Board of Trustees


 CHAIR – Carolyn Helmlinger Carolyn is the Former President/CEO of Mid-America Group, a leasing and development real estate company, which is a $100,000,000.00 privately held company. Prior to that, Carolyn was VP Midwest for Coldwell Banker Real Estate Franchise Division with direct oversight of 850 offices in 13 states. Carolyn moved to Northport, Michigan in 2011 to pursue her consulting business and to be closer to her family. During her over 35 years in business, she has led several organizations and has been involved in several non-profit organizations. She was Interim CEO for the YMCA in Traverse City, and is now on the YMCA Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Prior to moving to Northern Michigan, Carolyn lived in Des Moines, Iowa where she held positions with the United Way Cabinet Board and Des Moines Partnership Executive Committee, and served a President of Des Moines Association of Realtors and Chairperson for Making Strides for Breast Cancer and Executive Women’s International. She received the Des Moines Register’s Women of Influence Award and the Chandler Barton “Can Do” award, but she is most proud of being a grandmother of 10! Carolyn has been involved with many task forces in creating efficiencies in the marketplace and businesses, and her current business Conlyn Consulting, specializing in Crisis Management and Business Advisory Consulting.

Carolyn said “I was first introduced to The Leelanau School as a potential Board member. I was initially so impressed with the beauty of the campus and the peaceful learning environment. After meeting the staff and faculty, understanding their great work and commitment, and especially, the lives they impact, my level of excitement began to grow. I am humbled to have been nominated as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees. We will continue with the mission of the School to provide the very best experience and growth for our students. While maintaining that 100% of our students are accepted at a college or university! What other private school can tout that achievement?”

VICE CHAIR – James P. Spica  Jim is an Attorney and is a Member in the Detroit office of Dickinson Wright PLLC. He specializes in trust law and trust banking. He is the principal author of the Michigan Personal Property Trust Perpetuities Act of 2008 and of the multi-statute “trust-decanting” regime enacted by the Michigan legislature in 2012. He is an American Bar Association (ABA) Advisor to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a member of the ACTEC State Laws Committee, a past member of the Council (governing body) of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan (2006-2015), and a current member of the Probate and Estate Planning Advisory Board of the Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

James is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy (1975, Academy Scholarship), the University of Michigan (A.B., 1979, Honors College), the University of Detroit (J.D., 1984), and New York University (LL.M. (in Taxation), 1985). He has also been a visiting scholar (2000-2001) in the University of Michigan’s Department of Classical Studies. He clerked for Hon. Richard C. Wilbur on the United States Tax Court in Washington, D.C. (1985) and taught taxation, trusts, and decedents’ estates as an Assistant/Associate Professor of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy (1989-2000, tenured 1996).

James’s service on non-profit boards and board advisory committees includes the Chairman’s Council of the American Trust for the British Library, the Associates Board of Governors of the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan, the Board of the Interlochen Center for the Arts (which he has represented in the Harvard Business School’s Governing Nonprofits for Excellence program), the Tannahill Council of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Legal-Financial Network Committee of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. He has also been a Director of the Grosse Pointe Library Foundation, a Trustee of The Roeper School, and a member of the Grosse Pointe Academy Board of Trustees’ Education Policy Committee.

His son, Joseph is a junior at The Leelanau School.

TREASURERJohn Hyatt  John is the regional Commercial Lending Officer at Team One Credit Union in Traverse City, Michigan. Team One offers affordable financial products and services to businesses and education institutions in 63 Michigan counties. John has over 13 years of banking experience having held various positions in Commercial and Government Banking Services.

John is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and is involved with the Traverse City Area Chapter of the Kiwanis Club, through which, he volunteers time with Junior Achievement, the Special Olympics, the Kiwanis Ski Schools, and many other area groups and school athletic programs. John is also involved with the Grand Traverse Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan State Alumni Association.

In his free time, John enjoys spending time with his family, being outdoors, playing tennis and long distance running.

John said, “I joined the Board, because I was asked. I said yes because I feel that my experience and knowledge could be put to use here and help in guiding The Leelanau School’s future. As I have become more and more involved in the School, my desire to see the school grow and thrive has only grown, and I am committed to doing everything I can to see this happens.[/accordion-item]

SECRETARY – Dr. Mary Beth Hardwicke  Mary Beth received her B.S. in Zoology with High Distinction from the University of Michigan in 1980 and her Medical Degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1984. She spent the first ten years of her career in Medical Education – teaching medical students and directing an Internal Medicine Residency Training Program of 40 young physicians. She went on to form her own small business and worked with three colleagues in an Internal Medicine practice for sixteen years. She retired in September of 2013 to spend more time with her family in Northern Michigan.

During her career, Mary Beth has been the recipient of numerous awards including multiple nominations as “Top Doc” in Detroit Hour Magazine, the “Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award” from Wayne State University, and being named as “One of the Best Primary Care Physicians in the Country” by Town and Country Magazine. To keep busy during retirement, Mary Beth volunteers in the Traverse City Health Clinic (serving an indigent population), writes a blog for the Grand Traverse Commission on Aging, gives medical lectures for the Senior Center Network in Traverse City and is co-chairing a Capital Campaign to build a new public library in the village of Interlochen.

Mary Beth’s nephew, Travis, graduated from The Leelanau School in 2015. She believes Leelanau helped shape him into a confident, independent, forward-thinking young man. In her opinion, “Leelanau would be a great school for every child in the country. It allows them to be safe, it recognizes them as individuals and it lets them achieve their full potential.” As a Board member, her hope is to continue the school on its current path, allowing its phenomenal academic and residential life staff to work their magic.

MEMBER – Joan Conway Joan is the parent of 2014 graduate.  She teaches English as a Second Language at Western Michigan University and serves as a community leader in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek areas. In addition to her skills as an educator, she has insight in the international student market and has been a staunch supporter of Leelanau both in terms of referrals and financial support.

MEMBER – Meagan Darlington Meagan graduated from The Leelanau School in 1990.  She is an global digital marketing and sales executive, having worked in Fortune 500 software companies like Microsoft, Google, and is currently with Adobe.  She credits The Leelanau School for unlocking her mathematics skills which allow her to succeed in a demanding technology career.  She has recently joined two strategic planning committees and is looking forward to “having an excuse to come back to Leelanau more often.”

PARENT MEMBER – Elizabeth Parker

FACULTY MEMBER – Bruce Hood Bruce is the chair of the Science Department and has been teaching science for 24 years, 23 of them at The Leelanau School. Bruce received his Bachelor of Science in Botany from the University of New Hampshire, his Teaching Certification from Northern Michigan University. and his Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University in Animal Behavior. Bruce lives with his wife, Laura, on a cooperative farm in Cedar, where they have horses, pigs, chickens and family gardens. He has two children.

CHAIRMAN EMERITUS Robert McNutt, ’55   was a member of the Board of The Leelanau School from 1970 to 1991 – serving as Chair from 1975 to 1980. After an 11 year hiatus, Bob rejoined the Board in 2002, and again served as Chair from 2005-2015. Bob speaks passionately about The Leelanau School, and credits Leelanau with making him the man he is today.

Bob continues to be engaged by offering his assistance with any number of projects, including his tireless support of fundraising efforts for The Leelanau School.

Trustee Emeritus – Dr. Charles E. Olson, Jr. ‘48