We are delighted to have a board with such a wonderful mix of skills. The students of Menlo Park Academy will always be at the center of this board's goals and objectives.
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Menlo Park Academy is governed by a Board of Directors, a policy-making body that holds the school’s charter and he overall responsibility to ensure the school is successful. The governing board is charged with all fiduciary, legal, regulatory, and compliance oversight and provides valuable leadership to the school. MPA's board is comprised of volunteers who do not receive any compensation for their service. The members of the Board represent a diverse set of professional backgrounds and have expertise in the areas of finance, education, technology, operations, non-profit organizations, strategic planning, and fundraising. They are responsible for setting organizational goals and establishing policies for the school based on our mission, state laws and the school's charter.
Board members make policy decisions on a wide range of itopics and provide the overall governance to the organization. They hire staff to execute the program within those guidelines. All decisions are made in public at open board meetings. The main duties of the Board are to:
Cathy Aldrich, Board Secretary
Cathy Aldrich is originally from the Washington, D.C. area, and settled in Cleveland in 1995 via the California Bay Area. Mrs. Aldrich holds a B.A. in Political Science from Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, Virginia and a M.Ed. from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. Prior to obtaining her Master's degree, she received her Paralegal Certificate from The National Center for Paralegal Training in Atlanta, Georgia. She practiced as a Paralegal in the areas of lobbying, telecommunications, corporate and banking law.
After receiving her teaching degree, her family relocated to northern California where she taught third and fourth grades. After the birth of her first child and moving to Lakewood, Ohio, she stayed at home with her children, both gifted students. Mrs. Aldrich taught Art at Menlo Park Academy for the first two years of the school’s existence.
Mrs. Aldrich has served on the boards and held offices for a variety of civic organizations including the Virginia Young Democrats, Jaycees, Lakewood Early Childhood PTA, Taft PTO in Lakewood, Junior Women's Club of Lakewood and Trinity Lutheran Church in Lakewood. She just completed a year as President of Church Council for Trinity where she had previously served as Education Director for ten years. Through service to these organizations, Mrs. Aldrich has amassed experience in fundraising, event planning and grant writing.
She also served as Director for Trinity's School Age Child Care program for three years. Duties included supervising staff, developing programs and compliance with licensing laws and procedures. Additionally, she has coached and/or managed her son's soccer teams for the Lakewood Soccer Association for seven years. She has also served as a Girl Scout leader, committee chair for Cub Scouts and is currently involved with Boy Scouts.
Fraser Hamilton, Sr. is a geologist by training, having a Bachelor's degree from the University of Maine at Farmington and a Masters from Temple University. He also studied at Texas A&M University and the University of Dundee in Scotland. He is currently a self-employed environmental consultant. He is the past president of the Euclid Youth Soccer Organization and still organizes the Organization's annual tournament. Fraser was previously a board member of the Euclid Cooperative Preschool and President of the Environmental Division of the Cleveland Engineering Society. He has also served on the Parish Council at St. Mary's Church in Cleveland.
Mr. Hamilton is the father of three children, two MPA graduates and one current student. He and his wife Susan live in Euclid. Having three gifted children and experiencing the challenge those children faced in educational academic environments, Fraser appreciates the service MPA provides and is committed to serving our mission.
Teri Harrison, Board Chair
A founder of Menlo Park Academy, Teri Harrison has more than 20 years of technology management and team leadership experience. Early in her career she managed a large property and casualty insurance business. She then spent over 10 years managing the messaging environment for a national law firm based in Cleveland, led a team of IT professionals for a large national bank for five years, and now works as a Messaging Design Engineer at Eaton. She holds a BSBA in Marketing and Computer Science from Ohio Northern University and has earned several IT certifications.
Mrs. Harrison founded the NorthEast Ohio Gifted Education Advocacy and Resources Group. She also serves on the Curriculum Committee for the Avon local school's Continuous Improvement Plan team. She has been an active school volunteer for many years, served as the secretary for the parent-teacher organization of Lorain Gifted Academy and was elected the President of that organization prior to the school closing.
Mrs. Harrison is both a local advisor and national officer for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, and is an active volunteer in several other community organizations. These experiences have provided her with expertise in leadership training and team building, as well as planning and executing fundraising and family-focused events. Her experience in the non-profit area is a true asset to the team.
Mrs. Harrison and her husband reside in Avon, Ohio. They have two children, one who is an MPA graduate and another a current student.
Dr. Richard Hronek
Bio Coming Soon
Cathie Leimbach grew up in Ontario, Canada. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Masters in Agricultural Business from the University of Guelph. She has worked as a business loans officer and as the Executive Director for a province-wide professional development organization. She was co-founder of a leadership development company in Canada and is currently President and Senior Consultant of Agon Leadership. Cathie serves leaders, boards, and senior staff teams across the United States and Canada. She specializes in board governance, leadership team building, and strategic planning.
Cathie has served on a diversity of boards in both Canada and the United States, frequently holding officer positions including Chair. She served as President of the parent-teacher organization of Menlo Park Academy’s precursor, Lorain Gifted Academy. As a Menlo Park Academy parent, Cathie was one of two coordinators of the science fair and taught Junior Achievement curriculum. She is passionate about children reaching their potential and has advocated for her children and others to receive appropriate educational services and support.
Cathie and her husband, Orrin, live near Vermilion. Both of their daughters are Menlo Park Academy alumni. The whole family credits the school with positioning the girls for academic excellence and their ongoing joy of learning.
Dr. Suzanne McFarland
Mrs. McFarland earned her BS in Elementary Education from Millersville University in PA, a Master’s degree from Temple University in Guidance and Counseling and a Doctorate in Early Childhood and Child Development from Indiana University in Bloomington IN. She has taught preschool through sixth grade and spent 6 years as an elementary counselor.
Melissa Vlasak was born and raised in Cleveland and surrounding areas. She is a lifelong proponent of and has a passion for education. Beginning with her own education, she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Kent State University, with a triple major in Finance, Real Estate and Business Management. After several years in banking, she entered graduate school and earned her Master of Business Administration in Systems Management from Baldwin Wallace College.
For over 25 years, she has been a leader and manager in the financial and technology industries. She also holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI), after demonstrating project management experience and passing a rigorous test. For the last 15 years, she has been a Senior Project Manager in the Information Technology department of an international law firm in downtown Cleveland. She manages large scale, high profile and multi-million dollar projects including infrastructure upgrades, software and operating system upgrades, office moves and process improvement. As part of her work place’s volunteer initiatives, which coincided with her priority for education, she has been a reading tutor for 3rd graders at Case Elementary School in Cleveland, for most of those 15 years.
Once it became time to find a school for their son, she and her husband began with an independent school, then tried another private school, neither of which met their son’s accelerated needs. Her son met with and tested through Dr. Sylvia Rimm’s office. Dr Rimm recommended him to Menlo Park Academy, where he was accepted. Once enrolled, they all knew it was the right place for him and his academic, social and emotional needs. She began volunteering with the Spelling Bee, then continued with several additional volunteer roles at Menlo, ultimately being asked to serve on the board.
Melissa is also an active member of the United Methodist Church of Chagrin Falls. She has served on the Youth Committee, the Communications Committee and is currently a co-Acolyte Coordinator, a recent role shared with her husband of 15 years, Jason Bradley. Melissa and Jason live in Bainbridge Township, with their 12-year old son, Jack, who is a 6th grader at Menlo Park Academy. They have a dog, two cats, and a tarantula.