Shannon Leventhal, Director of Admissions and
John J. Kaufman, Head of School

A Place to Belong and Become.

The accreditation team from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) summed up our strengths well.  In awarding Middlebridge School its initial institutional accreditation, the Commission on Independent Schools, “commends the entire school community for creating an academic program and a residential community that serves well its student population…and the outstanding qualifications of the administration, teachers, and staff, as well as their dedication, energy, level of respect and collegiality, and breadth of experience.”


Maureen Brennan

Educational and Therapeutic Placement Consultant
Maureen Brennan has worked as an Educational and Clinical Placement Consultant since 2003.  She works closely with families, students and schools, as well as clinical and educational professionals, to help find the most appropriate school or program for her clients.  She believes that with the right tools, support and encouragement her clients will be able to create a healthy, successful and fulfilling life for themselves academically and otherwise. Receiving her M.A. at NYU in Experiential Therapy as well as struggling in school herself as a non traditional learner, Maureen is able to bring first-hand knowledge to the school placement experience when working with families.  She believes the right academic environment builds on the strengths of the student as well as support the deficits while also developing the resiliency to persevere when things become a challenge.  She is an athlete and believes it is paramount to stay active, pursue passions and develop interests outside of the classroom.  Together with schools, programs and families she tries to think outside the box to meet the needs of each individual student.

Gary Esposito

Gary Esposito graduated from Northeastern University with a Masters in Public Administration.
In 1986 Gary accepted the position of Business Manager at the Wheeler School, a Nursery to 12th grade co-ed day school in Providence, RI. Gary and his wife of 47 years, Rosanne have two children, Michael and Megan, and three grandchildren. Gary and Rosanne both worked in the Boston area before they moved to Newport, RI in 1977 to work for the City of Newport. Their kids Michael and Megan both attended Wheeler and graduated in 1997, and 2000 respectively.

Adam Geiger

Adam Geiger holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the State University of New York at Albany. He is a CFA charterholder and a member of the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute. He is President and Chief Investment Officer of New Legacy Capital, an alternative investment firm he co-founded in 2007. Mr. Geiger has been involved in several non-profit endeavors, having participated in fundraising for several private schools and major philanthropic organizations, including Project Sunshine and the United Way. His daughter was a Middlebridge post-graduate in 2009.

Cecilia Hynes Griffin

Cecilia Hynes Griffin (“Leah”) is a founding principal of Griffin McCarthy & Rice LLP, a Chicagoland boutique law firm practicing exclusively in the area of family law. With over 23 years of experience in family law, Leah has handled numerous complex family law matters, including multifaceted business valuations, income determination issues, dissipation claims, tracing of marital and non-marital assets, as well as custody, visitation and removal disputes. Leah is trained in mediation and collaborative law and is a seasoned litigator when necessary. Leah is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. Her daughter currently attends Middlebridge School.

Brian Graff (Vice Chair)

Brian Graff received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the State University of New York at Binghamton and a Master of Business Administration from New York University. Mr. Graff has over 25 years of private equity experience and was President of Private Finance and Chairman of the Investment Committee at American Capital, LTD where he sat on over a dozen corporate boards. Mr. Graff currently sits on several non-profit boards. His son graduated from Middlebridge in June 2019.

Rachel Gutow-Ellis (Chair)

Rachel Gutow-Ellis is a graduate of the University of Arizona. She has worked with Volunteers of America in several capacities including fund development For many years she has served as a volunteer at many nonprofit organizations. She has chaired fundraisers, as well as chaired and/or served as a trustee or director on several nonprofit organization boards. Rachel served as the parent liaison for the Middlebridge School Annual Fund Campaign for two years and also served on the School’s Development, Special Projects, Strategic Planning, and Trusteeship Committees. She is currently Vice-Chair of the MBS Board of Trustees. Her son, Jacob, graduated from Middlebridge in 2017. Rachel is now the Chief Executive of Newcastle Educational Consultants, LLC which is based in Houston, Texas.

Paul Herman

Paul Herman is a full-time parent, community volunteer, and an aspiring writer. Heearned a PhD in American history from Stanford University,anMA in religious studies from the Pacific School of Religion, and a BA from Grinnell College.Before his academic career, Paul worked primarily in San Francisco and California politics, focusing on AIDS-related policy and HIV prevention.In 1992, he helped found the AIDS Consortium of South Africa, a national coalition of AIDS-related organizations. Paul has served on boards for Legal Services for Children, Marin Country Day School, and the David Ladley Swanson Foundation. His daughter will graduate from Middlebridge School in 2021.

David Ives

David Ives graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Maine. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Northshore International Insurance Services, Inc. He serves as a current or former Trustee/Director of the North Shore Medical Center, St. John’s Preparatory School, Salem State College Assistance Corporation, The Salem (Massachusetts) Partnership, The Insurance Library Association of Boston and the University of Maine Alumni Association. His son graduated from Middlebridge School in 2010.

Steve James

Steve James received a Bachelor of Science from Brown University, and a Master’s Degree in Management from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University. Steve has over 25 years of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and start-up experience in the life science industry.  In 2004, Steve joined KAI pharmaceuticals as CEO, where he and his team raised nearly $200M and established three major pharmaceutical partnerships before the company was acquired by Amgen, Inc. Steve next was the President and CEO of Labrys Biologics, Inc., which was acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals. He is now CEO of Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, a biopharma company developing cancer therapeutics. He serves on the board of three other west coast biotechnology companies. Steve James’s son graduated from Middlebridge in 2014.

John J. Kaufman

John Kaufman is the founding Head of School of Middlebridge School.  John graduated from Michigan State with a BS in Psychology, and continued his education at Saint Michael’s College, where he earned his MA in Clinical Psychology. After more than a dozen years working with youth and in education, John jumped at the opportunity to create a unique and much-needed program in southern Rhode Island. He moved to Rhode Island with a small group of committed educators in 2008 to start Middlebridge School. Now in its eighth year, Middlebridge School serves 74 students ages 13-19 from all over the country.

John has devoted himself wholeheartedly to creating and strengthening Middlebridge School and, because of his passion and commitment, the school has quickly developed a national reputation for excellence. An ex-officio member of Middlebridge School’s Board of Trustees, John oversees Admissions and Development for the school. He travels the country to meet with families and educational consultants and attend conferences. John is an active member of the Narragansett community, and serves as Vice Chair of the Narragansett Conservation Commission and Tree Board.

Mark Pelson

Mark Pelson received a Juris Doctorate from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University. He is a former and Founding Chair of Middlebridge School.  He is the General Partner of PCI, LLC an investment company.  He formerly was a Managing Director and Partner at Providence Equity Partners where he served on numerous private and public boards. Mr. Pelson has served on several non-profit boards including the Board of Overseers of Children’s Hospital Boston, the board of The Wheeler School  and Chaired the board of the Wolf School in East Providence, Rhode Island.  His daughter, Sarah, attended Middlebridge School.  

Trey Snider

Trey Snider received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1991, he co-founded O’Donnell/Snider Construction, a commercial general contracting firm in Houston, Texas, where he currently serves as Co-President and CEO. Trey has served on numerous boards of directors for nonprofit and charitable institutions and currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees at Episcopal High School-Houston. His son graduated from Middlebridge School in 2017, and from the postgraduate Bridge program in 2018, and currently attends Lynn University.


Justin Bayles
Assistant Dean of Students

Melanie Boggs
Director of the Postgraduate Bridge Program

Heidi Bruening
Residential Dean

Sara Callahan
Director of Academics, Co-Director of Remedial Language Instruction

Ann Foley
Co-Director of Remedial Language Instruction

Ellen Darling-Faria
Director of the Lighthouse Internship Program

Mike Deutschman
Assistant Dean of Students, Athletic Director

Dan Leventhal
Academic Dean, Director of Transition Services


John J. Kaufman
Head of School

Shannon Leventhal
Director of Admissions