SCHOOL BOARD MINUTES & STRATEGIC PLAN
The GMS Board of Directors is elected by our families and provides oversight for the school. The volunteer members have includes parents of current and former GMS students, educators, professionals, and community leaders. The Board is responsible for strategic planning and ensuring the long-term financial stewardship and governance of the school.
GMS is a non-profit, non-stock corporation chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia and has been awarded tax-exempt status by the IRS under paragraph 501(C)(3).
It is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of parents, alumni and community leaders.
Our current members are:
Dr. Linwood Blizzard II - Board Chair/Executive Committee/Ex-Officio - All Committees
Ryan Babarsky - Vice Board Chair/Executive Committee/Board Development Committee/Finance Committee
Ryan is graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2008 with a degree in English Literature and a Music
minor, but while playing in an Americana band as a creative outlet, found herself drawn to math and numbers.
During the past 15 years, Ryan has held analyst positions in the financial planning field, the biofuel industry, and
health information services. She now works as an account manager for a business management company for
the music industry. Her daughter is a kindergartener at GMS, and has been enrolled with the school since the
age of 2. Ryan's love of math, logic and problem-solving, combined with her passion for learning and for the GMS
community, have led her to serve for 2 years as the Board Treasurer and now as Vice Chair.
Anna Coggeshall - Secretary/Executive Committee/Development & Alumni Relations Committee
Anna is a born leader and business-minded entrepreneur, with a CNU Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, concentrating on business management. Currently, she is an office manager for a local traditional Chinese herbal
medicine and acupuncture clinic, responsible for the daily operations, including marketing, finances and customer
care. As the mother of a GMS student, she strongly believes in the philosophy and mission of the Montessori School.
After experiencing the beauty and community of the school's environment, she is excited to be in a more direct role
in the future of GMS and our community.
Jessica Lenz Lawson - Treasurer/Executive Committee/Finance Committee
Jessica is a Senior Team Leader at WorldStrides, which specializes in student engagement through
educational travel. She specifically manages financial service teams located in Charlottesville, Virginia and
Merida, Mexico. Her family resides in Mobjack, Virginia and are GMS parents. They love the program and have
witnessed many positive experiences through their friends here. She hopes to meet new people and contribute
to her daughter's education and experience at GMS.
Heather Altrath - Development & Alumni Relations Committee/Safety Committee
Heather is a portfolio manager for Chesapeake Bank, specializing in commercial and consumer loans. A
dedicated GMS parent, who is passionate about supporting the Gloucester Montessori School to ensure
success for the school, her daughter and future generations.
Irene Moe - Facilities Committee/Marketing & Public Relations Committee
Irene earned her Juris Doctorate degree from Roger Williams University School of Law in 2011. She works for a
Jacksonville, Florida based law firm. Irene moved to Gloucester in 2020, when her United States Coast Guard
spouse was transferred to the Yorktown Training Center. As a GMS parent, she is excited to see the fundamental
independence, confidence, hands-on learning and real-world skills that are gained through the philosophy and
techniques that are embodied in the Montessori methods. Irene is highly motivated to use her skills to support
the GMS teachers and staff. She hopes to build lasting partnerships to promote GMS and ensure it remains a
preferred education option for our community.
Jean Howard - Marketing & Public Relations Committee/Facilities Committee
Jean is a herbalist, farmer, natural beekeeper and Drum Circle facilitator, sharing natural wellness, farm skills and
healing music from an educational farm, located in Mathews, Virginia.
Dr. David Brown - Ex-Officio (Non-voting)
Janet Brown - Financial Director/Ex-Officio (Non-voting)
Janet is a Virginia Public School Finance Office consultant, with over 30 years' experience in the Virginia School
District Central Office finance administration and 12 years of private consulting experience with
rural Virginia school systems. She has proven strong technical, organizational and finance management skills
and the ability to work closely with school boards, senior school administrators and superintendents. She has
in-depth experience in school legal matters and strong relationships with the Internal Revenue Service, the
Virginia Retirement System and respected associations with the Virginia Department of Education. She excels
in the ability to safeguard the integrity of school business officials, administrators, teachers and administrative
staff, while consulting to establish efficient and effective financial services.