The Downtown School Advisory Board provides oversight and supports the school’s leadership in making essential decisions by which the school is governed and guided. Advisory Board members come from many different walks of life — corporations, charitable organizations, education, law, medicine, finance, government, and community service — and volunteer their expertise, energy, and time to the school.
The Downtown School was founded by Lakeside School, and Lakeside's Board of Trustees carries fiduciary responsibility for both schools.
Advisory Board Chair
Bernie Noe is a national leader in independent schools and education. As Lakeside School’s head of school since 1999, Bernie has overseen a full review of the academic curriculum, launched new programs including Lakeside’s summer school and the Global Online Academy, and overseen significant growth of Lakeside’s efforts in diversity and inclusion, global education, the arts, and athletics. He was a key leader in the Living Our Mission campaign, which raised $105 million for Lakeside School. In addition to his role as the head of school at Lakeside, Bernie is chair of the board of trustees for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and on the board of directors for the Global Online Academy, a program that he was instrumental in founding. Bernie holds a bachelor’s degree cum laude from Boston University, a master’s in international relations from Georgetown University, and an M.Phil. in European history from George Washington University. He and his family are cofounders and directors of the Nicaragua Education Fund, which supports several local schools and a women’s cooperative, Casa de Mujeres, in the mountain village of Villa Nueva.
Veronica ("Ronnie") Codrington-Cazeau is head of school of The Evergreen School, an independent PS-8 school located in Shoreline, Wash. Since joining Evergreen in 2012, she has celebrated Evergreen’s 50th birthday, overseen a campus expansion project that added two new buildings to the school, and led a $20 million dollar campaign for buildings and endowment. Before coming to Evergreen, Ronnie spent 17 years (the final six as middle school head) at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, where she had an impressive record of academic advancement, progress on major initiatives, and effective leadership. Ronnie holds a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and a master of science in educational administration from Pepperdine University. She serves on board of trustees for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and is a faculty member in the NAIS Aspiring Heads Fellowship. In addition, she is a member of the Country Day School Headmasters’ Association; is on the executive committee for the Elementary School Heads Association; chairs the Northwest Association of Independent Schools’ Board of Governors; and serves on the board of trustees at The Overlake School in Redmond.
Ty Cramer serves on the University of Washington Foundation Board as the representative of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and is a member of the University of Washington Department of Global Health Leadership Council. An active community volunteer, Ty served four terms on Lakeside School’s Board of Trustees (from 2007-2018), including as chair of the board. Under her leadership, the Lakeside School Board of Trustees approved development of the micro-school concept and Ty chaired the micro-school subcommittee in its first year. Ty is the cofounder of Heyday Farm on Bainbridge Island, an agro-ecological enterprise that models
sustainable financial and environmental farming practices, and is board member emeritus of the IslandWood Environmental Learning Center. She holds a master’s in international relations from the Maxwell School of Public Administration at Syracuse University and a graduate certificate in global health from the University of Washington. She focused her professional experience on women's health, working as a doula and certified childbirth educator.
Crystal Ondo is the vice president of corporate affairs at Donuts Inc., a top-level domain name registry, where she currently manages regulatory issues and drives business changes for Donuts, its subsidiaries, and its partners. Previously, Crystal was assistant general counsel, supporting all aspects of the company’s legal functions. Before joining Donuts Inc., Crystal was an associate in the business group at Perkins Coie LLP. A member of the Lakeside/St. Nicholas Alumni Board since 2012, she served as alumni board president from June 2015 to June 2017, during which she served a concurrent term on the Lakeside School Board of Trustees. As a trustee, Crystal served on three committees: schools; development and communications; and the micro-school subcommittee, which supported the creation of The Downtown School. Crystal received her bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a law degree from Boston College Law School.
Ed Taylor is vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the University of Washington where he oversees educational opportunities that deepen and enrich the undergraduate experience. He is a professor in the UW’s College of Education, and his research, writing, and teaching center on moral dimensions of education and integrative education, and leadership in education and social justice. He is also a faculty member of the Academy for Contemplative and Ethical Leadership, which is part of the Mind and Life Institute. Ed earned his Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Washington, and he holds a master’s degree in psychology and bachelor’s degrees in sociology and in psychology from Gonzaga University. Active in the community, Ed served three terms on Lakeside School’s Board of Trustees, from June 2009 through June 2018, is a founding board member of Rainier Scholars, and on the board of the Seattle Foundation. He also serves on the boards of Gonzaga University, College Spark Washington, and Rwanda Girls Initiative.
Energy and finance expert Bert Valdman is president and CEO of NorthStar Energy. Bert previously was senior vice president of strategic planning for Edison International, responsible for directing strategy and leading growth initiatives in competitive businesses. He also served as the executive vice president, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer of Puget Sound Energy. Bert holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Bert joined the Lakeside board in 2010 and begins a two-year term as board chair in July 2018. As a member of Lakeside’s micro-school subcommittee, he has been involved with The Downtown School subcommittee since its inception. Active in industry and community organizations, Bert has served on the boards of the Puget Sound Blood Center, Overlake Hospital Medical Center, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet.