Board of Trustees

Sizer Schools Board of Trustees are responsible for ensuring that the academic program of Sizer School is successful, that the school's program and operation are faithful to the terms of its charter, and that the school is a viable organization.

Each trustee is responsible for actively participating in the work of the Sizer School Board of Trustees and the life of the organization. The Board is responsible for overseeing the vision and mission of the school, supporting the Executive Director, organizational planning, ensuring school resources, financial oversight, program oversignt, public and community relations, and ensuring accountability and integrity in all school matters.

For more information on our Board of Trustees, please contact Janet O'Hara at oharaj@sizerschool.org.

Current Board Members Include:

MICHELLE BRENNAN (Trustee - Community Representative, Vice Chair) - joined the Board in 2014 originally as a parent representative.  Married to Bruce Brennan and the parents to three sons, one a Sizer School Alumni, Mrs. Brennan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the school.  With a degree in Human Services from Assumption College, she is the Assistant Director of United Way Youth Venture program at Mount Wachusett Community College, after having worked directly with the United Way Youth Venture for years.  She also runs her own business.  As an Advocate on Capitol Hill on behalf of children with mental health needs for many years, Mrs. Brennan believes in the Think Care Act mission, that Sizer meets students where they are and that Sizer is an accepting environment for all members of our community.

JENN BERG (Trustee - Community Representative) - joined the board in 2017 after two years of participating in the Boards Academic Excellence Committee.  Chair of the Department of Mathematics at Fitchburg State University, she has been an educator for over 15 years.  She has deep interest in educating students, assessing how well students have achieved their goals, and communicating the subtle and important work of educators to those outside of the education community.  Dr. Berg has been an advocate of Essential Scholl missions since she was introduced to the 10 common principles and the learning community development practices of Essential School while she was serving as the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Fitchburg State, where she brought many of the reflective practice tools to bear on the development of higher-education faculty.  She's excited by spreadsheets, in an endearing sort of way.

TINA CHILLIEST (Trustee – Parent Representative) joined the Sizer Board in 2017. Tina lives in Fitchburg with her husband, Edward, and three children, one of whom is a current Sizer student, his twin sister who attends a private day school, and a preschooler.

   Tina is a speech language pathologist serving individuals across the lifespan with diverse needs and skill levels. In addition she brings insight, perspective, and knowledge related to many personal, educational, volunteer, and professional experiences. Through these experiences, she has gained specific knowledge related to regular education with differentiated instruction, special education regulations and best practices, related service provider issues and resources, service learning and civic engagement educational models, and supporting students with special needs. Additionally, Tina has served on the Family Advisory Board for the Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts since 2010. With her extensive experience she is particularly interested in Sizer’s commitment to service learning and is looking for a way to give back to this community.

FRANCIS P. DAUPHINAIS (Trustee – Community Representative, Treasurer) is a seasoned senior executive with broad experience in both public commercial bank/bank holding company and large retail credit union environments.  He is currently the Senior Vice President-Finance & Chief Financial Officer of IC Federal Credit Union in Fitchburg.  His experience also encompasses time spent in Information Systems with AT&T Bell Laboratories.  Mr. Dauphinais holds an MBA from Clark University’s Graduate School of Management, a BA in Computer Science from Clark University and an AS in Computer Information Systems from New Hampshire Technical Institute.  He has proven skills in project management and employee development/motivation via successful management of multiple I/T conversions and oversight of facility construction.  In addition, Mr. Dauphinais’ background includes a lengthy record of accomplishments managing investments, wholesale funding, asset sales, risk management/insurance, facilities management, human resources, employee/executive benefits administration, contracts and retail product line management.  He and his wife of 25+ years live in Holden and have two grown children.  Rejoining the Board of Trustees in June 2015 after having been on the Board previously while his son was a Sizer student, Mr. Dauphinais is currently the Board’s Treasurer, Chair of the Finance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee. His prior community service includes teaching economics at Burncoat Senior High School in Worcester, MA for Junior Achievement, serving as Treasurer of the Worcester office of MA Special Olympics, and years serving as a United Way Allocations Committee volunteer.  An avid soccer player and fan, Mr. Dauphinais has spent over two decades coaching youth soccer and, more recently, youth lacrosse.

MELANIE GALLO (Trustee – Community Representative, Chair) of Ashburnham is an experienced educator. She taught for 20 years at Fitchburg High School, serving as chair of the English Department and the Director of Dramatics.  She was a founding faculty member at Souhegan High School, and award winning essential school in Amherst, NH where she was a critical friends coach, directed and developed the graduation by exhibition senior project and helped craft and pilot a portfolio assessment system for teachers.  Melanie was the founding school director at North Central Charter Essential School, now Sizer School.  She is proud that she had the opportunity to shape the mission of Sizer/NCCES, hire its first staff and help recruit the founding parents and students to this special place.  She currently works as an independent educational consultant.  In that capacity, she has conducted over forty charter school reviews, numerous district reviews and many staff development workshops.  She has been an adjunct faculty member at Fitchburg State University for over ten years.  She teaches Advanced Methods and Curriculum and Development at the Secondary Level in the MAT program.

COURTNEY HARTER (Trustee - Ex-Officio, Sizer Executive Director) joined Sizer School in July 2015 as the Executive Director.   She has worked in education for over sixteen years, serving in a number of positions with pilot, charter, Innovation, and district schools.  She has a deep love of the Coalition of Essential Schools and believes in the power of the ten common principles.   Ms. Harter is driven by a desire to increase access to quality, engaging, progressive education for diverse students, with a particular passion for North Central Massachusetts.  She has earned a BA from Swarthmore College, her Masters from Tufts University and her CAGS from Northeastern. Married with two children, she and her family enjoy being outdoors, reading, and cooking.

STEFANIE HEITER (Trustee – Parent Representative) joined the Sizer Board in 2016 as the parent of two current Sizer students and one alumni, and was re-elected in 2018. She has been through the many changes with the school, including moving locations, staffing, policy, and performance shifts. Previously active on the Development Committee, as well as supporting Guidance, hiring, and other initiatives and programs, she is a fervent supporter of the mission of the school.   While her background is not specifically in education, she has over 25 years of experience in various aspects of work, including budget and performance management, hiring, strategic planning, leadership and team development, as well as designing training workshops for in person and online facilitation and 10+ years of experience working in human services.  With a BS in Psychology from Clark University, and a MS in Management and Organizational Change, she has a deep understanding of human behavior. Using this knowledge, and many years of professional experience, Ms. Heiter has been successful in helping individuals, teams, and organizations create plans and navigate change, improve leadership performance, and implement sustainable performance practices that produce results. As the leader of a small Consulting and Training Product Company, she understands the challenges of prioritizing the many pulls on our time and other resources.

BRENDA JONES (Director of Finance & Business Operations) who participates in our monthly Board meetings and sits on the Finance Committee has been with the school several years.  Prior to joining Sizer, Ms. Jones spent nine years as the Assistant Comptroller for the Wachusett Regional School District.  Previously, she spent ten years as a purchasing agent for the US Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management and served a two-year tour of duty in the United States Army.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Business Administration from Worcester State College and earned an Associates degree in Accounting, Cum Laude from the University of Anchorage.  She enjoys reading, camping and traveling to warm Caribbean Islands.

RICHARD LAPIDUS (Trustee – Community Representative) is the 11th president of Fitchburg State University, taking office in July 2015. He went to Fitchburg State after six years serving as Dean of the College of Business Administration at California Polytechnic University and was previously Associate Dean of Administration and Associate Professor in the College of Business and Economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he also served as chair of the marketing department.

   Dr. Lapidus earned a Bachelor’s degree from the Indiana University, a Master’s degree in Marketing from CSU Long Beach, a Doctoral degree in Marketing from the University of Nebraska and a Certificate in Management and Leadership in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before joining academia, Dr. Lapidus worked as an Account Manager for NCR Corporation in New York and as a Sales Representative for Moore Corporation in New York.

   Earlier in his academic career, his research topics included customer satisfaction, green advertising and customer attitudes toward pirated merchandise. He has published numerous articles on customer service and work-related stress. He has made presentations on both academic and industry-related subjects at conferences across the nation.  Dr. Lapidus and his wife, Lisa, live in Fitchburg. They have two children, one of which is a Sizer student.

LIISA MARINO (Trustee - Community Representative) - of Lunenburg, joined the Board in 2016.  A local business owner and long time local resident, she is a strong advocate of the Charter Essential School model.  Her son graduated from F.W. Parker Charter Essential School. Mrs. Marino holds a BA from Vassar College and an MA in Theology from Andover Newton Theological School.  She owns and operates a small hydro-electric power plant, as well as managing multiple commercial properties in the area.  Her professional experience includes medical device program management, research and development activities, commercial leasing and facilities management.  Her interest in and love of education and learning are the drivers for her involvement and commitment to SIZER.  An avid reader, she enjoys travel, baseball, the outdoors, gardening, cooking and spending time with her family.

LYN NIEMI (Trustee – Teacher Representative) is a founding faculty member at Sizer. She did her undergraduate work at the University of New England where she earned a BA in Liberal Studies, Cum Laude.  In 2001, she earned her MAT in Teaching English from Fitchburg State University. Before coming to Sizer in 2002, Ms. Niemi taught English in Amherst, NH at Souhegan High School, a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools.   Ms. Niemi currently teaches 11th and 12th grade English (World Literature I and World Literature II, respectively). She is also a 12th Grade Advisor and in Oct. 2017 was elected as a Teacher Representative to the Sizer Board of Trustees. When she is not teaching (or thinking about teaching!), Ms. Niemi enjoys   spending time with her family, reading, practicing yoga, hiking, and running. 

JANET O’HARA (Board of Trustee Staff Liaison & Manager of Executive Operations) started her career as a licensed Property & Casualty Insurance Agent in NH & MA.  She played a key role in the development of the Physicians Insurance Agency of MA (PIAM), and eventually moved to the parent company, The Massachusetts Medical Society and became an Information Manager in their membership division earning her Certificate in Leadership from Boston University, CEC. Advancing her career, she became an Operations Manager at ProActive Solutions, an international software consulting company.  As a very active volunteer and supporter of the F.W. Parker Charter Essential School from which her sons attended and graduated, she followed her desire to be a stronger part of the Essential School family.  In 2011, she joined Sizer School and is the Associate Director of Executive Operations. With a passion for things “organized and proficient”, her work has fast become as fun as her hobbies. Mrs. O’Hara loves her family time, decorating, scrapbooking, gardening, travel and a really good book.

CAROLYN SELLARS (Trustee – Community Representative, Secretary) brings to the Board a proven record of making a difference in organizations and the community. She earned her BS (Environmental Education) from Cornell University while working 20-30 hours per week at a dining hall, rising to become the Student Personnel Manager and Student Operations Manager. After college, she was a management consultant providing market analysis and marketing consulting services to companies in the energy and environmental control industries, advancing from Associate to General Manager. In nine years at the Nashua River Watershed Association she served as Water Resources Director, Staff Director of the River Resource Center Capital Campaign, Acting Executive Director and was appointed by Gov. Weld as the Environmental Specialist on the Fort Devens Redevelopment Board. As founding parent and founding staff member at Sizer (2003-2009), she provided instrumental organizational and administrative start-up support and attracted close to $2 million in private and competitive public funding for the school. A long time supporter of the Essential School model, two of her children graduated from F. W. Parker Charter Essential School and a third from Sizer/NCCES. Recognizing the importance of local civic engagement, she has served on her town's Conservation Commission, Board of Health, Capital Planning and Finance Committees. Her advocacy work against a now canceled major pipeline was featured in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue of Yankee Magazine.    Currently, Carolyn serves on the Board of the MA Watershed Coalition, on the MA League of Women Voters Charter School Study Committee and is President of the Townsend Library Endowment Fund.  She enjoys sharing her knowledge and love of gardening, spending time with her family, and advocating for important environmental issues.

SNEHA VERELST (Trustee - Teacher Representative) originally from England, moved to New Hampshire with your family when she was 14 years old.  She attended Nashua High School and earned her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Master of Science in Health Education from Springfield College, Springfield, MA.  Prior to joining Sizer in 2014, she taught Health and Physical Education at McKay Arts Academy for five years.  Mrs. Verelst is happily married to her husband, Sebastian, and they have a little girl, Zara.  Her interests include spending time with her family (especially Zara), watching soccer, being outside, traveling, and making art.  Mrs. Verelst teaches Health Education and is an 8th grade Advisor.  As well, she was elected as a Teacher Represenatative to the Board of Trustees in 2018.

DEREK T. WELCH (Trustee – Community Representative) was appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Micron Solutions, Inc. of Fitchburg, MA in January 2015.  In his role as CFO, Mr. Welch is responsible for the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Stock Exchange, Treasury, Corporate Governance and Investor Relations, as well as the Information Technology, Accounting and Human Resources functions.  Mr. Welch first joined Micron in January 2013 as the Corporate Controller.  In March 2013 he was appointed Secretary of the Corporation and in September 2013 he was named the principal financial officer and principal accounting officer.  Previously, Mr. Welch was the Assistant Corporate Controller for Alere, Inc., a provider of point-of-care diagnostic and monitoring devices. Prior to Alere, he served as Assistant Controller of the medical services division of Fresenius Medical Care; Senior Accounting Manager at Cytyc Corporation (Hologic Inc.); and as Controller for Victory Supermarkets.  He is a certified public accountant and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in accounting, from the University of New Hampshire.  Mr. Welch joined the Sizer Board of Trustees in 2016.  Originally from Meredith, NH, he has lived in Lunenburg for 18 years and is the father of three daughters; the two oldest are Sizer students.

Open Meeting Law

As a public school, Sizer is subject to the MA Open Meeting Laws.  With that, all of our Board of Trustee Meetings and Board Committee Meetings are open to the public and the minutes to these meetings are as well.

Although our meeting agenda's and minutes have always been available upon request, in the spring of 2014, Sizer School began using an electronic format for managing these documents.  If you are interested in reviewing any of our meeting agenda's or minutes that have been approved since January 2014, please visit https://app2.boardontrack.com/public/Zqto1V/meetingsList.  If you are interested in obtaining any additional information for older meetings, or in addition to what is available on line, please contact the schools Associate Director of Executive Operations and she will help you accordingly.

Board of Trustee BYLAWS

The Sizer School follows a rigid process and guideline to manage our school as effectively and efficiently as possible, as required by law.  To review the Sizer School Board of Trustee BYLAWS, please click on the link below.