Board of Directors

Learn about the function of Académie Lafayette’s Board.

Académie Lafayette is governed by an independent Board of Directors that oversees the operations of the school and makes sure it is financially sound and follows the law. The Board also helps to create the vision for how the school should operate and develops the strategic plan. Read the school bylaws

There are two types of Board members, appointed and parent-elected. Appointed Board members serve three-year terms that can be renewed. Parent-elected Board members are elected by the parents to serve three-year terms. All Board members must pass background checks prior to their election on the Board. Below, get to know our Board members, and learn how to speak at a Board meeting.

Our Board Members

Jon Otto, President

Jon is an associate attorney at Polsinelli and works in the law firm’s financial services practice group, focusing on commercial real estate transactions, capital markets, and commercial lending. Prior to joining Polsinelli Shughart, Jon worked with the Volunteer Attorney Project at Legal Aid of Western Missouri in the low-income taxpayer clinic. Before becoming an attorney, he worked as an actuarial analyst at General Electric Insurance Solutions (later Swiss Reinsurance Corporation) and as an IT project manager at General Electric Capital Corporation.

Jon received his juris doctorate from the University of Missouri–Kansas City and his bachelor’s in mathematics from Clark Atlanta University. He was appointed to serve on the Académie Lafayette Board in 2010 and chairs the governance committees. He is married and has four children, all of whom attend Académie Lafayette.

Marvin Lyman, Vice President

Marvin Lyman has served on the Académie Lafayette Board since 2013, first as a parent-elected Board member. In 2015, he was appointed to serve on the Board. Marvin graduated from Kansas City Public Schools and later earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University. He has served as a Governor’s Fellow at Ferris State University in Michigan and a congressional intern for the Senate Republican Conference. Marvin is a former high school and middle school teacher and is the President of Kansas City’s oldest community development corporation, the Black Economic Union.

Marvin is the proud father of Madison and Morgan Lyman, both Académie Lafayette students. In addition to serving on the Board at Académie Lafayette, Marvin serves on the Truman Medical Center Board of Directors with governance duties on the fiscal responsibility and capital improvements committee. Likewise, he serves on the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority for the City of Kansas City, Missouri and is a committed community servant.

Chad Phillips

Chad Phillips has served on the Académie Lafayette Board since 2009, first as a parent-elected Board member and then as an appointed member. He was elected president in 2014. Chad received his juris doctorate from Texas Wesleyan University and bachelor’s in computer information systems from Tarleton State University. He is currently employed with the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Chad’s son Seth and daughter Wren are graduates of Académie Lafayette and attend Lincoln College Prep Academy. In addition to serving on the Board at Académie Lafayette, Chad has volunteered at many other school activities, such as Evening in Paris and the first robotics club.

Beth McCarthy

Beth McCarthy, PREP-KC’s College & Career Program Coordinator, has been with PREPKC for 11 years. She works closely with Kansas City’s urban schools to support the implementation of research-based strategies to increase college and career readiness for urban students. Her responsibilities include building partnerships with 192 businesses & 32 postsecondary institutions to create opportunities at scale for students to explore college & careers and identify the “right fit” for after high school. She also has experience in new small school development.

She is an alumna of Kansas City Tomorrow, a local civic leadership program through the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City. McCarthy brings a wealth of urban school experience to her work with PREP-KC. As a field trainer with the Vera Institute of Justice- Project Affirm, Beth trained school staff & administrators to decrease violence levels in what had been labeled New York City’s 10 worst schools. Her work in the Los Angeles Unified School District helped build community support for the district’s plan to build 85 schools in 5 years. McCarthy earned a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Kansas State University.

Pam Anderson Gard

Pam Anderson Gard has been an advocate for public education in Kansas City for many years. She is a founding parent of Académie Lafayette and was appointed to serve on the Board in 2003. Currently, she serves as secretary of the board and is a member of the human resources committee.

Pam graduated from Graceland University and spent six years as a social worker for the Division of Family Services. She is currently a real estate sales executive specializing in the sale of historic Midtown properties. Together with her husband Jeff, she resides in a 129-year-old Victorian house in Hyde Park where they raised two daughters, Libby and Molly (Académie Lafayette 2002 graduates).

Crissy Dastrup

Crissy Dastrup and her family have lived in Kansas City for 9 years, during which she has engaged in many civic and volunteer activities. At Académie Lafayette, she served as the marketing chair for Evening in Paris for 2 years and is currently serving as a parent-elected member of the Board of Directors.

Crissy received her education in science and health care, with a master’s in medicine from Eastern Virginia Medical School. She is the principal of Dastrup Creative Group, a small consulting firm, and works from home while raising four children, ranging from 2- to 11-years-old. Crissy also currently serves on the Advisory Council for the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City and KCMO’s Smart City Advisory Board. Her past civic service includes positions as the executive vice president for the Friends of Fort Sill, the marketing chair for the KC Downtowners, and the publicity chair for the Kansas City Ballet Guild.

Harriett Plowman

Harriett Plowman was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2012. She currently serves as the chair of the finance committee. Harriett’s involvement in the school goes back to the late ‘90s. She and her husband, Ed Rucker, were the school founders. The original charter was written at the dining room table in their Hyde Park home. All three of Harriett’s children, Mary (2002), Barnett (2006), and Ben (2009) are graduates of Académie Lafayette.

Harriett has a bachelor’s in finance from Drake University and a master’s from Rockhurst University. Harriett is also a real estate agent with Reece & Nichols, and she serves as the chair of the Board at the Ward Parkway Preschool in Kansas City.

Michael Bland

Kelly Baker

Kelly Baker is a business professional currently working as a Project Manager for United Health Care. Kelly has 15 years of experience working with KC Communities through the Health Department and Neighborhood Housing Department for the City of Kansas City. Kelly graduated from Baker University
with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, spent 15 years with the City of Kansas City, MO as a Business Office Manager, and has years of experience in Corporate Partnership Management, Communications and Stakeholder Resolution and Coordination and Delivery of Training Curriculum.

Kelly has been a part of the Académie Lafayette Development Committee since November 2017. Together with her husband Arthur, she resides in downtown Kansas City, Mo, where she raised two boys, London and Antonio, and one daughter, Meredith (all graduates of the Kansas City, Mo area).

Speak at a Board meeting

Board meetings are open meetings and are typically held on the second Monday of each month at the Armour campus, 6:30 pm. If there is a change in location, date, or time, it will be posted.

The beginning of each meeting is reserved for public comment. A maximum of five (5) speakers total per public comments period, per a single regular business meeting, is allowed. The slots are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

To speak at a Board meeting you must sign up no less than one business day before the regular monthly Board meeting (normally the second Monday of the month). Contact Carlos McClain or call 816.800.8775.

Please include:

  1. Name
  2. Contact information
  3. Specific topic you would like to address
  4. Number of handouts (if any) to send to the Board

Once you are confirmed to speak, it is suggested that you arrive no later than 6:20 p.m. the day of the Board meeting.

During your commentary, the following rules are in effect:

  • Each speaker is limited to three (3) minutes of commentary.
  • Commentary must be acceptable for a business and family-friendly environment.
  • No inappropriate references or personal attacks will be tolerated.

Please note that the Board generally will not respond to questions or comments. The Board views this part of the agenda as a listening period. Contact Carlos McClain to send a message to the Board.