Helene Fabre brings to Rochambeau her 25 years of professional experience in leadership positions for private organizations. Her background is in various industries such as publishing, road safety education (Codes Rousseau), office furniture (Steelcase Inc), in several countries (UK, France and USA). She is a graduate from Audencia, one of the top French Business Schools and Ohio State University with an MBA in Marketing and International Business.
We have welcomed Mr. Xavier Jacquenet as Rochambeau’s Proviseur in August 2020. He is a very experienced educator and school administrator and has been part of the body of Proviseurs since 2006. In addition to his previous post in Geneva, he has directed schools in France and has also been posted internationally as Deputy Proviseur of the Lycée Francais in Singapore and Proviseur of the Lycée St. Exupery in Santiago de Chile. In addition to French, he is fluent in English and Spanish. In his previous position Mr. Jacquenet supervised six International Sections and his students come from 90 different countries.
Philippe Vanhille joined Rochambeau in 2015 as Academic Director and Deputy Head of School, bringing 25 years of professional experience in teaching positions, educational consultant and Director at French and International educational institutions in Europe and the United States.
His expertise in the fields of bilingual and multicultural school management has been instrumental to our school’s work in developing the Student Learning Support department (SLS), school accreditation (with AIMS), and the launch of the IB Diploma Programme.
Most recently Mr. Vanhille has served as Acting Director of Secondary since Spring 2021 and been instrumental in supporting students, faculty and staff through the end of the last school year and the start of 2021-2022. As of November 2021, he formally accepted the position as Director of Secondary and we are so pleased that Mr. Vanhille will continue in this role.
Philippe graduated from the faculty of the Sorbonne and IUFM in Creteil, France.
In the French system, the Primary School includes Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary School.
Jean-Pierre Plaa joined our school as a Primary School teacher in 2016 and starting July is Head of the Primary School. He is based on our Maplewood campus.
Mr. Plaa's experience in international and multilingual schools in France, Asia, and North America has given him a good understanding of the expectations of parents, students, teachers and our school.
After having taught in Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the archipelago where he is originally from, and then in Taiwan, he has been living in the United States since 2001. Prior to Rochambeau, Mr. Plaa was at the Lycée Français de Chicago for 9 years, first as a teacher, then Primary School Director and Assistant Head of School.
"As a teacher and director, I have always considered it my primary mission to place the student at the center. All efforts and energy deployed are for one purpose: to ensure the well-being and growth of the child."
We have welcomed Mr. Michel Zala, our Deputy Director to the Head of Primary School in June 2020. Michel is based at our Maplewood campus and works closely and directly with Jean Pierre Plaa, our Head of Primary School.
A graduate of the École Normale d'Instituteurs, Mr. Zala has extensive experience teaching in France and the United States and directing French preschools in the network of accredited schools in the US, including the Lycée Français de Los Angeles. His experience is an invaluable asset to our school.
A word from Mr. Zala:
I’m thrilled to be part of the Rochambeau family! As a long time kindergarten director, I am happy to place my skills and energy at the service of this prestigious Institution. As a nursery director, I will ensure that all students thrive both academically and socially and that they experience an outstanding and enjoyable education.
Frédérique Le Ber
Frédérique Le Ber-Casanova serves as Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). The creation of this new position starting in November 2021 reflects the collaborative effort of the Board of Directors, Faculty and Staff in making this theme a strategic priority for our institution.
Though new to this role, Mrs. Le Ber is very familiar to our community. She had previously served as Director of the Secondary School since September 2014 and secondary teacher at Rochambeau since 2003. Mrs. Le Ber began her career as a teacher of History and Geography in Perpignan and Paris, France.
Mrs. Le Ber is proud to continue to serve our school and to engage with all members of our community in this important work.
- Admissions Director
- Director Of Information & Technology
- Human Resources Manager
- Facilities & Transportation Director
After working in France for over 20 years, Valerie Meriot-Burn is bringing her international expertise in marketing and communications to lead Admissions at Rochambeau.
Prior to joining in September 2014, she worked for the Walt Disney Company and Renault, crafting strategic brand programs, such as the "Renault Safety for All" campaign—a corporate-branded educational program on road safety. Most recently, she was Deputy Director of Diversity at Renault leveraging diversity for performance and innovation.
She has a BA from Dickinson College, Carlisle Pennsylvania, and a Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Management Certification from Georgetown University.
Raymond, originally from San Francisco, CA, has spent the last 27 years as IT Director in independent schools in California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Virginia.
In his most recent position in a large independent school in Miami, FL, Mr. Stewart served as the Chief Technology Officer in charge of both information systems and technology use in the classrooms. In addition to directing technology initiatives in a number of schools, he also brings extensive experience in the private sector, including an adjunct professorship at The Catholic University of America in Library Science.
Mr. Stewart received his BA in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his MA in Educational Administration from San Francisco State University.
Ike Relacion is an accomplished HR professional with over 2 decades of human resources and compliance experience in the public and private sectors, as well as higher education.
Ike is responsible for implementing human resource management strategies that enable Rochambeau, the French International School to recruit, train, and retain a high performing and motivated workforce. Ike specializes in talent management, on-boarding, training and development, performance management, employee retention, benefits management, compliance, employee relations policies and strategies.
Ike holds a Bachelor’s degree from The Catholic University of America and is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management.
Juan Carlos Ruano
JC Ruano has a strong military and police backgrounds from 1984 to 1999 and worked as USA Chief Building engineer at Inova Fairfax Hospital Virginia. Then, around 1999-2001, he moves to private schools as Director of Facilities before he joined Rochambeau in fall 2017. He was promoted in 2019 as a Director of Facilities & Transportation.
JC has got a Master HVAC and Engineering National Power of Engineer/INOVA from the University of Virginia in 2004. He's also fluent in Spanish and he's taking some French classes.
JC likes to restore cars, learn from another cultures, and loves to travel: 17 countries already visited.
Rochambeau became his dream job, as he takes care of it like his own house. Every day he comes motivated to work and takes any challenge that come on daily basis, he is passionate.
Members of the Board offer their volunteer service to support the students, families, teachers, staff and alumni of Rochambeau while promoting the school's values in the wider community and the world.
- President: Laurent Pavageau
- Vice-President: Michael Kidd
- Treasurer: Stephane Guimbert
- Secretary: Vanena Wilmot
- Erika Aparakakankanange
- Aram Gavoor
- Nathan George
- Sam Heitner
- Maryam Ipakchi
- Satya Menard
- Sahar Tabbara Pareja
- Cristina Reichner
- Xavier Urtubey
The Board is organized and operates in accordance with the bylaws of Rochambeau, the French International School of Washington, DC.
During the 2015-2016 school year, the Board worked to develop a set of priorities and plans to guide the strategic direction of the school for the following 5 years, covering the period of 2016-2021. What followed that rigorous examination and planning process was the adoption of the following set of goals and priorities:
- Pursuit of Excellence
- Financial Stability
- Maintaining Balance
- Location Expansion
Aligning our curriculum to ensure it matches the school’s mission and local conditions, with well-rounded graduates admitted to the best universities worldwide, and prepared to succeed in the world
- Complement and adapt the French curriculum to fit the needs of our students
- Recruit, retain, and support the best possible faculty members
- Seek and maintain accreditation by a local accreditation agency (AIMS)
Put the school into a financially secure situation by means of tight control of expenses and annual budgets, including balanced capital expense budgets, and augmenting reserves by a minimum of one million dollars a year
- Augment sources of revenue through
- Summer camps
- Tuition fees
- Reviewing structure of existing fees
- Augment fundraising through outreach to
- Parent communities
- Grant giving foundations
- Creating resources to finance capital expenditure
- Rigorous annual budget review
Within the next five years, to have finalized plans and identified funding for consolidating and improving our facilities
- Commission or identify feasibility study for growth on Forest Road and Bradley
- Continue to look for real estate opportunities in the area
- Reexamine special exceptions at all campuses
- Develop communications program for stakeholders to keep them informed
Building bridges within the community
- Create more opportunities for student engagement inside and outside of the classroom
- Strengthen parents’ and teachers’ engagement in school life
- Expand dialogue between and among different stakeholders
- Increase and improve communications pathways between parents and the school
- Explain and promote the specifics of the Rochambeau educational programs to all parents