About

Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees

Open Window School is a Washington non-profit, section 501 (c) (3) corporation. A self-perpetuating Board of Trustees governs the school and holds it “in trust” for future generations of students.

The Open Window Board of Trustees is composed of current and alumni parents and professionals from the education and business communities. Trustees serve as volunteers and are committed to fulfilling the school's mission and the long-term sustainability of the school. The Head of School and the Parents & Guardians Association President(s) are ex-officio, non-voting, members of the board.

Partnering closely with the Head of School, the board sets long-range policies to fulfill the mission of the school and lead it successfully into the future. The Head of School is the board’s only employee. The Head of School controls all of the operational and educational affairs of the school, administers policies, hires, evaluates and dismisses all school employees, and guides the day-to-day operation of the school.
 
Selection of trustees is a multi-step process that is led by the board's Trusteeship Committee, which evaluates the professional and personal skills that are needed on the board to best serve the school. Potential trustees must be voted in by a two-thirds majority of the current board. Trustee terms are three-year commitments and trustees may be re-elected for one additional term.

Board Committees

List of 5 items.

  • Executive

    The Executive Committee facilitates effective Board meetings, advises and evaluates the Head of School, and oversees legal, corporate, regulatory and governance issues on behalf of the Board of Trustees.
  • Development

    The Development Committee works in conjunction with the Director of Development to develop financial resources other than tuition to fulfill the mission of the school.  The committee champions and exercises oversight over all forms of school fundraising, including the Open Window Fund, auction, and capital campaigns.
     
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    The Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Committee recommends strategies, policies, and practices that further the school’s Diversity Commitment.
  • Finance

    The Finance Committee supports the Board of Trustees in its’ fiduciary responsibilities, including state, federal, and banking regulatory compliance, and internal control oversight. Working in conjunction with the Chief Financial Officer, the committee reviews, recommends, and monitors the annual audit; annual and five-year budgets; provides cash, investment, and asset oversight; and monitors the annual business office compliance calendar.
  • Trusteeship

    The Trusteeship Committee reviews the school's strategic goals and plans to identify the skills, experiences, and relationships required by the Board in the present and in the future.  The committee nominates candidates for the Board and recommends members of Board committees.  The committee also leads an annual process of Board review and advises the Board on issues of governance and recommends policies and practices to strengthen the good work of the Board.

2022-2023 Board of Trustees

President
Chad Fletcher
Vice President William Kennedy
Secretary DeShay McCluskey
Treasurer John Stewart
Members
Tiffany Bernal
Thao Blanchard
Julie Cheng Bui
Susan Gellatly
Cydnie Horwat
Sage Khanuja
Negar Partovi
Owen Paulus
Shona Smith
Liz Swift
Elmar Vinh-Thomas
Chuck Whitmer  
Vivien Yeung
Michael Crowson, Honorary Trustee
Nancy Robinson, Honorary Trustee
Ex-Officio Members    
Elaine Christensen, Head of School 
Yan Guo, PGA Co-President
Andrea Lott, PGA Co-President
Members of the Board of Trustees sign an annual commitment, reinforcing ethical practices and the governance role of the board.

Bios

List of 20 items.

  • Chad Fletcher, President

    Chad grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a Director at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. At Open Window, Chad has been a parent chair for the school’s Camp Seymour trip, Parent co-chair for the annual fund, and “Shark” during Project Week: Shark Tank. The Fletchers have two children, one Open Window graduate and a current student. They chose Open Window because they felt that the school understood their child(ren) more than anyone else. Chad explained, “We felt the school would provide a solid education, but more importantly, (the) social and emotional learning support that they needed.”
  • William Kennedy, Vice President

    William grew up in Huntsville, Alabama. His career as a software development engineer led him to Microsoft Corporation where he held positions as General Manager and Corporate Vice President. William has helped Open Window through many phases of growth from strategic planning to capital campaigns. He is also an active board member for many other organizations. The Kennedys have two sons, both alumni of Open Window School. They chose the school because they felt it was a great education and environment for their kids. William loves photography.
  • DeShay McCluskey, Secretary

    DeShay grew up in Chicago. With a background in finance and investing, she is a Managing Partner at AltraVue Capital, a Bellevue, WA based investment firm. DeShay is also a classroom volunteer throughout the school year, as well as a regular admissions day host for Open Window. The McCluskey Family have two sons entering first and third grades at OWS. They chose OWS for its focus on developing and nurturing the whole child. In addition to work and family, DeShay is a die-hard Cubs fan!
  • John Stewart, Treasurer

    John grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is an EVP and Chief Risk Officer for BECU and has also worked for many other internationally active banks as management or consultant. At Open Window, he has volunteered at numerous chess tournaments and seasonal events. He has two children at the school, which the Stewarts chose because of: “the focus on social and emotional learning, the values of the school, and the outstanding faculty!” You may see John climbing Cougar Mountain on his road bicycle as he tries to set a new personal record each year.
  • Tiffany Bernal

    Tiffany grew up in Holland, Michigan and went on to earn her master’s in education. Her many experiences in education and nonprofit management are an asset to Open Window. She was a founder for a charter school, teaching third grade; ran a foreign language enrichment program for young children; and studied social entrepreneurship and nonprofit management as part of her MBA. Tiffany is very involved with the Open Window community as an active volunteer, serving as Parent Association Co-President for the 2019-2020 schoolyear, chairing community building committees, and co-chairing the 2018 auction. With two middle school students at Open Window, the Bernals chose the school so that their children would have the opportunity to join a diverse community of eager learners led by caring, understanding teachers who could not only tailor academic instruction but also weave social-emotional learning throughout the curriculum. She is also an avid traveler and is multilingual, speaking Spanish fluently, as well as some French. 
  • Thao Blanchard

    Thao was born in Vietnam and grew up in Utah. She was a Product Engineer at Dell and worked for Legerity. At Open Window, Thao has held many roles from PA co-chair to auction volunteer. She has two children at Open Window, which they chose “because of the school program, mission, nurturing environment, and commitment to diversity.” As the first in her family to graduate from a university, Thao worked full-time while earning her electrical engineering degree. She enjoys being an advocate for young women in STEM.
  • Julie Cheng Bui

  • Susan Gellatly

    Susan grew up in the Seattle area and Wenatchee. She is the Founder of BenchStrength Coaching, was a Principal for Gellatly Leadership Coaching, and served as Director of IT Infrastructure for The Boeing Company. At Open Window, Susan has been on the Development and Strategic Planning Committees for the Board of Trustees. She has four children, her youngest is an alum of Open Window. Susan has climbed Mount Rainier.
  • Cydnie Horwat

    Cydnie grew up in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles and currently serves as Chief Retail Officer for Habitat for Humanity King Kittitas Counties. At Open Window, she has volunteered in multiple roles from committee member for our Capital Campaign to Board Treasurer to her current role as Board President. The Horwats have two Open Window alumni. They chose Open Window because they felt, “The unique pairing of providing a challenge coupled (with) nurturing, including the deep SEL foundation, has provided our children with an amazing education and introduced us to parents who are now lifelong friends.” Cydnie loves to cook and was taught by Julia Child (on PBS), making her first chocolate soufflé at 9 years old. 
  • Sage Khanuja

  • Negar Partovi

    Negar was born in Tehran, Iran; lived in Italy through kindergarten; and grew up in Seattle. Her background and education are in microbiology and biomedical science. The Partovis have three Open Window students spanning kindergarten through seventh grade. Negar has been involved with Open Window in countless ways as a parent volunteer and is currently serving as parent association co-president. Negar and her family chose OWS for the excellent academics, but quickly learned it was a school that provided MUCH more than that. In addition to her studies in microbiology, she minored in dance, teaching dance for many years after her day job of working in a pharmaceutical lab.  
  • Owen Paulus

  • Shona Smith

    Shona grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She is a Partner for Troutman Sanders LLP. At Open Window, in addition to work with the board, she has volunteered as a PA Rep, and taken advantage of many volunteer opportunities in the classroom. Shona and her husband have two children at Open Window, which they chose because they love the excellent teachers who understand gifted kids. Shona was once a professional ballet dancer.
  • Liz Swift

  • Elmar Vinh-Thomas

    Elmar was born in Germany; grew up in South Africa; and has also lived in the US, Namibia, and Switzerland. He studied social anthropology, linguistics, and medicine and worked as a medical doctor, university lecturer, and in various roles in international development before becoming the Head of Assurance and Risk Management at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Vinh-Thomas family has two daughters in the classes of 2022 and 2024. They chose Open Window for the “intentional balance between intellectual rigor, critical thinking and social-emotional learning.” Elmar is perplexingly proud of the Official Pretzel Twisters Certificate he was awarded by America’s Oldest Pretzel Bakery in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
  • Charles Whitmer

    Charles grew up in the Chicago area. He was Director of Neutronic Modeling for TerraPower, LLC and has also been Consulting Physicist and Inventor for Intellectual Ventures. At Open Window, Charles has been Assistant Coach for the Chess Club, Robotics Club mentor, and served as the PA Treasurer, and on the Board Finance Committee. The Whitmers have three children, all Open Window alumni. They chose Open Window many years ago because they “wanted a school that could challenge our daughters, but yet be tolerant of their sometimes, quirky ways."
  • Vivien Yeung

    Vivien grew up in Hong Kong. A career strategist, Vivien is currently General Manager, Venture at lululemon, and also a Board member at Jack in the Box. Vivien has two children at Open Window entering eighth and third grades. The Chung family chose Open Window for its focus on nurturing children’s love of learning through an integrated approach to education. Her favorite way to sweat is power vinyasa yoga.
  • Elaine Christensen, Head of School

  • Yan Guo, PGA Co-President

  • Andrea Lott, PGA Co-President

Open Window School provides a challenging academic curriculum blended with nurturing support from teachers that prepares students for long-term success.