Giving » Northland Foundation

Northland Foundation

Meet Northland Foundation Directors

GillilandOccupation: Senior Resident Director,
CRPC® Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.
Church Affiliation: St. Dunstan's Episcopal
Northland Association: Since 2013
What Northland means to me:
Our five children attend Northland Christian School. We are beyond pleased with both campuses. Each of our children are surrounded by teachers and administrators that make them feel safe, appreciated, loved, respected, enjoyed, and listened to while preparing them for their future. The comfort that brings us as parents is beyond priceless.
Jim BallJim was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and has a civil engineering degree from Oklahoma State University. Jim and his wife, Brenda have 2 children who attended Northland Christian School (2001 to 2013) and graduated from Northland Christian School. I am an active member of Champion Forest Baptist Church. I worked many years in the construction and subsea oil industry and now I have a travel agency. Brenda and I are grateful to Northland Christian School providing a good, Christian based education to our children.
Cindy ButlerCindy is a Director at Enterprise Products, one of the leading midstream energy providers in North America. She earned her undergraduate degree in Accounting and has been working in the energy industry for almost 19 years.
Her husband of 15 years, Jimmy, is a Criminal Defense Attorney and has his own practice. They have two boys, Brody and Jackson. They joined the Northland Family in 2011 when Brody started preschool at 4 years old, and Jackson has followed in his big brother’s footsteps. Brody will be in 6th grade for the 2018-2019 school year, and Jackson will be in 1st.
“Northland has been such a gift for us and for our boys. We are so thankful to God that we can send them to Northland not only for the outstanding education, but for the Christian culture that Northland provides in all that they do. I am inspired every day when I see my son come home and have God in his heart in everything he does. Whether it is playing with his brother because he knows it will please God or sticking up for a friend who is being teased, Northland has played such a huge role in the good person that he is”.
Since this is my first time to serve on the Foundation Board, the verse from Joshua 1:9 comes to mind, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” I look forward to helping and serving for the good of Northland.
Brittany ClarkBrittany Clark is the Vice President of UAL America, an international shipping line servicing the oil & gas sector from the US Gulf & Europe to West Africa, where she has worked for 15 years.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from the University of Texas in San Antonio and also studied International Business and Economics at the University of Economics in Prague, CZ.
Brittany and her husband, Adam, are the proud parents of two Northland students. They chose Northland because it is a Christ-centered institution offering exceptional academic curriculum, devoted and innovated teachers, along with unparalleled extracurricular activities. They believe these are the key ingredients for a strong spiritual, intellectual, and fulfilling future.
Denise DarrDenise Darr moved to Texas from Tampa, Florida in 2009. As a new resident of Houston she found Northland through the Lord’s guiding hand. Denise met Northland teacher Dena Kraner at her neighborhood park. Mrs. Kraner’s kind spirit and encouraging words about her Northland Christian school family stuck with Denise when she started looking for the right Christian school for her son. Inevitably God knew where they belonged and the Darr family has been proud Northland Cougars since 2014.
“We are blessed beyond words to attend this school. Northland Christian is more than a school, it’s a Christian family. I look forward to each school year as I witness my child grow in God’s love. The teachers and administrators pour God’s word into these children daily. The friends and families we have met through Northland are a testament to the school’s motto, “One family, One mission, Truth Forever, Victory Forever, and Glorifying God forever.“
Denise and her husband Dale have been married for 17 years. They have a 9 year old son, Daulton, who started at Northland in kindergarten and is currently in 3rd grade. She enjoys working with children and previously owned and operated seven Gymboree Play & Music centers in Florida. Denise serves on the Northland Christian Executive Board for PTO. She also works as a substitute teacher, the Clinician, and Administrative Assistant at the Elementary Campus.
She has served as a volunteer Cub Scout Leader with Boy Scouts of America and the Director for John Wesley UMC Vacation Bible School. The Darrs sponsor children and families through Child Fund and Star of Hope Missions. They attend St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church where Daulton recently received his first communion.
Like her mother and father, Denise attended Florida State University. As a native Floridian she enjoys spending time at the beach with her family and friends. She is an avid tennis player and snow skier. Her true passion is being her son’s biggest cheerleader in the classroom and on the sports fields.
Denise says, “Serving on the foundation board brings a level of compassion and hard work to make the right decisions with a servant’s heart.” For her, Acts 20:35 comes to mind. “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.’’
Dr. Cristina MarchesanoDr. Cristina Marchesano is a board certified pediatrician who has been practicing since 2012. Dr. Marchesano grew up in Sugar Land, Texas where most of her large Italian family still lives. She attended Houston Baptist University for her undergraduate work and medical school at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. She completed her pediatric residency training at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston in collaboration with Memorial Hermann Children's Hospital and was Chief Resident of the Pediatric Residency Program. Dr. Marchesano met her husband, Dr. Shaun Varghese, during medical school and they got married after their intern year of residency. She and her husband now live in Spring, TX with their 2 sons, Blake and Chase. They own a pediatric Neurology practice, THINK Neurology for Kids, with 4 locations in the Houston area. They enjoy boating, traveling and staying active with their 2 boys.
Kalai McHanKalai McHan is a graduate of Northland in addition to being an avid volunteer leader. Her relationship with the school spans several decades, even though she moved away from Northland, she returned with her children and made it home again. Her PTO leadership has been invaluable to the school and she is active in most support organizations.

She says, “My association with Northland began as a fifth grade student in the fall of 1978. I graduated in 1986, attended Harding University, married and lived in the Midwest for 18 years and moved back to Houston in July 2008. Our son, Hayden, is a 2014 graduate of Northland, and daughter Lizzy is a 2017 graduate. I never dreamed my children would have the privilege of sharing my alma mater.”

Kalai loves that Northland provides the opportunity for children to be taught by Christian teachers with Christian values woven through every aspect of school – academics, sports, and other extracurricular activities. The small class sizes at Northland allow children to be involved in different types of activities and they are able explore their God-given talents and abilities.

Kalai says, “I have a long history with Northland and want to make a positive impact in shaping the lives of my children and future children at the school. My favorite scripture in all aspects of my life is Jeremiah 29:11. ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ I strongly believe God has a plan for our lives and wants us to turn to Him for direction in carrying out that plan. I believe He has a plan for Northland, and I am blessed to be part of fulfilling His plan for our school.”

Kalai is a passionate person and she values parent involvement in school. “I encourage parents to find an area of Northland they love and get involved. Northland is a second family for me, and I want others to be blessed by being part of a wonderful Christian school family.”
Mike WhelessMike Wheless is Founder, President and Managing Partner of Wheless Search & Consulting, a nationwide leadership consulting and executive search firm.

Mundi is his wife of 14 years, and they have two daughters Marley and Myla. The family has been associated with Northland Christian School since 2012 when their daughters started attending Northland at ages two and four. Mundi is a Northland volunteer and has enjoyed getting to know other Northland families.

Mike remembers, when considering Northland, he heard something that hit home - the school talked about instilling Christian values that children can always fall back upon when faced with life's difficult decisions. It is that foundation that aligns with the Wheless family values.
Both Mundi and Mike believe their daughters have flourished academically as a result of incredibly devoted and caring Northland teachers.

One of Mike’s favorite scriptures in regard to raising children is Matthew 19:14: “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’”