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Alumni Council Prepares to Build on 2022 Strategic Redesign


Building on groundwork laid by Ravenscroft’s Alumni Strategic Design Steering Committee in 2022, a new Alumni Council has begun meeting, setting priorities and making plans for what promises to be a significant time of engagement for alumni and the school community as a whole.

The 12 members convened for the first time via Zoom in mid-November and are looking toward the new year with anticipation, as Ravenscroft celebrates the extraordinary 21-year tenure of Head of School Doreen Kelly and prepares to welcome her successor, Derrick Willard. The steering committee’s work has provided them with a contemporary framework for alumni engagement that addresses alumni communications, events and experiences, philanthropy and volunteerism as well as diversity, equity and inclusion.

“When the Alumni Strategic Design Steering Committee met in 2022, they were charged with creating a new structure for the strategic priorities of the Office of Alumni Engagement and, with that, the priorities for the Alumni Council and its leadership,” Alumni Engagement Officer Emma DeMent ’16 said. “The purpose of the council is to serve as the connection between the school and the alumni community through meaningful communications, events and being champions of the school within the community.”

As the broader school community enjoys the return to a robust calendar of events post-pandemic, alumni are enjoying more and more opportunities to engage, both on campus and off. Already this year, DeMent and her colleagues have hosted a number of alumni-focused events, including Homecoming and a reunion tailgate for the classes of 2016, 2017 and 2018 as well as Reading Day coffee breaks for alumni attending UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State. Parents of college-aged alumni recently gathered in the Olander Center for Student Life for the annual Care Package Party. Coming on Dec. 14 is the popular Young Alumni Social for graduates from the past 10 years.

Members of the council said they are energized by the promise of more to come.

“It is an honor to be included in the relaunch of the Alumni Council,” past council president Watts Winston ’10 said. “With the infusion of new leadership, alumni members and ideas, we are well-positioned to create a lasting organization that will effectuate positive change. I’m confident that we will accomplish our goal of creating a continuous sense of community, connection and inclusion among all Ravenscroft students throughout their lives.”

Members of the Alumni Council are (top row) Josh Bosin ’98, Janie Smith Brooks ’98, Katherine Cadwallader ’02, Matt Cantando ’95; (middle row) Anne Forsyth English ’98, Courtney Jamison Roane ’06, Sydnie Schwarz ’16, Neil Shrimanker ’06; (bottom row) Jen Madison Snook ’95, Jessie Hale Tesh ’05, Dewayne Washington II ’16 and Watts Winston ’10.

Here are the members of the Alumni Council:

Josh Bosin ’98 is a partner at the law firm of Holland & Knight LLP. He leads the Labor, Employment and Benefits Practice Group in the firm’s Atlanta office and serves as co-chair of the national Education Team, serving as outside counsel to numerous colleges, universities and independent schools. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law.

Janie Smith Brooks ’98 is a recruiting and talent professional with over 15 years of experience in the areas of consulting and fast-growth tech. In her spare time she loves to run, do Barre classes, watch Formula 1 and cook for neighbors and friends. She and her husband, Sean, live in Raleigh with their son, Carter ’35. 

Katherine Cadwallader ’02 is the founder of BASE Strategies, LLC, a boutique, equity-centered creative agency. Prior to founding BASE Strategies, she worked for several notable nonprofit organizations, including the North Carolina Democratic Party, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, CARE and Cultural Vistas. She holds an undergraduate degree from NC State and a J.D. from Elon University. Katherine currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Gavin.

Matt Cantando ’95 lives in Raleigh with his wife, Amy, and his children, Jack ’28 and Emma ’36. After graduating from Wake Forest University, he has spent the last 25 years leading Revenue Strategy and Operations teams for fast-growing cloud businesses. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball with his kids, traveling with the family and spending time with friends.

Anne Forsyth English ’98 is an analytical strategist and prior management consultant with more than 20 years of experience across varying industries (CPG, technology, media, finance, nonprofit). She has worked for large consulting firms, Unilever (Analytics) and two start-ups that were acquired. English has a MBA from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and graduated magna cum laude from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Courtney Jamison Roane ’06 graduated from Duke University in 2010 and earned a J.D. at Duke University School of Law in 2013. She then moved to Dallas, Texas, to practice corporate law before transitioning last year to Kimberly-Clark Corporation to serve as Associate General Counsel for Mergers & Acquisitions globally. She enjoys relaxing with her husband, Brandon, trying all of the new restaurants and enjoying the Dallas weather. 

Sydnie Schwarz ’16 works as a high school English and Spanish teacher at Revolution School in Center City Philadelphia. She grew up in Raleigh before moving north to attend Swarthmore College, where she majored in sociology. 

Neil Shrimanker ’06 works at Meta, where he works on elections integrity and regulatory readiness for the company’s business products. Prior to Meta, he worked at Bain & Company as a consultant in the company’s tech and private-equity groups. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina and a MBA from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently resides in New York City with his fiancée. 

Jen Madison Snook ’95 graduated from Ravenscroft in 1995 and Wake Forest University in 1999. After living in Washington, DC, for over a decade, she and her husband moved back to Raleigh in 2014. Her sons, Christian ’33 and Charlie ’35, attend Ravenscroft, where she spends much of her time volunteering.

Jessie Hale Tesh ’05 has been the Ravenscroft Admissions Assistant since 2018. She graduated from NC State with a B.S. in General Education Studies. She has worked previously in the real estate industry and has experience in marketing, recruitment, developing client relationships, sales and database use. She and her husband, Adam, have two boys, Parker ’31 and Dylan ’35.

Dewayne Washington II ’16 has five years of thorough Wall Street experience. Having spent his first year within the financial sector working for Citi in New York, he is now at the J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Miami, Florida. Washington is actively involved in contributing to his community and was recognized in 2022 as among University of Miami’s “30 Under 30,” an award given to those who have made a significant impact on their profession, community and the university. 

Watts Winston ’10 graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2014 with a degree in Economics and Entrepreneurship. He is currently the Vice President of Winston Hospitality, where he oversees the development and management of various real-estate assets.