Meet the LSAT Candidates

Please find the candidates for the Local School Advisory Team (LSAT). This election will take place concurrently with the HSA in June. To find out more about the LSAT, click here.

Jess Adasi: My family moved to the neighborhood five 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 four years, I have served as a room parent, field trip chaperone, and general volunteer for my rising 1st and 3rd grader, and for the past two years I’ve had the pleasure and honor of serving on the LSAT with an amazing group of parent and teacher volunteers. 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.  Given the current state of the world, it is more important to me than ever that Lafayette continue to serve the needs of all students, and I would welcome the opportunity to once again represent Lafayette parents through the LSAT to help advise on important issues and decisions facing the school.  

Patricia Balestra: Hi! I’m Patricia Balestra, mom to 4th and 1st graders Benjamin and Ana Huggins. Both of my children have been at Lafayette since kindergarten. I have volunteered as a room parent almost every year since we’ve been a Lafayette family, have chaperoned field trips, and pitched in whenever I could to help out in the classroom. I’d love the opportunity to work on the LSAT next year! 

I’ve been a teacher since 2001, working first as a high school teacher and currently teaching middle school and college. I feel that I have a unique perspective as both teacher and parent and would like to use that viewpoint to help guide Lafayette in the next few years. I look forward to the opportunity to make Lafayette the best it can be!  

Jill Bohnenkamp 

Dear Lafayette Community, 

I am excited to submit my name to be considered for a parent volunteer position on the Lafayette Elementary LSAT! I am dedicated to ensuring that all students receive joyful, high-quality education. I serve on Chancellor Ferebee’s Parent Advisory Board for the 2020-2021 school year and, through this experience, have met many district level leaders and learned about district wide programming; I would welcome the opportunity to bring this experience to the Lafayette LSAT.  

In my professional career, I am an Assistant Professor at the National Center for School Mental Health within the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and have a Ph.D. in Clinical and School Psychology. I provide direct clinical mental health services in Baltimore City Schools in West Baltimore.  I also provide training and technical assistance to schools, districts and states across the U.S. to promote mental health and well-being and positive school climates for all students and school communities. In this role, I work closely with other schools and districts on their social and emotional learning and positive school climate planning, including how to fund and sustain these systems. I also work with partners in the U.S. Department of Education and many state departments of education on advancing education policy to promote safe and supportive learning environments for all students. Serving on the Lafayette LSAT would allow me to bring this national context, and examples and innovation from other schools and districts, to our school community.   

My daughter, Gabrielle, is currently a Kindergartener, and my younger daughter, Vivi, is joining Lafayette in this upcoming 2021-22 school year as a PK4 student. Our family has lived in the neighborhood since Gabrielle was born and the strong Lafayette community is the number one reason we have stayed. I would be honored to serve on the LSAT and support our school in advancing high- quality, joyful education during this pivotal year as we all come back together in-person.    

Riccardo (Ricky) de Marchi Trevisan: Riccardo (Ricky) de Marchi Trevisan has been living in DC for 15 years and decided to settle in Chevy Chase  3 years ago with his wife, Lauren, and their two kids: William (7 – 2nd grader at Lafayette) and Olympia (3 ).  
Ricky is often described as energetic and passionate (blame it on his Italian heritage) and he is motivated by building enduring relationships and supporting positive change in the community. Over the last few years, he has been board Member at the Colon Cancer Society and he is a leader in the local Boy Scouts Pack 52. Ricky is driven by making actionable change and wants to lend his voice to shaping the Lafayette community in the wake of Covid.  
Professionally, Ricky works at Gartner to help find technology solutions for state/local governments and agencies.  

Paul Harasty: It is with enthusiasm that I submit my name as a Parent Representative/Volunteer for the Lafayette Elementary LSAT. I have been a Team Member for three years (co-Secretary ’18-’19 and ’19-’20).  My spouse and I have one child who will still be at Lafayette next year and another who graduates with the Class of ’21. We have both volunteered for a number of roles since joining the community in Sept of ’16. I will happily continue to leverage my knowledge and experience gained as an LSAT Parent Representative if given the opportunity.  

In addition to my work on LSAT (especially this past year when LSAT worked through a number of challenging issues), I think my qualifications and professional experiences support my candidacy. Most recently, I worked for 2yrs at Knollwood Retirement Community in our neighborhood (Community Outreach and Corporate Relations), after a career as a U.S. Naval Officer.  By way of formal education, I have an M.B.A. and a B.A. (Psychology).   

Finally, as I continue to learn more about DCPS, our School Community and the various stakeholders, I realize what a privilege it has been to be part of the LSAT.   

Kirsten Keefe: Hi, Lafayette! What an amazing community to be involved in — and I look forward to creating even more community connections over the next school year. We’ve been a Lafayette family for a decade, with two alumna and our daughter who will be a 4th grader next year. I admire the school’s values and commitment to diversity, and love having the school at the heart of the neighborhood. I’ve been a room parent for multiple years, act as a Stoddert rec commissioner, served as past Co-treasurer of the Alice Deal Community Association. I’m a lawyer by training and focus my practice on building and maintaining compliance programs across a variety of regulatory regimes. I would love to serve on the LSAT next year for many reasons: to build on the good work of the parents and teachers of the current LSAT, to focus on parent and community input into curriculum and budget guidance, and to ensure we take a community-wide and long-term view of annual school decisions. Thank you for considering my application and I hope I will have the opportunity to be responsive to your family’s needs next year.  

Stephanie Kirchgaessner: My name is Stephanie Kirchgaessner and I am a mother to 3rd and 1st graders Leo and Clara Politi.  My family and I moved to this community about eight years ago, and – apart from a few years living abroad – I’ve lived here in DC for most of my adult life.  

It’s been a difficult year. I’d like to join the LSAT because I think that the year ahead of us could present us with some unique opportunities and challenges as we try to find the best way forward as a school community, particularly when it comes to making sure we give our students the tools they need to recover some of the learning that has been lost. I’d like to be a voice for parents and families as we hopefully return to a new normal. 

I am a working mom. I’ve been a professional journalist for twenty-one years and currently work as an investigative reporter for the Guardian. I think my communications skills can help facilitate respectful dialogue and exchange of ideas between parents, teachers, and school administrators. My goal would also be to make sure that parents know they have a person they can turn to, whether it’s to encourage Lafayette to do more of a good thing, or tackle those issues that need work. Thanks for your consideration.   

Laura Kolar: I was born and raised in Wisconsin, but I have called the DC area home since 2003 and moved to Chevy Chase DC in 2018.  I am a parent to Lafayette second grader, Ava, and Pk-er, Andrew.  After college I taught high school U.S. history to 9th and 12th graders in south Louisiana before moving to the DC area to work on federal education policy.  Since 2012, I have worked as an historian for the U.S. Department of State.  I grew up across the street from my elementary school in a small town and never dreamed I would have an experience of a tight-knit neighborhood school in a big city, but Lafayette has made that happen.  At the same time, I know that Lafayette is part of a complex school system and its leadership has to address a wide ranging set of issues, how best to:  guide a large school, foster inclusivity, address diverse needs, target resources, navigate standards and requirements, and build community, in addition to navigating the pandemic.  I would be interested in drawing on my background, including the previous year serving on the LSAT, and engaging in these and other important questions and issues with the Lafayette LSAT to help make Lafayette the best it can be! 

Jess Sobin: My family joined the Lafayette school community this year when my son started Kindergarten – a strange beginning! Two sets of amazing teachers and three class iterations later, we feel incredibly fortunate to have access to a school with staff and leadership who work tirelessly for our kids. I have volunteered as a room parent and in support of HSA initiatives and would now appreciate the opportunity to represent families on the LSAT. I am invested in continuing Lafayette’s focus on equity and inclusivity, helping to ensure the diverse voices of Lafayette families are heard and fully considered, securing optimal resources for staff, and, most importantly, working with others to make the best decisions for students.  

As a member of the LSAT, I would offer my perspective as a parent of children in early grades (K and 1st next year) as well as insights from my professional roles in education. I began my career as a sixth-grade literacy teacher in a New York public school, created curricula and trained school librarians in India, and most recently worked in development for Pratham, India’s largest education non-profit reaching over 8 million children. Building upon my passion for education, this summer I will begin working toward a public policy master’s degree, with a focus on education, at Georgetown’s McCourt School. I would be honored to use my experiences and learnings in service of our Lafayette community. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to meeting many more of you in the coming years! 

Cindy Wade: As the parent of a joyful 2nd grader (Jaden) at Lafayette Elementary School and an energetic 21-month-old (Davin), I am thrilled to be able to submit my name as a candidate for the Lafayette LSAT. My spouse (Hanani) and I love the Lafayette community and value the relationships we have built. 

Since being part of the Lafayette community, I have volunteered with various HSA activities, Food Prints, and classroom socials. I am an active member of this community to which I volunteer on various Boards supporting issues that impact residents of all ages and backgrounds.  

I have a BA from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from George Mason University. I work in IT Finance and Project Management with the federal government where I oversee a multi-million-dollar budget.   

I am thankful for the drive and commitment of our educators. I believe that it is important that as a community we support our educators and that we find ways to equip our children so they can be their best academic self. 

I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and moved to Washington, DC in 2005.  I am an active member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  In my free time, I enjoy biking, cooking, gardening, board games, and time with family and friends.