Board of Directors

DR ELEANOR NICHOLSON, President of the Board: Eleanor Nicholson has spent more than 40 years in the field of education and her passion for life in schools has not abated. After ten years as a “stay-at-home mum” she began her career as a kindergarten assistant in the Laboratory schools of the University of Chicago, where her understanding of the importance of a solid foundation for learning in early childhood crystallised. She ultimately spent ten years as senior instructor at the Erikson Institute, a graduate level organisation devoted to the education of teachers, administrators, researchers, and policy makers in the area of early childhood. Along the way, Eleanor has been director or principal of seven schools, including a year as Interim Principal of Kodaikanal International School and, most recently, six months as Interim Principal of Woodstock School.

Eleanor received her BA from Carleton College, her MA from the University of Chicago, and her PhD from Loyola University in Chicago. She has four grown children, all married, and seven grandchildren. Her youngest daughter, Martha, and her oldest granddaughter, Nora, attended Woodstock as SAGE students; and are members of the class of '80 and '06. Her husband of 48 years died in 2002.

BHAVENESH KUMARI PATIALA '50: Bhavenesh came to Woodstock in 1948. After graduation she attended Miranda House (Delhi University) where she obtained her BA and MA. She then enrolled with the law faculty of Delhi University and obtained her LLB, breaking gender and social barriers within the royal families of India, and followed up with an LLM degree from Yale Law School, USA. On her return to India, Bhavenesh became an associate in the largest law firm handling work in the Supreme Court of India. She established the firm's department of corporate law and foreign joint ventures. Bhavenesh was the first woman to act as legal adviser to ambassadors in several countries of West Asia and served as an adviser to the parent company of Colgate Palmolive in the United States. Bhavenesh wrote the first Indo-American (Tenneco) deep sea oil agreement. Through all these years, Bhavenesh has remained one of WOSA-India's most active members. Her wisdom and skills have helped successive Woodstock administrations over a range of management and liaison needs, including the legal complexities of constitutional and property rights, vital to Woodstock's sustainability.

DR DAPHNE M DE REBELLO: Dr De Rebello holds a PhD from Stanford University in International Comparative Education. Before retiring, she had a long career in education serving from 1964 until 1993 with the Government of India, where she held policy-making posts including Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Education, Government of India (1988-93). Following that she worked for UNESCO from 1993 until 2003, ending in the post of senior progamme specialist. Since her retirement, she has been a senior consultant in education, Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, and consults with UNESCO and UNFPA. In 2002 she was included as one of the 100 distinguished women from or working in Andhra Pradesh who have contributed significantly to the development of the state and the cause of women.


DAVID SCHOONMAKER '62: David Schoonmaker is executive vice-president, founder and board member of Healthcare Waste Solutions Inc, a leading medical waste management company in the US. As the oldest son of Joseph Schoonmaker, a missionary doctor in today’s Assam, David attended Woodstock from 1954 and graduated in 1962. He then went to the University of California at Berkeley where he received a BS in chemistry and business and followed it up with an MBA in finance from California State College at Los Angeles. David currently is a board member of Friends of Woodstock School Inc. and has served as a board member of Kodai Woodstock International, Medical Waste Institute and American 3CI in the past. He is married to Eva and has two children.

DR KAAREN MATHIAS: Dr Kaaren Mathias is a public health physician who lives in Mussoorie. Daughter of missionaries and born in India, she studied at Hebron School, Tamil Nadu. She gained her MBBS in New Zealand, added an MPH from James Cook University (Australia) and qualified as a fellow of the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine (1994). Kaaren's passion for health for all, equity and inclusion of the marginalised has seen her working in health and development in Cambodia, with Medecins Sans Frontieres in Colombia, and since 2006, working in North India. She is now regional coordinator and programme manager with the Emmanuel Hospital Association. A keen mountaineer and adventurer, Kaaren was part of the World First Traverse of the Mekong in 2004. She is a member of the Academic and Research Council of the School of Public Health, Equity and Action (Bengaluru) ,and an adjunct fellow of the University of Otago (NZ). She is married to Jeph and their four children all study at Woodstock School. 

JANE CUMMINGS:  Jane Cummings has been closely associated with Woodstock School for the past 30 years. After graduating from Russell Sage College in New York, Jane and her husband spent seven years at the CMC Hospital in Vellore, India, where she was director of public relations. She also served as a member and president of the Vellore Board (USA) before being appointed as executive director of KWI , a US-based 501-c-3 organisation which provided extensive financial and programme support to Kodaikanal and Woodstock Schools. During her 20 years as executive director of KWI she initiated, directed and managed the affairs, programmes, fundraising and grant disbursement of KWI which included four major capital campaigns that broke historical records for total contributions, the annual fund drives, the securing of four federal government grants from American Schools and Hospitals Abroad, and the implementation of a planned giving programme. She was director of development at Woodstock from 2006-2008. Active in local community activities, she has served as member and president of several non-profit boards. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, near her family.


NOEL VAGHELA: Noel Vaghela graduated in civil engineering in the year 1976. Since 1978 he has been director of the Methodist engineering office, Delhi, a church-based construction organisation. Under his leadership, in this organisation were the architects and engineers for the construction of Alter Ridge and the media centre building at Woodstock School. He is also the managing director of Methodist Engineering Co. Pvt. Ltd., Delhi, has been instrumental in developing the design for disaster-resistant structures and constructed more than 25,000 houses after the earthquake and tsunami disasters in Latur, Gujarat, and the coastal belt of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
In the past, he has served two terms on Woodstock School Board and at present is a member and Christian advisor of the Delhi Minority Commission and President of New Delhi YMCA.  He considers himself blessed with a well-settled daughter and son, and his wife serves at St Stephen's Hospital as community health specialist.

RAJAN S MATHEWS: Rajan presently serves as the director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India, which represents nine of the largest mobile operators in India. Prior to joining COAI Rajan held several senior level executive positions, such as board member, CEO, COO, CFO and controller in such companies as Telargo (a JV of NTT DoCoMo), Call Sciences (a George Soros/Chatterjee Investment Fund Company), Afghan Wireless/Telephone Systems International, AT&T Wireless and Beatrice International. While at AT&T Wireless, Rajan served as President and CEO of Birla-AT&T in India (now Idea), then AT&T Wireless’s largest international investment. He began his career with Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Tri-Star Pictures. During his career, Rajan specialised in mergers and aqusititions, start-ups, spin-offs, turn- arounds and joint ventures, principally in the high-tech and communications industries. He has helped raise over US$1 billion in private and public equity, debt financing and private placements.In his career, Rajan has raised over $1 million in private and public equity,debt financing and private placements. Rajan continues to be a featured speaker in many international and national conferences and seminars, teaches Bible study courses and preaches in churches and continues to serve on the boards of several for-profit and non-profit organisations.  He earned both his MBA and MA degrees from Rutgers University (USA) and his MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (USA); he is a CPA from the state of New Jersey, USA. Rajan is married to Grace Mathews who is the vice chairperson of the Lausanne Movement and has two daughters, Kavita and Nithya.

PHIL WELLONS '60: Phil Wellons retired from Harvard Law School a few years ago, having taught at the university since 1976. He specialised in law and finance, particularly in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, publishing a textbook on the subject through ten editions. He has worked with large companies, including banks, advised governments about legislative drafting and financial regulation, and carried out major comparative research projects for multilateral organisations such as the Asian Development Bank and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. His work took him to most countries in East, South and Southeast Asia, Western Europe, and North America, and many in Eastern Europe, South America, Africa, and the Middle East. Phil's links to Woodstock started in 1919, when his father visited Mussoorie as a babe-in-arms. His father graduated from the school in 1933. Grandfather Wellons taught at, and administered, Lucknow Christian College from 1916 to 1941, with a few breaks. Phil attended Woodstock from 1955, graduating in 1960, and has visited the school many times since, including trips with his wife and daughter, and corresponds actively with classmates today.

RANJIT DASS: Ranjit Dass received his BA and MA degrees from St Stephen’s College, Delhi University.  He then went on to obtain an MSc in educational studies (Governance of Education) from Oxford University.  He served in Woodstock School from 1980-1992 as a teacher, head of department and finally as the high school coordinator from 1990-92.  He was also the staff representative on the board for two years. He is the founder principal of Nath Valley School. During these years he helped to set up schools for Indian students in Shenzhen (China) and Anagni (Italy). He was also instrumental in starting the Aurangabad Police Public School, which he is currently managing on behalf of Nath Valley School. During his stay at Oxford University, he attended conferences on foreign affairs and disarmament at NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Academy of Sciences, Moscow. The central theme of his educational philosophy is: "To provide the highest level of education using the latest technology; but with minimum stress and in a happy environment."

Member Emeritus

MR TZ CHU '52: TZ attended Woodstock throughout his high school years and graduated in 1952, winning the best all-around student award. He majored in chemistry at University of California, Berkeley, and earned his BSc followed by graduate studies in chemistry and business. For most of his career he worked in the scientific instruments industry where he pioneered several forms of analytical instruments and applications, and co-founded companies which remain leaders in the industry. His career spanned periods working in Asia, Europe and North America. He has served and continues to serve on the boards of public and private companies, trade associations, and non-profit organisations, including KWI, Woodstock School, Kodaikanal International School and UC Berkeley Foundation. He has been married to Irmgard Chu, a Swiss citizen, since 1963 and they have made their home in Northern California.

School Members (Voting):

Dr Jonathan Long: Principal

Mr Dana Crider: Staff Representative
Member of Personnel Committee

Student Representatives (Non voting):
Shivamkar Misra

Yangla Lama

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