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Board of Trustees

The work of The Little School Board of Trustees is to ensure we embrace opportunities to further the mission of the school. As children, teachers and families experience this as the joyful present of The Little School, the Board of Trustees ensures that the school is foundationally sound and prepared for the vibrant future that lies ahead. The Board enthusiastically and wholeheartedly stands with the school in forwarding justice, equity, inclusion and sustainability and brings these values into its learning, work and strategic planning.

Abhishek Dubey is the parent of two current Little School students. He is a strong advocate of progressive education in general and the fantastic Little School community and campus in particular. Abhishek is trained as a computer scientist and has spent over a decade in the Pacific Northwest working for Amazon where he currently coaxes machines to pretend to be intelligent. He enjoys reading and tossing a ball with his two kids, cooking, playing the guitar and skiing with his family.

Joined TLS Board: 2017
Role: Trustee

Ada Duan is the parent of a current Little School student. She is inspired by the curiosity and creativity of children and believes in building a better world through education and empathy. Ada currently leads Social Impact and Partnerships for Mojang Studios. She has over 20 years of experience in the video game, media and entertainment industries and has held various leadership positions at Xbox, Lucasfilm, Disney, LeapFrog and AOL. Outside of work, Ada enjoys running around with her kids, culinary adventures, yoga and international travel.

Joined TLS Board: 2021
Role: Trustee

Barbara Sullivan is a retired teacher who first taught at TLS in 1974 and who is honored to have spent 30 of her 40 career years at The Little School. She is passionate about child development and progressive education and is delighted to have the opportunity to be on the Board. Barbara enjoys spending time with her family, friends and communities, hiking, practicing yoga and traveling anywhere in the world that her feet or an airplane can take her. She also likes to bake cakes.

Joined TLS Board: 2021
Role: Trustee

After graduating from Whitman College with a B.A. in Economics, Dan Westfahl has accumulated years of experience in data analysis, accounting and financial planning in mid-sized technology companies. Today he works in service sales at Apptio, which delivers technology business management capabilities to some of the largest global companies. He and his wife Shannon are Bellevue natives who live in Sammamish with their three kids, dog Charlie and chickens. His family began their experience with The Little School when his daughter was a first grader. She has since outgrown, followed by her brothers, all of which benefitted from The Little School's engaging curriculum. When he is not working, Dan likes to get outside for a hike, play lacrosse or basketball with his kids or fire up the BBQ.

Joined TLS Board: 2018
Role: Chair

Davin Chin is a parent of two Little School alums. Professionally, Davin is a patent attorney and managing member of a law firm that assists a variety of high-tech companies in protecting their innovations. Prior to law, Davin was an electrical engineer developing wireless communication systems. In his free time, he enjoys skiing and learning about different cultures. 

Joined TLS Board: 2018
Role: Secretary

Julie Kalmus is the Head of School at The Little School and is honored to steward the school’s culture of curiosity and collaboration. She is a passionate educator, leader and designer committed to fostering excellence. With a deep commitment to innovative progressive education, Julie has worked in independent schools and higher education for over 25 years. She has led the design and launch of multiple initiatives, including an international school in Mumbai and a graduate school of education in Seattle. Being nestled in the forest is the perfect setting for Julie. Throughout the year, she and her family spend time in the outdoors hiking, skiing and relishing in nature.

Joined TLS Board: 2019
Role: Head of School

The parent of three Little School students, Kelly Chang is a consultant specializing in nonprofit organization management, particularly in the education and healthcare industries. Her focus has been providing visioning, process design, strategy, data analysis and business plan development for social enterprise start-ups. Prior to consulting, Kelly worked in leadership positions for various health and education organizations including Amaran Biotechnology, Community Health Plan of Washington, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the University of Denver High School.

Joined TLS Board: 2014
Role: Past Chair

Ken Wong has a MSW from the University of Washington and has been directly and indirectly supporting youth on the Eastside for more than 25 years. He currently works for the Bellevue School District as the Supervisor of Equity and Student Success. In this role, he supports staff who work with students, especially students of color, be successful. Ken believes in the work around equity and social justice that The Little School is doing. When he is not working he likes the outdoors especially being at the beach and when he can out fishing and hiking. 

Joined TLS Board: 2019
Role: Trustee

Kendra Petkau is a parent of two Little School alums. She is a strong advocate of progressive education, and is excited and proud to serve on the board to ensure The Little School's success for generations to come. Kendra started her career working domestically and internationally as a management consultant and software developer. After putting down roots in the Pacific Northwest, she received her Master in Teaching degree and worked as an elementary teacher. Kendra has been an active volunteer at The Little School in various roles such as PAC chair and treasurer, chair of the auction committee and room rep. She also serves as volunteer coordinator for several community organizations.

Joined TLS Board: 2016
Role: Trustee

Kristin Condit is the parent of three children at The Little School. Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Kristin holds bachelor's and master's degrees from MIT in electrical engineering. She has over 15 years of experience leading product and engineering teams in the tech industry and currently works at Microsoft. In her free time, she enjoys enlisting her children in wacky culinary experiments and is especially passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion.

Joined TLS Board: 2020
Role: Trustee

 

Laura Machado de Wright is the parent of two Little School alums and has a deep appreciation for the opportunities education can provide and the importance of community. An alum from the United World College of the Atlantic and University of Washington, Laura has served as a member of the US Selection Committee for the United World Colleges and as a board member for the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students at the University of Washington. She also mentors a girl in Kenya that is pursuing educational opportunities through the Global Give Back Circle. Professionally, Laura is a Principal PM Manager for Enterprise Protection and Detection in Microsoft's Cloud & AI Security Group, her most recent position in her nearly 20 years at Microsoft.

Joined TLS Board: 2019
Role: Vice-Chair

Leslie Harris-Johnston is the Director of Equity and Social Action at Eastside Catholic School. Leslie was welcomed onto the EC Middle School Humanities faculty in 2019 and accepted an additional role of director of equity and social action in January 2020. Currently, she is not teaching a daily class but often guest teaches. She earned her master’s degree from New York University and her bachelor’s degree from Mount Vernon College. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Saybrook University and will receive her master's degree in Clinical Psychology in June. Prior to EC, she most recently worked as an instructional coach at The Overlake School. She has lived in the Seattle area since 2018 after moving from Iowa, where she lived for six years. For four years in Iowa, Leslie worked at Maharishi International University (MIU) as the Housing/Mailroom Director and studied Ayurveda and also became a Zumba instructor. Before moving to Iowa, Leslie lived in Jacksonville, Florida where she was born and primarily raised. In Florida, she worked in a variety of education roles, including as a secondary English and reading teacher, an English and humanities college professor, a co-founder and co-principal of a school and an instructional coach.

Joined TLS Board: 2022
Role: Trustee

Lisa Decker is the parent of an alumna who attended The Little School from age three through outgrowing in the Class of 2018. She is a passionate advocate of progressive education and has deep knowledge of child development. Lisa has a BA in English from Vassar College and is a writer and poet. She runs a small pet care business, Dogwood Dogs, and spends her work days hiking in the forest with a pack of dogs. Lisa believes deeply in the power of children’s ideas and and is working with her daughter, Stella, to create an art advocacy platform to help kids amplify their voices and work together to create positive change in the world. In her free time she enjoys hiking, backpacking, cooking and live music.

Joined TLS Board: 2018
Role: Trustee

Mike Murphy passionately facilitates social justice and equity learning at TLS, as well as with Eastside Race and Leadership Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing racism and xenophobia in East King County communities. He is also active in homeless and low-income outreach. When he’s not following these passions, you’ll likely find him at either Bellevue or Seattle Pacific Table Tennis clubs, both in Bellevue.

Joined TLS Board: 2018
Role: Board Ex-officio, Classroom Continuity Liaison

Nick Zosel-Johnson is an elementary educator at heart. Nick taught in both public and private schools for ten years prior to leading an elementary division preschool-grade five. Nick is currently the Lower School Admissions Director at Annie Wright Schools. He believes in the power of early education and delights in supporting communities that help young children thrive. Nick enjoys spending time with his young children, camping, hiking and skiing. 

Joined TLS Board: 2022
Role: Trustee

Pamela Kessler is originally from Los Angeles, California, where she earned a BA in education and linguistics. She spent several years as an early childhood educator before moving to Europe and finally to Seattle with her husband and daughter. She been a proud parent at The Little School for eight years, where she has applied her passion for progressive education as an enthusiastic volunteer, working as school auction co-chair for four years and a classroom rep for three years. In her free time, Pamela loves to help friends with interior design, travel, sew and make delicious cocktails and mocktails for her friends and family. 

Joined TLS Board: 2021
Role: Trustee

Tina Knutson is a parent of a Little School alumna who outgrew in 2020. She believe strongly in the benefits of a progressive education and is honored to have the opportunity to serve on the TLS Board of Trustees. Professionally, Tina is the President and CEO of a Bellevue-based business consulting company. Tina has a degree in economics and history from Claremont McKenna College. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter and dogs, gardening, cooking and crafting.

Joined TLS Board: 2018
Role: Treasurer

Zarry Tavakkol has watched all three of her children bloom at The Little School over the last few years. She has one son who is a current TLS student and two sons who have outgrown. She is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist, practicing in Everett, Washington. She is passionate about progressive education and an advocate for TLS. In her free time, she like to cook, run, ski and spend time with her family.

Joined TLS Board: 2019
Role: Trustee