplain for Common Life at St. John’s, Jenni guides the many ways our church and school seek to nurture the spiritual lives of young people from birth through college, as well as their families, through worship, learning, and service.

Jenni welcomes conversation, both inside and outside of chapel and classrooms, to explore questions about God, faith or doubt, and call in the everyday, real lives of our students and families. She is available to support students and families in school life and beyond. Jenni is on campus during the school week on Monday through Thursday.
 
Interim Head of School
Board of Trustees, Member
 
Dr. Chip Prehn is the Interim Head of School at SJPDS. He formerly served as Headmaster of Trinity School in Midland, Texas, a highly regarded PreK-2 through 12 college preparatory school accredited by the Southwestern Association of Independent Schools.  An Episcopal priest, Dr. Prehn earned the M.Div. from Nashotah House in Wisconsin and the Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in the History of American Education.In 1996, he responded to his “real calling” to teach in and otherwise serve faith-based schools.  A people person, Dr. Prehn loves spending his days with children, youth, and dedicated teachers.  In his spare time, Dr. Prehn enjoys college sports, horses, bird dogs, beagling, and the fine and performing arts.  He writes poetry and enjoys introducing poetry to students.  Celia and Chip just celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary.  They have three children.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Harold Sachs II (Hal)
Board of Trustees, Member

 
 
 
 
Board of Trustees, Member
 
Dr. Tomayko is an Associate Professor at Towson University where she teaches math content and pedagogy courses. She holds a BA in Secondary Mathematics Education from Washington University in St. Louis, a Masters of Education and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, both from the University of Maryland, College Park. She currently serves as Recording Secretary for the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Dr. Tomayko and her husband, Dave, joined the St. John’s Parish Day School community in 2014 when their oldest child started kindergarten. The nurturing environment and specialists in science, art, music, media & technology, PE, and Spanish are what led them to choose SJPDS. They now have two children who are in the lower school. During her free time, Dr. Tomayko enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors, volunteering at SJPDS, and cheering on her children at soccer games.

Rachel Trau
Board of Trustees, Member

 
Geoff Walker
Board of Trustees, Member
 
Geoff Walker, his wife Jennifer and sons, Griff and Graeme joined the St. John’s Parish Day School Community in 2006. Griff graduated in 2013 and Graeme is currently in the 3rd grade.

Geoff has been the agency principal of Walker Insurance Agency, Inc. since 1997 and has been involved in the insurance industry since 1994. Prior to that, he was a maritime supply chain security consultant operating extensively in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Geoff served in the United States Marine Corps (1979-84) working in Embassy Security Detachments in Caracas, Venezuela & Stuttgart, Germany. He was Honorably Discharged from active duty in 1984 and from the reserves in 1989.

Along with military schools, Geoff was educated at Loyola High School, Blakefield (1979); Universitat Bonn (1987); and received a B.A. in Political Science & History from Loyola College in Maryland (1988). His interests include spending time with family, reading, golf, cooking and shooting sports.
 
Board of Trustees, Member
 
Born and raised in China, Ms. Wang came to the United States at the age of 18. Ms. Wang received her B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology and M.S. in applied molecular biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County as well as her M.S. in computer science from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Wang worked for several years at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Human Genome Research Institute. She co-authored multiple research papers in scientific journals such as Nature Genetics, Journal of Cell Biology, and Developmental Biology. After receiving her J.D. from George Washington University Law School, she served as law clerk to the Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Ms. Wang worked for a large U.S. law firm focusing on litigating patent cases before the International Trade Commission and patent infringement actions before federal courts. She also supported the firm’s FCPA and Global Anti-Corruption practice, including assisting clients with anti-corruption due diligence for global M&A transactions, including China. Ms. Wang is a member of Virginia State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar.