The Alumni Achievement Award is given to an alumna/us who has achieved excellence in his or her chosen field and who has made a commitment to helping others. The recipient is someone who inspires others by his or her achievement.
The John D. Wallace ’48 Alumni Service Award is given to an alumna/us whose service to the community and/or Princeton Day School reflect the highest ideals of the school. The recipient is someone who inspires others by his or her example of sensitivity or generosity.
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award will honor an alumna/us who graduated within the past 15 years, who has made significant contributions to civic or professional organizations, whose life is characterized by creativity, curiosity and community service and who reflects the highest ideals of Princeton Day School.
2021 PDS Alumni Award Recipients
Alumni Achievement Award: Christopher L. Jones ’91
Chris Jones is an internationally recognized blockchain expert and technology veteran. He launched several successful startups and has helped shape others. He was president of Dragonscale which supports innovative blockchain projects and has been a senior marketing strategist with Adidas, Mattel, and Boost Mobile. He is presently an investor in Console USA, a technology outsourcing company that seeks to leverage the untapped energy and talent in typically overlooked communities.
After graduating from Georgetown University with degrees in marketing and management, Mr. Jones played for two semi-professional soccer teams before he helped establish a nonprofit called DC Scores. It was an after-school program offering soccer and writing instruction for urban, at risk students and was one of the earliest programs to combine academics and athletics. Twenty-five years later, it serves 13,500 students in 12 major cities and has been renamed America SCORES. Mr. Jones received his M.B.A. from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management in 2002 and has been inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at both PDS and Georgetown. He lives with his wife, Amanda, and their three children in Lake Forest Park, WA.
John D. Wallace '48 Alumni Service Award: Lisbeth A. Warren ’71
Volunteerism has been a constant in Lisa Warren’s life since her childhood. Even as she excelled in a high-powered legal career requiring considerable travel, she devoted countless hours to local nonprofit organizations. She retired from Johnson & Johnson in 2018, having served as Assistant General Counsel for the majority of her 33-year tenure.
During that time, Ms. Warren began a 36-year association with Visions and Pathways, an organization that provides housing and support services for abused, neglected, and homeless youth. She served on its Board of Trustees for many years and recently joined its Advisory Council. She is also a trustee of SAVE animal shelter, serves on the PDS Alumni Board, and co-coaches the school’s Mock Trial Team. She is involved with NJ LEEP (Law and Education Empowerment Project) where she coaches debate and mock trial, helps with résumé writing and interview skills, and mentors a tenth-grade student. Ms. Warren graduated from Washington University and New York University School of Law. She and her husband, Robert Cantlay, are the parents of Rachel Cantlay ’13.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award: Shira Concool ’06
Shira Concool is a champion for social justice and racial equity. She battles racism as a community organizer and recently opened her own psychotherapy practice to support queer and transgender clients and help them navigate their complex identity issues. She also works with interfaith and interracial couples and offers career and mental health counseling. She has experience working in college counseling centers and on staff at a large community practice.
At PDS, Ms. Concool was involved in theater, the Gay Straight Alliance, the EnAct Club, and the Teaching Assistant Program (TAP). She volunteered at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden and was an intern at Planned Parenthood in Trenton. She received a degree in African American Studies from Yale University and then returned to PDS and worked briefly in the Admissions Office. In 2010, she completed a master’s in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness at New York University. She and her husband, Derrick Ashong, live in Smyrna, GA with their one-year-old daughter.
Athletic Hall of Fame: Tania Schoennagel ’86
Tania Schoennagel is a lifelong athlete whose confidence, skill, and leadership contributed greatly to the success of the teams on which she played. She captained the varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams which, during her involvement, captured seven Prep A State Championships. She joined the girls varsity ice hockey team as a freshman after learning to skate the summer before. In her senior year, she was elected tri-captain and helped the team amass a 10-1 record. She was awarded the Gold P, the school’s highest athletic honor, and went on to play field hockey and lacrosse at Dartmouth College.
Today, as a research ecologist studying wildfires at the University of Colorado, her field work has taken her into the back country of the Cascade and Rocky mountain ranges where her hiking and orienteering skills are an asset. She plays women’s ice hockey and also enjoys pond hockey, trail running, cross-country and telemark skiing, and biking. Ms. Schoennagel received an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. She lives with her husband, Steve Leovy, and their two children in Boulder, CO.
2020 PDS Alumni Award Recipients
Alumni Achievement Award: Patrick Courtney ’85
In his position as Chief Communications Officer for Major League Baseball, Pat Courtney fields an unrelenting barrage of questions and requests as he supervises all aspects of the organization’s communications and media relations and serves as the chief spokesman for Commissioner Rob Manfred. For 28 years, he has directed media operations for the organization’s premier events including the World Series and the All-Star Game. In addition, he oversees its charitable giving programs and community relations initiatives such as Stand Up to Cancer, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and Boys and Girls Clubs of America. In 2009, he was honored with the Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations Excellence by vote of the Major League Clubs.
Mr. Courtney is “Lifer” who attended Princeton Day School from kindergarten through twelfth grade. After receiving his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Richmond, he interned for the New York Yankees for a year before joining the Major League Baseball organization in 1992 as Manager of Public Relations.
John D. Wallace '48 Alumni Service Award: Julie Taitsman ’90
Julie Taitsman has served in all three branches of the federal government, the last 16 years in the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As Chief Medical Officer, she is the primary resource on clinical and scientific issues and lends medical expertise to audits, evaluations, inspections and enforcement actions. Her portfolio focuses on protecting and overseeing services for vulnerable populations, including safety of children in Head Start facilities and medical care for elderly people in nursing homes. She also fosters collaboration to improve health care for beneficiaries of the Medicare, Medicaid and Indian Health Service programs. Her first federal job was with the Office for Civil Rights and she later served as Special Counsel for Health and Science for the Senate Finance Committee.
In 1992, Dr. Taitsman graduated phi beta kappa from Brown University with a B.A. in International Relations and received her M.D. from Brown’s medical school four years later. She went on to Harvard Law School, graduating cum laude in 1998, then clerked for Judge Constance Baker Motley in the U.S. Southern District of New York.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award: Catherine Chomiak ’05
Before she returned to Washington, DC last fall, Catherine Chomiak spent five years in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, working as Senior Producer for CNN International’s flagship Middle East prime time show, Connect the World with Becky Anderson. The two-hour program received three Emmy nominations in 2018 and Ms. Chomiak was responsible for all aspects of the production including managing a team of producers, writers and copy editors, pitching and evaluating story ideas, and writing and editing scripts and video packages. She filmed special editions of the show in Jerusalem, London, Amman, Doha and Riyadh. Previously, she worked in Washington for NBC News as a Political Unit Researcher and then, from 2011 to 2014, as a State Department Producer.
Ms. Chomiak spent three years at Princeton Day School before moving with her family to Shanghai, People’s Republic of China, where she completed her senior year. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009 with a double major in Communication and Public Service and Political Science.
Athletic Hall of Fame: Paris McLean ’00
In only two years at Princeton Day School, Paris McLean made his presence felt as a three-sport powerhouse and magnetic team leader. In both his junior and senior years, he was named to the football All-State and All-Prep First Team by The Times of Trenton and the Trentonian and captained the PDS team. The 1998-1999 basketball team captured the Prep A State Championship and the next year, it advanced to the Mercer County Finals. Mr. McLean served as captain his senior year and was named All-Prep Honorable Mention, an honor he also received in varsity baseball that spring.
Mr. McLean played football for four years at LaSalle University and was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-America All-District Team in his sophomore and senior years. He was also one of 200 college athletes across the country to be named a NCAA Leadership Conference Selection in 2002 and one of only 22 college football players nationwide to be selected for the All-State Good Works Team in 2003. He was named a Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, Philadelphia Chapter, his senior year and served as Co-Head of the La Salle Athletic Relations Council. After college, Mr. McLean returned to PDS to teach and to coach football and basketball and was named Basketball Coach of the Year in 2008, 2011 and 2012. Mr. McLean is currently Assistant Head of School at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart.