GOVERNING BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Leah Okimoto, President and Governance Committee Chair
Zela Astarjian, Vice President and Marketing Committee Chair
Brian Shea, Treasurer
Tomasz Kierul, Fundraising Committee Chair
Rick Atkins, Programs Committee Chair
Timothy Dodd, Ed.D.
Jorge Allen, Ph.D
Musical Theatre Composer
Leah joined OneWorld Classrooms’ Board of Directors in 2012, after assisting with the new website and logo designs and the K-8 Global Art Exchange. She passionately believes in the power of the arts to transcend language and cultural divides and to inspire and broaden perspectives. Leah is the founder and Executive Director of Aaron’s Presents, a grants program that gives young children (8th grade and below) the opportunity to lead and carry out positive projects for others. She has also co-written three musicals: Married Alive!, A Dog’s Life and Another Night Before Christmas, all of which premiered at the American Heartland Theatre in Kansas City, MO, have been produced in over 30 regional theatres in the US and Canada, and are published by Playscripts, Inc. She currently lives at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA with her husband and daughter.
Institutional Business Development, RhumbLine Advisers, Boston
Zela considers herself a citizen of the world, having grown up in the Middle East, studied in Paris, France and finally settling in Boston after teaching French at the University of Kansas. Zela speaks five languages (English, French, Armenian, Arabic and some Turkish) and works to impart the importance of global connections to people around her. Zela works for RhumbLine Advisers, an institutional money management firm in Boston, and is involved with One World Classrooms because she believes in the value of art and culture to the lives of children and wants to reinforce to them the importance of global connections.
Jorge Allen, Ph.D
World Languages Program Advisor, Andover Public Schools, Andover
Jorge was born in Panama City, Panama. Jorge is the Andover Public Schools World Language Program Advisor. He completed his undergraduate studies in Monterrey, Mexico where he earned a B.A. in Pedagogy. He later came to the United States as part of a teacher exchange program. Jorge holds a PhD from Purdue University.
Jorge is involved with One World Classrooms because he sees its potential in becoming an organization dedicated to creating teacher resources that ultimately help students understand our complex, ever-changing and increasingly interconnected world.
Jorge nació en Panamá, República de Panamá. Jorge es el director del programa de lenguas de las escuelas públicas de Andover. Él completó sus estudios de licenciatura en Monterrey, México, donde obtuvo su título en Pedagogía. Más tarde llegó a los Estados Unidos como parte de un programa de intercambio de profesores. Jorge tiene un doctorado de la Universidad de Purdue.
Jorge es parte de One World Classrooms porque ve su potencial para convertirse en una organización dedicada a la creación de recursos para los docentes que a la larga ayuden a los estudiantes a entender nuestro siempre cambiante, cada vez más interconectado y complejo mundo.
CFRE, Director of Development, The Assumptionists
Tomasz immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1994. He has been the Director of Development for The Assumptionists, a religious organization based in Worcester, Massachusetts, since 2004. He is responsible for all aspects of the organization’s fundraising and development efforts. He graduated with Masters in Theological Studies from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA.
Associate Director of the Seefurth Education Center at the EDCO Collaborative
Rick has been involved in education and the arts for his entire career. After college, he lived in Denver for 9 years, teaching at Colorado Academy and serving as the stage manager/stage director of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. Highlights from this time include accompanying the Chorale on its 1980 tour of the People’s Republic of China and a year as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher in Edinburgh, Scotland. Returning to the East coast, he has had experience with educational television, theater in the schools, instructional technology and teacher recognition programs. His current work at the EDCO Collaborative involves planning and designing professional development for teachers. He brings a passion for global exchanges, fueled by his two daughters’ involvement with non-profit organizations in Paraguay, Mexico, Honduras and Uganda.
Senior Learning Consultant/Learning and Organizational Development,
Manager of Corporate United Way Campaign, Boston Financial Data Services
As a Senior Learning Consultant at Boston Financial, Brian primary role is designing, developing and delivering customized leadership and professional development solutions to internal business partners within the organization. Brian brings over 20 years of experience in facilitation, coaching, consulting, curriculum design and management development. He has worked primarily within the banking and financial services industries.
Over the past three years, Brian has been appointed to serve as Manager of the Boston Financial United Way Campaign. In this additional role, Brian works with senior leadership to create communication events, recruit team members, organize a wide range of volunteer activities and ensure every effort is made to attain the fundraising goal.
Prior to joining Boston Financial, Brian served as the Massachusetts Market Training Manager for Bank of America where he managed a 12-person training delivery team and strategically met the training needs for 200 Banking Centers within the Boston area. He cultivated strong partnerships with his managers, provided updates to the bank’s training programs, responded to critical training needs and collected feedback from the effectiveness of the training initiatives.
Brian earned his MBA from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts and attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut where he earned his BA in History and Education.
Local Government Program Manager, Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance
Tim is a life-long resident of Massachusetts who has a passion for hands-on learning and public education. The son of a public school teacher, Tim studied political science and history at American University in Washington, D.C., where he interned at the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives. Upon earning his degree, he returned to Massachusetts, where he decided to pursue a career in education. After earning an M.A. in American History from Providence College, Tim became a certified teacher and since 2006 has been a middle school English and history teacher in Massachusetts. He is passionate about creating hands-on activities, and has developed several after school programs, received 6 grants, and actively uses a SMART Board and other technological tools in his instruction.
Tim also has a strong interest in travel and public service. As an undergraduate, Tim spent a semester living in South Africa, a unique experience he worked to bring to life in his classroom. Tim also recently participated in a program for teachers in Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana, and spent a summer traveling across the country on a train.his degree, he returned to MA, where he decided to pursue a career in education. After earning an M.A. in American History from Providence College, Tim became a certified teacher and from 2006-2011 was a middle school English and history teacher in MA. He is passionate about creating hands-on activities, developed several after-school programs, received 6 grants, and actively used a SMART Board and other technological tools in his instruction.
Since 2007, Tim has also served his community as a member of the Westborough Board of Selectmen. In this capacity, he has worked hard to initiate programs to improve relationships between the town and the residents of Westborough. Since the fall of 2011, Tim has worked full-time as a local government program manager in the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance. In this capacity, Tim works to assist municipalities in efforts to regionalize and conduct internal efficiencies.
In the fall of 2010, Tim also furthered his education and earned a Doctorate in Law and Policy from Northeastern University. In his free time, Tim enjoys kayaking, sailing, skiing and reading.
Director of Sales, Sproxil
Jaime Stern is the Director of Sales at Sproxil, responsible for all multinational accounts globally. A revenue focused sales manager with over 15 years’ experience, and particularly talented in establishing and maintaining strong interpersonal client relationships, Jaime is a motivated and detail-oriented professional, possessing superior leadership, communication, and organization abilities.
Throughout Jaime’s professional career, his experience has ranged from small, privately owned businesses to multinational corporations, including Philips Healthcare and Alliance Medical, where he sold and leased multi-million dollar capital equipment. With a 10 year focus on healthcare and medical sales, Jaime has consistently been in the top tier of performers, with deals ranging from multi-year marketing contracts to $5 million, one-time purchases. In addition to his professional career, Jaime also has taught ESL and Citizenship courses at various public institutions. He hopes to increase his teaching efforts over the coming years.
Jaime has worked and traveled to over 40 countries, and is able to quickly adapt to unexpected challenges. The positions have been fast-paced and broad in scope, and have required Jaime to react quickly and decisively, provide strong financial and strategic planning, and maintain an understanding of current political and cultural landscapes. Jaime has been instrumental in starting up, turning around, and growing revenue at various enterprises. He holds a BA from Tulane University, and a Master’s of Education at Rhode Island College. Jaime currently resides in Boston, MA, and spends his limited free time fishing, playing baseball, and traveling.
Yves Salomon-Fernandez, Ph.D., Former Board Vice President
Raj Dandage, Former Board President
Brad Vanderford, Former Board Member
John LeBaron, Former Board Member
Jim Sachs, Former Board Co-president and Strategic Planning Committee Chair; Current Strategic Planning Consultant
Ph.D., Dean of Institutional Planning, Research and Assessment at MassBay Community College, Boston
Having grown up outside of the United States, Yves brings rich lived experiences and perspectives to the Board of OneWorld Classrooms. She is a passionate advocate for nurturing a sense of global awareness and cultural competence in children at a very young age. As an educator, Yves is a strong proponent of using the arts to tap into students’ multiple intelligences and to make connections with other academic subjects like mathematics. Yves is fluent in French, Spanish, English, and Haitian Creole. She has lived in or traveled to 18 countries. Prior to her current position at MassBay Community College in Wellesley, MA, she worked with the Massachusetts Department of Education on projects related to MCAS, assessment, and accountability. She has also consulted with the Bermuda Ministry of Education.
Founder and Executive Director of RSDI LLC
A son of two Indian immigrants, Raj Dandage has a deep understanding of the importance of learning about other cultures. He loves to travel and experience new places. He also understands the importance of education, having served as co-founder of web-based learning company, Cognate Technologies, and later as a founding board member of the American Disaster Preparedness Foundation. Raj is interested in utilizing his background in technology to further the mission of the organization by allowing students around the world to communicate more effectively.
Retired Education Technologies Professor
Having devoted most of his career to education, John has taught from middle school grades through university doctoral levels of study. In 2010, he retired as the Jay M. Robinson Endowed Chair for Educational Technologies at Western Carolina University, a UNC campus. Earlier, he served as Professor of Education at U Mass Lowell and as Executive Director of Massachusetts Educational Television. He has held two Fulbright scholarships, Canada Council, and Québec doctoral fellowships. Author-editor of five books, John has contributed extensively to scholarly-professional journals. He has specialized in online education and joined the OWC Board in late 2012.
Entrepreneur Consultant, Sinapis
Brad currently works in Nairobi, Kenya as an entrepreneur consultant for Sinapis, a business accelerator program that empowers entrepreneurs through training, mentorship, consulting and access to seed capital. Prior to Sinapis, Brad worked as a SME consultant, advising companies in the consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, and software industries. He was a founding fellow with One Degree, an Echoing Green social enterprise tech startup that is revolutionizing the way low-income families connect to poverty-fighting resources. Prior to One Degree, Brad served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay where he helped run a national, cross-cultural arts program. He is fluent in Spanish, speaks basic Guaraní and is working on Kiswahili.
Brad is a summa cum laude graduate in International Business, Marketing, and Entrepreneurial Management of the University of South Carolina, where he earned a BS in Business Administration and graduated with honors from South Carolina Honors College. He is deeply motivated by his faith as well as his passion for market-based solutions to poverty, and he feels most alive when he’s exploring the world through adventure travel. He has lived on 3 continents and has traveled to 27 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Managing Principal and CEO, JF Sachs and Associates LLC
Jim joined the OneWorld Classrooms’ Board of Directors in 2013. Jim has held multiple senior executive roles in the financial services industry, managing business divisions of organizations such as JP Morgan Chase, T. Rowe Price, ICMA Retirement Corporation, The Boston Company and Shearson-Lehman. After leaving Fidelity Investments in 2008, Jim decided to form a management consulting firm that works with senior executives in financial services firms on their strategic vision, planning and operational simplification. He is currently the owner and CEO of that organization.
Jim’s interest in OneWorld Classrooms is due to his early exposure to gaining a global perspective of the world and its varied cultures when he had the opportunity to spend a year studying abroad in Japan while in college. It was an eye opening experience for a person who grew up in a small rural town, and he has remained committed to finding ways to help others gain horizon-expanding perspective as early as possible in their lives.