Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees

The role of the Board of Trustees (hereafter referred to as the Board) is to adopt a clear statement of the school’s mission, vision, and strategic goals and to establish policies and plans consistent with this statement. The Board is the guardian of the school’s mission. It is the Board’s responsibility to ensure that the mission is relevant and vital to the Richmond Montessori School community and to monitor the success of the school in fulfilling its mission. The Board selects, supports, nurtures and evaluates, the head of school. As leader of the school community, the Board engages proactively with the head of school in cultivating and maintaining good relations with school constituents as well as the broader community and exhibits best practices relevant to equity and justice.

2023 – 2024 Board of Trustees

  • Chair: Thoko Lipato
  • Vice-Chair: Kari-Lou Frank
  • Secretary: Christen Courville
  • Treasurer: Ian Meanear
  • Head of School: Gráinne Murray
Board Members 
Contact the board at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thokozeni Lipato, Chair

Thokozeni Lipato is a physician at VCU Medical Center. He is a primary care provider who also specializes in sickle cell disease and addiction medicine. In addition to his clinical practice Dr. Lipato conducts clinical trials with new sickle cell drugs. He has devoted the balk of his medical career caring for patients who are generally underserved; first with Boston Healthcare for the Homeless in Boston, MA and then with a community healthcare center in Minneapolis, MN with a large immigrant patient population. In Boston he helped start two clinics that were the first of their kind in the area: one was for the treatment of opioid addiction in the homeless population, and the other was to deliver transgender healthcare to homeless transgendered individuals. Thokozeni was born and partly raised in Malawi, Africa. He and his wife have two children at RMS.

Kari-Lou Frank, Vice President

Kari-Lou is a partner and head of the Workers’ Compensation practice group at PennStuart, and has been practicing law in Richmond for 19 years.  In addition to her work in the courtroom, she regularly advises clients on workplace safety and building cultures that prevent injuries and support recovery when they occur.  She enjoys being involved in the Richmond Montessori School community, and served for several years on the executive board of the RMPA.  Kari Lou loves spending time with her family and exploring all that Richmond has to offer.

Christen Courville, Secretary

Christen has been an RMS parent since 2013. She and her husband, Ryan, have three children that have attended RMS. Their two daughters graduated from RMS in 2021. She is committed to providing thoughtful leadership to support current and future studentswith an enduring RMS community that balances academics and extracurriculars and embraces a culture of open inquiry and critical thinking. Christen has a background in public sector consulting, working at the intersection of technology and learning in K-12 education. Currently she’s recruiting staff for her family’s senior living communities in NH and launching a start-up company to provide a sustainable transit alternative to connect people, places, and things in a personal
transportation ecosystem.

Ian Menear, Treasurer 

Ian Menear is an American-Canadian dual citizen from Toronto, Canada with a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Ian and his wife Karolyn (Kari) Graham share a passion for travel and culture having spent years living abroad in Japan, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong.  The Menear family eventually moved to Richmond, VA in January 2018 with their two children, Kaia (13) and Kaden (9) both RMS students. Ian has held various Supply Chain leadership roles over the past 20 years, currently acting as COO for Richmond based Century Distribution Systems Inc., a leading global logistics and technology company. Ian and Kari (a certified Montessori and Orton-Gillingham teacher) are true advocates of the Montessori philosophy and cherish seeing children reach their full potential.

Ryan Browning, Physical Facilities & Campus Infrastructure Committee

Ryan is the owner of a Richmond based engineering and drafting firm, Seaboard Services of Virginia. He and his wife Amanda, who he met when he lived in Utah, have been RMS parents since their son Chase joined the school as a P3. He previously served as Treasurer for the Richmond Montessori Parents Association for 2 years. For Ryan, any week that ends with he and Chase on the back 9 of a golf course is a good week.

Martha Callaghan, Chair: Advancement Committee

Martha Callaghan is Vice President for Advancement at the University of Richmond. She has 20 years of fundraising and management experience, mainly in higher education.  She began her career working in both program development and fundraising for museums in Virginia, Connecticut, and Kentucky. Martha is a native of Williamsburg, Virginia, and an alumna of Yale, where she is an active volunteer. Martha and her husband Brian joined the RMS community in 2017 when their son Ben was in Ms. Felicia's toddler class, and love the school, teachers, and community. 

Sydney Cook, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee

Sydney Cook is a Virginia native and proud Montessori kid. She grew up in Northern Virginia, attended high school in Richmond, then studied Sociology at Longwood University and Education Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland, College Park. She began her career with DC Public Schools' Office of Teaching and Learning, then spent a year with the Public Consulting Group's education practice, and then five years with STRIVE Prep, a public charter school network in Denver, CO, as their Director of Process Management. Sydney is currently the Director of Support and Trust & Safety at Prenda, a public/private education company that administers microschools, or home-based small group pods. Sydney is passionate about education reform, school choice, and DEI initiatives with a focus on social justice and cultural responsiveness. Sydney and her husband returned to Richmond a year ago and are expecting their first child in April 2023. She's excited to be of service to the RMS community, a school where she hopes to send her children one day.

Sonny Gupta, Head Support & Evaluation Committee

Sonny is the co-owner of an Information Technology Consulting and Recruitment firm, Daybreak IT Solutions. They formed Daybreak in 2009 and have been fortunate to be recognized as one of the fastest growing firms in Richmond by RVA BizSense (twice) and have also been recognized by the INC5000 for growth (three times).  Sonny obtained his Bachelors Degree from Virginia Tech in 1997 in Business Management with a minor in Psychology and has been a part of the Richmond Technology community since graduating. He serves on the RVATech Board of Trustees to help attract and retain technology initiatives in our region. Sonny and his wife Harshna joined RMS in 2009 when their son, Avi, was in Miss Felicia’s Toddler class; he has since graduated from RMS and is now a 10th grader at St. Christopher’s.  Their daughter Aria also started at RMS as a toddler and is now in the Upper Elementary program.  

Peter Henderer, Chair: Head Support & Evaluation Committee

Peter L. Henderer is a native in Wilmington, Delaware. He was educated Wilmington Friends School, Bowdoin College, and The George Washington University Law School. Peter moved to Richmond in 1998 to marry his wife, Armistead Edmunds Henderer, whom he met at Bowdoin. Peter joined the law firm of McCandlish Holton, PC in 1998 and has been practicing law in Richmond for over 20 years. Peter and Armistead have two children, of whom William attended and graduated from RMS in 2022. Peter and Armistead value RMS for providing students with a positive environment for intellectual and personal growth.

Cherice Jackson, Finance Committee

Cherice is a proven visionary and strategic leader that translates business strategies into first-class service. Before choosing full-time entrepreneurship, her corporate career in Finance and Administration spanned over 15 years with a focus in analytics, strategy, and management. Cherice is also a teacher in and out of classroom settings. For almost a decade, she has been a professor of both business and statistics classes at a local college. Additionally, she pursues the study of Love and passes on this information through her private yoga practice. She also uses her research to lead with love at her Richmond-based business, Prism Saunas and Sound located in Shockoe Bottom.

Matt Johnson, Advancement Committee

Pentagon policymaker, corporate change maker, trained mathematician, and nonfiction author. Matt's road through life is certainly winding, but that's actually been greatest asset. Because as Matt navigated each phase of his career, he was able to refine one core skill: The ability to tell stories that influence people. Whether it was compelling the United States Congress to approve critical security programs in Africa, helping Fortune 500 executives to make bold moves to redefine workplace culture, or persuading the Michigan Governor to change corrections policy to increase public safety, Matt and his teams used story to do it. Matt is now the Director of Culture and Change, where he leads communications and change for Markel Group.

P2 Sandhu, Finance Committee

P2 Sandhu is President at The Sandhu Group LLC, a management company based in Richmond, VA.  TSG oversees a portfolio of businesses along with real estate investments and development.  P2 was educated at the Governor’s School (predecessor to Maggie Walker) followed by Virginia Commonwealth University.  He was previously a member of KFC’s Operations Excellence Committee and served as Board Chair of SFAFT, where the board oversaw local marketing initiatives for 120+ restaurants.  P2 and his wife, Henna, have two children attending RMS and have been members of this community since 2016.  This is P2’s 5th year serving on the RMS Board of Trustees and has previously served as Treasurer.  He serves on the Board of Visitors for Virginia Commonwealth University and was appointed by the Governor of Virginia.  P2 is also a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

Allison Talibi, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee

Allison was born and raised in Washington, D.C. My parents sent me to independent K-12 schools. She attended the University of Pennsylvania for undergraduate education where she majored in anthropology and African American Studies. After working briefly in an attorney’s office, she did actually have a paying job in Anthropology. She worked on the African Burial Ground Project at Howard University. While working, she completed a Master’s degree in Applied Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She got married and moved to Richmond where her husband was in residency at Medical College of Virginia (VCU). They have two children (both graduates of RMS): Cameron is a junior at James Madison University and Laila is a junior at Trinity Episcopal School. She worked at Brightpoint Community College as an adjunct professor.

Rocco Tricarico, Advancement Committee

Rocco Tricarico is a husband and proud father of three girls who attend RMS. When not building science experiments, installing play equipment or painting fingernails, Rocco enjoys an eclectic mix of activities including photography, tinkering with his Jeep and studying theoretical physics. Rocco and his family are native Virginians with family roots in Richmond. Professionally, Rocco is a Chief Executive for Sfara, a multi-national artificial intelligence company, managing their product strategy, marketing and sales. Through his career he has developed a track record of success by applying vision, best practices, and novel approaches to problem solving and change management. He's well known for turning creativity, energy and innovation into strategies that create differentiation and influence buying behaviors. Over the last 30 years, Rocco has built revenue, maximized profit, captured market share and enhanced brand value in multiple languages, cultures and currencies for scores of Fortune 500 companies and start-ups.


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