As an independent school, Tessa International School is putting in place a Board whose activities follow the  ‘good practice’ guidelines set by NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools). Board members volunteer their time to Tessa. They are not compensated and do not derive any financial benefit.


One of the most important missions of Tessa International School’s Board is to be the guardian of the School’s mission.

In addition, the board supports formal strategic planning, oversees the School’s operations and stewards the school’s resources.

The board works in tandem with the Head of school while focusing on its primary work on long-range and strategic issues.

Board service requires a significant commitment to the school and its welfare, observance of the highest ethical standards and principles of fiscal integrity, and a readiness to explore challenges and gain consensus with fellow board members.


The Advisory Board is composed of a minimum of 4 persons and a maximum of 8 members. 

The Board generally meets quarterly and has several standing committees which meet regularly and report to the Board. Its working committees meet regularly, and then share their work, conclusions or recommendations during the meetings. The Board produces minutes, which are archived.


Jan Abernathy – Chief Communications Officer at The Browning School

Jan Abernathy is the Chief Communications Officer at The Browning School, a K-12 boys’ school in New York City, and has presented at independent school industry conferences sponsored by NYSAIS, NAIS, NJAIS, ADVIS, AISAP, EMA and CASE. In addition to chairing the CASE-NAIS Conference and co-chairing the NYSAIS Institutional Advancement conference in 2022, she is president of New York City Independent Schools Communications Professionals,  and the co-founder of Black Advancement Networking Group, which works to gain further representation and greater professional growth of Black professionals in advancement roles in independent schools. She has written for NAIS’ Independent School Magazine on crisis communications,  the “Black at” movement, and Head/board chair communications and for CSEE’s Connections Quarterly on building transformative alumni relationships.  Jan is a trustee of Grace Church School, a JK-12 school in New York City and was on the board of Stevens Cooperative School in Hoboken, NJ, for 13 years, spending six years as chair. Her consulting firm, Jan Abernathy Strategic Communications, provides communications and DEI counsel for educational institutions and non-profits.

Amada Torres – Vice President of Studies, Insights, and Research at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

Amada Torres is the Vice President of Studies, Insights, and Research at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). In this capacity, she conducts original research and produces reports on national studies of interest to NAIS schools. As a permanent contributor of the NAIS TrendBook, she regularly speaks on issues related to independent education, trends affecting independent schools, financial sustainability, admissions and marketing, and advocacy. Prior to joining NAIS, Amada worked as Senior Manager for the Latin American and Iberian Peninsula Group in the American market at the Corporate Executive Board, a membership-based provider of best practices research and analysis. Prior to this, she worked as an economic consultant in the Office of External Debt with the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Peru, where she assisted in the management and negotiation of Peru’s external debt obligations as part of the Paris Club. Amada holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru. She was awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship to attend graduate school at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, were she earned a master’s degree in Finance and Business Economics, graduating with the highest honors.

Kate Turley – Educator and Educational Administrator

Kate has been an educator and school leader for four decades. In 2017, she completed eighteen years as Principal of City and Country School. Founded in 1914, City and Country is a recognized leader in progressive education for children from toddler through 8th Grade. Prior to City and Country, Kate was the Middle School Head at the Spence School where she started her career teaching French to Middle and Upper School students.
Throughout her long career, Kate has been an active member of many professional organizations. She fulfilled numerous roles for NYSAIS (New York State Association of Independent Schools), serving as a Trustee and the Chair of NYSAIS’ Board of Commissioners on Accreditation. She has been a frequent member of Visiting Committees for accreditation and chaired accreditation visits from 2001 to today. In addition, Kate is a member of NYSAIS’ ELAS Group (Experienced Leaders Advisory Council).
Along with her NYSAIS work, Kate has served other New York City independent schools. Kate is currently a Trustee of the Lycée Français de New York (N – 12) and the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School (N – 8). She is a member of the Committee on Trustees at both schools. In addition to her current Boards, Kate co-chairs the Board of Directors for an early childhood dual-language program in the Bronx, La Escuela Comunitaria del Bronx, scheduled to welcome its first students in Fall 2023.

Robin E. Harvey – Clinical Associate Professor of TESOL, Bilingual and World Language Education

Dr. Robin E. Harvey is a Clinical Associate Professor of TESOL, Bilingual and World Language Education in the Department of Teaching & Learning. She is Director of NYU’s Project for Developing Chinese Language Teachers (DCLT), and former program director of NYU’s StarTalk Immersion Training Program for Teachers of Chinese (K-6). She was instrumental in the development of the NYU Steinhardt-NYU Shanghai joint MA TESOL program, and has acted as Co-Director and instructor in the program. She is a former middle school Mandarin teacher in New York and children’s English teacher in Taiwan. In 2002, Dr. Harvey founded Greenwich Village Chinese (西村中文), an afterschool and summer Chinese language program for students from toddler to 8th grade. Harvey is co-author with Pauline Huang of Rhythms and Tones: Inventive Songs & Chants for Learning Chinese (动感中文 1, Chinasprout, 2010), and Rhythms and Tones 2 (动感中文2, Chinasprout, 2012). She is a member of Asia Society’s Chinese Early Language Immersion Network (CELIN) and of the board of directors of the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Greater New York (CLTA-GNY). Her research focuses on Chinese language teacher education and pedagogy, language and literacy development in early childhood and childhood bilingual and immersion settings, inquiry-based pedagogy, and language learning, and pedagogical approaches to teaching across global contexts.

Pascale Richard – Conseillère des Français de l’étranger

In France, she studied law at Nanterre Paris X and political science at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris. She then went on to New York University (NYU), where she was the first French woman to earn a Master’s degree in journalism. Her career began in France and flourished in New York, where she was able to get closer to her fellow expatriates as Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper France-Amérique, Vice President of the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) or Director of Cultural Events at the Lycée Francais today. 

Since 2021, she is also Conseillère des Français de l’étranger. 

Brenda E. Levis – Founder of NYC Navigator

Citing a void in the New York Tri-State market for reasonably priced, high quality, destination services providers, Brenda was inspired to start up her own company. Prior to this she served as the Global Relocation Manager for Lehman Brothers in New York City, where she managed the firm’s domestic and international relocation departments as well as its corporate housing program. Brenda has thirty five years of international work/study experience, and twenty five years experience working in the expatriate services industry. Having lived in Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands, she has first hand knowledge of the challenges of an international move. Prior to joining Lehman Brothers, Brenda served as an International Relocation Consultant on site at Goldman Sachs. This was preceded by tenure with an international moving & relocation company in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Brenda has been a featured speaker at numerous relocation events including the Tri-State Relocation Association, and served on the International Assignment Committee for the Employee Relocation Council. Having lived in Brooklyn and Westchester County, NY, she now makes her home in Manhattan.

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Tessa International School

Office: (201) 755-5585 | Location: 720 Monroe St. Hoboken, NJ 07030