Email: Board of Education
U.S. Mail: Okemos Public Schools, 4406 Okemos Road, Okemos, MI 48864
Tom Buffett ( Email Mr. Buffett )
Tom Buffett moved from New York City to Michigan in 2006 for his wife’s faculty position at MSU and the two of them relocated their young family to Okemos in 2013 for the diversity and excellence of its public schools.
Born in Cook County Hospital on the northside of Chicago but raised in and around Cambridge, Massachusetts, Tom ventured to California for college (UC Santa Cruz), a graduate degree in public policy (USC), and teaching 6th grade in Pasadena. He then returned home, receiving his doctorate in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the same room in which he received his high school diploma. Since moving to Michigan, Tom has designed and implemented professional supports for educators around the state from MSU’s Office of K-12 Outreach, served as principal in Lansing, and consulted with the Michigan Department of Education and other organizations. Now semi-retired, Tom continues to consult with school districts around the state.
Tom and his wife have two daughters, Olivia (a sophomore at OHS) and Helena (7th grader at Chippewa). Tom’s wife, Desiree Baolian Qin, is an Associate Professor in Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. Pepper, their lone “son,” is a six-year-old German Shepard/Golden Retriever mix. He currently serves as a parliamentarian. His term expires December 31, 2026.
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 an 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 a 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. She currently serves as Treasurer of the Board. Her term expires December 31, 2024.
Shulawn Doxie ( Email Mrs. Doxie )
Shulawn Doxie and her family have been residents of the Okemos community since 2015. The Okemos Public School district’s high academic performance and diversity of the student population were key factors for Shulawn and her husband’s decision to move to Okemos. Shulawn’s eldest son is a student at Kinawa and her youngest son is a student at Okemos Public Montessori. Shulawn has been an active volunteer for a number of school activities over the years, including serving as a member of the Okemos Public Schools Cultural Diversity Advisory Committee since 2018. Shulawn understands the importance of viewing policies and procedures through an equity lens to help identify gaps that may affect positive outcomes for students.
Shulawn graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and from Northwood University with a Master of Business Administration. Shulawn is also a fellow of the Michigan Education Policy Fellowship Program.
She has worked as a civil servant for the State of Michigan for over 20 years in various capacities with the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Shulawn currently serves as Chief of Staff to the Chief Deputy Superintendent of the Michigan Department of Education. Her experience over the years includes reviewing state and federal legislation; managing multimillion-dollar budgets in state and federal funds, and working with community organizations supporting underserved or vulnerable populations. Her term of office expires on December 31, 2026.
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. She currently serves as President to the Board. Her term of office expires December 31, 2026.
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, 2016, and 2020. She currently serves as a Trustee to the board. Her term of office expires December 31, 2024.
Andrew Phelps ( Email Mr. Phelps )
Andy Phelps and his wife Amanda purchased a home in Okemos in 2009 because it was the perfect place to start a new family. They were excited to be part of a community that highly values the educational experience of all students. Andy and Amanda have since had two children, who currently attend Bennett Woods Elementary.
Andy and Amanda have been frequent volunteers at their local school including service on the Bennett Woods Family Council where they help with events throughout the year. Andy was proud to be a member of the 2019 Okemos Bond Committee, presenting to the public and helping spread the word about the important and fiscally responsible bond proposal. He is also a volunteer coach for youth softball and basketball.
Before coming to Okemos, Andy attended Dearborn Public Schools and graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Political Science and Economics. He has been a proud employee of the State of Michigan since 2004, currently the Manager of the Policy/FOIA/Offender ADA Section within the Department of Corrections. Andy’s wife, Amanda, is a hairstylist in Meridian Township. He currently serves as Vice President to the board. His term of office expires December 31, 2024.
Jayme Taylor ( Email Ms. Taylor )
She currently serves as Secretary to the board. Her term expires on December 31, 2024.