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Board of Directors

Board of Directors 2023-2024

Pictured Left to Right: 
Pamela Hunt Gwaltney '79;
Mary Harkins P'00, '02;
Bernadette Dinan Piper '03;
Patrick M. Foley;
Sister Rosanne Orchon, SSJ, '69;
Erin McClafferty '96;
James K. Paul (Emeritus) P'99, '01;
Laura Johnson '08;
President Sister Charlene Diorka, SSJ;
Robin Comerford P'16, '17;
Jeff Kohler P'04, '05, '08, '12;
John Prendergast;
Joseph Ciasullo P’14, ’16, ‘19;
Heather Kates Kelly '88, P '17, '20, '22;
Sister Theresa Maugle, SSJ; and
Monica Duvall DiLella '88

Not Pictured: Jennifer Dubas '93, P'26; Tina Gedgard D'Orazio '94;
Sister Owen P. Bonner, SSJ; Sister Deborah Hughes, SSJ

Board Chairman Chat with Mr. Jeff Kohler

September 2023

The MSJA Board of Directors was created in 2004 with Jim Paul P’99, ’01 serving as
the first Chairperson. The Board of Directors followed the Board of Advisors which
began in 1991 under the chairmanship of Nicholas Giordano P’93. Jim continues to
serve the Mount these many years later as Director Emeritus. It was in the 1993-1994
academic year, under the Board of Advisors, that the President and Principal model of
leadership was implemented and Sister Mary Dacey served as the first President and
Sister Karen Dietrich as the Principal.

The Board of Directors, as the by-laws note, “exercise all such powers of the
Corporation” and serve in support of this sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Saint
Joseph. They are entrusted to sustain the legacies and missions of the SSJ’s and the
Mount. Their role supports the President in ensuring the school’s prominence and
success in areas such as finance, facilities, enrollment, and development. The Board is
a fluid collection of volunteers with a range of diverse skills and experiences. Board
Members and Chairpersons are selected to serve and eventually complete their terms
requiring new individuals to serve and support the mission.

When Bob Havard finished his term as Chairman of the Board, it was my daunting task and privilege to succeed him in 2022. With an agenda focused upon “servant leadership,” I am totally dedicated to the Mission of the Mount, as are my Board colleagues and friends. We had four outstanding Board Members rotate off our Board in June: Jennifer Boston P’16; Steve Gozdan P’10, ’12; John Mischler P’13, ‘14 and Bob Swartley P’05. The extraordinary contributions of these individuals are innumerable and impossible to express.

Joining our Board with terms beginning 2023-24 are Erin McCafferty Erfle ’96 and Bernadette Dinan Piper ’03. When Erin graduated from the Mount in 1996, she made her first gift to the Mount Fund. That $25 gift was a very thoughtfully intended. Erin has been devoted in many ways ever since. This has included serving as the former President of our Alumnae Board (she has been named as a Lifetime Honorary Member), served on the Enrollment & Marketing Committee and the Development Committee of the Board, was on the Capital Campaign Design Committee and serves on the Cabinet of the Capital Campaign. At our first Board meeting of the 2023-24 year in October, Erin will assume the Chairperson duties of the Development Committee.  As a Mount Alumna, no Board Member possesses Erin’s range of MSJA experiences. It is our privilege to serve with her.

Bernadette graduated from the Mount in 2003 and LaSalle University. She had a very significant and successful career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), beginning in accounting and then promoted into sales strategy and business development roles. In 2021, Bernadette made the decision to shift her focus, leaving the corporate world for her most rewarding role as a stay-at-home Mom with her two young children Beau and Winnie (MSJA 2039?). She will join us on the Enrollment & Marketing Committee and she will lend her expertise for the Strategic Planning Committee.

As we are eager and excited in welcoming new Board Members, there is also sadness for the souls of our faithful departed.

On July 25, 2023, our beloved contemporary, Robert Havard passed away. Bob began his tenure on the MSJA Board in July 2015. Bob was a versatile Board Member serving on several Committees, but notably, he was the Chairman of the Board from 2021 to 2022. This was both a turbulent and validating period for the Mount. Bob’s wisdom and leadership steered us calmly and smartly to faithfully support the Mission of the Mount. The second chairperson of the Board of Advisors, Joseph Walsh (2001-2004) was also the parent of a Mount alumna, Jordan ‘98. Joe passed away on July 28, 2023. He was devoted to the Mount for many years.

We say “farewell” and we say “welcome” among our Board. The individuals change, yet the commitment to the Mission of educating strong and successful women leaders never changes.


Jeff Kohler

Chairman of the Board of Mount Saint Joseph Academy