Our Board of Trustees

 2018 Board smaller pic
Pictured from left to right:  Paul Brubaker, Tom Blim, Jane Susswein, Diane Anglin, Liz Rich, Dylan Walsh, Melba Fidalgo, Reggie Valentine, Dana Nicholas, Nikki Jones, Don Zief and Sean Flynn.  Not pictured: David Placek

Sean Flynn - Chair

Sean Flynn is a Managing Director of Credit Suisse in the Investment Banking division, based in New York. He is Global Head of Investment Bank Strategy and Analytics. In this role he works with senior management to develop strategy for business in the Investment Banking division and assess overall performance.   This includes adapting the Investment Bank franchise to the changing industry landscape, optimizing individual business performance, and evaluating and assessing strategic acquisitions and investments. In 2011 Mr. Flynn helped to establish a Global Equity Capital Markets operating model and served as Global COO for ECM.

Mr. Flynn joined Credit Suisse First Boston in June 2004 from Deutsche Bank, where he worked in bank strategy. Mr. Flynn began his career as a Financial Economist at the US Treasury Department in Washington, DC, working on federal debt financing policy and financial markets initiatives. He also worked on the first redesign of U.S. currency in more than 60 years.

Mr. Flynn holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame and undergraduate degrees in Economics and Business Administration from Benedictine College. He lives in Montclair with his wife and three daughters, all recent graduates of MCPK.

Reggie Valentine-Treasurer

Reginald (Reggie) Valentine joined the Montclair Community Pre-K Board of Trustees in 2017 as the Treasurer. He previously lived in Montclair during his "wonder years" between 1976 and 1986, and is a product of the Montclair Public Schools. He recently returned to Montclair with his wife Kara Romeo, and has a daugher, Lillian, currently attending MCPK in Salon 8 (ocho).

Reggie is a SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) Program Consultant leading companies through their portfolio budgeting and technology delivery for companies both small (e.g. Food Network) and Large (e.g. Thomson Reuters) and others in between.

Reggie enjoys applying Agile methodologies in his personal life – he scrummed his wedding, the birth of his baby girl and all family vacations, spending time with his family, contributing to social media, scuba diving, following Depeche Mode and being jolly.

Reggie's motto in life, which he borrowed from Walt "Clyde" Frazier, is "team work makes the dream work".

 Nikki Jones-Secretary

Nikki Jones (she/her) is the Head of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Konica Minolta, a pioneering technology company. Nikki evangelizes the power of diversity and inclusion to drive change and innovation at work. She is responsible for the diversity and inclusion strategy including the policies and processes that engage employees, elevate awareness and action about equity, and foster a sense of belonging and community at work. Prior to Konica Minolta, Nikki held a variety of marketing and communication leadership roles at publishing companies, partnering with the brightest minds in academia to elevate the brand expression and expand access to high quality learning tools for millions of learners.

Guided by a deep desire to level the playing field, Nikki is a frequent speaker on topics related to education, technology, the future of work, inclusion, and belonging. An HBCU advocate, Nikki is a second-generation graduate of Tuskegee University, where she earned a BS in Marketing. The Nashville, TN native resides in Montclair, New Jersey with husband, Glenn, and daughters, Reese and Maya, both MCPK alumni.

Tom Blim

Tom Blim joined the MCPK board in 2013 and co-chairs the communications committee. A resident of Montclair since 2003, Tom and his wife Susie Sonneborn have three sons: Charlie, Caleb and Wylie. Both Caleb and Wylie attended the Pre-K. Since moving to Montclair, the family has been strong and vocal supporters of not only the Pre-K, but other Montclair institutions including the Montclair Public Schools, the Montclair Public Library and the Montclair Art Museum.

Tom is a partner and the chief strategy officer of Group SJR, a content strategy and creation agency and part of the WPP global network. He pioneered a strategy to use digital publishing as a means for brands and organizations to share knowledge and create critical connective tissue with key targets from business decision makers to political influencers to consumers. Working closely with client leadership, he has championed agile, digital strategies that transform the way companies communicate and provide them a proactive voice in the ever-changing mediascape.

Tom is the past president of Sawyer Miller, a public affairs and corporate reputation advertising agency, and held advertising management positions at Bozell Worldwide and Tatham Euro RSCG. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, where he is currently an active member of the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts board and the dean's industry council.

Paul Brubaker

Paul Brubaker is a veteran of New Jersey's media and government arenas, having worked as a senior advisor to two members of Congress and as a news reporter for The Herald News, The Star-Ledger and The Montclair Times. Today, Paul is the creator and host of The Backgrounder Podcast, a weekly series of interviews with the people who make New Jersey the fascinating place that it is, and he works with corporations and nonprofits in using podcasting to reach untapped audiences and markets.

Paul is a lifelong proponent of public education who has taught high school in New York City and New Jersey's affluent suburbs, and he is a firm believer in the importance of early childhood education as a precursor to a child's future academic success. He and his wife, Lynette, have lived in Montclair for 20 years and all three of their children are proud graduates of The Montclair Community Pre-K.

Melba Fidalgo

Melba Fidalgo, mother of Chiara Colino in Classroom 9 this year, has been with Playworks since the inception of their New Jersey program.  She is currently an Engagement Specialist for New York and New Jersey.  Prior to this new role, she supported program for five years--supporting all program staff including the executive team, facilitating the hiring process, ensuring that her region was in compliance with Americorps guidelines and supporting Program events.

Dana Nicholas

Dana Nicholas joined the Montclair Community Pre-K Board of Trustees in 2018. She has been a member of the MCPK community since 2014 when her youngest daughter attended MCPK. She has lived in Montclair for 8 years with her husband and two children.

Dana Nicholas started her own business in 2011 as an independent consultant. Her areas of expertise include marketing strategy, business development, branding and re-branding, and multicultural marketing.

Before starting her own company, Dana oversaw all strategic and marketing plans for Jose Cuervo International, Remy Cointreau USA, and Reckitt Benckiser. She co-founded Team Spirits Imports, an importer and marketer of artisanal distilled spirits. She began her career in advertising account management with Gotham, Inc. and Foote Cone and Belding. Dana received her MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and her AB in sociology from Harvard University.

David Placek 

David Placek is the Managing Partner of BDP Holdings, his family investment company focused on real estate and restaurant investments. He is an experienced real estate investor/developer with more than 16 years’ experience investing in more than $3.5 billion of real estate throughout the United States. Mr. Placek’s expertise and experience includes the acquisition and development of millions of square feet of commercial property and thousands of units of residential property including developing, investing, financing and rehabilitating mixed-use, retail, office, industrial and multi-family properties in more than 30 states. Mr. Placek has substantial experience with properties having environmental concerns or complicated legal issues and structures. Mr. Placek started his career at Ernst & Young, working in the firm’s Irvine, CA; Sydney, Australia; and New York City offices. He resides in Montclair, NJ with his wife Bridget and their three children – all who have attended MCPK.

Jane Susswein 

Jane Susswein is a founding board member of the Montclair Community Pre-K. She taught kindergarten in Philadelphia and Washington DC, and when she moved back to Montclair served as the adjunct science teacher at Watchung School. She has been PTA co-president at Glenfield School, PTA Council co-president, and was a member of the Civil Rights Commission and the Montclair Board of Education.

Jane is a Montclair native. She and her two daughters went through the Montclair public school. She graduated with a degree in philosophy from Wellesley College and an MAT from Harvard University.

She and her husband, Harvey, have two daughters and four grandchildren. They lived in Montclair for almost 40 years and have recently moved to Verona. 

Don Zief