Board of Trustees

Our Board's Purpose

The purpose of the Board of Trustees is to nurture the school through oversight of the school’s mission and to maintain a forward-looking vision. It will ensure the school’s ongoing ability to adapt and grow to meet the needs of its current and future students. Those seeking membership on the Board should do so intending to be active participants in service to the school’s mission to its students.

A knowledgeable Board is an asset to every entity. The Board of Trustees shall use available resources regarding board conduct, non-profit board laws, charter school law, and other Board responsibilities. The training may be provided by variety of sources including online resources, legal counsel, or professional workshops. The information will be shared with new Board members after they are seated. For more information email [email protected]

The Spark Academy Board of Trustees

Gary Thomas - Chair
Gary Has been in the Construction and Design Field since 1980. He received his Associates Degree from University of New Hampshire Thompson School, and a Bachelor’s degree from Boston Architectural College (BAC). He is also a licensed Site Supervisor in the State of Massachusetts. 

Gary has extensive experience in commercial interior fit-up projects, building renovations, and ground-up construction projects. Prior to forming NorthPoint, Gary served as Director of Design and Construction for TeamCon Construction Management Corp., and Wall-Tech Systems, Inc. In addition, He has also worked as a Team Captain, Construction Administrator, Project Manager for architectural firms in Boston, MA and Portsmouth, NH.

Gary’s responsibilities include overseeing the overall development of projects. He works closely with clients and Architects to understand their specific needs and is especially effective in providing consultations and assistance in value engineering for projects to be completed within budget. Gary provides guidance through his in-depth involvement with all of our design teams, and maintains an active role throughout all stages of project development.

Along with his Presidential duties, Gary remains dedicated to the effort of advancing our Construction Community by mentoring and helping to inform the younger generations about our industry. Along with his motivation to enhance the industry of construction and the trades, Gary holds a firm focus on giving back to the community and remains an influential element of various organizations for education and opportunity in the community. Gary sits on the Board of Directors and the Facilities Committee for The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua, Board of Directors for The Founders Academy, and Board of Directors for Spark Academy in Manchester, NH.

Gary Thomas can be reached at [email protected]

Kimberly Lavallee
Kimberly Lavallee is an active supporter of the Public Charter School movement. She is a Co-Founder of The Founders Academy Foundation and serves as the Treasurer. In addition, Mrs. Lavellee currently serves as a board member of the Academy for Science and Design, a Public Charter School in Nashua. She currently chairs the personnel committee. 

Kimberly’s professional background is in the commercial and residential real-estate industry where she worked for 23 years in the appraisal field, managing approximately 70 appraisers throughout three states. She is also a devoted mother of two boys that keep her very busy.

Kim Lavallee can be reached at [email protected]

Robert Best
Robert Best (Bob) is an attorney and partner at Sulloway & Hollis in Concord, where he serves as chair of the firm’s healthcare practice group. Bob has extensive experience advising non-profit organizations including hospitals, professional societies, trade groups, and charitable organizations. Bob is an Adjunct faculty member at NHTI in Concord, he is the Chair of the Merrimack Planning Board, the Vice President of the Merrimack Rotary Club, and served as a board member of Merrimack PTA Kindergarten and Preschool.  

Prior to coming to New Hampshire, Bob’s background includes experience in administration for public, private, and academic healthcare settings, as well as biomedical research at Louisiana State University Medical Center, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Bob and his wife Kate live in southern New Hampshire, with their four children.

Robert Best can be reached at [email protected]

Katie McQuaid
Katie McQuaid is a lifelong Manchester resident with a long history of community dedication and non-profit advocacy. She is a trustee of the Palace Theatre and a board member of the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications where she helped found the New Hampshire Solutions Journalism Lab to champion funding for reporting projects at Granite State media companies. 

She has also served on the Salvation Army advisory board and as chairman of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Manchester Region board. The Central High School graduate holds a bachelor of arts degree from Stonehill College and an Executive MBA from Rivier University. The mother of three works at Primary Bank as an assistant vice president working in business development.

She can be reached at [email protected]

Susan McGowan

Susan McGowan is the parent of a 10th grade student at Spark Academy. As a former homeschooling Mom she is a strong advocate for school choice and has taught her children the value of a strong work ethic, determination, and a good reputation, which falls in line with the core values at Spark Academy. 

Her professional background includes employment in the field of information technology including technical support, network management, and web design. She also has extensive experience in project management and administration. As lead creative at Susan Renee Photography she enjoys capturing special moments, nature, and the beautiful landscapes of New England from behind the lens. 

Susan and her husband, Richard live in Bedford, NH, with their two children, one dog, and two cats. She currently serves as a Board Member and Chair of the Admissions Committee as well as the Curriculum Committee.

Susan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]

Aileen Clay
Aileen has been involved in higher education for over 30 years, at various colleges including the University of Connecticut, Mount Holyoke College and Hartford College for Women. She currently serves as the Director of Student Life at Manchester Community College, where she actively engages students in leadership development and civic engagement. She holds a master’s degree in Higher Education from Springfield College.

As a mother to nine children with a variety of academic strengths, challenges and interests, Aileen values public school choice, as well as accessible higher education for all New Hampshire families. In addition to serving on the SPARK Board, Aileen makes time for her passion of helping children who are growing up in state care, domestically and abroad, by serving on the Board of Open Hearts and
Homes for Children, as well as volunteering locally for Sleep in Heavenly Peace and the Pass Along Project.

Aileen resides in Amherst NH with her husband Kevin, and two of their children.

Aileen Clay can be reached at [email protected]

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