Board of Trustees

Left to right: Rich Surek, Abby Alexander, Amy Jester, Mike Pomroy, Judy Olingy, Teri Meyer, Jessica Hermsen, Laura Anderson, Phil Orlandi (not pictured: Alissa Santurri and Dorothy Zografi)

Board Mission: The Board of Trustees preserves the mission of Madison Community Montessori School (respecting children & their natural joy of discovery) by ensuring the viability and vitality of the school for the education of present and future generations of students, consistent with the standards recognized by Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).

Board Function: The Board of Trustees preserves and protects the health and well-being of the school by providing strategic leadership and governance, excluding the day-to-day operations, in accordance with the mission and bylaws of MCMS. In so doing, the Board is involved in long-term decisions, oversees financial management including establishing and reviewing the annual budget, monitors board educational strategies through hiring, reviewing and retaining a qualified Head of School, and leads the school in major fundraising efforts to ensure an excellent AMI education for the current and future children of MCMS.

Board Structure: The whole board meets periodically with an agenda primarily focused on monitoring the school’s strategic plans, staying on task pursuant to the annual agenda, policy setting and implementation, and assessment of the Head of School. The MCMS Board of Trustees appoints and oversees several standing and ad hoc committees that work to carry out specific aspects of the school’s strategic plan and mission. Each committee is chaired by a member of the Board, and some committees include additional non-Board members. The standing committees are the Executive Committee and the Committee on Trustees. Presently, the ad hoc committees are Development, Finance and Head Support & Evaluation.


2018-19 Board Members

Abby Alexander
Abby joined the board in 2015. She and her husband, Nic, have one child, Matilda, who is currently in Children’s House. Before moving to Madison in 2004, Abby earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture from the University of Cincinnati. Abby works as an architect for Flad Architects and enjoys putting her professional knowledge to good use at MCMS. Abby currently serves as the Vice Chair/Secretary on MCMS’ Board of Trustees.

Laura Anderson
Laura rejoined the MCMS Board in 2014 after a one year absence, having held the role of Chair from 2006 through 2013. Laura and her husband, Scott, have three MCMS graduates, Brendan, who will be attending graduate school at the University of Chicago, and Sam and Philip, who both attend Marquette University. Laura earned a BBA in marketing and management and an MS in marketing research from UW-Madison. Prior to raising a family, she worked in the financial services and agrichemical industries. Madison has been home for over 10 years, but she was introduced to Montessori education while living in Ohio. While there, she assisted in a lower elementary classroom as well as served in a leadership role in the school’s Family Connections organization. Laura currently serves as the Treasurer on MCMS’ Board of Trustees.

Jessica Hermsen
Jessica joined the MCMS board in 2018 and is a member of the Development Committee. She and her husband, Josh, have two children, Asher in Children’s House and Indie in Lower Elementary. Jessica currently has a consulting practice focused on organization development, change management and executive communications. She holds a BA in communications and marketing from UW-Stevens Point, and an MS from Case Western Reserve in positive organization development and change.

After leaving a full-time career with Lands’ End in 2010, she and her husband, Josh, moved to Seattle to complete Josh’s medical training. In the summer of 2017, an opportunity with the American Family Children’s Hospital brought them back to family and friends in Wisconsin.

Amy Jester
Amy re-joined the MCMS board in 2017 after serving for five years during the school’s move to its current location. Amy and her husband, Josh, have a daughter at MCMS in the 6th grade, and a son who is a recent MCMS graduate. She currently chairs the MCMS Development Committee and also serves on the Planning Commission of the Town of Springdale. In addition to being a farmer/educator at Hidden Savannah Farm in Springdale, Amy is a professional family portrait photographer.

Teri Meyer
Teri joined the Board as an alumni parent in 2013. She and her husband, Luis Pinero, have one son, Emilio, who attended MCMS and graduated from the Adolescent Program in 2011. Teri has a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and a master’s degree in nursing from UW-Madison. She has 35 years of experience working with children and their families. She is currently a clinical nurse specialist and case manager at the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison.

Judy Olingy
Judy first joined the MCMS Board in 1993 when her son, Josh, was in the school’s toddler program. (Josh was the first MCMS student to go from the toddler program all the way through 8th grade, and he currently works as an assistant in the toddler program.) She has been on and off the Board since then, and presently serves as Chair. Judy graduated from law school in 1980. She practiced through the years in a law firm, with the federal government at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Department of Justice. Judy spent the last 22 years of her legal career as a professor teaching in clinical programs at the UW Law School.

Phil Orlandi
Originally from Cleveland, Phil spent 11 years in Chicago before moving to Bellingham, Washington, Houston, Texas and now Madison, Wisconsin. With a B.S. in secondary education from Bowling Green State University and a M.S. in technical education from the University of Akron, Phil has over 25 years experience working with all levels of Sr. executives, creating organizational solutions with companies like Northwest Memorial Hospital, Keller Graduate School of Management, and London-based consulting firm So Just Add Water. Phil has also served as President of the Chicago chapter of the Association of Talent Development (formerly ASTD) and the Printers Row Lofts Condominium Association. Phil and his wife, Stacey, have one daughter, J.J., who is currently in the Lower Elementary program at MCMS.

Michael Pomroy
Michael joined the MCMS Board in 2016. He and his wife, Deborah, have two girls who currently attend MCMS. Michael has a BS in cell & structural biology from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and an MD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He completed his 3-year dermatology residency at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in 2008. He is currently employed as a physician at UnityPoint-Meriter in Middleton. During his free time, Mike enjoys biking, traveling, and running. He currently has a goal to run a half marathon in all 50 states (and as of August 2017 he has completed 34). He lends his energy and expertise as the Chair of the Committee on Trustees.

Alissa Santurri
Alissa joined the MCMS board in 2018 and is a member of the Committee on Trustees. She and her husband, Phil, currently have a daughter, Isabelle, enrolled in the toddler community.  As a practicing landscape architect, Alissa is passionate about the positive physical, social and psychological effects that being outdoors has on child development. She believes strongly in the flexibility and risk-taking opportunities provided by a Montessori education. In her free time, Alissa loves yoga, whittling and cooking for her family and friends.

Rich Surek
Rich joined the MCMS Board in 2017. He and his wife, Jill, have three children who began attending MCMS in 2010. Rich served in the US Navy for 7 years, during which time he was in naval intelligence during the first Gulf War. After fulfilling his service commitment, he began his career in mortgage lending and real estate. Currently he and his wife, Jill, are owners of both Dane County Real Estate and US Lending Corp. Rich and his family spend most of their free time swimming, traveling, gardening, and being with their large extended family.

Dorothy Zografi
Dorothy is the Head of School and Director Emeritus and continues to play an important role at MCMS. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education from State University of New York at Oswego in 1957, and went on to teach fourth grade in the Michigan public schools from 1957-1960. After several years at home raising four children, Dorothy returned to school, attending the Midwest Montessori Institute, and received her AMI primary certification. At MCMS, she was a Children’s House guide from 1978-1989, Head of School from 1984-2006 and on the Board as Head of School Emeritus since 2007. Dorothy’s daughter, Anna, is also an AMI-trained guide who has been a teacher at MCMS since 1993.