Board of Trustees

The Saratoga Independent School Board of Trustees has overall responsibility for the care and well-being of the school. Composed of individuals with diverse experience and backgrounds, trustees include parents of students and leaders from the community.

The Board adopted the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Principles of Good Practice. These principles define high standards and ethical behavior in key areas of independent school operations.

Our Board of Trustees provides strategic guidance with respect to long range planning, marketing, facilities, program & campus expansion, governance, financial assistance, development, and finance.  The Board of Trustees relies on your support and feedback to make accurate, informed decisions.  Should you be interested in serving on a committee, please speak to either Jesse Schwartz or Lisa Brown.

2017/18 Board of Trustees

Heath Ames

Heath is the Founder and Director of Marketing at Cantina Restaurant in Saratoga Springs.  Prior, Heath’s career in marketing has included positions in California with Alibris, Hasbro and Broderbund Software.  Heath has been a dedicated volunteer at SIS, and currently Chairs the Marketing Committee.  Heath holds a BA in English Literature from San Francisco State University.  Heath resides in Saratoga Springs with her husband Jeff, daughter Tessa and son Nick, who is a fourth grader at SIS.

B. Jason Brooks

Jason is the parent of a current kindergarten student at SIS and is a dedicated volunteer.  Jason’s career has been devoted to education.  He is currently employed by the Invest in Education Foundation.  Previously Jason was the co-founder and a Trustee at the KIPP Tech Valley Charter School in Albany, and worked for The Foundation for Education Reform and Accountability and the Empire Foundation for Policy Research. Jason holds a BA from Syracuse University.  Jason resides in Saratoga Springs with his wife and two children.

Desiree Drindak

Desiree is a parent to a recent SIS graduate and has been part of the SIS community since 2013. She is the Interim Director for the Office of Veteran and Military Education at SUNY Empire State College. Desiree is a military spouse and has worked in military education for the past twelve years. Desiree holds a M.Ed. in psychology with a concentration in student personnel administration in higher education from Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts. Desiree served as Secretary to the Board from 2014-2016, and currently serves on the Marketing and Governance Committees.

Michelle Ducrot, Board Secretary

Michelle has been an active parent volunteer, supporter and advocate for Saratoga Independent School since 2011. Prior to moving to upstate NY in 2010, she and her husband and two daughters lived in Virginia, where her eldest daughter attended a Montessori preschool. With similar multi-age approach, academic philosophy and culture, Saratoga Independent School provided the perfect next step, and she is thrilled to have both her girls attending. In 2013, Michelle led the initiative to get Saratoga Independent School Green Ribbon Certified, served as a member of the Development and Campus Planning & Advisory Committees, and was Chair of the school’s Parent Association. Michelle attended the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, majoring in Business Management. She currently Chairs the Marketing Committee, and serves on the Development and Strategic Planning Committees. In addition to her involvement with the school, Michelle has worked with several community groups, such as LLL International and Sling Babies, a local baby-wearing instruction and support group. She also provides part-time administrative support to the Town of Wilton’s Gavin Park.

Allison Karcher, Governance Committee & Director of School Review Chair

Allison is a parent of two current students and lives in Saratoga with her husband and two daughters. She earned her B.A. in Education from the University of Vermont, an M.A. in Education Administration from Santa Clara University, and is a current Doctoral Candidate in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. Allison is a passionate and dedicated educator, teaching a variety of levels from Elementary school students to Graduate students at Columbia University. Allison currently Chairs the Governance and Director of School Review Committees, serves on the Development and Strategic Planning Committees, and is the Parent Trustee Liaison.

Benjamin Katz

Ben is a current parent and the Associate Chief Medical Officer at Glens Falls Hospital as well as practicing physician in the Emergency Department.  He wholeheartedly supports the school’s mission and values.  Ben has a BA in Philosophy from Williams College and Doctorate from Jefferson Medical College. He is currently serving on the Facilities, Governance and Strategic Planning Committees.

Joseph Lindner, Finance and Audit Committee Chair

Joe is a current parent and previously served on the board from 2010-2013. Presently, Joe is a Wealth Advisor and Program Manager for Pioneer Wealth Management. Pioneer Wealth Management is a division of Pioneer Bank, the only mutual bank serving the Capital Region of Upstate New York. He previously worked for First Niagara Investment Services and HSBC where he worked in the Premier Banking and International Banking departments. Before moving to Upstate NY Joe worked in Washington DC for a government integrator in the human intelligence field. Joe graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Salisbury University in Maryland where he played varsity baseball.  Joe is Board Treasurer and currently chairs the Finance & Audit Committees.

Catherine LoMonico, Development Committee Chair

Catherine is the parent of two students at SIS and is an ardent supporter of the school’s mission. She has a B.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon, an M.A. in English from Middlebury College, and an Ed.M in Secondary English from Harvard University. Catherine spent 13 years in private schools teaching middle and upper school English and assisting with curricular coordination and administration of student life. Since 2006 Catherine has worked as an educational consultant for school districts and businesses providing educational tools. She currently Chairs the Development Committee and serves on the Marketing, Strategic Planning and Director of School Review Committees.

Jesse Schwartz, Board President

Jesse is the current President of the Board of Trustees. He joined the Board 2014 and previously served as chair of the Governance Committee. Jesse is the parent of one current SIS student and lives in Saratoga with his wife, Lisa, and their two daughters. He is an attorney at a law firm in Manhattan, where he has worked since 2007, and he is of-counsel to a second firm in Saratoga Springs. His practice has a concentration in real estate and litigation. Jesse graduated from SUNY Geneseo and earned his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law.

Mike Smith

Michael is a current parent of two students at SIS.  When he and his wife, Jennifer, moved to the Saratoga area four years ago they were looking for a pre-school for their oldest son.  After visiting SIS they fell in love with school and everything they stand for.  Their kids have been thriving at SIS ever since.  Mike is the Director of Anatomy and the Anatomical Gift Program as well as an associate professor in the Department of Medical Education at Albany Medical College. Prior to joining Albany Med, he was an associate professor in the Department of Biology at The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York and at Texas Tech University Health Science Center (TTUHSC) in Lubbock, Texas.  While at TTUHSC he served as the director of the Clinical Anatomy Research Laboratory. Michael currently serves on the 7th and 8th grade task force, facilities committee, strategic planning committee, and governance committee.

John Westney, Facilities Committee Chair

John fell in love with SIS when he and wife Dr. Susan Moore Westney sent their daughter for Kindergarten. Since then there has been no looking back. John established his career serving the community through Bellevue Woman’s Hospital, which was started by his family in 1931. “I understand the risks that an organization faces as it grows. I aim to make sure that the organization stays safe, even as it grows larger and continually improves its effectiveness in educating children.” John earned his BA from Dartmouth and MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is currently chairing the Facilities Committee and serves on the Finance and Exit Interview Committees.

Beth Wurtmann, Exit Interview Committee Chair

Beth became a Trustee in the summer of 2015. She is a Communications Fellow at the Regents Research Fund, a non-profit organization affiliated with the New York State Department of Education where she produces multimedia tools that inform parents, educators and communities about educational policies. Prior to this, Beth was a broadcast journalist for more than two decades, in Albany, San Diego, and Syracuse. She was a foreign correspondent in Cologne, Germany for a PBS public affairs show, covering the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Beth earned her Master of Science degree in Interactive Media at Quinnipiac University, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She and her husband live in Saratoga Springs with their three teenage sons. Their son Tucker attended SIS for the 5th and 6th grades, when she became deeply committed to the school’s mission and opportunities for students. She currently Chairs the Exit Interview Committee, and serves on the Marketing and Development Committees.

The current committees are:

Governance Committee assists the school with policy development, compliance, creating best practices & board recruitment.

Development Committee provides guidance to fundraising and awareness events, and works closely with the Director of Development to support efforts to secure major gifts for the school.

Marketing Committee works to increase the public awareness of the school through various advertising initiatives.

Finance & Audit Committees steward the fiscal health of the school, monitor expenses and income, and assist with budget projections and other financial matters.

Facilities Committee works to see that the School’s facilities support its educational mission. This Committee works closely with the Director of Operations on matters related to the campus as well and building maintenance and expansion.

The Strategic Planning Committee is responsible for advancing the Saratoga Independent School 2016-20 Strategic Plan.

For more information about the Board, please contact the current Board President at