The Board of Trustees

Trustee Biographies

Sebha Ali is the CEO and superintendent of KIPP Houston Public Schools and came to us from Manolo Sanchez, who serves on the KIPP board. Previously, she served as chief academic officer at KIPP Bay Area Schools and founded KIPP Heartwood Academy middle school in San Jose, CA. She earned her BA in English and psychology from UC Berkeley and her master's from Stanford University. Sehba has served on the KIPP Foundation Board of Directors, the California Charter School Association Member Council, and Rocketship Education's Board of Directors. She currently serves on the board of Legacy Community Health Services, the Connect Community, as well as The Post Oak School. She is the proud mother of three children.

Erin Glenn Busby is currently a clinical professor at the University of Texas Law School, where she co-directs the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. She is an appellate lawyer with experience at all levels of the federal and Texas state courts. She received her BA from The College of William and Mary and her JD from Harvard Law School. Erin began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2017 and has been a Post Oak parent since 2009. She and her husband, Brett, have two children who attend Post Oak.

Rajesh (“Raj”) Chelapurath has been a part of the Post Oak community as a parent since 2009, and as a trustee since 2017. His two daughters are in Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary and have been Montessori kids all along. As part of the Board, he serves on the Endowment and Finance Committees. "The Post Oak School has created an environment that focuses on true learning while nurturing a well-rounded, kind AND joyful child, and for that we are grateful to the entire team at the school."

Rajesh is the founder, president and managing member of CEERA Investments, LLC, an investment advisory firm that manages assets for various types of clients. Prior to setting up CEERA in 2005, Rajesh worked for several years at Burnham Financial Group. Rajesh earned his MBA in finance from Tulane University, New Orleans, and completed his BE (electrical & electronics) and a master's (physics) from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani, India. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of BITSAA International, (BITSAA) a global BITS Pilani alumni organization, and is the chief investment officer of the BITSAA Investment Committee. Rajesh also volunteers his time managing the endowment assets of another Houston-based charity that helps children in India. Rajesh is a member of the Houston Society of Financial Analysts and the CFA Institute.

Melissa Coleman began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2008, and has been a Post Oak Parent since 2003. She graduated from University of Bristol, UK with a BSc in Physics and Geology, and from the University of Birmingham, UK with a MSc in Geophysics. She currently manages the US Lower 48 Exploration program for ConocoPhillips, and is active in promoting women's professional development opportunities; she also supports community outreach efforts to develop an early appreciation for science. Melissa has two daughters, one who graduated from Post Oak Middle School in 2011 and one in 2016. "The Post Oak School has reinforced my children's love of learning, something I value highly, and expect they will carry this with them and benefit throughout their lives. It is an honor to be able to support the school in any way, and serving on the Board of Trustees is a great opportunity."

Rick Evans began serving on the Board in 2018.

Adam Forman, an emeritus member, began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2008, and has been a Post Oak parent since 2004. He is a deputy general counsel at Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. He and his wife have two boys, one in in Middle School and the other in High School at Post Oak. "My wife and I love this school and the qualities that it develops in children. I believe it is extremely rare to find an educational institution like Post Oak that consistently produces interested and independent young people. I am grateful to be a part of the Post Oak community."

Blair Garrou began serving on the Board in 2014. Since the late 90s, he has focused on funding, operating, and incubating startup software companies. Blair is a managing director of Mercury Fund, a Houston-based seed-stage venture capital firm that seeks to invest in extraordinary entrepreneurs and innovation originating in the US mid-continent. He helped launch and was the director of operations for the Houston Technology Center, the largest tech incubator in the Southwest, where he led the formation of the Houston Angel Network. Blair received a BS in Management from Washington & Lee University. He has two daughters who attend Post Oak.

Vean Gregg is lead independent director with Approach Resources, serving on their board of directors. He has 18 years of experience in oil and gas investment banking with J.P. Morgan Securities LLC. Vean holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of International Management degree from Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management. He began serving on the Board in 2014 and has two daughters at Post Oak.

Gregory Han began serving on Post Oak's Board in 2016. He is director of interfaith relations at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston. He holds degrees from Georgetown University and Harvard Divinity School. Greg has served as a hospital chaplain, an associate pastor for youth and education at St. Philip Presbyterian Church, and as solo pastor at Atascocita Presbyterian Church. Later he led the chapel program at St. John's School, where he taught courses in religion, ethics, English literature and composition. He and his wife Holly are the parents of three sons, two of whom are in Post Oak's High School.

Melanie Gray, an emeritus member, has been serving on the Board of Trustees since 1999. She served for seven years on the Board of Trustees, and has been a Post Oak parent since 1991. She is a partner in the law firm of Winston & Strawn, LLP, specializing in complex commercial and bankruptcy cases. She also serves on the boards of Syracuse University, Greater Houston Community Foundation, Society for the Performing Arts, Legacy Community Health Services Endowment, and the national board of Girls Inc. All three of Melanie's children have graduated from Post Oak Middle School: one has since graduated from Syracuse University; one attends St. Edward's University and one attends Episcopal High School. "This school deserves substantial credit for the outstanding character I believe my children have. I want to be sure this jewel is available to Houston families for generations to come."

Melissa Coleman speaks at the first commencement ceremony in May 2016.

Bob Harvey is an emeritus member who began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2002. He and his wife, Vicki, were Post Oak parents from 1993 through 2008. Bob is the President and CEO at Greater Houston Partnership.

Maura Joyce came to Post Oak in 2016 after serving as head of school at Montessori in Redlands (California) since July 2000. She holds AMI diplomas at both the Primary (3–6) and Elementary (6–12) levels, a master's degree in education from Loyola College, and a bachelor's degree from Boston College. Maura has ten years of classroom teaching experience at the elementary and adolescent levels. She has been a featured presenter for both AMI/USA and NAMTA and has also lectured at various Montessori schools around the country and the Montessori Institute of San Diego, where she has also been an examiner for AMI. Maura served on the Board of the Montessori Administrators Association for eight years and is the parent of a Montessori student, who attends Post Oak's High School. A native of New York, Maura came to Houston with her husband and son to become part of the Post Oak community and to be closer to her husband's family, who has been in Houston since 1978.

Lloyd Kirchner, an emeritus member and past Board chair, began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2010. Prior to becoming a trustee, he served on the school's Finance Committee. He is co-founder, president, and CEO of Commonwealth Engineering and Construction. Lloyd received a BS in mechanical engineering from Rice University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He is a past board member of the Engineering and Construction Contracting Association, having served on the executive board for four years, on the executive advisory committee for five years, and as board chairman in 2004. He is an executive board member for the Baylor College of Medicine Partnership Board where he serves as the co-vice president for fundraising.

Lloyd and his wife Amy have one son who has attended The Post Oak School since Primary. Lloyd is an avid triathlete and marathoner, having participated in the Houston Marathon since 1992. He is also active in the Boy Scouts of America with his son. Lloyd moved his family to Houston when their son was born so that he could attend The Post Oak School. Montessori values and the incredible faculty and administration are the reasons why both Amy and Lloyd are so involved with the school. A commitment to education and investing in our children's future are what motivated him to join the Board.

Mark Martin has over 25 years’ experience as a real estate broker and developer. He has created over 25 real estate partnerships and developed more than 3,000 acres of land that resulted in over 4,000 homesites. He serves as the chief executive officer of NetMass Incorporated, which he co-founded in 1998. He is also a founding partner of Celebrate Brands, LLC. Additionally, Mark created a partnership to purchase the assets of publicly traded Newberry Specialty Bakery, Inc. out of bankruptcy. It relaunched as Celebrate Baking Company, which now occupies a 60,000 square foot warehouse in Houston that produces private label baked goods for club and grocery stores such as Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Solo Foods, Brookshire Brothers, HEB, Safeway, and Winn Dixie. He also works in his family’s businesses where he serves as chief operating officer for Martin Realty & Land, Inc. and Crystal Springs Water Company, Inc. Mark received a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from Texas A&M University.

Mark serves as chairman of the board for Veterans’ Business Battle, Inc., a non-profit he co-founded in 2015, which is a business plan competition that connects veteran-owned companies with growth capital. He is also a member of the Houston chapter of the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) where he served on the local board in various roles including president and forum chair, served on the regional board as an area director, and now works with the global board as an EO facilitator. He also attended the EO Leadership Academy and completed the Entrepreneur Master’s Program (EMP), both of which are hosted by EO.

He and his wife Stacey have two beautiful daughters. They also have three curious cats and three crazy-loud and hyper dogs. Mark began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2017.

Bert Mellinger joined the Board in 2013. He is co-owner of Primary Services, a Houston-based staffing agency. Bert has a BS in computer science from Duke. He and his wife Regina have three children, and their youngest was in the first graduating High School class at Post Oak.

Pat Mitchell an emeritus member, has been serving on the Board of Trustees since 1999. She served for six years on the Board of Trustees (two as chair), and has been a Post Oak parent since 1991. She is senior vice president for the Texas Medical Center, and also serves on the compensation and benefits committee of a Medical Center institution. Pat's daughter (Post Oak Middle School class of 1997) is finishing a master's degree in computer science at Stanford University. Pat also enjoys travel and reading. "I joined the Board after Sara graduated; I felt it was a way to give back to The Post Oak School. We had received so much from the school, and I wanted to be sure Post Oak would be here to serve many future generations."

Jaana Porra began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2013. The Post Oak School is the only school her son has ever attended. He began as a toddler and is currently in High School. "It was love at the first sight. We knew that The Post Oak School would become an important part of our life." Jaana Porra has a PhD in economics (information systems) and is currently an associate professor at the University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business. In her spare time, Jaana competes in taekwondo tournaments in Olympic Sparring, loves extreme skiing, travels, and sings.

Jennifer Rochlis began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2015. She is chief of the Human Systems Engineering & Integration Division at NASA Johnson Space Center. She holds a BA in physics with a minor in astronomy from Mount Holyoke, and a MS and PhD in Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical/Space Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Jennifer has two children at Post Oak.

Manuel "Manolo" Sánchez, Board chair, began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2009. He has been a Post Oak parent since 2008 when his wife Daniela and their two boys moved to Houston from Laredo, Texas. They also have a daughter and all three of their children attend Post Oak. Manolo is chairman of BBVA Compass and served as CEO from 2008 until January 2017. Additionally, he is a governing director of the Houston Symphony, a board member of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and KIPP Houston charter schools. "What my wife and I love about The Post Oak School and the Montessori model is their holistic approach on children's education. We see how teachers live by that vision and we are grateful that they focus on the many facets of the children's development."

Rona Sonabend began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2017 and has been a parent of two children at Post Oak since 2014. Rona is a pediatric endocrinologist at Texas Children’s Hospital and serves as the Director of Quality for the Section of Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology as well as a Medical Director for Clinical System Integration for the Department of Pediatrics.

Rochelle Tafolla began serving on the Board in 2016. She is vice president of communications and marketing at Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas. Rochelle and her husband have three children at Post Oak.

Whitney Walsh, began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2018. Whitney and her husband Marc, who previously served on the Board, have three children at Post Oak and are passionate about the benefits of Montessori education and are proud to be part of the school.

Alison Wong is a trial consultant with Salmons Consulting. She has published articles on gender in the courtroom, the use of juror psychology in jury selection, and patent litigation in the Eastern District of Texas. Alison and her husband have two children at Post Oak and she is also an alumna of the school, having attended through Elementary. She went on to attend St. John's School, Southwestern University, where she received a BA in psychology and sociology, and then The University of Texas School of Law, where she earned her J.D. She is co-chair of the Post Oak Parents Association (POPA) and began serving on the Board in 2016. Read more about her experience as a Post Oak alumna and parent from her POPA Welcome Dinner speech in 2014.