Board of Trustees 2018-10-24T14:10:40+00:00


The Hudson School is governed by a fifteen member self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. It is recognized as a charitable nonprofit educational organization, under Section 501 c 3 of the United States Internal Revenue Code. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance of the school: engaging, evaluating and discharging a head, setting tuition, approving an annual budget, assuring the financial affairs of the school are maintained on a solid foundation and achieving its Mission in accordance with its Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws.

Officers of the School are elected by the Board at its Annual Meeting during the fall of the year. Trustees are elected by the Board to serve for a term of three years, on a staggered basis, to assure continuity of governance. Annually, the Board of Trustees receives and reviews an Audited Financial Statement, prepared by an Independent Certified Public Accountant. (Polcari & Co.)

The board provides strategic leadership, while the daily affairs of the School rest upon the Head who reports to the Board at its monthly meeting. The Hudson School is represented in legal matters by William Cagney, Esq., of the law firm of Windells, Marx, Mittendorf and Lane.


Daniel J. Gans, Chair
Dr. Minalkumar Patel, Vice Chair*
Arnold Lewis, Treasurer
Karol Roberts, Recording Secretary

Viraj Desai*
Joel Freiser, President Emeritus
William Georges
Shay Grinfeld
Robert J. Menendez*
Atif Z. Qadir AIA
Jeanne Shanahan
Leslie Sonkin
Zemin Zhang

*Hudson School Alumnus

Suellen F. Newman, Founder
Samuel Reckford, President Emeritus


 Daniel Gans, Chairman of the BoardDanny_Gans

Daniel Gans is the co-founder and Chief Executive Office of the Hoboken Brownstone Company.  For over 38 years, he has been developing real estate along New Jersey’s Hudson River “Gold Coast.” His firm focuses on the redevelopment of large-scale mixed-use urban industrial sites,

Aside from his professional endeavors, Gans is actively involved in numerous trade groups, community, and educational development activities. As well as his position at the Hudson School, some of his current activities include being President of the Board of the Hudson County Schools of Technology Foundation, and President emeritus of the Mile Square Theatre.

His involvement in community activities has helped to build new schools, cultural buildings, parks and recreational facilities. His company sponsors internships for students from high school to graduate school.  Gans has experience presenting to various national audiences and has spoken on various topics related to entrepreneurship, real estate development, finance, and sustainability.  He has presented his family history in many venues including historical societies, libraries, and educational institutions.

Daniel has been on the Hudson School Board since its inception in the mid 80’s.  He is the parent of a Hudson Middle School alumnus and lives in Hoboken.


Minal PatelMinalkumar Patel, MD, MPH, Vice Chair

Minalkumar (Minal) Patel (MS ’84) currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Horizon BCBSNJ.  Minal is a physician and entrepreneur with a passion for creating value in our healthcare system and has previously served as CEO and founder of Care Management International, President and COO of Horizon Healthcare of NY, strategy consultant with McKinsey and Company, and a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School.  He has been a member of the board at The Hudson School since 2004, and Treasurer from 2007 to 2016.


Arnold Lewis, TreasurerArnold Lewis

Arnold joined the Hudson School board in January of 2015.  Arnold’s daughter Kai attended the Hudson School for High School, graduating in 2013.  Curently, Arnold is a Vice President of Macy’s, responsible for Credit Marketing and Customer Loyalty. Prior to Macy’s, Arnold was Senior Vice President of CitiCards, Rewards Product Management where he was responsible for New Product Development and Strategy Reward Card Products. Prior to Citi, Arnold was President of United Loyalty Services where he led United Airlines’ Mileage Plus frequent flier program and partnerships.  Arnold started his business career at American Express in 1988 and spent 15 years in a variety of roles including  Director of the Membership Rewards program, Vice President of Strategic Alliances Card Acquisition and Vice President of Business Alliances, where he was responsible for managing all Membership Rewards partners and developing new partnerships and co-brand cards with companies like Costco, Lexus, Hilton and Starwood.

Arnold received his degree from Brown in History as a member of the Class of 1983 and a MBA from Harvard Business School in 1988.


Karol Roberts, Recording Secretary Karol Roberts

Karol was a school administrative staff member for many years, most recently, Human Resources Coordinator for a charter school in Jersey City.  She and her husband moved to Hoboken from Boston in 1986 and are the parents of Randi ’05 (MS ’01), currently a middle school teacher at The Hudson School, and Alix ’09 (MS ’05).  Karol has served as a board member since 2001.


Viraj DesaiVirage Desai

Viraj Desai, CFA, is an alumnus of the Hudson School (Middle School Class of 2000, High School Class of 2004) and has been a member of the board since 2015.  Professionally, Viraj works in the asset management industry as a Portfolio Manager for TD Ameritrade Investment Management and is a career investor having held investment positions at BlackRock, Inc., Columbia Threadneedle Asset Management, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Viraj has a BA in Economics from New York University and is an MBA Candidate (2019) at the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University. He is also a member of the CFA Institute.


Joel FreiserJoel Freiser

Joel Freiser was elected to The Hudson School Board of Trustees in 1996.  He and his wife, Marilyn, are parents of two Hudson School graduates.  Sarah Freiser graduated from Hudson High School in 2001 and Smith College in 2005.  Laura Freiser is a 2002 graduate of The Hudson School and earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at Drexel University in 2007.

Joel chaired the Hudson School Board of Trustees capital campaign committee to finance construction of the school’s present home at 601 Park Avenue, completed in 2002.  Joel was elected as Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1996.  In 2015, He stepped down as chair and was elected as vice chair.  He served as a member of the search committee to fill the position of Head of School upon founding director Suellen Newman’s announced retirement in June of 2016.

Professionally, Joel served as a federal, county and municipal government economic development official for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Essex County Government, the City of Hoboken and the City of Newark.  He is an adjunct professor at the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration and the John Jay College of criminal justice.  He is also a member and past president of the United Synagogue of Hoboken.


William Georges

Bill Georges is Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer at Horizon BCBSNJ, the state’s largest health insurer covering 3.8 million members.  In this role, Mr. Georges is responsible for overseeing corporate strategy, business development and the Strategic Initiatives Group which develops and implements key business programs.  Prior to this role, Mr. Georges was Vice President, Business Development, responsible for developing and structuring new business opportunities that drive income growth and diversification. He also manages the company’s private equity fund investments.

Mr. Georges has also served as Vice President, Marketing & Product Development, where he was responsible for the company’s product development, sales forecasting, marketing & market research, competitive intelligence and public relations efforts. Mr. Georges joined Horizon BCBSNJ in 2008 and initially served as Vice President, Investor Relations, during the company’s effort to convert to a for-profit, publicly traded entity.

Prior to joining Horizon BCBSNJ, Mr. Georges was Vice President and Senior Analyst at JPMorgan Securities, where as a sell-side analyst, he covered the Managed Care industry. Mr. Georges holds an AB, magna cum laude, in Economics from Brown University, a JD from Villanova University, and an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


 Shay GrinfeldShay Grinfeld

Shay Grinfeld is an experienced entrepreneur and a passionate technology and sustainability advocate and investor.

Currently Shay is the managing director at Thylacine Capital, a family office investment firm with a focus on technology, real estate, and energy.  Shay currently serves as a board member at Happify, Inc. a company with the vision is to use cutting-edge science and innovative technology to empower individuals to lead happier, more fulfilling lives.  Shay also serves as a board member in Iluminare Biotechnologies, Inc. and Thylacine Realty Group.

Shay was previously a partner in Greenfield Cities an investment firm focused on technology, renewable energy, and sustainable technologies. Prior to Greenfield Cities, Shay was the Vice President of Corporate and Business Development at WebCollage, Inc., a software as a service (SaaS) company in the Online Advertising vertical (Sold to Answers Corporation). Prior to WebCollage, Shay was CEO of e-Glue USA, Inc., a CRM software company (Sold to Nasdaq: NICE). Prior to e-Glue, Shay was the Vice President of Product Development at Alfy, a media company focusing on the online educational games for kids.

Shay holds a Bachelor of Arts from Fairleigh Dickinson University and an Executive MBA from Columbia University School of Business.


Robert J. MenendezRob Menendez

Robert is a corporate associate at Lowenstein Sandler LLP and a member of the firm’s Investment Management Group.  He received his B.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. from Rutgers School of Law in Newark.

Robert is a graduate of The Hudson School (HS ’03) and has served on the Board of Trustees since 2013.


Atif Z. Qadir, AIA
Mr. Qadir is a Partner at Amanat Properties, a real estate firm he founded in 2017 to focus on multifamily and mixed-use investments in and around New Jersey. Previously, He was at Extell Development, where he worked on acquisitions and development for deals across the United States and in Canada. Prior to that, he was at Turner Construction and at Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates Architects. Mr. Qadir is also a City Planning Commissioner for Hoboken, New Jersey, a historic city of 55,000 people across the Hudson River from Manhattan. He actively serves on a number of boards, including for The Hudson School in Hoboken, Haven Adolescent Community Respite Center in Jersey City, and En Garde Arts in New York City. Mr. Qadir is a licensed architect, a LEED accredited professional, and a member of the American Institute of Architects. He received his MBA from Columbia and bachelor’s degrees in architecture and in urban planning from MIT.

Jeanne Shanahan

Jeanne has produced significant promotional films including work for Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital. She has helped these organizations use film as a way to raise funds and also connect with their communities. On behalf of The Hudson School in Hoboken, NJ she produced several Identity films bringing increased awareness to their Middle and Upper School and alumni and stakeholders.

She created a journalistic piece about of a young man’s disability, Patrick’s Gift, which opened up his life to new meaning. These are just some of the projects in which she has been involved.

Jeanne also has a creative background as a Marketing Director for 15 years. In addition she is passionate about education and received an MA from NYU in Special and regular Education. She taught in a pilot program at NYU Child Study Center creating a program for high school students with Aspergers.

Jeanne loves film. She has been able to use her multiple experiences to utilize film over the past 18 years. Her passion is in helping people tell their story. She is a gifted interviewer and editor.


Leslie Sonkin

Leslie Sonkin joined the Board of Trustees of The Hudson School in December of 2015. As the parent of a Hudson School Alumnus (Cliff Sonkin, Class of 2006), Leslie helped organize the inception of the Hudson School Parent Teachers Association, initiating what is now known as the Spring Soiree, as well as other fundraising activities and student programs.
Leslie Sonkin is currently a Marketing Consultant for General Fabrics, Inc. She also serves as a consultant to a variety of small to mid-size businesses in need of successful, effective brand-building programs, customer relations marketing, strategic creative services and cross platform marketing. Leslie has helped educational and non-profit organizations with marketing strategies, creative direction and execution, branding issues, promotional development and public relations campaigns.

Zemin ZhangZemin Zhang

Zemin services as the executive director of Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee, and as a trustee or an activist in various non-profit organizations, such as Essex County Arts and History Council, Newark Water Group, and PLANewark. He has been planting flowers around his neighborhood for 25 years. He holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology. His two children, Myles (HS’15) and Maia (HS’17), have taken the Hudson School in their hearts to college.