Board members are ambassadors for Sela PCS. As such, they promote the mission, enrollment, recruitment and engage in general public relations for the school. They are the governing body of the school, and as such are responsible for policies, head of school hiring and evaluation, and ensuring fiduciary responsibility.
Deena Fox, Board Chair
Deena Fox is a civil rights attorney practicing in the Civil Rights Division at the United States Department of Justice. Deena has undergraduate degrees from Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and received her JD from New York University Law School. At the Department of Justice, Deena specializes in enforcement of the rights of juveniles in the juvenile justice system, the rights of people with disabilities to be served in the most integrated settings appropriate, and the rights of prisoners to practice their religions. Deena lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband, son, daughter, and dog. Deena speaks Hebrew and is a proud Sela parent.
Aster Allen-Patel is currently a Supervisor in Labor Relations at the Department of Health and Human Services. She has experience in Corporate Internal Auditing in addition to Federal sector labor and employee relations in Human Resources. Aster holds a BBA in International Finance and JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Aster believes in the value of learning a language and the influence on one’s culture and thought processes. She lives with her family in Washington, DC and her children attend Sela PCS.
Koustubh "K.J." Bagchi
Koustubh “K.J.” Bagchi is Vice President of Technology Policy at the Chamber of Progress. He is a veteran of Capitol Hill and public interest organizations, including working for a national civil rights organization. His background includes working with DC Councilmember Jim Graham and serving the residents of Ward 1 and engaging on issues around education, transportation, and juvenile justice. After his time in the Council, he was appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser to the DC Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs where he served close to five years in advising the Mayor’s office on issues critical to DC residents of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Island descent. With his experience in the DC government, he co-founded a DC-based non-profit where he was selected to be the inaugural Board Chair. Serving the DC community has continued to be a fulfilling passion for K.J. and he brings that background in public service and governance to the Sela Board. He is a graduate of the University of California Davis and he received his law degree from Seattle University School of Law.
Rose Benson is an early childhood educator and advocate for education reform. Rose began her career as a financial services professional for a private wealth management firm but found her passion for education through volunteer work with the Bright Beginnings and the Junior League of Washington. Rose received her Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland College Park and is also a graduate of the DC Teaching Fellows program which enabled her to begin her second career in the classroom. Rose has taught PreK for five years at two DC Charter Schools and her classrooms have consistently been rated at the highest levels of instructional quality by OSSE. Rose lives in Washington, DC with her husband, Justin, her son Jacob, and their pup Justice Brennan.
Heather Capell Bramble
Heather Capell Bramble is a seasoned attorney and senior executive with almost 20 years of legal and management experience in government, private law firms, and politics. She is currently Head of Regulatory Affairs for Mattel, Inc. Prior to working at Mattel, Heather was Senior Corporate Counsel for Global Product and Food Safety & Compliance at Amazon.com. Heather also worked as a trial attorney in the Division of Enforcement at the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and as Chief Counsel to the Commissioner at the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. She has spent time as a litigator and regulatory attorney at private law firms and senior campaign staff on national political campaigns. She received her JD from The University of Texas Law School, her BA with Highest Honors from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and studied overseas in Israel. Heather is proud to be a product of America’s public education system and sincerely believes in the power of education to change people’s lives. She grew up believing this idea, as both of her parents were school teachers for over 30 years in New York City public schools. Heather lives in Washington, DC with her spouse, Jocelyn Bramble, and their two children – one is an alumni of Sela PCS and the other attends Sela PCS.
Sandra Coley is a general dentist, licensed in DC, who works as the Special Olympics International’s Healthy Athletes’ Special Smiles Program Manager. Prior to that she worked in public health as a general Dentist at Unity Healthcare. In addition to clinical care, she was part of the dental leadership team, serving as the Community Outreach and Special Projects Dental Lead (COSPDL). As COSPDL she served as director of the community dental health coordinators (CDHC) program, where she worked with DC health to develop, evaluate, report, analyze, and contribute to data driven decisioning around the roll-out of a new allied health role in DC. Prior to dental school Dr. Coley worked for a charter school service agency, where she provided standardized test preparation, taught summer school, tutored, and substituted. Outside of work, she has served on the board of the Friends of Lamond Riggs Library as the Programming Co-Chair, co-founder of CompeteTech.com, and a proud member of Sela’s PTSA. Dr. Coley and her husband, Chris Coley, a Data Scientist, have 4 active children, all of whom have attended Sela. Dr. Coley’s education includes Temple University undergraduate with a dual degree in Biology and Spanish, The School of Osteopathic Medicine’s Biomedical Science Program, and The University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Dr. Coley’s status as a Sela PTA parent, work and life experiences bring a welcomed perspective to the Sela school community, and the Board.
Rebecca Rubin Damari, Board Secretary
Rebecca Rubin Damari, PhD, is a social science researcher with a background in linguistics. She is currently Director of Research at the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland, where her research focuses on foreign language learning and its importance in our multilingual world. In her previous work, she has examined interpersonal, intercultural, and bilingual communication, including with Hebrew-speaking families. In addition to her work as a researcher, Rebecca is an experienced grant writer, supporting nonprofit organizations in the important work they do in their communities. Rebecca lives in Silver Spring, MD, with her husband and two young children.
Yair Inspektor currently serves as Senior Legal Counsel at Children’s National, Office of the General Counsel. In his previous roles, Yair served as an Assistant Attorney General for the District of Columbia, supporting DC Public Schools by way of litigation and contract negotiations. Yair is also a Bowser Administration alum, previously serving as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Mayor for Education, with a portfolio in the nexus of health and education, and as Interim Assistant Superintendent at the Office of State Superintendent of Education, Office of Health and Wellness. Before entering the fields of law and policy, Yair taught 11th grade global history in the South Bronx. Yair is a fluent Hebrew speaker hailing from Israel by way of Pittsburgh. He attended Seattle University School of Law, received his Masters in Education from Pace, and attended Penn State University for his undergraduate studies. He is a proud husband and father of two.
Bryce Jacobs is an educational reformer and educator with a particular interest in family engagement and college access/equity. She is currently a Partner at VPP+Raise DC where she works on collective impact, career and college readiness, early childhood education and supporting Boys and Young Men of Color. Before joining VPP+ Raise DC, Bryce was Executive Director and Chief Strategy Officer at BUILD, a national organization that used entrepreneurship to ensure students from under-resourced communities are college and career ready. Before BUILD, Dr. Jacobs was Director of National Programs at College Summit, an organization with a mission to help more low-income students get to and through college, and previously was a program specialist at the National Parent Teacher Association. She is a founding board chair and current board member of Sela Public Charter School, a diverse by design Hebrew language immersion school in Washington DC. Dr. Jacobs has a B.A. in International Development from Clark University, an M.A. from George Washington University in Education, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in Education Policy and Leadership.
Steve Messner, Board Treasurer
Steve Messner has over 30 years of experience in finance, general management, operations, and strategy. He works with the top management of small and medium-sized companies to help them define their goals, develop and implement plans to achieve them, and improve profitability and cash flow, typically as a part-time CFO. His extensive non-profit board experience includes serving from 2009-2013 as a trustee and treasurer of the Septima Clark Public Charter School, Washington’s first public school for boys. In 2013, he oversaw its closure via merger with a high-performing charter school, the first such transaction in the city, and managed its finances during the process. Steve received a BA and an MS in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University, an MS in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Justin Rubin is a special counsel at Kasowitz Benson Torres, where he supports companies in working with the US Government. Justin received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University and a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. Prior to working at Kasowitz, Justin served in multiple roles in the Department of the Army. Justin and his wife Jessica, a DC pediatric dentist, are proud and committed Sela parents and have three children who have attended Sela PCS, the oldest of whom graduated from 5th Grade in 2023. In addition to his personal connections to Sela and love of its education for his family, Justin grew up in an Israel focused youth movement, studied at Hebrew University as an undergraduate, and primarily supports companies with an Israeli nexus doing business in the US.
Michael A. Walker
Michael Walker is currently serving as the Program Director for the TRIO Student Support Services program at Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) in Largo, Maryland. In this role, he provides leadership and management of program services, oversees the implementation of a federal grant from the U. S. Department of Education and represents the program within and outside of the PGCC community. He also previously served as the Director of Education and Career Programming with the Maya Angelou Schools and See Forever Foundation. In this role, his primary areas of responsibility were supporting the organization’s college, career and workforce readiness programs and establishing and maintaining the organizational partnerships that provide resources and opportunities for students and alumni. His previous positions include Technology Director and Dean of Students during his first stint with the Maya Angelou & See Forever, Behavior Coach with the District of Columbia Public Schools and Academic Coordinator with federally funded TRIO Upward Bound programs at both the University of Maryland College Park and Prince George’s Community College. Michael received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland with a double major in Criminal Justice and African-American Studies in 1997 and his Master’s in Educational Administration from Trinity University in Washington, DC in 2006. He also earned a Post Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Executive Management from the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University in 2019.