Senior Administrative Team
HEAD OF SCHOOL
Peter Reinke serves as Head of School at St. James', a role he has held since July of 2018. Mr. Reinke has worked in the field of education for almost 30 years, having served as an Assistant Head of School and other key administrative roles for many years prior to coming to St. James'. Mr. Reinke began his career as an aide to a U.S. Senator on education policy and later played a major educational policy role for the Schwarzenegger administration during the governor's first and second terms.
Mr. Reinke serves as a trustee of the Episcopal School of Los Angeles, and of the Episcopal Diocese's Neighborhood Youth Association. He also is a member of Diocesan Commission on Schools; the accrediting body for Episcopal preschools and K-12 education. Mr. Reinke also spent several years on the Board of Standards of CAIS, the accrediting body for independent schools throughout the state. He continues to chair accreditation visiting committees for CAIS.
Mr. Reinke co-founded the Vincent Academy, a K-5 charter school and he was a founding trustee of the San Francisco Friends School, then the only Quaker school in the California Association of Schools (CAIS). With the late U.S. Senators Ted Kennedy, Jim Jeffords and several Congressional and Senatorial staffers, Mr. Reinke worked to create Everybody Wins, a Washington, D.C. literacy project; the project was featured at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
A Fifth Generation Episcopalian, Mr. Reinke is a past senior warden and vestry clerk. He currently serves as a diocesan delegate for St. James' Episcopal Parish where he is an active member of the Mens' Fellowship, a lector and usher. Mr. Reinke was a trustee for the Episcopal Diocese of California’s School for Deacons and of U.C. Berkeley's Canterbury Foundation which sponsors Episcopal programs for Cal students. Mr. Reinke was also board chair of Clausen House, an Episcopal agency which provides essential services for almost 200 developmentally disabled adults. He is very proud of his brother Steven, a longtime resident of Clausen.
An advocate of good government, Mr. Reinke spent over a decade on the California board of Common Cause, one of the nation's most effective good government advocacy groups. He also served as vice-president of the city of Oakland's municipal ethics commission, the committee which sets city council salaries. On the commission, he helped curate one of the nation's first limited public financing systems.
Mr. Reinke graduated from Brown University with department honors in U.S. History and earned his MA in Educational Leadership from Teachers College at Columbia University. Mr. Reinke is an active volunteer for Brown, serving on the University's Annual Fund Leadership Council. He was appointed several times to his class leadership gifts committee and helped the University establish the John Hope Service Award. Mr. Reinke was a class marshal for his 25th class reunion and previously served on the Brown Corporation's ad-hoc committee on government relations and advisory council on relations with Tougaloo College.
In his spare time, Mr. Reinke loves fostering animals, spending time with his godchildren, and hiking and kayaking. He also collects antiques, particularly those related to American political history, which he thoroughly enjoys sharing with the St. James' student history club.
ASSISTANT HEAD OF SCHOOL
Elizabeth Desmarais joined the administrative team at St. James’ Episcopal School in July 2016. A native of Rhode Island, Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Rhode Island College and a master’s in administration from Pepperdine University.
Elizabeth spent the eight years prior to her arrival at St. James’ at Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she was a key member of the lower school’s implementation team. In that role, Elizabeth was instrumental in developing and implementing the lower school curriculum. Throughout her tenure, she held a number of roles including head of lower school, director of studies, chair of accreditation, and math specialist.
Elizabeth has a long history of working in independent schools in Southern California. She was the Assistant Head of School at the Westerly School in Long Beach, as well as its founding middle school head. Additionally, she taught middle school English, humanities, and pre-algebra. She also served as the assistant administrator and 3rd-grade teacher at the Village School in Pacific Palisades. Elizabeth is honored and excited to be a part of the St. James’ family.
DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT & COMMUNICATIONS
Jules has been a parent at St James since 2017 and has served on the Advancement Committee as well Co-Chairing the Annual Gala. In 2014 she co-founded the Alliance of Moms, a non-profit which supports pregnant and parenting youth in Los Angeles County’s foster care system. As Co-President she developed the Alliance of Moms’ educational programs focusing on early brain development in addition to leading its communication and fundraising strategies. The Alliance of Moms was honored by St. Anne’s with their Angel Award, by The Bump magazine at their inaugural Movers & Makers awards and she was invited to The White House by the Obama Administration in recognition of her organization’s advocacy work with youth in foster care.
After graduating from Trinity College, Oxford with a BA and MA in English, Jules went onto work as an Account Director at Saatchi & Saatchi and Bartle, Bogle & Hegarty for clients such as British Airways, T-Mobile and the charity for at-risk youth, Barnardo’s. In the year 2000, Jules wrote and starred in her own one-woman show at the Edinburgh Festival. The following year the show transferred to London’s Soho Theatre in the West End. Jules and her husband moved to Los Angeles in 2003 where she racked up further acting and writing credits. Simultaneously she worked for the World Poker Tour, devising and teaching poker strategy seminars all across America.
Raised in a family of educators in her native England, Jules is honored to become a member of the St. James' staffulty and to deepen her roots within the wider St. James' community
PAT JOSEPH THOMAS, Ph.D
INTERIM DIRECTOR OF ADMISSION & FINANCIAL AID
Pat joined the St. James’ Episcopal School administrative team in July 2016 with over 30 years experience in early childhood education. As a classroom teacher, Pat facilitated children and their families in developing meaningful relationships which support/enhance positive school engagements. A tenure in independent schools, as a teacher and supervisor, have enhanced Pat’s knowledge of and respect for diverse learning communities. As a life-long learner, Pat’s education spans over the course of her teaching career with a BA in human development from Pacific Oaks College, MS in child/family counseling from Springfield College, and PhD in child/family studies from CGI/Branston University.
Most recently, Pat has worked as a consultant, helping parents navigate their search for educational programs and learning environments. As a child development specialist, she has been a resource for families in understanding the complexities in finding the “right fit” and comfortable balance between home, school, and community.
"I am delighted to be a part of the Saint James’ community and eager to share my knowledge of creative programs, which enhance curiosity, encourage explorations, embrace differences, and engage in joyful learning experiences for all ages."
THE REV. CANON AIDAN KOH
Father Aidan Koh has been working at St. James’ Episcopal School since September 1991 after his deacon’s ordination that June by the Rt. Rev. Frederick H. Borsch, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles. Prior to arriving at St. James’, Aidan was fortunate to have attended seminaries in Claremont, California, and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. He attended both of these seminaries after having graduated from Hankook Theological Seminary, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. Born in Korea to a family deeply rooted in the Anglican faith, Aidan started his ministry during his early high school years, teaching Sunday school children and leading youth groups. Teaching at a high school and working as a member of the administrative team at a university in Korea added to his experiences in academia.
The Rev. Jon Feuss joined the St. James community in August 2019, first serving as our parish deacon, then our curate, and now our associate rector. Fr. Jon’s passions include liturgy, music, outreach, and education.
Before coming to St. James, Fr. Jon spent fifteen years in the corporate world at companies including Deloitte and the National Football League, where he worked in the fields of human resources and technology. Fr. Jon holds bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from Rowan University and a Master of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology.
Rocheleen Rosel joined the St. James’ community in 2012 as a teacher in the 3 year old class and has 14 years of experience in the early childhood field. Aside from being apart of the St. James’ Episcopal School Administrative team, she is also a St. James’ parent. Rochelle has lectured at the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conferences throughout the United States and her most recent lecture was on the topic of early childhood education: theory vs application in 2019.
Rochelle has her AA in early childhood from Los Angeles Valley College, BA in child and adolescent development from California State University Northridge, and her MA in Human Development specializing in leadership in education and social service from Pacific Oaks College.
DEAN OF STUDENTS & BELONGING; VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS DEPARTMENT CHAIR
Mrs. Mei-Ling Leonard joined the St. James’ community in 2005. From 2005-2021 she guided first-graders into becoming their best version of an elementary school student. In 2021, Mrs. Leonard joined the administrative team as the Dean of Students & Belonging.
Mrs. Leonard has been an active member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Committee since its inception, a mentor teacher, a math specialist, and a member of the Curriculum Committee. She is also the Visual & Performing Arts Chair and has developed a robust after school performing arts program producing 2 school productions a year. Mrs. Leonard is the visionary of the schools first Center for Belonging, a safe / brave space where students can reset and reboot while feeling comfortable being their true authentic selves. Mrs. Leonard graduated from Swarthmore College with a BA in Theatre with a minor in Education. She also has a MFA in Theatre Management from Wayne State University.
In addition to numerous other committee assignments she is most proud to call herself an advocate. A student advocate, a teacher advocate, an artistic advocate, a social, school, and community advocate; Mrs. Leonard has touched every part of the St. James School Community.
DEAN OF FACULTY & ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF ADMISSION
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT & COMMUNICATIONS
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Amy Schlecter is thrilled to have joined St James' as Chief Financial Officer in Spring 2019. Amy brings a deep background in Finance, Accounting and Operations Management to St. James' with her extensive experience working both with schools and private industry. Amy received her MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and studied both Political Science and Chinese Language and Literature at UC Berkeley as an undergraduate. Amy spent the first decade of her career helping to lead the financial operations of a large distribution center for an e-commerce retailer. After starting a family, Amy decided to pursue her passion for supporting high-quality education and shifted her professional focus to working with great schools. Amy loves traveling both within the US and internationally, and particularly enjoys traveling by train.