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

2021-2022 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 | Dr. Rob Brown (Head of School, Wesleyan Christian Academy)

Dr. Brown has been the Head of School at Wesleyan Christian Academy since 2009. Prior to coming to Wesleyan, he served as the Head of School for Christian schools in both Utah and in Delaware.  Dr. Brown received his undergraduate degree from Tennessee Temple University, and graduate degrees from the United States Sports Academy and also Grand Rapids Seminary.  He received his DMin degree from Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary.  Dr. Brown has served on several Advisory Boards including the Utah Association of Independent Schools, Board of Visitors at High Point University, High Point Community Foundation, North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association, and the North Carolina Parents for Educational Freedom.  He led the way for Wesleyan to become an accredited member of the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability, has published several articles within the Association of Christian Schools International, and has provided consultation services for a number of Christian schools.  Dr. Brown and his wife of 30 years, Jackie, have two children; Sophia who graduated from Liberty University with her undergraduate in Special Education, and Seth, who is currently a junior in high school.  They enjoy spending time together hiking and walking parks and trails throughout our beautiful state.


Beth Covolo (Head of School, Rocky Mount Academy)

Tom Franz (Head of School, Trinity Episcopal School)

Tom has served as Head of School at Trinity Episcopal School since 2011, following the founding head. Tom joined Trinity from Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, NC, 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 both in Atlanta, GA. Tom has served on many school accreditation teams for VAIS, SAIS and SACS.  He currently serves on the board of the Teaching Fellows Institute and is also an active member of The Relatives and the Refugee Support Services in Charlotte. Tom hails from Chicago and is a graduate of New Trier High School.  He earned a BS in Sociology and an NC teaching certificate in Social Studies from Davidson College in 1984.  He holds a Masters of Education in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University

Ray Quesnel (Head of School, Fayetteville Academy)

Ray Quesnel is the Head of School at Fayetteville Academy.  He has served in that role 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.

 Tracy Shaw (Executive Director, The Experiential School; former Head of School)

Originally from New Jersey, Tracy now considers herself a North Carolinian, as she has been here since 1987. She attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for both her undergraduate and graduate studies. She has a Masters in Higher Education as well as a Post Masters' Certificate in School Administration. Married 23 years, Tracy and her husband Jim have two amazing daughters, ages 19 and 21.



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 worked at Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland, where she was Head of Upper School. 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 is also the parent of two children, one an alum of Carolina Friends School and the other an alum of Sandy Spring Friends School.



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.