Keeping the Mission and Serving as Fiduciaries.
The board of trustees is the governing body of the school. Its members are fiduciaries who are responsible for: establishing the mission and setting the strategic direction; managing the school's financial resources to ensure sustainability; ensuring policies and governance documents are mission-aligned and legally compliant; and selecting and managing the head of school. Trustees are elected typically at the school's Annual Meeting for three-year terms. Officers are elected annually for one-year terms. The school strives to have a diverse board representing our families as well as the skill sets needed to support the strategic priorities of the school.
Meet Our Board
Ellen is the parent of alumni - Brooke and Sam - who graduated from Primary in the mid-1990s. She has served on the Board since 2013. Ellen is a graduate of Oberlin College and Temple University School of Law. She had a 30 year career working in the insurance and financial services sector as a lawyer and human resources executive. Since her "retirement" from corporate life, Ellen has pursued a number of interests in addition to her Board work. She is a court appointed Guardian ad Litem assisting judges in determining the best interests and placement of children. She also is a senior consultant for the National Executive Services Corp providing management consulting services to non-profits. Ellen also has pursued her life-long interest in yoga and became a certified Kripalu 200 hour instructor and teaches in the greater Hartford area. Ellen is committed to the Montessori teaching model and ensuring the future of the Montessori School of Greater Hartford.
Board Vice Chair
Rebecca currently lives in West Hartford with her husband, Shawn, and three children. Rebecca was born in San Francisco, CA and spent most of her childhood in the DC suburb of Takoma Park, MD. She attended the Sandy Springs Friends School, which celebrates the Quaker principles of peace, justice and equality. In keeping with her upbringing focusing on outreach and activism, she participated in a peace walk across the United States and the former Soviet Union, and was in the Ukraine when the Communist government fell. Rebecca attended college at Brandeis University where she double-majored in History and American Studies, graduating with honors. She went on to pursue graduate studies in American History at the University of Delaware, where she helped organized a peace symposium with Hugh Thompson and Lawrence Colburn, the courageous American soldiers who helped stop the massacre at My Lai in Vietnam. She spent several years as the Managing Partner in the beloved West Hartford institution The Three Dog Bakery. She continues to devote much of her time to community building, community service, and advocacy projects within the West Hartford community. Rebecca is a true Montessorian and frequently lends her passion to all causes MSGH. Most recently, Rebecca served as our Family Association President for the past four years. As an active member of our Board's Development Committee, Rebecca volunteers her time to our Advancement program's peer to peer program. Never lacking in enthusiasm or a challenge, Rebecca and her husband eagerly chaired two pasted Auction Galas. Strengthening community is her forte and you can often observe her volunteering in her children's classrooms or hosting various MSGH events in her home.
Brian Osoba is an Associate Professor of Economics at Central Connecticut State University. He earned his Ph. D. in economics, with fields in urban/regional and public economics, from West Virginia University in 2004. Before coming to Connecticut, Brian worked on the U.S.-Mexico border at the University of Texas at El Paso. He also worked at The Vanguard Group in Malvern, Pennsylvania prior to graduate school. Brian currently teaches courses on labor, urban, and public economics, along with those dealing with quantitative methods and economic forecasting. His research focuses on the effects of religion and culture on risk-taking at the level of the individual and the region. Brian, his wife, and daughter - an MSGH student - live in West Hartford.
Gülen Tuncer Senecal
Gülen Tuncer, CFA, is a Director and Research Analyst at Conning Asset Management, responsible for corporate and emerging markets bond research. Prior to joining Conning in 2011, Gulen was with Goodwin Capital Advisers, Inc., following corporate and emerging markets credits, as well as leveraged loans. She also served as the sector manager for emerging markets and foreign exchange. Prior to joining Goodwin, Gulen was with Phoenix Trust Company, co-managing various client portfolios. She is a graduate of Middle East Technical University with a BS in Applied Mathematics and earned an MBA in Finance from the University of Hartford. She and her husband reside is West Hartford with their two children both of whom attend MSGH.
Jennifer grew up in DeLand, FL where she was fortunate to have had many public school teachers who encouraged independent, student-driven learning. Jennifer is the only one of her siblings whose career is not in the field of education. That tradition started with her great grandmother who taught at the college level, and then passed a love of learning and teaching on to Jennifer's grandmother and so on. Jennifer first moved to the Northeast to attend Dartmouth College where she studied Engineering and Psychology. She completed her BA in 1995 and BE (Bachelors of Engineering) in 1996. Jennifer then moved to Atlanta and began working in the reinsurance industry as a property underwriter for General Reinsurance Company. She completed her MBA at Georgia State University in 1999. Jennifer moved to the Hartford area in 2000 and continued working for Gen Re in various roles until 2007, at which time she and three others left to form the management team of Arch Re Facultative Underwriters Inc. Jennifer is now the Chief Underwriting Officer of Arch Re Fac, a subsidiary of Arch Capital Group. Jennifer lives in Avon with her husband, Mike, and their three daughters all of whom started at MSGH as part of the Toddler 3 community. Riley and Piper are currently in Upper Elementary, and Tess is in Lower Elementary.
Attorney Steven J. Bonafonte is a partner at DCB Law Group, LLC (formerly the law firm of Davis Clark & Bonafonte) and maintains active practice in Connecticut and Washington, D.C.
In addition to the general practice of law, Steve provides general counseling services to corporate and government entities; government relations and public policy counsel; special counsel relating to privacy and cybersecurity; advice on information technology contracts and policies; counsel regarding ethics, compliance and corporate governance; and conducts complex anti-fraud and corporate internal investigations. Steve is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) and speaks nationally on cybersecurity, privacy and anti-fraud issues.
Previously, Steve served as a partner and co-chair of the Privacy, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection practice group of a large Connecticut law firm and prior to that as managing corporate counsel and the enterprise privacy and corporate compliance officer at a Fortune 100 financial services company. In prior legal roles, Steve served as the principal anti-fraud counsel to a major insurance company, developing legal anti-fraud protocols and directing major case investigations and filing of affirmative civil anti-fraud RICO litigation against suspected fraudulent medical providers and other organized ring activity. As in-house counsel, he also has provided principal legal counsel to several diverse internal business groups including Information Technology (internal compliance, vendor contracts), Marketing and Communications (legal review and compliance) and Global Sourcing (cross-border data transfer, business continuity).
Steve was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court as a representative member on the State of Connecticut's Commission on the Death Penalty, serving from 2001-2003. He also served as a member of the City of Hartford's Civilian Police Review Board from 2000-2002 and as the City of Hartford's human relations commissioner from 2000-2002.
Steve serves as the General Counsel of the Connecticut Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and is a member of the newly formed Connecticut Cybersecurity Task Force. Steve also is a member of the ISAO Standards Organization Working Group 6 – Government Relations. Steve’s children are currently enrolled in MSGH.
John Bourdeaux has worked as a professional advancement officer for most of his career, with a focus on building programs, bringing innovative thinking to the profession, and helping individuals realize their philanthropic goals. He currently serves as the Vice President of Advancement for the Connecticut Science Center, an organization dedicated to scientific exploration, teacher development, and education transformation. At the Science Center, John is responsible for the marketing and fund development functions. Prior to this appointment, John served as the Director of Development for Hartford Stage. He transformed their program, bringing in thousands of additional donors and $1M in operating revenue as well as launching a major gift initiative that enabled the completion of a multi-million dollar renovation. Prior to Hartford Stage, he worked with the Melville Charitable Trust and the Partnership for Strong Communities, organizations focused on homelessness and affordable housing policy. He has served in the development offices of the University of Chicago, The Hotchkiss School, and Yale University. In all of these positions, he has been responsible for securing tens of millions in philanthropic support while promoting the mission of each organization, bringing many new supporters and advocates into the fold.
Early in his career, John founded and managed his own not-for-profit theater company in Chicago, IL, producing modern American drama and late-night improvisational comedy. He has also served as a consultant and board member for academic institutions as well as social action and arts organizations. John is a graduate of The Hotchkiss School and the University of Chicago and Cedar Valley Montessori School. John and his wife, Suzanne, live in Hartford with son Jack (Adolescent Program Alumni) and Rose (rising 3rd year in Upper Elementary).
Julia Ladz Erlikh is a successful commercial real estate agent with Broder Commercial. Julia specializes in the brokerage of commercial and multi-unit real estate, able to successfully broker multi-million dollar deals. Prior to her real estate career Julia spent over 10 years in Investment Product Management, working for The Hartford and MetLife. During this time, in progressively more responsible roles, Julia worked with products such as Individual Variable, Fixed, and Indexed Annuities, Group Annuities, and 529 College Savings. During the span of her career Julia got to work on all aspects of an Investment Product line – pricing, budgets, legal, marketing, sales and customer support. In later years Julia was responsible for product line Competitive Intelligence and Market Research. Julia graduated from CCSU with a Bachelor of Science in Economics/Finance, in 2002 and received an MBA from University of Hartford in 2005.
Julia is a native of Ukraine. She lives in West Hartford with her husband Roman and their son Lucas, who is an Upper Elementary student at MSGH. Julia is passionate about good, healthy food and loves cooking. She has been able to share this passion with the students at the MSGH Adolescent at the Millstream Farm – by teaching cooking over the last 2 years.
William is our newest director, having joined the Board this past June, and is a MSGH alum parent. He is a graduate of the Williams College (2002) and the University of St. Joseph of Curriculum and Instruction (2016). A faculty member at Kingswood Oxford School, William is an Upper School Math Teacher, investigating the valve of flipped classroom for mathematics learning and creating math projects focused on issues of equity and justice. Over the last three years, he has been the Dean of Students, developing leadership training, overseeing the advising system, organizing new student orientation programs, and liaises with the Parent Education Committee of the Parents Association. Also as the Form Dean, his duties entail collaborating with advisors on improving the student life of the Form and working with the Director of College Counseling to prepare students for the college process. During the summers, William is a Founding Faculty at the Kingswood Oxford Leadership Institute for Educators of Color and is a Core Faculty at the Interschool Leadership Institute. He leads mentoring discussions, constructs and implements workshops with a lead focus on leadership in independent schools.
In 2015, Kingswood Oxford’s graduating class elected William as their Graduation Speaker. William has also been awarded with the Stephen B. Zaslofsky Award for excellence in leadership and the Head of School Citation for Impact on the Community.
After school, William is the Assistant Coach for both the Varsity Football Team and the Track and Field Team. If there is any free time remaining after family and work, William focuses his volunteer activities with educational organizations, and is enthusiastic about bring his experience to help guide the Montessori School of Greater Hartford.
James Guiliano has extensive construction management experience with schools and other institutions. He has worked for construction management firms including W.E. O’Neil Construction, TBI Construction Management and Gilbane. He also worked for CREC building and renovating a number of schools in CREC’s portfolio. Jim recently started his own firm and has several school projects underway including Charter Oak Elementary School in West Hartford and projects with Goodwin College. Jim also recently finished the Hartford Stage renovation project. Jim is an experienced “owner’s representative” expert in all phases of school construction. His expertise will be an asset to the school, Board and Facilities Committee as they prioritize and implement facilities strategies and improvements both at the West Hartford and New Hartford sites.
Patrick is owner and president of Clearview Consulting LLC, a firm that conducts public policy research and analysis, designs and leads public participation and engagement initiatives, develops and evaluates programs, and provides leadership and management support. Prior to forming Clearview in 2009, Pat was Executive Vice President of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, where he served as deputy director of its flagship program, Everyday Democracy. Prior to that, he served as a program officer and director of research at the Kettering Foundation and as project manager at the Harwood Group, a nonpartisan public-issues research firm. Pat also did a stint as a Fulbright Scholar in Budapest, Hungary in 1993-1994, assisting some of East Central Europe's newly formed civic associations. Pat and his wife Martha McCoy moved from eastern Connecticut to West Hartford in August 2009. Pat holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in social science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science and American Studies from the State University of New York at Oswego.
Carlos is a senior investment professional with a strong background in investment management and advisory, business development and relationship management at an leading insurance asset management firm. He has extensive experience working as a trusted partner with boards and senior management at major companies to define, implement and review investment objectives and strategies. On the operating side, he has managed complex international portfolios for more than ten years, being responsible for daily investment strategy implementation as well as compliance and performance review. He decided to leave his hectic corporate job to establish his own investment advisory firm and to partner up with his wife in bringing a casual health food store concept to Connecticut. He is engaged in the Financial Literacy Volunteering group at the Hartford CFA Society helping the community at various charitable organizations. Carlos is a graduate the Middlesex University in London, UK with a BA (Honours) in European Business Administration and graduated from the ESB Reutlingen in International Finance. He received the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 2003.
Carlos and Arzu have two daughters at MSGH. Both started in Primary and are now in Upper Elementary and the Adolescent program.
Lauren is an MSGH alum parent of EJ and Christopher. She holds a B.S. from University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. She is retired from HP (formerly EDS Government Services Division) in a variety of management and technical roles in Healthcare Insurance management and processing). Lauren was a previous Regional Director for HMS (Health Management Systems.) She is currently employed by TekSystems - contracted as a Project Manager for Healthcare/IT projects for healthcare insurers. When her children attended Renbrook School, Lauren was Chair of Connections (multi-cultural) committee and Treasurer of the Parent Association in Loomis Chaffee School. Lauren has been President of the Parent Association. She is a Member of Saint Monica's Episcopal Church and a Docent at the Wadsworth Athenaeum. And enjoys spending time with her husband, Eloy.
Mildred Unfried is a MSGH grandparent of a primary and a toddler student. She is a retired mathematics teacher who taught at the middle school, the high school and the university level. She and her husband, Douglas, are residents of Hartford and appreciate being able to spend time with their grandchildren before and after school.
Head of School
Mary McHale has been a part of the MSGH community for over twenty years, eight of them as a classroom teacher. She has worked in admissions for almost ten years and she currently holds the position of Director of Admissions at MSGH. Her other responsibilities include mentoring teachers, particularly at the Elementary level, and overseeing program at both the Elementary and Adolescent Program levels. Overall, she has sixteen years of Montessori teaching experience, having worked with various age groups in schools both in Europe and the United States. Altogether, she enjoyed a twenty-eight year career in the field of Montessori education.
She holds a M. Ed from Harvard University with a focus on language and literacy and an undergraduate degree with a concentration in Sociology from University College Cork, now part of the National University of Ireland. She received her Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) teaching diplomas in Dublin, Ireland for both the Primary (3- 6+ years) and Elementary (6-12 years) levels. She also holds a Montessori Special Education Diploma and is qualified as a Reading Specialist.
She lives in West Hartford with her husband, Billy, and daughter, Emma. Emma completed the entire program at MSGH, graduating from the Adolescent Program in 2017 and she is currently a rising junior at Watkinson School.
Family Association Co-Chair
Giannelli Aldo joined the MSGH community in 2016. She’s the mother of 4 year old, Tristan, and 2 year old, Penelope. Gia is also an active volunteer, aspiring social dancer, and travel fanatic. She lives with her husband, Luke Aldo, and their two children in Southington, CT.
Family Association Co-Chair
Melanie Subin joined the MSGH community in 2015. Her daughter, Abby, began attending MSGH as a toddler, and is now a member of the P2 class. Melanie also serves as a Director of Emerging Insights at Travelers Insurance, and loves to sing in her free time. Melanie, her husband, Jake, and Abby live in Farmington, CT.