The First Independent STEAM School in Orange County, CA
Serving Early Childhood to 8th Grade

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.

2018-2019 Members

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.

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.

Patty Cyr (Treasurer)

Patty Cyr currently is an Associate Attorney at Hittelman Strunk LLP and a Lecturer at University of California, Irvine School of Law. 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. She sits on the Board of Directors of Laura’s House, a nonprofit agency dedicated to ending the cycle of domestic violence.

Allen McNamee (Secretary)

Allen McNamee is Managing Associate General Counsel for In-N-Out Burgers, headquartered in Irvine, California. In his position, he oversees the legal department while handling 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 wit 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 B.A. in Speech Communications - Rhetoric Emphasis, cum laude from University of San Diego. Mr. McNamee joined the School Committee in July 2015. He and his wife, Sybille, have two children, Taylor (Class of 2017) and Cameron (Class of 2019), who have attended St. John's since kindergarten. 

Fr. Christopher Potter, Vicar

Christopher is a native Southern Californian who attended private schools until ninth grade. His undergraduate work was done at The University of San Diego with a B.A. in Philosophy and Logic. Graduate school was at St. John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota. Christopher spent about a year in Israel and the Middle East studying the history of Israel in context. He received his Master’s Degree and was ordained priest in 1984. He served communities in Riverside and San Bernardino including as director of the Church’s presence on college campuses in the area. After marriage and one child (Lauren Potter), Christopher attended Law School with intentions of working in Constitutional Law. Previous to a return to ministry, Christopher was the Administrator for 13 years at a residential crisis home for children with disabilities, requiring a deep and working knowledge of the Education Code, especially regarding IEP’s. He joined the Episcopal Church in 1996 and became an Episcopal Priest in 2011. Christopher served as Assisting Priest at communities in Whittier and Buena Park before becoming Interim Priest in Placentia.

Christopher lives in Rancho Santa Margarita with his daughter, an actress and his sister who is enjoying retirement.

Andy Sulick

President of Santa Margarita Catholic High School

Andy Sulick is an Orange County native. His father is a retired Marine officer and his mother was a Catholic school elementary teacher in South Orange County. Andy holds a master's degree in Catholic educational administration from Loyola Marymount University, a bachelor's degree in education/history from the University of Redlands, and is a member of Santa Margarita Catholic High School's Charter Class of 1991.  

Andy began his teaching career at his alma mater in 1996 where he not only taught history, but coached football and golf. In 2001, he left Santa Margarita for the corporate world and gained valuable business experience over the next two years while working at FedEx. In 2003, Andy began his post as founding director of admissions at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano. His successes at JSerra ultimately propelled him into the role of assistant headmaster in 2012. 

In the summer of 2014, Andy was appointed president of Santa Margarita Catholic High School returning to the "Eagles' Nest." His proven record of success in enrollment marketing, development, business, administration, and deep ties to the alumni community serve him well in his role as president. Andy is proud of establishing a new program at the school, Eagles Edge, which provides students with "real-world" growth and networking opportunities. As president, Andy maintains ties to his original passion of teaching by guest speaking in the community at area high schools, colleges and nonprofit organizations. 

Andy and wife Julie, a 1993 graduate of SMCHS, have enjoyed expanding their alumni status to that of current parents and alumni parents, with their daughter McKenna graduating in 2018; son Drew is a member of the Class of 2021, and youngest son Noah looks forward to following in the family tradition as a member of the Class of 2023. 

Bill Hageman

Bill Hageman is the Chairman of On-Trak Photonics, a leading manufacturer and distributor of laser alignment and other electro-optics equipment. Previously Bill was an investment banker with RBC Capital Markets and J.P. Morgan where he was responsible for advisory and capital raising activities within film, television, music, interactive entertainment, out of home and digital media sectors. Bill is a graduate of the University of Southern California with studies in Business Administration and Biotechnology. He joined the School Committee in January 2015.

Perry Valaskantjis

Perry Valaskantjis is the owner/operator of TOM's famous Family Restaurants, a chain of family-owned restaurants with 23 locations across Southern California. Valaskantjis graduated cum laude from Notre Dame De Namur University with degrees in political science and history while also playing on the men's soccer team. Valaskantjis has extensive expertise in business development, facilities management and business finances. He supports numerous nonprofits and currently serves on a number of non-profit boards. 

He and his wife, Christy, have two boys at St. John's - Niko '22 and Kosta '24. The Valaskantjis family resides in Coto de Caza. 

Dirksen Lehman

Dirksen J. Lehman has been corporate vice president, public affairs at Edwards Lifesciences since June 2013. He joined the company in 2007 as vice president of government affairs, and later added responsibility for global health economics and reimbursement. In his current role, Lehman continues to oversee these functions and also has responsibility for global communications, corporate branding, global corporate giving, and patient engagement. Prior to joining Edwards, he was head of the healthcare practice at Clark & Weinstock, a government affairs and crisis management consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Lehman has also served in The White House as special assistant to the president for legislative affairs, and health counsel for the majority on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He serves on the board of directors for BioUtah and joined the SJES School Committee in 2017. Lehman received his undergraduate degree from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from Catholic University of America.

Melissa Lukowski

Melissa Lukowski is a healthcare executive with demonstrated ability to drive and manage complex product innovation, operational execution and growth in the dynamic HIT sector. She is a Healthcare Consultant at Lukowski Inc. In her current consulting role, Mrs. Lukowski works with healthcare startup companies as a strategic advisor in formulating strategic and operational plans aimed at securing revenue and investment goals.

Mrs. Lukowski also served as the Chief Executive Officer of Lucirix, a startup company that provides a communication and collaboration platform for physicians. Prior to her work in the healthcare startup arena, Mrs. Lukowski spent over 10 years at athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN), a leading provider of cloud-based practice management, electronic health record (EHR), and care coordination services to medical groups. She held a variety of leadership positions during her tenure at athenahealth ranging from business development, product management, operations, and strategic supply chain partnerships (payers, clearinghouses).

Before her work with athenahealth, Mrs. Lukowski was a Senior Consultant at Integral, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, where she focused on healthcare consulting engagements that spanned both the provider and supplier sectors. Early in her career, she worked as an Engineer at Northrop Electromechanical Division in Anaheim, CA, and at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Mrs. Lukowski holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  

Stephanie Peters

While in Investment Banking and Fixed Income at Morgan Stanley in New York City, Stephanie gained extensive deal experience in debt, equity, structured products and Mergers & Acquisitions, executing approximately $3 Billion in deals. Subsequently, Stephanie invested in early stage companies and provided strategic advice to female entrepreneurs, while a Managing Director at Golden Seeds. 

Stephanie holds an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management and an Honors Bachelor of Commerce from Queen's University in Canada. Prior to her MBA, she worked in the entertainment industry as Director of Sales and then Director of Promotions and Public Relations for Ticketmaster Canada. 

She has also held volunteer leadership roles in The Toronto Junior Board of Trade, Wharton, Queen's, and PTA/PTF Boards. Currently, she works for Wharton MBA Admissions. Stephanie and her husband, Bill, have four sons, three are proud St. John's Cardinals and one is a recent graduate. 

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).

Michael Vaughn

Michael Vaughn is a partner with Enterprise Counsel Group in Irvine, California, where his law practice focuses on 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 was a City Council Member for the City of Rancho Santa Margarita from 2014 to 2018, and served as Mayor in 2018, and is a former member of the Rancho Santa Margarita Planning Commission. Mr. Vaughn is also the founder of Team 2/5 RSM, a non-profit organization providing support to the Marines and families of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines at Camp Pendleton, Rancho's adopted Marine Battalion. He is also a member of the RSM Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors and Rotary del Sol. 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.