Board's Corner

Welcome to the first edition of the "Board's Corner." The Board's Corner is a new monthly ITK submission to bring you updates on Board developments. If you have specific ideas for a topic to be addressed by the Board's Corner or questions for the Board you can send an email to

This year, we have added five new talented Board members, four are current parents and one is a community member. They are: Scott Kerman; George Nakata; William Clydesdale; Jennifer Cooperman; and Laura Sokolowski. We are thrilled to welcome them to the Board--they all bring amazing skills and experiences to the Board and TIS.

Many of you recall that this summer, the Board directed the Governance Committee to develop a sub-committee of Board members and parents with experience in corporate governance and/or education to perform a comprehensive review of TIS' by-laws. The purpose of the review was to ensure that the school was following best practices for governance of independent schools and that the by-laws complied with Oregon law for non-profit corporations. The sub-committee began its work in September 2008. The process has included consulting with the Executive Director of PNAIS, several working sessions and meetings, and ultimately, proposed revisions to our current by-laws.

The sub-committee is almost complete with its review and the proposed revised by-laws will be presented at the next Board meeting for Board review. Once the by-laws are presented to the Board we will post them on the website for parents and other community members to review. Because several Board members will be traveling on Capstone, the March 19, 2009 meeting will be rescheduled to a date in April. We will provide the date of the next full Board meeting to parents prior to that time. Please attend these Board meetings, they will provide great insight into the many projects the Board is working on with Dr. Grasmuck for the benefit of TIS. Minutes of past Board meetings have been posted on the website for your review.

We are excited to announce that Dr. Alfonso Orsini will be visiting the school during the week of March 30, 2009. The Board is developing a transition team to assist Dr. Orsini learn about TIS and integrate into the parent and Portland community. Dr. Orsini, the Board and the administrative staff are working to ensure that the transition will be as seamless as possible and we can continue to build on the great work being done this year under Dr. Stephan's Grasmuck's leadership. The transition team will include three Board members, Dr. Grasmuck, and members of the administrative team. Dr. Orsini and Dr. Grasmuck have already been communicating about the transition. During Dr. Orsini's visit, the Board will host several events for parents to meet and discuss the school with Dr. Orsini. We will provide a schedule of these opportunities once the details are finalized. We strongly encourage every parent to take this opportunity to meet the future leader of our school--we are confident that you will be as impressed with his passion for education, IB and TIS' mission as we are.

The Board is preparing to submit its application to the United States Department of Education (DOE) for The Customs House. The deadline to submit our application is March 6, 2009. The application is a complicated and arduous task that has been handled primarily by Board member Katherine Topaz and TIS Marketing Director Linda Bonder. Other Board members and all of the administrative team and teachers have provided assistance along the way. Thank you to Kat, Linda and all of you who are assisting in this endeavor.

Once the application is submitted, the school will know anywhere from two weeks to two months whether DOE will award the school the building. At that time, the Board will consider whether The Customs House is the appropriate move considering our Strategic Plan, the financial feasibility, parent input and other prudent factors. We have designated one Board member, Scott Kerman, to monitor parent input and provide a plan to address such input. In addition, Scott will prepare a plan for parents to provide additional opportunities for input prior to the time that the Board makes its decision. If you want to provide input now (and we encourage you to do so), you can always do that at The comments provided are extremely valuable to the Board, so please make your voice heard. This is an important decision for all of us.

Michelle Kerin
Board of Trustees