Board of Directors

The OMS Montessori Board of Directors is guided by the best interests of students, teachers and staff.

The Element and OMS Board of Directors includes: five Parent members, four External members, one Staff Representative (non-voting member), The Head of School (non-voting member), The Director of The Element High School (non-voting member). The Board of Directors is tasked with ensuring both The Element and OMS achieve long-term, sustained realization of the vision of our schools.

Parent Directors bring their passion and a desire to see their child’s school evolve with the children. External Directors bring specialized skills, knowledge and objectivity to the Board. The Head of Schools, The Element High School Director, and the Staff Participant bring corporate history and their deep understanding of Montessori principles and how they impact OMS and the students.

The positions are staggered such that one third of the Board is elected each year. The Executive Officers of the Board (i.e. President, Vice President and Corporate Secretary) are elected by the Directors every year.

The Board operates under the Carver or Policy governance model. In this model, the Board sets policies for the operation of the school, hires a Head of Schools to implement these policies, and monitors the operation of the school through these policies. The Board also creates strategic plans for the school.

The Board of Directors looks to the parent community for advice, expertise and potential Board Membership. You do not have to be a member of the Board of Directors to participate in projects being developed by a Board Committee. If you have a particular interest, please let any member of the Board or the school administration know

A Board Member’s elected term is three years.

Each year the OMS Board meets for a day (on a weekend) over the summer for Board orientation and to establish priorities for the coming year.The full Board strives to meet once a month for regular Board business – arrangements can be made to participate by conference call.

Board members are expected to participate in, or chair, standing and ad hoc committees as needed. Ongoing Board and Committee work is completed between meetings and requires a varying amount of time commitment and self-direction. Board members are also encouraged to participate at school functions (all-parents meetings, harvest feast, school dance, end-of-year picnic etc.).

If a Board Member resigns his or her position prior to completion of the first term, the Board may decide to proceed with the remaining membership until the next nomination period, or a replacement member can be sought before the end of the year in order to continue and strengthen the work of the Board.

If you would be interested in supporting OMS through Board membership, please contact the Nominating Committee for more information at board@omsmontessori.com

The Board Nominating Process

The OMS Montessori Board Nominating Committee accepts applications from OMS Montessori and The Element High School community members interested in assisting its Board of Directors to achieve its mandate. Positions begin July 1st of each year, and consist of a one to three-year term. As with the different Montessori community levels, the Board strives to balance membership between 3 members in their first year, 3 in their second year and 3 in their last year.

Every year the Nominating Committee reviews the composition of the current Board, the skills of outgoing Board Members, and identifies areas of need to be met by incoming Board Members. This could be in relation to a nominee’s profession, previous volunteering experience, skill sets and interests. Previous volunteer engagement with the school is considered an asset.

President of the Board

Dan Dutton is currently serving as the President of OMS and the Chair of the Board of Directors. Dan has been a parent director on the OMS Board of Directors since January 2019. He supports a variety of board committees and is the current chair of the remuneration committee. Dan has two children with the school. His daughter is currently in the Robin class, and his son is currently at The Element.

Dan has worked for over 20 years in the software industry building, selling, and implementing applications to support the lifecycle management of complex assets. He is currently Senior Vice President of R&D for Asset Applications at IFS where he manages a global team responsible for the Asset Management solutions within the IFS Cloud product. Dan came to IFS through the acquisition of a local Ottawa company called Mxi Technologies that he joined in 2002. He has a Bachelor’s of Aerospace Engineering from Carleton University.

Vice President of the Board

Vir Advani has been a parent director on the OMS Board of Directors since July 2021. He is currently serving as Vice Chair of the Board, and supports the Finance Committee, Remuneration Committee, and Board Development Committee. Vir will be leading the formation of the OMS Foundation over the course of 2022 and will eventually chair the Foundation once it has been established. He has a son in the Warbler (Casa) class.

Vir has worked in the finance sector for the past 5 years in a variety of roles including risk management, supply chain finance, corporate treasury, foreign exchange trading, and asset based lending. He is currently Vice President at Royal Bank of Canada’s Corporate Client Group where he manages a $3.5 Bn portfolio of corporate and commercial loans across Canada and the US. Previous to his work in finance, Vir worked as a civil engineer at J.L. Richards & Associates where he designed and administered municipal infrastructure projects for the City of Ottawa. He has a Bachelor’s of Engineering from Carleton University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Queen’s University.

Secretary of the Board

Andrea Liu has been on the OMS board of directors since September 2020. She is currently serving as the board Secretary and co-chair of the Nominations Committee. She has also served as the interim chair of the Governance Committee. She has a son and daughter in the Canary toddler class.

Andrea is a Manager of Interprofessional Care at Perley Health, where she leads allied health clinical teams and engages in project management, with a focus on quality improvement, program development and program evaluation. Prior to this, she worked as an Occupational Therapist in community health and outpatient rehabilitation settings. She has a Bachelors of Physical Health and Education from University of Toronto, a Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from University of Toronto, and a Masters of Health Administration from University of Ottawa. She has completed the Advanced Learning Program for Quality Improvement from IDEAS (Improving and Driving Excellence across Sectors).

Aaron was born in Toronto and raised in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Aaron graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in history and political science from the University of Victoria in 1996, and he completed his AMI Elementary Montessori teacher training in Bergamo, Italy. Originally a Montessori student, he has been a Montessori educator for 25 years. Previously working at Nanaimo Montessori School and Bishop Hamilton School, Aaron has worked at OMS Montessori since 2002. He has been part of the OMS facilitators teams for 14 years and joined the OMS board 2 years ago. Aaron’s two sons are former OMS students from the Snowy Owl class. In his spare time, Aaron coaches soccer and works out. He enjoys watching his kids play sports.

Dr. Ali Jalali has been on the OMS board of directors since February 2021 and is currently serving as the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. He has a son and a daughter in the French Upper Elementary class and a daughter at The Element High School.

Ali is the Associate Dean of External Relations at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa. He has a Medical Doctorate and a Specialist Diploma in Sports Medicine from the University of Liège in Belgium. Since coming to the Faculty of Medicine in 2003, he has developed an active research program in Educational Innovations use and usefulness: Podcasts, YouTube, TBL, Social Media, and 3D printing. Ali also has an established track record of Leadership, holding positions as the Head of the Division of Anatomy at the University of Ottawa and Social Media Advisor at The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Duncan Rayner is Vice President of Temple Scott Associates (TSA), a leading government relations and public affairs firm.  He provides government and public relations counsel to a wide range of domestic and international clients, including Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, industry associations, charities and not-for-profit organizations, and public entities.

Duncan joined TSA after several years in the political sector, serving as a Senior Advisor to former Progressive Conservative (PC) Leader Peter MacKay and as Director of Operations for the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

Duncan holds a B.A. from Bishop’s University and an M.A. from Dalhousie University. He is frequently invited to speak on government relations to conferences across North America.

Duncan is a native of St. George, New Brunswick.

Jenna Wood joined the OMS board of directors in October 2022. She is one of three non-parent board members.

Jenna is a Principal at Colliers Project Leaders; Canada’s largest project management firm. Over the last 15 years, she has directed teams through due diligence and feasibility studies, design, procurement, construction, move management and program management assignments. Jenna has a degree in Civil Engineering. She is a Project Management Professional and Risk Management Professional.

Jenna has first-hand experience with Design-Bid-Build, Design-Build, and Construction Management delivery methodologies for projects ranging from small $0.5M renovations to $200M new-build projects. She is adept at Stakeholder Management and is particularly adept at procurement strategy development as well as project planning.

Mary Kubesh has been on the OMS board of directors since September 2022. She is currently serving as the chair of the Governance Committee. She has a daughter in the Wren Lower Elementary class and is herself an alumna of OMS.

Mary has been with the Government of Canada for 12 years, and is currently the Senior Advisor to the President of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, where she provides strategic advice to guide informed decision making on major projects in support of sustainable development in Canada. Previous to her work for the Government of Canada, Mary worked in scientific knowledge translation through her positions at science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education outreach organizations (Acuta & Let’s Talk Science). She has a Bachelor’s of Zoology and a Master’s of Developmental Biology from the University of Toronto.

Seasoned, energetic and bilingual executive with a diverse range of professional experience across the private sector, government and international organizations.  Committed to a personal example of excellence and to utilizing my skills and experience to deliver results. Demonstrated ability to lead teams, understand and manage stakeholders, negotiate at senior executive level, respond calmly to complex demands and deliver on strategic objectives. Extensive network of public, private and international contacts.

Early Montessorian in Mauritius, country of birth. Educated in English and French with Russian later as a third language. Lived and worked in Europe and North America before immigrating to Canada following marriage.

Career path includes roles in community organizations, the United Nations system, private legal practice, the telecommunications industry, Ministerial offices, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office and House of Commons.  Previously served two terms on the OMS Board and acted as Secretary to the Board.

Since retirement, assist a former Prime Minister in the management of his current activities at home and abroad.

Sarah started her career at OMS as an assistant in a Lower Elementary class.  With the help of a sponsorship agreement from the school Sarah did her Elementary Montessori training at Washington Montessori Institute.  Sarah worked for many years as a Lower Elementary teacher and later moved on to teach in what was then our Junior High program, grades 7 & 8.  Sarah was a member of the Montessori High School committee that brought The Element High School into operation.  Sarah is currently the Director of The Element High School.

Sarah has a diploma from Algonquin College, studied in the Concurrent Education program at Queen’s University and has a Bachelor of Arts, in Psychology, and a Bachelor of Education.  Sarah has a Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola College as well as AMI diplomas in both Elementary and Adolescent Montessori Teacher Training.  Sarah is also certified by the Ontario College of Teachers.