The LWVN is governed by a board of director, which includes officers and directors elected or appointed. Members of the LWVN board serve one year terms and elections are held at the Annual Meeting.
The LWVN Board of Directors meets monthly in the evening, generally on the second Wednesday of the month. All members are welcome. Attending board meetings is a great way for new members to learn League process and for more seasoned members to stay connected. If you want to join us, email firstname.lastname@example.org for meeting information. We hope to see you there.
Meet the Board
Jen Abbott has been an active volunteer in Newton since 2007 when she and her husband chose to settle in Newton to raise their 3 children. She served as co-president of the Cabot PTO and helped advocate for the passage of the 2013 tax overrides that provided funding for much needed capital improvements in the city. She also served as co-president and Equity Representative for the Newton PTO Council and served on the NPS Equity Committee. Jen joined the LWVN in 2017 at which time she was a co-chair of the campaign to amend the city charter. Jen joined the LWVN board this spring (2019). Jen has a BA from the University of Virginia and an MAT from Lewis and Clark College.
Frieda Dweck, moved to Newton with her family in 2000. She has been a member of the LWVN since 2016 and joined the Board in 2017. Frieda helped collect signatures for the LWVN to put a question on the local ballot about charter reform and then co-chaired the campaign to amend the city charter. She is a former Mason-Rice PTO co-president, and former PTO Council co-president. Frieda currently also serves on the Board of the Newton Schools Foundation. She has a BA and a JD from New York University.
Jane Harper was a member of the board of the Hamilton-Wenham League of Women Voters before she moved to Newton in 2003. After moving to Newton, Jane attended Boston College Law School and then practiced corporate and banking law while raising two children. As a member of LWVN for many years, she is very pleased to be joining the board in the summer of 2023. She has a BA from Davidson College and a JD from Boston College Law School.
Marcia Johnson, a resident of Newton for over 30 years, has been a member of the LWVN since 2000 and joined the Board in 2016. She was a member of the Board of Alderman from 2000-2015 in a leadership position for 14 of those years. She took a special interest in zoning and affordable housing by taking the lead to begin zoning reform (redesign) effort. She is a retired human resources professional who worked in the bio-pharmaceutical industry focusing on organizational & leadership development. She has a BS in elementary education and an M.Ed in special education.
Rhanna Kidwell has lived in Newton since 1994. In 2009 she co-chaired the LWVN study of Newton’s city charter. In 2012 she led the League’s signature drive that resulted in Newton electing a charter commission, and in 2015 she was elected to serve on the charter commission. In other community work, Rhanna was a PTO Co-President at Mason-Rice and Co-President of the Newton PTO Council and was a Girl Scout troop leader for eight years. She served on the board of the West Suburban YMCA from 2012 to 2019 and currently serves on the board of the Newton Schools Foundation. Since 2008 she has been self-employed developing residential real estate and before that she spent 19 years in the banking industry, working in financial and risk analysis, strategic planning, and marketing.
Madeline Ranalli is a lifelong Newton resident, graduate of NPS, and political advocate. Within Newton, she volunteers with Engine 6 to advocate for fair housing and has also worked as the Political Director of March For Our Lives: Massachusetts lobbying for gun violence prevention here in Massachusetts. She studies environmental and land use politics at Harvard University, where she researches housing policy with Harvard’s Joint Center of Housing Studies. In her spare time, she enjoys running and spending time with her dog, Mavis, and her family’s frequent foster dog.”
Sharyn Roberts has lived in Newton for over 50 years, and has been active in the League of Women Voters Newton for over 25 years. Currently, she leads the Voter Service team and helps people register to vote in a number of venues, including Cold Spring Farmers’ Markets, West Newton Farmers’ Markets, Newton’s July 4th and Harvest Festivals, most Village Days, and at both Newton North and South High Schools. She also is very active with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, was a troop leader for years and now volunteers citywide and district-wide for the Scout Councils. She also worked with the Understanding Our Differences (formerly Understanding Handicaps) Program for 40 years, serving on their Board for over 30 years. On a personal note, Sharyn has three children, with her family owns Newtonville Camera, which recently moved to Waltham, and is a violist.
Margie Ross Decter
Marcia Tabenken moved to Newton with her family in 2000 and dove into volunteering, with a focus on education. She helped establish the PTO at the Newton Early Childhood Program, served as co-president of the Horace Mann PTO, and was president of Newton PTO Council. In 2013, she co-chaired the successful override campaign that provided funding to rebuild Angier, Zervas and Cabot elementary schools. Most recently she served on the Board of Newton Schools Foundation, including 5-1/2 years as president. Marcia’s professional background is in communications for health care and nonprofit organizations, and she continues to do a bit of consulting for local nonprofits. When not volunteering, Marcia can be found on the tennis courts.
Cyrus Vaghar grew up in Newton, attended NPS, and later ran for School Committee. Over the last half-decade, he has worked as a real estate agent, primarily selling residential properties, at Coldwell Banker in Newton Centre. Outside of work and volunteering, he enjoys reading and writing screenplays, studying acting, and closely following Newcastle United Football Club. He holds a B.A. from Regis College and an M.S. from WGU.