Board of Directors

Peter Meyer, founder

Peter is a former News Editor of Life magazine and the author of numerous nonfiction books, including the critically acclaimed The Yale Murder and Death of Innocence. Over the course of his four-decade journalism career Peter, who holds a masters degree in history from the University of Chicago, has touched down in cities around the globe, from Bennington to Baghdad, and has written hundreds of stories, on subjects as varied as anti-terrorist training for American ambassadors to the history of the 1040 income tax form. His work has appeared in such publications as Harper's, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, New York, Life, Time and People, picking up journalism awards from the University of Missouri and Robert Kennedy Foundation along the way. Since 1991 Peter has focused his attentions on education reform in the United States, an interest joined while writing a profile of education theorist E.D. Hirsch for Life. He subsequently helped found a charter school, served on his local Board of Education (twice) and, for the last 15 years, has been an editor at Education Next, the nation's premier education policy journal. Peter was the founding program manager for the CUNY Institute for Education Policy in NYC and writes and edits on education for Education Week, the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

John cody

John worked for the New York State Department of Labor for most of his career, including overseeing the office which administered state-wide employee benefits for the agency. John has always been actively involved in his local community – Hudson, NY – having been President of the Hudson Common Council, Board member of the Friends of Olana, Chair of Hudson Vision Plan Taskforce of the Waterfront Committee and consultant to many other civic and environmental organizations.  He was awarded the first-ever Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award in 1985.    

JANET MARSH EBEL

Janet is the founder and owner of First Hudson Mortgage Company.  She has nearly 30 years of experience as a mortgage finance specialist, managing the complex task of arranging financing for new and established residents and businesses in the Hudson Valley.  During her successful business career, Janet has developed a proven system for guiding clients through the rigorous – and time-sensitive – process of data collection that's required for originating, processing, underwriting and closing mortgages.  She accomplished this all while guiding, with the help of her husband, three children through their student careers.  

ellen henderson

Ellen is a great grandmother, long-time Hudson resident, public school aide and co-founder of the local advocacy group, Parents in Partnership.  She has strong experience with community parent outreach.

JANET KEALY

Janet is an attorney practicing law in upstate New York, earning her JD from Albany Law School of Union University.  Law is a second career for Janet.  She began law school when her son was in the fourth grade, with many evenings spent reading torts while her son read Harry Potter.  Previously, Janet was an award-winning film and video production professional in New York, with a BFA in filmmaking from New York City’s School of Visual Arts.  She has worked as a development professional for The Friends of Olana (n/k/a The Olana Partnership) and The Culinary Institute of America.  And she has served on the Boards of Albany Law School, Historic Hudson and Friends of the Hudson Area Library. 

KAREN SMITH

For the past ten years, Karen has been a branding and digital marketing consultant to a broad range of technology start-ups.  Besides developing their brand positioning and overall marketing strategy, she creates and executes all of their digital marketing programs. Karen spent most of her career at Brouillard Communications, the corporate branding, advertising and PR division of J Walter Thompson, serving as Director of Strategic Planning as well as Managing Director of the agency’s London office.  Karen holds a B.A. in History from Cornell University.