Board Member Biographies

MEET THE BOARD MEMBERS

Laurie Osmond (President)  Since 2008, she was elected Board President for two years, Vice-President for one year, and been a member of the Facilities Committee, Policy Committee, Communications Committee, Health and Wellness Committee and Green Committee. She has been a resident of Willow for the last 12 years and has a child attending Onteora High School. She attended Brown University and San Francisco State University and holds a B.A. in Broadcast Communications Arts. Ms. Osmond serves on the Board of Education because she is passionate about the education and welfare of our young people. Osmond wants to contribute to the continuous growth of Onteora's excellence, and believes in maintaining a stable, positive, and respectful Board, working with teachers, administration and staff to maintain and grow the best possible environment for our kids.

Rob Kurnit (Vice President) has been a resident of Woodstock, New York for 28 years. He decided to run for the Onteora School Board so that he could try to help our students succeed in school and in life.  Kurnit is now completing his 10th year of board service, having been active both locally, and on a state level. He has been the co-chair of the Facilities Committee , a member of the Policy Committee and is President of the Ulster County School Board Association. In 2016 he received the Lifetime Achievement  Award from the New York State School Boards Association.  Kurnit's interest has always been to try to use a balanced and unified approach, regarding the large geographical district. Ultimately, the focus as board members, is to try to make public education a great experience for all Onteora students.

Kevin Salem  was born and raised in Johnstown, PA. After attending the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied psychology and anthropology, he moved to Boston, and continued his career as a musician, composer and record producer. In 1990, he moved to New York City, often residing temporarily in Woodstock, where he recorded at local studios, finally re-settling there in 1998. His daughter is currently enrolled in the High School. In 2012, Salem began a two-year tenure as Bennett Intermediate School's PTA president. He has served on several District committees and is a fervent believer in public education, school sports as a community-building apparatus and progressive political causes. Since 2009, he has also worked closely with Operation Respect in international anti-bullying and peace-building efforts, particularly in the Middle East and the Ukraine, touring schools and working with government agencies, the Department of State and local recording artists to develop a music-based initiative to foster an atmosphere of openness and respect among youth living in areas of conflict.

Valerie Storey was born and raised in the Onteora District - both she and her husband, Marshall, are graduates of Onteora. Ms. Storey has two children one is currently enrolled at the MS/HS, the other is a graduate. She has been on numerous committees concerning the future of our children. She has been on the District Comprehensive Planning Team: for later start time for the MS/HS. She enjoys reading, camping, and spending as much time as possible with her family. 

Bennet Ratcliff  is the son of a public school teacher, and lives in Bearsville with his partner Jacqueline Kellachan, co-owner of The Golden Notebook bookstore. They share a home in Bearsville with six children, a dog and a cat.  Professionally, Mr. Ratcliff has pursued diverse interests.  In education, he created branding and positioning strategies for philanthropic initiations supporting blended learning and closing the achievement gap.  He also advised public school officials in leadership searches and on policy issues. In politics, Mr. Ratcliff created TV and radio ads for President Bill Clinton's 1992 and 1996 Presidential campaigns.  He also advised the Presidents of Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet. Twice, he won the prestigious Pollie award from the American Association of Political Consultants for Internet advertising and radio campaigns. In the private sector, Mr. Ratcliff created a methodology for identifying obstacles and opportunities during times of crisis. Collaborating with CEOs, community activists, and government leaders, he finds solutions that integrate public policy, communications, crisis management, legal actions, advertising, and social media. Mr. Ratcliff graduated from Princeton University and did post-graduate studies at the Université de Grenoble in France as a Rotary Foundation Fellow. 

Robert Burke Warren has lived in Phoenicia, NY for fifteen years. He is a teacher, writer, musician, and the Director of Afterschool Enrichment and Communications at the Woodstock Day School. Many in the District know him as children's musician Uncle Rock. He has taught workshops for kids ranging from kindergarteners to seniors, and performed concerts in every Onteora auditorium. Prior to putting down roots in Shandaken in 2002, Robert was a professional musician, actor, and occasional bartender in New York City. He spent most of his childhood in Atlanta, Georgia, and attended both parochial and public schools. (Mostly public.)  Onteora’s excellent reputation drew Robert and his wife, teacher/writer Holly George-Warren, to the District in 2002. Their son attended K through 12, and graduated with honors in 2016. Robert’s debt of gratitude to Onteora and its stakeholders is one of many reasons he sought to be a Trustee. He is committed to helping keep Onteora’s standards high, to engaging the community in the process, and to ensuring every student graduates ready for the world.

Dafne DeJesus lives in West Shokan and has been a resident of the District for 13 years. She is an Ecological Garden Designer. She has two children enrolled in Onteora schools, a first grader at Phoenicia and a fifth grader at Bennett, and is an active member of the PTA at both schools. Dafne spent most of her childhood in NYC, as well as several years in the Philippines, attending both public and private schools here and abroad. She is a member of the Health and Wellness committee, and is dedicated to the well-being, equity, and progress of the students, as well as the teachers, in the district. She is the founder of Helping Hands—Olive/Shandaken/Woodstock, an online forum that enables neighbors and strangers alike to help one another in times of crisis (such as house fires, terminal illnesses, food insecurity, domestic violence, etc.). She is also involved with the Woodstock Women’s March, and has been featured as a guest speaker. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, and after a career in fashion and costume design and illustration, relocated to the Catskills in 2002