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.
J.D. Deir, Board Vice-Chair
Bio Coming Soon
Bio Coming Soon
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 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 MPA graduate and two current students. 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.
Suzanne 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-onw who attends Menlo Park Academy, an MPA graduate who is in high school, and two who are in college. 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, 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.
Bio Coming Soon
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 High School 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 since then. Mrs. Monnette's oldest son transitioned from Lorain Gifted Academy to Menlo Park Academy when it first opened, and has now graduated. Her two other sons still attend MPA.
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.
Amanda Ross graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelors degree in History. In addition to her education, Mrs. Ross has 20 years of customer service, sales, management, marketing, development and grant writing experience. As the child of a career Navy father, Mrs. Ross traveled the country and the world and changed schools frequently. She personally understands that a "whole-child" education is an integral part of each child's lifetime journey.
For the last 10 years Mrs. Ross has been involved in the management of NIH funded research efforts for Case Western Reserve University, first as the Administrative Manager at the Clinical Research Unit at MetroHealth Medical Center and currently as the Director of the Practice Based Research Network Shared Resource at the CWRU main campus.
Mrs. Ross is serving on the MPA Board for the second time. Her first term was 2010-2013 and she is excited to once again be a part of the hard working team that helps to create the infrastructure necessary to support the important educational opportunities MPA offers gifted learners.
Mrs. Ross lives with her husband, Daniel, and their three children (2 current MPA students) in West Park.
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, PhD 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. Dr. Rakow is directing the graduate program in gifted education.
Dr. Rakow 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.
Dr. Rakow 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, Dr. Rakow 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.
Dr. Rakow 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.