A board of independent school leaders governs NCAIS. The board is comprised of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and six Directors.

2022-2023 NCAIS Board


President | Kerin Hughes (Head of School, Palisades Episcopal School)
Kerin has served as the founding Head of School at Palisades Episcopal School in Charlotte, NC, since 2006. She was previously at Salisbury Academy in Salisbury, NC, and served in various capacities, including Lower School Director, Middle School Director, English teacher, and coach before becoming Head of School.  In addition to being the Board President of NCAIS, Kerin enjoys her involvement in other national and local Independent School organizations. She and her husband, Bill, have twins who are alumni of Palisades Episcopal School. Kerin values leading with humor and heart and enjoys reading, cooking, and home remodeling.

Vice President | Doreen Kelly (Head of School, Ravenscroft School)

Doreen Kelly leads the leadership team of Ravenscroft and has been Head of School since July 2003. She joined the Ravenscroft faculty in July 1999 as the Director of the Lower School. Mrs. Kelly is a Board Certified (BCC) Executive Leadership Coach.  Mrs. Kelly studied at Villanova University and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B. A. in English and a master's degree in Education.  She was also a Division I volleyball player.  Doreen volunteers with various groups including: SAIS, Southern Headmasters' Association, Spoleto Study Abroad, Administrative Leadership Seminar for Women, and Note in the Pocket.  Mrs. Kelly and her husband Chris have three children who are all Ravenscroft alumni.  

Treasurer | Russell Rabinowitz (Director of Finance and Operations, Duke School)
Russell Rabinowitz is the Director of Finance and Operations at Duke School in Durham.  Mr. Rabinowitz joined Duke School in 2006.  He has an MBA in accounting and finance as well as over 40 years of accounting and financial planning experience. In the eleven years prior to coming to Duke School, Mr. Rabinowitz was the Director of Finance and Human Resources at a not-for-profit research and education company serving the textile and apparel industry and a financial analyst at a defense contractor for 13 years.  Mr. Rabinowitz is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. He served on the Board of Directors of NBOA for six years and the Board of Directors of the Raleigh Wake Human Resources Management Association for four years.  He was named RWHRMA HR Professional of the Year in 2004.

Secretary | Karen Cumberbatch (Head of School, Carolina Friends School)

Karen joined Carolina Friends School as Head of School in 2017. Karen has a 27-year career in independent school administration, including 24 years in three different Quaker schools. Prior to Carolina Friends School, Karen was the Head of Upper School at Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland.  Beyond her teaching and administrative experience, Karen has led school-wide strategic planning and implementation, clerked numerous school committees, and developed a wide range of student leadership and staff professional development initiatives.  She received her B.A. in Africana Studies from Cornell University and an M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA. She earned a Graduate Certificate in Independent School Leadership from Johns Hopkins University and completed the Institute for Engaging Leadership with the Friends Council on Education. She has two children, one an alum of Carolina Friends School and the other an alum of Sandy Spring Friends School.


Eric Bradley (Head of School, Grace Christian School)

Eric Bradley has spent 25 years in Christian education, serving as GRACE Christian School’s Head of School since 2016. GRACE Christian School (GCS) is a TK-12 Christian school located in Raleigh, N.C. In 2022, GCS received the prestigious Association of Christian Schools International (ACS) Exemplary Accreditation, making it the second school in the state and the nineteenth school nationally to receive the honor. Prior to serving at GCS, Eric was Head of High School at Mount Paran Christian School, a Christian college preparatory school in Georgia. Before joining Mount Paran, Eric spent nine years at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, N.C., serving as a history teacher, spiritual life director, and assistant principal. Eric and his wife, Amy, are proud parents of GRACE alum Amelia and two current GRACE students, Thomas and Audrey. 

Ed Ellison (Head of School, Cape Fear Academy)
Ed Ellison’s independent school career spans nearly three decades. He is entering his fourth year as Head of School at Cape Fear Academy, a pre-K - Grade 12 co-ed day school of 750 students in Wilmington, NC. In addition to his work at CFA, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern North Carolina and the Board of Trustees of Malden Catholic School, a co-divisional high school of 800 students in Malden, Massachusetts. Prior to his work at Cape Fear, Ed served as Executive Director for the Office of Alumni Relations at Tufts University after serving as Head of St. Johns Country Day School, a PK-12 day school with 640 students in Orange Park, FL. Ed spent nine years at The Roxbury Latin School, a highly regarded day school near Boston for 300 boys in grades 7-12 founded in 1645. Ed also served for three years on the faculty of Milton Academy, a highly competitive day and boarding school. Before beginning his educational career, Ed was the vice president of operations for Oak Industries, a $300 million publicly traded manufacturing company. Prior to that, he was an associate in the investment banking departments of Credit Suisse First Boston and Salomon Brothers. After receiving his B.A., cum laude, from Tufts University, Ed joined the Marine Corps, where he was promoted to Captain. After leaving the Marine Corps, he earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Tom Franz (Interim Head of School, High Point Friends School)

Tom served as Head of School at Trinity Episcopal School from 2011 to 2022.  He joined Trinity from Ravenscroft School, serving as the Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and as an assistant basketball coach. Prior to his move to Ravenscroft, Tom spent 21 years at St. Christopher's School in Richmond, VA. Early in his career, Tom was a teacher and coach at Woodward Academy and Southwest Dekalb High School in Atlanta, GA. He has served on VAIS, SAIS, and SACS school accreditation teams.  He currently serves on the board of the Teaching Fellows Institute and is an active member of Refugee Support Services in Charlotte.  Tom earned a B.S. in Sociology and a teaching certificate from Davidson College in 1984.  He holds a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Beverly Fowler (Head of School, Salisbury Academy)
Beverly has worked at Salisbury Academy since 2001 and was an internal hire in 2013 for Head of School, where she previously served as a teacher, division director, and academic administrator.  Prior to her time at SA, Beverly taught at elementary schools in Lexington, Kentucky, and Cannon School in Concord, NC.  Passionate about her community, Beverly is active in several local organizations, including Young Life Rowan County, Salisbury Rotary Club, and Prevent Child Abuse Rowan as a board member and volunteer.  Beverly and her husband, Chris, are the proud parents of Will, a student at Appalachian State University, and Luke, a current SA student. She enjoys being active outdoors and mentoring youth in her community.

Kim Freedman (Head of School, New Garden Friends School)

Kim has been part of the New Garden Friends School Community for over 20 years.  She joined the staff in 2014 as Director of Admissions and has served as Head of School since January 2017. Before joining the NGFS staff, Kim had extensive experience in business and non-profit management. Kim has been active in the ADHD world for many years. In 2013, in collaboration with the UNCG ADHD Clinic and Noble Academy, Kim founded the North Carolina Summer Program for Kids, offering students with ADHD a modified version of Dr. William E. Pelham’s Summer Treatment Program.  Kim and her husband, Don, are the proud parents of Charlie and Jack, alumni of New Garden Friends School. 

G. Christopher Jones (Former Head of School, Cannon School)
G. Christopher Jones began his tenure as Cannon’s seventh Head of School in July 2019. In honoring Cannon’s legacy and serving its future, Christopher aims to contribute leadership, clarity, and organizational ambition in response to the opportunities and challenges of today’s junior kindergarten through 12th-grade school landscape. Christopher received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and an M.B.A. in corporate strategy from the University of Chicago. Prior to Cannon School, Christopher served over 2,100 Nursery through 12th-grade students and 300 educators as the Associate Director of School at the University of Chicago Laboratory School.