pre-k through grade 8

board of director's BIOS

Harold Spitzfaden, Chairman of the Board – Harold has been a member of the Board since the inception of the Catholic Academy of Stamford (CAS) in 2017. He serves as the Chair of the Board. Harold is a Certified Public Accountant and Attorney with forty years of executive responsibilities in the finance, taxation and accounting operations of  global corporations. He is now an entrepreneur, utilizing his broad background to advise seniors and their families on the many daunting decisions they face later in life. He is a member of various professional organizations which focus on the issues encountered in his business.  Harold is a product of Catholic education. He attended Catholic grammar school through law school, which was instrumental in his formation and why he is passionate about it. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Seton Hall University, his MBA from Rutgers University and a Master of Law from New York University. Harold was a Captain in the U.S. Army. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Fairfield. 



Maureen Belford, Chair Catholic Identity Committee – Maureen Belford joined the Board in 2022. She serves as Chair of the Catholic Identity domain for the school’s strategic plan. Having retired from teaching after 44 years in the Diocese of Bridgeport the last three being at CAS, Maureen brings her experience as an educator to the Board. She is deeply committed to Catholic education and the future of The Catholic Academy of Stamford. Maureen attended Catholic elementary and high schools and has been a lifelong member of Assumption Church in Westport.

Gaby Dunn joined the board in 2024. Gaby managed the Corporate Procurement and Project Management department for the NY Mets. She oversaw the travel program, and day to day purchasing of the NY Mets, SNY, and affiliate companies. During her tenure at the Mets she was involved in the 2013 Allstar game and 2015 World Series, as well as many other projects. Currently, Gaby is one of the leads of our Parent Volunteer Group at school and has worked to plan engaging events for our CAS community as well as spending responsibly to ensure every event is a success. Gaby earned her undergraduate degree from The University of Connecticut. She holds a BA in Communication with minors in English and Psychology. Gaby, as well as her husband, are products of a Catholic education, having attended St. Cecilia, St. Gabriel, and Trinity Catholic High School. Gaby and her family are parishioners of St. Cecilia Church in Stamford.

Sydelle Exantus was appointed to the board in 2024. Sydelle holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Connecticut and a Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law. She currently works as an Assistant State’s Attorney at the Office of the State’s Attorney in Stamford.  Sydelle was educated from kindergarten though high school in the Stamford Catholic School system and credits the Diocese with fostering her love of God and learning. She is an active member of the Tabernacle of Grace Church in Stamford, where her mother is the head Pastor.

Danielle Jahn, Secretary and Chair of Marketing & Enrollment Committee –  Danielle joined the Board in 2022, and serves as Board Secretary, and Chair of the Marketing & Enrollment Committee. She is a Creative Director with close to 30 years of experience in Branding, Promotions and Marketing in a variety of genres. A product of Catholic Education herself, Danielle also created and leads the CAS Grows Garden program as a volunteer. She and her family are members of St. Cecilia Parish in Stamford.

Patrice Kopas, Chair of Curriculum Committee – Patrice Kopas is the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for the Diocese of Bridgeport. Mrs. Kopas received her BA from Michigan State University (Go Spartans!), her Master of Science degree from Southern Connecticut University and her Professional Certificate in Administration from Sacred Heart University. Mrs. Kopas began her career in education as a Middle School teacher at All Saints Catholic School in Norwalk. Mrs. Kopas was the Principal of Greenwich Catholic School for 13 years prior to her appointment to the Office of the Superintendent.


In her role on the CAS Board of Directors, she provides guidance and support in matters of administration, school leadership, Catholic Identity, and academics. Mrs. Kopas resides in Weston and is a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

Christopher C. Kulick, Chair of Advancement Committee – Chris joined the board in 2022. He serves as Chair of the Advancement Committee. Chris brings over 20 years of experience in the capital markets. His experience ranges from working with individuals and institutions to better understand a vast array of Hedge Fund, Private Equity, and traditional investment strategies. Chris brings a deep understanding of strategic initiatives as well as tactical implementation across an organization. Chris graduated with an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University and a BBA in Marketing from the University of Iowa. He is a strong supporter of Catholic Education, a member of the Knights of Columbus (#5833), and a member of the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist parish in Stamford.

Todd W. Michalak, Chair of Facilities Committee – Todd joined the Board in 2022, and serves as Chair of the Facilities Committee. Todd is in Finance at a Global Investment Bank with over 15 years of experience in Public Accounting, Financial Reporting and Financial Planning. Todd learned lifelong lessons in faith and academics while attending Catholic elementary school and high school, and enjoys paying it forward with his work on the Board. He currently has two children enrolled at the Catholic Academy of Stamford and is a member of St. Cecilia Church.

Matthew Murphy, Chair of Finance Committee – bio coming soon…