BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBERS
Back Row L to R: Vincent Lyon-Callo, Mary Gebara, Katie Cavanaugh
Front Row L to R: Melanie Lynn, Tonya Rodriguez, Dean Bolton, Sarah Wohlford
Email: Board of Education
U.S. Mail: Okemos Public Schools, 4406 Okemos Road, Okemos, MI 48864
Dean Bolton, CBA ( Email Mr. Bolton )
Dean Bolton and his family moved to Michigan in 1999 and chose to live in Okemos solely based on the outstanding reputation of its public schools. He has volunteered in Okemos schools for many years. From 2008 - 2014, Dean led the Okemos Education Foundation as its chair. Dean’s district-wide service also includes working to develop and pass two bonds and a millage to support our schools: the Steering Committee of the 2007 Technology and Transportation Bond campaign; and Co-Chair of both the 2011 Building and Site Sinking Fund Millage and the 2013 Technology, Security, and Transportation Bond campaigns. In addition, Dean has served as Vice President of the Central Elementary PTO (3 years), President of the Chippewa Parent Group (2 years), and as an Okemos Parent Council Representative (3 years).
Before being a stay-at-home dad, the best job he has ever had, Dean, a native of Houston, Texas, graduated from Northwestern University. With a degree in the arts, he worked for 12 years in Chicago, Illinois as a theatre lighting technician and an Actors Equity Association stage manager, primarily at The Goodman Theatre and Northlight Theatre. Prior to moving to Michigan, Dean owned and operated a Wild Birds Unlimited franchise in suburban Chicago for 7 years. Dean currently works for the Michigan Public Health Institute as a coordinator of their Interactive Learning Center.
Dean has two sons, Lowell (OHS’13) and Miles (OHS ’17), both of whom attended Okemos Public Schools beginning in Kindergarten. Dean’s wife, Helen Taylor, is state director in Michigan for The Nature Conservancy. He currently serves as President of the Board. His Term of office will expire December 31, 2022.
Katie Cavanaugh ( Email Ms. Cavanaugh )
Katie Cavanaugh is an Okemos native and Okemos High School graduate, the last graduating class of the old high school. She and her husband, Dr. William Truluck, have two children who attend Okemos Public Montessori at Central (the second generation at Central!). Katie and Bill purposely chose to start their family in Katie’s hometown, a perfect place to raise kids.
Katie has a BA in English and Anthropology from Albion College and a MA in American Studies from George Washington University. For many years, she was Assistant Director of the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame. She has been in the classroom as a substitute teacher in several districts, including Okemos, and taught courses in cultural diversity and English at Baker College in Jackson. Katie now is fortunate to be home with her kids while managing her husband’s medical practice.
Katie has a longstanding commitment to community service. She has volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, served as a Board Member of Michigan Capital Council Girl Scouts, was Founder and President of the Dean Hall (Albion College) Alumnae Association, served as a Board Member of the Michigan Women’s Studies Association from 2010 to 2018, and, with her husband, has sponsored several Okemos Education Foundation and OPM at Central events. Katie is a regular volunteer in her kids’ school as classroom helper, a Meet the Masters presenter, guest presenter on women’s history, and helps with special events including the Grandparent’s Tea, the Flash Dash, and Mileage Club. She coaches both of her kids’ soccer teams and coached t-ball for several years. In 2018 Katie founded Secure Our Schools (SOS) to engage and promote discussion among OPS parents about school security and to lobby the Board and the administration for security improvements, including the newly installed buzzer systems. Katie is serving as the OPM at Central representative to the District Parent Council for the 2018-2019 school year. Her term expires December 31, 2020.
Mary Gebara ( Email Ms. Gebara )
Mary and her family moved to Okemos in 2010. They have made Okemos their home because it provides their children with a wonderful community and endless possibilities.
Mary holds a BS from Central Michigan University in Business Administration and Psychology, and a MA from Michigan State University in Child Development. Mary has worked in the healthcare industry as well as investment banking. After moving to Okemos, she changed careers to focus on children, her true passion. While at MSU, she studied autism and inclusion, and curriculum and teachers’ best practices. Mary managed a multi-site research program and mentored many undergraduate students. She worked at MSU’s Child Development Labs in East Lansing and Haslett, conducting assessments, analyzing and interpreting data, and working with teachers and administration. Mary created and implemented optimal standard practices, protocols and procedures within each of her positions. Currently, she is working on her doctorate in a joint degree program at CMU.
Mary and her husband, Rani, have four daughters, one OHS graduate and 3 more that will surely follow in their sister’s footsteps. Rani is a PM&R physician and specializes in brain injury. Their favorite thing to do with their daughters is to travel and discover new places. Her term of office expires December 31, 2022.
Melanie C. Lynn ( Email Mrs. Lynn )
Melanie C. Lynn and her husband, Wayne, are the proud parents of three (3) Okemos Public School graduates. They have resided in the Okemos community for nine (9) years.
Melanie received her BS in Electrical Engineering from Clemson University (Clemson, South Carolina) and her MBA/Operations Management from the University of South Carolina (Columbia, South Carolina). She is employed with the Board of Water and Light as an Electrical Engineer/Project Manager.
Melanie has been an active school volunteer. She enjoyed participating as a member of the Hiawatha Elementary School Parent Group, “Popcorn Mom”, and Classroom Mom. During her children’s academic progression, the family has resided in several states. She has served as the President of the Parent Group for Saint John Preschool in Columbia, SC and the Membership Chairperson for the Spring Brook Elementary School Parent Teacher Association in Naperville, IL.
Melanie is proud of the service that she renders on behalf of children. She completed tenure as the Regional Director for the Mid-Western Region of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, a national organization that promotes leadership development, community service and civic engagement for children ages two (2) years old to nineteen (19) years old. In addition to her leadership in the local Greater Lansing Chapter (Lansing, MI), Melanie has served the organization in various leadership capacities managing teams that coordinate enrichment programs for children in the nine (9) states of the region.
Melanie was appointed to the Okemos Board of Education on October 28, 2010 and she was subsequently elected to serve in 2011. Her term of office expires December 31, 2020.
Vincent Lyon-Callo ( Email Mr. Lyon-Callo )
Vincent and his family moved to Okemos in 2002 primarily because of the excellent schools. He and his wife, Sarah, have two children. Their son is in 5th grade at Kinawa and their daughter is a 2nd grader at Bennett Woods. Sara is a chronic disease epidemiologist for the Michigan Department of Community Health. Vincent is a Full Professor of Anthropology at Western Michigan University, an active volunteer in the schools and community, a committed teacher, and a supporter of the Okemos Education Foundation.
His teaching and research focuses on poverty, homelessness and other inequalities as well as the complexity of globalization and political economic restructurings. Vincent spent over a decade working in homeless shelters in Connecticut and Massachusetts and as an activist member of several community based movements aimed at transforming responses to homelessness. He continues that work today in Kalamazoo. His recent research explores the impacts on communities and middle class Americans from recent political-economic and cultural restructurings within the US.
Vincent enjoys coaching youth sports and is currently coaching 5th grade boys and 2nd grade girls soccer teams. He consistently volunteers at his children's schools and in their classrooms working with small reading groups, cooking at the annual Field Day BBQ, chaperoning field trips, reading to classes, and presenting in classes on social studies. He has been a consistent participant in community forums and board meetings in order to contribute to, and learn from, the process of maintaining a quality educational system. His term of office expires December 31, 2022.
Tonya Rodriguez ( Email Ms. Rodriguez )
Tonya Rodriguez was raised in Okemos and graduated from Okemos High School. She returned to Okemos in 2012 to be closer to family and to give her daughter the benefit of the excellent educational opportunities available at Okemos Public Schools.
Ms. Rodriguez earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Michigan State University. After earning her undergraduate degree, Ms. Rodriguez served as a Community Health Educator for the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. Ms. Rodriguez then earned a Juris Doctorate, Cum Laude, from Michigan State University College of Law. While in law school, she worked at Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM) providing legal assistance to the economically disadvantaged. Ms. Rodriguez practiced law in Southern California for several years before returning to Okemos. Ms. Rodriguez is currently serving as in-house counsel for Auto-Owners Insurance Company.
Ms. Rodriguez was elected to the board in November 2012 to fill a partial-term position vacated by former Board Member, Ron Styka. She has previously served as Parliamentarian and as representative to the Okemos Education Foundation. Currently, she serves as Secretary to the Board. Her term of office expires December 31, 2020.
Sarah Wohlford ( Email Ms. Wohlford )
Sarah Wohlford and her husband, Justus Nieland, a professor at Michigan State University, moved to Michigan in 2002 and to Okemos in 2006. They have two children in the Okemos Public Schools.
Ms. Wohlford has a B.A. in English from Grinnell College, an M.A. in English Literature from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan. Prior to attending law school, she worked for the Indiana University Center for Innovation in Assessment as a Social Studies Content Specialist and as a marketing assistant for the Indiana University Press. She is currently the Deputy General Counsel for the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services.
Prior to joining the Board, Ms. Wohlford served on the Okemos Public Schools World Languages Committee, and as past president of the Montessori Radmoor School Parent Guardian Association. Professionally, she served on the State Bar of Michigan Insurance and Indemnity Law Section Council and was past president of the Mid-Michigan Region of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. She is a current trustee of the Okemos Education Foundation. She currently serves as Vice President of the Board. Her term expires December 31, 2020.