Four new KnowledgeWorks Board Members bring diverse private, public and nonprofit experience

Lillian Lowery, Victor C. Young, Brenda Shum and Sean M. Decatur join board


As KnowledgeWorks furthers its mission to help every child to succeed through personalized learning, the organization has added some new faces to its board of directors.

At the August board meeting, Lillian Lowery, Victor C. Young, Brenda Shum and Sean M. Decatur were appointed as board members, the organization announced. Each new director brings diverse experience and a passion about education, KnowledgeWorks President and CEO Judy Peppler said.

“Our new KnowledgeWorks board members will be invaluable to the organization as we move forward to personalize learning for all students,” Peppler said. “Each brings incredible professional and personal experiences to the table, and will be instrumental in our mission to help every student succeed.”

The board meets quarterly, and it met for its summer meeting on August 16-17 at KnowledgeWorks’ office in Cincinnati, Ohio. During the meeting, KnowledgeWorks officially inducted the following board members:

Lillian Lowery

Dr. Lowery served as Superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education from 2012-2015 in the Cabinet of Governors Martin O’Malley and Larry Hogan. Throughout her career, Lowery has been committed to public schools as a teacher, assistant principal, minority student achievement monitor, principal, area administrator, assistant superintendent and superintendent. Before moving to Maryland, she also served as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education.

“Being a supporter of and advocate for individual student success, I am honored to join the board of KnowledgeWorks,” Lowery said. “The organization’s focus on personalized learning is a key strategy in addressing specific student needs in the context of deeper learning and college and career-ready goals. More importantly, KnowledgeWorks has established a model that values partnerships among national organizations focused on evidence-based support for students and educators. This collaborative focus brings capacity to teaching and learning that strengthens the organization’s mission and causes student success to be more realistic and achievable.  I am honored to be a part of such visionary leadership.”

Victor C. Young

Over the past 35 years, Young has served throughout the education system as teacher, foundation executive, consultant, advisor and CEO of nonprofit organizations. He helped start multiple schools and organizations, including St. Philip’s Academy (now Phillip’s Academy Charter School) in Newark, New Jersey, and Stark Education Partnership in Canton, Ohio.

“Given my lifelong passion for working to make our nation a place where all people can dream and achieve by providing everyone access to high-level, quality learning opportunities and experiences, I am honored to work with such a diverse and talented team doing so for all the right reasons,” Young said. “KnowledgeWorks has become a champion of social justice and equity through strategy, foresight, expertise and grace.”

Brenda Shum

Shum currently serves as the director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Through this position, she oversees litigation designed to guarantee all students receive a quality education in public schools and institutions of higher learning. She also fights to eliminate discriminatory practices in school discipline, school funding and special education. Throughout her legal career, Shum has continually stood up for children.

“It’s a privilege to join the board of KnowledgeWorks and to support its mission to provide students with the opportunity to thrive in school and life,” Shum said. “KnowledgeWorks is a leader in competency-based learning, and has a demonstrated commitment to developing the capacity of communities and educators to offer meaningful personalized learning to all students. I look forward to serving on the board and contributing to its ongoing success.”

Sean M. Decatur 

With over 20 years of experience in the higher education space, Decatur currently serves as president of Kenyon College in central Ohio. Previously, he spent time at: Oberlin College as College of Arts and Sciences dean and professor; Massachusetts Institute of Technology as visiting scientist; and Mount Holyoke College as assistant professor, Chemistry Department chair and associate dean of faculty for science. He has developed unique courses, including a race-and-science lecture series, helped establish a top biophysical chemistry research program at Mount Holyoke, and led a review of curricular requirements.

“I am delighted and honored to be joining the KnowledgeWorks board and to have the opportunity to support the tremendous work, from strategic foresight to policy to pedagogical practice,” Decatur said.

KnowledgeWorks Board of Directors

These new directors will join the current board of directors consisting of: current Board Chair Steven Minter, Cleveland State University; Stephen Dackin, Superintendent of Schools and Community Partnerships at Columbus State Community College; Tom Fry, Partner at Dietel Partners; Dr. Lucie Lapovsky, current principal at Lapovsky Consulting and former president of Mercy College; Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds, Vice President of Policy at the Foundation for Excellence in Education; and Eileen Rudden, co-founder of LearnLaunch. The Honorable Nathaniel Jones, retired judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, continues to champion the work of KnowledgeWorks as an emeritus member of the Board of Directors.

About KnowledgeWorks

KnowledgeWorks is a national nonprofit organization advancing a future of learning that ensures each student graduates ready for what’s next. For more than 20 years, we’ve been partnering with states, communities and leaders across the country to imagine, build and sustain vibrant learning communities. Through evidence-based practices and a commitment to equitable outcomes, we’re creating the future of learning, together.