Board of Trustees
David B. Peterson | Chairman
David B. Peterson is CEO of Onera Media, Inc., a private advisory and investment firm. Mr. Peterson has over 25 years of investment banking experience with a primary focus on the media and communications sectors, including most recently as head of Rothschild Inc.’s U.S. Media Group. Prior to Rothschild, he was an investment banker for Salomon Brothers and Citibank. Mr. Peterson is also a board member of the North Salem Open Land Foundation and President of the David B. Peterson Foundation. He holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College, a M.B.A. from New York University, and a M.S. in Historic Preservation from the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
Tony Asnes is the head of investor relations at Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P., a fundamental value investor in long and occasionally short investments in the public markets. Prior to joining Pershing Square in 2010, Tony was head of marketing and client service at Eagle Capital Management, LLC and was president and CEO of Pseudo Programs, Inc. In the late 1980s he traded index options on the American Stock Exchange. Tony graduated from Yale with a degree in computer science and earned a master’s degree in management from the Sloan School at MIT. He is the chair of the board of trustees of the Bank Street College of Education and is a trustee of the New York Hall of Science.
Jay Bargmann is the senior vice president at Rafael Viñoly Architects and manages the firm's 180 architects in offices in New York and London. He was born in Iowa, raised in Germany, and attended college in California and Iowa. Jay obtained his architectural degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduating, he moved to the New York area where he has lived for the past 29 years. Jay and his family currently reside in Pelham, N.Y.
John Belizaire is CEO of Soluna, the world's first vertically-integrated blockchain computing company. John Belizaire is also a managing partner at NextStage LLC, a private equity firm. Before this, he founded and was CEO of FirstBest Systems, a software and services company for commercial insurance carriers. Before FirstBest, he was senior director of business development and strategic planning for BEA Systems, and he co-founded The Theory Center, a leader in Java-based component software for enterprise applications. John holds Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees in Computer Science from Cornell University.
Bruno Bich is chairman of the board of the BIC Group. He began his career in corporate finance and investment banking before joining BIC, where he was instrumental in building the company’s U.S. franchise, which now represents more than 50% of the group’s sales. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from New York University and serves on the board of EDHEC University in France.
Graham Cole was the head of school for the Westminster School in Connecticut for 17 years (1993-2010). His leadership included numerous capital renovations and expansions, and the quadrupling of the school’s endowment. Prior to Westminster, he spent more than 20 years at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, serving as a history teacher, dean of faculty, associate headmaster and interim headmaster. Since his retirement, he has served as a strategic consultant for both Collegiate School in New York, and The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. He has a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a master’s from Columbia University. He also served in the United States Air Force.
Will Cook is the founder & portfolio manager of Sunriver Management LLC, an alternative asset management firm. Previously, he spent a decade at Ziff Brothers Investments. Will earned a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. He is also a Trustee of the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn.
Vincent Dotoli is the founder of and head of school at Harlem Academy. He holds an M.A. in educational administration from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.S. in psychology from Union College.
Mary Ganzenmuller was the founder of Bray Family Academy, an independent non-profit start up school project in New Jersey which is currently hibernated. She serves on the board of trustees of Purnell School in New Jersey and on the Education Committees of several New Jersey organizations. Mary is a former Chicago public school teacher and earned her master’s in curriculum and teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Doug Griebel is the co-founder and Chairman of Rosa Mexicano Restaurants. Under his leadership, the restaurant has grown from one location in New York City to 15 locations in the US and abroad. Doug serves on the boards of several business, restaurant, and nonprofit organizations in New York City. He has helped to lead capital campaigns at both the Collegiate School and Marietta College, and hopes to leverage his own passion for Harlem Academy’s mission to engage others.
Dale Hemmerdinger is chairman of ATCO, a real estate investment and management corporation with interests in New York, nationally, and in seven European countries. In public service, Mr. Hemmerdinger has served as chairman of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and as commissioner of the New York City Conciliation and Appeals Board. He has been active on the boards of many public and private organizations, including until recently as a trustee of New York University and of Nightingale Bamford School, where he chaired their capital campaign. He is also a trustee of the New York City Police Foundation; president of the Realty Foundation of New York; and honorary chair and trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission. A graduate of Riverdale Country School, he received his bachelor's degree and an M.B.A. from New York University.
Valarie Hing is a partner at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, a New York based international law firm, where she specializes in mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions. Valarie graduated from Hamilton College with degrees in mathematics and government and obtained her law degree from Stanford Law School. She resides in Brooklyn.
Ann MacRae served as a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for more than 15 years and previously worked at the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. She is involved with a number of education programs and schools throughout New York City as a trustee of the Cat MacRae Fund. Ann graduated from Hollins College with a bachelor’s degree in art history and received a master’s in art and architectural history from Columbia University.
Betsy Michel is currently a Trustee of Drew University where she chairs the Academic Affairs Committee. Betsy was previously Chair of the Board of Trustees at The Peck School in Morristown, New Jersey and St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island. She also served as a Trustee of The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The National Association of Independent Schools and World Learning, Inc. From 1984-2008 she served as a Director of the Seligman Group of Investment Companies in New York. Betsy is a graduate of Westover School, Smith College and Yale Law School.
Rodney Pope is Vice President and Senior Human Relations Director at Turner Construction, where he has worked since 1995. Originally trained in architecture and construction technologies, he has a B.S. in organizational management and a M.S. in construction management. For more than a decade, Rodney has led Turner’s extensive volunteer participation in Harlem Academy’s fundraising events and family partnership.
Tom Reycraft is founder and CEO of Benchmark Education Company, LLC. Founded in 1998, Benchmark Education develops literacy materials and provides professional development training for the K-12 market throughout North America. It also distributes its materials in the international market, primarily in Asia, for use in English Language Teaching (ELT) programs. Tom graduated from the American College of Switzerland and holds a master's in international management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Richard Schaps is CEO of Van Wagner Group, a collection of marketing companies that specialize in connecting brands and properties with customers through sports. He also served as the Chairman of the Board of The Doe Fund, and serves as a trustee of Free Arts for Abused Children and the Anti-Defamation League – NY Region. He is a graduate in marketing from the University of Cincinnati School of Business Administration.
Laura B. Sillerman is president of The Tomorrow Foundation, and co-founder of The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at Brandeis University. She has served on a variety of boards and committees, including as a Chairman of the Education Committee of The American Museum of Natural History. She currently serves on boards and/or education committees of PEN America, The Southampton Writers Conference, and The Southampton Review, as well as the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets. She is also the co-founder of The African Poetry Fund and Book Series with poet Kwame Dawes and the underwriter of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets.
Hillary Thomas is chief operating officer of the Sports and Entertainment Group at Van Wagner Communications, LLC, the largest private outdoor advertising company in the United States. Prior to Van Wagner, Hillary worked for Highland Development, a real estate development company she co-founded. She began her career as an associate in the real estate department at Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Harvard Law School.
Michael Toporek is the co-founder and managing general partner of Brookstone Partners, a private equity firm. He is responsible for investment decisions as well as portfolio company management and development. Mr. Toporek began his career in Chemical Bank’s Investment Banking Group, later joined Dillon Read, which became UBS Warburg during his tenure, and SG Cowen. He received a B.A. and an M.B.A from the University of Chicago.
Alan Washington is the head of real estate development at Success Academy Charter Schools, the largest and highest-performing free public charter network in New York City with 46 schools serving 15,500 scholars. He previously served as the managing director of real estate and economic development at the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Alan has diverse real estate experience across the student housing, residential, and commercial real estate sectors. An active alumnus of Dartmouth College, Alan also holds a master's degree in real estate development from New York University.