Board of Trustees
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE SRDS BOARD OF TRUSTEES:
My direct involvement began years ago when my wife Cyndi and I enrolled our children at SRDS. Since then, this wonderful school has been a second home for our family. Cyndi is an active and committed Parents Guild member and I am pleased to enter my third year as the SRDS Board President. I am grateful to SRDS for what it has already given to our children.
Having watched our children, along with their classmates, learn and grow throughout their years at SRDS has only reinforced our belief and pride in the mission of the school. The sense of vibrant community, deep respect, unwavering academic excellence and global awareness instilled in SRDS students begins on day one and seems to grow daily.
This is a very exciting time in the evolution of our school. Our Board of Trustees has been focused on making sure that our school has the tools it needs to provide our children with an academically superior educational experience. During the upcoming months, you will learn more about the strategic steps we have taken—and will continue to take—to ensure that our children have the best possible path to college and the road beyond. In truth, it is our mission to provide a dynamic and challenging learning environment that prepares our children not only for their next academic phase, but for a life lived in pursuit of knowledge, accomplishment and ethical responsibility.
President of the SRDS Board of Trustees
SRDS BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Trustees of Saddle River Day School provide commitment and leadership for the advancement of the School’s mission, the advancement of the School’s vision and growth, and the protection of the School’s rich legacy.
In partnership with the Head of School, the Board of Trustees oversees and ensures all legal obligations are met and works to build a strong endowment and support the growth of annual fundraising and capital campaigns. The Board plays a vital role in guiding Saddle River Day School forward and ensuring that the institution is run with the utmost professionalism, and is at the forefront of educational and technological development.
The Board is comprised of parents and alumni with a deep affection, affiliation and commitment to the school. They are highly skilled in their outside professions and each member brings unique knowledge, skills and perspectives to the committee and each sub committee.
Board of Trustees
Mr. Ted Tafaro – President
Mr. Steven Kluger - President At Large
Mr. Rosario Ruffino – Vice President/Treasurer
Mr. Jalaj Desai – Interim Head of School
Mr. Scott Braen
Mr. Frank Coyne
Mr. John Haller
Mr. Wes Powell
Mr. Jeffrey Rosenberg
Mr. Dale Smith
Mr. Stu Steckler
Ted Tafaro is one of the country's foremost experts on high-limit speciality life, accident, and disability products for clients with exceptional insurance needs. His reputation and accomplishments have noted him as one of the most trusted and empowered underwriters in the industry. Ted founded Exceptional Risk Advisors in 2006. The firm has grown into a leading resource for elite advisors that serve high-earning clients and successful corporations. In 2008, he was named one of the "Top Forty Executives Under 40" by New Jersey's premier business news publication, NJBIZ. Residing in Mahwah, NJ, Ted and his wife Cyndi have been leaders in the SRDS community as proud parents of three children: Olivia (SRDS '17), James (SRDS '19), and Daniel '24.
Steven Kluger has over 25 years experience in global investments, asset management, banking, capital markets, risk, operations and finance. He has a unique leadership background in both the multinational, corporate environment and in the entrepreneurial, global private equity marketplace. Steven spent nearly 20 years at the General Electric Company (GE) where he was Senior Vice President. In 2007, he joined Aquiline Capital as a Senior Advisor to work with a consortium of private equity investors and asset management firms, (TPG, SwisseRe, Goldman Sachs, GIC-Singapore, Hamilton Lane) to design strategies given the disruption in the financial credit markets. Steven in currently with SVP-Corporate Development with Doral Financial Corporation. He and his wife, Laurie, reside in Allendale, NJ and are the proud parents of Sara (SRDS '10) and John (SRDS '16).
Scott Braen is the President and COO of Braen Commercial Holdings Corporation (BCHC). Operating since 1904, BCHC's principal business is Braen Stone Industries, which specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of construction related materials such as asphalt, aggregates, sand, and recycled materials throughout New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. In addition, they are the leading supplier of masonry, landscape, and decorative stones in New Jersey. Scott and his wife Cielo, are very active in the SRDS community and are the proud parents of twins, Brooke and Scotty '25, and Ellie '27.
Rosario Ruffino is a founder and managing partner of RR Advisory Group, now Mariner Wealth Advisors. Rosario works with clients on a variety of personal financial planning issues as well as oversees the daily operational functions of the firm. He combines many years of experience in personal financial planning, investment advisory services, and tax services for high-net-worth clients and professional athletes. In addition, Rosario has extensive experience in risk management, including life, health, and property & casualty insurance. Rosario is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Certified Financial Planner (CFP(r)), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Rosario also holds life and health insurance licenses. He received a BBA from Bernard M. Baruch College.
Jalaj Desai is the Associate Head of School and takes the role of Interim Head of School for 2019-2020. For the past two years, Jalaj worked with former Head of School Eileen Lambert as the Head of the Upper School. Before joining SRDS, Jalaj was Head of the Mathematics Department and Director of the Business & Entrepreneurship Program at Rutgers Preparatory School for five years and Mathematics teacher at Dwight-Englewood School for nearly ten years. Jalaj and his wife have daughters in the Lower School, Mehr ’32 and Maanya ‘29. Jalaj holds a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering and two Masters degrees; one in Computer Science and one in Educational Leadership.
Frank Coyne is currently the Chairman of the Board for Verisk Analytics. He led the initiative that created Verisk Analytics as the parent of ISO and its family of companies. In 2009, Verisk completed the initial public offering of its stock on the NASDAQ exchange. Mr. Coyne has played a leadership role in property/casualty insurance, delivering numerous speeches at major industry forums and writing many articles with performance-enhancing best-practices themes and forceful calls for market discipline. Mr. Coyne also served in key leadership roles at Kemper Insurance Companies, General Accident Insurance Company, Universal Underwriters Group, Reliance Insurance Company, and PMA Insurance Company. He began his career as a trial attorney with the U.S. Treasury Department. He also had a distinguished career in the United States Army, rising to the rank of captain. Frank is the proud grandparent to Dillon '26 and Aidan '23.
John Haller has extensive experience in Global Supply Chain Management and is currently running his own consulting business with a focus on global operations and leadership development. He spent 25 years with Stryker Corporation where he held the position of Vice President, Global Supply with responsibility for a team of 12,000 employees located at 43 manufacturing sites around the world. John was a member of the United States Army and left the service with the rank of Captain. He and his wife, Claudia, are blessed with three happy and healthy children: Aicha (Fairfield University '21), Cheyenne (SRDS '22), and John-Luca (SRDS '24).
Weston (Wes) Powell is currently a McDonald’s Owner/Operator in Springfield, Massachusetts. Wes was elected President of the McDonald African American Owner/Operator Organization in 2008 and served two terms until 2015. Concurrently, Wes was elected as an Executive Member of the Regional Leadership Council, the governing body of the Boston Region McDonald's Owner/Operators. Wes served on the Board of Directors of the Ronald McDonald House Charity in Springfield, MA for five years. Wes was born in Jamaica, West Indies. He is one of seven children born to Marion and Legora Powell. Wes currently resides in West Nyack, NY with his wife Sarah and their son William '23, who is a student at SRDS.
Jeffrey G. Rosenberg owns and manages Big V Properties and Bile Family Partnership. The company was founded in 1942, the year William and Viola Rosenberg opened Victory Supermarket, a 4,000 square foot grocery story located in the quiet agricultural hamlet of Florida, NY. Over the next 30 years, the Rosenberg family parlayed the store into one of the most successful grocery chains in the country. Big V now owns and operates 34 retail, office and residential properties primarily throughout the Southeastern United States. Jeffrey and his wife Mary are the proud of parents of two SRDS students, Zane '25 and Cole '26. The Rosenbergs reside in Franklin Lakes, NJ.
Dale T. Smith is a 30+ year veteran of college administration with a focus on strategic enrollment management, marketing, admissions and business development. Currently Mr. Smith is a Vice President at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY where he has served in a wide variety of roles in higher education. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to SRDS and is actively involved in the Strategic Enrollment Management committee. His wife Karen is a Vice Chair at the college as well. They are long time Saddle River residents and have a daughter, Catherine who is a junior at SRDS and Stephanie, a freshman daughter at Immaculate Heart Academy.