NCAIS is governed by a board of independent school leaders. 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 founding head of school at Palisades Episcopal School in Charlotte, NC, since 2006. She was previously head of school at Salisbury Academy in Salisbury, NC. In addition to her years in independent schools as head of school, Kerin has served as lower school director, middle school director, English and literature teacher, and coach. She currently serves as board president of NCAIS and enjoys her involvement on other national and local independent school organizations/boards. Kerin earned a B.A. From Plymouth State University in English and a Master of Education from UNC Charlotte. Kerin and her husband, Bill, have twins, both alumni of Palisades Episcopal School. She enjoys remodeling their 100 year- old home, cooking, reading and skiing.

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

Mrs. 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 and Villanova University and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in English and a Master's degree in Education.  She was also a Division I volleyball player.  Mrs. Kelly volunteers her time with various groups including: SAIS, Southern Headmasters' Association, Spoleto Study Abroad, Administrative Leadership Seminar for Women and a local non-profit, Note in the Pocket.  Mrs. Kelly and her husband, Chris, have three children, all Ravenscroft alumni as well as a special family member from Sudan named Aru Kok who attended Ravenscroft for a year. Doreen and Chris Kelly reside on campus with their grand-dog Dug and grand-cat CC.

Treasurer | Paul Ibsen (Retired CFO, Paul Ibsen & Associates, LLC)
Paul retired in 2015 after 19 years as Assistant Head of School for Finance Management at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC. He came out of retirement for the 2016-17 school year to serve as Interim Head of School at Greensboro Montessori School. Prior to PDS, he was the CFO at Pace Academy in Atlanta for four years. Paul earned his BS at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and his MSIA at Purdue University. Paul was a founding member of NBOA where he served on the Board and as Treasurer and on two strategic planning committees. He served as Chair of the Association of Business Officers of Independent Schools (ABOIS). He is currently on the MISBO Board where he serves on the Emerging Issues and Solutions Committee. Paul was the 2011 recipient of the NBOA Distinguished Business Officer Award.

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 organized and developed a wide range of student leadership and staff professional development initiatives. Karen grew up in Jamaica, New York in a family deeply committed to education. She received her BA in Africana Studies from Cornell University, and an MA in Afro-American Studies from UCLA. She also 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. Prior to joining Mount Paran, Eric spent nine years at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, N.C., where he served 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.

Beth Covolo (Head of School, Rocky Mount Academy)

Beth is the Head of School at Rocky Mount Academy (RMA). She was also the Director of Development and Head of Lower School at RMA from 2005-2011. Prior to her time at RMA, Beth served in Nash County Public Schools for fifteen years. She is currently a trustee for North Carolina Wesleyan University the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association, as well as President of the Carolina Independent Conference. Beth holds a Master of School Administration from East Carolina University and is the mother of three children.


Tom Franz (Former Head of School, Trinity Episcopal School)

Tom served as Head of School at Trinity Episcopal School from 2011 to 2022.  He joined Trinity from Ravenscroft School where he served 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 school accreditation teams for VAIS, SAIS and SACS.  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 BS in Sociology and a teaching certificate from Davidson College in 1984.  He holds a Masters 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, freshman at Appalachian State University, and Luke, 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 of 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. 

Ray Quesnel (Head of School, Fayetteville Academy)

Ray Quesnel has served as the Head of School at Fayetteville Academy since his appointment in 2012.  Ray graduated from the University of Vermont in 1989 with a degree in mathematics. He worked at two other NCAIS member schools, The Asheville School (11 years) and Forsyth Country Day School (12 years), prior to F.A. His previous positions held include Assistant Headmaster, Academic Dean, Athletic Director, Upper School math teacher, and coach. Ray also serves on the Board of Trustees for the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association and on the Board of Visitors at Methodist University.  He is a former board member and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville.  Ray and his wife Wendy have two grown children and one grandson.