MFS Board of Directors

Montessori Family School is a non-profit entity, tax-exempt under section  501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. In keeping with that status and with the best practices recognized by the National Association of Independent Schools and the California Association of Independent Schools, it is governed by a Board of Directors who volunteer their time to the school. Board members are the parents of current students, parents of alumni, and professionals in the community who are dedicated to Montessori education.

 

The Board of Directors has three principal duties: (1) it selects, evaluates, and supports the Head of School, to whom it delegates authority to manage the school; (2) it develops broad institutional policies that guide the Head in running the school; and (3) it is accountable for the financial well-being of the school.

 

The Board of Directors acts only as a whole; its individual members have no authority to act unless they have been authorized to do so by the Board as a whole. The day-to-day operations of the school are the responsibility of the Head of School; as such, the Board does not respond to questions about such matters nor can it respond to anonymous communications.

One subset of the Board of Directors is the COVID Response Team; a list of its members can be found below.

The 2020 - 2021 Board of Directors

Andrew Westphal

Chair

Andrew Westphal is a Research Physicist and Senior Fellow at the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley. He leads a research group that studies the first extraterrestrial samples collected beyond the Moon and returned to Earth. He is the proud parent of two MFS graduates, Theresa ‘12 and Laura ‘15, who attended MFS from pre-K through middle school. He is also a Montessori kid (Casa Montessori and Walden School in Pasadena). While not a trained Montessorian, he has incorporated aspects of Montessori pedagogy in his teaching at the university level. As a result of all of these experiences, he is a Montessori zealot. Andrew served on the MFS board from 2009-2012, and on the board of the Berkeley High School Development Group for three years.  

Anne Marie Richard

Vice Chair

Anne Marie Richard is Associate CIO and Director of Student Affairs IT at UC Berkeley, where she provides executive leadership and management of academic, administrative, and student services systems, and directs student technology initiatives. She is also an active leader and participant in diversity and inclusion efforts on campus. Besides working, Anne Marie loves spending time outdoors, traveling with family and friends, and reading (lately alternating between dark detective novels and parenting or management books). She has been active with immigrant and refugee rights organizations for over 20 years.  Anne Marie is parent to one MFS middle school alumnus and one current high school student, and stepmom to a college grad.

Debora Basso

Treasurer, Finance Chair

Debora Basso is passionate about learner-centered educational models. She is currently a Strategic Partnership Manager at Coursera, a leading online learning platform for higher education.  Prior to that, she developed partnerships to grow a coding school startup, led the education technology strategy at a charter school, and accelerated Khan Academy’s international expansion efforts. Debora has an MBA from the UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business, and a BA in International Relations from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil. She joined the MFS board to learn more about Montessori education while supporting a school in the Bay Area.

Kristine Solseng

Secretary

Kristine Solseng loves to work at the intersection of community, data sciences, and creativity. After nearly two decades as an urban planner, she’s been involved in nearly every component of community building including financing, developing strategic plans, community outreach, project management, data analysis, and policy development. With a strong commitment to community engagement, Kristine educates the public about complex issues using mapping, infographics, and staff reports. When she’s not working, Kristine loves to explore the world with her 12-year-old daughter. She has been active at Montessori Family School for over 10 years, including a stint as the PA President. She enjoys anything outdoors, a good book, good food, spending time with family and friends … and, of course, chocolate.

Michael Aldaco

Michael Aldaco attended UC Santa Barbara, where he began his career in higher education in 1978 as a counselor for undergraduate students. After serving one year as a UC President’s management fellow he began work in the UC Office of the President in Oakland, where he held a number of positions, including Director of Undergraduate Affirmative Action, California’s Executive Director of the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program, and finally Assistant Vice President for Student Development and Academic Services. He retired from the UC in 2008 after 31 years of service. Michael and his wife, Luci Castruita, have three children. Two of them, Natalia and Nico, are MFS alumni. Their granddaughter, Cristina, is a student in UE.  

Gabriel Marshank

Gabriel Marshank joins the board of Montessori Family School a full 40 years after he entered the school’s inaugural class as a student – as son of the founder, Jane Wechsler. A lifelong Montessorian, he considers the intellectual curiosity sparked at the school to have been the formative experience in his life. It led him to study at Yale University, and then pursue a career in investment research first in New York City and then in London. His three daughters were born in the UK and transitioned seamlessly from their Montessori school there back to MFS in 2018. They are now in 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade at the El Cerrito Campus.

Rebecca Redwine

Rebecca Redwine is the Director of Chocolate Experiences at Dandelion Chocolate, where she leads a team that develops educational and experiential learning. In addition to her leadership capacity within her team, she is actively involved with the organization's Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee. Rebecca has a background in sales and operations management, in addition to her years as a restaurant owner in Berkeley. Rebecca's younger daughter is in her third year at MFS, and is in LE. Her eldest (step)daughter is a recent grad of UCSF. In her off time, Rebecca enjoys running, hiking, and vegan cooking.

Alissa Stolz

Head of School and Ex-officio Board Member

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The COVID Response Team (CRT)

Andrew Westphal

MFS Board Chair

Anne Marie Richard

MFS Board Member

Kristine Solseng

MFS Board Member

Elizabeth Bell

MFS Parent

Candice-Leigh Baumgardner

Board Chair, Oak Knoll Montessori School (Pasadena)

Alissa Stolz

Head of School

Caroline Hamel

MFS Communications and El Cerrito Campus Site Administrator

Shawna McCarroll

MFS Early Childhood Campus Director

Jeff Vincent

Professor of Urban Planning, U.C. Berkeley

Jeff Hester

Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University

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