NEW BEDFORD – In recent months, Alma del Mar’s Board of Trustees has welcomed four new volunteer members, including the parent of an Alma alum.
Isabel Almeida, Mel Bride and Yolanda Dennis were voted on to Alma’s board in October 2021, and then Charles Holley was approved to join the board in March 2022. All four new members have exhibited a commitment to supporting opportunities for New Bedford families in their professional and personal lives.
“We have worked hard to increase the number of strong, local voices on our board in recent years,” said Jan Baptist, Chair of Alma’s Board of Trustees. “I am proud of our all-volunteer board, which is a strong group of public servants who bring a diverse array of professional skills and experience toward governing these schools.”
Alma trustees are volunteers who serve three-year terms. Trustees are entrusted with ensuring the school lives up to its mission, formulates a long-range plan and accountability plan, and complies with all laws. As new members of the Alma del Mar Board of Trustees, Almeida, Bride, Dennis and Holley will advocate on behalf of the hundreds of New Bedford children that we have committed to serve and put on a college trajectory.
Isabel Almeida supports local families as a coordinator of the care of chronically ill or high-risk Adults at Child & Family Services. She is also the mother of a 2021 graduate of Alma del Mar. She has extensive experience working with youth, young adults, and adults in the community. She completed an internship with the Caring Network Program and In-Home Therapy at Child and Family Services. After graduating from Bridgewater State University, Child and Family Services hired her for the In-Home Therapy program working as a Therapeutic Training and Support. She has also volunteered previously with the Church of the Nazarene, Donovan House, The Solanus Casey Food Pantry, and the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Cape Verde.
Mel Bride is a New Bedford resident and is currently the Director of Development at the San Miguel School, a Lasallian middle school for boys located in Providence. Prior to this role, she worked at Tabor Academy for five years. While at Tabor, she developed relationships with leaders in New Bedford in an effort to build ties between the school and the New Bedford community. Bride has worked directly with the CEDC, Y.O.U., the IAC, CBC, the Co-Creative Center, the YWCA and Groundworks. Bride is passionate about educational equity and youth development.
Yolanda Dennis recently joined Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech as the Director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Family Engagement. With over 30 years in higher education, Dennis has extensive experience in diversity, equity, inclusion, conflict resolution, and public policy. Dennis holds a master’s degree in public policy from UMass Dartmouth and is certified as a Title IX Investigator post-secondary and K-12. She advocates for having difficult conversations about challenging subjects including race relations, implicit bias, equity, and injustice.
Charles Holley has served as the Director of Finance and Administration at the Southcoast Community Foundation in New Bedford since December 2020. Previously, Holley was the Director of Finance & Administration for Boston Harbor Now, and Chief Financial Officer for Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. He is currently the Board Treasurer for Mystic River Watershed Association.
Other current Alma del Mar Board of Trustees members are: Jan Baptist (Chair), Alicia Cortez, Vanessa Brown, Chris Arnold, Chrisopher Bator, Gail Fortes, Lucile Hicks and Maria Rosario.
About Alma del Mar Charter Schools:
Alma del Mar Charter Schools operates two charter public schools in New Bedford. The schools are tuition-free. Alma’s mission is to put every one of our scholars on the path to college and to challenge them to be service-minded leaders. We achieve this mission by providing a demanding and supportive education to every scholar who walks through our doors. Alma features a longer school day, a longer school year, high expectations for all scholars, and outstanding teachers from across the country. We currently serve nearly 950 scholars across two campuses in New Bedford.