Board of Directors

Rhonda G. Durham, Chair

Council Member-At-Large

Rhonda Durham retired in July, 2018, as Executive Director of the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS). She led ISAS for twelve years, from August 2006, as it provided accreditation, professional development, and resources to independent schools in the Southwest which includes 90 schools in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.  A former Head of Trinity School, Midland, Texas, Rhonda has filled a number of other independent school positions over the years. She earned a B.A. degree in French, with minors in biology and education, from Sweet Briar College, attended the Université de Paris V, Sorbonne, for her junior year, and pursued graduate level work at Southern Methodist University.  For six years, she served on the Secondary Commission of the Accreditation Standards Committee of ISAS and was Vice-President of its Board of Directors. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the ISAS Group Benefits Trust, Texas and Oklahoma Private School Accreditation Commissions (TEPSAC, OPSAC) and the Texas Private Schools Association (TPSA) and is a past-Chair of TEPSAC. She is a trustee of her alma mater Norfolk Academy and of the Episcopal School of Dallas. Among her other volunteer experiences, she is a member and Elder of the First Presbyterian Church, Midland, Texas and has served on numerous non-profit Boards. In 2018, the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) awarded her the Sarah P. Daignault Outstanding Support of Independent Schools Award. 

Barbara H. Hodges, Ed.D., Vice-Chair

Executive Director, Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS)

Barbara Hodges, EdD, serves as Executive Director of the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), appointed on July 1, 2010. FCIS provides accreditation, professional development, and advocacy to 159 independent schools in Florida.  Barbara has a B.S. degree in math education from Appalachian State University, an M.A. degree in Educational Leadership from Covenant College, and a Doctorate in Educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Barbara served as Head of School of Holy Comforter Episcopal School, Tallahassee, for 17 years. Barbara has served on various nonprofit boards in her career. Currently, she is the President of the Florida Association of Non-Academic Schools (FAANS), a member of the State Council of American Private Education (State CAPE), and a member of the Independent School Association Network (ISAnet) Executive Board. Prior to being named the FCIS Executive Director, Barbara served as chair of the FCIS Standards and Accreditation Committee, the President of the FCIS Board of Directors, a board member of Board of Regents of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, a board member of the Florida Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS-CASI), the Chair of the Board of Killearn Methodist Preschool, Tallahassee, and an officer of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE). In addition, in 2001, Barbara was appointed by the Governor of Florida to serve on the Commission to create Voluntary Pre-kindergarten (VPK), which provides preschool at no charge for every four-year old applying to the program in accepting private schools.

Jefferson G. Burnett, NAIS Representative, Ex Officio, Voting Member

Senior Vice President, Education Innovation, National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

Jefferson Burnett serves on NAIS’s innovation team, which provides thought leadership on re-imagining independent schools. In addition, he currently oversees NAIS’s global education-international student work and represents NAIS with the Independent Schools Association Network (ISAnet). Before joining NAIS in 1992, Jefferson was Vice President for Independent Schools at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) where he also directed services for CASE’s two-year institutions and international members. He has been an adjunct instructor in anthropology at Georgetown University, a history teacher at the Robert Louis Stevenson School (California), and an English teacher at St. George's School (Rhode Island). He has an A.B. in anthropology from Columbia University, Columbia College (New York) and an M.Phil. in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge, King’s College. He is an alumnus of Sherborne School, Dorset, England, and St. George's School and St. Michael's Country Day School, both in Newport, Rhode Island.  Jefferson is board member of the Washington International School (DC), the ISAnet Board of Trustees, and is a past trustee of the Edmund Burke School (DC). He also serves on the Association of Independent Schools New South Wales Institute (Australia), the Professional Development Collaborative of the Washington International School (WIS-DC) Advisory Board, and the Advisory Committee of the Klingenstein Center at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

Mark W. Lauria, Ph.D., Treasurer & Chair, Visibility & Recognition Committee

Executive Director, New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS)

Mark Lauria has been the Executive Director for the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) since 2009.  NYSAIS is the second largest state association of independent school in the United States with 196-member schools and organizations serving 81,000 students.  Dr. Lauria earned his B.A. in literature and psychology from Claremont McKenna College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in educational administration from Claremont Graduate University. Prior to his work with NYSAIS, he served for 13 years as Head of School at a Southern California independent school.  In addition to his work as a Head of School, he was the President of the Board of Trustees for the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS).  Before beginning his independent school service, Dr. Lauria worked in the Ontario-Montclair School District where he was an assistant superintendent, director of certificated personnel, principal, assistant principal, and teacher.  He is actively involved on three non-profit boards currently serving as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Educational Records Bureau (ERB), The Parents League of New York, and the Cloud Forest School Foundation in Costa Rica.

Carole Everett, Secretary & Chair, Research & Professional Development Committee

Executive Director, New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS)

Carole Everett became the Executive Director of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS) in July 2010.  Carole oversees the accreditation program at NJAIS.  She has chaired and served on numerous accreditation committees for NYSAIS and Middle States Association of School and Colleges.  At NJAIS, Ms. Everett also oversees professional development for faculty, administrators, and Trustees across the State, and advocates for independence for nonpublic schools in Trenton.  Carole also serves the NJAIS Leadership Institute and regularly consults and presents to Boards of Trustees for schools and other non-profits. She earned her bachelor’s degree cum laude from Barnard College of Columbia University, and holds an advanced degree from the Universita di Siena, Italy.  She also studied at Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music. Carole Everett’s career in independent schools includes teaching Latin, music, and public speaking, serving as the Director of College Counseling, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, Diversity Coordinator, Director of Development, Assistant Head for External Affairs, and Head of School.  She also worked in college admissions at Barnard and was the Director of Admissions at The Juilliard School. As an international educator, Mrs. Everett co-founded and was the Co-Director for seventeen years of the Spoleto Arts Symposia, a series of summer workshops in Spoleto, Italy. She serves on the Board of Trustees for The Episcopal New Yorker and the Advisory Board for  Prior Board experience includes serving the Greenwich Philharmonic Orchestra, and as Vice-President on the Spoleto Arts Symposia Board.  She was just recently appointed to the Board of the Smithsonian Science Education.

Douglas J. Lyons, Ed. D., Chair, Governance Committee

Executive Director, Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS-CT)

Doug has been the Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools since July 2004. A graduate of Villanova University, Doug has Masters and Doctoral degrees from The University of Pennsylvania. He began his career in public education, serving for twenty years in the New Jersey public schools as a teacher, coach, school principal and Superintendent of schools. Dr. Lyons has taught students at every level of education: lower, middle and upper school, undergraduate and graduate school.  In 1992 he left the Superintendency in Mt. Lakes N.J. to accept the position of Headmaster of the Greenwich Country Day School, Connecticut’s largest independent school.  Dr. Lyons’ publications on education and on parenting have appeared in local, state and national journals and in the popular media, including Independent School magazine, The New England Independent School Guide, Executive Educator, Connecticut Magazine and The New York Times. Doug has served on many non-profit boards and committees, among them the boards of the St. Angela’s School in the South Bronx, N.Y., the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, PA, the United Way, YMCA and The Community Answers Service Organization in Greenwich CT. He has served on the vestry of the Calvary Episcopal Church in Stonington, where he also served for many years as the President of the Calvary Nursery School Board of Trustees. Currently, he is the Chair of Stonington CT Planning and Zoning board.

Betsy Johnson Hunroe, Chair, Membership Committee

Executive Director, Virginia Association of Independent Schools, (VAIS)

Betsy Johnson Hunroe, Executive Director of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS), has dedicated over 30 years to her career in education. She was a middle-school teacher (science, drama, technology, leadership) and administrator (middle school, development, and alumni) at St. Michael’s Episcopal School in Richmond for seventeen years, before joining VAIS in 2005 as its first Director of Accreditation. Following a national search, Hunroe was named Executive Director in 2014. Hunroe holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in educational administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has also earned a certificate in Nonprofit Board Consulting from BoardSource. Previously, she spent several summers in administration at the Governor’s School for Humanities and Visual and Performing Arts at University of Richmond and served as an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate School for Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, teaching a course in Organizational Behavior. Her engagement in independent education extends to the state and national levels. Leadership positions for the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE), include serving on the Accreditation Committee, chairing the Advocacy Committee, and serving as Secretary and Vice President.

Jim McManus, At-Large Director

Executive Director, California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS-CA)

Jim McManus is in his eleventh year as the Executive Director of the California Association of Independent Schools, the largest state association of its kind in the nation, encompassing some 229 schools, which enroll 87,000 students.  A native Californian, Mr. McManus is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Occidental College.  He holds a master’s degree from The Claremont Graduate University, where he has also completed his Ph.D. course work, with a special emphasis on the ethical and spiritual dimensions of education.  He is the former headmaster of Castilleja School in Palo Alto and Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena.  His 13 years as a head have been combined with 25 years as a trustee at five different independent schools.  He has served as an officer of the Board of Directors of the California Association of Independent Schools, as a member of the School Financial Aid Services Committee of the National Association of Independent Schools, as the director of the NAIS Advanced Administrative Seminar, and as an Executive Committee member of the NAIS Commission on Accreditation.  He currently serves on the Boards of NAIS and CAPSO (California Association of Private School Organizations) and is a member of the California Private School Advisory Committee, which advises the state superintendent on policy matters.

Council Members

Peter Baily, Association of Independent Maryland & DC Schools
Phil Bossert, Hawaii Association of Independent Schools
Mo Copeland, Member-at-large, Head of Oregon Episcopal School
Claudia Daggett, Independent Schools Association of the Central States
Scott Griggs, Independent Schools Association of the Southwest
Siri Akal Khalsa, Northwest Association of Independent Schools
Jane Larsson, Council of International Schools
Claire Leheny, Association of Independent Schools of New England
David Madison, Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools
Patti McDonald, Canadian Association of Independent Schools
Linda Phelps, Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools
Lee Quinby, Association of Colorado Independent Schools
Judy Sheridan, Member-at-large, NYSAIS Director of Accreditation
Cameron Staples, New England Association of Schools and Colleges
Eric Temple, Member-at-large, Head of Lick-Wilmerding School
Kirk Walker, Southern Association of Independent Schools