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The Role of the Board of Trustees

According to the National Association of Independent Schools, the board of an independent school is the guardian of the school’s mission. It is the board’s responsibility to ensure that the mission is relevant and vital to the community it serves and to monitor the success of the school in fulfilling its mission.

Trustees actively support and promote the school’s mission, vision, strategic goals, and policy positions, including its commitment to equity and justice, representing them appropriately and accurately within the community. It is the board’s responsibility to support the head of school, set policy and focus on long-range and strategic issues. In addition, the board of trustees contributes to the development program of the school, including strategic planning for development, financial support, and have active involvement in annual and capital giving.

Meet The Trustees of Dedham Country Day

Board Officers

President, Mark Epker
Treasurer, Ashley Shih
Clerk, Lee (Mumford) Peterson '86

Karen Bacardi

Karen is an attorney and has been a DCD parent since 2011. As the great, great granddaughter of Facundo Bacadri y Masso, the founder of the rum manufacturer Bacardi & Company, she works in the family business. Since joining the Board in 2015, Karen has served on the Architecture Planning Committee and Strategic Planning Committee. She graduated from Tufts University and received an MBA degree from Georgetown, a master's degree in real estate finance and development from Columbia, and a law degree from the New England School of Law. Karen and her husband Stephen Fallon live in Milton with their three children Christiane, Sam (DCD ’22) and Hannah (DCD ’24).

Ned Bigelow

Ned joined the DCD Board in 2007 and his family has held a long and extremely positive connection the school. As a family, they’ve watched DCD grow in many ways, all the while adhering to those special qualities that make the school so special. Ned graduated from Lake Forest College in 1968 and spent his career in the educational world. He taught at Dexter School for six years and Noble and Greenough School for the following 20. In 1995, he began a 20-year stint with Dunbar Educational Consultants working with college-bound students and retired in 2015. Since that time, he has continued on the Board at DCD, serving on the Finance Committee, while also serving on the Old North Church Foundation’s Board heading up their educational and outreach program. Two years ago, with a fellow employee at Dunbar, he helped found "Higher Ground" (along with son Sam) providing guidance for veterans and their families who are interested in continuing or starting a college experience. Ned and his wife Sandy live in Dedham; their three grown children are all DCD graduates: Jen (DCD ’86), Ned (DCD ’88) and Sam (DCD ’91).

Curt Burmeister

Curt is the Chief Technology Officer at SS&C Algorithmics.  His team is responsible for the design and development of quantitative risk management solutions that are used by banks and other financial institutions to meet both regulatory and internal reporting requirements.  Curt joined the DCD board in 2013 and he currently serves as co-chair of the Diversity Committee and is a member of the Finance Committee.   Curt is also a Board member and Treasurer for Horizons at DCD, a summer academic enrichment program for elementary school children from low income families in Dedham and Boston, closing the well-known achievement gap between children with this background and their more advantaged peers. Curt holds an MBA in Financial Engineering from MIT and a BA with a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics from Cornell University. Curt and his wife Suzanne have two children, Neil (DCD '21) and Alexandra (DCD '17).

Chris Cheever

Chris is a Founder and Partner of Fontinalis, a venture capital firm he started in 2009 with four partners, including Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company. Chris is also a Director on the boards of numerous Fontinalis portfolio companies, and in that role he’s helped to take companies public and sell them to fortune five hundred firms. Prior to Fontinalis, Chris worked in venture capital (Launch Capital),
private equity (Highbridge Principal Strategies), asset management (Alger) and banking (UBS). Chris’s volunteer work at DCD began with his role on the search committee for the new head of school, which resulted in the successful hiring of Allison Webster. Chris formally joined the Board in 2016 and has been actively involved in the finance, advancement, and campaign steering committees and has supported continuing innovation and effective use of technology throughout the school. Chris, his two brothers and father all attended DCD. He has an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and an MBA from the School of Management at Yale University. Chris and his wife Whitney have three children, Eloise (DCD ’24), Jack (DCD ’26) and Win (future DCD applicant).

Kristen Cloonan

Kristen Cloonan has been a DCD parent since 2014. Prior to joining the DCD community, Kristen and her family lived in Sydney, Australia while her husband Mike was on assignment there. Presently caring for her family full-time, Kristen previously worked in Medical Affairs for Biogen, Inc. and held roles in sales and marketing for Elan Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Kristen holds a B.A. in Psychology and Pre-Medical Science from The College of the Holy Cross and a MSc. in Health Evaluation Sciences from The University of Virginia. During her time at DCD, Kristen has served as co-chair of Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day, as a member of the Community Outreach Committee and as an Admissions Ambassador. She and Mike have also been Annual Fund Ambassadors and Class Parents. Kristen joined the Board of Trustees in 2016 and currently serves as the Chair of the Committee on Trustees. She was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee and currently sits on the Diversity Committee and the Advancement Committee. The Cloonans live in Needham with their four children, Kathryn (DCD ’17), Colleen, Evelyn (DCD ’23) and Joseph (DCD ’24).

Erin Epker, Alumni Rep.

After graduating from Dedham Country Day in 1986, Erin attended Noble and Greenough School and studied English at Skidmore College. She was the Director of Catering at the Bostonian Hotel and worked in Development and Alumni Relations at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. After returning to Boston, Erin focused her time raising three children and engaging in non-profit and education volunteer work. A longtime Nobles volunteer, Erin spends time in Admissions and is currently co-chairing the Nobles Annual Fund with her husband, Mark. After returning to DCD as a parent, Erin helped launch the Alumni Association and joined the Board of Trustees as the Alumni Council President. Also serving as an Admissions Ambassador and member of the Advancement Committee, Erin is deeply invested in the DCD community who she considers an extension of her family. Erin and Mark’s children all started at DCD in Pre-K: Charlotte (DCD '16), Molly (DCD '18), and Teddy (DCD ’21).

Mark Epker, Board President

Mark is the Founder and Principal of Vantage Real Estate LLC, a real estate investment company he started in 2016 after 10 years as President of Acquisition and Investments at Beacon Communities LLC, a Boston-based real estate development, investment, and management company.  Mark’s volunteer work at DCD began with his service on the Finance Committee for 10 years and where he ultimately served for three years as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. Mark formally joined the Board in 2011 and has been actively involved in Strategic Planning, Audit, and Building Committees since that time.  Mark has an undergraduate degree from Colgate University and an MBA from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Mark also serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. Mark and his wife, Erin (DCD ’86), have three children, Charlotte (DCD ’16); Molly (DCD ’18); and Teddy (DCD ’21).

Sharisse Cail Perry

Sharisse is the owner and president of Cail Perry and Associates Legal Search Firm, which is committed to creating access and opportunity and facilitating diversity in the legal field while assisting legal professionals, law firms and corporations in finding the right match. Sharisse also sits on the board of the Wily Network, a nonprofit that supports students who have aged out of foster care and are in college. 
At DCD, Sharisse has served as Parent Association (PA) President since 2017 and has been a long-time Admissions Ambassador and Annual Fund Ambassador. Sharisse has volunteered as a class parent, co-chaired the book fair, served on the planning committee for several of DCD’s spring fundraisers and chaired numerous PA events. She is co-leader of the parent SEED group (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) which launched for parents at DCD in 2019. Sharisse and her husband Steve (DCD ’85) live in Dorchester with their daughters Sophia (DCD ’16) and Summer (DCD ’20).

John Connors

John is a long-time DCD parent and volunteer. A Board member since 2007, John has led committees, capital campaigns and served as co-Chair of the Board. He is a crazy believer in the DCD model and welcomes discussion on why DCD is a ground-breaking model. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Belmont Hill School, John is the founder of Boathouse, Inc.- an advertising agency which works with the institutions and companies that drive the Massachusetts economy. John also serves on the Boards of Camp Harborview, Horizons at DCD and as the Board Chair of the Phoenix Charter Academy Network - a group of high schools in Chelsea, Lawrence and Springfield focused on encouraging high school dropouts to re-enroll, graduate high school and beat poverty. John and his wife Larisa (a physician at Brigham & Women’s Hospital) live in Westwood with their three children, Molly (DCD ’15), Mary (DCD ’18) and Willy (DCD ’21).

Melissa Crowe

Melissa runs a marketing consulting business, and prior to this venture she held key marketing leadership roles at Boston-based startups Vistaprint and Upromise and technology companies in the MetroWest area. Melissa joined the Board in 2019 after years of volunteer work with DCD. She began volunteering with multiple roles on the DCD Community Outreach Committee, which she now leads as part of the PA Executive Committee. Melissa has co-chaired the DCD Fair, continues to help with the Annual Fund among other volunteer activities at DCD, and has played an active role in planning and co-chairing the annual Horizons event. Melissa has an undergraduate degree from the University of Rhode Island. She and her husband Joe Cuccinelli, have a son Jack (DCD ’23).

Chester Hedgepeth, MD, PhD

In addition to serving as executive chief of cardiology of Care New England, Chester leads a large cardiovascular service group and organizes network cardiovascular programs for Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is a Board member for Integra Accountable Care Organization as well as Affinity Physician Health Care Group. Chester joined the Board in 2019 after serving as an Annual Fund Ambassador and a member of the Advancement Committee. He and his wife Alyson are serving as the 2019-20 Annual Fund Chairs. After earning his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, he received his combined medical doctorate and doctorate of philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Chester’s research was completed in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute where he worked to define key signaling components responsible for dorsal-ventral patterning in embryogenesis. He and Alyson live in Westwood with their children Grant (DCD ’24) and Milly (DCD ’27).

Sheila Hiatt

Sheila is a founding partner and principal at Hiatt & Hoke, LLP, a law firm she started in 1997 after leaving the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York. Hiatt & Hoke, LLP provides legal advice and services, investment guidance and general administration and support to a family office and charitable foundation. Sheila’s involvement at DCD began in 2007 with her participation in various volunteer opportunities. She joined the Board’s Diversity Committee in 2009, where she served as Co-Chair from 2011-2014. Sheila also served as Co-Chair of the Annual Fund in 2009 and was invited to join DCD’s Board of Trustees in 2010. As a Trustee, Sheila was a member of both the Steering and Campaign Core Committees for the Thrive Capital Campaign. In 2014, Sheila was elected Board President and served in that capacity for three years, until the fall of 2017.  As Board President, Sheila was a member, ex-officio, of all of DCD’s Board Committees, however she was and remains actively involved in the Advancement, Executive, and Strategic Planning Committees, as well as the Committee on Trustees. Sheila attended the University of Southern California and received a BA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a JD from Northeastern University School of Law.  Sheila also currently serves on the Board of Trustees of The Rivers School. She and her husband, Matthew live in Milton and have three children, Alex (DCD ’17), Sophie (DCD ’18) and Amanda (DCD ’20).

Susanne Joyce

Susanne worked in advertising for Hill Holliday for 10 years before leaving work to stay home full-time with her children. A member of the DCD Board of Trustees since 2008, Susanne has served on the Thrive capital campaign steering committee, chaired the Committee on Trustees and most recently, served as Board co-chair with John Connors from 2017 - 2019. A graduate of Boston College, Susanne also serves on the Boards at Newton Country Day School and St. Sebastian’s and is a member of the Women’s Health Leadership Counsel at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Susanne and her husband John live in Dedham with their four children, Connor, Nolan, Callie and Gavin. All of the Joyce children have attended DCD.

Keith McCown

Keith is a senior partner at Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP, one of the country’s premier law firms specializing in management-side labor and employment law. Keith joined the DCD Board in 1999 and has served on many committees and in many roles, concentrating at various times on strategic plans, diversity efforts, personnel issues, and general executive matters. Keith was one of the founding Board members of Horizons at DCD -- a DCD Board initiative that has created a robust summer academic enrichment program for elementary school children from low income families in Dedham and Boston, closing the well-known achievement gap between children with this background and their more advantaged peers. Keith graduated from Oberlin College and Boston College Law School. He and his wife, Sandra Einsel, Director of Special Education for the Foxborough Public Schools, sent both of their children to DCD from pre-K through 8th grade, Aaron (DCD ’03) and Eva (DCD ’07).

Skip McKee

Skip is a co-founder and partner of BRANDThink, llc, a strategic consulting group partnering with private equity and venture capital organizations to increase the value of their portfolio companies. He has been a member of the DCD Board of Trustees since 2013 and Horizons at DCD since 2014. In addition to serving on the DCD Board, Skip has also served as vice chair of DCD’s Thrive Capital Campaign, been an annual fund ambassador and served on the most recent Strategic Planning committee. In addition to DCD and Horizons, Skip is a member of the Board of Trustees of Woodstock Ski Runners, a youth ski racing organization in Woodstock Vermont, and is an ambassador for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association in Park City Utah. Skip and his wife, Meg Reynolds have two daughters, Maggie (DCD ’20) and Ella (DCD alumna) who currently attends the Commonwealth School.

Kathy Odomirok-Hoffman

Kathy Odomirok is a Principal in the Insurance and Actuarial Advisory Services practice of Ernst & Young LLP based in the Boston office. She leads EY’s life/health and property/casualty actuarial audit and opinion services in the US. Kathy is also a Trustee of The Actuarial Foundation and a member of the Casualty Actuarial Society Board of Directors. She joined the DCD Board in 2011 and serves on both the audit and finance committees. Kathy graduated from Hobart & William Smith College and she and her husband David Hoffman live in Wellesley Hills with their three children, Caroline (DCD ’15), Emma (DCD ’17) and John (DCD ’20).

Mervan Osborne

Mervan currently served as associate head for student life at St. George’s in Newport, RI. As a founding faculty member and head of school at Boston’s Beacon Academy, Mervan has helped provide hundreds of Boston-area students with a challenging year-long academic program in preparation for application to New England independent high schools. Prior to Beacon, Mervan was a faculty member and coach at Buckingham, Browne and Nichols, served as a resident tutor for “A Better Chance” in Massachusetts and was a member of “Teach for America’s” founding corps in Compton, CA. He earned his undergraduate degree at Trinity College, a Master’s in Fine Arts at Boston University and has completed graduate coursework in education at Lesley University. He and his wife Lucy Darragh are parents to two young boys, Moses and Atticus.

Lee Mumford Peterson, Clerk

After graduating from DCD, Lee graduated from Tabor Academy and Boston College. She obtained a Master’s Degree from Simmons School of Social Work and graduated summa cum laude from Suffolk University Law School. She worked at a large law firm in Boston until 2016 and is currently employed as a Justice for the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court. Lee has served on the Board since 2013, and is a DCD Admissions Ambassador and a member of the Diversity Committee. During her family’s time at DCD, she has volunteered in many capacities - as a Class Parent, Class Parent Representative, Annual Fund Ambassador, New Parent Representative, and a member of the Parents Association. Lee is a regular volunteer at various DCD events throughout the school year. She has been a DCD parent since 2008; her oldest son Gunnar (DCD ’18) currently attends Milton Academy and her son Avery, is in the class of ’22.
Morgen is a Portfolio Manager at Fidelity Investments. She is the lead Portfolio Manager for the Small Cap Opportunities Fund and the Small Cap Stock Selector Fund and is a co-Manager on Low Priced Stock Fund. She was a finalist for the Bonhill Group’s Women in Asset Management Award in 2019 and has participated in numerous external marketing efforts on behalf of Fidelity Investments for the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Bloomberg News.

After joining the DCD community in 2018, she began volunteering on the DCD Finance Committee and formally joined the DCD Board in 2020. She previously served on the Finance Committee at The Pike School and as the Treasurer and member of the Board for The Riverbend School. Morgen graduated from Harvard University with a BA in economics and has earned her CFA charter. She and her husband Morgan Lackenbauer live in Dedham with their two sons Lucas (DCD ’26) and Austin (DCD ’29).

Pat Profeta

Pat is a past parent at DCD, and has been a Trustee since 2011. In her professional life she is a founding partner of The NorthBridge Group in Concord, a leading consulting firm in the electricity industry across the country. Pat is an advocate for open space conservation and has served on the Dedham Conservation Commission, the Dedham Land Trust and the town’s Open Space Committee.  On the DCD Board, Pat has worked on enrollment and marketing initiatives, and traffic and site planning issues. She served on the 2016 search committee for the new head of school. Pat graduated from Wells College and Yale Law School and is a member of the bar in Massachusetts. Pat and her husband Rob Aranow, a psychiatrist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, have been close neighbors to DCD on Highland Street for over 30 years. Their two children attended DCD, Nick Aranow (DCD ’04) and Grace Aranow (DCD ’08).

Aidan Riordan, Treasurer

Aidan is a financial services executive with over 20 years of experience in private equity, asset management and investment banking. Most recently he served as Executive Vice President, Head of Affiliate Management at BrightSphere, Inc., an asset management holding company. Previously, Aidan was a Partner at Calvert Street Capital Partners, a middle market private equity firm, and has held positions with Castle Harlan, Inc. and Merrill Lynch. He began his volunteer efforts with DCD in 2014 when he joined the finance committee, and was named chair of the committee in 2019. He joined the DCD Board of Trustees in 2015. Aidan also serves as the Chair of the Boston Board of Cradles to Crayons, a non-profit focused on providing every day necessities to disadvantaged children. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia Business School. Aidan and his wife Katherine have four children who have attended DCD, twins Abigail and Oliver (DCD ’16); Jocelyn (DCD ’23); and Hadley (DCD ’25).

Ashley Shih

Ashley is the managing member of Shih Investments LP and has nearly 25 years of experience as a strategy consultant and investment professional. He was previously a principal and managing director of Investor Group Services, a consulting firm working with private equity clients; a director of corporate development at Harbour Group, a leveraged-buyout firm; a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group; and a process design engineer with Amoco Oil Company. At DCD, Ashley has served on the Finance Committee since 2017 and formally joined the Board in 2018 where he has also been involved in the Advancement Committee. Ashley and his wife Linda have been class parents, annual fund ambassadors and annual fund co-chairs. Ashley has BS and MS degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. Ashley and Linda have four children: Emily (DCD ’17), Amanda (DCD ’17), Caroline (DCD ’21) and David (DCD ’25).

Wendy Soutsos, Faculty Rep.

Wendy began her teaching career with the Needham Public Schools in 2002.  Since joining DCD in 2016, she has taught across various ages and subjects ranging from 3rd to 7th grade, and English to math.  Outside the classroom, Wendy has been an active member of the Technology Working Group and SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) faculty group at DCD. Wendy attended The Taft School and earned her BA from Dartmouth College and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Simmons College. Ice hockey is a passion Wendy brings with her to DCD as one of the hockey coaches. She was co-captain of her team at Dartmouth and the head coach of Milton Academy’s Girls’ Varsity team. Recently elected as the faculty representative to the DCD’s Board, Wendy has also served as a member of the Charles River Girls’ Hockey Board of Directors. Wendy has two children: Parker (DCD ’21) and Brooke (Grade 4). 
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