The Valley School Board of Trustees
The Board is comprised of alumni parents, current parents, community members and the Head of School. The board holds the school in trust and is responsible for establishing long-range strategies and policies that will support Valley’s mission and educational philosophy for many years to come. The board's primary responsibilities are:
Upholding the school's mission and purpose, and establishing strategic plans to ensure the school's effectiveness in achieving its mission
Ensuring that the necessary financial, staffing, governance and community resources are available to the school
Providing oversight to protect the assets of the school, maintain financial stability, mitigate risks and ensure ethical integrity
Hiring, supporting and evaluating the Head of School
Victoria Mabus, Board President
A past Valley parent (Duncan and Gabe) and has professional experience in the banking industry as a project leader and operations executive. She likes bike riding, swimming, family feasts and tending to her dog Sage (who can outsmart anyone in the house when it comes to breaking into the trash).
Aravind Swaminathan, Vice President
Aravind is the parent of two current Valley School students, a Fifth Grade boy and Second Grade girl, and (hopefully) a future Valley School girl (starting in 2020). In a past life, he taught math, science and computer science to middle and high school students in New Jersey, where he grew up. Aravind is a partner at the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he counsels clients on cybersecurity and privacy matters. Aravind is an avid runner, and is on the road along Lake Washington many mornings trying to recapture a little of the Glory Days (he is from New Jersey after all).
Karen Conover, 2nd Vice President
An engineer, entrepreneur, activist, and mother (of a current Valley 5th grader and a Valley alum). She was one of the co-founders of Valley’s parent committee and in recent years she’s worked on the Building Committee, Communications Committee, and as an auction co-chair. Outside of Valley, she works for a global consulting firm on wind and solar energy projects. Karen grew up on the New Jersey shore (loves the ocean and Bruce Springsteen) and attended Duke University (loves college basketball).
Norm Bontje, Treasurer
Worked in the investment industry for over 20 years and is an active member of the Seattle Impact Investment Group. Norm serves on the boards of The Valley School, College Access Now and Social Venture Partners, and loves wine paired with foods that are likely not at all heart healthy. Norm’s oldest child, Nate, and his youngest, Alex, both attended Valley for seven years.
Matt Langa, Secretary
Matt joined the Valley Board in July 2014, one month after his daughter graduated from 5th grade. Along with a Masters in Education, Matt brings to the Board a corporate perspective with engineering, management and project management experience. He continues to learn and grow at Boeing. Wondering if an old dog could learn new tricks, Matt tackled and succeeded in teaching himself to juggle and solve the Rubik’s cube.
John brings over 20 years of experience working as a financial advisor in Seattle and San Francisco to his role on the Board's Finance Committee. Outside of work, he loves his job as Coach Dad for teams replete with Valley School classmates of his 4th grade and 6th grade sons. His wife hopes the Board will keep him so busy he won't have time to start another remodeling project.
James has 25 years of management experience in the technology and financial segments. He is currently the Managing Director of Institutional Sales and Service at Parametric Portfolio Associates and has expertise in sales, client relationships, and strategy. He is a member of the Investment Committee for The Bush School Board of Directors. When not at the office, he is putting those same management skills to use navigating life with his four active kids and wife, Emily, a domestic engineer. With two Valley grads and two to go, he is truly invested (literally and figuratively) in the Valley School and the magic that surrounds it.
As mom of current student, Beatrice, and alum, Zac, Sally has been a Valley School parent for over 10 years. In her professional life she leads Showpony, a brand strategy and creative agency, where she gets to work on her own creativity and practice kindness every day. For her a good day means time with family, a break in the weather and a lemon bar.
Alan Braun, Head of School
Alan became the Valley School's Head of School in 2014, bringing with him extensive experience as an educator and administrator. Prior to joining the Valley School, Alan spent 23 years at the Northwest School where he served as the Assistant Head of School for 12 years and as Middle School Director for ten years. His teaching background includes five years teaching fifth grade at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, and three years teaching middle school classes at The Northwest School. Alan received his Master of Education degree at Harvard University where he concentrated on teaching, curriculum, and learning environments. He brings to Valley deep expertise and local educational connections as well as a passion for the holistic development of children, the professional development of faculty, and the building of community.
Rob recently retired after 20 years as Head of School at Charles Wright Academy, in Tacoma. Prior to that he was Head at a K-8 school in Ohio, and before that he was at the Maret School and at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC (where he first met Alan Braun!). Rob has two thirtysomething daughters: Lisa (with grandson Owen) in Boston, and Laura in Oakland. Rob was an active leader in NWAIS (Northwest Association of Independent Schools), and is eager to continue his association with independent education in the Northwest. He is looking forward to retirement as a time when he can pursue further his hobby of amateur photography, spend more time on Skype with Spanish speakers, and getting involved in the community through volunteering.
An attorney at Karr Tuttle Campbell in Seattle and advocate of the unique education provided by Valley School. Ron’s oldest child, Abe, a Valley alum, graduated from Lakeside and is now attending University of Chicago. Ron’s daughter, Lena, also a Valley alum, is a rising junior at Northwest School. Ron also serves on the Board of Directors of the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle.
An experienced early childhood educator and owns and operates Jackie's Preschool. Jackie and her husband have lived in Madrona for over 20 years where they have raised two daughters. As a neighbor and fellow educator, Jackie has long admired The Valley School, its philosophy, talented teaching staff and joyful learning community and is delighted to serve on the board. Jackie was raised in an international community in São Paulo, Brazil and speaks several languages. Art, music, cooking, word games and long walks with her dog Tootsie, fill her spare time.
A longtime member of the Valley School community, Susan and her husband Walter Euyang have three children, Wally, Thomas, and Abby who since 1995, have spent many stimulating years at The Valley School. Susan had a twenty year career as an executive in publishing, new media and high-tech. In her free time she enjoys tennis, hiking, gardening, and cross country skiing. She is delighted to have the opportunity to give back to a school that has meant so much to her family.
Mark currently serves on the Building Committee, and his experience and judgment have been invaluable as the building project has unfolded. Mark is a partner at Gerard Beatty & Knapp Realtors, and his professional experience as a banker, business owner, realtor, developer, and Valley parent will be put to good use as the Board turns its attention to strategic initiatives in the coming years. Mark and his wife Michelle have two children who both graduated from Valley.
Kate Sigafoos, Community Alliance of Parents Co-Chair
Kate is a co-chair of the Valley Community Alliance of Parents (CAP) and holds an ex-officio seat on the board. She was a corporate auditor prior her law career as a prosecuting attorney. She and her husband have two children at Valley, a daughter in Second grade and a son in Pre-K. When she isn't at the gym or camping with the family, you can find Kate running corporate DIY workshops around town.
Petra is a Valley School Alumni and works in Leadership Development at Lululemon Athletica. Petra’s Mother, Paula Rees, served on the Valley Board for 12 years and Petra followed in her footsteps. Petra recently bought a house within walking distance to Valley and feels completely at home in the neighborhood. She enjoys yoga, athletic conditioning and loves dessert!