Board of Directors

The Role of the Board and the Policy Governance® Model

In its brief history, Quest has transitioned from a start-up organization to a structured, organized educational institution with a committed Board of Directors, an experienced Head of School, and well-trained, dedicated faculty and staff. The vision of the founding parents was to create an authentic Montessori school that serves the families of southern Rhode Island at a good value. The journey from 2001 until the present day has been quite remarkable and is a testimony to the passion of those involved with this undertaking to make this vision possible.

The Board of Directors for Quest has also made a journey from the model where the founding parents became de facto board members and had to be involved with every detail of making the school operational to a more structured body of governance with a complete set of policies and vision for the long term future of Quest. During this transition, the Board researched different styles and structures of school boards and decided to adopt Policy Governance as its model.

Policy Governance tasks the Board with four main responsibilities to its constituency. This constituency consists of the parent community, the student community, the staff community and the community of families interested in Montessori education. The Board’s four main responsibilities are:

  1. Establishing the linkage to ownership.
    The Board acts as representatives of the “ownership” (the persons whom the organization serves and serves as the legitimizing connection between this base and the organization.)
  2. Establishing the “ends” and “means” policies.
    “Ends” are about the organization’s impact on the world (much like a mission statement) that justifies its existence. “Means” are the administrative and organizational tools used to achieve the ends set forth by the organization. The Board is tasked with outlining and creating limitations on the means in which the school is run.
  3. Monitoring performance.
    By consistently monitoring and enforcing the policies that are established the Board will ensure the organization is on target to fulfill the mission it has set forth.
  4. Planning for the future.
    Quest’s Board, in partnership with the Head of School, is responsible for long-range planning, developing and maintaining an effective strategic plan, and responding to changes in the needs of our constituency to secure the future health and growth of our school.

The Quest Board of Directors is committed to maintaining the best possible authentic Montessori education for the community we serve. By focusing on the “ends” policy and the responsibilities set forth in Policy Governance, rather than becoming involved in administrative and operational details which are best handled by Head of School, the Board is ideally positioned to look at the big picture and see the best path for achieving this(these) goal(s). We welcome input from you, the community, to help maintain this vision and consistently remind us that what we do is vitally important to you.

Quest Board of Directors ‘Ends’ Policy

Quest Montessori School exists so that its students will receive an authentic Montessori education to become lifelong learners who realize their full potential. The school is committed to delivering this education at a tuition that represents a good value compared to other independent schools serving the Rhode Island community.

 Quest Board Policies

If you believe your family has been subject to a violation of Quest’s Board policies, please review policy BL6 “Grievance Process” in the Board Policies (linked above). As outlined in that policy, you should then write to the Board Chair at and outline your issue in writing, including a description of the incident and identifying the policy you believe was violated, so that we can review the situation.

Quest Strategic Plan

One of the primary roles of the Board of Directors, in conjunction with the Head of School, is to prepare and pursue a strategic plan for the school’s ongoing development.

Quest Strategic Plan, 2014-2020

If you have any questions about the Board of Directors, our role or the strategic plan, please contact us at

Quest Board Members

Elisa Cardone  is the President of the Quest Board. She is a theatre professional and Lecturer at the Yale School of Drama. She holds a BA from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University. Elisa has served on the board of multiple non-profit institutions and has experience in strategic planning and financial management. A long-term supporter of Montessori education and philosophy, she has two sons currently enrolled at Quest.

Khalil Habib  is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Pell Honors Program at Salve Regina University. He holds a PhD in philosophy and is the author of many scholarly articles, reviews, and chapters on political philosophy, ethics, and literature. He is a summer Fellow at the annual Lehrman American Studies Center at Princeton University. He also serves on the editorial board of the journal Contemporary Philosophy and has served as a faculty advisor for West Point’s Undergraduate Journal of Social Science. In 2009 he was awarded Salve Regina University’s Faculty Recognition award. He has also given prestigious lectures including the keynote address at the Young Leaders Academy at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville. He has had a varied educational and professional career. After completing his MA at the University of Toronto in 1997, he worked as a group sales representative for Sun Life in their New York City Group Sales office, where he met and later married Cressida Bainton. Both of their children happily attend Quest. During his years in graduate school at Boston, he worked closely with Viateck Continental Can Company where he advised senior management on growth opportunities, playing a key role in raising capital to support the company’s global acquisition strategy.

Claire Hall is an attorney and has been practicing law in Rhode Island for more than 15 years. Claire currently serves as the Director of Student Conduct and Special Advisor to Student Services for Johnson & Wales University, where she provides guidance to the university community on numerous issues related to higher education. Claire holds a Juris Doctorate from Tulane University Law School, a Masters in Communication from Emerson College and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island. Claire is a member of the 2015 Lambda II Class of Leadership Rhode Island and is also a member of the Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut Bar. Claire has two children attending Quest.

Julia Gerald  is a registered architect with the state of Rhode Island. She holds a masters degree in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University in Boston. Julia currently practices architecture from her home office in Jamestown. Julia is married to Bob Bailey and has three children enrolled at Quest. Julia enjoys family time outdoors, fishing, boating, dirt biking and horseback riding.

Tolga Kokturk  is the Vice President of the Quest Board. He is a board certified Ob/Gyn and the Managing Partner of his group, Partners in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is also the President of the multi-practice Ob/Gyn  group, Southern New England Healthcare for Women. He received his BS in Biology from the University of Rochester and his MD from SUNY Brooklyn. He did his residency at Winthrop University Hospital in Long Island before moving to Rhode Island in 2000. He currently resides in Coventry, RI with his wife Didem. Their son and daughter happily attend Quest.

Marc Sherman recently completed a 20 year career in a variety of sales and marketing leadership positions for both APC and Schneider Electric. In his last role as Sr. VP of Marketing, Marc was responsible for all branding and demand generation programs in NAM. Marc has now turned his attention to helping people overcome infertility challenges and recently founded an organization called Organic Conceptions. Marc is a RI local who graduated from URI in Marketing. He and his wife Erin live in Wakefield RI and have 3 amazing children ages 10, 3, and 1.

Justin Shull  is the Treasurer of the Quest Board. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of Kinderwagon, a stroller company dedicated to making life easier for parents. Justin holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Vermont. He is married to Jennifer and they have three children attending Quest.

Amy Smith  is the Secretary of the Quest Board. She is director of the Semiconductor Lab at Impress Labs, a global creative and marketing communications agency. She holds a BA from the University of Houston and a MA from the University of Rochester. Amy is a strong advocate of Montessori education, having attended Lake Country Montessori School in Minneapolis, Minn. from 1st to 8th years. Her two sons are currently enrolled at Quest.

Marshall Votta draws from experience in technology, policy and communications to design, introduce and implement new ideas. He serves as Senior Vice President at Leverage Health Solutions and participates in board and committee activities for various healthcare industry and local organizations. He holds a BA from Providence College and completed the MIT Sloan Greater Boston Executive Program. Marshall and his wife Jamie live in North Kingstown with three children who spend as much time at Quest as possible, and the family enjoys spending the rest of their time playing and exploring outdoors.

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