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 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:
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.
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.
Kelly Nelson received her B.A. in Political Science from Ohio University then did two years of research and grant analysis for the Director of Legislative Policy at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. After several years of working with state legislators and the large staff at the OAG’s office, Kelly became interested in another aspect of public service: non-profit organizations. The switch to the non-profit sector meant returning to her hometown of Cleveland to begin doing development work with The Episcopal Diocese of Ohio. Kelly took on a dual role serving as a grant administrator for the Episcopal Community Services Foundation, as well as a Community Engagement Program Officer for the Office of Peace and Justice Ministries.
When Kelly’s superior accepted a position at a neighborhood Community Development Corporation to focus on urban development, Kelly took the opportunity to segue to a new industry as well, to gain experience in small business development. Kelly took a position at MIMsoftware Corp, a growing biomedical software firm. MIMsoftware was looking to pursue federal research funds being allocated to small businesses, and hired Kelly as the Director of Government Funding and Grants. Kelly spent two years researching and matching MIMsoftware to Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant opportunities through the National Science Foundation and other Federal entities.
Following that role, Kelly was sought by the senior pastor of her large church to chair the Human Relations committee of their large church. Kelly thought her experience in leadership through non-profit work could be an asset and accepted the role. Kelly quickly realized that confusing job descriptions, outdated pay scales, and lack of clarity on employee expectations led to a unhappy and under-performing staff. For the next three years, Kelly worked with her committee, clergy and consultants to perform an entire reorganization of the staff. Once the reorganization plan was complete, all openings had been filled and new employees had a significant period of adjustment to their roles on staff, Kelly felt the time was right to allow another committee member a chance to lead the committee. As Kelly was wrapping up her tenure with the church, she became very interested in the developing plans at her children’s school to relocate to a new campus. Kelly again believed she could lend assistance to the project as both a professional and a parent at the school. Kelly has accepted the role of Chair of the Building Bright Futures Capital Campaign of Menlo Park Academy, a charter school for gifted children in Cleveland. Together with capital campaign consultants, a volunteer committee, and Board Chair Teri Harrison, the group has developed a strategy to raise $2.5 million for the project that will become the new campus for the school.
Dan O’Malia currently works for KeyBank as Business Resource Center Relationship Manager covering 84 branches in Eastern New York and New England. Most recently, Dan was a Small Business Relationship Manager working out of the Strongsville, Ohio KeyBank branch.
Prior to starting at Key, Dan spent most of his professional career in Retail Management, Sales, and Customer Service with Sprint/Nextel and Apple Inc. He also spent 3 years in the non-profit sector as the Director of Development and Marketing for a faith based organization that provides homes for adults with developmental disabilities.
Dan was born and raised in Cleveland and graduated from St. Ignatius High School and John Carroll University with a B.A. in History. He finished his college degree abroad at The University of College Galway in Ireland. He lives in Lakewood with Jennifer, his wife of 17 years, and their 4 children: Tiernan (15), Finn (13), Kiely (12), and Cavan (6). Cavan will be a first grader at MPA this fall.