LSAT Candidates and Bios are here!

It’s time to elect next year’s parent members for our Local School Advisory Team (LSAT).  Voting will occur at each Arts Nights (5/9, 5/16, 5/23).  Every household is eligible to vote for their top 5 candidates.  Please see the list of candidates and bios below!

Kalah Auchincloss

I have been a member of the Chevy Chase community since we moved to 31st Place in late 2013, and a Lafayette parent since my son started pre-K during the 2015-2016 “trailer year.”  I was elected to the LSAT last year and have enjoyed serving as a parent representative, learning about the budget and other DCPS processes.  In addition to LSAT, I have been an excited classroom volunteer and field-trip chaperone since my son started at Lafayette.  I am a lawyer by training and currently work in private practice in Georgetown for a small consulting firm.  Before moving to my current job, I spent time at a law firm, and then 6 years in the federal government at the FDA in various roles, including senior leadership positions handling legal and policy matters, budget issues, and staff management.  It’s been a joy to be part of the Lafayette community; I hope you will consider me for re-election to the LSAT and I look forward to seeing everyone at drop-off and pick-up!


Jess Adasi

My family moved to the neighborhood three years ago specifically so that our not yet school aged kids could be a part of the Lafayette community. We were drawn to the school’s values, diversity, and commitment to creating a warm and enriching environment for every student. Over the past two years, I have served as a room parent, field trip chaperone, and general volunteer for my rising 1st grader, and with an in-coming pre-ker look forward to many more years with this school community. With a masters in organizational management and as the COO of a small business, I have experience with budgets, strategic planning, staffing, and company culture.  It is important to me that Lafayette continue to serve the needs of all students, and I would welcome the opportunity to represent Lafayette parents through the LSAT to help advise on important issues and decisions facing the school.


Virginia Tortella

I am excited to submit my name to be a parent volunteer on the Lafayette Elementary LSAT.

We moved to DC in 2016. We are from Spain, although have lived internationally most of our adult life. One of our children is currently at Lafayette (Pau- 2nd Grade) and his sister Martina graduated last year and is now at Deal Middle School. Our eldest, Lola, will be going to Wilson High School next school year.

Since we became part of the Lafayette community, I volunteered several times, including during the HSA budget revisions in 2017-18. I learned a lot about the school and its needs. I would like to use this knowledge to work on the LSAT in 2019-20.

I believe that my qualifications and professional experience make me a suitable candidate. My main contribution will be to bring the perspective of the multi-lingual community at the school. I learned recently that 10% of the student body at Lafayette speaks more than one language. I would like to support the teachers in better understanding the needs of these multi-lingual children. Should there be an opportunity to advocate to DCPS to strengthen the Spanish language curriculum, I would love to do that too.

Lafayette opened its doors to welcome our family. We have found friends and a network of support that we never even imagined. We are grateful to the school and its teachers for their kindness in supporting our children during the tumultuous first years of moving to an English-speaking country. It would be a privilege to be a parent volunteer on the LSAT.  

Ashley McMaster

I am an experienced nonprofit executive and manager, currently serving as the vice president of strategy and operations for the Consumer Insights division of Strada Education Network. Strada is a higher education-focused nonprofit whose mission is Completion with a Purpose. Prior to joining Strada, I specialized in medical technology-related nonprofits, working at MedTech Innovator, a startup accelerator, and the trade organization Advanced Medical Technology Association, where I was responsible for a $29 million P&L.

While serving on the budget committee for the Chancellor’s Parent Cabinet during the 2017-18 school year, I learned about the unique LSAT program in D.C. public schools. As a new parent at Lafayette this year, I attended several LSAT meetings as a guest to better understand how they operate and what role the advisory team plays in budget development. With my son, Marshall, entering 1st grade in the fall, there’s no better way for me to contribute to the school and participate in its governance than by serving on the LSAT.

A little bit more about me: I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., since 2006. I enjoy running, biking, and walking our dog Wally all over Barnaby Woods. In addition to directly supporting local charitable organizations such as SOME, WAMU, and Street Sense, I have served as the volunteer social media coordinator for PurpleStride DC, the annual 5K fundraiser for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and, with my husband, Nick Friedmann, have helped raise more than $100,000 for the organization. I am a graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and I have a master’s degree in public affairs and nonprofit management from George Washington University.

Kathryn Young

I would welcome the opportunity to continue to serve the community as an LSAT representative. My siblings and I grew up going to Lafayette as children, and am excited that our own children are getting to experience a great neighborhood school. Our oldest son is going into third grade, and our youngest will be in Kindergarten in fall. Serving on LSAT for the past two years has been a learning experience and a joy – it has been exciting helping Lafayette maintain and grow its strong academics, supports, and enrichment for all students and families, while navigating the DCPS budget process as well as physical space considerations for our growing school. I’ve learned a lot from you during our budget input sessions and have worked with the team to translate those into budget priorities. Outside of Lafayette, I work at EducationCounsel partnering with education-focused foundations, non-profits, states, and school districts developing strategies to ensure that all students are getting an excellent education. Budgeting and team management are a core part of my work. I have experience as a teacher and special education case manager/program administrator in Maryland, in addition to prior work in Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, and education nonprofits. Thanks for your consideration!  See you around school!

Julia Cohen, a proud Lafayette parent of a rising kindergartner and third grader, has over fifteen years’ experience in independent schools on the East Coast and two Masters degrees in education. She has been an English teacher to students in grades five through twelve and is currently an English department chair for grades six through twelve at a DC independent school. She would be thrilled to lend her expertise, energy, and enthusiasm to the LSAT board for another year.


Paul Harasty

It is with great enthusiasm that I submit my name to be a parent volunteer on the Lafayette Elementary LSAT.  I was co-Secretary for the 2018-2019 LSAT team and would like to leverage what I have learned, by working on the LSAT in 2019-2020.  My spouse and I have two young children at Lafayette (Ulysse-3rd and Nelson-2nd) and we are very happy to be part of the Lafayette Family.  We have both volunteered for a number of roles since joining the community in Sept of 2016. We could not have selected a better community to “land in,” after my separation from the U.S. Navy in 2017.  

In addition to my work on the 2018-2019 LSAT, I believe that my qualifications and professional experiences make me a good candidate. I currently work at Knollwood Continuing Care Retirement Community in the neighborhood (Corporate Relations and Community Outreach).  By way of formal education, I have an M.B.A. and an undergraduate degree in research psychology.

Like all Lafayette Parents, I have a personal stake in our school.  Finally, I believe that public school teachers should be trained, resourced, and sustained as first-class professionals because of the critical work that they do everyday.


Alexandra Lewis-Zwerdling

I’d be honored to serve as a member of the 2019-2020 LSAT. I have been involved as a room parent this year and next year will have two daughters – one in 1st grade and one in pre-K – attending Lafayette.  I have a background in nutrition and have also enjoyed leading parent nights at my daughter’s preschool about healthy eating. During the day I lead consumer research that looks at attitudes and perceptions about food and our eating habits and feel lucky that I have a flexible schedule to stay involved with the school community. If selected to serve on the LSAT next year, I would be committed to being an active member and look forward to working with both the staff and parent communities. Thank you for considering my nomination!


Susan Long

I am the proud parent of Lafayette 2nd grader, Mallory Patrick. This is our family’s first year at Lafayette, having moved to DC in 2018 after 9 years in London and New York City prior to that. As a family, we have experienced the DC public school system, Falls Church City schools and the UK state school system – something good to be said for all, even with different approaches.  I also have two older step-children in college – one completing her Masters and the other half-way through his undergraduate degree. My mother and her family were born and raised in DC and I have been connected to the city my whole life!

I am a graduate of Notre Dame and Colombia Universities.  I have previously lived in DC, worked on “the Hill” and was a lobbyist for Columbia University.  I am committed to public service and have spent most of my career in government, including local government agency jobs in New York City, London and Falls Church, VA with an emphasis on infrastructure and town planning.  Post graduation, I spent a year volunteer year teaching in a special needs school in California.

I feel I would bring a fresh perspective to the LSAT and I hope to get more involved with the effort to make Lafayette a school that lifts all children.  As the parent of a second grader, I will be active in this school for a considerable period of time and hope to be able to help in many ways. I am very approachable and will do my best to represent well any ideas and advice from the Lafayette parent community.