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, Manager of Executive Operations and Staff Liaison to the Board, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Board Members Include:
MICHELLE BRENNAN (Trustee - Community Representative, Chair) - joined the Board in 2014 originally as a parent representative. In 2016 she became Chair of the Governance Committee and in 2019 stepping off of Governance, she became the Board Chair. In addition, she attends the Sizer Foundation meetings in representation of the Board of Trustees.
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.
MELANIE GALLO (Trustee – Community Representative, Vice-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, an 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. In addition to sitting on the Board of Trustees for over 12 years, she also sits on the Sizer Foundation Board.
Melanie currently works as an independent educational consultant. In that capacity, she has conducted over 60 charter school reviews and numerous evaluations. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Fitchburg State She teaches Advanced Methods and Curriculum and Development at the Secondary Level in the MAT program. She has served as a facilitator for NISL, National Institute for School Leadership. Melanie has led a variety of workshops geared for educators and presented at conferences on both the national and state levels.. A contributing writer to Standards of Mind and Heart: Creating the Good High School, she is currently working on her first book.
AMANDA LOPEZ (Trustee- Community Representative, Treasurer) - TO FOLLOW
JENN BERG(Trustee - Community Representative, Secretary) - joined the board in 2017 after two years of participating on the Boards Academic Excellence Committee, and in 2019 became the Committee Chair.
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 School 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.
JENNIFER BARLOW (Trustee - Community Representative) – Joined the Board in 2020 after five years of participating in the Board’s Finance Committee and Development Committee. A resident of Fitchburg, she has two sons, one a Sizer Alumnus and the other a 10th grader. Ms. Barlow was immediately inspired by Sizer’s ‘Think-Care-Act’ mission, and has been committed to the community and the success of the school since day one.
She holds a BA in Mathematics from Ithaca College, and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. For the past 20 years she has been the IT and Finance Director for the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, overseeing the organization’s budget, financial reporting, donor management, website, network and IT operations. Previously Ms. Barlow held positions in project management, institutional research and programming, all for institutions of higher education. She enjoys volunteering for non-profits, and was Director and Treasurer of Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies from 1997 to 2006, overseeing the successful efforts to purchase a building for the Center in Medford. In her free time she is a competitive swimmer, racing throughout the northeast in meets, open water races, and as a member of a triathlon relay team. She enjoys taking long hikes with her black lab; and joined Fitchburg’s Greenway Committee to help steward and raise awareness of Fitchburg’s extensive trails, parks and conservation areas. She also enjoys reading a thoughtful novel, cooking, meditation, theater, and seeing live music at local venues.
RICHARD LAPIDUS (Trustee – Community Representative) is the 11th president of Fitchburg State University, taking office in July 2015. Since becoming president, he has been guiding the university by advancing teaching and learning excellence, fostering diversity and inclusiveness, and engaging the campus community as a steward of place within the city and region.
During his tenure he has invested in student success through the establishment of a First Year Experience course, designed to help establish a students’ sense of campus community and strengthen their connection to both their discipline and the institution. Students are introduced to campus resources, practice time management, strengthen study skills, begin to consider career planning, and formulate a better understand of cultural diversity, among other things. He also established the entrepreneurship center known as the ideaLab at the Main Street theater block that the university purchased in 2016. This interdisciplinary facility located off-campus is designed to promote applied work and create interaction between students, faculty and working professionals.
Programmatically, Dr. Lapidus guided the launch of three fully on-line accelerated graduate programs. These programs are targeted at working professionals in the areas of business, nursing and education.
Dr. Lapidus and his wife, Lisa, live in Fitchburg. They have two children.
(ELIZABETH) LIISA MARINO (Trustee - Community Representative) - of Lunenburg, joined the Board in 2016 and became the Chair of the Academic Excellence Committee. Stepping off Academic Excellence in 2019, she became the Chair of the Governance Committee.
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.
DEREK T. WELCH (Trustee – Community Representative) In April 2019, Mr. Welch joined Lutco, Inc., a privately-owned manufacturing company in Worcester, Massachusetts, as the Chief Financial and Operations Officer. From 2013 to 2019, Mr. Welch worked for Micron Solutions, Inc., a publicly traded (NYSE:American) component manufacturing company, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, most recently as its Chief Financial Officer. Prior to Micron, Mr. Welch worked in various progressive roles in the medical devices, services, manufacturing, and retail industries. Mr. Welch has been responsible for filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Stock Exchange as well as having responsibility over the Accounting, Treasury, Information Technology, Human Resources, Corporate Governance Investor Relations, Quality, Safety and other Operations functions. Mr. Welch became a certified public accountant after graduating with a 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, New Hampshire, he has lived in Lunenburg for nearly 20 years and is the father of three daughters; including two Sizer students, one a senior and the other an alumnus.
TINA CHILLIEST(Trustee – Parent Representative) joined the Sizer Board in 2017 as a Parent-Representative, and was re-elected in 2019 to a one year term. 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.
JONATHAN “JOCK” SNAITH(Trustees- Parent Representative), joined the Sizer Board Development Committee in 2018. He then was elected as a Parent Representative to the Board in 2019. As a grandparent to a Sizer student, he believes that the Think, Care, Act mission of Sizer creates a welcoming and encouraging atmosphere that lets students try out new things as they seek their own identities at this crucial time in their lives.
Mr. Snaith has been on the Board Development Committee for two years and has developed the necessary skill to move up to the Board of Trustees. He is a graduate of Pratt Institute with a BFA, and a minor in Art Education. He worked for several years in the international industrial design firm, Raymond Loewy/ William Snaith in London & New York City and then opened his own design/build construction business after moving to Townsend. He is currently running Bridge & Snaith, his custom cabinet and furniture business.
Mr. Snaith has served on the Townsend Planning Board and Townsend Historical Society Board for many years. He believes that his service has not only given him the opportunity to set and uphold policy in a changing environment, but also taught him to hear and consider divergent opinions. He believes his commitment to the school will keep him focused on the highest qualities for Sizer as an educational and ethical environment that nurtures independent thinking amid community awareness.
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 her BA in Liberal Studies. From there, she went on to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching English from Fitchburg State University (conferred May 2001). Before coming to Sizer in 2002, Ms. Niemi taught English in Amherst, NH at Souhegan High School. Ms. Niemi teaches multiple English courses in Div. III, including (but not limited to): English Literature; English 11; and AP English Literature and Composition. Ms. Niemi is also a 12th Grade Advisor, and the English Subject Area Leader. In Oct. of 2017, Lyn was elected as a Teacher Representative to the Sizer Board of Trustees and re-elected in 2019. When she is not teaching, thinking, or reading (or thinking about teaching and reading), Ms. Niemi enjoys spending time with her family, working on projects in and around her home, watching and talking about television and film, and exercising.
SNEHA VERELST(Trustee - Teacher Representative) originally from England, moved to New Hampshire with her 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 and a baby boy, Zane. Her interests include spending time with her family, watching soccer, being outside, traveling, and making art. Mrs. Verelst teaches Health Education and is an 8th grade Advisor and was elected as a Teacher Representative to the Board of Trustees in 2018.
FREDERICK RANDALL(School Principal & Interim Executive Director) joined Sizer as the Principal in 2018 and also became the Interim Executive Director in 2019. He is very happy to work in an Essential School. He has received his BS from Allegheny College in PA with a major in Political Science. He later received his Masters in Education from Lesley College, and has continued to be a learner taking doctoral coursework at Johns Hopkins Univ. and the Univ. of New England. Mr. Randall has worked in education for over 25 years holding several positions including: coach, teacher, coordinator, special education teaching asst., History & English teacher, assistant principal, principal, central office director and school director. Coming from Collegiate Charter School of Lowell, he is very excited to be a school principal again, but is happy to support the school in the Director position until the position is appropriately searched and filled! In his “spare time”, Mr. Randall loves spending time with his wife, daughters, black lab and extended family. He enjoys reading, exercise, and sports, which have been more than a hobby as he once played Semi-Pro Football.
BRENDA JONES (Director of Finance & Business Operations) who participates in the 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.
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. 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 Manager of Executive Operations, as well as the Staff Liaison to the Board of Trustees. 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.
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 Manager 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.