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.

2019 – 2020 Board of Trustees

  • Chair: Sonny Gupta
  • Vice-Chair: Peter Henderer
  • Secretary: Christen Courville
  • Treasurer: Brie Starke
  • Head of School: Grainne Murray
Board Members 
Contact the board at


Sonny GuptaPhotoELF Edits: 2016:10:06 --- Saved as: 24-Bit JPEG (EXIF) Format 98 % --- batch crop --- crop OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sonny is a co-owner of a Richmond based 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 and were previously recognized by the INC5000 for growth.  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.  He serves on two volunteer committees to help attract and retain technology initiatives in our region: RichTech (Richmond Technology Council) and WIT (Women in Technology). Sonny and his wife Harshna joined RMS in 2009 when their son, Avi, was in Miss Felicia’s toddler class.They now have two children at RMS; little Aria is a P3 student with Ms. Pryor, and Avi is flourishing as a 6th grader with Ms. Linton.

Peter L. Henderer
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 his current law firm in 1998 and has been practicing law in Richmond for over 20 years. Peter and Armistead have two children, of whom William (10) attends RMS in Upper-Elementary. Peter and Armistead value RMS for providing students with a positive environment for intellectual and personal growth.

Brie Starke, TreasurerStarke_Brie_27A0521
Brie Starke heads a consulting firm specializing in private family office management with a focus on investment administration and IT management.  Since graduating from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland with a degree in Business and Economics, she has worked in account management at The Martin Agency and IT systems administration at both the Virginia State Corporation Commission and Albemarle Corporation.  She and her husband Rhett, a Richmond native, have two children at RMS in both Upper and Lower Elementary.

Christen Courville, Secretary
Christen has been an RMS parent since 2013. With a background in public sector consulting at the intersection of technology and learning, Christen has worked in the areas of K-12 special education, curriculum and instruction, and online professional learning with a focus on equity, diverse learners, and new teacher support. She brings expertise in the areas of human capital development, marketing, partner and client relationships, and project management. Christen and her family value the education RMS offers their children. She is committed to supporting current and future students with thoughtful leadership that reflects a commitment to a strong academic focus, extracurricular growth, and a dynamic, collaborative RMS community.

Chris CampbellCampbell_Chris
Chris has been a Richmond Montessori School parent since 2008 and joined the board of trustees in 2015. He is a community volunteer who has served as an Richmond Montessori Parent Association officer since 2013. Chris has an extensive background in sales, marketing and distribution having held various Affiliate Relation positions at Comedy Central and MTV Networks. He earned a Bachelor of Arts at Clemson University, double majoring in philosophy and psychology.

Erin Campbell
Erin Campbell is an interior decorator in Richmond, Virginia. She has lived in RVA with her husband Steve, for seventeen years. She has a daughter, Greta who has been at Richmond Montessori since her P3 year. Erin has been very involved with the RMS community for many years. She served on the Richmond Montessori Parents Association board for four years. She loves the community and really enjoys being part of such a diverse group. Erin loves to hike, cook and travel with her family for fun. 

Gaurav Chawla
Gaurav is currently a Senior Director of Transformation & Strategy at Anthem. Prior to this, he has held various Technology, Product and Transformation leadership roles at Global and Fortune 500 companies in Financial Services, Healthcare and Consulting. He holds a Bachelors degree in Engineering from IIT in India, where he was born and brought up. He has lived in the Richmond area since 1999 with his wife Aekta. They have been a member of the RMS community since 2009. Their two children are now in the Middle School and Upper Elementary. Gaurav enjoys helping non-profit organizations and start-ups with strategy and road-map development. He is also a Board Member of RVATech (Richmond Technology Council) where he helps influence technology leadership and business environment in central Virginia especially related to the next generation of people and technologies. While he spends much of his free time with his family, he loves practicing Yoga any chance he can get.

Tara Casey, Past Board Chair
Casey_TaraTara Casey is the Director of the Carrico Center for Pro Bono & Public Service at University of Richmond School of Law, where she also teaches in the fields of public policy and poverty law. She and her husband, Alan Dow, have lived in Richmond since 2000 and have been engaged with Richmond Montessori School since their daughter, Sylvie, started in primary. Now with two children (Sylvie and Ezra, both in upper elementary), the whole family continues to look forward to more learning, discovery, and enjoyment.

Kelly del Campo Merricksdel Campo Merricks_Kelly_44B0484
Kelly del Campo Merricks is Vice President of Philanthropy with Sheltering Arms Foundation where she oversees the development efforts for Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Centers and for the future Sheltering Arms Rehab Institute: a Joint Venture with VCU Health System.  She has twenty years of experience in nonprofit management, development and public relations.  Kelly holds a BS in Biology from Washington and Lee University and an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She and her husband Jason joined the RMS family in 2012 when their daughter, Mary, was a P2.  Mary is now an upper elementary student in Kalyn Gerrity’s class.  In addition to the RMS Board, Kelly is a board member of the Virginia Gift Planning Council.

Amy PaisleyPaisley_Amy_27B0009
Amy has been an RMS parent since 2011.  She is a community volunteer who has served on the school’s Advancement Committee since 2015.  Amy is a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College with a BA in International Relations and French.  She has a background in financial services, working for Capital One in various management and servicing roles over a period of 10 years.  Amy lives in Midlothian with her husband Chad and two daughters. Byrdie is a 4th grader in Mr. Hamilton’s class and Arden is a P3 in Ms. Sutton’s class.  Amy is an avid equestrian who has ridden competitively since grade school.

Bill Lane
Bill Lane and his wife Kristi are parents of two former RMS students, Karen and Matthew.  He has previously served RMS as a Board Member, Treasurer, FC Member, and Head Search. Bill is the owner of Industrial Chemicals, Inc., a wholesale distribution company located in Richmond.  He has a B.S.B.A University of Richmond, MBA Virginia Commonwealth University and an Associate in Applied Science in Wholesale Distribution.  He also currently serves on the Foundation Board at The Steward School.

Thokozeni Lipato
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.

Jennifer Pikejen p
Jennifer has developed a reputation as an energetic, strategic and innovative thinker; helping the c-suite navigate through their biggest challenges and identifying their greatest opportunities. She has over 20 years of experience building businesses, brands and organizations that deliver. After graduating from Princeton, she spent the first half of her career leading creative consulting firms. In 2003 she joined the Altria family of companies, where she ultimately rose to the executive ranks. Jen is now working work with an array of companies to help their leaders navigate ambiguity, identify their biggest opportunities and design business, brand and organizational strategies that lead to sustainable growth.

Falcon RankinsRankins_Falcon_27A0321
Falcon and his wife, Nicole, have been Richmond Montessori School parents since moving to Richmond in 2012. Falcon owns and operates PRISSEM Academic Services, a consulting business that assists higher education faculty with the development and evaluation of STEM education research projects. Falcon has degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland and recently completed a doctorate in educational research and evaluation from VCU. His two daughters regularly exploit his weakness for building Legos, and he awaits the day he has the free time to return to tinkering with cars in the garage.

P2 Sandhu
P2 Sandhu is President of The Sandhu Group LLC, a management company based in Richmond, VA.  TSG oversees franchised restaurants (KFC, Taco Bell + Subway) 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 currently serves as Board Chair for Subway’s Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust in Central VA, is a member of KFC’s national Operations Excellence Committee, and has previously served on the Community Leadership Board for the American Diabetes Association here in Richmond.  P2 and his wife, Henna, have two children attending RMS and have been members of this community since 2016.

Tami TomsScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 1.56.10 PM
Tami Toms is the Chief Operating Officer and a Certified Gemologist Appraiser at Carreras Jewelers, a family-owned Richmond retailer that recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, and she holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from The University of South Carolina.  In 1992, Tami and her husband, Clyde, moved to Richmond, and in 1995 when their eldest son, Clyde Jr., started at RMS, they began their long-lasting  journey with the school.  Their younger son, Will, entered RMS in 1997 as a toddler and graduated 8th grade in 2009.  During the boys’ school years, both Tami and Clyde were very active within the classroom, and Clyde served on the Board of Directors and the Building and Ground Committee.  Tami has served on the RMS Advancement Committee for the past two years, and along with Rejena Carreras, has been instrumental in the donation of the Middle School graduations gifts since 1998.

Edward Trageser
Ed is a community volunteer and stay-at-home dad with professional interests in the management and operations of not-for-profit enterprises. Ed is an active volunteer and adviser to various local non-profits, including service as treasurer of the RMPA from 2014-2016. Ed most recently worked in the real estate investment division of UBS as Associate Director of asset management. Previously, he worked in Prudential Financial’s commercial real estate lending division and investment bank. Ed holds a MBA from University of Richmond and a B.A. in Government and Economics from Claremont-McKenna College. He has lived in Richmond since 2013 with his wife, Sudha, and son, R.J.

John Wick
PhotoELF Edits: 2016:10:06 --- Saved as: 24-Bit JPEG (EXIF) Format 98 % --- batch crop --- crop OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJohn Wick is a Senior Private Banker and Senior Vice President for the Greater Virginia market of Wells Fargo Private Bank, with the primary responsibility for coordinating complex/customized/personalized credit, deposit, and treasury management solutions for individual and family clients. John has been affiliated with Wells Fargo and its predecessor banks since 1989, beginning his career in the Richmond area. He most recently served as Director for the MidAtlantic Region where he led the Private Banking businesses for the Virginia, Maryland, and DC markets. He and his family returned to Virginia in July of 2010 after five years in Northern Virginia. John’s education includes: Roanoke College, B.A. International Relations, McIntire Business Institute, University Of Virginia and Cannon Financial Institute. He donates his time to serve the International Hospital for Children and Richmond Technology Council.

Tom WoodwardWoodward_Tom

Tom has four children attending Richmond Montessori School. He is an educator by profession and has spent the last 15 years focused on helping educators and students use technology to improve learning in both K-12 and universities. His experience includes 10 years in Henrico County Public Schools, a large 1:1 laptop environment, as a classroom teacher, an instructional technology resource teacher, and the Director of Instructional Technology. Currently he is the Associate Director of Learning Innovation in VCU’s Academic Learning Technology Lab. He consults on technology integration nationally for a variety of partners including Dell, Apple, Discovery, and The International Society for Education (ISTE).