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, Mark Anthony Brown, 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:
Major General Brown currently serves as the Vice Commander, Air Education and Training Command (AETC), Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. AETC recruits, trains and educates Air Force personnel. Previously, Brown served in comptroller, command and staff positions at all levels of the Department of Defense, including two staff assignments working directly with the legislative branch of government. He also has global experience serving abroad.
“In the U.S Air Force, I’ve had the good fortune of seeing what happens when learners are empowered to guide their own learning and develop a sense of ownership for their progress,” Brown said. “I’ve watched young men and women who come from various levels of affluence become lifelong learners and achievers. They are my brothers in arms. I look forward to sharing these lessons as a member of the KnowledgeWorks Board of Directors by advocating for school systems that support personalized and competency-based education. It’s an exciting time as districts move to unique learning plans for every student based on interests, learning styles and real-time data.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
KnowledgeWorks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing personalized learning that empowers all students to take ownership of their success.
With more than 50 professionals working in 11 states, KnowledgeWorks is uniquely positioned to transform cradle to career education because we’re the only organization that simultaneously engages in strategic forecasting, governmental advocacy and working directly with schools. Throughout our 20-year history, we’ve been passionate about collaborating to create a system-wide approach that grows and sustains student-centered practices – all to equip learners for career and life success.
Through customized professional development, in-depth research such as forecasts on the future of learning and federal education policy guidance and state-level ESSA implementation support, KnowledgeWorks has created opportunities for more than 135,000 students in 20 states through competency-based learning and early college. www.knowledgeworks.org