New Board of Trustees Introduced - July 2023

Board of Trustees for Oldfields School–July 2023


Taylor Smith, Chair

Dougie Simmons Christoferson, Deputy Chair

Margaret Cooter, Secretary

Christopher Smith,Treasurer


Ashley Vizzi Akridge

Dr. Barbara Baisley

Molly Christie Benson

Kate Fisher 

Eleanor (Bly) Hartley

Angelica Jackson

Alexander T. Leventhal 

Shannon Rose

Board Biographies

Taylor Smith lives in Pennsylvania. He has dedicated his career to the education sector. He served several terms at Oldfields; he was a teacher from 1970-1988 and Assistant Head of School from 1976-1988. He returned to Oldfields in 2008 and served as Head of School until 2013 and then served as Head of School Emeritus from 2013-2014. At the Episcopal School of Jacksonville, he was the Director of College Counseling and Principal, and he served as the Head of School at York Country Day School from 1988-2000. Taylor holds a BA in Anthropology from Wesleyan University and an MA in Educational Administration from Loyola University.

Dougie Simmons Christoferson (’98) lives in Washington, D.C. She is an experienced governmental leader, who is passionate about education and currently works on nationwide education reform efforts. Dougie recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. Previously, Dougie served in Senior Leadership roles in the U.S. Senate, including in the offices of former U.S. Senator Rob Portman (OH), U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (TX), and former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX). Dougie began her career in Washington, D.C. working at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the Office of Scheduling & Advance; she then worked in The White House in the Office of Presidential Scheduling and, after that, for the National Economic Council (NEC). Dougie has also worked in political fundraising and event planning. Her sister, Mary Simmons Evans, graduated from Oldfields in 1992, and her mother, Carla Simmons, served two terms on the Oldfields Board of Trustees. Dougie graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and a minor in Political Science.

Margaret Cooter (’79) lives in Ohio. She is an attorney, specializing in ethics, compliance and large-scale government contracts. She currently leads senior contracts for NUMARK Associates, Inc, an energy company based in Bethesda, MD. She served as an attorney and the Ethics and Compliance Director for HDR for 6 years, where she established their ethics program and was awarded the company’s Platinum Award for her achievement. She held previous roles with AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, Inc. and British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL). Margaret’s sisters, Julia Cook and Miranda Cooter, are also alumnae, graduating in 1982 and 1978 respectively, and they’re part of a long line of Oldfields history, starting with Julia Douw, their grandmother, a member of the class of 1915; Harriet Douw Holt, their mother, who graduated in 1946; Ann Brooke Holt, their aunt, a 1948 graduate; and Gwen Griffiths, Miranda’s daughter, who graduated in 2015, one hundred years after her great-grandmother. Margaret holds a BA in History and English (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Tennessee and a JD from the University of Chicago.

Christopher Smith lives in Pennsylvania. He is a forensic accountant with 20 years of experience. He is a Senior Portfolio Analyst at Kessler Topaz (KTMC). He specializes in securities fraud litigation, opt out and direct actions, and global portfolio monitoring for institutional investors.
Chris has over 15 years of experience in the financial services community; he began his career at PaineWebber/UBS in their Philadelphia office. Prior to joining KTMC, Chris worked for Wapner Newman, where he developed cases for the firm’s FINRA Arbitration Practice. He holds an MBA from Temple University and a BA in French and Political Science from Franklin Marshall College.

Ashley Vizzi Akridge (’99) lives in Washington D.C. She was the Managing Director of York Wallcoverings Inc., the largest and oldest wallpaper manufacturer in North America with distribution in over 86 countries worldwide. Prior to developing her career at York, Ashley led strategic alliances at Sony Pictures Entertainment in Los Angeles, CA. Ashley has over 18 years of industry experience and currently sits on three boards of directors: an industry association board, an academic board, and a nonprofit foundation board. She was selected as one of Pennsylvania’s 40 under 40 business leaders in 2018 and is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). Ashley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Richmond, where she received a full Division I lacrosse scholarship.

Dr. Barbara “Babs” Baisley (‘88) lives in Maryland. Babs has more than 28 years serving as an educator and instructional leader. Babs currently teaches English to 8th graders in Montgomery County, Maryland, where she has also served in a variety of capacities including Department Chair, Team Leader, and Staff Development with the overarching goal of supporting meaningful, rigorous and engaging instruction that effectively meets all students’ learning needs. Through her role as a certified Coach for NBPTS, Babs provides training, mentoring, coaching, guidance, and technical assistance to support candidates pursuing National Board Certification. In addition, as a consultant for the NBPTS, Babs identified superior teaching methodologies in NBCT candidate videos and aligned these to teaching standards indexed in the Accomplished Teaching, Learning And Schools Project (ATLAS). In addition to achieving National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), she holds an Administrative and Supervisory Certificate, Advanced Professional Certificate, and Reading Specialist Certificate from the State of Maryland. She earned a PhD in Educational Psychology from George Mason University, a MEd in Reading Education from Bowie State University, a MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Maryland College, a MA in English from Old Dominion University and a BA in English from Sweet Briar College.

Molly Christie Benson (’86) lives in California. She is an accomplished Film and Television Producer with two decades of creative experience. She has worked on major campaigns for various networks including TBS, Bravo, and Fox, collaborating with high-profile clients including nextdoor, Noggin, Subaru, Maybelline, Volvo, Clairol, Honda, Intel, and more. Molly’s expertise lies in creative decision-making, budgeting, and production leadership, enabling her to deliver
on-budget innovative results for each project consistently. Molly has produced critically acclaimed independent feature films that have made waves at film festivals. Some notable projects include Hot Seat (Sundance in 2017), Transpecos (SXSW 2016), 7 Chinese Brothers (SXSW 2015), and It's a Disaster (LA Film Festival 2012). Molly has also been involved in various board and
non-profit organizations, including The Los Angeles County Museum of Art's East Asian Art Council, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Directors Guild of America, and the Academy of Motion Pictures. She is also a dedicated supporter of environmental causes, including the Surfrider Foundation, California State Parks, and The Natural Resource Defense Council. Molly holds a BA in Art History from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Kate Fisher (’91 and parent ‘22) lives in Maryland. She is a partner at the law firm, Hudson Cook. Kate is the former Vice Chair of the Maryland Bar Association's Consumer Credit and Financial Institutions Committee and was elected to serve on the Oregon Bar Association's Business Section Executive Committee. Her practice focuses on the areas of Consumer Financial Services and Small Business Financing. She is a founding member of the Alternative Finance Bar Association, an organization of attorneys who represent merchant cash advance companies and lenders providing financing to small businesses. She has testified before the United States House of Representatives Small Business Subcommittee regarding improving small business capital access. In addition she is the former co-chair of the Maryland Bar Association’s Consumer Credit and Financial Institutions Committee. She has also held roles with Hershner Hunter LLP, Eugene, OR. Her daughter, Kit Fisher, graduated from Oldfields in 2022 as a five-year senior. Kate holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Montana. Kate graduated first in her class from the University of Oregon Law School in 2005 and is a member of the Order of the Coif.

Eleanor “Bly” Hartley (’79) lives in Georgia. Bly has provided computer consultant handling services, support and training since 1987. She and her husband, Kevin, took over her family’s business, which manufactures environmental monitoring equipment, in 2014. Bly previously served as a Middle and High School Science and Social Studies teacher at Athens Academy. In addition to her corporate experience, Bly founded Arts!Oglethorpe, a community theater in Georgia. Over the years she has directed more than 25 musicals and plays including One-Act Play for the local High School. Bly has served as a volunteer Extemporaneous Speaking Coach at Oglethorpe County High School since 2017; the team has qualified for State each year and won the State in 2023. She and her family have a long legacy with Oldfields; her mother, Martha I. Beach graduated from Oldfields in 1950, her aunt Jane I. Schaefer is a 1952 alumnus, and her cousin Cousin Greta Schaefer graduated in 1984. Bly holds a BA in History from Williams College.

Angelica Jackson (’09) lives in Maryland. She is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Phoenix International School of the Arts (PISOTA), Charles County’s first-ever public charter middle school and the first dual-study program in the arts and international studies in our community. Angelica is a facilitator for accelerating learning strategies at the national no-profit Diverse Charter Schools Coalition, and she is affiliated with several innovative education organizations that are “ruthless for good.” Angelica also works in the film and theater industries. She has initiated educational partnerships with Grammy award-winning artist Pharrell and his school, YellowHab, and has forged social impact partnerships with other artists, including Maimouna”MuMu”Fresh Yousef and Christina Milian. Angelica has taught theater and is an award-winning musical theater performer. She is the recipient of several education fellowships
and grants including the $900,000 federal Charter School Grant program. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Virginia and a Master’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and The Wharton School of Business.

Alexander “Alex” T. Leventhal lives in Sparks-Glencoe, Maryland and is a neighbor to Oldfields School. He is a partner in the firm of Harkins, Kovler & Leventhal, LLC. Alex’s experience includes proxy contests, contentious consent solicitations, and restructurings in the U.S. and Europe, along with stakeholder communications consulting for publicly traded companies and private equity firms. Alex serves as a director of the technology consultancy Vistrada, LLC; the National Steeplechase Association; and the Steeplechase Owners and Trainers Association. He is also a stakes-placed steeplechase jockey who’s ridden 7 winners from 90 rides and continues to ride actively today. Alex was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors by Union College in Schenectady, NY, and a Juris Doctor degree with honors by Albany Law School in Albany, NY, where he also served on the Albany Law School Law Review.

Shannon Rose (’99) lives in California. She has 20 years of experience in teaching, riding and managing show stables and has developed an integrated training methodology that translates across rings, ages and skill levels. She has a strong network across the industry, which she is eager to draw upon to support Oldfields in strengthening its riding program and to contribute to related fundraising. Shannon grew up on the East Coast and began riding at age 6. As a junior, she attended all of the major equitation finals, riding at Ox Ridge Hunt Club with Fran Dotoli and Ray Texel. In her last junior year, she rode under the tutelage of Kip Rosenthal. One of Shannon’s first assistant positions was with Val Renihan in North Salem, NY. She has also worked with Gary Young, Frank Perla, Timmy Keys, Chance Arakelian and Hilary and Robert Ridland (chef d’equipe for USA). Shannon’s social work education has enabled her to assist students from a strength- based approach and articulate complex riding problems in manageable pieces. In the MSW program, Shannon’s primary focus was on children with co-occurring disorders. Working with this population taught her how to be creative and make challenging work fun. This skill set translates to the arena as it provides the ability to keep lessons, in particular the important work of fundamentals, engaging and innovative. Shannon has a BA in Art History from Denison University and an MSc in Social Work from NYU.