Board of Trustees
Stasia Vavruska, President
Stasia Vavruska is senior vice president, general counsel for Resource International, a multi-disciplinary engineering and construction management firm. She earned her B.A. from Case Western Reserve University, a J.D. from George Washington University, and a master’s degree in public administration from Cleveland State University. She and her husband, Jeff, live in Shaker Heights and are the parents of two daughters who are both Shaker graduates. Stasia was an active PTO volunteer, serving as co-president of the Boulevard School PTO and as corporate sponsorship chair for A Night for the Red & White. In addition to serving as president, she serves on the board’s Governance Committee.
Carter Strang, Vice President
Carter Strang Carter Strang is a partner with Tucker Ellis LLP, chair of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs Board of Directors, and immediate past president of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation. A former Shaker Heights High School teacher and coach, he received the Jennings Scholar Award for outstanding teaching. He created the Shaker Schools Foundation’s Fred Heinlen Fund, which helps support Shaker Baseball. He is a citizen member of the Shaker Heights Neighborhood Revitalization & Development Committee and past president of the Shaker Youth Hockey Association. He holds B.S. and master’s of education degrees from Kent State University. He earned his J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Carter is married to Deedra Siegel Strang, a Mercer Elementary School speech pathologist, and their five sons are Shaker graduates. In addition to serving as vice president, he serves on the board’s Governance Committee.
Cathy Belk is the president and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation. She is the former president of JumpStart and also has held management positions at American Greetings, the Coca-Cola Company, the Procter & Gamble Company, and Bank of America. Cathy earned a B.A. in economics from Davidson College and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. She and her husband Jim, an intervention specialist at Fernway Elementary school, live in the Mercer neighborhood with their two sons. In addition to serving as treasurer, she serves on the board’s Finance Committee.
Cathy Zbanek, Secretary
Cathy Zbanek, a member of the Shaker Class of 1991, is Chief Synergy Officer at Third Federal Savings and Loan, where she is responsible for fostering the internal synergy of the organization as well as customer engagement. She formerly worked in the management consulting groups at Waterstone Consulting and Price Waterhouse Coopers. She holds a B.A. in economics and psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Shaker Heights with her husband Brian and has three sons, one of whom currently attends Shaker Heights High School. In addition to serving as secretary, she serves on the board’s Governance Committee.
Jennifer Lawry Adams
Jennifer Lawry Adams is a partner at Ulmer & Berne LLP where she is a group leader of the health care practice group and co-chair of the firm’s Women In Law and Leadership Committee. Her practice is focused on a range of disciplines, including health care transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and a variety of corporate law matters. She is a 1988 graduate of Shaker Heights High School. She earned her B.A. from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University. Jennifer and her husband Daniel live in the Boulevard neighborhood and have three children currently in the Shaker Schools. She serves on the board’s Finance Committee.
Eileen Anderson is an anesthesiologist and earned her medical degree from Louisville School of Medicine. She also holds a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Case Western Reserve University and holds a B.A. in zoology from Miami University. She volunteers in the Shaker schools and for a number of community organizations and is also an active member of the League of Women Voters. She and her husband Chad are the parents of three children and are long-time residents of the Mercer area. Their daughter is a member of the Shaker class of 2016. She serves on the board’s Development Committee.
Michael Bowen is an associate attorney at Calfee Halter & Griswold LLP, specializing in business litigation and government relations. He earned his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and his B.A. in history and political science from Miami University of Ohio. He is a 2005 graduate of Shaker Heights High School. Michael is an active member of the greater Cleveland community, serving on the board of directors for Engage! Cleveland, the Center for Arts & Inspired Learning, the Artist Archives of the Western Reserve and the Emerging Leaders committee of the Union Club of Greater Cleveland. Michael’s wife Sarah is also a Shaker graduate. He serves on the board’s Corporate Engagement Committee.
Dr. Lawrence (Larry) Burnley is vice president for diversity and inclusion at the University of Dayton. Previously, Larry served as associate vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion and assistant professor of history at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. He is also president and co-founder of Inclusive Engagements, LLC. He is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a 1974 graduate of Shaker Heights High School. Larry holds a Ph.D. in history of American education from the University of Pennsylvania with a minor research emphasis in multicultural issues in education; a master’s of divinity from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana, and a B.A. with honors in African American studies from the University of Cincinnati. Larry lives with his family in Centerville, Ohio. He serves on the board’s Corporate Engagement Committee.
Pawan K. Divakarla
Pawan K. Divakarla is a marketing systems manager at Progressive Insurance. He earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech. He and his wife, Sarah Merchant Divakarla (SHHS 1988), are both frequent volunteers in the Shaker schools. They are the parents of a Shaker graduate and a current Shaker student. He serves on the board’s Grants Distribution Committee.
Dr. Mark Freeman served as superintendent of the Shaker Heights City School District from 1988 until his retirement in 2013. He joined the faculty in 1967 and held a number of senior administrative positions over three decades. He holds a Ph.D. in education with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction from Kent State University. Mark is a founding governing board member of the National Minority Student Achievement Network. Mark is the father of three Shaker graduates. He and his wife, Gina Beim, live in Shaker Heights. As one of the charter members of the Shaker Schools Foundation, Mark is a life member of the Foundation.
Dr. David Glasner is superintendent of the Shaker Heights City School District. He previously served as interim principal of Shaker Heights High School and executive director of curriculum and instruction for the District. Prior to coming to Shaker Heights, David served as principal of the Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law, a public high school in New York. He was also a high school social studies teacher with the New York City Department of Education. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. in history from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in social studies education from Teachers College, Columbia University, as well as administrative certification from the College of Saint Rose. He earned his doctorate in Urban Education at Cleveland State University. David and his wife, Elana, who teaches middle school math, live in Shaker Heights with their three children.
Christopher Hunter is associate general counsel, intellectual property, at Parker-Hannifin Corporation, where he focuses on intellectual property counseling and infringement issues, and IP transactions. He earned his B.S. in physics from Bucknell University, and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve School of Law, where he is an adjunct professor. He was a citizen’s member of the Shaker Heights Neighborhood Development Committee and Finance Committee, and served on the Mayor’s Financial Task Force. Chris and his wife, Maria, a physician at University Health Services, have three children who have graduated from the Shaker schools. He serves on the board’s Finance Committee.
Jeffrey Isaacs is head of U.S. operations for a Japanese maker of specialty art hanging systems in museums such as the Frick Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the National Gallery of Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. He and his wife, Anne Borchert, have three sons. The oldest two are graduates of Shaker Heights Schools and the youngest is a student at Shaker Heights High School. He is a graduate of Vassar College and earned a graduate degree in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago. Before moving to Shaker, he and his family lived in Japan for five years, where he was an assistant professor at Yokohama City University, doing research and translation. He has been an active PTO volunteer for more than a decade, serving in a variety of leadership roles. Jeff served as vice president of the Shaker Board of Education in 2017 and as the president in 2018 -19. He serves as the Foundation’s liaison with the Board of Education.
Tricia Stevenson Khayat is director of the Nonprofit Consulting Center at Business Volunteers Unlimited (BVU). She holds a B.S. in chemistry from Villanova University and an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Business at Case Western Reserve University. She and her husband Clark (SHHS 1989) live in the Boulevard neighborhood with their three sons, two of whom are Shaker graduates and one who is a current Shaker student. She serves on the board’s Grants Distribution Committee.
Ramona Lowery has 24 years of public service experience and currently serves as
commissioner of the City of Cleveland’s water pollution control (sewer) department. She is a 1989 graduate of Shaker Heights High School. Ramona began her career at WPC in 1996 as the first woman and first Black engineer on staff. In 2017, Ramona received the “Cleveland Hometown Heroes, Poverty to Power” Black History award for her community leadership. She holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Cleveland State University and a dual master’s of business administration and public administration from the University of Phoenix. She and her husband are the parents of a Shaker graduate and a current Shaker student.
Clifford Mendelsohn is a partner in the trial department at Tucker Ellis LLP. He earned a B.B.A. from Emory University and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Cliff is a 1994 graduate of Shaker Heights High School and parent of two sons. His wife Hannah has volunteered in many capacities with the Mercer PTO and Shaker Band Boosters, and his mother (Linda Mendelsohn) spent many years working at Mercer, Onaway, Woodbury and at the Administration Building. Cliff and his family live in the Mercer neighborhood. He was a member of the Foundation’s Advisory Committee in 2017-2018 and now serves on the board’s Corporate Engagement Committee.
Dorothea Polster is the CEO of TorqHoist, Inc. She earned a law degree from Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University and her B.S.B.A. in Accounting from John Carroll University. She has been an active PTO volunteer, serving as PTO President at Mercer, the Middle School, and the High School. She is a trustee for the Ohio Girls Golf Foundation, member of MacDonald’s Women’s Health Leadership Council, trustee for Suburban Temple-Kol Ami and chairs the Risk Management Committee of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. She is a long-time Shaker resident and lives in the Mercer area with her husband, Michael (SHHS 1973). Their two sons are Shaker graduates. Dorothea has previously served as president and now serves on the board’s Governance and Corporate Development Committees.
Lisa Nersesian Richardson
Lisa Nersesian Richardson has worked as a corporate banker at KeyBank and Ernst & Young, and more recently as an administrator at Phycal. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and economics from Boston College and an MBA from New York University. Lisa has been very active in the PTO at Mercer, Woodbury, and the Middle School, and has served as registration co-chair for the A Night for the Red & White. She also has held leadership positions with Shaker Heights Cub Scout Pack 61, Boy Scout Troop 662, and St. Gregory Armenian Church. Lisa and her husband Sean (SHHS 1980) are the parents of three young adults. Lisa serves on the board’s Governance, Corporate Engagement, and Development Committees.
Phillip Rowland-Seymour is an equity, diversity, and Inclusion manager at University Hospitals of Cleveland. His career has included research, evaluation and philanthropy. He is a 1993 graduate of Shaker Heights High School and a second generation alum. He is a member of the Shaker Schools’ Equity Taskforce and volunteers for several health organizations in Cleveland. He holds a B.A./B.S. in economics and political science from Cleveland State University and a master’s in political science from Syracuse University. Phillip and his wife, Anastasia, an internist on faculty at CWRU’s medical school, have two children, one of whom is now a third generation Shaker student. He serves on the board’s Grants Distribution Committee.
Doug Wang is a retired senior vice president of The Northern Trust Bank and served as the portfolio manager for the Shaker Schools Foundation from 1999 to 2011. He is also a member of the Foundation’s Finance Committee. Doug and his wife Holly, a former volunteer for the schools and retired employee of the Shaker Schools Foundation, live in the Boulevard area. All of their four children are Shaker graduates. Doug received his A.B. in mathematics from Kenyon College and an MSM in finance from the Sloan School at MIT. He is a member of the boards of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, University Circle, Inc., The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Judson Services, Inc., and Policy Matters Ohio. Doug has previously served as treasurer and he currently serves on the board’s Finance Committee.
Brittany Webb is an educator at Woodbury Elementary School. She is a 2002 Shaker Heights High School graduate and a parent of three boys. Brittany earned her bachelor’s degree in middle childhood education from John Carroll University and her master´s degree in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in gifted and talented education from Cleveland State University. Brittany spearheaded the Woodbury Rising Stars Enrichment Program designed specifically to increase minority enrollment in advanced mathematics courses within the District by strengthening the mathematical foundation of minority students throughout the school year. She serves on the board’s Grants Distribution and Alumni Committees.