Meet Our Board of Directors

As a charter school, FASDenver is an independently-run public school that is authorized by Denver Public Schools and governed by a board of directors. When assembling our founding board, we sought expertise in education, finance, fundraising and marketing, as well as members who represent the Francophone immigrant community we plan to serve.

Angela Strange, Board Chair (Founder)

Angela has been an attorney for almost 20 years, working in both the private and public sector. She has received distinctions from the New York Bar Association including a Pro Bono Award for excellence in public service. Most recently, she was an adjunct researcher at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. There she designed research models for a social psychology laboratory engaged in the study of the relationship between juror implicit racial and ethnic bias and jury verdicts. Angela is a self-avowed francophile, having majored in French literature in college and living, studying and working in France. Her children speak French fluently and are also learning Mandarin.

Tara Bardeen, Board Vice Chair (Founder)

Tara is an experienced trilingual educator, curriculum consultant, and entrepreneur who holds a BA in Chinese Language and Literature. She started the Chinese program at Colorado Academy in 2009 and has presented at professional conferences nationally, including STARTalk and the Center for Teaching East Asian Studies. She has written Common Core-aligned curriculum and lesson plans spanning diverse subject areas and grade levels as a professional educational writer since 2006 for clients including Scholastic, HarperCollins, Young Minds Inspired, Denver Art Museum, andDenver Arts and Venues’Youth One Book, One Denver program. As an entrepreneur, Tara is the founder of Rice Paper Kite and Go Play Denver, and also assists her family in running Grampa Bardeen’s Pumpkin Carving Sets. Tara is a Denver native who grew up near Wash Park, a mom of four and a passionate advocate for high-quality foreign language learning opportunities as a way to invest in the future success of our kids and our city as an increasingly global metropolis.

Isabelle Shiffrin, Secretary

Isabelle is a Human Resources Executive currently working as a Strategy and HR consultant. She was born and raised in France, is a product of French public schools and studied in England, Germany and the United States. Isabelle graduated from Georgetown University with an MBA in International Business and spent 17 years working internationally for a French industrial and global company holding several managerial and executive roles in information technology, sales, marketing, strategy and human resources. Together with her husband Aaron she resides in Denver where she is raising two boys.

Steve Boneck, Treasurer

Steve Boneck has over fifteen years of experience in financial services and serves as the Treasurer of FASDenver Board of Directors. Steve has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Pennsylvania State University. In his free time, he enjoys reading, traveling, and exploring Colorado.

Yohainna Abdala-Mesa (Founder)

Yohainna is quatra-lingual with proficiency in Spanish, English, French and Italian and has held faculty positions in Spanish in Colorado and France. Her research includes studies of identity and transnational experiences, with a focus on women writers. She is currently pursuing a long-term comparative research project on women in independent rock in Latin American, United States and Anglo/European contexts and their connections with visual and performance practices, cultural objects and literature. Educated in France, she holds a Master of Arts and PhD in Latin American Studies from Université de Toulouse, II Le Mirail, Toulouse, France; a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá,Columbia.

Marie Elalem

Marie has worked in international education for over twenty years as an ESL/EFL instructor, teacher trainer, instructional specialist, and administrator.  She holds a Master’s in Middle East Studies and Arabic, a Master’s in English Writing, a Diploma and Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and a Bachelor’s in English Literature.  Having lived and worked in nine different countries and traveled extensively, Marie deeply values multiculturalism and multilingualism.  Her husband is originally from Libya, and they have two children:  a five-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son, who they just adopted from Morocco.  The family speaks English, French, and Arabic.  Marie is very excited and honored to serve on the Board of Directors for the French American School of Denver.

Jean-Claude Ndefu

Jean Claude is a strong advocate for civil rights and educational equity.  In his native Democratic Republic of Congo, he is the President of the Solidarity for Development Foundation, an organization that is engaged in the fight against hunger, poverty and the promotion of education and sustainable development in the DRC.  Locally, he is the leader of the Congolese Community of Colorado.  At the CCC, Jean Claude assists Congolese immigrants in Colorado with job training, housing and successfully adapting to life in Colorado. He is excited to be a part of the FASDenver team and welcomes this opportunity for the francophone community across the Denver metropolitan area.

Alfred “Fritz” Schulz

Fritz is the head of origination at Xcel Energy. Experienced Originator with a demonstrated history of working in the utilities industry. Skilled in Energy Derivatives, Trading, Structured Finance, Financial Structuring, and Risk Management. Strong finance professional with a Masters of Science in Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jack R. Thompson

Jack relocated to Denver in 1972 after earning a degree in Business Administration at the University of Cincinnati. He began his career in public accounting but spent most of his time in the financial services industry. Jack has had a lifetime interest in public education. In 1994, he founded the Janus Foundation that focused on supporting public schools and students and in 2004, Jack formed a tax-exempt organization to support academic programs at a DPS middle school. He is also the founder of Union County Schools Fund, which supports students and academics in his hometown of Liberty, Indiana.