Board Names Jessica R.S. Romero as Next Head of School

At the start of 2019, the Sant Bani Board of Directors initiated a process designed to find and appoint an Interim Head of School for the 2019/2020 year and, subsequently, find and appoint a new Head of School to take over in July 2020. Doug Cummings of Educators’ Collaborative was selected to lead the search process. After interviewing a competitive pool of Interim Head of School candidates, Dr. Nan Wodarz was selected as Interim Head of School for the 2019/20 school year.

In early spring 2019, Doug visited campus and met with members of the School community to gather input needed to shape a candidate profile and position announcement for the Head of School. In June 2019, information about the Head of School position was posted nationally. Interest in the opportunity was strong and the candidate pool robust. Over the summer, Doug screened applicants and selected highly-qualified candidates who best matched the profile to present to the Search Committee.

The Search Committee evaluated the screened portfolios and selected six semi-finalists to interview in mid-September. Three candidates were invited to campus for finalist interviews. Each finalist visited Sant Bani School for two days during which they met with faculty, staff, parents, administrators, students and Board members. Everyone was invited to share their thoughts anonymously with the Search Committee.

After review of community feedback and a thorough discussion of all three finalists, the Search Committee recommended Jessica Romero to the Board of Directors as Sant Bani School’s next Head of School. On October 5th, the Board unanimously and enthusiastically accepted the Search Committee’s recommendation.

Sant Bani School Search Committee Profiles

Christopher Bicknell ’87 - Chair
Vice President of the SBS Board of Directors, Alumnus, Parent

Chris, son of founding Head of School Kent Bicknell, graduated from Sant Bani School in 1987. He graduated from Middlebury College with an A.B. in Literary Studies and returned to Sant Bani to teach, coach, and work in development. After receiving his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, Chris went to work as a consultant with CCS Fundraising before becoming VP for Advancement at the Northern Forest Center and subsequently Interim VP for Advancement at the Student Conservation Association. Chris currently serves as President of Little Green Light, a leading SaaS provider of donor management software, which he co-founded with his brother, Nicholas Bicknell ’93. He and his wife, Maren, have two children who attend Sant Bani School.

Kari Allen ’98
Faculty, Alumna, Parent

Kari graduated from Sant Bani in 1998 and went on to get her degree from Smith College in Elementary Education/Child Development and English Literature. She returned to Sant Bani and taught second grade for seven years, during which time she earned her M.Ed with a concentration in the Teaching of Writing. After being a stay at home mom for several years, Kari returned to SBS last year as a long-term sub and is now on faculty again back in second grade. She has been a teacher consultant for the National Writing Project in New Hampshire for the last 15 years, working in schools with teachers and students on the best and most engaging ways to teach writing. Kari and her husband Chris (SBS ’99) have two children who attend Sant Bani School.

Wentworth (Charlie) Boynton
Treasurer of the SBS Board of Directors

Wentworth (Charlie) Boynton is an Associate Professor of Finance at the University of New Haven. He graduated from Colby College (Philosophy), University of Rhode Island (MBA and MA in Economics), Brown University (MA in economics), and the University of Rhode Island (Ph.D. in Finance). He is also a CPA and CFA. At the University of New Haven, he is the program coordinator of the Finance programs, including a MS Finance. He learned about the School through his connection with Sant Bani Ashram and has been a board member and Treasurer of the Sant Bani School Board of Directors since the early days of the board.

Selene Gordon
Director of Educational Program, Parent

Selene followed her two children (one now a graduate) to Sant Bani School. After teaching for 13 years in public elementary schools, she taught 3rd grade for 5 years at SBS, and is currently the Director of Educational Program. She holds a BA in English Literature/Elementary Education, and a MAT, both from Simmons College, Boston, MA.

O. Whitman (Whit) Smith
President of the SBS Board of Directors

Whit provides legal representation to a wide range of non-profit organizations serving individuals with disabilities and their families, individuals in recovery, those with limited economic resources including homeless individuals, and victims of domestic violence. He advises health care, educational, anti-poverty, community mental health, and affordable housing providers throughout Vermont. Prior to entering private practice in 1983, Whit worked for several non-profit advocacy organizations, including the Children's Defense Fund of Washington, D.C., and Vermont Legal Aid, Inc. He has engaged in protracted civil rights litigation on behalf of children with disabilities and those in foster care in Louisiana, Texas, and Vermont. He is a graduate of Yale University and the Yale Law School.

Beverly Swan ’85
Director of Advancement, Alumna

As one of the first 6 pupils at Sant Bani school back in 1973, Beverly had the unique experience of seeing its growth through the eyes of a student during its earliest years. Following her graduation from Northeastern University with a degree in Communication Studies (focus on TV/Radio) and a minor in the Music Industry, she spent the next 9 years working in sales and marketing for the music industry. After having a child, she moved into the education field as VP/Enrollment for a nursery school and spent 3 years in the classroom as a teaching assistant and served on the board. She then spent 13 years as the Director of Admissions for The Blue Rock School in New York, where she also handled Guidance and After School Programs. She has recently moved back to her roots in New Hampshire and joined the staff at Sant Bani School as the Director of Advancement.  

Olivia Zink

Olivia is the mother of a student at Sant Bani School and the Executive Director of the Coalition for Open Democracy. She is a  Franklin, NH, City Councillor and has been a member of the School Board. Olivia spent a year in Bolivia working with the Democracy Center. She was named one of New Hampshire’s “40 under 40” by the NH Union Leader. She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Sustainable Living, and a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a master’s degree in Community Economic Development.