Board of Directors

The Eastern Ridge School is governed by a volunteer board of directors. The Program Director reports directly to the board.

The Eastern Ridge School is currently seeking candidates to join the school’s Board of Directors. Individuals with expertise in early childhood education and/or fundraising are particularly encouraged to apply, but applicants of all backgrounds are invited. To apply, please submit this application no later than July 3, 2020.

Sarah Gamble, Chair

Sarah joined the Eastern Ridge School community in 2015 as the Outdoor Specialist. She brought her experience from various environmental and farm based education programs to her work at Eastern Ridge, and enjoyed sharing her passion for being out in the woods and garden with the learners of all ages.

When she decided to pursue her Masters of Education in 2017 at Antioch University of New England, Sarah joined the Board in order to give back to the Eastern Ridge School and support its mission.

With her MEd in Elementary and Special Education with a focus in Integrated Curriculum, Sarah is now a kindergarten teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools. She brings her knowledge of education and the outdoors, as well as her personal relationship with the school
and staff, to her work on the Board. Sarah is honored to serve on the Board and work to strengthen the programs Eastern Ridge offers and its continued growth.

Don Britton, Member-at-Large

Don brings nearly 25 years of entrepreneurial and accounting experience to his role as Treasurer on ERS’s Board of Directors. Through Don’s vision and leadership, he became one of the first pioneers in the cloud computing space, successfully growing his company, Network Alliance, into a global, award-winning technology and service organization. In December 2018 Don sold the company, which was widely recognized for the excellent culture, systems, and organizational structure he and his team had developed.

Prior to founding Network Alliance, Don was the Controller and Director of Operations for Mario Morino, technology innovator and leading venture philanthropist. As such, Don successfully managed the accounting and operational services, as well as developed and implemented managerial applications for use throughout the Morino Group, the Morino Institute and its affiliated partners. Don’s initial career after college began in Public Accounting with Beers & Cutler (acquired by Baker Tilly International). 

Don believes strongly in giving back to the community and is involved with various non-profit organizations, including the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Eastern Ridge School. 

When not at home in Virginia or the Outer Banks, Don enjoys giving back to the community, extreme sports and exploring new places. Growing up in England, Greece, and Germany, Don developed a love for travel. Don recently embarked on his greatest adventure to date with the expansion of his family. He and his wife enjoy introducing their two daughters (one of whom attended ERS) to their many passions and the girls are already live music loving, wilderness exploring, beach babies.

Carely Fisher-Maltese, Member-at-Large

Carley Fisher-Maltese is an assistant professor at George Mason University. She teaches the early childhood education math and science methods and policy courses in the College of Education and Human Development. She completed her Ph.D. at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Her research focuses on science learning and the link between learning in informal and formal settings. She is particularly interested in learning in outdoor spaces, such as gardens. Carley has her Masters in Elementary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and Elementary I & II credential from the American Montessori Society.

Prior to teaching in higher education, she taught elementary school in both private and public school settings. She is a strong advocate of experiential learning opportunities and promoting health and wellness in children. 

I her free time, Carley enjoys spending time in nature with her 3 sons. 

Chrissy Foster, Member-at-Large

Chrissy brings twelve years of dedicated experience in educational research. She is a postdoctoral researcher with a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction (engineering education) and expertise areas in diversity and inclusion, design of culturally-responsive learning environments, and qualitative research. Her work focuses on broadening participation in engineering by transforming engineering learning and teaching spaces to be inclusive of diverse identities, cultures, and worldviews. To advance engineering education research, Chrissy has conducted qualitative research studies exploring the lives of Native American women working in engineering and technology and has also contributed to several NSF-funded research projects. Most recently, Chrissy has worked to develop a culturally-responsive engineering curriculum that is currently being implemented in Navajo Nation middle schools. Focused on community engagement, Chrissy has also developed and led several educational workshops, events, and camps focused on supporting students in their pathways to STEM careers. Through her work, Chrissy has developed partnerships with Native communities and has worked to help advance Native communities through a variety of contexts and roles, including serving on the board of the Phoenix American Indian Science and Engineering Society and teaching engineering camps on the Navajo Nation.
 
Having lived in Arizona for most of her life, Chrissy moved to Northern Virginia with her husband and daughter in 2016. Shortly thereafter, Chrissy found the Eastern Ridge School (ERS) during a school search for her daughter. She and her family quickly learned that ERS is a truly special school where children are engaged thoughtfully and constructively with their natural world. As a board member, Chrissy is excited to contribute her expertise and knowledge as an ERS-parent to support the school’s continued growth.

Keller Lindler, Member-at-Large

Keller’s contributions to the ERS community began nearly a decade ago. She started her journey as a teacher with Discovery Woods (the predecessor of ERS) in 2011 and helped develop and lead ERS’s Early Childhood program from the ground up. When Discovery Woods transitioned into Eastern Ridge School several years later, Keller took on a new role as Program Director, establishing a place where the community could grow and thrive into what it is today. In 2017, Keller left to pursue a new direction in the financial services industry, but couldn’t keep her distance for long. She joined the board in 2020 with the drive to continue sharing her deep-seated love and dedication to the school, the community, and the impact a child-led, nature-based education offers our children. 

As a financial advisor, Keller continues to support others in their growth and development through a holistic lens. Keller’s career path has always had a common thread— she has always enjoyed working toward a common goal for the betterment of others, and brings to the board her energy and commitment to supporting the school’s outreach and development goals. Her roots of creativity and problem solving run deep, whether it was designing for the theatrical stage, creating a welcoming learning environment, or crafting a holistic financial plan for individuals or businesses.

For fun, Keller likes to discover new restaurants, hike the national parks in the area, and spend time with family, friends, and her toy Aussie, River.  

Jennie Melchior, Member-at-Large

Jennie brings 15 years of experience supporting Federal agencies in improving their delivery of mission support functions, especially within the financial management arena. She has planned and managed transitions to new business systems and operations, provided organizational analysis and design services; optimized processes, policies, and procedures; and established strategies for mitigating financial and operating risks.

Jennie grew up as a U.S. Army dependent in Germany, where she attended German schools from kindergarten through high school graduation (Gymnasium). While Heidelberg, Germany will always feel like “home,” graduating from the University of Virginia and moving to the Washington Metro area have allowed her to embrace her Virginian roots.

A member of the Eastern Ridge Community since 2014, Jennie is passionate about helping the school continue to thrive. She is thankful her two girls have benefited from the school’s loving staff, expansive outdoor space, and warm community. As a Director at Large, Jennie draws on her professional acumen and first-hand ERS-parent experience to shape the School’s vision and make decisions to benefit current and future Eastern Ridge families.

Olga Norwood, Member-at-Large

Olga brings nearly two decades of experience developing exceptional creative for a wide variety of clients, from building brand identities to delivering products and user experiences. Olga’s skills combine a keen eye for design, thoughtfulness, and craft with logic and common sense. Olga is experienced in design thinking, user research, information architecture, content strategy, and UX and UI design. She has worked with a wide range of clients including arts presenters (The Kennedy Center), government agencies (DHS, USDA, USPS), tech startups, and a news outlet (USA Today). Currently, Olga is heading a product design team at Capital One, working on the Capital One Banking app. She believes that a strong and well-executed digital presence is imperative for any business today.

Olga grew up in Russia and came to America as a teenager to attend high school, where she became interested in graphic design, was accepted into Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Art Program, and the rest is history. Olga muses that one day her daughter — a former ERS Crow / Squirrel and a budding artist — could attend VCU as well. 

Olga has a special place in her heart for ERS and its community. Her daughter attended the school for 2 memorable years and immensely enjoyed its unique outdoor, nature-loving, creative environment and its exceptional staff. Olga hopes to apply her expertise in branding, user experience, and design thinking to help shape ERS’ mission and values and best position the school in its web presence.