Board Meetings 

All regular meetings of the Board of Directors are open to the public and are held at The Bold Building, Suite 170, Governors Village, 50101 Governors Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27517. Meetings begin at 7:30pm unless otherwise noted.

Upcoming meetings: 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Board Minutes

Minutes of the public charter school Board of Directors meetings can be accessed from the Board Minutes page where they are added once approved. 


Committee Meetings

The public charter school Board of Directors currently has four committees:

Executive Committee

Board Development Committee

Finance Committee

Operations & Programming Committee

Meeting dates, times, and locations can be found on the school calendar located here. All charter committee meetings are open to the public.

Our Board of Directors

The following individuals are the Directors for Willow Oak Montessori Charter School, Inc.; Willow Oak Montessori Children's House, Inc.; and Willow Oak Montessori Foundation, Inc.

Brystana Kaufman, President

Originally from the Buckeye State, Brystana spent 10 years working in financial services as a payroll specialist, loan officer and bank manager in Arizona and North Carolina. As a mother of two, she earned a Master of Science in public health in 2015 at UNC and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree with a focus in cardiovascular health and Medicare policy. Her two children have been a part of the Willow Oak community since 2013, and Brystana began supporting the school as a member of the finance committee in 2014. She is excited to be part of the board and be a part of the team making new facility a reality for the Willow Oak Community!


J Bazemore, Vice President

J, his wife Meredith, and their daughter Caidence returned to Chapel Hill after living in Boone, NC for two years. Originally arriving in Chapel Hill in 2003, he leveraged his degree in Game Development and began working at UNC first as an application developer and later in a desktop management role working with the Carolina Computing Initiative. He currently works within the Teaching and Learning division of ITS as a Systems Specialist. He became familiar with the Montessori philosophy while in Boone, when Caidence attended school at Mountain Pathways Montessori School. The concepts and process have continued to provide “ah-ha” moments for him as he remembers his personal struggles within the more traditional school model of his education. 


Mark Smith, Treasurer

Mark grew up in upstate New York and earned his B.A. in English at St. Lawrence University. After college, he attended Albany Law School, was admitted to the New York Bar, and went to work for an asset/wealth management firm based in NYC. While in law school he supplemented his legal education with accounting courses and after passing the Bar, became a Certified Public Accountant.  Mark spent the majority of his career working in public accounting as an auditor in the high tech and private equity, venture capital industries. Mark now holds a position with the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants in Durham, NC.  Mark and his wife Julie have two girls and have been a part of the Willow Oak Montessori community since 2014. He welcomes the privilege to serve on the board during this exciting time of growth to help ensure that current and future students and families benefit from all that Willow Oak Montessori has to offer.

Susannah Hunter, Secretary

Susannah is a Chapel Hill native who always knew she wanted to raise her own children here someday. After a 10-year stint in the Washington, D.C. area doing writing and editing work in the fields of healthcare improvement and social justice, Susannah and her husband, Luke Gilligan (also a Chapel Hill native and a Montessori alum!), returned to Orange County in 2010 with their two children, Amelia and Isaac. They were thrilled to discover Willow Oak Montessori Charter and are currently in the process of moving to Chatham County to be closer to the school and community. Susannah has loved being involved with Willow Oak over the past two years and has enjoyed being on the board!

Charleen Cody

Charleen’s parents moved to Chatham County while she was in elementary school and she graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, so she has been a long time local. Prior to starting a family, Charleen worked for a company that consulted to biotech and pharma in their marketing department. Charleen and her husband currently live in the North Chatham area with their children. Her oldest has attended Willow Oak Montessori Charter School since it’s inaugural year. Since she left her corporate career, Charleen has been an active volunteer in her community and in her children’s schools. She is also a part-time assistant at her youngest child’s preschool.

Melanie Pellowitz

Melanie is a native of North Carolina, she grew up in the mountains and moved to the Piedmont 15 years ago. Melanie holds a BA in Anthropology from Western Carolina University. She is an Eden Energy Medicine practitioner and Reiki Master. She also enjoys interior decorating for private clients and real estate staging. She and her husband have been involved in the home building industry for the past 15 years. They have a daughter Audrey, a rising second grader at Willow Oak Montessori. Her family feels fortunate to be a part of Willow Oak Montessori and look forward to the school’s bright future.

Colleen Selleck

Colleen has a long history of entrepreneurship, from early lemonade stands to helping her father with his business to running companies with her husband most recently. Simultaneously, she spent about 11 years in executive roles with YMCAs in NY and NC. Colleen moved to Chapel Hill 3 years ago with her husband Dan and their 5 children: Evan, Max (rising 4th year), Molly (rising 3rd year), Jackson (rising 2nd year) and Oliver (entering 2017). While the move was due in part to business, their driving motivation was to get into “better schools”. As expected, the traditional public school system was far better than their previous schools, and the supportive services some of the children needed were exceptional. What they quickly found was that as others in the family were eager to reach beyond the boundaries of their worksheets and classroom rules, there was nothing for them. Thankfully, Willow Oak has become home for most of the Selleck children, providing the exact opportunities each has needed to grow. Outside of school, Colleen stays busy managing their company, Progressive Water Solutions in Durham, and trying to get an ocean view as frequently as possible.

Tiffany Cooper

Tiffany is a Pittsboro native and who moved away from the rural country life to the big city only to return to her roots. She graduated from Meredith with a BA in psychology and completed a Masters in Organizational Management in Arizona. Most of her corporate career was spent in healthcare focused on organizational development, process improvement, and strategy. Desiring more flexibility with her kids and creative work she changed careers to hops farming in 2016. Tiffany was first introduced to Montessori in Phoenix, and when the family returned to NC in 2011 she enrolled her son at Children’s House Montessori in Burlington, where the family was living at the time. Tiffany’s daughter is currently in the Willow Oak Children’s house and her son is at the Charter school. She is excited to be part of the growing Willow Oak community and is looking forward to contributing to the success and development of the board efforts.

Mike Dasher

Mike was born in Toledo, Ohio and moved to North Carolina in 1989. He and his wife, Selbe Bartlett, arrived in Chatham County in 2004. Mike is a builder and developer and also serves as a Chatham County Commissioner. He is a graduate of Barton College where he earned degrees in Political Science and Finance. After college Mike joined AmeriCorps and spent a year building houses with Habitat for Humanity, and discovered a passion for building, service, and for creating community. He continued working for Habitat for Humanity for another 6 years, and eventually founded his own company to develop smart, sustainable communities. Mike enjoys spending time with his two children, both of whom attend Willow Oak Montessori. Mike and Selbe have found the Montessori principles reflect their core values of trust, respect, mindfulness, and community.

Leigh Isemonger

Leigh started her Montessori experience in 2000 as a parent before becoming AMS certified as a Lower Elementary teacher.  She was soon drawn to the Upper Elementary experience and went on to receive her Upper Elementary certification.  After years of classroom teaching, she moved into administration as an Elementary and Adolescent Program Director.  Leigh’s first encounter with Willow Oak Montessori School was as a teacher mentor and adolescent program director and so she is very excited to continue her work in public Montessori by joining the Board of Willow Oak. Currently, Leigh is the Assistant Head of School at a private school in Raleigh. Prior to becoming an educator, Leigh worked in the corporate world of finance and management.  She was born and raised in South Africa and came to live in the U.S. after graduating from university.  She has a B.S. majoring in geography and geology and a Masters in town and regional planning. She lived in Southern California for 12 years before settling in Raleigh with her husband and two children. This is Leigh’s first year on the Board at Willow Oak Montessori Charter School.

Elizabeth Wildsmith

After many years in Texas, Lizy moved to Chapel Hill in 2008 with her husband, Sam, and two young daughters, Dylan and Elissa. Lizy has a life-long passion for Montessori. Her mother was a Montessori teacher, and she attended Montessori schools from preschool through age 9. Both daughters have attended and thrived at Willow Oak Montessori School (formerly Pittsboro Montessori). She was excited to join the board of Willow Oak Montessori in March of 2012. Lizy has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and currently works (remotely) as a Research Scientist for Child Trends, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center based in Washington D.C. that studies children at all stages of development.