BALTIMORE MONTESSORI PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, SY 2020-2021
Michael Walton, President
Michael Walton is the founding principal of Atlantic Investment Associates, LLC (“Atlantic”), a real estate investing and consulting firm. In 2010, Atlantic joined Tower Hill Development and Consulting to form Tower Hill Atlantic (“THA”), a real estate investment management and advisory enterprise focused on value creation for its clients and partners.
THA has focused on managing its private equity funds consisting of Baltimore City properties that were in financial/physical distress or experiencing underinvestment when purchased. These investments are an effort to improve Baltimore properties and neighborhoods through private investment and are part of a Baltimore investment/revitalization effort with various stakeholders.
Prior to his work at THA and Atlantic, Mr. Walton was a middle school history teacher followed by several years at MMA Financial, LLC (“MuniMae”), serving as the Head of Operations for MMA Realty Capital (MuniMae’s investment advisory business), and the President of MMA Advisory Services. In these roles Mr. Walton managed a fund with approximately $3 billion of investor assets.
Mr. Walton is a Founding Board Member, serving as President, for The Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School and a Member of the Board of Sponsors for the Loyola University Sellinger School of Business and Management. In addition, Mr. Walton sits on the board of the Baltimore Development Corporation (The BDC) and serves on the audit committee. Mr. Walton holds an MBA degree in Finance from The Wharton School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics from Brown University.
Jason Chamberlain, Vice-President
Mr. Chamberlain is a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner, and Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist (SM). Mr. Chamberlain successfully works with non-profit organizations in his community, helping organizations to establish investment policy statements, conduct investment manager searches and monitor their operational or endowment funds. Mr. Chamberlain has a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. He serves on the Baltimore Montessori Public’s board of directors and is a member of the American Heart Association’s 2016 Executive Leadership Team for the Howard County Heart Ball. He is a Past President of the UMBC Alumni Association, a 2009 graduate of Leadership Howard County and a founder and board member of the Howard County Estate Planning Council. Mr. Chamberlain’s youngest child attends Baltimore Montessori Public.
Bonnie Rosenblatt, Secretary
Ms. Rosenblatt brings over thirty-three years of experience as a teacher and administrator in both public and private education. She has taught students from two years of age through high school, though the bulk of her experience was in the Middle School at The Park School, where she was the principal for twelve years. She has significant experience in program and curriculum development, and was the founding director of Park’s New Teacher Intern Program. She remains active in the progressive education community; has presented at the Association of Independent Maryland Schools and the NAIS People of Color Conference; and has mentored numerous new teachers over her career. She is in her third year on the Board at BMPCS and also serves on our school’s Accountability team.
Eric Evans, Treasurer
Mr. Evans is the Principal member of Eric Evans & Company (EE&C), a real estate development and advisory firm specializing in market research and analysis, development facilitation, and financial modeling. EE&C provides municipalities, community organizations, and private developers with substantive information, critical analysis, and well-reasoned action plans to assist in making sound development decisions.
Prior to founding Eric Evans & Company, LLC, Mr. Evans was with East Baltimore Development, Inc. (EBDI), where he project-managed the infrastructure improvements for the development of the Science & Technology Park at Johns Hopkins and served as the Special Assistant to the president and CEO. Mr. Evans also coordinated the Planned Unit Development approval process, serving as the chief liaison between EBDI and community leaders, neighborhood organizations, and a variety of Baltimore City agencies.
Prior to joining EBDI, Mr. Evans was an advisor with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. Mr. Evans holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, Juris Doctorate from Boston College Law School, an MBA from Boston College Carroll School of Management, and was a Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence.
Mr. Manekin grew up in Baltimore and graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in business and marketing. His first year out of school was spent in Costa Rica helping to set up a United Way International office in San Jose. Upon his return to Baltimore, Mr. Manekin spent a year with United Way of Central Maryland. In 2001, he helped create Peace Players International (www.playingforpeace.org), whose mission is to bring together children from war torn countries from around the world through basketball and open dialogue. Mr. Manekin helped to grow the program from a $10,000 a year budget to a $3,000,000 operation with a staff of over 150 people worldwide. Countries the program currently operates in are South Africa, Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland and Cyprus.
In 2006, Mr. Manekin moved back to Baltimore and co-founded a real estate development firm, Seawall Development Company. Seawall’s mission is to help improve communities by breathing a new life back into forgotten old historic buildings while at the same time filling them with people who in their everyday lives are making cities better places. Seawall is the creator of the Center for Educational Excellence model that provides discounted apartments to teachers and education focused nonprofits. To date the company has completed or is under development of over $100,000,000 of historic adaptive reuse projects.
Seawall’s projects have received numerous awards, including: President Obama’s Champion of Change Award, Novogradac – Real Estate Qualified Low Income Community Investment of the Year, United States Environmental Protection Agency – National Award for Smart Growth Achievement, Urban Land Institute – Jack Kemp Models of Excellence in Workforce Housing Award, Council of State Community Development Agencies – Presidential Award for Innovation, Baltimore Heritage – Preservation Partnership Award, NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association – Best Historical Renovation, NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association – Community Impact Award, Baltimore Business Journal – Heavy Hitters, Best Residential Development, Maryland Chapter – US Green Building Council – Special Recognition Award, American Institute of Architects, Residential Knowledge Community – Green Housing Award, Urban Land Institute – Wavemaker Awards.
Martin Marren, AIA
Mr. Marren is the Principal of Marren Architects, Inc., an architecture firm he founded in 2003. He is active in the revitalization of Baltimore neighborhoods, and has served as Principal-in-charge and Lead Design Architect for block renovations in Eager Park (East Baltimore), Federal Hill and Locust Point (South Baltimore), as well as many private homes and clubhouses. Mr. Marren serves as a Board Member of Federal Hill Main Street, an Advisory Board Member to the Salvation Army of Central Maryland, and a Design Awards Committee Member to the American Institute of Architects.
Mr. Marren received a Bachelor of Science and a Master Degree in Architecture, and a Master of Science Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering – Construction Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and served as an architect for firms in California before his relocation to Baltimore. He is accredited by the American Institute of Architects, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, and is a LEED Green Associate. He joined BMPCS’ Board of Directors in September 2014 and serves on the Facilities Committee.
Dr. Stone currently serves as the Assistant Vice President of Operations for Special Education at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Over a twenty-eight year career, Dr. Stone performed in a variety of roles in education. He has experience in K-12 instruction, community schools, program development and management, and school finance. He holds a BA in History, a Master’s in Special Education, and a Doctorate in Education, with an emphasis on education finance, from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Stone has been an instructor for teacher candidates at both Johns Hopkins University and Towson University. He holds active Maryland certification in Special Education grades 1-8 and 6-12, as well as School Administration I and II, including a Superintendent endorsement.
Dr. Stone brings a broad range of experience to the BMPCS Board. Prior to his current position, he held the newly created position of Director of Charter and Community Schools, opening the office immediately after Maryland’s charter school legislation passed. The office authorized many of Maryland’s earliest charter schools, and designed the first application, contract, renewal process, and funding model for Baltimore City Schools. In addition, he managed the partnership between Edison Schools and Kennedy Krieger at three reconstituted City Schools and was the Executive Director of a full-service Community School in San Francisco.
In addition to his participation on the BMPCS Board, Dr. Stone currently serves on the Board of the Digital Harbor Foundation. He previously served the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners, the Steering Committee of the Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE), the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) Board of Directors, the Board of Directors for the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (MANSEF), and Board President of Afya Public Charter School in Baltimore City. His most challenging leadership role, however, is as coach of his South Baltimore Little League team. Dr. Stone’s eldest son is a graduate of Baltimore Montessori Public.
As President of Firefly Advisors, Ms. Kane serves a range of clients by providing strategic leadership support and advisement, facilitation, and project management with high-impact initiatives to expand educational opportunities. Current or recent projects include advancing priority initiatives for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Bezos Family Foundation, Raising A Reader, Young Audiences, and The T. Rowe Price Foundation.
Prior to launching into consulting, over five years ago, Ms. Kane worked as a program officer at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In her 17 years at Casey, Ms. Kane held various assignments focused on services and systems reform but she spent most of her tenure managing the Foundation’s Baltimore education and early childhood investments. To further Casey’s hometown agenda, and to ensure that Baltimore benefited from some of the lessons learned from Casey’s broader national work in education and early childhood, Ms. Kane devoted significant time to such external leadership commitments as: the Baltimore City New and Charter School Advisory Board and the Henderson Hopkins School Board. Prior to leaving Casey, Ms. Kane also managed the Baltimore Grade-Level Reading effort, working closely with colleagues from the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, local funders, the Mayor’s Office, the school system, and other partners.
Prior to joining the Foundation in 1995, Ms. Kane served as Assistant Coordinator for Community Health Programs at the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after working at a healthcare consulting firm. Ms. Kane, through volunteering, has helped run Horton’s Kids, a nonprofit organization targeting children in a housing project in the Anacostia area of Washington, D.C. She also served as board chair of a family support center at a Baltimore high school. Prior to her work in D.C., Ms. Kane was a Special Assistant to a New York City Councilwoman, as a part of her tenure in the Urban Fellows Program for the City of New York. Ms. Kane has a master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University. Ms. Kane’s daughter is a graduate of Baltimore Montessori Public.
Barnett Quinton Brooks was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended public schools in the city after which he received a BA in History and an MS in History and Social Science from Morgan State University.
Mr. Brooks obtained his law degree from the University of Baltimore while working as an undercover police detective. After graduating from law school, he practiced law as in-house counsel, in his own practice, and as office managing partner for two national law firms. After serving as Senior Counsel Employment Law at Johns Hopkins Medicine, he returned to the private practice of Employment Law as Of Counsel with the Smithey Law group in Annapolis, Maryland.
Mr. Brooks lives in Canton with his wife. His hobbies include collecting books and historical documents.
DeBrandon Jews has been in banking for 28 years in various roles. It all began with a work study program at Baltimore City College High School with the Bank of Baltimore. While attending Bowie State University, Mr. Jews worked during semester breaks with Educational Systems Employees Federal Credit Union in Bladensburg Maryland. After college several senior managers of the credit union left to join BB&T in Washington DC, they offered him an opportunity to be part of their new team with BB&T in the Washington DC offices. For the past 21 years, Mr. Jews has worked in various roles with BB&T now Truist ranging from Branch Management, Retail Lending to his current role of the last 14 years as a Treasury Sales Analyst here in Baltimore, Maryland. In this role, he helps commercial clients improve their efficiency by streamlining their accounts payable and receivables. In this current role, Mr. Jews was honored as their Annual Olympian Award Winner. The Olympian Award is BB&T’s premier client service and operational excellence award.
Mr. Jews is the proud father of DeBrandon Jews Jr. (25 years of age) concierge Four Season‐Baltimore and Jayden Jews (14 years of age). Jayden recently graduated Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School. She is now attending BARD High School Early College.
Mr. Jews is committed to giving back to the youth in his community. He has been a youth sports coach for several years and a volunteer at local organizations. Mr. Jews has been very active in the school PTA/PTO throughout the education of his children. Mr. Jews values the relationship and importance of the school, parent and community partnership in the development of the whole child.
Donell Thompson, Jr. is the Director of Community Service and Service-Learning at Gilman School. He also serves as a middle school teacher, advisor, coach, mentor and independent school director of Gilman’s Middle Grades Partnership with Southwest Baltimore Public Charter School. He is a student-focused educational leader with a strong commitment to fostering a stimulating and safe learning environment. He has built a reputation as a collaborative member of the school community working across academic divisions to support and develop character education through service-learning.
As a young boy, Donell attended Mildred D. Monroe Elementary School, the current home of Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School. He later graduated from Gilman School, received his BA in Biology and Biochemistry from Dartmouth College, and is completing his Master of Science in Educational Studies with certificates in Leadership in Independent Schools and Urban Education at the Johns Hopkins School of Education.
Donell is an avid triathlete, runner, and lover of music. He and his family live in Baltimore.
Allison Shecter, Executive Director and Founder
Ms. Shecter is an experienced certified teacher with a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Johns Hopkins University and additional training in Montessori education and school administration. Ms. Shecter is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). She is the original Founder of Baltimore Montessori Public and has served as the school’s Director for 13 years; she is a non-voting member of the Board. Ms. Shecter’s three children are graduates of Baltimore Montessori Public.