Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees

Walnut Farm Montessori School is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), non-stock education corporation governed by a Board of Trustees. 

The WFMS Board meets each month and is guided by a set of bylaws that contains provisions dictated by law as well as the Board’s own procedures.  The Board elects a President, a Vice President, and a Secretary and may elect other officers if it deems it appropriate to do so. All Trustees volunteer their time. Developing and overseeing the fulfillment of the school’s strategic plan, the board ensures that the school will continue to achieve its mission and continue to thrive in the areas of financial stewardship and momentum.

The Head of School is the chief executive officer of the School. The Head is charged with implementing the School’s long-range plan and overseeing the effective administration of all aspects of the School’s operation.

2021-2022 Board of Trustees

Smita Vadlamani, President

Amanda Phillips, Vice President

Runa Howard, Secretary

Charles Halliburton, Treasure

Lina Scroggins

Chi Ibekwe

Emma Pengelly

Sean D’Hoostelaere

Smita Vadlamani
Smita is a seasoned retail and consumer goods professional with experience as an investor. She has deep knowledge in merchandising, finance, strategy and supply chain. Prior to retailing, Smita was an institutional investor and made equity and fixed income investments in the US and Europe. Smita has been a parent at Walnut Farm for more than five years. She has served on the WFMS Board of Trustees for three of those years, serving on and leading the Finance Committee. Smita has a BS in Finance from DePaul University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Smita lives in NWA with her husband, her three children and her cat. Two of her children attend Walnut Farm.

Amanda Phillips
Amanda Phillips serves as the Board Vice President and is entering her fourth year as a Trustee. Before serving on the Board Amanda played an active role in Parent Association leadership at Walnut Farm and can still occasionally be seen taking pictures at school events. She has two children, one of which is a former student at Walnut Farm Montessori School, and one who is part of Primary B. Amanda attended the University of Arkansas earning degrees in History, Anthropology, Biology, and Religious Studies. She is currently teaching classes at the University of Arkansas while she works to finish her Doctorate Degree in Anthropology. When not focusing on school or work you can find her photographing the world around her, Amanda Phillips mountain biking, hiking, reading, and enjoying the trails of Northwest Arkansas with her family.

Runa Howard
Runa is currently a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Solutions Real Estate in Bentonville, AR, where she works with buyers and sellers of residential, commercial and investment properties. Prior to real estate, Runa spent 20 years in the corporate world, working for some of America’s most iconic brands. Her experiences encompass Information Technology, eCommerce, Marketing, Sales Operations, Finance and Organizational Change Management. Runa currently serves on the board of the NWA Women’s Empowerment Initiative and is also the chairperson for the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council. She previously served on the boards of Goodcity and The Merit School of Music, both in Chicago. She has a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, and an M.B.A. from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Runa is also Six Sigma Black Belt certified.


Charles Halliburton
Charles Halliburton is a 35 year veteran of Walmart, most recently in Merchandising and Supplier Finance Education. He has a Bachelors in Accounting from the University of Arkansas. Charles has experience in higher education: he has served as an instructor at the University of Arkansas in the Masters of Marketing program, and at NWACC in the Retail Analyst program. He serves on the advisory board at NWACC. For the past several years, Charles has worked as EVP and General Manager at Bridge Purchasing Solutions. He has also worked in various roles at WlleyX and RxGiftCard, and has run Trail Dawgs Consulting since 2010. Charles has been a member of the Walnut Farm Board of Trustees since 2020.