Understanding the Quest 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:
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 (“QMS”) exists so that its students will receive an authentic Montessori education to become lifelong learners who realize their full potential. QMS is committed to delivering this education at a tuition that represents a good value compared to other independent schools serving the Rhode Island community.
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 [email protected] 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.
If you have any questions regarding the Board of Directors or the Strategic Plan, you may contact the Board directly at [email protected]
Quest Board Members
Tolga Kokturk is 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.
Malcolm Smith is Vice President of the Quest Board. He is the Associate Vice President, Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator at Salve Regina University where he currently oversees a number of departments. He received his B.S.Ed and M.Ed from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He has worked in the field of higher education for 19 years at a variety of universities and his family moved to Rhode Island in 2013 from Chicago, Illinois. He currently lives in Middletown, RI with his wife, Nichole, and their two daughters. Their oldest daughter, Bradleigh, will start attending Quest in the Fall.
Amy Smith is 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.
Rob Cagnetta is Treasurer of the Quest Board and has been in the Quest family as a parent for over four years. He began Heritage Restoration, Inc. in 2001 as a broad range construction and restoration service company, performing general contracting, building maintenance, window restoration, and fine craftsmanship — all dedicated to preserving and enhancing a building’s beauty, function, efficiency, and charm. Rob is on the South Kingstown Zoning Board of Review, on the Advisory Committee to the RI Office Health Insurance Commissioner, serves on the building committee for Preserve Rhode Island and the Providence Preservation Society, and writes the bi-monthly column “House Remedies” for the Providence Journal Bulletin. Rob is a 1991 graduate of Roger Williams University’s Historic Preservation program.
Paul Periera, J.D. is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Vertex Pharmaceuticals based in Boston, MA. Paul has over twenty years’ experience working on public policy issues across 40 states. He holds a B.A. in Economics and a J.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Paul and his wife Kara live in West Kingston, RI and their three sons are students at Quest.
Emi Uchida is Associate Professor in environmental economics at the University of Rhode Island. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and her research explores policies that can lead to environmental sustainability and poverty reduction. She holds a B.S. in Law from Keio University, Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from University of California, Davis. She and her husband Hiro live in Wakefield, RI and their son is currently a student at Quest.