Gretchen Slapinsky - President

Phone:

Email: gretchen_slapinsky@sdst.org

Degrees and Certifications:

Gretchen Slapinsky - President

Gretchen Slapinsky is a Temple University graduate with a major in Fine Art. She spent over nine years as an advertising agency Art Director, and then thirteen years as a freelance graphic designer. She now holds the position of Art Director for mock5 design, inc. 

Gretchen is a strong community advocate. She led negotiations with the developers of the Harston Hall property next door to Erdenheim Elementary and the Township Board of Commissioners. She was a founding member of the Sustainable Springfield environmental organization. In addition, she has volunteered regularly at the schools. She ran the Erdenheim Publishing Center for four years, and has served on the School District Wellness Committee and the District Strategic Planning Committee.

Gretchen has been a member of the School Board since 2011. She has served as the Board Vice President, the Property Committee chair and has also served on the Finance Committee. Also, as part of her School Board commitment, she represented the district as a member of the Springfield Township Parks and Recreation Committee for several years. This is her third year as the Board President. 

Her mission is to ensure educational excellence and equity for all students in our schools. This will in turn, support our community, and lays the necessary foundation for a successful future for our children and the future of our country.

 Katherine Lewis Sarsfield - Vice President

Phone:

Email: katherine_sarsfield@sdst.org

Degrees and Certifications:

Katherine Lewis Sarsfield - Vice President

Katherine was raised in metropolitan Los Angeles, California. Her mother was a 2nd grade teacher for 40 years and her father worked for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Growing up her parents always held the belief that through education and learning, you grow and become a better, more complete person – and because of this ethic, her two brothers and she all strove for academic excellence.

Katherine attended Bryn Mawr College and was an economic major, focusing on fiscal public policy. After college, Katherine worked for a small not-for-profit on several large initiatives on behalf of the US Department of Justice that focused on providing education and work experience to at-risk youth. She also had the opportunity to work collaboratively with cities ensuring that key stakeholders were represented when tackling large public safety initiatives in urban areas, such as Philadelphia.

During this time, Katherine received her Master’s degree from Temple University in Urban Studies with a concentration on Urban Education. Her Master’s thesis examined three classrooms in Philadelphia schools and asked ‘which of the classes worked best for girls and why?’ At the same time, she volunteered her time on the Springfield Township Planning Commission.

Her next job was Education Director at a nation not-for-profit animal protection organization. She developed, implemented and delivered in-services and workshops and created and marketed materials at national teacher conferences where she spoke to hundreds to teachers.

In 2002, Katherine became a stay-at-home Mom to care for her two sons. Several years later, Katherine ran, and was elected to the School Board. After being on the Board for one year, her time on the school board was shortened by a family emergency. In 2012, Katherine went back to work at the national non-profit animal protection organization where she worked before having children. Katherine is looking forward to being of service once again and working with the current Board to maintain the excellence that Springfield strives for.

 Walter Lapidus

Phone:

Email: walter_lapidus@sdst.org

Degrees and Certifications:

Walter Lapidus

Walter graduated from the American University with an undergraduate degree in Finance and later an MBA in International Business. Over the years, Walter worked in a variety of financial roles and currently runs a successful real estate and property management company. Walter has been a resident of Springfield Township since he moved back to the area in 2003. He currently lives in Wyndmoor with his wife and 2 daughters. Walter has been a member of the School Board since 2009 and has served on the Property and Finance Committees.

 Holly Kisailus

Phone:

Email: holly_kisailus@sdst.org

Degrees and Certifications:

Holly Kisailus

Holly Kisailus is a University of Scranton graduate with a major in History and minor studies in Criminal Justice, Philosophy and Political Science. Holly earned her Juris Doctorate from Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg and was admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania. Following two years in her general private law practice, Holly served as a staff attorney with the Defender Association of Philadelphia--the first five years practicing in the criminal defense unit and the latter six years as a staff attorney in the Child Advocacy Unit.

In her role as a child advocate attorney, Holly represented the rights of abused and neglected children. By partnering with education professionals, Holly developed specialized academic and behavioral programs including 504 plans, IEPs, post-secondary academic and vocational/alternative education plans for her clients. Through her advocacy on behalf of children, Holly routinely collaborated with medical experts, social service agencies and juvenile justice advocates to address medical/mental health issues, create truancy/delinquency reduction plans, craft programs aimed at empowering disadvantaged youth to achieve their goals and stabilize various crises.

Holly's commitment to the welfare of children has extended beyond the courtroom as well. She has served as an officer on the Board of Directors of Preschool Plus in Philadelphia and has served for the past year and continues to serve as the President of the Springfield Township Middle School Music Boosters Association. Ms. Kisailus acted as the Assistant Director of the ACT SMART youth drama program in Dresher, funded by Senator Greenleaf's anti-bullying legislative program and has also served as a cheerleading coach for elementary-aged girls in a Montgomery county intermural athletics association.

Holly is the mother of a daughter at the middle school and has been actively involved in volunteering for both on and off-campus school activities including PTA committee work and the drama program. Holly has also served Springfield Township schools as an education professional substituting in grades K-12 for two years.

 Ben Rayer

Phone:

Email: ben_rayer@sdst.org

Degrees and Certifications:

Ben Rayer

Ben is an independent consultant who provides consulting services to education organizations and large foundations. Ben has also been an elementary school teacher and worked financial advisor to Pennsylvania school districts and governments. Ben holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Policy from Cornell University, a Master of Government Administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the Broad Foundation's Superintendents Academy training program.

 Dr. Karen Taratuski

Phone:

Email: karen_taratuski@sdst.org

Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Karen Taratuski

Karen was born and raised in Philadelphia and has lived in Springfield Township for the past 16 years. She brings an understanding of school systems, the perspective of a community member and the interest of a parent to her role on the school board. She believes that board members must work together with school administrators and the community to provide an education that nurtures children and gives them the strong foundation for the future. Karen has a special interest in supporting the social-emotional development and mental health of children.

Karen graduated from Immaculata University with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Music Therapy. She later earned a Master of Education degree from Temple University in School Psychology followed by a Doctorate in clinical psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She has worked in the education/mental health field for the close to30 years. Her career began as a Music Therapist working with individuals who had complex developmental and behavioral disabilities. After being credentialed as a School Psychologist, she worked in public schools in such roles as a Behavior Specialist, School Psychologist and Special Services Administrator. She has also had experience providing mental health treatment for individuals of all ages in outpatient, inpatient, residential, and behavioral health settings. Karen has taught at all levels, from elementary school to graduate school. She is a Licensed Psychologist in the Commonwealthof Pennsylvania as well as a Certified School Psychologist in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She currently works as a School Psychologist in a public school district.

 James Taylor

Phone:

Email: james_taylor@sdst.org

Degrees and Certifications:

James Taylor

James S. Taylor was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Philadelphia Central High School and received a BBA in Marketing and Finance from Temple University in 1991. Shortly after marrying his wife, Sandy, an officer in the United States Navy Reserves, he worked as a substitute teacher for the Department Of Defense Schools, United States Naval Forces Japan, as well as an adjunct professor for Central Texas College in Yokosuka, Japan. James' experience includes sales development and management in the chemical, banking, and retail industries. He has spent the last 15 years in IT support for the telecommunications industry.

Attracted by its schools and close-knit neighborhoods, James and Sandy relocated to Springfield Township in 1998. They have two daughters, both of whom attend Springfield Township Public Schools. Believing in strong community involvement, James has previously volunteered with Town Watch, School Carnivals, and regional charities. Becoming a Board Member furthers his commitment to service in the community. James is a firm believer that children acquire the tools they need to succeed through quality education. The School Board ensures quality through policy that includes open communication, fiscal responsibility, and fairness.

 John Chapman

Phone:

Email: john_chapman@sdst.org

Degrees and Certifications:

John Chapman

John is a product of Montgomery County schools as a graduate of nearby Wissahickon High School.  He later earned a BS degree from Eastern College, now Eastern University.  Additionally, John earned an MSS with a concentration in Social Service Management from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. He is a licensed social worker, and he has worked in behavioral healthcare for over 25 years. The majority of John's career has focused on partnering with individuals, who have had substance abuse issues, in the struggle for change and growth. For the past 15 years John has worked in the setting of an employee assistance program.  This has involved working with employees and their managers from around the country to address employee substance abuse issues that are impacting the workplace.

John has lived in Springfield Township for ten years.  He has been married to his spouse, Lisa, (a veteran teacher of 25+ years) for 20 years. Their two children are students at the high school. John has been trained as a parent advocate, and has participated as a member of PARITY, a district sponsored parenting group with the goal of eliminating the achievement gap. John and his family are active members of their church community.

 Jeannine DePaul-Nelson

Phone:

Email: jeannine_nelson@sdst.org

Degrees and Certifications:

Jeannine DePaul-Nelson

Jeannine DePaul-Nelson is a lifelong educator who has worked in education for over 20 years.  Jeannine is a graduate of Millersville University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and the University of Pennsylvania, earning a Master’s Degree in History.  She worked as a high school teacher and coach for seven years. Currently she works for CompassLearning, a learning acceleration company that specializes in hybrid learning and intervention technologies and solutions serving students across the country. This work has afforded her the opportunity to interface and strategize with superintendents, curriculum directors, school boards, principals and teachers from hundreds of school districts along the east coast.

In addition to her professional work, Jeannine has been a long time community advocate, donating her time to informing community members about important public matters and volunteering as a community softball coach. She is active in her children’s school communities.  Jeannine has been a resident of Springfield Township for over 13 years.

CLOSE