A propos: Conseil d'administration

Board of Trustees - Officers

Peter Lorenzi, Chair

Peter Lorenzi has been on the Board of Trustees since August 2016 and Chair of the Board since 2018. He and his wife, Pandora, moved to Philadelphia from  London in 2006 and have two children at the French International School - and a third who is now an EFIP alum. They chose the French International School because they believe that curiosity, creative problem solving and getting along with people from all backgrounds and nationalities will be amongst the most important life skills for their children. Peter is a strong advocate for EFIP’s excellent teachers and staff, and the sense of school community that  as developed under Head of School Kathy Kotchick’s leadership. Peter is the CEO of a clean-tech start up that spun out of the University of Pennsylvania and is a former senior executive in GSK’s Pharma R&D Division. Peter grew up  on a farm in a National Park in southwest England in a German- and English-speaking family.

Andrew A. Chirls, Vice Chair

Andrew A. Chirls joined the Board of Trustees in 2014, and is now one of its Vice Chairs. An attorney with Fineman Krekstein & Harris, P.C., in Philadelphia, Andrew is thrilled by his eldest daughter’s experience in kindergarten and first grade—the diligent approach to bilingual teaching, and the joy of discovery and creation that is part of every day for this child at her school. He believes that children benefit if they are citizens of the world, as they will understand and empathize with others and know how big their own experiences can be. His law practice and experience as a leader of the Philadelphia bar have brought him closer to the French community, as have his study of French and his travels in France. He is thrilled that he and his husband, Jim, are part of the community of families associated with the French International School, and he is delighted to be advancing the cause of an interesting and valuable education for the children of these families.  Andrew’s twin daughters are starting PK3 in 2020.

Nadine Durham, Vice Chair

 Nadine Durham joined the Board of Trustees in July 2019.  She is currently the Director of Revenue Management IT services at Amerisource Bergen Corporation.  Nadine and her husband Gerard have been a part of the French International School community since 2008 and have two daughters who have attended the school from PK3 - 8th grade. Through business and personal travel around the world she and her husband have seen the importance and benefits of being exposed to other languages and cultures.  "With an incredible staff and community, the school has afforded our children the opportunity to receive their education in a diverse, multicultural environment.  This unique environment has prepared them to be great thinkers with a global understanding, fluent  in three languages".  Nadine has been a member of various committees through her career and in her community and looks forward to serving on the EFIP Board of Trustees.

Anne Schmidt Oltmanns, Secretary

Anne Oltmanns has been a member of the Board of Trustees since June, 2014 and currently serves as board secretary. She has also served as both president and secretary of EFIP’s Parents’ Association. She and her German husband have three trilingual children: two currently enrolled at and one a graduate of EFIP. Their experiences as an international multilingual family — everyone born and having lived in different cities on two continents — has informed their educational choice. With its warm and nurturing atmosphere, strong academics and commitment to global citizenship, EFIP has been the perfect school to call home. Anne holds a degree in Art History from Smith College. She earned a law degree and a master’s degree in Asian Studies focussing on law and Chinese language from Washington University in St. Louis. Anne practiced business and corporate real estate law in Chicago. She currently also serves on the board of PhillyKinder, a German-language enrichment program for children.

Marc Simmons, Vice Chair

Marc Simmons has been a member of the Board of Trustees since August 2016. His two children attended the French International School for several years. Marc was the beneficiary of a bilingual education in Montreal, Quebec where he was born and raised. As such, he firmly believes in the benefits of learning a second language early and being exposed to other cultures. Marc is a Director of Alliances at Aria Systems. Marc holds degrees in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, International Studies and Business Administration from McGill University, University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Board of Trustees - Members

Tiara Durham, PA President

Tiara Durham is Managing Partner of Zere Group. This boutique global management consulting firm improves the success rate of early-stage business and non-profits through data-driven strategy processes and marketing integration. She helps clients address some of their most critical strategic questions with a unique approach to assisting organizations in pursuing their most significant opportunities successfully. Before her time with the Zere Group, Tiara worked as a successful global business leader in the healthcare industry – driving fifteen years of growth and sustainability in business planning, marketing strategy, and sales for Fortune 100 companies. She has held positions in commercialization strategy, lifecycle management, and marketing across several therapeutic areas. Recognized early in her career as a passionate consumer advocate, Tiara launched her first business as a Series 7 licensed financial planner and franchise owner with American Express Financial Advisors at the age of twenty-two. Her goal was to put families and small business owners on a path toward independent wealth. Tiara continues her passion for enabling individuals for success by volunteering as the BGV Philly Venture Board Lead. 

The Black Girl Ventures Foundation is dedicated to offering comprehensive education and advisory services that outline a road map for the growth and success of minority and/or veteran women entrepreneurs. Tiara attributes her success to her faith, family, diversity in thought, and education. The French International School of Philadelphia was a natural choice when considering where Tiara and her Partner Floyd, would send their daughter Michael to start her formative education. Tiara has been a parent at the school for three years and says, “EFIP is a place where Michael can receive a diverse educational experience and lay the groundwork for her to become a Global Citizen.” Tiara is honored to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees at the French International School and hopes that others will join her to help foster more American born Global Citizens.

Alice F. (Tish) Emerson

Tish Emerson previously served as vice chair of the Board of Trustees. She is passionate about bilingual education because "it offers an opportunity to explore cross-cultural ideas and language along with developing brain capacities for language acquisition." Dr. Emerson attended Vassar College and earned a PhD. in political science at Bryn Mawr where she taught briefly. In 1966, she was appointed Dean of Women, then Dean of Students at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1975 she became president of Wheaton College in Massachusetts. In 1991, she joined The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York as a program officer in the liberal arts colleges program. Tish has served on many corporate and non-profit boards and is currently a member of the board of the Nantucket New School and the Boys & Girls Club of Nantucket.

Barbara Freed

Barbara Freed has been a member of the Board of Trustees for more than two decades and is the former chair of the Committee on Trustees. She currently serves as chair of the Assessment Task Force. A resident of Philadelphia, Barbara lives in France for part of each year (Villefranche-sur-Mer). She is Professor Emerita of French Studies and Second Language Acquisition at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2010 she was inducted, as an Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Ambassador to the United States. Barbara claims her passion for bilingual/bicultural education is because, "It provides one with sensitivity to and enriched understanding as well as enhanced interactional skills with citizens of our global society. Research has shown that bilingual/bicultural individuals also have superior skills in the cognitive and creativity domains.” She adds, "The French International School offers the opportunity for students to acquire many of these linguistic and cultural skills. It is unique in that the student body is not ‘merely’ offered the opportunity to attain full bilingual proficiency in French and English, but its students are exposed on a daily basis to students from numerous other linguistic, ethnic and national backgrounds. " Barbara served as a Trustee for 25 years for the Institute for American Universities (Aix-en-Provence, France), where she was chair of the Academic Affairs Committee. For many years she served on the Boards of the Alliance Française de Philadelphie and the Mary Louise Curtis Branch of the Settlement Music School and the Friends Advisory Committee of Curtis Institute for Music. Currently she serves on the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Pepper Society Council and its Culinary Literacy Committee as well as on the Education Committee for PAFA and on the boards of the African Education Program and the Sociological Initiatives Foundation.

Cornel Fuerer

Cornel Fuerer has been a member of the Board of Trustees since July 2020.  He and his wife Bokkyeong have three children who were previously enrolled at the French International School. Their experiences living on three continents have given them a greater appreciation and understanding of other cultures. Their international travels have reinforced their belief of the importance of speaking and understanding several languages. Cornel serves as a Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Corteva, a company dedicated to agriculture. He has earned his law degree from the University of Geneva School of Law and holds a master’s degree from the New York University School of Law. He was born in Switzerland.

Marie Guérin-Gantz

 

Marie Guérin-Gantz has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2015 and has served on various school committees. She is passionate about bilingual education at the French International School because it has given her children access to two cultures and made them more tolerant and open to others. By being able to communicate in two languages, children learn to broaden their ways of thinking and be more accepting of people from different backgrounds/cultures. It helps their overall confidence and open doors to more learning opportunities. She said, "Being a bi-cultural/bilingual family, it was very natural for us to have our children attend The French International School. It is a very special place because of its academic excellence, the nurturing faculty and staff, the committed parent body, and the school's overall openness to the world. It is another 'home' outside your own. There is a sense of belonging at our school which is very rare and makes it an incredible place to raise children." A resident of Philadelphia, Marie is a photographer and the owner of Collection Marie Guérin-Gantz furniture line and is also in charge of Business Development of Showrooms2220, a new Design Center opening up in Philadelphia.

Brian Johnston

Brian Johnston first joined the Board of Trustees in 2005, and is a former chair of the Building and Grounds Committee. He and his wife Marina, a native of Italy, chose to send their two daughters to the French International School of Philadelphia to cultivate their multilingual and multicultural education at this extraordinary school. Brian is a co-founder of Studio DPJ, a design and research firm located in Center City Philadelphia. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Design at Jefferson (Philadelphia University & Thomas Jefferson University) teaching design studios in both the undergraduate and graduate architectural programs at the College of Architecture and the Built Environment. He has also served as a board member for the Center City Residents’ Association, chairing its Zoning Committee, and is a co-chair for the Community Design Collaborative’s Design Review Committee.

Catherine Kosman

Catherine Kosman was a member of the French International School of Philadelphia’s Founding Committee ahead of the school’s opening in Bryn Mawr in September 1991. She then taught at the school for more than twenty years, first in Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4 and later in Kindergarten. She also served as a Program Coordinator until she retired in June 2014. During the 2014-15 school year, Catherine returned to the school to oversee its reaccreditation work along with Kathy Kotchick. In 2015-16, she served as Interim Co-Head of School with Mrs. Kotchick. Now fully retired, Catherine is happy to serve on the school’s Board of Trustees. She also serves on the Board of the Alliance Française. Bilingualism has always been important to Catherine. It was natural for her to speak French to her children who are all bilingual. She also speaks Italian having lived in Genoa as a child and having studied it at school. Before coming to Pennsylvania, Catherine was a teacher at the French American School of New York in Larchmont, NY. She graduated from the American University in Paris and received her certification from the American Montessori Society in New York.

Murray S. Levin

Murray S. Levin has served as a member of the Board of Trustees since 2002. A senior counsel with the Pepper Hamilton LLP (now Troutman Pepper) law firm in Philadelphia, Murray serves in various board and volunteer positions with Resource Capital Corporation, Middle East Forum, Foreign Policy Research Institute, and PA State Democratic Party Executive Committee. He is a volunteer child advocate attorney and trustee with both Jewish Family and Children's Services and Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. When asked what makes the French International School of Philadelphia unique, Murray said, "The name of our school alone proclaims its uniqueness and great value: It is French in an American/English world, and it is international in a more domestic, not to say mundane way of life and outlook." As to the benefits of bilingual and multicultural education for youth, he said, "The more language skills one has, the more access to the literature and entire culture of others and, as well, opportunities for greater participation in international commerce."

Jeffrey Mack

Jeffrey E. Mack has served as a member of the Board of Trustees since 2007. He is also chair of the Buildings & Grounds Committee. A resident of Bryn Mawr, Pa., Jeffrey is the Philadelphia executive managing director and broker for Newmark Knight Frank, a global real estate advisory company. Jeffrey became passionate about bilingual education after he spent his junior year of college abroad at La Sorbonne, Paris, France. Subsequently, he worked for the French Government as a Moniteur de Vacances. Since that time, he has valued his ability to speak French and is passionate about helping students in the U.S. to learn the French language. Jeffrey also serves on the boards of The Committee of Seventy and Bryn Mawr Hospital Foundation.

Annabelle Sallé (PA Vice President)

Annabelle Sallé is honored to start this year as the Vice President of the Parent Association and a member of the Board. Annabelle is a native of France having grown up in Orléans and lived for many years in Paris. She moved to Philadelphia in 2012 after meeting her husband, Dan. Their daughter Chloé is presently in first grade at EFIP.  Annabelle is grateful for the outstanding work EFIP is doing to share French culture and has herself benefited from being multilingual, embracing a love for the experience of travel and sharing in cultural exchange. Annabelle graduated with honors from the National School of Architecture of Paris Belleville (ENSAPB) and studied at the University of Roma Tre in Rome, Italy.  Annabelle has worked as a licensed architect at a number of dynamic design-oriented studios in Paris and Philadelphia. She is presently the project executive for the Philadelphia based architecture firm SgRA. 

Sylvie Satre

Sylvie Satre joined the Board of Trustees in July 2018, returning to the Board after a previous six-year term as Treasurer from 2001 to 2006. Sylvie graduated from l’École des Sciences Politiques de Paris and is now Senior Director, Regional Finance for Covanta, a company providing renewable and clean energy from waste. She also currently holds the position of Treasurer on the Board of the French Benevolent Society. Upon their arrival in Philadelphia in 1999, Sylvie and her husband Gérard decided to send their two daughters to the French International School (EFIP) to help them transition as smoothly as possible to a new country and environment. They quickly realized that EFIP was the perfect place for them to continue speaking their native language, become fluent in English as well as grow and evolve in a multicultural environment where everybody had a different background, religion and culture, thanks to the more than 45 different nationalities represented at the school. Their oldest daughter attended EFIP from PK4 to 8th grade and their youngest daughter from PK3 to 8th grade, graduating in 2009 and 2012, respectively. Sylvie believes that, throughout their combined 21 years at the school, EFIP taught her daughters not only academic excellence through rigorous coursework and high expectations but also the acceptance of diversity as a driving force capable of developing open-mindedness and a more positive world view. From their time at EFIP, they have become fluent in three languages and learned to embrace multiculturalism in order to become friends with people from all over the world throughout high school, college and beyond. Through her new position as Treasurer for the 2020-2021 school year, Sylvie is thrilled to be able to take part in shaping the school’s future.

Michael E. Scullin

Michael E. Scullin, Esq. is a member, ex officio, of the Board of Trustees. He has served on the board since 2005. Counsel with the law firm of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP in Philadelphia, Pa., Michael serves as Honorary Consul of France in Philadelphia and Wilmington. Michael embraces the benefits of bilingual education in the development of children's minds and mindsets. He said, "Beyond bi-lingual fluency, the students learn to function in a diverse global environment." Michael also serves as a member of the boards of the French-American Chamber of Commerce, Alliance Française de Philadelphie, and French Benevolent Society. He is a trustee of The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, director of the Lyon-Philadelphia Bar Association Twinning and Exchange Program, a fellow with the Institute for Korean-American Studies, and member and past president of the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia, Inc. In addition to serving our students, Michael is also a mentor with the University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Mentorship Program.

Mathew Williams

Mathew Williams has been on the Board of Trustees since August 2020 and has one child at the French International School. Mathew was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and completed his undergraduate degree jointly in London, Canada and Dunedin, New Zealand. This sparked his interest to discover the world and he moved to the Netherlands after graduation to take a role in the financial sector. In Amsterdam he met his future wife Berengere who introduced him to the wonders of French culture. Together, they moved to Singapore where they spent ten wonderful years before moving to take new roles in the Greater Philadelphia area. They chose the French International School because of their own multinational background and the belief in the atmosphere of curiosity, discovery and diversity that the school promotes. They were also drawn to the school by the warmth they observed in the teaching staff and the extent to which they go to understand the children and foster their love of learning. Mathew is now a Commercial Vice President at Elsevier Clinical Solutions, a leading provider of information and analytics solutions for the healthcare sector.

Deborah R. Willig

Deborah R. Willig has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2008 and served as Board President from 2009 to 2018. Deborah is the managing partner of the largest labor and employment law firm in Pennsylvania, Willig, Williams & Davidson. During her tenure on the Board, she has been a tireless advocate for the school and the best interests of our students, families, faculty and staff. Deborah is a parent of one of our alumni who started in Pre-K 3 and graduated in 2017. "Studies have long recognized the incredible assets of a bilingual education in brain development and language acquisition. Our school is unique in its combination of rigor and nurture, and our outstanding faculty and incredibly diverse student body prepare our children to be leaders in a global world." The first woman Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Deborah has been recognized for her leadership and diversity efforts with the Agent of Change Award from Women's Way, the Sandra Day O'Connor Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association, The Legal Intelligencer Lifetime Achievement Award, and was chosen as one of the 10 best lawyers in Pennsylvania in 2020 by SuperLawyers magazine.