Board of Directors
Rosine Hekmat Afshar is the Head of School at Adams Montessori School in Quincy, MA. Rosine has consulted at numerous Montessori schools and lectures at educational seminars. Presently she serves as treasurer of the board of the Montessori Schools of Massachusetts, is a board member of the Montessori Administrators Association and a Corporator of MountainOne Financial Partners in Massachusetts. Born in France and fluent in her native language, Rosine grew up in New York and currently resides in Quincy. Rosine has travelled extensively and delights in delving into many cultures around the world and sharing her travels and international knowledge with her students.
In his service to the Kerry Fund, Harry offers more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning, marketing and communications. Upon joining the board in 2016, he said he was happy to bring together his professional background and personal interest in and commitment to the Kerry Fund’s mission of helping humanity. Harry worked in health care marketing for more than 35 years for organizations including Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan, Neighborhood Health Plan and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He moved to the South Shore in 2016 and is offering his marketing services to clients in the area on a part-time basis.
Harry’s connection to and friendship with Mikey Walker goes back to a previous career as a musician in the 1970s when he met and played in groups with Mikey’s former husband, John Walker. Harry also knew their son, Kerry, whom he recalls as a gentle soul. Harry says, “I am honored that Mikey asked me to serve on the board of The Kerry Fund. Kerry would be really proud of the work his mom and the foundation in his name is doing to bring Boston students to Africa in service to and with their peers in Rwanda. And I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Recently serving as auctioneer for The Kerry Fund Art Auction in November 2017, Courtney has assisted with KJWF fundraisers, public relations efforts, and collections of funds and services for The Kerry Fund over the past 5 years. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Courtney, married with 3 children, ages 12, 11 & 9, has been a Massachusetts resident for over 13 years and is involved in myriad community organizations and outreach programs.
Courtney studied Political Science and Communications at University of Washington and her employment experience includes positions at various education and retail companies including Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in San Francisco, California.
Courtney enjoys cooking, wellness & nutrition, music, outdoor sports and activities, and spending time with her family and friends. Courtney has been dedicated to community outreach her entire life and, as a high school student, had the opportunity to travel to China via sports and friendship exchange efforts.
A strong advocate for youth programs and services, Courtney hopes to bring her public relations, fundraising and community service experience to The Kerry Fund once again, increasing awareness, visibility and support for our organization.
A passion for music, the love of nature and a drive to help others have guided Sarah through her life. After growing up in the woods of New England, she earned a degree in Music Performance from Berklee College of Music. Following a number of years recording, performing and teaching music in the Boston area, she headed to Alaska where she worked with Native Alaskans in a bush community and learned to commercial fish in the Gulf of Alaska.
Sarah has settled with her family in Hingham, MA where she teaches and mentors children and youth. Recently, she founded Compassion Point, a non-profit organization that empowers individuals to use their unique passion in service of others and the world.
Geguel F. Landestoy
Geguel F. Landestoy attended Union College in upstate New York as a Posse scholar and graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and History. He is the son of Dominican parents who migrated to the United States for more opportunities. He says, “I am family oriented for the simple fact that I have five sisters and I am the only boy. Receiving my college diploma was a remarkable achievement for my family and me, due to the fact that I am a first generation college graduate.” After graduating and finishing his 120-page thesis, he decided to find a job in the field of education back in Boston. He says, “I have always had a passion for working with kids, in particular with kids that deal with learning and physical difficulties in the school system.” He is now working at The New England Center for Children in Southborough, MA as a special education teacher. “I love the work that I do because I am helping kids achieve their full potential and most importantly learn how to embrace their uniqueness,” Geguel says. He is also attending graduate school at Simmons College, focusing on Special Education. He plans to eventually achieve his license as a science teacher.
Geguel was one of the first Boston students to visit and do service work in Rwanda in 2013 on a trip sponsored by the Kerry Jon Walker Fund. He will be returning in 2017 as a chaperone. “I am extremely excited, honored, and grateful to have the amazing opportunity of revisiting Rwanda, a trip that offered me knowledge and opened my eyes to how a small contribution can make such a big difference. Attending as a chaperone in such an amazing adventure and helping other young students learn more about themselves and the struggles that others have to endure daily is such an honor to me as a future educator.” As he joins the Kerry Jon Walker Fund board of directors, Geguel says he is “looking forward to working with all members very closely to help advocate the mission of the Kerry Fund, but most importantly help our future generations understand the importance of extending a helping hand. The Kerry Fund creates leaders to help the Kerry Jon Walker Fund mission, but it also empowers inner city students to become leaders of their own by getting involved in world service.”
Dahiana Loaiza, graduating from Brandeis University in June, 2018, has a major in Public Health and Psychology, and a minor in Hispanic Studies. She is from Boston, Massachusetts, and her family is from Colombia. She is the third former Kerry Fund "Global Connections" service trip participant to join The Kerry Fund Board of Directors.
Dahiana is passionate about improving the health of disadvantaged populations, including racial and ethnic minorities -- both at a local level and internationally. She actively engages in community service and giving back to others with the desire to have a lasting and positive impact on society at large.
Mrs. Karen "Kiki" McCarthy is a world history teacher in Boston who works with an academically diverse population teaching the challenging International Baccalaureate history course at Muriel S. Snowden International School at Copley. This is evidence of her uncompromising belief that every learner has potential to move beyond adversity and excel academically. She is a very reflective practitioner who always puts learning and scholarship above all else for her students. She creates engaging units of study that bring history alive for her students and provides them with opportunities to question the world around them and explore new cultures. Her teachings come alive through creative projects that require use of primary source materials and push young people to think about conflicts from multiple perspectives.
Currently she is part of a collaboration with the language department building a sister school program with Saint Anne's School in Brest, France where students are part of an international travel experience. This collaboration is in its infancy, but they hope to have it grow into a semester abroad situation. Kiki has put a lot of time and effort into international trips with her students each year. In fact, this year alone she took many students abroad as a chaperone on two separate trips: one to France and another to Japan.
KiKi invests tremendous energy and resources in making her classroom a beautiful place filled with color, cultures, images from around the world. She projects her brilliance on to the students and students thrive because of it. She is deeply dedicated to her school and her students. Not only as a teacher, but as a graduate of Snowden International at Copley, she models commitment to community and high expectations for all.
Kristen McNamara is a Strategic Development consultant with over 20 years producing quantitatively and qualitatively significant results and brings her industry experience in assessing and developing strategic plans for organizations with growth objectives to the Kerry Fund in 2018.
A graduate of Emerson College and Purdue University, she is a published author, avid marathoner and has an enthusiastic, fresh perspective. Kristen is faith-forward a mother of 4, lives in Duxbury, MA with her children and backyard chickens.
Melinda (Mindy) Sherman is an educator with 20 years of experience. For the last 10 years she has been teaching with the Boston Public Schools at the Muriel S. Snowden International High School. She currently serves as a Special Education Teacher and Community Service Coordinator for the school's International Baccalaureate Program. As a community service coordinator, Mindy explores global and local issues with her students and supervises as they each serve more than 150 hours in their communities.
Traveling with Mikey to Rwanda has been an amazing opportunity for Mindy and her students. She says,"I've learned about culture, the benefits of providing wrap-around services for children at risk, the devastating effects of genocide, the rebuilding of a nation, and much more. I have the utmost appreciation for the Kerry Fund and the work they do to provide my students with life-changing opportunities for service learning."
Mindy first started traveling when she was in the youth group at Wesley United Methodist Church. She was given the opportunity to participate in a service-learning trip to Nicaragua. This experience ignited a desire to travel and better understand the world. As a student at the University of Maine at Farmington, she participated in the Semester At Sea program. Mindy continued to travel extensively as a student, then as a teacher. She is passionate about education, community service, and travel study. Prior to teaching in the Boston Public Schools, Mindy taught in the field of alternative education at Walpole High School and at the Compass School in Boston.
Laurie is an instructor of Yoga and Pilates as well as a Tuning Fork Sound Therapist. She is the owner of Living Yoga, a center for stress reduction located in Norwell, Massachusetts. Additionally, Laurie teaches in local town recreation departments, gyms and after-school programs. While raising her three children, she served on the Board of the Vinal Elementary School PTO, Vice President of the Hingham Welcome Wagon, Chairperson of Thayer Academy’s Senior All-Night Party Committee, and Chairperson of the Senior Class Gift Commitee. At her church, she was Chairperson of the Ways and Means Committee, taught Religious Education, and assisted in developing a “Coming of Age” program for which she served as mentor.
Laurie is a graduate of Salem State College where she received her Bachelors Degree in nursing. She is a licensed Registered Nurse in the state of Massachusetts. Laurie also enjoys working as a “Doula’ or Birth Labor Coach.
Margaret (Peggy) Vaughan joined the Kerry Fund board in 2010. She views her involvement as an opportunity to support its humanitarian and educational mission. Peggy deeply admires the dedication and innovation of her lifelong friend, Mikey Walker, and she knows well how the memory of Mikey’s son, Kerry, and his dreams, have helped to guide the Kerry Fund’s work with youth in Boston and in Africa.
Peggy’s career has focused on her work as an educator, researcher, and clinician. In her early career, Peggy lived in rural New Mexico and taught elementary school on a Native American reservation. She later taught in rural Vermont, before returning to Boston where she worked for a decade in early intervention as a clinician. She received her doctorate in child development from Tufts University, and spent several years working in family research and program evaluation. She currently teaches in the psychology department at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
As part of her applied work and research in developmental psychology, Peggy has focused on child and family advocacy, children with special needs, foster and kinship care, and multicultural learning. Peggy lives in Hull, Massachusetts and is devoted to her partner Neal, and her family and friends.
Julia has been an avid supporter of The Kerry Walker Foundation (KJWF) since its inception. She officially joined the Board in 2013 and she feels honored to be able to play a role in the foundation established in memory of her grandson, Kerry.
Julia worked for many years in the banking industry prior to her retirement and has always been very active in community affairs. The mother of seven children, Julia’s early community service centered around education. She served as a founding secretary and board member of The New School for Children, was instrumental in organizing The Roxbury Community School, served on the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunities (METCO) for over 30 years, and worked with a variety of other organizations and community groups that provided much-needed educational support for children in the Roxbury and Dorchester sections of Boston.
Julia has received several awards for her community service including the "People Who Made a Difference in Boston" award, and being honored during a ceremony commemorating the 350th anniversary of "Black Presence in Massachusetts."
In addition to serving on the KJWF Board, Julia currently serves as treasurer for the Studio for the Promotion of Arts, Culture and Excellence (SPACE) and is a member of and serves as the liaison to the mayor's office for the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center Sensational Seniors Program.
Julia’s family, especially her 7 children and her 3 generations of grandchildren, continue to be her biggest inspiration in life.
For the past 30+ years, Phyllis has worked in Information Technology (IT) for computer hardware/software companies, such as Honeywell and Prime Computer, and financial/insurance institutions, such as Scudder Investments and MetLife. While she has held a variety of positions over the years, she has spent the largest portion of her career managing teams of software developers with a primary focus in sales and marketing applications. Her career has afforded her opportunities for extensive travel within the U.S. and abroad, while implementing new software and processes for worldwide sales and marketing organizations. In addition, she was an avid volunteer for company-sponsored activities related to giving back to various community organizations.
Her family relocated from Jacksonville, Florida to Boston, Massachusetts when she was 6 years old. She attended Boston Public Schools thru junior high school and graduated from high school with the last graduating class of the Buckingham School in Cambridge, MA. The year after she graduated, Buckingham merged with it’s brother school, Brown & Nichols, resulting in the current co-ed Buckingham, Brown & Nichols School. After high school she attended Benedict College in Columbia, SC where she earned a BS in Mathematics. She also completed some post-graduate work in Computer Science at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.
Her hobbies include reading, cooking, gardening, hiking and traveling. Spending time with her large, extended family and friends is also an important aspect of her life. On any given Sunday, up to 5 generations of Walkers can be found having dinner with her mother Julia, the family matriarch. She also enjoys hosting gatherings throughout the year that usually consist of 60+ close family members and friends.
She is grateful for the many opportunities she had to spend time with her nephew, Kerry, before his passing. Her daughter, Venita, and Kerry were close in age and Phyllis has fond memories of watching them growing up together. Included among her favorite memories are Sunday and holiday dinners at Grandma’s, play dates at the park, sleep-overs, attending graduation celebrations, day trips, and extended vacations to family reunions, New Hampshire and Disney World. Her favorite memory of Kerry is teaching him to make pancakes when he was around 8 years old and seeing his beaming face presenting a plate full of pancakes at the breakfast table!
Phyllis saw firsthand what a kind, caring and compassionate person Kerry was. She can recall his patience with so many of the little cousins that came along after him as he taught them a variety of life lessons and tasks such as sharing, feeding themselves and tying their shoes. She believes that The Kerry Jon Walker Fund is a great vehicle to pay honor to his life as well as continue to spread his legacy of caring for and helping others.
Sharon is a long-time friend of Mikey Walker. Her background includes more than 25 years of management and consulting experience in Human Resources and Organizational Development. She has worked with a broad range of clients in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Her primary focus is helping organizations define a unique human resources philosophy and strategy and designing and implementing programs and practices to support that.
Prior to working in Human Resources, Sharon worked for many years in both human services and academic environments as an instructor program manager and counselor. In addition, she had an independent practice as a Psychotherapist, with a focus on career counseling and psycho-diagnostic testing. Her undergraduate degree is in Public Health with a focus in Health Education from the University of Massachusetts. She also holds a M.Ed. degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University.
Over the past three decades, Sharon has served on several not-for-profit Boards of Directors and worked on many fundraising committees and events, including the New England Hemophilia Association and Nurturing Minds.
Sharon loves to use both her left and right brain and is also a print maker inspired by the natural beauty of the coast of Maine and Massachusetts. Sharon continues to study at the DeCordova School and cherishes her long-time participation in the Six by Ten women’s group. Sharon lives in Newton, Massachusetts with her musician husband and two very active sons.