Mr. Greg Friess – Board Chair
Mr. Friess holds a B.A. in both Economics and Political Science. He earned an M.S. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he also worked as a teaching assistant. He has spent his career as a financial analyst providing investment research to professional money managers, working on forecasting and regulatory issues in the utility industry, and working with small businesses. Mr. Friess has been with Parnassus since its inception. He believes that charter schools offer an additional educational choice to families in the northwest suburbs and that choice is key to improving the educational outcomes of all children in the area.
Mr. Ben Ark – Director
Mr. Ark has a B.S. in Computer Science from Delaware State University and has worked in the IT field for nearly 20 years as a developer, consultant, and manager. He is the father of three Parnassus scholars and is an avid supporter of the Parnassus mission. He is currently the Senior Vice President of Software R&D at COGENCY GLOBAL, a registered agent and legal/financial service company, where he oversees the development of software for businesses, law firms, and financial institutions engaging in business formation, compliance, litigation, and secured financial transactions. Mr. Ark speaks regularly at conferences on the topic of electronic standards and best practices for document filing and retrieval between businesses and government agencies. He is excited to contribute to the school’s success as a parent, an advocate for classical education and academic rigor, and a member of the Parnassus Board of Directors.
Ms. Barbara Rose – Director
Ms. Rose, a teacher since 1997, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bemidji State University with a major in Elementary Education, a minor in Art, and an emphasis in reading. She earned her Masters degree in Teaching and Learning from St. Mary’s in 2001. After teaching at a large district school for most of her career, she joined the Parnassus team as a Fourth-Level School of Grammar teacher when the school opened. She is a member of the Parnassus founding Board of Directors. Ms. Rose is passionate about implementing the classical education model and the difference it makes in the academic growth of her students.
Mr. Ravi Shanbhag – Director
Mr. Shanbhag joins Parnassus as our newest Board Member. He holds an Engineering Degree in Computer Science, an MBA in Finance, and a Masters in Applied Statistics. He has over 15 years of professional experience in roles related to Financial Planning, Consulting, Information Technology and Client Relations. Mr. Shanbhag served as a founding Board Member of a Charter School called West Side Summit in West St. Paul. Besides his involvement with West Side Summit, Mr. Shanbhag has served on the board of the Twin Cities Chapter of the National Association of Asian MBAs (NAAMBA) an organization dedicated to promote professional development and career enhancement programs designed to cultivate Pan-Asian talent. He has also served as a Director of Business Development and Technology for the Human Spirit Initiative, an organization that is a part of the National Human Services Assembly. The Assembly functions as an association of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations sharing knowledge, expertise, and collective leadership to help shape national health and human service strategies.
Mr. Kenneth D. Zigrino – Director
Mr. Zigrino is an original founder of Aspen Acquisition Corporation, and has been the Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Secretary and a director of the company since its inception. For the past 30 years, Mr. Zigrino has been an entrepreneur and corporate lawyer, focusing on emerging firms. From March of 2001 to the present, Mr. Zigrino was in the private practice of law, advising emerging businesses in a wide range of industries from medical devices, to manufacturers, to renewable energy. From June of 1998 to March of 2001, Mr. Zigrino was the Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel of Velocity Express, Inc., North America’s largest same-day delivery company with annual revenues in excess of $550 million. Prior to that, he was Secretary and General Counsel to Primo Piatto, Inc., a Twin Cities based pasta manufacturer that was sold to Dakota Growers. Mr. Zigrino served as President of the law firm of Zigrino & LoGalbo, P.A. from January 1990 to June of 1998. Prior to 1990, Mr. Zigrino practiced corporate law at two well-known Twin Cities law firms. He received his law degree cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law in 1985. Mr. Zigrino is a member of the Parnassus founding Board of Directors.
Board Director, Mr. Ben Ark: firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Director, Mr. Greg Friess (Board Chair): email@example.com
Board Director, Ms. Barbara Rose: firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Director, Mr. Ravi Shanbhag: email@example.com
Board Director, Mr. Kenneth Zigrino: firstname.lastname@example.org
Founders and Advisors:
Ms. Laura Miranda Bottenfield – Founder
Ms. Bottenfield holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of St. Thomas; a Master of Business Administration with an International Business concentration from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management; and a Master in Education Leadership from the University of Minnesota, College of Education and Human Development. Ms. Bottenfield is the original founder of Parnassus and served as the Board Chair for five years from its initial development until 2013 when she resigned from the Board Chair position to accept the Director of Academics position in the school. Ms. Bottenfield has visited several classical charter schools and classical private schools in and out of state. She has observed classes at these schools, has seen first-hand the results of the rigorous classical curriculum and the Trivium teaching methods, has participated in workshops, engaged in many discussions with experts in the field, read many books on education and the classical Trivium, and continues to conduct extensive research about classical education.
Ms. Constance Ford, Parnassus Executive Director
Ms. Ford is the current and founding Executive Director of Parnassus Preparatory School. Under her leadership, Parnassus has tripled its enrollment, expanded to include all levels of the Schools of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, and completed an extensive $27 million building project to give the school the beautiful 147,000 square-foot campus it has today. As a pioneer in the charter school movement for twenty years, Ms. Ford was one of the founders of the first classical charter school in the neighboring state of Wisconsin and one of the first charter schools in her region. Under her leadership there, the school grew to full capacity with students in grades K-8 with a large waiting list in the hundreds each year since its inception in the 1990s. During her tenure, the school was one of the top charter schools in Wisconsin based on academic performance, low staff and student attrition, and high overall standards Additionally, Ms. Ford served on an advisory committee that reviewed new charter school applications and charter application renewals for over sixteen schools. Ms. Ford holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History from Lawrence University and a Master of Arts Degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University.