Board of Directors
Marie Naklie McCoy -
Marie is a chemical engineer specializing in LNG and gas processing, with 45 years industry experience including 28 years with Mobil Oil. During an assignment with Blade Energy in Chennai, India in 2014, she visited the Opportunity School and was so impressed with Kasthuri Devaraj who runs the school and how they are stretching their dollars to accomplish so much with these children. As a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church and their United Methodist Women, Marie became aware of the problems with the school and orphanage building, due to damage from the annual monsoon floods. She has made 4 more trips to Chennai, visiting the school and taking goods for the children and the school’s bazaar. Marie started this charity in the US to raise funding for the renovation of the building.
Lordson is currently leading a software technology organization in Southern California. He has more than 30 years of experience in the software technology business. As a divine appointment without any prior arrangements, Kasthuri Devaraj happened to visit his home during her 2014 fundraising visit. Since then Lordson has visited the Opportunity School in Chennai several times a year, and is in awe of the work that Kasthuri and her team are accomplishing for the wellbeing of the special needs children. Her team provides education, a dormitory, food, and they teach the children life skills. The 50-year-old building has consistent flooding issues during rainy season; it is obvious that a serious renovation project is required so that the children can attend without the concerns of safety and flooding. Lordson is committed to support and work with the SOSMC board to accomplish the mission.
As an education professional with a passion for working with children, Priscilla has had a special place in her heart for families with special needs children. She trains parents of these children in teaching techniques and skills. Priscilla had the opportunity to meet Kasthuri Devaraj in 2006 at an event in Tennessee. After hearing about the school and seeing her dedication for the cause, Priscilla began supporting the school financially. Living in America, Priscilla has seen how children with special needs receive help and support from the public school system and other government resources. Having grown up in Chennai, she understands the disadvantages children with disabilities face, especially those from families in extreme poverty. The services provided by the Opportunity School to these special needs children are priceless. Priscilla considers it a privilege and honor to serve on the SOSMC board to raise funds to support this worthy cause.
Samuel Jacob is a civil engineer born and raised in Chennai India, who lived his early childhood and college days next to The Opportunity School campus. He built parsonages, churches and schools for the Methodist Church in India, and also built the Opportunity School Early Intervention block in 1991. Working daily on the same campus exposed him to the challenges facing special needs children and the need for sharing Christ’s love to all in a tangible way to help them reach their full potential. After a short stint in UAE he immigrated to Canada in 2001. Samuel is Professional Quantity Surveyor (CIQS)and Professional Engineer(PEO), and currently is Sr. Project Manager at ROOFLIFTERS Canada Inc and ROOFLIFTERS USA LLC. Samuel’s family and his wife’s family have known Kasthuri Devaraj and the other leading staff of the Opportunity School for years; his grandfather’s home was next door. Samuel looks forward to advising SOSMC and the Opportunity School on the new renovation project.
Courtney Kelly is a Project Manager and Controls Engineer with over 8 years of experience in heavy civil construction. She was first introduced to the Opportunity School in 2014 and has been a supporter of the cause every since. Due to her background in civil engineering and math, the impact of the flooding and conditions of the building prompted her to take interest in the efforts to raise money for the renovation. Courtney is excited to be a part of this mission and looks forward to witnessing the effect that it has on the children who are served by the Opportunity School.
A wireless industry professional with 20+ years’ experience in the Telecommunications industry, including AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia, Dev came to America 25 years ago for his M.S. and stayed. He grew up in Chennai right next to the Opportunity School and has known Kasthuri Devaraj personally over 35 years. He has seen first-hand the extraordinary and tireless work Kasthuri and her staff do at the Opportunity School, devotedly caring for the developmental, physical and emotional needs of special needs children. The school is a unique refuge for these children, who are some of the most under-cared for and neglected in India. Dev has supported them financially over the years and visits the school during trips to India. Dev is honored to serve on SOSMC’s board to help accomplish its mission to raise funds for renovation of the school and orphanage building to provide these children with a loving and supportive environment. "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Julie Noel -
Julie B. Noel, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a Texas-licensed/ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist in private practice in Dallas, Texas, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric speech-language disorders. A member of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Julie was Treasurer of the United Methodist Women and was instrumental in collecting early donations for the Opportunity School. As a result, Julie was invited to become Treasurer of SOSMC, and helped to facilitate fund-raising and set up the 501(c)(3) charity for the new renovation project for the school and orphanage building.
Sun Prairie, WI
Sam is a Director of Connectional Ministries of The Wisconsin Annual Conference-UMC. He served in India with The Methodist Church in India when he had direct acquaintance with The Opportunity School in Chennai. When he was the District Superintendent of Chennai North and South Districts, (1994-96), he managed the administration of the school for a couple of years. He personally knows Ms Kasthuri Devaraj, Manager and Mrs. Amali Vincent, Headmistress, as they are very deeply committed to serve the children with special needs. He is delighted to be part of the board here in USA for this noble and worthy cause. Jesus said: "let the little children come to me...for the Kingdom of God belongs to such of these."
James graduated from Texas A&M University Class of 1974. He has worked 40 years in the oil industry, including 31 years with Camco/Schumberger and is currently a Senior Completion Advisor working with Blade Energy Partners. He became involved with the Opportunity School whilst working on a Blade Energy project in Chennai, India, where a group of engineers visited the Opportunity School and recognized their ongoing needs. James currently attends the New Hope Baptist Church in Plantersville, Texas and is an enthusiastic supporter of SOSMC outreach and building fund.
George is a Professor Emeritis of Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Ujjwala, have known Kasthuri for more than 10 years, and have been supporters of the Opportunity School throughout. They have visited the School in Chennai twice. George believes it is a privilege to serve on the SOSMC Board to help fund the new renovation project for the school and orphanage building for the Opportunity School, serving in any way he can. George and Ujjwala currently live in Wilmington, Delaware.
Michele Vicente -
Michele is an independent paralegal with a focus on health law, which she balances with volunteering her time with United Methodist Women and her children’s schools. She was introduced to The Opportunity School through Highland Park United Methodist Church’s United Methodist Women and fellow board member Marie Naklie McCoy. Having followed the development of SOSMC and its dedication to raising funds to renovate the school and orphanage facilities for the children at The Opportunity School in Chennai, Michele responded with enthusiasm at the opportunity to serve on the SOSMC board. Michele is currently Treasurer of SOSMC, and Treasurer-Elect of UMW at Highland Park UMC.
Hugh Williams -
SOSMC Executive Director
Stone Mountain, GA
Hugh has had the privilege of serving as the SOSMC board's Executive Director since the summer of 2015. Prior to his retirement from federal government service, he enjoyed a career as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He was introduced to the Opportunity School, its history, mission and the legitimacy of its needs during his assignment to Chennai in 1991, when he visited the campus on numerous occasions and became acquainted with the school’s staff and leadership. His tenure on the board has allowed him to work with a dedicated group of individuals committed to improving the lives of some disenfranchised children in India to receive the benefits of a quality education and training.