A Inside Look at the Board of Trustees: ‘As a Group They Show Where the School Is Going’


The Board of Trustees plays an immense role in all decisions made at our school. But what is the exact function of the board, and who is on it?

Associate Head of School Kyle Graham explained that “Mr. Barzdukas is the only employee of the Board of Trustees.” Barzdukas reports to the board; all the other employees report to him. In doing so, Barzdukus works hand-in-hand with the board to make sure Poly is running smoothly. 

Graham outlined the chain of command: “Staff department chairs report to their division head who reports to [Assistant Head of School Michal] Hershkovitz, up to Mr. Barzdukas, who reports to the Board of Trustees.” 

Graham emphasized that the board is focused on the long-term growth of Poly, stating that “they think about the long-term plan for the school,” dealing with issues like financial oversight, business, and more. Their job, Graham said, is to “make sure Poly is thriving 100 years from now.” 

With that goal in mind, Graham elucidated that sometimes the board has to make decisions that might not seem as beneficial right now but will be advantageous in the long run. A prime example of such a decision was the purchase of Lower Poly. Graham explained that buying the Lower School in the ’90s was considered a big risk at the time. In the present day, however, Graham said, the investment paid off. 

According to Graham, being on the board is “a collaborative relationship.” There are 25 members on the board, who must attend five meetings a year, where members will  give presentations on their given area of expertise, such as finances or admissions. 

Each member of the board is there because they have something to contribute. Graham elaborated on the different groups, noting subcommittees of the board, such as the finance committee, the diversity committee, the audit committee, and the business committee. He explained, these groups will break out into smaller meetings when working on a particular topic

Graham then elaborated on the section members, mentioning people like Thomas Iannelli, who “is an expert in buildings and grounds. For example, with the art center, Mr. [Matt] Stelluto [head of operations] will work closely with him on logistics.” Often, he explained, the board works together with Poly staff, as “senior leadership at school leans on the expertise of the board.” 

Identifying the leadership of the board, Graham stated, “Andrew Foote is the chair of the board. Robin L. Bramwell-Stewart is the treasurer…[she is] the lead person in charge of financial oversight.” Graham noted that Lynda Casarella is the chief financial officer, who works closely with Bramwell-Stewart. The head of the diversity committee is Indhira Arrington.

Graham described the board as being a reflection of the school itself. “As a group they show where the school is going,” he said, “and they are volunteers who help Poly because they care a lot about the school.” The board has undergone many changes throughout Poly’s history, and now “the board has become much more diverse, as Poly has.” Graham said he is proud that the board includes members from all five boroughs and has “become more reflective of Poly’s community.”