Board Of Directors

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.

Quick page links:

2013-14 Strategic Plan

2012-13 Strategic Plan

Feel free to contact all board members at or individual members with email address listed in the Board Member Biographies below.


Introduction & Board Responsibilities

Menlo Park Academy is governed by a Board of Directors, a policy-making body that holds the school’s charter and is responsible for all fiduciary, legal, regulatory, and compliance issues. It provides valuable leadership to the school and 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 educational goals and establishing policies for the school based on state laws and our school's charter.  

Board members do not manage the day-to-day operations of the school, but make policy decisions on a wide range of issues and provide the overall governance.  No one member has the authority or power to make a decision regarding the operation of the school.  All decisions are made in public at open board meetings.  The main duties of the Board are to:

Biographies - Board of Directors

Cathy Aldrich, Board Secretary

Mrs. 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 Bio PhotoFraser Hamilton

Fraser 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 immediate 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, one recent Menlo graduate and two current students. He and his wife Susan live in Euclid. Having three gifted children and having seen the challenge those children faced in other academic environments Fraser appreciates the service MPA provides and is committed to maintaining and growing that.


SHanselman PhotoSuzanne Hanselman, Board Vice Chair

Suzanne Hanselman is a partner of the law firm, Baker & Hostetler, LLP, and the chair of corporate practice of the Cleveland office.  Ms. Hanselman counsels private and public companies and non-profit organizations on business issues and corporate governance.  She frequently speaks on business law and corporate governance topics and is an Adjunct Professor of securities and corporate law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
Ms. Hanselman and her husband, Tim McDonald, live in Euclid and have four children-two that attend Menlo Park Academy and two that are in high school.  Ms. Hanselman has always been active in the schools her children attend and has served as a PTO/PTA board member, gifted education board member, parent liaison to school board and classroom volunteer.  She has been involved with a number of non-profit organizations and currently serves on the board of the YWCA of Greater Cleveland. Ms. Hanselman graduated from Miami University and The Ohio State College of Law. 

Teri Harrison, Board Chair

A founder of Menlo Park Academy, Mrs. 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.


Kevin Kelley

Kevin Kelley is the father of three students at Menlo Park Academy.  He and his wife, Elizabeth, have five children and live on the West Side of Cleveland.

Kevin is a member of Cleveland City Council and an attorney at the law firm of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur.  He represents Cleveland's Thirteenth Ward and serves as Majority Whip of the Council.  Kevin is also the Chair of the Public Utilities Committee as well as a member of the Public Finance, Health, and Aviation & Transportation Committees of Cleveland City Council.  In addition to working as a Councilman, Kevin is an Associate at Porter Wright's litigation department, where he practices all aspects of civil litigation.
Kevin has served as a board member on several community organizations, including the Cleveland Public Library, ParkWorks Cleveland, and the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation.  Kevin has a  Bachelor of Science degree from Marquette University, a Master of Science degree from Case Western Reserve University, and his law degree from Cleveland Marshall College of Law. 

Melanie Monnette  

Mrs. Monnette graduated from The University of Toledo with a Bachelors of Education.  Following graduation, Mrs. Monnette taught students with multiple-handicaps at Admiral King HS in Lorain. While teaching Mrs. Monnette coached the school's Special Olympics team and received special recognition from the city for her efforts.

Following the birth of her first child, Mrs. Monnette took a break from teaching full-time and has subbed for several districts over the past 8 years. Mrs. Monnette's oldest son transitioned from Lorain Gifted Academy to Menlo Park Academy when it first opened, and her other two sons have now joined him as students at the school.  

Mrs. Monnette was part of the working group which founded Menlo Park Academy.  During the school's inaugural year she was very involved as a substitute teacher, room parent and coordinator of both Field Day and the Spelling Bee.  


Carol Thomas Ryan

An Ernst and Young, LLP alumnus, Mrs. Ryan served Fortune 500 clients with her expertise in the areas of organizational communication and culture, performance management, change management, and human resources management.  Mrs. Ryan traded in corporate consulting to lead professional development at Cuyahoga Community College.  The scope of her role included senior leadership training, customer service training, college-wide competency modeling, pay-for-performance program design, and overall strategic design, management, and assessment of professional development programs. Presently Mrs. Ryan independently provides select clients with communication strategy, human resources, and presentation coaching services.  Unlike students at Menlo Park Academy, these clients have not witnessed Mrs. Ryan opening fruit cups in her signature pink tutu apron.
In addition to her professional career, Mrs. Ryan is a state and local advocate for gifted students.  She serves on the Ohio Department of Education's Gifted Education Advisory Committee.  She also served as the co-chair of the Pride In Olmsted Schools Committee.  An avid reader on gifted topics (as well as fiction), some of her favorite authors and presenters on gifted education include the likes of Ruff, Reis, Rimm, Rakow, and Piechowski.  Mrs. Ryan holds a B.A. in Communications Studies (West Chester Univ., PA), and a M.A. in Speech Communications (Texas A&M Univ., TX).  She greatly enjoyed serving Menlo Park Academy as the Team Lead for Academic Enrichment.  She also applied her experiences coaching national champions in debate at the University of Pennsylvania to provide students at Menlo Park Academy with public speaking electives and delivered regular library programs to the school’s second graders.  Mrs. Ryan resides in Olmsted Township with her husband and three children, all of whom attend Menlo Park Academy.  


Menlo Park Academy Advisors

In an effort to provide the best possible education to these special learners, we have created an Advisory Council to support our Board of Directors.  This council is made up of gifted education professionals, charter school advocates, corporate sponsors, civic leaders, and other community leaders who have an interest in and knowledge of ways to help our school succeed.


Susan Rakow, Ph.D.

After teaching middle school and gifted students for 30 years, Susan Rakow is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Foundations at Cleveland State University. In addition to her secondary English, Reading,  and Gifted certifications, Susan is also a National Board Certified teacher (EA/ELA) and a PRAXIS III Assessor. She is now sharing her experience and expertise by teaching courses that prepare new secondary and gifted teachers.  She is directing the graduate program in gifted education.

Susan started an AP Teacher Support network in collaboration with the GCEDC (Greater Cleveland Educational Development Center.) She was the chair of the NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) Middle Grades Division and serves on the national Network Communications Committee. She initiated the Middle Grades Division newsletter "Middle Matters" and has served as its editor. At the state level, Susan is the Chair of the OAGC (Ohio Association for Gifted Children) Higher Education Division.

Susan has presented at state and national conferences around the country and has been a consultant for many of Ohio's school districts as they strive to improve their gifted programming, particularly at the middle school level.

In collaboration with CSU's Honors Program and College of Science, she received grants in 2007, 2008, and 2009 from the Ohio Department of Education for Summer Honors Institutes  for gifted 9th and 10th graders. Participants  have had the opportunity to courses taught by university faculty including Flying Circus of Physics, Mathematical Kaleidoscope, Connections, Art, Creative Writing, and Political Science.  In addition, mentoring was provided by CSU  Honors Program students.

Susan is committed to helping schools and teachers to attain the twin goals of excellence and equity by meeting the needs of all of their students, including those with gifts and talents.   She and her husband raised two gifted children who  grew into intelligent, accomplished, loving adults. She also has two delightful grandsons.



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