BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Leah Okimoto, President
Yves Salomon-Fernandez, Ph.D., Vice President and Governance Committee Chair
Raj Dandage, Clerk
Brian Shea, Treasurer
Tomasz Kierul, Fundraising Committee Chair
Zela Astarjian, Marketing Committee Co-Chair
Naheil Qudah, Marketing Committee Co-Chair
Timothy Dodd, Programs Committee Chair
Musical Theatre Composer
Leah joined OneWorld Classrooms’ Board of Directors in 2012, after assisting with the new website and logo designs and the 2012 K-8 Global Art Exchange. She passionately believes in the power of the arts to inspire and broaden minds and perspectives. Leah has written three shows with the bookwriter/lyricist Sean Grennan: MARRIED ALIVE!, A DOG’S LIFE and ANOTHER NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. All three premiered at the American Heartland Theatre in Kansas City, MO in 2006-2007 and were published by Playscripts, Inc. in 2011. They have since been produced in over 30 regional theatres in the US and Canada. Her family musical, JUST SO (book and lyrics by David Hudson) was produced in 2003 by Open Door Repertory Company (IL) and in 2010 by The Actors Garden (IL). She is also an active tutor and enjoys working with K-8 children. She currently lives at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA with her husband and daughter.
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.
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.
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.
E-Commerce Marketing Associate, Wayfair
Naheil is a marketing associate with a specialization in e-commerce and online merchandising. She brings experience in mobile communication and marketing to the Board of One World Classrooms. With family roots in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and an international education which led her to study in five countries, Naheil has a passion for fostering a sense of global citizenship among students worldwide.
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.
Program Associate, Let’s Get Ready
Brad is passionate about social innovation, global citizenship and educational equity. Brad most recently worked in community economic development as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay where he helped run a national, cross-cultural arts program. Prior to Peace Corps, he worked as a management consultant focusing on marketing strategy within the consumer goods and technology industries. Brad graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Business Administration with majors in International Business, Marketing, and Entrepreneurial Management from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina and with honors from South Carolina Honors College. He is currently a fellow with One Degree, an Echoing Green award-winning social enterprise. Brad really enjoys adventurous international travel and diverse cuisines. He has lived on 3 continents and has traveled to 27 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
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
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.
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.