Board of Trustees
From its beginnings in 1953 as a parent-driven project to educate the children of American diplomats, to the large and diverse K-12 institution we know today, ASW is the center of a vibrant community of expats and locals from our wonderful host country.
ASW’s Board of Trustees is comprised of parents who work to honor the School’s 64-year legacy, strengthen the academic excellence for which it is known, and set the strategic vision and direction for its future success. To accomplish this, the Board works in partnership with the Director and his team, guiding their efforts through policy formulation and adherence, as well as long-term strategic planning.The ASW Board of Trustees is the governing body of the school, responsible for:
- Defining policies and standards
- Shaping strategy and facilitating long-term planning
- Sound financial management
- Hiring and supporting the Director
The Board of Trustees is composed of 11 members: two appointed by the US Ambassador – of whom one is Chair; five members selected and appointed by the existing Board; four members of the school community elected by ASW parents. Each elected and appointed member serves for a 2-year term.
The ASW Director is an ex officio member of the Board.
Board meetings are open to the ASW school community.
My family and I moved to Warsaw from Brussels (for my 5th consecutive diplomatic assignment) in July of 2016. My wife Kristen and I are United States (U.S.) citizens with a daughter (Katelyn) and son (Jacob) attending Third grade at ASW. As a family, we have also lived in both Central and North Africa. We are now living in Ursynów-Centrum and extremely pleased to be a part of the ASW community.
I am a commissioned U.S. Army officer and I support two U.S. diplomatic missions in Poland and our NATO allies in this region. I am also the U.S. Department of Defense liaison for dependent education for Poland. I hold a BSBA in general management and my voluntary government and non-profit leadership experience is extensive.
Experience has shown me that success requires the full participation of all an organization’s stakeholders. Therefore, I believe that the significant accomplishments of ASW’s students and alumni are attributable to the enduring commitment of the entire ASW community. Together, we must continue to overcome challenges, realize opportunities, and advance the interests of our students. For my part, I will help us refine our strategic plan and work to improve the efficiency of our collective efforts.
We arrived in Warszawa from Brussels two years ago. We liked the city with its green spaces, its freedom and its memories. Our two daughters, Christa (8) and Despina (14) fell in love with ASW immediately and unequivocally. I still “hold court” most mornings in the school cafeteria.
I was born in 1960s Bulgaria, which gave me a couple of decades to appreciate some of Real Socialism’s experiences like mind-bending youth organizations, Bulgarian People’s Army, South Asian Linguistics at Sofia University and even a couple of months of ‘career propelling’ Communist Party membership. It took me an American university degree and years living in Belgium (in a house, with a family and a dog, like a true member of the petite bourgeoisie) to see the humor of it all. It also taught me to distrust prophets, saviors and a free lunch.
Being a Visual Designer and running an independent practice for almost 20 years (getting more virtual every year) has shown me the importance of clear strategies and transparent communication. If a book of words can be replaced by a single sentence – I am for that sentence. I believe being a Trustee is a service and not a position. What I will bring to the Board table again, in the second year of my appointment, is no-drama conversation and clear, objective reasoning.
I was born in Warsaw where I live with my family, my wife Andreja and our daughter Laura who is an 8th grade student. I am a Medical Doctor, an alumnus of the Medical University of Warsaw. I am also an IEDC Bled School of Management MBA graduate with honors.
I have been working in the pharmaceutical industry all of my professional life, holding executive positions related to general management, marketing and sales, strategy and business development, as well as change management. I worked in Poland, Croatia and Romania, in leading regional and global generic pharmaceutical corporations: Polpharma, PLIVA and TEVA.
I am goal-, results- and team-oriented and feel comfortable with challenges. My family joined the ASW community in 2015.
My family feels closely connected to ASW. It is a place we deeply care about and have a long-term commitment to, and so it is a great privilege and responsibility for me to serve on the Board of Trustees.
Using my knowledge, skills and experience, I am doing my best to promote the role of ASW as an inspiring, enabling and empowering environment for our children, building both strategic and operational stability and continuity of our School, so that every student loves learning at ASW.
Christopher F. Biedermann, MBA, CPA
I am originally from New Jersey in the US, however, I have spent the last 23 years in Europe, primarily in Poland. I currently live here with my wife, Katarzyna, and two children, Patrick (13) and Anna (8), both of whom attend ASW.
In 1994, I came to Wroclaw, Poland with the USAID program “MBA Enterprise Corps” which was developed to help startup companies in emerging markets by matching them with recent MBA graduates.
Following my one year assignment, I determined that I enjoyed it here in Poland and decided to stay a few more years. As a result I continued my professional experience in Poland as the audit manager for Ernst and Young office Wroclaw. After this, I spent some time working with larger US corporations, namely Coca-Cola and GE, in various finance roles. Following this, I spent a number of years with a Polish based NASDAQ listed spirits company CEDC, as CFO for the group. I am at present a Management Board Member and the CFO for PKP Energetyka, which is currently owned by CVC Capital Partners.
Prior to coming to Poland in 1994, I completed a BS in Accounting at Lehigh University and received an MBA from the University of Texas-Austin. In addition, I spent my early career in the US as an auditor with KPMG. I believe that over this period I have been exposed to a broad range business and financial experiences which I hope to be able utilize to support the ASW Board and the broader ASW community.
My family and I proudly joined the ASW community during the 2016/2017 school year, and I have been impressed with the outstanding education that ASW delivers.
I am currently serving as the Regional Medical Officer with the U.S. Department of State, and I am the father of two ASW Warriors, Margot (11) and Malcolm (10). I am joined in Warsaw by my wife, Darcey, an active volunteer in the school community and Emergency Physician, as well as our Norwich terrier, Quincy.
I joined the Foreign Service in 2012, with previous posts including Mali, Morocco, and Iraq. Board certified in Emergency Medicine, I completed my residency at Boston University/Boston Medical Center, and graduated from the University of Illinois School of Medicine in 2000. I completed my undergraduate studies in English Literature at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, I practiced Emergency Medicine in Nashville, TN.
In many ways, my family’s decision to join the Foreign Service was about the conscious decision to give our children an international experience. Working closely with the schools in my region, which include Stockholm, Oslo, Vilnius, Krakow, and Copenhagen, I understand the unique role our schools serve in the life of a child. I look forward to an exciting and productive year ahead!
I was born in Bologna, Italy and that is where I spent most of my youth until the moment I decided to explore the world. I have been living in Warsaw since 2007. Prior to this, I had the opportunity to live and experience different places such as the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Sichuan in China and Zurich in Switzerland. All these experiences I shared with my family: my wife Elena and three kids Carolina, Giacomo and Guglielmo. Due to these travelling experiences, we understand what it means to move often, to adapt, express and behave in a multicultural environment and, more importantly, have international friends.
I am an engineer with an MBA plus a master in regional development. Here in Warsaw, I work for the European Investment Bank in the energy field and I am also a contract professor for the European Institute of Public Administration in Barcelona.
My involvement in ASW comes from the fact that the school is shaping our kids’ future and that of a global future generation. Plato said it is “the direction in which education starts a man that will determine his future in life”. Therefore, it seems natural to me to support the school and try to contribute my experience gained during these last nine years as a father of three different-level students.
Our family has been a part of the ASW community since we moved to Warsaw in 2017. I grew up as a first-generation Chinese-American in a small town in northern New Jersey. My parents instilled strong values of education over the course of my upbringing, which I now pass onto my daughter and son.
I earned my A.B. in Geology from Bryn Mawr College and hold a M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University. I have over 15 years of experience as an Education professional; I was an educator and running coach at public and elite private schools, a textbook writer for the CME Project, a research fellow at the Center of Mathematics Education at the University of Maryland, a test developer for international, state achievement and graduation tests. I was also a board member for the Bryn Mawr College Alumnae Association, where I worked on issues such as alumnae giving and admission of legacy children.
That said, I am also a parent who believes in active community involvement in our schools. I have been a room parent and volunteer for 4 years in 3 different schools in both the United States and overseas. I will draw from my experience of having worn multiple hats and the ability to bridge multiple views to collaborate in maintaining ASW’s educational excellence. In my spare moments, you might find me running in the Kabaty forest, cooking a new recipe, or planning our next travel adventure.
Elin Witschas Thomassen
I was born and raised in Denmark. My husband Peter and our daughter Nikoline (Grade 8) have been part of the ASW community since August 2016, and we really like the spirit of the school.
In my experience at ASW so far, I have observed that it is a place distinguished by an atmosphere of enjoyment, enthusiasm and great care for our kids. I also see a school with a great willingness to innovate. I would like to strengthen and further develop this dynamic, and help expand the community’s knowledge through cultural and social interactions, since, throughout my career, I have been working with culture as a way to facilitate meeting and learning about others and generally enriching our lives.
I have experience within the NGO field, such as Roskilde Festival, Homeless World Cup - Save the Children, and Danish Food Culture at the Food and Environment Ministry, including economics, culture and campaign management, strategy, development and fundraising as well as management of volunteerism.
It is my great pleasure to join the Board of Trustees, and be of service and help to ensure the creation of a good and rich school life for our children. I am an enthusiastic person with great energy and drive, who enjoys bringing concepts and ideas to life. I hold a Master of Arts in Education studies and Social Welfare Studies from Roskilde University, Denmark. Beside being a wife and mom, I am also a traveling partner, and Focal Point, Poland for "Here we are global".
The purpose of the Governance Committee is to provide oversight of the Board’s governance practices with the objective of ensuring good governance, accountability and transparency. The Committee is responsible for organizing elections and appointments to the Board of Trustees, inducting new Trustees, ensuring that the Board of Trustees assesses its own performance annually, maintaining the Bylaws and Policy Manual.
The Finance Committee is responsible for developing annual budget guidance for Board approval, reviewing annual budget execution, monitoring income and expenses throughout the year, ensuring that the question of risk management is properly managed, and nominating for Board of Trustees approval an independent auditing firm to audit the School’s financial statement and accounts.
Human Resources Committee
The Human Resources Committee is responsible for overseeing the school’s compensation and benefit policies, ensuring its long-term ability to remain competitive in terms of attracting human capital that will best serve the school community.
Strategic Planning (ad hoc)
The main objectives of the Strategic Planning Committee for the current school year are to review, update, and/or affirm the school’s Core Values, Mission and Vision; identify strategic initiatives, outcomes or impacts that are relevant and goal oriented in addressing the direction of the school toward the achievement of mission and vision define and align action plans and articulate methods for progress measurement and ultimate assessment of main strategic initiatives’ outcomes.
Dear Fellow ASW Parents,
Please join me in congratulating Mr. Olgierd Świda and Mr. Marek Zdziech, who were elected to ASW’s Board of Trustees for two-year terms beginning July 1, 2018. Although both candidates ran unopposed for their respective seats, each received more than 400 votes from members of the ASW community. On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees, I want to thank you for your participation in the elections and for your support of these two outstanding candidates, whom we look forward to welcoming to ASW’s 11-member governing body in the coming months.
I also want to inform you that the Board of Trustees, at our April 9 meeting, appointed Mr. Artur Banaszak and Ms. Sheri Brienza-Wypyski to fill two additional seats on the Board that are turning over at the end of this school year. Artur has already served on the Board for the past two years as an elected representative—he currently chairs our Strategic Planning committee—and we are pleased he will remain for at least two more years as an appointed member. Ms. Brienza-Wypyski brings a strong finance background as well as other professional experience that will make her a valuable contributor to the Board’s work in strengthening the foundation of ASW’s long-term success.
Finally, I am pleased to announce that U.S. Ambassador Paul Jones has appointed Mr. Raymond Banks to replace me as Chair of the Board of Trustees upon my departure from Warsaw at the end of this school year. Ray is a member of the U.S. Embassy’s Defense Attaché Office, the father of two ASW students, and he has served on the Board for the past 15 months in a board-appointed position. Ray is currently the Board’s Secretary and Chair of our Governance Committee. He is an experienced Army officer and a proven leader whose steady hand will assure continuity as the Board and Director continue our work to build on the many successes of the past two years.
Thank you all again for your participation in ASW’s recent Board of Trustees elections, and for your continuing support of the Board’s work to make ASW the best possible educational experience for our children. We invite you to join us at any of our monthly, public meetings, the next of which will be held at 6:00 p.m. next Monday, May 14, in the ASW Library.
With best regards,
Rob Batchelder, Chair
ASW Board of Trustees
INTERESTED IN SERVING?
Board members come from many backgrounds. Typical backgrounds that add value and perspective to the Board include experience in finance, marketing, construction, risk management or law but there are many other skill/knowledge areas relevant to the school’s work. The most important personal characteristics include, among others, the ability to ask good questions, to maintain a broad and long-term perspective, to put the best interests of the School ahead of personal interests, and a willingness to work constructively with others as a team member.
If you feel you can contribute to the benefit of the school community, you can follow one of the following paths:
Run for election
To be eligible, candidates must be parents or guardians of a current student or students who will remain enrolled at ASW for the following two academic years. Board elections are held in May. Please see the 'Elections' tab on this page for more details. [Note: ASW employees and family members of employees are not eligible for election to the Board of Trustees.]
Apply for board appointment
Interested individuals should contact the Board Chair to express interest in serving on the Board. The Board of Trustees normally appoints new members for one or two year appointments. The appointment process for the following school year is completed by the end of June.
Apply for committee membership
Interested individuals may be selected to support one of the following committees: Finance, Governance, Human Resources, or Strategic Planning (ad hoc). Committees meet monthly. Non-Trustee committee members are typically selected for their expertise in a particular subject matter area, and serves as ad hoc, non-voting members.
The ASW Board of Trustees deals with issues relating to the school on a strategic level. If you have an issue or question regarding school finances, the strategic plan, long-term building goals, or school governance, you can email the Board of Trustees directly at email@example.com .
To participate in one of the Board committees, contact Board Chairman, Mr. Robert Batchelder, through the ASW's Chief Administrative Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org