strategic leadership

Board of Trustees

Board Responsibilities

Guided by best practice standards of our accrediting body NWAIS (Northwest Association of Independent Schools), and membership association, NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools), the UCDS Board is the guardian of the school’s mission. It is the Board’s responsibility to ensure that the mission is relevant and vital to the community it serves and to monitor the success of the school in fulfilling its mission.

Election to the UCDS Board of Trustees carries with it a responsibility of stewardship. By definition, Trustees are the custodians of the school’s integrity and fiduciary responsibilities. They hold in trust the school’s reputation as created by its founders, and as developed by those who have previously shaped the school. Current Trustees accept the obligation to preserve and evolve this institution.

Trustees are called upon to contribute their time, thought, and energy, as well as financial resources to support the viability and growth of the school.

Current Board of Trustees


Chair: Amy Smith
Co-Vice Chair: Howard Burton
Co-Vice Chair: Joe Gruber

Secretary: David Brannon-Cirone
Treasurer: Greg Headrick


Darius Cayetano
Sean Holmes
Jill Jackson
Nathan Jackson
Kristen Johnson
Katie Jordan
Jeanne Nguyen
Jeff Pelletier
Shanthi Rajagopalan
Eric Sanderson
Kai Shih

Ex-Officio Members

Paula Smith, Head of School
Abby Maletis, Parent Guardian Association President
Sarah Donahue, Faculty Representative

Strategic Plan

Every five years, the UCDS Board goes through the process of creating a new strategic plan for the school. The current plan is a living document that is consistently reviewed and used to guide the school’s educational and financial decisions. It was drafted in 2020 and had three areas of focus:

  1. We will initiate a Capital Campaign to purchase our current leased space, acquire surrounding properties, and build a transformative campus that amplifies our curricular leadership, promotes love of learning and innovation, and bolsters the UCDS culture.
  2. We will elevate our programs with heightened attention to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and community/classroom representation. We will drive a culture of discourse, change, and innovation.
  3. We will actively address the mounting issues of affordability, longevity, and access. This initiative will include deep dives into tuition, non-tuition revenue, and tuition assistance.

To learn more about the details associated with each area of focus, click the link below to see the 2020 strategic plan document.