Board of Directors

The Eastern Ridge School is governed by a five-person board of directors. The head of school reports directly to the board.

Patrick Gardner, President
Patrick is on the board of 1st Portfolio Holding Corporation, which wholly owns 1st Portfolio Lending Corp and 1st Portfolio Private Wealth.  He oversees production of 1st Portfolio Lending Corp and works on strategic management decisions affecting the growth and vision of the company.  He has worked for a number of top lending firms over the past 12 years in  origination and vice president roles.

Prior to the mortgage industry, Patrick worked at SRA, International in a finance capacity.  He worked directly with the CFO and head controller to implement a new financial suite ERP, evaluated investment initiatives through the SRA Ventures program and ultimately assisted with their IPO.

Patrick has a BA from James Madison University (’99) and an MBA from Robert H. Smith School of Business (University of Maryland) (’06).

Sarah Krussel, Secretary
Sarah Krussel, a graduate of Emory University with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and economics, has worked for  large and small companies as both an analyst and a leader. She also has run her own ESL business overseas.

At, an online advertising company serving Fortune 500 companies, Sarah analyzed and created pricing models and then advised and educated the sales force. Sarah’s region, which was the largest worldwide, generated more than $42 million in revenue annually. Because of its success, the region became a model for others.

At Edward Jones, a financial services company, Sarah managed a network of more than 25,000 existing and future office locations. She guided site selection for new offices,  streamlining and reducing placement processes by 40 percent. Subsequently, Sarah quickly became the team leader. She traveled extensively and was repeatedly called upon for conflict resolution and to solve personnel issues. Sarah had several quick promotions including a highly coveted assignment in the company’s London office, where she was instrumental in ensuring the office met its hiring and recruiting objectives for the first time.

Sarah, who has held leadership roles throughout her life, was actively recruited to the Eastern Ridge School Board because of her leadership reputation and her ability to execute and to rally school communities. This included several leadership roles at the Meadow School in Great Falls.

Sarah loves to spend time with her family and has re-discovered the joys of camping and playing in the neighborhood creek. She is a determined advocate for her special-needs son. Sarah speaks French and Spanish and practices yoga in her free time.

Kurt Baumann, Director at Large
Kurt Baumann is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and run Internet and technology companies since the 1980s. He founded the first commercial ISP in Japan and also launched InterCon Systems, the leading producer of Internet software on the Macintosh, which was sold to PSINet in 1995.

Currently, Kurt is CEO for Intelishift Technologies, an enterprise-grade colocation provider with nationwide presence. Previously, Kurt served as the chairman and owner of, a global ISP with presence in more than 12 couuntries. He has also held chief executive positions at Quintum Technologies, PSINet, InterCon Systems, and Learning Tree Software. Kurt is a member of Mindshare, an invitation-only organization for CEOs in Washington DC, and Founder Corps, an organization that is managed by experienced entrepreneurs for the benefit of entrepreneurs engaging in high-growth businesses.

Kurt is a true geek who loves photography, astronomy and all things high tech. He enjoys spending time with his family and exploring new places.

Kurt attended the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana.

Janet Hamilton, Director at Large
Janet has worked for an array of businesses ranging from small, family-owned companies to national non-profits. She has more than 10 years of experience in accounting, customer relations, national grant programs and project management.

Janet is a lifelong nature and biology enthusiast. She grew up as a free-range child on a farm and on the Chesapeake Bay and is passionate about providing today’s children with similar nature-based, empowering experiences. She is dedicated to the real food movement, understanding humanity’s place in the ecosystem and respecting all forms of nature (ahem, mosquitos). 
Janet enjoys spending time with her four year old and husband, and her interests include horseback riding, camping, hiking, gymnastics, doing handstands, cooking, gardening, identifying salamanders, participating in citizen science programs and lounging with her dog.

Donna Hemmert, Director at Large

Donna Hemmert has been an executive in the Internet industry since 1993, driving marketing programs, forming strategic, multimillion-dollar partnerships, and leading companies in Washington, DC and California. She has worked for large and small companies, but prefers entrepreneurial ventures, including those in which she has been a founder.  Currently, Donna is CMO for Intelishift Technologies, an enterprise-grade colocation provider with nationwide presence.  Donna is the former CEO of Opt iView Technologies, a Web content acceleration company, which was successfully sold in 2005.  Other companies include Roku Technologies, Netscape Communications, PSINet, InterCon and DavisElen Advertising, one of the largest privately held, independent agencies in the country.

Donna is a member of Mindshare, an invitation-only organization for CEOs in Washington, D.C., and Founder Corps, an organization that is managed by experienced entrepreneurs for the benefit of entrepreneurs engaging in high growth businesses.  She is also a co-founder of Positive Business DC.

Donna loves to spend time with her family as well as study positive psychology, neuroleadership, and the brain.  Her hobbies include photography and video editing.  She also speaks Spanish and loves to travel and try new adventures.

 Donna earned a B.S. in Business from California State University, Northridge.