Board of Directors

President Kelly St. Clair

Kelly St. Clair Kelly is a Regional Manager for VS America in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Kelly is a graduate of Radford University in Interior Design and has worked for over 36 years helping create effective work, healthcare and learning spaces. Being a representative for VS has allowed a primary focus in education for 5 years. She and VS have worked with many counties and architectural firms to help realize spaces that foster growth for students.

Kelly lives in Roanoke with her husband of 26 years, has two adult children, loves to travel and see live music when she can. Faith, family & friends are her foundations.

Past-President Michael Ross

Michael Ross Michael Ross is the leader of HBA Architecture’s Community Studio and has close to three decades of experience in planning and designing K-12 educational facilities throughout Virginia and North Carolina. Michael has been with HBA ever since he graduated from VA Tech with a degree in Architecture, and he achieved the status of Recognized Educational Facility Planner (REFP) through CEFPI (now A4LE) in 2002.

Mike approaches educational planning from the learner’s perspective by asking questions such as: “What skills do our young people need to have when they graduate to be successful contributors in today’s global society?...What habits do our young people need to develop to become life-long learners?...How do we get students engaged in their own learning experience so that they become self-motivated?... These types of questions form the basis of Michael’s philosophical approach to planning school facilities, and determining each community’s unique answers to these questions leads to the design of exceptional learning environments that truly meet the needs of both the learners and the community.

Michael lives with his wife in Virginia Beach, has two daughters in the workplace, and one grand-dog. His interests include biking, sailing, traveling to exotic places, photography, and sustainability.

President-Elect Dian Paulin

Vice President Atonja Allen

Secretary Dian Paulin

Treasurer Charles Tilley

JEDI Champion Rob Berz

Director George Nash

George Nash George Nash has spent the last 40 years working in every facet of commercial construction, including estimating, procurement, operations, preconstruction, and business development. He has managed a multitude of projects ranging from small and large commercial buildings to major school modernizations and new builds. Currently the Business Unit Leader for Branch Builds, Inc. in Herndon, Virginia, George is responsible for pursuing work that is in line with BBI’s capabilities and expanding our market presence. His education expertise has been achieved in working on a variety of K-12 projects, ranging from small additions and renovations to large high school replacements. He has a passion for education and building creative learning environments for our future students.

George has held positions in a variety of construction and community groups, including 2018 National Chair for Associated Builders and Contractors, 2014 chair of the ABC National Political Action Committee and chair of the ABC Metro Washington Chapter in 2010. He has also served as a member of the Town of La Plata Green Building Committee, a mentor and advisor for the ABC Metro Washington Leadership Development Program, a member of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee and a board member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance. Nash earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Towson University.

George lives in La Plata Maryland, with his wife, Diana, and son Ryan. His interests include, fishing, reading, and giving back to the community and industry. He is also very active in his local church and believes that a strong faith is the foundation to a purpose driven life.

Director Dr. Nicole Olivencia

Nicole Olivencia Nicole is a Capital Project Manager for Henrico County Public Schools.

Nicole has a background in environmental design, historic preservation and education and earned degrees from Syracuse University and Cornell University. Prior to her role with Henrico County, she worked on several large scale restorations including Radio City Music Hall, the General Motors Technical Center, and the Louis Armstrong House. She also served as the conservation and education specialist for the San Juan National Historic Site in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Nicole loves her current role as it combines her background in project management and passion for education to create meaningful environments for students.

Nicole lives in Richmond with her husband and daughter. They love to travel, participate in outdoor activities and watch movies as a family.

Director Albert Ciarochi

Al Ciarochi Al is the Associate Superintendent for Support Services with Prince William County Public Schools and oversees facilities, construction, planning, energy management, school bus transportation, school nutrition, and custodial services. Over the past 30 years, Al has served in a variety of capacities including teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of operations, and associate superintendent. Al has been an active member of A4LE since 2008 and has served as a director, state president (2015) and southeast president (2020).

Al and his wife, Diana, son, Joseph, and daughter Angela, enjoy spending their summers along the southern coast of Maine.

Director Dr. Kevin Newman

Director Ann Belanger

Ann Belanger Ann is an Architectural Consultant for the Virginia Department of Education. Ann grew up in Athens, Georgia and received her Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture from North Carolina State in Raleigh, NC. After graduating she worked for a precast concrete plant in NC and then moved to Richmond and worked for 25 years for an architectural firm in Richmond designing schools across the Commonwealth. Ann is an ALEP and LEED AP.

Ann lives in Glen Allen, VA loves to read and travel. She is a runner and every weekend she can be found getting in her miles while coaching a local half marathon running team.

Director Randy Jones

Board Member At-Large A.K. "Vijay" Ramnarain

Vijay Ramnarain Vijay is an Architectural Consultant for the Virginia Department of Education.

Vijay was born and brought up on the island of Mauritius. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Bombay, India. In 1980 he attended a UN-sponsored course on furniture design and manufacturing held in Lahti, Finland. After graduation he worked on World Bank financed housing and educational projects in Mauritius. Upon migrating to the U.S., he started his career with TDF&B, an A/E consulting group in Richmond and after a few years he joined the Virginia Department of Education.

At VDOE, in addition to providing assistance to schools and architects, he has focused on school safety issues (CPTED) and playground design and safety issues. He is CPTED certified and is the co-author of the VDOE document "School Safety Audit Protocol, Checklist and Procedures", a safety self-assessment tool for schools. He is certified in playground safety and design by the NPPS. He led a team of playground design and safety experts in producing a publication incorporating learning while playing for children in grades preK-12 entitled "From Play to Learning Environments."

He is a past president of VA4LE and is active at the state and regional level of the Association for Learning Environments. He enjoys traveling and is a soccer fan. In his spare time he likes reading both fiction and nonfiction. He is fluent in English, French, Creole and Hindi. He and his wife, Veena, have three children and live in Midlothian, Virginia.

Board Member At-Large John Oduroe

Board Member At-Large Peter Gretz, Ed.D

Peter Gretz Dr. Gretz is the Superintendent of Middlesex County Public Schools. He was previously the Assistant Superintendent for Business Operations for Goochland County Public Schools, serving in this position since 2008. Dr. Gretz began his career in education in 1991, teaching language arts to 6th, 7th and 8th grade students at Glade Spring Middle School where he was named Teacher of the Year in 1993. Four years later he became a high school English and Advanced Composition teacher, coaching wrestling and sponsoring both the Southwest academic Competition Team and Fellowship of Christian Athletes clubs at Holston High School.

After earning a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from East Tennessee State University and nine years in the classroom, he became assistant principal of the William N. Neff Center for Science & Technology where he served two years. He then returned to Holston High School as assistant principal for four years. In 2002, he became principal of Prospect Heights Middle School in Orange, VA. There he developed a passion for mastery learning and performance-based assessment, both of which remain foundational pillars of his belief system regarding teaching and learning.

He earned his doctoral degree from Virginia Tech in 2012. He was then appointed to the central office in Buckingham, VA, first leading the Student Services & Special Education Department and later as Director of Instruction. He teaches graduate courses in educational leadership and assessment for JMU, VCU and the Center for Teacher Education in Richmond, VA.

He and his wife, Sara, have three children and have lived in Goochland since his appointment in 2008. Sara is an active volunteer in the community and works as a program coordinator for the Goochland Parks & Recreation Department. They both enjoy an engaged membership at West End Presbyterian Church. Among his love for the outdoors and spending as much time with his family as possible, Pete is also an avid musician with specific interest in guitar and piano.

State Governor Catherine Underwood

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