School Committee

The St. John’s School Committee is a group of volunteers charged with the long-term strategic vision and financial health of the School. These volunteers are parents of current students, parents of alumni, members of the St. John’s Episcopal Church, and members of our community who believe in the vision for and value of a St. John’s education.

The School Committee’s primary duty and responsibility is to ensure the School remains faithful to the highest demands of both the Mission and the academic community. The School Committee, as a group or individually, is not involved with the day-to-day operation of the School, but instead is responsible for:

  • Establishing policies and academic goals and objectives for the School, and an organizational structure of the School to provide clear delineation of authority and proper reporting procedures from the School to the Mission;
  • Monitoring the progress of the School in carrying out its policies, goals, and budgets;
  • Hiring and being responsible for the care, support, and evaluation of the Head of School;
  • Preparing an annual School operating budget, reflecting tuition policy and budgeted expenditures for School and School-related programs, for submission to and ultimate approval by the Bishop’s Committee;
  • Establishing fundraising policy for the School, and supervising all School-related fundraising activities;
  • Maintaining effective communication with the faculty, parents, Bishop’s Committee, Church members, and the community-at-large;
  • Assuring that the physical plant is adequate for the School’s programs, and that adequate reserves are established and maintained for the maintenance and improvement of the physical plant; and
  • Exercising such authority as may be required (consistent with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church and of the Diocese, the policies established by the Bishop’s Committee, and the law) for the proper and efficient operation of the School.

2016-2017 Members

Sean Basford

Sean Basford is the Assistant Principal of Academics and Curriculum at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. Mr. Basford provides curricular leadership with attention to maintaining and developing an academic program that incorporates acceptable educational trends and methodologies consistent with the mission and philosophy of SMCHS. Furthermore, he oversees the Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Interdisciplinary (ID) and Auxiliary Studies Program (ASP) programs, and the school's Blended Online program, among several other programs. Mr. Basford continues to teach at SMCHS, and serves on several committees there including the Curriculum Counsel and the Consultative School Board Sub-Committee for Technology and Education. Mr. Basford has over 25 years of education and curriculum design experience both in High School and Community College. Prior to teaching at SMCHS, he was the founder, owner, and manager of his own college admission company, The SPL Educational Group, L.L.C. Mr. Basford acquired his Psychology degree at the University of California, Irvine, and his Master's degree in Education with an emphasis in technology and learning from United States International University. He and his wife, Jayme, currently have a graduate of St. John's now attending Santa Margarita Catholic High School.

Jim Chiate

Jim Chiate is a Senior Vice President - Wealth Management Advisor at UBS. He is responsible for developing and implementing broad-based financial planning and asset management strategies for clients. He joined Merrill Lynch in 2003, having previously worked and owned businesses in the financial, technology and pharmaceutical industries. Mr. Chiate graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Real Estate and Finance. He joined the School Committee 2011, and has two children enrolled at St. John’s.

Celia Coulter (Chair)

Celia Coulter is the Executive Vice President of Consumer Lending for Union Bank. With more than 20 years of experience, Celia oversees Residential Loan production and underwriting, the Project Management Office, Technology, Secondary Marketing Operations, Product Development and Consumer Credit Operations. Prior to Union Bank, she served as Managing Director and Chief Administrative Officer for Residential Lending at Bank of America. She began her career at Countrywide with a focus on Underwriting and Production, continuing through all corporate functional areas, including Trading, Loan Delivery and Treasury. Celia earned a B.A. from UCLA in Economics. She has two children enrolled at St. John's.

Patty Cyr (Treasurer)

Patty Cyr currently is Lecturer at University of California, Irvine School of Law. She teaches a Domestic Violence Clinic, supervising second- and third-year law students as they represent victims of domestic violence in court. Ms. Cyr graduated from Georgetown University Law Center, cum laude, and clerked for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She practiced corporate litigation for five years with Sullivan & Cromwell, LLP in Palo Alto, CA and Washington, DC. After leaving S&C, Ms. Cyr practiced special education law in Washington, DC, representing children with special needs and their families as they pursued an appropriate education from the school system. She also has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree in International Comparative Education from Stanford University. Ms. Cyr joined the School Committee in November of 2010, and has three children enrolled at St. John’s.

Andrew Flynn

Andrew Flynn currently serves as Senior Vice President for TCI Leasing Inc., a diversified transportation, leasing, and distribution company based in Southern California. He served numerous roles in account management and operations before taking over his current position in 2010, Mr. Flynn attended Episcopal Schools for most of his elementary and high school years while growing up in the West Los Angeles area. He received an undergraduate Business Management degree at Regis University in Denver, CO in 1993, before returning to California. The Flynn family has been part of the St. Johns community since 2008. He joined the School Committee in 2011 and has two children currently enrolled at St. John's.

Bill Hageman

Bill Hageman is a Managing Director of RBC Capital Markets, where he heads the firm's US efforts across entertainment industries as well as its Los Angeles investment banking office. He is responsible for advisory and capital raising activities within film, television, music, interactive entertainment, out of home and digital media sectors. Prior to joining Royal Bank of Canada, he was a member of J.P. Morgan’s Entertainment Industries Group. Mr. Hageman began his career in the corporate finance departments of Wedbush Morgan and then J.P. Morgan, working with diversified West Coast based companies. Mr. Hageman is a graduate of the University of Southern California with studies in Business Administration and Biotechnology. He is a native and resident of Orange County, California where he resides with his wife and two children. Mr. Hageman is also a director of On-Trak Photonics (a privately held technology manufacturing and distribution business) and joined the School Committee in January 2015.

Michelle Johnson

Michelle Johnson is an executive leader of the Cisco Americas Regional Operations Partner team within the Customer and Partner Services (CPS) organization. She has the responsibility for leading a high performing management team chartered with delivering dedicated account and partner support to Cisco Partners and other key stakeholders at Cisco.

Ms. Johnson is a highly collaborative leader that has a diverse leadership background both inside and outside of Cisco. In her 16 years at Cisco, she has acquired deep experience in both product and services sales. She has led Enterprise sales teams as both a Regional Manager and Operations Director. Ms. Johnson also has experience in World Wide Sales Strategy and Planning where she worked on the Accelerate Cisco Transformation project. Prior to joining Cisco in 2000, Ms. Johnson was an Assistant Vice President at Bell South in the Service Provider Industry where she led sales for Large Business and Public Sector clients. Over the years, she has evolved the sales and engineering team she has led into a customer-focused, high-performance team and we are looking forward to her leadership impact in Customer & Partner Services.

Ms. Johnson holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Seattle University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame. During her undergraduate time at the University of Notre Dame she played on the tennis team and served as Captain. She resides in Coto De Caza, California with her husband, Craig and two boys, Spencer (14) and Luke (12). Her leadership extends outside of Cisco as she is actively involved in volunteering and serving her local community. She serves on the School Committee for St John’s Episcopal School and also sits on the board for her family’s Foundation which is focused on evolving education.

Allen McNamee (Secretary)

Allen McNamee is Associate General Counsel for In-N-Out Burgers, headquartered in Irvine, California. As Associate General Counsel, his responsibilities include advice and counsel over a wide spectrum of legal and business matters for the company. Some of those matters include managing and handling employment, business, and general liability litigation, overseeing implementation of new legal-related policies, compliance, and reviewing of material contracts. Prior to In-N-Out Burgers, he was an attorney with the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Los Angeles, California. Mr. McNamee earned his law degree from University of Southern California Gould School of Law and graduated cum laude from the University of San Diego with a degree in Speech Communications – Rhetoric Emphasis. Mr. McNamee joined the School Committee in July 2015. He and his wife, Sybille, have two children, Taylor (8th grade) and Cameron (6th grade), who have attended St. John's since kindergarten.

Lydia Schimmelpfenig

Lydia Schimmelpfenig is an executive coach and Founder at TEAMsmarts, a leadership consultancy with over 10 years of proven success in improving the performance of leaders at Fortune 500 companies. Mrs. Schimmelpfenig previously managed the Organizational Development department for one of the nation’s largest medical centers, and led marketing initiatives in the commercial real estate industry. Mrs. Schimmelpfenig holds masters degrees in Organizational Psychology and Counseling Psychology from Columbia University in New York, and has served on the executive boards of the local chapters of National Association of Women Business Owners and International Coach Federation. She and her husband, Dan, have three children at SJES: Luke and Ella (Class of 2024) and Zack (Class of 2025).

Father John Taylor (Vicar)

Fr. John, Vicar of St. John Chrysostom Episcopal Church and School, has been serving at St. John’s since October 2004. Starting in 1979, he worked for former President Nixon as, among other roles, Chief of Staff, Director of the Nixon Library and co-executor of President Nixon’s estate. Father John began discerning a call to ordained ministry in 1997 and was ordained a priest in January 2004. Father John is a member of the governing board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools and vice president of Register Charities, Inc. For the Diocese of Los Angeles, he serves on the Diocesan Council, Commission on Ministry, Commission on Emergent Ministries, and Committee on Constitution and Canons. He is chair of the Committee on Resolutions. Father John is married to Kathy O’Connor and has two children and two stepchildren. He is a graduate of Phillips Academy, Andover (1973), the University of California, San Diego (1980), and the Claremont School of Theology (2003).

Liz Terry (Vice Chair)

Liz Terry is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations. She went on to receive her Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she graduated cum laude. Before starting her family, she practiced law in the areas of business litigation and commercial law, and then, she went on to work at Oakley, Inc. as a Project Manager and Product Development Manager. She and her husband, Robert, have two children, Jack (Class of 2016) and Will (Class of 2020), and have been a St. John’s family since 2007.

Michael Vaughn

Michael Vaughn is an attorney with Stuart Kane LLP in Newport Beach, California, where his practice focuses on representation of companies and entrepreneurs in business law and corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions. He previously served as Vice President and General Counsel for Applied Medical Corporation and Quest Software, Inc. Mr. Vaughn earned his law degree from University of Southern California Gould School of Law and an undergraduate degree in Accounting from Arizona State University. He is a City Council Member for the City of Rancho Santa Margarita, former Chairman of the Rancho Santa Margarita Planning Commission and Founder of Team 2/5 RSM, a non-profit organization providing support to the Marines and families of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, Rancho's adopted Marine Battalion. Mr. Vaughn joined the School Committee in July 2014 and his two adult children are St. John's alumni.

Shannon Wernermar

Shannon Edwards Wernemar is a graduate of Arizona State University where she received a bachelors degree in Marketing with an emphasis in International Relations. She received her MBA from USC in 2006 while pursuing a career in International Strategic Business Development and Product Development at General Monitors, Inc. Shannon joined the School Committee in 2016. She and her husband Peter have four children (Ava, Jonas, Kian ('21) and Hayden ('23) and have been a St. John's family since 2011.

Michael Pratt, Head of School

Head of School Michael Pratt has spent his entire career in education. After receiving his B.A. from the University of Virginia and Ph.D. from Harvard University, he began his teaching career at St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia. He subsequently served as a Professor of History at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. After a term at the National Endowment for the Humanities, Dr. Pratt moved to California in 1996 to serve as the Academic Dean at Menlo School. From 2001 to 2011, he served as Head of Brentwood School in Los Angeles. He has spoken on a range of topics at conferences across the country and is the author of several articles on history and education, in addition to a book, Crash Course: a Head of School, His Son's Addiction, and Lessons for Schools and Families.