LINCOLN SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION 2012
CANDIDATE INFORMATION FORM
One Year Two Years XX
Himalayan Wild Fibers LLC
(US company with a Nepal subsidiary)
Management in marketing/sales at major US companies and
entrepreneur for more than decades.
Degree in Political Philosophy from Mount Holyoke College
Years Associated with LS 12
Children at Lincoln School
Name Tsering Skeele Grade 9
Name Mimi Skeele Grade 10
My children began their school lives at Lincoln, when the preschool was first opened in 2000, and it has
been a major part of our lives ever since. They’re both in high school now, so my experience with LS
ranges from preschool all the way to grade 10 (so far). This personal experience with each of the school
stages— elementary, middle, and high school has given me a perspective on the school as a whole, and
insights into the different worlds and needs of kids and parents as well as some familiarity with the
experiences of teachers and TAs at each of those stages. My long-term relationship with the school
means that I bring continuity, and historical perspective to board decisions that need to be made today
and tomorrow, with an understanding of what made us the school we are today.
With the exception of a three year stint during which I sailed for a living, I have been in business for my
entire career. I’m lucky to have worked for some of America’s more remarkable companies, including
IBM and JPMorgan, and learned a great deal about management, marketing and finance during this
I have also founded three companies and a successful strategic marketing consulting firm. My current
company is bringing a natural resource of the Himalayas to developed markets, thereby creating
significant income for villagers, producing a positive environmental impact and even (eventually!)
generating a profit.
My professional background will enable me to make strong contributions to the board in financial
analysis and planning, marketing strategy and, overall, developing innovative and simple solutions to
Involvement with the school
I have been actively involved with the school over the years whenever time allowed, including serving
on several board committees and subcommittees.
For example, during the height of the Maoist conflict I led a subcommittee that analyzed our
enrollment, developed a better understand our market, and recommended strategies to keep the
The highlight of my work at the school has been having the privilege of serving on the Strategic
Planning Committee, both during the initial plan development and in the follow on sessions in the 2010-
11 school year.
Vision as board member
All of the candidates for the Board want to ensure that Lincoln provides the best possible education and
learning environment for all our kids.
We have been through a difficult year and, as a Board member, I would include these two points in my
Revitalizing our sense of community by listening to all the many different constituencies that
comprise our school; the multitude of nationalities, the faculty (both teachers and teaching
assistants), the administration, parents, students. I have lived in Nepal for thirteen years and have
come to consider myself as both an American and a global citizen, however trite that may sound. I
would bring this to my work on the Board.
Lincoln School experienced a significant financial loss this year. I would apply my business
experience and abilities to learn from this and creatively explore the ways in which we can ensure
that it does not happen again, and to maximize the the impact of our school’s financial resources on
our children’s education and wellbeing.
Responses to Election Committee Questions
1. The board sets policy and focuses on long-range and strategic issues. An individual board member should
not become involved directly in specific management, personnel, or curricular issues. How would you go
about handling a parent who came to you personally to make a formal complaint about a particular
teacher or member of the administration?
I believe this is an important point. We need effective delineation of responsibilities in order to improve
the productivity of the administration, teaching staff and the Board.
99% of the time my response to this situation would be as follows. I would attempt to politely interupt
any statement and details being offered and say something like “I can hear you’re upset/angry about this
situation [an attempt to minimally validate], but, as a Board member, this is not something I can help
you with. I encourage you to bring it up with the teacher/administration member with whom you have
this problem.” If the parent then says they’ve already done this I would encourage them to stick with the
proper channels of communication until they feel fully heard and some kind of resolution has been
I say 99% of the time because the formal complaint might be in regard to an issue that requires Board
2. Suppose the board made a decision that was extremely unpopular with the teachers. A group of teachers
challenge you to defend the decision when in fact you had been opposed to the measure in the voting
process and been out-voted. How would you react?
In this case, the issue being brought to my attention is within the domain of the Board so my approach
would be different. I would listen up to the point at which I felt I could respectfully speak or when the
challenge was made and they stopped speaking, and then acknowledge the group’s distress. Next, I
would state firmly and clearly that this was a Board decision and I support all Board decisions. If the vote
was in open session and my pre-vote position was known, they might push to pursue a discussion about
my original stance. In this case, I would respond, again, that I support all decisions of the Board and will
not discuss my personal opinion/vote. I would state that I’m very ready to hear their thoughts before
decisions are made, that I’m open to listening to all viewpoints, but that the time has passed for input to
individual members on this particular issue.
In this case I feel it’s important to make sure that the teachers understand that their opinions are
valuable and welcomed prior to the time when final decisions are made. I would want to maintain a
trusting, open relationship with them, one characterized by my willingness to listen and learn. I would try
to emphasize this while also being firm in my position of supporting the final decision.
3. In terms of serving on the board, what do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?
As a Board member, I think I bring a number of strengths to the table.
I have spent most of my career in private sector marketing—researching, analyzing and tapping into
markets and developing sales programs—and I have many ideas for applying this experience to the
question of how to increase Lincoln’s enrollment.
To the extent that historical context and understanding the rationale for past decisions is important,
my family’s long history with the school and my participation in Strategic Planning, several
committees, and the LSPA will serve me well on the Board.
I consider myself to be open, accessible and approachable, which I believe are important qualities to
have as a Board member. Lastly, I’m a reflective person; I don’t jump to quick decisions and like to
talk through various perspectives to gain full understanding before taking action.
I have training and experience in financial analysis and budgeting, including advanced use of
Microsoft Excel to make information more meaningful and accessible to people who are less familiar
None of us likes to promote our weaknesses to the entire school committee! That being said, the fact
that I have not been involved with other schools could be a weakness if I don’t remain open to learning
from others. Also, as a business person my eye is sometimes on outcomes over process. For example,
I’m not well-versed in the processes used in the development community; sometimes my attitude is just
to “get it done.”