The VIA Board of Directors held their last annual meeting on Thursday March 26, 2015. For a copy of the minutes from that meeting, or for further questions, please email us at:

Board of Directors

The Vision For Innovation Academy, Inc., (VIA), Founding Board of Directors* was established in February of 2013, and officers and members were elected in accordance with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Articles of Organization and VIA's By Laws at its first Annual Meeting in March, 2013. VIA's current 5-member board includes the Innovation Academy Charter School Head of School who collaborates with the board to guide support for school-identified priorities and initiatives. The Board oversees its mission by ensuring that the organization continues to operate in the best interest of school priorities and focuses its work with outreach to foundations, corporations, grant and other development opportunities in collaboration with the school . VIA board members are elected by a 2/3 majority of directors currently in office and serve staggered one to three-year terms. To learn more about current board members, please read bios below.

​VIA is currently looking for corporate and foundation collaborations that support technology and green initiatives. If you have a contact or ideas, please contact us at:


2016 Annual Meeting: 
To be held 4pm, March 22 in the Wang Building Conference Room
Please Join us!


Board Bios

 Linda Willis*, President

Linda Willis is an accomplished educator, instructional specialist and leader in the charter school movement. Linda’s professional background includes serving as an Adjunct Professor at both Fitchburg Sate University and Middlesex Community College and as a Trainer for the Massachusetts Department of Education’s ESL/SIOP Writing Performance Project. Willis is a reading and writing specialist with expertise in self-paced studies, and currently serves as an Instructional Specialist Teacher of Reading for the Lowell Public Schools.

Willis holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Wheaton College, a MEd. In Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University, and an EdS from UMass Lowell. Linda currently serves as Chair of the Governing Board at West Parish Church in Andover, Ma, and has served six years as a Trustee for IACS including serving as the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Trustees.  Recently, Willis chaired the Head of School Executive Search Committee and was instrumental in guiding IACS to lead a highly competitive, nationwide search for the school's top position.

Linda resides in Tewksbury, Ma with her husband Jeffrey. Their son, Alec Willis, graduated in the inaugural class of 2011 from IACS.

Ann Cottle*, Treasurer

Ann Cottle has had an extensive career in financial services including appointments in tax consultancy, bookkeeping and general accounting. Cottle joined the staff of IACS in 2007 as Assistant to the Executive Director, and currently serves as the Business Manager having previously held positions in both private industry and the nonprofit sector. Ann holds a BS in Accounting and Finance from UMass Lowell.

Cottle’s volunteer roles include Treasurer at Westlands School Association, Treasurer at Varney Park Restoration Committee and as Treasurer of her church. Prior to joining the staff of IACS, Cottle was a founding member of the Innovation Academy Community Association (IACA) and served as Treasurer for that organization for two years. In addition, Cottle has served as Producer for many productions of the IACS Performing Arts Department.

Ann lives in North Chelmsford, Ma with her husband Bruce, and they have two sons, Jordan, IACS inaugural Class of 2011 and Jeremy, IACS Class of 2013.

Susan Howard*, Clerk

After completing a six year career in ER and Coronary Care nursing, Susan served 20+ years with the American Cancer Society (ACS) in executive management at the local, state and national levels. Howard’s primary role for the Society was fundraising with an emphasis on leadership recruitment and development. At the national level, Susan provided oversight to the Society’s then $57M employee giving campaigns, and was one of the Society’s founding staff members for the Relay For Life which now raises over $385M annually. After retiring from the ACS, Susan focused on full cycle recruiting for executive nonprofit leadership and currently works as a consultant to the nonprofit industry through Executive Nonprofit Recruiting, Inc.

Howard holds a BS in Health Education an MPH in Environmental Studies, and is a former CFRE. Her current and past volunteer appointments include: Member, National United Way of America Board; Liasison, National American Heart Association Board; Staff-National American Cancer Society Development Committee; Vice President, American Women’s Association/Singapore; Member, American Association of Singapore Board; Board of Trustees/American Club of Singapore, Board of Trustees for the IACS 2012-current; Volunteer Coordinator, IACA (two terms); Chair, IACS Development Committee; Oversight/Advisor to the IACS Expansion Initiative. Susan resides in Chelmsford, Ma with her husband Greg and their two daughters, Bri, who attends Bishop Guertin, and Kerry, Class of 2018 at IACS.

Peter G. Torkildsen*, Member

Peter G Torkildsen has held executive business development positions in the private and nonprofit sectors and has an extensive background in public service which spans two decades in Massachusetts State Government. Torkildsen served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1985-1991, as Massachusetts Commissioner of Labor and Industries 1991/1992, and as a Member of Congress in the US House of Representatives from 1993-1996. As a Congressman he served on the National Security, Small Business, Fisheries and National Parks Committees.

Torkildsen holds a B.A. in Political Science from UMass Amherst and a MPA from Harvard University from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Currently, he serves as Vice-Chair of the Federation of State Humanities Councils and a self-employed consultant.

Peter resides in North Chelmsford, Ma with his wife Gail, and their daughter Maggie is in the Class of 2020 at IACS.

Greg Orpen, Member

Greg Orpen is the Head of School at Innovation Academy Charter School having recently been selected for that role after a competitive, nationwide search. The IACS Board of Trustees tapped Orpen emphasizing a return to the charter and recognizing his multi-decade contribution to charter school education and innovation. After graduating from Trinity College (BS in Biology) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (MEd. in Teaching & Learning), Orpen joined the staff at Innovation Academy in the summer of 2000. Since beginning his career thirteen years ago, he has taught at both the middle and high school, coordinated our school's Systems Thinking program, and was a founding teacher of IACS's high school. Greg became High School Principal in 2008 and served as the architect for integration of the high school curriculum and systems thinking in our core values. Orpen is currently working towards his EdD at UMass Lowell's Leadership in Schooling program.

Greg lives in Lowell with his wife Mairead, and their two sons, Jack and Owen, and daughter Kelly (Class of 20??, IACS).

*Walter Landberg, Founding Member, 2013