Board of Trustees

Alan Breckenridge

Alan is a partner with the law firm of Polsinelli, PC. He has been practicing law (he hopes to get it right some day) for 29 years, and focuses on litigation and dispute resolution for businesses. Alan received a BA from Duke University and his JD from the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Elaine Moss, and their daughter Camden (class of 2020), exchange-student daughter Lily (class of 2020), live in University City with their three cats and one very large dog. Alan’s son Carter, (class of 2017), is studying mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Between injuries, Alan enjoys playing what the kids call “Old Man Soccer.”

Charlie Daniel
Charlie served as Chief Financial Officer of Bakers Footwear Group, Inc. and worked in public accounting for Stone Carlie in St. Louis and Price Waterhouse in Richmond, Virginia and New York City. Prior board experience includes many years at New City School, where he served as Treasurer and Vice President for Finance, and the Preservation Alliance of Virginia, where he served as Treasurer. Charlie took his bachelor’s degree from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Charlie and his wife, Lenore Albee, live in the City of St. Louis, two blocks from Crossroads College Prep. Their daughter, Blair (class of 2012), graduated from Wellesley College in 2016, and is currently working for Teach for America. Their son, Chip (class of 2017) is a student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Ellen Rostand
Ellen is an award-winning communications strategist, branding, and marketing expert with more than 25 years of experience working with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations in the healthcare and higher education fields. In her role as assistant vice chancellor for university initiatives at Washington University, she leads internal and external communications for transformative projects such as a $250 million capital project that redeveloped 20% of the physical space on the university’s Danforth campus, and MyDay, a $100 million program that will evolve university operations, including the way the university uses data to make decisions. At WashU, she has served as an assistant vice chancellor for public affairs, overseeing marketing communications and brand strategy for the university, and was an assistant dean at the university’s Brown School. Prior to joining WashU, Ellen was a senior vice president in the healthcare practice at FleishmanHillard, an international communications consultancy based in St. Louis. She is the proud parent of two Crossroads students: Jake Finer (class of 2019) and Sam Finer (class of 2022).

Jamila Owens-Todd

Jamila Owens-Todd is a Naturopathic Doctor and the owner of Golden Grocer Natural Foods in the Central West End. She has had her own Naturopathic practice since 2007, offering patients integrative and preventative care options. As a healthcare practitioner, she is versed in upholding the integrity of others while maintaining prudence and discretion. As a grocery store owner in the city of St. Louis, she understands the requirements of a diverse community while addressing the needs of many. Jamila has been committed to supporting her community not only as a business owner, but as a volunteer. She has volunteered for a number of St. Louis city schools and community centers, teaching coding and computer basics. She has worked as a volunteer for Faith House and Magdalene House and with numerous other institutions that uplift the underserved and those who identify as women, in the fight of equal rights, against sex-trafficking and in support of healthcare for sex workers.

Jamila has been a long-time proponent of quality education in the city of St. Louis and has worked alongside institutions in support of increased opportunities for young people. With this advocacy, Jamila has been a champion for independent, alternative, and charter schools in the St. Louis region. This advocacy has been most pronounced in her own child’s education. After years of supporting teachers at City Garden Montessori School, she was voted president of the Parent Action Committee (PAC). She served two terms (a total of four years) in this position. After supporting the parent body, teachers and administration through many transitions, she was selected to serve on the school board. This position was full of challenges, instruction and victories. Jamila gained a deep respect for the inner workings of an institution. While on the board, Jamila served on the governance committee and was introduced to the intricacies of creating a strategic plan, upholding the school’s mission, all while working collectively to explore areas of potential growth. Jamila walked away from that position with humility and a continued yearning to offer support.

Jason Heisserer
Jason began as the Head of Crossroads College Preparatory school in July 2014. He earned a BS in Secondary Education and English from Southeast Missouri State University and an MA and EdD in Education Leadership from Maryville University in St. Louis. Previous to this appointment, Jason served as a public school educator for 18 years in St. Louis County, seven as a high school English teacher, six as a middle school assistant principal, and five as middle school principal, in the Bayless, Northwest R-1, Parkway, and Webster Groves school districts. Jason has presented at various local, state, and national conferences on topics related to teacher leadership and socially just and equitable schools and has taught for the graduate School of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis where he occasionally serves on dissertation committees for school leaders interested in social justice. Jason lives in the Central West End, enjoys a regular yoga practice, and reads and writes daily.

Karen Handelman
Karen is the President and Candy Bowl Filler at 501creative, a marketing communications firm she started in 1995 to help nonprofit organizations connect more effectively with their audiences. Originally from St. Louis, Karen received a bachelor of fine arts magna cum laude from the University of Michigan and began her career in downtown Chicago. After five years in the corporate design world and a year volunteering full-time in Georgia and North Carolina with Habitat for Humanity, she founded 501creative. Karen joined the Crossroads board of trustees in 2014 after serving on the marketing and gala committees. Karen also serves on the board of directors of Camp for All Kids and is the co-chair of the Carleton College Parent Advisory Council. Karen and her husband, Marc Hirshman, live in the Central West End. Their daughters Abby (class of 2016) and Emily (class of 2019) could not be more different, yet each has thrived at Crossroads. In her spare time, Karen enjoys campfires, cardio tennis, swimming before dawn, home-grown tomatoes, hiking, and most candy.

Kathy Miller
Kathy retired in 2019 as professor of Biology at Washington University. She joined the faculty at Washington University in 1989 after receiving her BA with a major in chemistry from Lawrence University (Appleton, WI) and her PhD in biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her field of research specialization was developmental cell biology. She was active in promoting effective teaching and learning, student participation in research, and curriculum innovation at the undergraduate level. She won several teaching awards and was named a National Academies Teaching Fellow (2009) and a National Academies Teaching Mentor (2011- 2013). She was the president of an educational non-profit, the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE), an organization that works nationally to improve undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education. Her daughter, Marinda, was a member of the Crossroads College Prep class of 2012 and graduated from Washington University in 2016. Kathy lives in St. Louis City in the Parkview neighborhood with her husband, Dan Hanson, also a scientist and educator at Washington University, their two dogs, three cats, and two fish tanks (with variable numbers of fish). She hopes to enjoy much more travel, cooking, bike riding, walking the dogs, hiking, and gardening now that she has retired.

Lauren Plummer

Lauren has over 35 years of corporate, business and strategic planning experience in a variety of industries, both for-profit and not-for-profit. For the last 6 years, she has been the vice president and chief administrative officer for a not-for-profit called Meds & Food for Kids, a social enterprise with operations in the country of Haiti. Meds & Food for Kids operates a food processing facility in Haiti which makes ready-to-use therapeutic foods for malnourished children and other nutritionally vulnerable people.

Lauren has lived in Saint Louis since 1993 and has raised her two children in the Central West End, where she still lives. Both of her children attended Crossroads College Preparatory School. Her daughter, Andrea, Class of 2012, graduated with honors from University of Toronto and now works with cognitively delayed adults here in Saint Louis; Andrea is applying to graduate schools in the UK and in Europe. Her son, Matthew, Class of 2015, graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and is now pursuing a PhD in Mathematics at Stanford University. Matt was captain of the chess team while at Crossroads as well as while at Yale; he has achieved the rank of International Master in chess.

Lauren previously served as a trustee on Crossroad’s Board from 2012 through 2015. During her tenure on the board, she chaired the Facilities Committee, was the treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee, and chaired the ad hoc Head of School Search Committee, which hired Jason Heisserer.

Lauren is originally from Michigan; she holds a BA from Kalamazoo College and an MBA in Finance from Case Western Reserve. She is fluent in French, operational in Haitian Creole, and is learning to speak Croatian.

Lisa Wood

Lisa M. Wood is a member of the Office of the Vice Chancellor & General Counsel at Washington University where she serves as Assistant Vice Chancellor, Associate General Counsel & Litigation Team Leader. Lisa’s responsibilities include the oversight and management of complex business litigation, as well as guiding the University through complex business disputes. Prior to joining Washington University in 2012, Lisa practiced law with Armstrong Teasdale LLP – first as an associate and then as an equity partner. Lisa’s practice primarily encompassed a broad range of complex commercial business counseling and litigation matters. Prior to entering law school, Lisa was Executive Vice President of Classic Executive Interiors, Ltd., a custom furniture manufacturer based in St. Louis. Lisa received her A.B. in History and J.D. from Saint Louis University.

Prior board experience includes service as Vice Chair and Member at Large of the St. Louis Regional Asthma Consortium, as well as membership on the Boards of Directors of the American Lung Association of the Central States, American Lung Association of Missouri, and American Lung Association of Eastern Missouri. Lisa served as Vice President of the American Lung Association of Missouri and was awarded the Volunteer Excellence Award while serving in that role. Lisa has also served as a member of the Recruitment and Development Committees at New City School.

Lisa and her husband, Jim Williams, live in Belleville, Illinois and are the parents of two Crossroads alums. Their son, Ben, graduated from Crossroads in 2014. After graduating from Crossroads, Ben attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2018 and is currently employed as an Engineer at Robert Bosch LLC in Plymouth, Michigan. Lisa and Jim’s daughter, Blaire, graduated from Crossroads in 2019 and currently attends The College of William & Mary.

Melanie Turnage

Melanie Turnage is an educator and parent from Florissant. She has been an educator for the last 18 years spending 15 of those years as an elementary school teacher in the Ritenour School District. For the last 3 years she has been working at Washington University in St. Louis with the Institute for School Partnership as an instructional specialist supporting science teachers in public, charter, and private schools across the St. Louis region. When she is not working for WUSTL-ISP she enjoys making quilts, cooking, and gardening. Her son Jackson is a rising 10th grader at Crossroads. He is the assistant stage manager for the theater department, a member of the chess club, and plays for Crossroads' soccer team.

Paula J. Lemerman
Paula serves on the Trustees Committee, which is responsible for Board recruitment, training, and programming, and on the Justice and Equity Committee. She has a JD from St. Louis University and a BA in political science and economics from the University of Vermont. Paula served as an Associate County Counselor for St. Louis County from 1984 through March of 2015, when she retired. Paula is the mother of two alumni, Rachel (2011) and Micah (2008) Shilcrat. Paula completed the Master Gardener course at the Botanical Gardens this Spring, and volunteers weekly in the Plant Records department. She is also busy managing her own city garden and 122-year old home. Paula and her husband, Stewart Shilcrat, live in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood of St. Louis City with Angelina Johnson and Oliver Wood, their two cats.

Rachel Boyers
Rachel grew up in a small town outside Pittsburgh. She went to the University of Pittsburgh then moved to Boston while her husband finished school. They got married and immediately moved to St. Louis. She worked in social services until their kids were born, and she has been a stay at home mom since. She has two graduates of Crossroads, Cecilia (class of 2014) and Ivan (class of 2016). Rachel has been a volunteer at Crossroads for 10 years, and she is completely committed to the institution and its mission! Rachel is also a volunteer at St. Patrick’s Center. She and her husband, Zack, live in downtown St. Louis.

Riisa Rawlins-Easley

Riisa has served in leadership positions and as an independent consultant for various nonprofits in the St. Louis Region since relocating to the area in 2004. She has more than 10 years of experience in cultural competence and stigma reduction, integration of primary care and behavioral health, and positive youth development. Riisa currently serves as an Assistant Teaching Professor and Program Coordinator for the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program of the School of Social Work at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Riisa received her BA in political science and social work from Loyola University Chicago and her MSW from Washington University in St. Louis. Her daughter, Nadia, is in the Crossroads class of 2022.

Stacey Tate
Stacey is the Chief Financial Officer at Triad Bank. She has been with Triad since 2006 when she started as Controller. Prior to joining Triad, Stacey was Controller at Enterprise Bank where she began her career in 1994 as a Financial Analyst. She has been on the financial side of St Louis banking for almost 25 years. Stacey is a 1993 graduate of Webster University with a Master’s Degree in Finance and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Business Management with an emphasis in Accounting. Stacey continued her education when she obtained her MBA from Webster University in 1996. She is also a licensed CPA in the state of Missouri. Stacey has been with her wonderful wife, Judy, since 1994. Their daughter Lauren is in the class of 2022 at Crossroads College Preparatory School. Stacey, Judy, and Lauren live in University City among their family and friends.

Tabor Burke

Tabor Burke recently enjoyed her last year as a parent at Crossroads. She participated in multiple volunteer activities, including fundraising, open houses, teacher breakfasts, and as a room parent, and currently serves on the Finance Committee. Tabor has seen firsthand how the mission and culture at Crossroads has positively impacted her son, and hopes that Crossroads will continue to thrive for years to come for the benefit of even more students and families. Tabor is currently pursuing a Master’s of Education in Mental Health Clinical Counseling at UMSL with an expected graduation in May 2021. Previously (2010 - 2018), Tabor was the Vice President of Operations for a New Markets Tax Credit consulting firm which helped fund affordable for-sale housing in low-income communities nationwide. Before that (2006 – 2009), Tabor owned an allergen-free food business where she achieved placement for her microwaveable allergen-free meals in 1500 stores nationwide. Tabor also practiced law for 12 years with a focus on real estate as a Senior Counsel at The May Department Stores Company, and as an associate at a small law firm. Tabor graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University with a B.A. in English in 1987, and obtained a J.D. from Washington University Law School in 1991. Tabor is married to Tom Burke, General Counsel at Caleres, Inc., and has two children Sidney (sophomore at Northwestern) and Tom (Crossroads Class of 2020).

Todd Braver
Todd is a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Washington University, where he has been a faculty member since 1998. He was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, grew up in Tempe, Arizona, received his undergraduate education (BS) at University of California-San Diego. He completed his graduate work at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (receiving his PhD there in 1997), before settling down in St. Louis with his wife, colleague, and best friend Deanna Barch. Todd’s specialization is in cognitive neuroscience, a field that integrates psychology and neuroscience in seeking to understand how higher mental processes, like attention, memory, and decision-making emerge from the organization and function of the brain. His research focus is on the brain basis of cognitive control, which relates to our ability to self-regulate our thoughts, actions, and emotions in relationship to internal goals. In addition to his research, he teaches introductory, advanced, and graduate-level courses in cognitive neuroscience, and serves as the coordinator for the undergraduate cognitive neuroscience major. He recently expanded his research and teaching interests to include a focus on mindfulness training and currently teaches a freshman seminar on this topic. Todd and Deanna have two daughters, Rachel and Elizabeth (Lizzie). Rachel graduated from Crossroads in 2017 and is currently a student at Bard College in New York. Lizzie is currently a high schooler at Crossroads (class of 2021). The family serves as Faculty Fellows at Washington University, and together with their dog Guinness and cat Abby live on the university campus in Brookings Residence College. In the little spare time he has, Todd enjoys spending time with his family, training for triathlons, and learning as much as he can about mindfulness through practice and reading.

Vander Corliss
Vander has more than 25 years of experience in finance and operations at not-for-profit institutions. Currently he is the CFO at United Way of Greater St. Louis where he has been employed for 15 years. He received a BA from Trinity College, CT, and a Masters in Accounting from NYU while employed at KPMG. Vander and his wife, Kimberly, live in the Central West End and have two children, Nelson (class of 2011), and Claire (class of 2017). He is an active member at Trinity Episcopal Church.