Board of Trustees

The Salem Academy Board of Trustees is the legal governing body of the school. The Board is held accountable to the public and ensures that the school’s academic program is successful, that the school is faithful to the terms of its charter, and that it is organizationally viable. With these ends in mind, the Board is responsible for determining the school’s mission and vision; managing its property and assets; recruiting, supporting, and evaluating the Executive Director, continually developing the Board, setting effective policies, and ensuring the school’s legal compliance and fiscal health.

Michelle Aroko

Photo of Michelle Aroko
Board of Trustees, Salem Academy Alumna, HR Committee

Michelle joins the board as the first graduate of Salem Academy to hold a seat on the board. As a 2009 graduate, she was President of her class and valedictorian. Besides bringing a unique perspective to the group, Michelle and her family have deep ties to the school as her three siblings are also Salem Academy Alumni. Michelle earned both her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Masters of Public Administration from Clark University and has since been working in the insurance industry.

Joshua Biber

Member of the Development Committee

Josh Biber joined Teach For America as a 2004 corps member in Phoenix, where he led his fifth graders to two years of reading growth and more than 80% mastery of math content each year. Josh was a national semi-finalist for the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award, a prestigious honor for Teach For America corps members. He later served as recruitment director for Teach For America at Brown and Harvard. In 2008, Josh took on the challenge of establishing Teach For America’s presence in Massachusetts—first, as director of new site development, then as founding executive director. Josh graduated with honors from Brown University and earned a Master’s in Education from Arizona State University. He sits on local advisory boards for Orchard Gardens Pilot School in Roxbury, Kingsley Montessori School, and on the board of trustees for Salem Academy Charter School.

Nina Cohen

Photo of Nina Cohen
Chair of the Board of Trustees, Chair of the Development Committee

Nina Cohen is a Salem resident and is well known for her civic involvement in the City of Salem and her pedestrian advocacy. An attorney, she holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. She served as Senior Project Manager, Affordable Housing Development, for the North Shore CDC from 2004 to 2012, and she currently serves on the Board of Directors of Historic Salem, Inc. She is the former chair of the City of Salem Zoning Board of Appeal and has been on the Board of Directors of the Salem YMCA and the Salem Education Foundation.

William Henning

Photo of William Henning
Board of Trustees, Finance Committee

Bill Henning is a long time friend of Salem Academy and customer focused Commercial Lender with broad-based experience in commercial and retail banking. He has demonstrated proven ability to generate bottom line revenue by meeting the financial needs of both prospects and existing customers. Currently a commercial lending officer at Beverly Bank, he has extensive business development and customer service experience that facilitates the ability to drive operational results.

Richard Jones

Member of the Facilities Committee

Richard Jones joined the Salem Academy Charter School Board of Trustees in the Spring of 2016. Rick was born in Kentucky and attended the University of Kentucky where he received a Bachelor of Architecture and later went on to graduate from the Harvard Graduate School of Design with a Masters of Architecture degree. He went on to work for many firms in the Boston area including William Rawn Associates and Kao Design. Rick joined Perry Dean Rogers | Partners in 1999 as an Associate and rose through the ranks to become the Director of Sustainable Design. During Rick’s tenure at PDR|P, he worked as project manager on award-winning designs for educational institutions such as Harvard Univeristy, Norwich Univeristy, Univeristy of Arkansas, and Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.

Rick started Jones Architecture in Salem MA, in 2011, and continues to build upon his expertise in the planning and design of higher education facilities.

Rick continues to speak regularly at conferences and universities on the topics of planning for learning environments and intention in construction detailing and its impact on sustainable design. He recently joined Northeastern University School of Architecture as a member of their adjunct faculty and continues to grow his portfolio with recent work including Norwich University, Dartmouth University, Northeastern University, and Boston Trinity Academy.

Daniel V McCaughey

Photo of Daniel V McCaughey
Board of Trustees Member Salem Academy Charter School

David Pabich

Member of the Facilities Committee

David Pabich joined the Salem Academy Board of Trustees in the Spring of 2016. As a longtime Salem resident and current parent of a Salem Academy student, David adds a firsthand personal perspective to our Board.

David graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and went on to earn a Masters of Science Degree in Environmental Engineering from Northeastern University. From there he’s worked as an engineer both for the City of Salem and as a Project Manager for Desser & Mckee in Cambridge MA.

David earned several licenses in the field of engineering, real estate, and construction. His expertise lead to founding Salem Renewal LLC, a family owned real estate rehabilitation company specializing in creating high-end residential and commercial spaces for rent and sale. David currently manages all aspects of the business and over the past fifteen years has overseen the renovation of over 85 units in and around the Downtown Salem area. Salem Renewal focuses on recognizing the potential in neglected or abused properties and revitalizing them to the highest and best use.

No stranger to service, David has served as the Chairperson of the Salem Conservation Commission and currently as a member of the Salem Beverly Water Supply Board, The Northshore CDC, and the Salem Partnership.

W. Stevenson Palmer

Member of the Facilities Committee, Former Board Chair

Steve Palmer is Manager, Marketing Communications, Vacuum Technologies, Americas for Agilent, Inc., formerly Varian, Inc. where he has held similar positions for 21 years. Steve is a deacon and past chairman of the Standing Committee of The First Church in Salem. He is a resident of Salem where he and his wife, Katherine, moved in 1987. Together, the Palmers are the very proud parents of Alison and Hannah, both Salem Academy alumnae and successful college students. Mr. Palmer is a founder of the School/ Family/ Community Team at Salem Academy, and he serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Salem Academy Charter School Foundation. He has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Northeastern University, 1987, and attended McGill University.

Alfonso Perillo

Photo of Alfonso Perillo
Board of Trustees, HR Committee

Alfonso Perillo joins our Board sharing 17 years of public accounting experience with a specialty in working with non-profits. As both a Licensed Independent Social Worker and CPA, Alfonso understands first-hand the challenges and complexities of the nonprofit sector. He brings to bear unique skills that help nonprofit clients operate more efficiently, ensure compliance, and effectively communicate their organization’s story through their financial statements and tax filings. 

Alfonso’s experience working directly with nonprofit boards and administrators offers Salem Academy access to practical advice and the opportunity to continue to advance our organization’s mission.

Mekka Smith

Photo of Mekka Smith

Christine Wynne

Photo of Christine Wynne
Board of Trustees, Development Committee

A current Salem Academy parent, Christine Wynne has joined our board bringing along a new perspective and 15 + years’ experience in project and event management. She is regarded as a trusted leader, valuable consultant, and collaborator as proven by her time at Boston University as the Director of Presidential Functions and Sloane House.

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