BOARD OF DIRECTORS
John G. Duffy, Chair
Former Chairman and CEO, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods
John is a resident of New York City and has been with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc., an investment bank, for 35 years. He was appointed to the position of Vice Chairman in October 2011, after having served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since September 2001. Prior to that, he was President and Co-Chief Executive Officer, a position he assumed in July 1999. From 1990 to 1999, John was Executive Vice President and Director of Investment Banking.
John serves on the Board of Trustees of Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, NY, as well as President of the school’s Cardinal and Gold Fund. He is a past Trustee of Saint Michael’s College in Vermont as well as The Ursuline School in New Rochelle, NY. He is also a Trustee of the American Ireland Fund and serves on the Advisory Council of the Weissman Center for International Business at Baruch College, and has served on the U.S. Advisory Board for the University College, Dublin Graduate School of Business.
Lee Bollert, Secretary
Former Educational Liaison for Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch
Lee began her career as a retail apparel buyer, managing women’s apparel businesses, and traveling extensively, developing private label product for Marshall Field in Chicago. After relocating to the Los Angeles area, Lee served on the Board and as President of Sandpipers, Inc. a South Bay philanthropic organization. Arriving in Westport in 1995, Lee became active in the community, serving on PTA Boards, as a PTA President and as President of the Westport PTA Council. She has also served on the Board of Staples Tuition Grants and Homes with Hope. In 2002, Lee began her work on the first board of A Better Chance of Westport. She chaired a variety of committees, served as a host family, and as Co-President, during her 10-year tenure.
Lee served as a Senior Staff member of the Farrell for Congress campaign in 2004 and 2006. In the fall of 2009, Lee accepted a position in the office of Mayor Bill Finch in Bridgeport, serving as Mayor Finch’s first Education Liaison, serving in the role until late 2011.
Lee earned her BBA from the University of Michigan. She and her husband have two grown daughters.
Kimberly Walin, Treasurer
Co-Founder/Partner, Arbour Point Advisors
Kim is the Co-Founder of Arbour Point Advisors — an advisory firm that provides strategic and investment support to consumer brands and retailers. She also owned a specialty retail company, with stores in CT and NY. Prior to that, the majority of Kim’s working life has been on Wall Street, first as a sell side equity research analyst and then working at a major hedge fund, Duquesne Capital Management, before running her own fund. She also advised the private equity firm, General Atlantic, on their in-house fund of funds.
Kim graduated from Smith College and was on the Investment Committee for her alma mater. She previously sat on the board of Summer Search NYC — a non-profit that partners with NYC high schools to provide mentoring, experiential opportunities, and college support for students from low-income backgrounds. Kim currently lives in Rowayton, CT.
Director of Recruitment, Harlem Village Academies; Broad Resident
Brandon is currently serving as the Director of Recruitment for Harlem Village Academies (HVA), a community of educators in Harlem, working to revolutionize public education in our nation by building a K-12 public school district and a Graduate School of Education, based on the ideals of progressive pedagogy. He is also completing The Broad Center’s Residency in Educational Leadership.
Prior to joining HVA, Brandon led the Talent Team at Classical Charter Schools in the South Bronx, program recruitment for New Leaders in the East Region and was on the founding team of an Achievement First elementary school in Bridgeport, CT. In addition to his work with the AJL Preschool and at HVA, Brandon sits on the board for Young Life (Harlem) and is a member of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Young Leaders (RFKYL). Recently, he helped found a scholarship and mentoring program (The Randolph Dream Project) for graduates of his high school.
Brandon is a graduate of Sacred Heart University (BA) and Fairfield University (MA). He spent over ten years living, learning, and working in Bridgeport, which is where he met his wife and where his first son was born. He now lives in Harlem with his wife and two sons.
Managing Director, BNY Mellon Wealth Management
Chris Griffin is a Managing Director for BNY Mellon Wealth Management. In his role, Chris is responsible for leading the business development strategy in the Tri-State region with direct responsibility for overseeing sales initiatives in Connecticut, New Jersey, and White Plains, NY. He also serves as a National Co-Chair for the Family Law practice segment.
Prior to joining BNY Mellon, Chris was an Executive Director in the Private Bank division of J.P. Morgan. Prior to J.P. Morgan, he was a Financial Advisor for Bernstein Global Wealth Management, where he was a featured speaker at the annual Royal Reach conference. Over the past decade, Chris has worked closely with ultra-high-net-worth families, endowments and foundations, corporate executives, and private business owners in the Tri-State region. In addition, he has built close ties within the local professional community to build effective partnerships and implement a variety of complex estate, tax, and wealth transfer strategies for the benefit of his clients.
Chris graduated with a B.S. in Marketing from Central Connecticut State University and is a regular speaker on campus. He resides with his wife and two daughters in Easton, CT, and is a former Chairman of the Board of Finance for the town of Easton. Chris is also a Board member of the Center for Family Justice, Bridgeport, and volunteers time annually to teach high school students with Junior Achievement of Western CT, Inc.
Member Social Venture Partners, Working with Wholesome Wave
Dawn is a proud mother of four with a passion for educating others in nutrition and empowering underserved children. She has been deeply engaged as a volunteer with numerous organizations in our region including several after school and charter school programs in Bridgeport and Stamford. Currently, she is mentoring two brothers through a program of Domus Kids and is working with Wholesome Wave to implement nutritional programming and education in underserved communities in Stamford and Bridgeport.
A former co-chair of the Middlesex School (Concord, MA) parents board, Dawn also served 10-year tenures on the boards of Fairfield, CT Audubon and Fairfield Country Day School. She is currently a member of SVP (Social Venture Partners).
Dawn received her BS degree in Film and Communication from Emerson College. She and her husband, Tom, and their children reside in Fairfield.
Patricia D. Lewis (ex officio)
Founder and Head of School, Adam J. Lewis Academy
Patty serves as both Head of School and Head Teacher. With over ten years of classroom teaching experience, she holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and is licensed by the State of Connecticut as a Head Teacher for Child Day Care Centers for Birth to 5 and School-Age Children. Prior to founding Adam J. Lewis Preschool, Patty taught in the Greens Farms Academy Lower School and later worked for seven years in its Office of Admission, giving educational assessments to four-year-olds applying for kindergarten.
Founding Partner, Sherman Financial Group
David has spent more than three decades in the financial industry, working with investment banks including Chemical Bank, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, and DLJ. In 1998, he became a founding partner of Sherman Financial Group, a management-owned global investment company. In 2008, Sherman leadership founded Meeting Street Academy with 45 preschoolers in Charleston, South Carolina. Today, Meeting Street and its sister schools serve nearly 1,000 children in grades PreK-5, from the most desperate communities in South Carolina.
David serves on the boards of Horizons at Greens Farms Academy and Pruvista Capital, a private equity firm. He holds a BA in Psychology from Stonehill College in Massachusetts, and has completed graduate work in Clinical Psychology at The New School.
Julie Mombello (ex officio)
Co-Founder and Director, Adam J. Lewis Academy
Julie oversees all operations of the Preschool. She holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and Professional Educator’s Certificate for Pre K-6, and she is licensed by the State of Connecticut as a Head Teacher for Child Day Care Centers for Birth to 5 and School-Age Children. Prior to her work at AJLP, Julie taught at Christ and Holy Trinity Preschool and subsequently worked at Greens Farms Academy as both a first grade teacher and Lower School Assistant Director of Admission.
Headmaster, Fairfield Country Day School
Since 2010, John has been the Headmaster of Fairfield Country Day School (FCDS), a PreK-9 independent day school for boys in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Prior to joining FCDS as Headmaster, John was an educator and administrator at Nichols School in Buffalo, NY, where he served as Assistant Head of School and Director of Middle School; as Director of Admissions and Financial Aid; and as a teacher, advisor, and athletic coach. While at Nichols School, he was selected for the NAIS/E.E. Ford Fellowship for School Heads. Previously, John served as Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, as well as a coach and student advisor, at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, IN. He began his career at FCDS, where from 1988 to 1994, he served in several positions up to and including Director of Admissions and Financial Aid.
John is a member of the International Boys’ Schools Coalition (IBSC) Board of Directors, and a past member of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Board of Directors. In the nonprofit sector, he has served on the boards of Buffalo Prep, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Buffalo Bison Hockey Organization, and volunteered with Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER.
John is a graduate of Hamilton College, where he was a classmate of Adam Lewis, and received a MALS from Wesleyan University. He lives in Fairfield with his wife, Beth, and their three daughters.
Westport Second Selectman; Board Member, State Education Resource Center
Jennifer Tooker recently retired from Gen Re following a 22-year reinsurance career in the United States and Europe. Jennifer now spends her time working in public service. She was recently elected to the Westport Board of Finance and previously served on the Westport Board of Education. Education reform, specifically closing the achievement gap in our state, is a focus for Jennifer. She spends many hours working on the boards of organizations that are committed to high quality and affordable education for children in all communities throughout Connecticut. To that end, Jennifer is a member of the Board of Directors for the State Education Resource Center and serves on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Education Commission for the Diocese of Bridgeport. She is also active in her local community as a member of the Westport-Weston Family YMCA Board of Trustees, the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club and a volunteer soccer coach for the Westport Soccer Association. Jennifer also stays close the the business community as a member of the Board of Directors for the Women’s Business Development Council, an organization which provides financial education and professional development to women entrepreneurs.
Jennifer received her BA in Economics and International Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and is married with three young children.
Curriculum Manager, Mercy Learning Center; Junior Board Liaison
Christina Whittaker is the Curriculum Manager at Mercy Learning Center in Bridgeport. She recently graduated with her Masters of Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before going back to school, Christina taught Spanish at Harding High School in Bridgeport, CT for 4 years. There, she was also the advisor for the Law Academy Student Council and the coach for the step team. She graduated from Greens Farms Academy in Westport, CT in 2008 and earned her B.A. from Dartmouth College in 2012, where she majored in Spanish and Environmental Studies.
Christina has been involved in numerous education organizations in Bridgeport since she first moved to Connecticut in 2002, including the Horizons Program at Greens Farms Academy, Let’s Get Ready, Teach For America, and Excel Bridgeport.
Christina Whittaker, Chair