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 Parent 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.

2018-2019 Board of Trustees

Chad Fletcher
Immediate Past President
Cydnie Horwat
Vice President
Jeff Derstadt
John Stewart
Nancy Woo
Glynis Abdallah
Thao Blanchard
Jason Boerner
Liz Bohlin
Andrea Dancs
Susan Gellatly
Kevin Gruben
William Kennedy
DeShay McCluskey
Shona Smith
Megan Tay
Mike Tholfsen
Moz Thomas 
Chuck Whitmer
Vivien Yeung
Michael Crowson, Honorary Trustee
Nancy Robinson, Honorary Trustee
Ex-Officio Members    
Jeff Stroebel, Head of School 
Tiffany Bernal, PA Co-President
Negar Partovi, PA Co-President
Members of the Board of Trustees sign an annual commitment, reinforcing ethical practices and the governance role of the board.


List of 23 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.”
  • Cydnie Horwat, Immediate Past President

    Cydnie grew up in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles and currently serves as COO for Habitat for Humanity King County. At Open Window School, 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 souffle at 9 years old.
  • Jeff Derstadt, Vice President

    Jeff grew up in Cincinnati, OH; Princeton, NJ; and Racine, WI and attended independent schools in each area. He is Principal Software Engineering Manager at Microsoft. At Open Window, in addition to trustee work, Jeff is the current Camp Seymour chair, the wrangler for field day tug of war, and volunteers in the classroom when he can. Jeff has two children at Open Window. The Derstadts chose Open Window because they believed it would “support the development of a lifetime of learning, let them ask all the questions they wanted, pursue their individual passions, and do all of this in an environment with like-spirited kids who also love to learn.” Jeff participates in local triathlons and Half-Ironman distance races.
  • 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.
  • Nancy Woo, Secretary

    Nancy grew up in Federal Way, Washington. She currently is a full time parent but has had a career with Microsoft before children. Nancy has been active with various roles in our community but enjoys working with the Auction Team the most year to year. The Woos have two children at Open Window School and chose their children to be here because of “the teachers and staff and their excitement for the kids love of learning.” 
  • Glynis Hines Abdallah

    Glynis grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. She has been a Membership Director for Columbia Athletic Club and has worked with PSI Net as Program Manager. At Open Window, Glynis has held many roles including auction chair, room parent, and vice president of the PA. Glynis has one child at Open Window. The Abdallahs chose the school because it “provides a unique opportunity to develop critical thinking early.” She also says, “The outstanding staff, along with the curriculum, teach students what is necessary to learn and the importance of why.” Glynis provides ongoing support for a girls’ orphanage and boarding school in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • 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.
  • Jason Boerner

    Jason grew up in rural Montana near Billings. He is an IT Program Manager for 501 Commons and has also worked with Wells Fargo, TrueBlue, and Microsoft. At Open Window, Jason has been a regular volunteer from chess, to Project Week: Shark Tank, to field day. He has two children, one who currently attends Open Window. Jason explains that the “SEL program feels embedded within the curriculum and technology is used as an enabler and not a focal point” at Open Window. He grew up with a dog who was one-third wolf.
  • Liz Bohlin

    Liz grew up in Bellevue, Washington and is a middle and upper school science teacher in an independent school. She has two sons, one of whom is an Open Window alum. She chose Open Window for her son because it was a school known for being for gifted children who love to learn, which as she says, “…described my son perfectly, in terms of his level of engagement.” Liz is very musical and plays domra, balalaika, and jazz violin.
  • Andrea Dancs

    Andrea grew up in the Seattle area, though she was born in NYC. She is a consultant at Dancs Consulting, LLC and has also worked for Microsoft. At Open Window, Andrea has been involved in many committees including development as chair, trusteeship, and annual fund as parent co-chair. Andrea has two children at Open Window and chose the school because of the “nurturing teachers who understand the needs of gifted children.”
  • 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.
  • Kevin Gruben

    Kevin grew up in Sacramento, California. He is Vice President, Senior Corporate Counsel for Providence St. Joseph Health. Kevin has two children at Open Window. As Kevin explains, “We were introduced to OWS by a friend, and quickly discovered that the school’s commitment to the support of gifted students, differentiated learning environment, and focus on social and emotional, as well as intellectual development, were exactly the right fit for our children.”
  • William Kennedy

    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

    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!
  • 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.
  • Megan Tay

    Megan grew up in Bellevue. With a background in the insurance industry, she is a consultant with the Seattle based brokerage firm, Truluma. Megan has been involved with Open Window in various capacities including serving on the finance and multicultural committees. Megan and her family chose OWS for their daughter, who has been a student since kindergarten and is now entering seventh grade, because of its unwavering focus and commitment to a learning environment that nurtures and inspires each individual child to explore topics of interest at a deeper level. Megan graduated from the University of Notre Dame, speaks fluent Spanish, and has also studied in Spain and Ghana, West Africa.
  • Mike Tholfsen

    Mike grew up in Bellingham, Washington. He is a Group Product Manager for Microsoft Education. At Open Window, you will find Mike on the field helping with the sack race or relays during field day and attending Positive Impact Project weekends, giving back to the wider community. Mike has one child at Open Window. The Tholfsens chose the school because they felt it was the best educational environment and culture for their child’s needs. Mike is the second Open Window community member that we are aware of who plays banjo, the first is the lower school science teacher, Mr. Hollinger.
  • Moz Thomas

    Moz was born in Sylhet, Bangladesh and grew up in Lancashire, England. He is a General Manager for Business Prime at Amazon and has also worked with Microsoft, Build Online, and Accenture. At Open Window, Moz has served as PA Rep and on the Board Finance Committee. The Thomas’s have three children at Open Window, which they chose because of the integrated curriculum, small class sizes, and focus on social and emotional learning. Moz once appeared on a Japanese TV show where contestants were tasked to build robots from household trash.
  • 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, two are graduates, and their youngest is a current Open Window student. They chose Open Window 14 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.
  • Jeff Stroebel, Head of School

    Jeff grew up in Dayton, Ohio and taught history in his early career in education. He went on to become Head of Middle School at Sycamore School, followed by Head of School at Da Vinci Academy, and has served as Head of School at Open Window since 2012. He has one grown son. Jeff is a devoted sports enthusiast. His teams: the Butler Bulldogs, Indianapolis Colts, and of course, Seattle Seahawks keep him busy.
  • Tiffany Bernal, PA Co-President

    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. 
  • Negar Partovi, PA Co-President

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