The following individuals are the Directors for Willow Oak Montessori Charter School, Inc.; Willow Oak Montessori Children's House, Inc.; and Willow Oak Montessori Foundation, Inc.
Charleen Cody, President & Board Development Chair
Charleen’s parents moved to Chatham County while she was in elementary school and she graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, so she has been a long time local. Prior to starting a family, Charleen worked for a company that consulted to biotech and pharma in their marketing department. Charleen and her husband currently live in the North Chatham area with their children. Her oldest has attended Willow Oak Montessori Charter School since its inaugural year. Since she left her corporate career, Charleen has been an active volunteer in her community and in her children’s schools. She is also a part-time assistant at her youngest child’s preschool.
Judy Malloy, Vice President
Judy brings 15 years of engineering and project management experience to the Board. She holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Engineering, from her native Scotland. After graduating, she joined an international company which took her around the world, where she met her husband, and finally to North Carolina in 2014. Her most memorable projects include upgrades to London Underground’s subway system ahead of the Olympics and rebuilding water treatment plants in Iraq. Her current project, a mum to daughter Evelyn and son Ewan, is her most challenging to date. In her spare time, Judy likes to ride her bike, walk the dog and is learning to play the piano. Judy is comfortable in complex and changing environments. Her project mindset will benefit the development of the school in these uncertain times. She is delighted to have this opportunity to serve Willow Oak Montessori.
Thomas Petley, Treasurer & Finance Chair
Originally from England, Tom grew up in Milan, Italy and returned to the UK after high school. After earning an undergraduate degree in accounting and a master degree in finance, Tom wound up working at Motorola in Munich, Germany. In 2006 he moved to Chicago with Motorola and a few years later to North Carolina, where his wife Amy is from. Together they have two daughters, Lilly and Hannah, at Willow Oak Montessori.
Laura Jacobs, Secretary & Equity Team Liaison
Laura is a stay-at-home parent who has lived in Chatham County since 2005. A native of eastern North Carolina, she attended Johnson & Wales University and graduated with a culinary arts degree. Laura has worked as a pastry chef in fine dining, a caterer, and a personal chef. She has been volunteering at Willow Oak since 2016, when her child began attending Willow Oak Montessori Children's House. The values of independence, creativity, and diversity that Willow Oak fosters in its community greatly appeal to Laura and make her excited to be involved on a more formal level. In her spare time, she likes listening to music, tackling home improvement projects, cooking, and photography.
Heather Rainville, Board Member & Institutional Advancement Chair
As project manager and Quality Assurance analyst for Peraton/SafeGuard Services contracted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services since 2008, Heather manages documentation and repositories, scheduling, and training efforts as well as conducts internal and external contractor audits in support of contract ISO 9001:2015 certification. Heather and her husband Bryan relocated from Baltimore to Pittsboro in 2005 to be closer to family and expand their own to include two children, both of whom started on day one of Children’s House with the oldest graduating last year and moving on to the Hawbridge School for high school and the youngest starting 6th year in Magnolia. Heather holds a BA from Wellesley College and the University of St. Andrews with a double major in Economics and English as well as an MA from Southern Illinois University. In addition to the WOM Board and other Willow Oak opportunities, Heather serves on the Board of the Friends of the Chatham Community Library as the Membership Chair and volunteers with many local organizations such as Clapping Hands Farm and the FuelUp program at Perry Harrison School, Heather Both Heather and Bryan telecommute from home offices and enjoy the many challenges of balancing two children, schedules, a propensity for overvolunteering and full-time employment.
Lizy Wildsmith, Board Member & Operations Chair
Since 2009, Lizy has been a research scientist at Child Trends, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center based in Bethesda, MD, where she conducts research that aims to inform the well-being of families and children. She obtained her bachelor's degree in Sociology from Southwestern University and her master's and doctoral degrees in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. After a postdoctoral stint at the University of Pennsylvania, Lizy moved to Chapel Hill in 2008 with her husband, Sam, and two daughters, Dylan and Elissa. Lizy has a life-long passion for Montessori. Her mother was a Montessori teacher, and she attended Montessori schools from preschool through age 9. Both daughters attended and thrived at Willow Oak Montessori School from the age of 3. Lizy was a founding board member of the Charter School.
Frank Brainard, Board Member
Frank is a native Oklahoman who began his career as a high school history teacher. He transitioned to teaching Montessori at the 3 to 6 age level under the guidance of Margaret Loeffler and Bea Pape, two Montessorians who supported his decision to move to Bergamo, Italy where he completed his Montessori Elementary credential. A few years after his return to the USA, Frank and his wife, Margaret Borrego, established a Montessori School in the southern Appalachian community of Cashiers, NC. After several years of co-directing their school, Frank completed his EdM at Harvard University and subsequent principal certification through internships in Marblehead, MA and Auburn, WA. He worked in school leadership positions in Chicago, IL and near Seattle, WA where he began his doctoral studies at The University of Washington. Frank was Head of School at The Greensboro Montessori School for 17 years. He is a past member of the AMS Board of Directors, and the AMS School Accreditation Commission the Montessori Accrediting Council for Teacher Education Board of Directors. Frank has chaired or been a member of over 100 school and teacher education accreditation teams. He is currently on the board of B’nai Shalom Day School and Noble Academy in Greensboro, NC. Frank and his wife are strong supporters of Montessori theory and practice in public and independent schools. He is happy to serve on the Willow Oak Montessori board because of the sense he gets that this board is totally committed to the sustainability and future of this fine member of the Montessori community of schools.
Mike Dasher, Board Member
Mike was born in Toledo, Ohio and moved to North Carolina in 1989. He and his wife, Selbe Bartlett, arrived in Chatham County in 2004. Mike is a builder and developer and also serves as a Chatham County Commissioner. He is a graduate of Barton College where he earned degrees in Political Science and Finance. After college Mike joined AmeriCorps and spent a year building houses with Habitat for Humanity, and discovered a passion for building, service, and for creating community. He continued working for Habitat for Humanity for another 6 years, and eventually founded his own company to develop smart, sustainable communities. Mike enjoys spending time with his two children, both of whom attend Willow Oak Montessori. Mike and Selbe have found the Montessori principles reflect their core values of trust, respect, mindfulness, and community.
Melissa Robinson, Board Member
Janet Weed, Board Member
Janet Weed has been an Educator and Administrator for over 15 years in a variety of roles and settings. A highlight of her career was creating and leading a Visual Literacy Program for HS students and teachers in Ghana, West Africa. In 2006, Janet started her Montessori journey and has since worked at Heartwood Montessori, Montessori School of Raleigh, Montessori Community School, Raleigh Progressive School, Peace Montessori and many other schools in the area and in the Northeast. She was on the Board of Directors at Sterling Montessori and is thrilled to join the board at WOM. Janet managed the Triangle Montessori Schools Association, which provides professional development and collaboration to all of the Montessori schools in the area. Janet has taken many certification courses in the Primary and Lower Elementary Montessori levels. Janet went to NYU for both Undergrad and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration. Before she transitioned to education, she was a professional costume designer on Broadway and Primetime TV. She and her husband live in Chapel Hill and have three sons. Her boys are proud Montessori kids and are so happy to be at WOM! In her free time, Janet helps to run two organizations, The One Open Door and Wholistic Connections. She also owns her own Healing Arts and mindfulness practice called Tenth & Divine.