Board of Trustees


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

Scot PartlowScot Partlow, President
Now in his second term as a Trustee, Scot is beyond excited to be leading the Board of Trustees through this amazing time and all the possibilities that a new Strategic Plan, as well as the transition to a new Head of School, bring to our community. He is passionate about The Valley School, serving on the FUNdraising (auction) and Philanthropy committees, as an Admission Ambassador, and has been an active Trustee supporting the accreditation process and membership/governance activities. He is a co-owner and operator of a small baking company in Seattle and is grateful that this small business survived the global pandemic (despite not having a contingency for that in his business plan). He and his family (husband and rising 8th grader/Valley School alum son) enjoy gardening, gaming, eating, traveling, and spending time in the mountains.
Megan GebhardtMegan Gebhardt, Vice President
Megan has two Valley School students, Mason and Wyatt. She is a practicing attorney with her own firm, with a focus on estate planning. On the side, she helps her husband John with the Taco Bell restaurants they own and operate in Eastern Washington. They are proud that their company was recently awarded a good neighbor award at the state level for the community outreach program that they developed to support the local communities where their restaurants are located. From 2017-2020, Megan served on the leadership committee the Community Alliance of Parents (now called Families at Valley). She also serves on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement and is a lecturer for the annual PEPS parent lecture series. Megan grew up locally, went to St. Mary’s School of California for undergrad, where she studied the classics and ran Division I cross-country, and then came back home for law school at Seattle University and has stayed ever since.

SethSeth Bergeson, 2nd Vice President
Seth started kindergarten at Valley in 1993 and has fond memories of building forts and playing on the playground. His mother Connie taught first grade at Valley for nearly 20 years and instilled in him a passion for learning and play. Seth attended The Bush School and Whitman College, recently completing an MBA and MPA at the University of Washington. He pursued his passion for education after college as a Watson and Fulbright fellow, researching children's games and teaching English in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Seth has since worked in global development and politics and is now a strategy consultant for the tech sector. Remaining true to his roots, he's excited to return and contribute to the school that gave him his start!
TuneyTuney Kannapell, Treasurer
Tuney is a long time educator with 20 years experience at the Northwest School as a teacher, Middle School Director and Assistant Head of School. She also previously served on the board of Meridian School for six years. She recently left NWS and is taking a break from paid work (although she has lined up some consulting gigs that are keeping her busy). Tuney has a good grasp of Valley's mission, values and educational philosophy and they align with her values as an educator. In her spare time Tuney plays soccer and spends as much time in the mountains as she can.

TheaThea Handelman, Secretary
Thea is a parent of two current Valley students, Elias and Dashiell, as well as Sidney who hopes to join Valley in 2023. Thea is the Vice President of Tax at Zillow Group where she leads a team focused on helping the company solve its customers’ real estate needs. Thea earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Yale University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Oregon School of Law, and Master of Laws in Taxation from NYU Law School. Thea is also a board member of the Women’s Justice Initiative, which seeks to combat gender based violence and inequality amongst indigenous women in Central America.

AlanAlan 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. Early experiences in life, both growing up in Ghana and leading wilderness canoe trips in college, developed passions for global and experiential education. As a school leader, Alan values working collaboratively to build the practices and policies that ensure the sustainability of a school and the wellbeing of children.
GiselleGiselle Furlonge
Giselle has been a student, teacher, advisor, coach, administrator, and consultant in independent schools for over twenty years and currently serves as the Associate Head of School at Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences (SAAS) in Seattle, Washington. With experience in both day and boarding schools at the middle and high school levels, she has held a variety of roles, but none treasured more than the time she spent as a teacher of Latin and Ancient Greek and as a basketball coach. Growing up as a first-generation American has shaped Giselle’s intellectual habits as a creative systems thinker and builder of partnerships. She has the experience of an educator who has participated in and led groups at the curricular and strategic levels of organizational change and is committed to modeling daily the inquiry practices of bias resistance, skills of cultural competence, and ethos of service. Giselle is most passionate about embedding the values of vigorous collaboration, expansive listening, and ongoing reflection as a means for growth in organizations big and small. She lives with her fellow educator husband, rollicking pre-schooler, and rescue pup Hector. 
IraIra Gerlich
Ira was raised in Seattle and went on to college at the University of San Diego where he graduated with a degree in Business.  After moving back to Seattle he met his current business partner and discovered an opportunity to create community through thoughtful building development and programming. They created their own company (evolution Projects) and together have created places they love with people they care about. In addition to evolution Projects, Ira is an owner and board member of evo, as well as, a co-owner of the local restaurant group, Sea Creatures. He is also a member of the Seattle Children’s Foundation Board and most recently spearheaded the creation of a new org within the Hospital called NextGen that focuses on creating a community of people who will be the next generation of leaders at Seattle Children’s by focusing not so much on how much you can give but what you can give. Ira believes the most important thing that he does is being a father to Valley students Maxwell and Niko. His family is very close with many other Valley families and they do not take these relationships for granted. Ira says,"The sense of community at Valley is something to be proud of, something to cherish, something to protect, and something to foster."
Todd LeberTodd Leber Photo
Todd is the father of two current Valley students and one recent Valley graduate. For the past 12 years, Todd worked at the Seneca Group as a real estate consultant and advisor for clients including Amazon and Mary’s Place. Todd is currently pivoting his career into mission-driven and non-profit work. Todd is the Treasurer of the Seattle Center Foundation Board and is passionate about supporting public spaces that foster community, arts and culture. Todd received his BA in International Relations and played soccer at Stanford University and received an MBA from the University of Arizona. Todd loves soccer and coaching and has enjoyed introducing soccer to his kids and many Valley students over the years.
GaryGary Manca
Gary, the parent of two students at Valley, is an appellate attorney with the law firm Talmadge/Fitzpatrick. He has volunteered for committees that work to improve the court system and the cause of civil justice in Washington state. Before becoming a lawyer, Gary worked for a nonprofit organization; co-founded a civic action group; and served on the board of another nonprofit organization. He has a B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Washington and loves going out for sushi with his wife, playing with his kids, and exploring his hobbies (Husky football, board games, drawing, gardening, thrift shopping). The son of an immigrant, Gary brings to the Board a passion for The Valley School's mission and its commitment to nurturing diversity, equity, belonging, and justice within the school community and beyond.

ShavetteShavette McGhee
Shavette has worked in the education field, both in higher education at Seattle University, Lewis & Clark College, and Western Washington University and, for the last eight years, in independent school education at University Prep as the Director of Diversity and Community and currently as the Director of Enrollment Management. Shavette is a proud Army brat who went to four high schools in three states and two countries. She received her BA from Washington State University and her M.Ed. from Western Washington University. She has two children: a daughter at UPrep and a son, Kamden,  at Valley. Thanks to her experience in Pre-K at Valley, she is now the proud mom of three hermit crabs. Shavette loves to travel and is an extreme Disney fanatic. 

KathiKathi Rosen
Kathi is lucky to parent two girls, and the youngest, Kestrel, is currently at Valley. She is honored to care for many other children through her work as a pediatrician. After putting herself through college, Kathi started her career as an engineer working on medical devices. Over time, the desire to care directly for patients drove her to become a pediatrician. These days, when not caring for children, both her own and others, Kathi tries to keep active through (very slowly) running and rock climbing. Her favorite times are adventuring in the mountains with her family. Kathi is excited to support The Valley School’s incredible mission.

KateKate Sigafoos, Past President
Kate has one current Valley School student and one Valley School alumni who is now in middle school. She is an employment attorney at Microsoft and was a member of the Families at Valley leadership team. Kate also serves on the board of the American Justice & Equity Group, a non-profit working to provide visibility into criminal justice data. If you can't find Kate in the city, check the Methow where she and the family can often be found (hiding) hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and lounging by the river.
AravindAravind Swaminathan
Aravind is the parent of two Valley alumni, and a future Valley School student (starting in 2021). 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). 

MelindaMelinda Torres
Melinda is mom to Stella, class of 2019, and Derek, class of 2021. Melinda has co-chaired the Valley FUNdraising (auction) committee for four years and the forecast is that she may keep doing so for the rest of her life. Melinda is a principal and Director of Client Development at branding and marketing firm Doubleknot Creative. When she's not running auctions or new business meetings, Melinda spends her time reading, labeling bins and such in her house, and planning the next adventure with her husband Mike and the kiddos.

Megan WMegan Wyatt
Megan is the Managing Director of Programs and Strategy at the Bezos Family Foundation where she oversees early childhood grant making and programs. As the Foundation's first hire in 2008, Megan has worked closely with its leadership to build a team and increase impact through funding and Foundation-led initiatives. Prior to her role at Bezos, she spent seven years at the Robin Hood Foundation, a poverty-fighting organization in New York City. She is also the mom of two curious and energetic Valley School boys.