Menu

School Leadership

Board of Trustees

Chad Alfeld

Chad S. Alfeld P’19

Simsbury, CT

Chad S. Alfeld P’19

Partner, Landmark Partners

Chad earned a BA in Economics from Middlebury College, an MBA from the University of Chicago, an MS in Accounting from DePaul University. As a partner at Landmark Partners, an alternative investment firm focused on secondary investment in private equity, real estate and real assets, he is involved in transaction origination and oversees investor relations and marketing. He is also a member of the private equity and real estate investment committees. Prior to joining Landmark in 1996, Chad served as Controller for Health Plans Capital Services Corporation and as a senior consultant at Arthur Andersen LLP. Chad’s daughter, Ellie, is a member of the Class of 2019.

Margot Bogert

Margot Campbell Bogert ’60

Bedford Hills, NY

Margot Campbell Bogert ’60

Board of Trustees, The Frick Collection and World Scout Committee

Trustee Emerita

Margot earned her BA from Sarah Lawrence College. She has been an active member of the Frick Collection’s Board of Trustees for more than a decade, serving as President from 2005 – 2017. From 1998 – 2004, she was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sarah Lawrence College, where she had previously launched the institution’s first capital campaign as Director of Development. Margot is one of the first women members of the National Executive Board of Directors of the Boy Scouts of America, formerly Vice Chairman of the World Scout Committee, and a member of the Board of Directors of the World Scout Foundation. In 2004 she founded the World Scout Fund/USA, which supports community projects in underdeveloped nations. She also dedicates time to the Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York and the Woodland Foundation in New York City, of which she is President, and has served on the Board of Trustees of the Northern Westchester Hospital Center and the Board of Directors of Fiduciary Trust International.

Christopher L. Brigham

West Hartford, CT

Christopher L. Brigham

Principal, Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C.

Secretary

Chris earned his BA in American Literature from Middlebury College and his JD from the Vermont Law School. As Principal with the law firm of Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. and Chairman of the firm’s Employment Practices Group, he focuses on representing and counseling schools and businesses with respect to workplace and employment law issues. Chris is a member of the Board of Directors of Meritas, a leading global alliance of independent law firms and serves as a member of its US Leadership Committee. Chris is a member of the Board of Trustees for the St. Thomas’s Day School Foundation in New Haven. Chris is the brother of Walker’s graduates Jean Brigham Chant ’82 and Kathleen Brigham ’85.

Elizabeth “Sue” Rockwell Cesare

Norwalk, CT

Elizabeth “Sue” Rockwell Cesare

Former Head of School, King Low Heyward Thomas School

Trustee Emerita

Sue earned a BA in English from Connecticut College and an MA in Comparative Religion from Union Theological Seminary. She was the Head of King & Low-Heywood Thomas School in Stamford, CT for 25 years, during which time she coordinated Low-Heywood’s merger with the Thomas School in 1975 and spearheaded the consolidation of Low-Heywood Thomas with King School in 1988. Sue was also a founding trustee of the Runnemede School in Vermont. She has served on the Board of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and was a past President of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). A strong advocate of women’s education, Sue was appointed to the Walker’s Board of Trustees in 1987, and served as President of the Board from 1996 – 2000. In 2015 she was the inaugural recipient of The Ethel Walker Medal, the highest honor bestowed upon non-alumnae members of the Walker’s community. In 2009, Sue won the prestigious CAIS Award, presented to a person who has provided an inspiring example of leadership and commitment to the improvement of education for children in Connecticut. She is the co-author of the book Succeeding at Parenting and Teaching.

Kevin Chessen

Kevin Chessen P’17

San Francisco, CA

Kevin Chessen P’17

Managing Director, BTIG

Kevin earned a BA in Business Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. As co-founder and Managing Director of Business Development at BTIG, a global financial services firm, he actively expands client relationships, cross-sells products and services and handles special situations across both institutional and corporate clients globally. Kevin co-founded BTIG and its predecessor firm Baypoint Trading. He is also a member of BTIG’s Global Operating Committee. Previously, Kevin was Head of Listed Trading at Banc of America Securities between 1997 and 2002. Earlier in his career, he was Head of Asian Equity Trading at Merrill Lynch. Kevin began his career in financial services with S.G. Warburg, based in New York, London and Tokyo. Kevin is also a Principal of Pacific View Asset Management, LLC, and a founding member of Pacific View’s management team. Kevin serves on the Board of The First Tee of San Francisco and was previously Treasurer for the National Center for International Schools’ Committee. His daughter Samantha is a member of the Class of 2017.

Mary Lou Cobb

Mary Lou Cobb

West Simsbury, CT

Mary Lou Cobb

Founder, The Cobb School

After graduating from Mount Vernon College, Mary Lou earned her Montessori Primary Diploma in 1964 before founding The Cobb School, Montessori, of which she was Head of School for 45 years. She is currently the founder and principal consultant of Cobb Education Consulting, LLC. Mary Lou is a founding board member of The Montessori Administrators Association, the Montessori Training Center of New England and the Montessori Schools of Connecticut. She continues to serve on the boards of The Montessori Training Center of New England. She has also served on SPHERE, a coalition of Connecticut independent schools dedicated to diversity and inclusion, and on the Commission for Membership and Accreditation for the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. Mary Lou is Vice President of the Whole School Leadership Board and a trained instructor for the Association of Montessori Internationale’s Montessori for the Aging.

Sarah Gates Colley ’75

Hobe Sound, FL

Sarah Gates Colley ’75

Trustee Emerita

Sarah earned a BA in Economics from Duke University. She began her career at Chemical Bank, and spent the remaining part of her 20 year career at Goldman Sachs in finance and investments. Sarah has served Walker’s and our Board of Trustees in innumerable ways over many years. Most recently, she has served as a member of the Finance, Trusteeship and Advancement committees. Sarah was Campaign Chair for our Centennial Campaign from 2011 – 2016 and has served on two Head of School search committees. She is a member of The Ethel Walker School Heritage Society, and has established The Sarah Gates Colley ’75 Scholarship Fund and The Gates Family Bowl, which recognizes the highest level of Reunion giving. In 1989, Sarah was awarded the Vander Poel Bowl for distinguished leadership in the Annual Fund, and in 2015 she received the Margot Rose ’80 Distinguished Alumnae Award, The Ethel Walker School’s highest alumnae honor.

Natalie Corbett P’21

Avon, CT

Natalie Corbett P’21

Human Resources Managing Director, Cigna

Ex Officio, Chair of the Horizons Board

Natalie earned her undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut and holds two graduate degrees: an MBA from UConn and a Masters in Professional Studies from Cornell University, along with an Executive Coaching certificate from Georgetown University. Natalie began her career at United Technologies Corporation and is now employed in the Human Resources department at Cigna. A strong believer in continued growth and development, Natalie has witnessed the value of Horizons both for its students and its volunteers through her daughter Erin’s involvement as a volunteer, and currently serves as Chair of the Horizons Board. Natalie’s daughter Erin Corbett is a member of Walker’s Class of 2021.

Elly Daugherty

Dr. Eleanor (Elly) Daugherty P’26

Hartford, CT

Dr. Eleanor (Elly) Daugherty P’26

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, University of Connecticut

Elly earned a BA from the University of Chicago and an MEd and EdD from Columbia University. She is Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the University of Connecticut with responsibility for health and wellbeing of UConn students. During her tenure at UConn, Elly has presented and published on women in leadership, free speech, crisis management, access to mental health care, resources for victims of sexual violence, and undocumented student access to affordable higher education. Previously, Elly was the Assistant Vice President for Student Life and the Associate Dean of the College for Student Life and Alumni Affairs at the University of Chicago, where she was responsible for providing senior leadership and strategic planning for student life initiatives. Elly has also held administrative roles at Columbia University and the University of Michigan. Her academic interests include diversity and inclusion among underrepresented college students and mental health. Elly’s daughter Annie is a member of the Walker’s Class of 2026.

Harriet Blees Dewey ’60, P’86, GP’21, ’23

Ridgefield, CT

Harriet Blees Dewey ’60, P’86, GP’21, ’23

Harriet earned an AAS degree from Bennett Junior College, where she majored in Dance. She is a retired teacher who devoted the majority of her career to teaching elementary school at The Mead School in Connecticut. Harriet and her family remain actively involved in and supportive of their educational institutions and community. Harriet was on the Head of School Search Committee and instrumental in bringing Meera Viswanathan to Walker’s. In 2016, she received the Margot Rose ’80 Distinguished Alumnae Award, The Ethel Walker School’s highest alumnae honor. Harriet is the mother of  Ashley Logan Van Der Klis ’86, grandmother of Lena Van Der Klis ’21, and stepmother-in-law to Ashley Bourne Dewey ’82.

Leander Dolphin

Leander Altifois Dolphin ’95, P’24

Hartford, CT

Leander Altifois Dolphin ’95, P’24

Co-Managing Partner, Shipman & Goodwin, LLP

Leander earned a BA in English, African American Studies and Women’s Studies from Wesleyan University and a JD from Howard University School of Law. She is Co-Managing Partner, a member of the firm’s Management Committee, and a partner in the school law practice group at Shipman & Goodwin LLP in Hartford, CT, representing public school districts, independent schools, colleges and universities in education and employment matters. Leander also leads Shipman & Goodwin’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. She is also an adjunct professor of education law at Quinnipiac University School of Law, and previously served as Vice President of Human Resources and General Counsel at Girl Scouts of Connecticut. Leander serves on the board of The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity’s Associates Advisory Committee, and has previously served on the boards of the Hartt School for Performing Arts, the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association, the Girl Scouts of the USA, and the Girl Scouts of Connecticut. Leander was selected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a James W. Cooper Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, and by the Connecticut Law Tribune as a “New Leader in the Law.” Her daughter Maya is in the Class of 2024.

Mishone Donelson

Mishone Donelson P’25

Farmington, CT

Mishone Donelson P’25

Managing Director- Life Science, Horizon Technology Finance

Mishone earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from MIT and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is Managing Director of Horizon Technology Finance where he is responsible for business development in the East Coast life science markets. He was the Principal of Fairview Capital Partners from 2008 to 2016, leading investment and business development efforts for the company’s venture capital, private equity, and direct co-investment portfolios. Previously, Mishone was Chief of Staff to the Chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments. Mishone helped launch Tennessee’s first charter school, Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering. He is currently a board member of the Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Previously he served on the board of Chicago Professionals for Youth, was co-chairman of the Robert Toigo Foundation Alumni Association, and chairman of Community Health Services. Mishone’s daughter Mackenzie is the Class of 2025.

Jean Edwards

Jean Moore Edwards '69

Saint Helena, CA

Jean Moore Edwards '69

Owner, Moore Ranch Vineyards

Jean earned a BA in History and an MA in Education from Stanford University. She maintains a strong interest in curriculum development. Jean lives on Moore Ranch, a family vineyard business which she operates and manages with her husband, Robert J. Edwards. Jean began her career in the LA entertainment business, where she produced docudramas for network television. She later became a pastry chef before moving to Napa, where she has lived for nearly 30 years, managing 80 acres of premium grape vineyards. Moore Ranch fruit supplies Cakebread Cellars, Sterling Vineyards and other well-known wineries. Jean attributes her successes to her Walker’s education and has an interest in curriculum development. She remains an active equestrian competing in hunter/jumper shows on the West Coast.

Lindsay P. Flynn ’05

Washington, D.C.

Lindsay P. Flynn ’05

Principal, Twenty-First Century Group, Inc.

Lindsay earned a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Principal at Twenty-First Century Group, where she represents a diverse portfolio of clients in the health care, telecommunication, and transportation industries, including Fortune 500 companies, start ups, and non-profits. She assists clients with legislative strategy and federal policy, with a focus on Alzheimer’s research, suicide prevention, and health care distribution. Previously, Lindsay served as an intern for U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA), as a field organizer on Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) Senate campaign in 2012, and as a coordinator for women’s outreach in Pennsylvania on President Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Lindsay started her career as a research analyst for Assabet Ventures, a healthcare consulting firm in Massachusetts. In that role, she worked closely with senior executives on projects for health plans, medical device companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and the Ministry of Health in China.

Charlotte Weidlein Lenzner

Charlotte Weidlein Lenzner ’05

Bronxville, NY

Charlotte Weidlein Lenzner ’05

Sr. Director, Business Development & Corporate Partnerships, Global Citizen

Ex Officio, Alumnae Board Co-Chair

Charlotte earned a BA in History of Art and Visual Culture from Bates College. She is Senior Director of Business Development and Corporate Partnerships for Global Citizen. Charlotte previously worked at Sotheby’s as a key member of the Single Owner Sales Department, and later as Vice President of Client Development and Strategy at Charitybuzz, an online auction house benefiting non-profit organizations. She has cultivated and continues to oversee several strategic brand partnerships focused on corporate social responsibility. In addition to her volunteer work for Walker’s as Co-Chair of the Alumnae Board, she sits on the board of the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation and is Co-Chair of the Emerging Leaders Council at East Harlem Tutorial Program.

Dr. Shelley Marks ’81

San Francisco, CA

Dr. Shelley Marks ’81

Surgeon, Palo Alto Medical Foundation

Vice Chair

Shelley earned a BA in Art History and Neurobiology from Wellesley College and an MD from the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University. She trained in Surgery at UCSF and Stanford, where she served as Chief Resident and did a fellowship in Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery at UCSF under Dr. Lawrence Way. She has been a general surgeon for over 20 years, currently with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and affiliated with Stanford Hospital. Shelley has served as president of the Northern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, the San Francisco Surgical Society, as well as the UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society. Shelley’s family legacy at Walker’s includes her mother Virginia Backus Caulkins ’40; two aunts: Barbara Backus Jewett ’31 and Dorothy Backus Lunken ’38; a cousin, Virginia Backus Vanocur ’54 and a godmother, Susan Ford ’63.

Cecily Chilton Matthai ’77

Baltimore, MD

Cecily Chilton Matthai ’77

Owner, Tina & Cecily, LLC

Cecily earned a BA in English Literature from Middlebury College. She is currently co-owner of the home organizing business Tina & Cecily, LLC. Previously, Cecily worked as a Director of Development, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, and Assistant Dean of Students in several private schools. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of Bryn Mawr School and the Irvine Science Center in Baltimore. Cecily was also a coach and dorm parent and has volunteered for The Family Tree Inc., Brown Memorial Tutoring Program, Bryn Mawr School, Gilman School, the Good Shepherd School and the Red Cross. She has been a lifelong supporter of women’s education and was a recipient of The Vander Poel Bowl Award for distinguished leadership in the Annual Fund for Walker’s. Cecily’s mother, Maude Urmston Chilton, graduated in the Class of 1953, and her sister, Eve Martirano, graduated from Walker’s in 1979.

Ann O'Hara

Ann O'Hara P’21, ’23

Ann Arbor, MI

Ann O'Hara P’21, ’23

President, Huhtamaki North America

Ann earned a BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She also completed Harvard Business School’s executive education program, Women on Corporate Boards. Ann is currently President for Huhtamaki North America, leading a packaging manufacturing business which services retail, foodservice and consumer goods customers. Ann was previously Managing Director of the angel investment group, Four Provinces Investments LLC. She has also held positions as Executive Vice President of Global Products for the Intertek Group, Vice President and General Manager at Amcor Limited, and General Manager at the General Electric Company, and worked for both McKinsey & Company and Procter & Gamble. Ann has lived and worked half of her career outside of North America in Australia, Sweden, Germany, China, and Argentina. Her daughters both attend Walker’s: Janet Hedges in the Class of 2021 and Jordan Hedges in the Class of 2023.

Letitia McClure Potter ’55, P’85

Greenwich, CT

Letitia McClure Potter ’55, P’85

Trustee Emerita

Tisha earned a BA in Art History from Vassar College. After graduating, she worked for the Director of both the Harvard Department of Urban Studies and the Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies, and later for the NY State Council on the Arts. An active volunteer, she has been a member of the advisory council of CT American Water Company as well as a board member and Vice President of Hortulus, a GCA garden club. In addition, Tisha has been a board member for the Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work and the Friends of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College. Prior to moving to Connecticut, she was on the advisory council of the Children’s Aid Society in NY. Tisha has also volunteered for Vassar College and been an advisory group member for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Vermont. Tisha has been a valuable Walker’s volunteer, having chaired and/or volunteered as a member of many committees over the years including the Advancement Committee, the Centennial Campaign Cabinet, the Head’s Advisory Committee, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, the Head of School Search Committee, and the EWS Foundation Board.

Thomas Regan

Thomas Regan P’13

Avon, CT

Thomas Regan P’13

Partner, Brown Rudnick LLP

Treasurer

Tom earned a BA from Trinity College, an MBA from Yale University, and a JD from the University of Connecticut. As an attorney and partner of Brown Rudnick LLP, he practices in the areas of real estate, energy, land use and administrative law. He also represents national clients on permitting matters throughout the state. Tom has previously served as Senior VP of Economic Development and Governmental Affairs for the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. Tom is a member of the Board of Directors of USA Hockey and serves the USA Hockey Legal Council, and is the former President of the Connecticut Hockey Conference. In 2018 Tom was awarded The Ethel Walker School Medal, the highest honor bestowed upon non-alumnae members of the Walker’s community. His daughter Chelsea is a member of the Class of 2013.

Katharine "Kit" O'Brien Rohn ’82

Darien, CT

Katharine "Kit" O'Brien Rohn ’82

Chair

Kit earned her BA in Environmental Studies and Fine Arts from Dartmouth College and is a full-time volunteer in the areas of education and conservation. In addition to her leadership role at Walker’s, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, and also serves on the board of Horizons at The Ethel Walker School, the first all-girls Horizons program in the country. Kit was a founding member of Conservation International, a nonprofit environmental organization that focuses on science, policy, and partnership with businesses and communities to accomplish its goal of protecting nature as a source of food, fresh water, livelihoods, and a stable climate. Kit volunteers as a bird bander for the Connecticut Audubon Society and has previously served as President of the Darien Audubon Society and as an educator for the National Audubon Society. She has recently completed training to become an EMT. Prior to serving as Board Chair, Kit chaired the Head of School Search. In 2017, she received the Margot Rose ’80 Distinguished Alumnae Award, The Ethel Walker School’s highest alumnae honor.

Sahba Sadegh-Vaziri

Sahba Sadegh-Vaziri ’82

New York, NY

Sahba Sadegh-Vaziri ’82

Chief Financial Officer, Safar Partners, LLC
President, Susa Associates, LLC

Sahba earned a BS in Electrical Engineering at MIT and an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. She is Chief Financial Officer at Safar Partners, LLC, a venture capital fund focused on early to growth stage technology startup companies from MIT, Harvard, and University of Rochester, specializing in clean-tech and materials science, life sciences, and artificial intelligence/information technology. Prior to Safar, she worked as a financial consultant to leading marine hydrokinetic energy company Ocean Renewable Power Company. She has 20 years experience financing power projects at Lehman Brothers, CS First Boston Corporation, and Bechtel Corporation. An Iranian-American who fled her homeland during the Islamic Revolution, Sahba is fluent in Farsi, Kurdish, French and Italian and has a keen understanding of and interest in geopolitical issues concerning Iran and Kurdistan.

Pam Safford

Pamela J. Safford ’81

New Canaan, CT

Pamela J. Safford ’81

Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid, New Canaan Country School

Pam earned a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Carleton College and an MS from the University of Pennsylvania. She is director of enrollment management and financial aid at The Country School in New Canaan. Previously, Pam was employed as Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Deerfield Academy; Associate Head for Communications, Enrollment and Planning at Concord Academy; and Director of Admission at Northfield Mount Hermon School. Pam is a founding trustee and former chair of the board for the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP) and she currently serves on the board of the Enrollment Management Association (EMA). Committed to supporting professional development among her peers, Pam regularly presents at various national conferences including IECA, NAIS, SSATB and TABS.

Dr. Wil Samson P’20, ’23

Hartford, CT

Dr. Wil Samson P’20, ’23

Lead Physician and Regional Medical Director, Hartford HealthCare Medical Group

Wil earned a BA Economics from Vassar College and an MD from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. As Lead Physician and Regional Medical Director for Hartford HealthCare (HHC) Medical Group. His areas of expertise include clinical medicine (nephrology and primary care), school admission, medical education, employment disability, quality control and compensation. Wil serves on the Accountable Care Organization board for HHC as well as the board for the Integrated Care Partners, a physician-led Hartford Healthcare affiliated organization. Wil began his professional career as an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and was the site director for their Nephrology fellowship program. Additional roles have included admission committee member, co-chair for the state of Connecticut retirement division, examining board and Merits and Compensation Executive Committee member. He subsequently joined Community Health Services, Inc. as chief medical officer, helping lead the organization in gaining Patient Centered Medical Home recognition through the Joint Commission. His daughter Ella is in the Class of 2020, and daughter Kate is in the Class of 2023.

Mary Schinke

Mary Bebel Schinke '81

Roxbury, CT

Mary Bebel Schinke '81

Attorney, Mary Schinke Attorney at Law, LLC

Mary has a BA in Psychology from Yale University, a certificate in British Studies from Richmond College in London, and a JD from Harvard Law School. She has been practicing law since 1991. Her Connecticut and New York-based practice focuses on estate planning. Previously, Mary practiced with White and Case and Linklaters in the areas of cross-border leveraged leasing, banking, tax, employee benefits, and advising nonprofits. Mary has been a warden of St. John’s Church, Washington, CT; a director of the Minor Memorial Library, Roxbury, CT; and a trustee of the Connecticut Community Foundation. She serves as President of the Board of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care as well Treasurer of the Washington, Connecticut Chapter of the Garden Club of America, and a board member of Minor Memorial Library.

Emma Simon ’89

West Hartford, CT

Emma Simon ’89

Managing Director, Marketing, Virtus Investment

Emma earned a BA from Wellesley College and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. She also completed a fashion design certification from Istituto Marangoni in Milan. She is Managing Director, Marketing for Virtus Investment Partners in Hartford, CT. Emma has been an active member of the Hartford Wellesley Club, including serving as its president, and has volunteered for the Hill-Stead Museum in a number of capacities, including as a member of the Board of Governors. For Walker’s, she has volunteered as a member of the Alumnae Board (President), Auction Committee, Campaign Committee, Campaign Steering Committee, Centennial Honorary Committee, Development Committee, and Marketing Committee. She has also been a leadership solicitor, Reunion Gift Chair, class agent, Advancement Committee solicitor and, most recently, a Reunion Tri-Chair in 2019.

Beth Strapp

Beth Strapp P’18, ’21

Granby, CT

Beth Strapp P’18, ’21

Senior Vice President, Berkley Healthcare Financial Lines

Ex Officio, President, Ethel Walker Schools Parents Association

Beth earned her BS in Education from Keene State College, University of New Hampshire. She has worked in the insurance industry for nearly thirty years. She joined W. R. Berkley in August 2016 and now leads the Berkley Healthcare Financial Lines team, formed in 2018. Prior to joining Berkley, Beth was Senior Vice President at Chubb, Ltd, where she served as the Financial Lines Healthcare Product Leader for sixteen years. Beth has also held various healthcare underwriting, product leadership and management positions at Executive Risk, Inc. and Chubb & Son having joined Executive Risk, Inc. in 1995. Beth began her career at the Travelers Insurance Company in 1990 in their managed care division in service and underwriting roles. Her daughter Caroline is a member of the Class of  2018 and her daughter Lizzy is a member of the Class of 2021.

Linda Strohmeyer P’21

Tuxedo Park, NY

Linda Strohmeyer P’21

Past President/Board Director, Prosperity Catalyst

Linda earned a BA from the University of Maryland College Park. She is the past President and Board Director of Prosperity Catalyst, an organization that launches women-led businesses in distressed regions in order to equalize economic empowerment. Prior, she worked as a vice president for Goldman Sachs, where she proposed and implemented their global wellness division and was a Wellness Program director for Prudential Financial. Linda chairs Walker’s Equestrian Committee. Her daughter, Ava, is a member of the Class of 2021.

Dr. Emiliana Vegas ’85

Washington, DC

Dr. Emiliana Vegas ’85

Senior Fellow and Co-Director, The Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution

Emiliana earned a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela, an EdD from Harvard University with a concentration in Economics of Education, and an MPP from Duke University. She is Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. A leading expert on education in developing countries, Emiliana has written extensively on issues affecting education systems in Latin America and the Caribbean and other developing regions. Her papers and books cover topics ranging from policies to raising teacher effectiveness to school finance and early childhood development policies. Before joining Brookings, Emiliana served as the chief of the Education Division at the Inter-American Development Bank and at the World Bank in Washington, DC, where she held various positions in the Human Development Network.

Dr. Meera Viswanathan

Simsbury, CT

Dr. Meera Viswanathan

Ex Officio, Head of School

Meera earned a BA, an MA and a PhD from Stanford University. A lifelong educator and scholar, she joined Walker’s from Brown University, where she was an associate professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies. At Brown, she earned the Barrett Hazeltine Award for Outstanding Teaching, and the John Rowe Workman Medal in the Humanities. Meera has served as a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, on the review board of the journal, College Literature, and on the board of the Community Preparatory School in Providence, and is a Trustee of the Lawrenceville School. Meera has studied and speaks a number of languages including Japanese, French, German, Latin, Classical Greek, Old English and Old Norse. Meera and her husband, Dr. Eric Widmer, resided at Deerfield Academy during his 12-year tenure as Headmaster. While there, she taught English for a year while on sabbatical from Brown. At the behest of King Abdullah II of Jordan, Meera and Eric co-founded King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan, the Middle East’s first co-educational preparatory boarding school with financial aid. There, she taught and served as the curriculum’s principal architect and dean of faculty. King Abdullah II personally awarded Meera the King Hussein Medal, Jordan’s highest honor, for her endeavors.

Emily Wick P’15

Norfolk, MA

Emily Wick P’15

Emily earned a BA in Spanish Language and Literature with a minor in Sociology from Ohio-Wesleyan University. She is a trustee of Hillside School, a junior boarding school providing exceptional academic opportunities to a diverse population of young adolescent boys in grades four through nine in preparation for secondary school. Emily is a Director at the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, which funds innovative projects that advance solutions to basic and enduring problems in the fields of arts, environment and learning disabilities, and chair of their Learning Differences Committee. Emily has also worked as a Reproductive Counselor. Her daughter, Sumner “Chappie” Wick, is a member of the Class of 2015.

Teresa C. Younger

Brooklyn, NY

Teresa C. Younger

CEO and President, Ms. Foundation for Women

Teresa earned a BS in Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies from the University of North Dakota and an honorary doctorate in Humanities from the University of New Haven. In 2014, she became CEO and President of the Ms. Foundation for Women, the first women’s foundation in the United States. A noted speaker, advocate, and activist, Teresa has been on the frontlines of some of the most important battles for women’s health, safety and economic justice. In 2015, she was honored by Planned Parenthood Federation of America as a Dream Keeper and given Liberty Bank’s Willard M. McRae Community Diversity Award. Teresa served on the boards of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality, Universal Healthcare Foundation of CT, the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University and the Essie Justice Group. She is a lifetime Girl Scout, and was Board Chair for Girl Scouts of Connecticut from 2008-2013, and of the New York Women’s Forum.

Administration

Dr. Meera Viswanathan

Head of School

Dr. Meera Viswanathan

 860-408-4210

B.A., Stanford University
M.A., Stanford University
Ph.D., Stanford University

Meera joined Walker’s from Brown University, where she was an associate professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies. A lifelong educator and scholar, Meera holds her undergraduate degree, her M.A. and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Meera was born in Madras, India and emigrated at age five to Los Angeles.

At Brown, she earned the Barrett Hazeltine Award for Outstanding Teaching, and the John Rowe Workman Medal in the Humanities. She delivered Brown University’s Convocation Address, has received several National Endowment for the Humanities grants and awards, and has been both a visiting scholar and professor abroad. Meera has served as a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, on the review board of the journal, College Literature, and on the board of the Community Preparatory School in Providence. She is a Trustee of the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. She has frequently led seminars locally and nationally about developing curriculum and resources on Asian literature. Meera has studied and speaks a number of languages including Japanese, French, German, Latin, Classical Greek, Old English and Old Norse.

Meera and her husband, Dr. Eric Widmer, resided at Deerfield Academy during his 12-year tenure as Headmaster. While there, she taught English for a year while on sabbatical from Brown. At the behest of King Abdullah II of Jordan, Meera and Eric co-founded King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan, the Middle East’s first co-educational preparatory boarding school with financial aid. There, she taught and served as the curriculum’s principal architect and dean of faculty. King Abdullah II personally awarded Meera the King Hussein Medal, Jordan’s highest honor, for her endeavors.

Read Full Profile
Gretchen Orschiedt

Gretchen Orschiedt

Assistant Head for Advancement

Gretchen was appointed as Walker’s director of advancement in October 2016. Coming from Trinity College, she initially served as director of development, and, more recently, as director of principal gifts and international development. Prior to Trinity, Gretchen’s career in education includes over a decade of fundraising at Cornell University and over a decade of work in admissions at Cornell University, Ithaca College and her alma mater, Wells College.

Read Full Profile

Clarissa Basch P'15

Director of College Counseling, Co-Director of Community Partnerships

Clarissa Basch P'15

 860-408-4215

B.A., Bates College
M.Ed, Harvard University

Clarissa Basch has served as Walker’s director of college counseling since February 2004, where she guides students through the process of investigating, applying to, and selecting colleges.

Before joining Walker’s, Clarissa spent seventeen years as a college admissions officer at Drexel University, Endicott College and Hampshire College. She was lured to “the other side of the desk” because of the opportunity to work directly with students on their post-Walker’s plans, and to be part of this vibrant boarding school community. With professional colleagues at colleges and universities all over the country, she loves to welcome them to Walker’s when they come to meet with her students in the fall.

Clarissa is an avid exerciser who swims and helps guard at the Walker’s pool on weekday mornings. She is an active volunteer for numerous organizations in the greater Hartford area and at Walker’s serves as one of the faculty advisors to the Community Partnerships Program, Clarissa put her college counseling know-how to use with her daughter (EWS ’15), and both survived the experience intact. Following graduation, her daughter enjoyed a wonderful gap year in England as an English-Speaking Union Scholar, and is now enrolled in college. Next up for mom’s advice is her son (2019).

Read Full Profile
Heather Bucknam

Heather Bucknam

Chief of Staff / Liaison to the Board

Heather Bucknam joined Walker’s in 2018. She previously served as director of faculty affairs and executive assistant to the dean, associate dean of faculty, associate head of school and CFO at The Loomis Chaffee School. In addition to working at the independent school, Heather’s experience includes legal representation work as a corporate associate with Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. and as a legal staff assistant with CIGNA. She is a graduate of Hopkins School, Bucknell University and University of Connecticut School of Law.

Read Full Profile

Isabel Ceballos

Head of the Middle School

Isabel Ceballos

 860-408-4309

B.A., Central Connecticut State University
M.A., Central Connecticut State University

Isabel Ceballos was born in Medellin, Colombia, and raised in Connecticut. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in Modern Languages with a concentration in Spanish Language, Literature & Culture from Central Connecticut State University. Isabel Ceballos has been a member of Walker’s Language Department since 2013, and is the founding executive director of Horizons at The Ethel Walker School, the first all-girls Horizons program in the country.

Named one of Hartford Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2016, and a recipient of The Thelma Ellis Dickerson Community Bridge Builder Award, Isabel is an active member in the community. She serves on the Board of The Aurora Women & Girls Foundation, and is a member of the United Way Community Engagement Committee.

Read Full Profile

Elisa Del Valle Cardona

Director of Social Justice and Inclusion, History Faculty

Elisa Del Valle Cardona

 860-408-4287

B.A., Smith College
M.A., University of Massachusetts

Elisa Del Valle Cardona, a native of Brooklyn, NY, has lived in Connecticut for over a decade. Prior to joining Walker’s in fall 2016, she worked as the director of student activities and leadership development/new student orientation at Wesleyan University. While at Wesleyan, Elisa served on the Presidential Task Force for Equity and Inclusion and was an active voice on issues of Equity and Inclusion amongst her student affairs professionals. Elisa’s deep-rooted interest in women’s education is what brings her to Walker’s. Elisa attended an all-girls high school in New York City before attending Smith College in Northampton, MA where she majored in Government and minored in Spanish. While working at Mount Holyoke College, Elisa attended graduate school at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she graduated with a Master’s in Social Justice Education. Elisa is an active Commissioner of the CAIS Commission on Diversity in Independent Schools, an educators network focused on diversity, as well as training and resources for diversity practitioners at CAIS member schools.

Read Full Profile

Sarah Edson

Interim Dean of Faculty and Dean of Academic Technology and Innovation

Sarah Edson

 860-408-4233

B.A., Middlebury College
M.E., Harvard University

Sarah joined the Walker’s community in 2009 after more than a decade of working in the fields of education and academic technology. After graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Middlebury College with a B.A. in history, Sarah attended Harvard University where she completed her master’s degree in education with a focus on technology and innovation in education. A former Spanish teacher, professional development leader, program manager, and producer of various learning technologies, Sarah is grateful for the opportunity to work with faculty, students, and staff to use technology effectively and meaningfully. She particularly values the chance to educate students on topics related to digital citizenship through a course she designed and has developed through the years.

Beyond the classroom, Sarah coaches Walker’s cross country team, advises Upper School students, and serves on the School’s Administrative Leadership Team. She is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. Each year she also organizes Edcamp CT, a summer professional development event at Walker’s for educators from throughout the region. Additionally, Sarah co-chairs the School’s Strategic Planning Committee and appreciates the schoolwide collaborative effort to fulfill Walker’s mission and achieve its vision for the future.

Read Full Profile

Kati Eggert

Athletic Director

Kati Eggert

 860-408-4290

B.A., Drew University, Art and Secondary Education
M.S., Southern New Hampshire University, Sports Management

Kati joined Walker’s in 2018 as the aquatics director, sports information director, and head swim coach before transitioning to athletic director in 2019. Kati also has served as the assistant varsity softball coach and coached in the field hockey program. Prior to working at Walker’s, she was the assistant athletic director at Westover School where she served as the head swim coach, varsity field hockey coach, and softball coach and lived in the dorm during her seven years at the school. Kati was a three-sport varsity athlete at Drew University in field hockey, swimming, and softball. While at Drew, she earned All Academic Conference recognition, served as captain to the ECAC qualifying field hockey and swim teams. She was a Landmark Offensive Player of the week for three consecutive weeks her senior year and medaled in all four Landmark Conference Championship swim meets.

Read Full Profile

Mark Fuller

Director of Technology

Mark Fuller

 860-408-4230

B.A., University of Rhode Island

After graduating from the University of Rhode Island, Mark studied at Richmond College in London where he met his wife. Settling in Houston, Texas, Mark worked at The Emery/Weiner School as a teacher, network administrator and then finally as a director of technology. Throughout his career at The Emery/Weiner School, Mark transformed it from one that used little technology to one where every member of the staff and student body now leverage technology to work and learn.

Mark also spent two years teaching adults technical skills ranging from Word and Excel to web development and programming. He has worked with special needs children in first and second grade, taught sixth, seventh and eighth grade digital literacy, and taught video editing to high school students.

Read Full Profile

Michelle Helmin P'19

Director of External Affairs

Michelle Helmin P'19

 860-408-4393

B.S., University of Hartford
M.B.A., University of Hartford
Advanced Business Certificate (Marketing Intelligence), UConn School of Business
Certificate in Public and Nonprofit Management, UConn School of Public Policy

Michelle has served as the director of external affairs at Walker’s since July of 2016 where she manages the school’s communications, marketing, media relations and community affairs. She also teaches Personal Finance to juniors and manages the School’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Community Partnership Program. Previously, Michelle was the director of the Annual Fund for Walker’s for the 2015-2016 school year. Prior to joining Walker’s, she was the director of communications and marketing at the UConn School of Law where she managed the strategic communications program for the school, including as editor for the school’s alumni magazine, media relations, website development, event management, media relations and other outreach activities. Michelle has worked in the area of institutional advancement for several years including serving as special assistant to both UConn’s provost and president of the UConn Foundation/vice president for institutional advancement.

Read Full Profile
Linda Langmeier

Linda Langmeier

Director of Riding/Head Trainer

Linda Langmeier is an accomplished horsewoman who has been riding since she was five years old. As a Junior rider, she won the 1983 ASPCA Maclay Equitation Finals. Linda’s daughter, McKayla, also won the Maclay; the first mother-daughter team to earn this distinction. Linda was the winner of the 1988 Sugarbush Grand Prix, competed in the 1989 World Cup Finals (Tampa FL) and the 2013 Fidelity Grand Prix. Linda trained Emma Fletcher who won the 2019 Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final Champion.

Linda earned numerous championships in the hunter and jumper divisions at competitions such as The Winter Equestrian Festival, The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, Lake Placid Horse Shows, Vermont Summer Festival, The American Gold Cup, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Washington International Horse Show and The National Horse Show.

Read Full Profile
Beth McWilliams

Beth McWilliams

CFO/COO

Beth McWilliams

 860-408-4241

B.S., Gannon University
M.B.A., Robert Morris University

Beth McWilliams joined Walker’s in 2020 as chief financial officer and chief operations officer. Beth is the former chief financial officer at Shattuck St. Mary’s Educational Services in Bath, ME. Prior she worked at independent schools in the northeast in financial operations. Beth holds an MBA from Robert Morris University and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Gannon University. She is a former board member for the Massachusetts Association for Non-Profit School and Colleges, a member of the Independent School Association of Northern New England and the National Business Officers Association.

Read Full Profile

Richard Meier

Director of Facilities and Operations

Rich joined Walker’s in 2017. He previously worked as part of Walker’s Sodexo Management team and has served in the facilities management role for many years at both public and private schools. A licensed mechanical contractor, Rich has experience in health and safety management, HVAC, plumbing, fire suppression, energy management and is an OSHA instructor. As a Vietnam veteran, Rich has shared his military stories with history classes at some of his prior schools.

John Monagan

Dean of Studies

John Monagan

 860-408-4221

B.A., Johns Hopkins University
M.S., Drexel University

John Monagan grew up in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he attended Chase Collegiate School from 6th-12th grade. From Waterbury, John headed south to attend Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in history. After four enjoyable years in Baltimore, John’s years in private school led him to The Ethel Walker School, where he taught history and English. John spent his first four years at Walker’s teaching 6th-9th grade history, and 6th-7th grade English. He has also spent time running student activities. John earned his Master of Science degree from Drexel University in Sports Management while working at Walker’s. He began as Walker’s athletic director in 2010 and he also teaches Advanced Human Geography. John also is the head coach of the varsity basketball and softball teams.

Read Full Profile
Kathleen Pillsbury

Kathleen McNary Pillsbury

Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life

Kathleen McNary Pillsbury

 860-408-4239

B.S., University of Connecticut
M.S.Ed., University of Pennsylvania

Kathleen is a career educator who comes to Walker’s from the Hotchkiss School where she has served as director of student activities, human development instructor, dorm head and as a member of the School’s senior leadership team. Prior to this, Kathleen was at the Dalton School where she was the assistant high school director for student activities, serving as dean of students, senior class academic dean and classroom teacher. Kathleen holds a Master’s in Education in School Leadership with a concentration in Independent School Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences from the University of Connecticut.

Throughout her career, Kathleen has organized and supervised co-curricular activities, overseen orientation, coordinated student diversity conferences, and managed day-to-day student life. In addition to her administrative and classroom duties, Kathleen has been a softball and lacrosse coach.

Read Full Profile

Aline Rossiter

Director of Enrollment Management

Aline Rossiter

 860-408-4202

B.S., University of Hartford

Aline is a seasoned enrollment professional who comes to Walker’s with 28 years of admissions and marketing experience in independent schools, both boarding and day, and higher education in Connecticut. Most recently she was the director of admission at the Forman School and previously the director of enrollment management and marketing at Chase Collegiate School. Aline has been a faculty member of the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP) annual institute where she presented on strategic enrollment management and marketing. She has been a presenter for the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) national meeting and for the Small Boarding Schools Association. Aline has been an accreditation committee member for admissions for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). She holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications from the University of Hartford. When not at Walker’s, she enjoys swimming, cooking and reading.

Read Full Profile