Board of Directors

The members of the Board of Directors are appointed by the Founders, and confirmed by the Board of Directors, based upon their personal qualities and ability to contribute to the work of the board.

 

The responsibilities of the Board are:

 

  • To set general policies;

  • To define the vision and general direction of the school, and

  • To ensure continuity in the vision of the school;

  • To attend to marketing concerns for the growth and long term development;

  • To officially represent at government and institutional levels;

  • To officially represent at meetings with the Baha’i Institutions;

  • To increase financial commitments on behalf of the school;

  • To preserve the permanent school site;

  • To give final approval for the Director’s mandate;

  • To monitor the development of policies.

 

Contact Email (Secretary): board@townshend.cz

Riccardo Besharati

 

After graduating from Townshend International School in 2001, and obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Kings College, London, Mr. Besharati worked as a consultant for IBM, Shell, and ExxonMobil. He paused his career to pursue a Masters in Sustainable Energy from Imperial College and was then hired by BP on a career acceleration program for future company leaders.

 

Originally from Italy, Mr. Besharati now works at the company’s headquarters in London in their Alternative Energy department. His roles there have included Carbon Solutions Manager and Biofuels Market Analyst. He currently works for BP Southern Africa as Biofuels Project Manager.

 

Mr. Besharati brings to the board a rich experience in management and leadership, as well as innovation. As an alumnus of Townshend, the institution is dear to his heart.  He has served on the Board since 2011.

 

 

 

Ramona Reyhani

 

Ramona Reyhani has been an intimate part of Townshend International School since its establishment in 1992. As one of the two founders, she created the philosophy and constitution of the school, and has intimate knowledge of all aspects of the institution, having served as interim school director, director of finances, campus and buildings supervisor. She has now for several years served as the full-time Residential Director, on a voluntary basis.

 

Mrs. Reyhani was born in Tehran, and has lived in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, and Austria. In 1990 she and her family moved to Czechoslovakia, which soon thereafter, with the Velvet Revolution, became the Czech Republic.

 

Mrs. Reyhani is the author of the book, “Simply Noble: A step-by-step guide to cultivating the best in your child”. She serves as the Secretary of the Board of Directors, and has been a member of the board since the school’s founding in 1992.

 

 

 

Reza Reyhani

 

Reza Reyhani, is a co-founder of Townshend International School. With degrees in mechanical engineering and political science, and training in public relations and media, Mr. Reyhani brings to the board an entrepreneurial spirit, a broad vision, and a philanthropic heart, which have helped nurture Townshend since its birth. Born in Tehran, raised in Austria, and educated in Germany, he moved to the Czech Republic in 1990 after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Here he has established companies that have developed products for such global players as Audi, Sony, and BASF. His approach to business and capacity-building in the Czech Republic have helped his employees and partners become independent in their fields of expertise, launch products in western markets, and build relationships that have lasted decades.

 

Mr. Reyhani is also the co-founder of the social non-profit road show, “Dawnbreakers of Europe”, the producer of the documentary film, “The New Day”, and conceptual creator of the Meditation Park for the bicentennial celebrations of Czechoslovakia, which conveyed the principle of the oneness of religions, and which was viewed by 50,000 people including President Vaclav Havel.

 

He has served on the Board of Directors since the founding of the school in 1992.

 

 

 

Mara Khorram

 

Mrs. Khorram is originally from the United States and began an international career in health care in American Samoa. After 23 years working in the Pacific islands she moved to the Czech Republic and joined Townshend. Her education includes a Bachelor’s of Science from Seattle University (USA), a Master’s of International Health from University of Hawaii (USA), and a post-graduate degree in Education from Keele University (England).

 

She co-founded the first Montessori School on the island of Saipan, where she served as its Head of School for 7 years, and as a member of its Board of Trustees for 10 years. Prior to this, she co-founded the Marianas Eye Institute where she served as its Chief Executive Officer for many years.

 

Mrs. Khorram has served as the administrator of the TFP summer program since 2013 . She also has a passion for teaching, and has taught business studies, mathematics, civics and social action to secondary students at Townshend.

 

Mrs. Khorram enjoys spending time with her husband, David, and their four children. Their oldest daughter was the impetus for the family’s move to the Czech Republic, while the younger three children are still enjoying their studies at Townshend.

 

 

 

Emilia Dahl

 

Mrs. Emilia Dahl is a Townshend parent (her son graduated in 2017 and is now studying at an Ivy League university in America, and her younger daughter is in her final year).

 

She graduated from the Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria, studying automated systems engineering; worked as an engineer, and taught at a technical college in her home town of Blagoevgrad. She was working on her Ph.D. when she married and moved with her husband to Washington, D.C., where her three children were born. She then moved with her family to Madagascar, then back to Bulgaria.

 

Mrs. Dahl earned her Masters’ degree in Education from Capella University by distance learning. In 2015 two of her children decided to study at Townshend and the family settled in Hluboka. The guiding beliefs in her life are the unity of all humanity, the interconnectedness of everything in the world, and the coherence between education (academic and spiritual) and service.

 

She served on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Bulgaria for several years, and later as a member of the Bahá’í Auxiliary Board for 10 years.

 

 

 

Mark Gurney

 

Mr. Mark Gurney holds British and Jamaican nationalities and graduated from the International School of Geneva with an IB diploma in 1987. He has a Masters in Architecture degree from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and an MBA from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

Mr. Gurney has worked as an architect and real estate developer for 25 years in the Caribbean, Asia, Middle East and Europe. He specialises in large scale commercial real estate and is currently responsible for design and architecture at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, one of the world’s largest real estate development companies, based at their headquarters in Paris.

 

He has directed the TFP summer programme at Townshend since 2016.