Our National Board

Julie Neimat, Board Chair

Senior Vice President, Global Talent and Human Resource Management, Discovery Communications LLC

Julie is an innovative human resources leader with expertise supporting business growth in a variety of fast paced domestic and international environments. As SVP Global Talent and HR Management at Discovery Communications, she serves dual functions, leading the organization’s talent acquisition initiatives and delivering HR solutions to Discovery’s global corporate operations – partnering with the business to shape strategic initiatives for commercial growth, workforce evolution, and ROI.

Before her work at Discovery, Julie led HR and Operations at Wind-Up Entertainment, a New York-based record label and music publishing company. She also served as an HR Business Partner for DoubleClick, a global Internet Advertising Solutions company, in their New York, Dublin and London offices where she oversaw HR for the Pan-European businesses. Here, she supported significant business growth including opening new offices and driving several major acquisitions and joint venture conversions. Julie holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Journalism and English Literature from Michigan State University.

Read Full Bio

Shally Stanley

Vice Chair and Governance Committee Chair

Managing Director, Global Services, Acumen Solutions

Shally is Managing Director of Acumen Solutions’ Global Services and is responsible for developing and delivering the company’s enterprise cloud transformation solutions to its customers. She has 20 years of experience as a management consultant focusing on achieving better business outcomes using innovative information technologies and practices.

Prior to her current role, Shally served as Chief Technology Officer of Greenwich Technology Partners. Before that, Shally cofounded NetGain LLC ‐ a highly successful network consulting business which grew to over $5 million in revenue within three years. Shally began her career at McKinsey & Company. She has been regularly quoted as a subject matter expert in leading publications and has been a speaker at leading industry conferences. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Read Full Bio

Hank Harris


President, Human Capital Enterprises

Hank is the Founder and President of Human Capital Enterprises, providing consulting services and HR thought-leadership to school district Superintendents and Boards across the United States. Formerly a teacher, principal, and school district leader, Hank is a well-respected speaker and thought-leader in the area of school district human capital. He currently also serves as the Executive Director of the Virginia Association of School Personnel Administrators.

Prior to relocating to Washington, DC, Hank served at the helm of three school district HR offices in the Pacific Northwest including Portland Public in Oregon and Bellingham in Washington State. He also served as Interim Executive Director of the American Association of School Personnel Administrators.

Read Full Bio

Armando de Castro

Senior Vice President, Corporate FP&A Discovery Communications

As Senior Vice President of Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis activity across the company, Armando is responsible for leading the review and analysis of operating performance, development of budgets and long range plans, producing board-level updates and working closely with CFOs to achieve financial targets. Prior to this role, he served as Vice President of Finance for Discovery Networks International, leading financial planning and analysis activities.

Before joining Discovery, Armando was Director, Business Development at Belo Corp., where he led corporate development projects and investments for television, newspaper and interactive businesses. Armando joined Belo Corp from Viacom Inc., serving in a number of management roles in Dallas and New York including Director, Strategic Planning at Blockbuster Inc. and Finance Manager at Nickelodeon and MTV in New York. He began his career working for JPMorgan Chase in Internal Audit.

Armando holds a Masters of Business Administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce and a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Finance from Providence College.

Read Full Bio

Karen Dielman

Portfolio Manager, The Jenesis Group

Karen Dielman is a Portfolio Manager for The Jenesis Group foundation, focused on assisting non-profit clients with meeting their strategic goals and building a sustainable organization. Her passion and career focus is to blend her business experience and public sector background in order to partner with social entrepreneurs to improve their businesses.

For the 12 years prior to joining the Jenesis staff, Karen worked for Sabre Inc, a global fortune 500 company. Her desire to lead entrepreneurial initiatives at the growing technology company provided Karen with tremendous leadership experiences and learning opportunities. Key leadership experiences include developing and implementing a global call center business, creating and managing Sabre’s consulting organization’s marketing strategy department, executing the company’s HR business process re-engineering effort, and managing the development, launch and growth strategy for several technology products and services.

Prior non-profit experience includes supporting disadvantaged families while working at Tarrant County Family Services and Tarrant County MHMR. She has also sat on a local non-profit Board and participated in numerous long and short term volunteer programs. Karen holds an MBA from Texas Christian University and a B.S. from The Pennsylvania State University.

Read Full Bio

Jeanne McCarty, Board Secretary

CEO, REAL School Gardens

Prior to leading REAL School Gardens in its national expansion, Jeanne spent eight years as vice president and director of the Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots, a global youth service program focused on conservation. With more than 17 years experience in education and program management, she has also served as the director of Undergraduate Programs for the Department of African American Studies and the assistant director of the Upward Bound program, both at the University of Maryland.

Jeanne is active in national and international initiatives to connect children and families to nature and to promote youth leadership in conservation. She serves on the Global Leadership Committee for the Nature Action Collaborative for Children and is on the National Advisory Board Member for The Gloria Barron Prize for Youth Heroes and the Advisory Council of the Environmental Leadership Center at Warren Wilson College. She holds a Master of Arts in American Studies from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Read Full Bio

Danielle Scaturro

Director of PropelNext, The Edna McConnell Clark Founation

Danielle oversees the management and strategic direction of PropelNext, developing and executing the business plan for the future of the program while ensuring the success of current grantees’ and co-investors’ engagement with the initiative.

Before being named Director of PropelNext in 2016, Danielle helped craft the initiative as Director of Program Operations, identifying cohort candidates, managing the selection process, developing systems to measure cohort performance, managing a set of grantee relationships, and working with co-investors. In her previous position as Senior Portfolio Associate, Scaturro created the Foundation’s performance management process to better understand the grantee portfolio’s results, managed relationships with several grantees, and helped identify and assess new candidates for investment. She initially served as the Foundation’s accountant. Before joining EMCF in 2002, Danielle held several positions in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector in direct services and finance and administration.

Danielle earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and an MBA from Baruch College, CUNY.

Read Full Bio

Dr. Ernie J. Smith, Finance Chair

Principal/Owner, Locus Advisors, LLC

Ernie is a Principal with the boutique consulting group Locus Advisors. Locus focuses on consulting and advisory services in the grocery, convenience, and drug retail and distribution markets, as well as foodservice, food production and food manufacturing. Smith in his career has completed numerous merger and acquisition transactions with total acquired volume in excess of $20 billion.Ernie has spent his career in the food industry, holding a number of executive positions and serving as an advisor to a number of large public and private companies.

He is currently a director of Alex Lee, Inc., the holding company for Merchants Distributors and Lowes Foods. In addition, Ernie most notably served as the former Executive President, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for Ahold USA, one of the nation’s largest food retailers. During Ernie’s tenure, Ahold flourished and obtained sales in excess of $34 billion in the US.Ernie has a Doctorate from The George Washington University, Masters of Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and Bachelors from Old Dominion University. He is a certified public accountant. He has been a member of multiple boards for profit and not for profit. He has been an adjunct professor for Old Dominion University.

Read Full Bio

Dale Stewart

Partner, LandDesign

Dale Stewart is a Partner, Civil Engineer, and immediate past president at LandDesign. He understands not only the opportunities and challenges of today’s engineering projects, but the important role and impact these projects play in the development of a larger region.

This expertise has made him a valuable member of a number of community organizations, appointed committees and task forces concerned with water quality protection and effective infrastructure. Dale earned a Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University and is a registered professional engineer in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia. Previously, Dale was the President of the Green Teacher Network where he worked to advance academics, health, and sustainability through school gardens and outdoor learning. He is also a member of several professional organizations, including the American Water Works Association, Water Environmental Federation, American Society of Civil Engineers, Water Environment Federation, and American Water Works Association.

Read Full Bio

Fred Thompson

Principal, The Communications Collaborative, LLC

Following a successful career path leading communications firms like Burson-Marsteller and Manning Selvage and Lee, Fred tired of commercial persuasion and sought to make a difference. He began as CEO of the Jane Goodall Institute, where he not only helped with the Roots & Shoots program but also forged strong partnerships with major governmental policy and funding entities, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the European Union, and the U.S. Department of State.

Following that Fred became CEO of the American Liver Foundation and most recently, Fred re-joined Creative Partners, LLC, a marketing communications company he co-founded as a silent partner in 2001. With offices in Stamford, Conn., and Los Angeles, Calif., the firm represents a combination of commercial and non-profit organizations including Health Net, Citibank, MBIA, Harvard University, Whirlpool Corporation and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Fred is also Chairman of The Center for Non-profit Growth. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University and is a frequent lecturer before professional and academic groups on topics related to brand-building, organizational positioning and donor acquisition strategies.

Read Full Bio

Cynthia Wilson

Chief of Staff, Houston Independent School District

Dr. Cynthia Wilson currently serves as the Chief of Staff of the Houston Independent School District. She began this role in April of 2017. Dr. Wilson previously served as Chief of Staff of the Dallas Independent School District. From 2010 to 2015 she served as Superintendent of the Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 in South Carolina. During her 29 years as an educator she spent 22 years in the Houston Independent School District, having served in various roles, including a regional and area superintendent, school principal, assistant principal, and teacher.
In her current HISD role, she is responsible for facilitating coordination and communication among the direct reports of the superintendent to ensure the superintendent is informed about current issues.

Dr. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston. She later earned a doctoral degree in educational leadership from South Carolina State University.

Throughout her career as a public-school educator, Dr. Wilson has championed the right of every child to receive a quality education that prepares them to realize the vision they have for their future. During her tenure as a superintendent, she led the school district through many initiatives that led to increased graduation rates, additional school choice options, increasing public/private partnerships and initiating efforts that supported struggling male students of color. She is highly regarded for her support of a diverse and multilingual student enrollment and achieving high academic results for all students.

Dr. Wilson is married to Livy Wilson and they have a son Stephen Wilson.

Read Full Bio

Our Regional Boards


Carolinas Region


Dale Stewart — Carolinas Board Chair

Dale Stewart is a Partner, Civil Engineer, and immediate past president at LandDesign. He understands not only the opportunities and challenges of today’s engineering projects, but the important role and impact these projects play in the development of a larger region.

This expertise has made him a valuable member of a number of community organizations, appointed committees and task forces concerned with water quality protection and effective infrastructure. Dale earned a Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University and is a registered professional engineer in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia. Previously, Dale was the President of the Green Teacher Network where he worked to advance academics, health, and sustainability through school gardens and outdoor learning. He is also a member of several professional organizations, including the American Water Works Association, Water Environmental Federation, American Society of Civil Engineers, Water Environment Federation, and American Water Works Association

Read Full Bio

Bert Lynn — Vice Chair

Bert is a landscape architect who focuses on the development of public spaces within Mecklenburg County, NC.

He currently serves as Project Manager for Mecklenburg County Asset and Facility Management where he oversees design and construction of parks, greenways, and nature preserves. He has served as a member of the Charlotte Chamber Greenworks Board for five years, Green Awards Chair for three years and Board Chair in 2015. With two children in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Montessori Magnet project, Bert has seen first-hand the benefits of extending the classroom outdoors and has a passion to help spread this concept across the Southeast.

Read Full Bio

Wayne Fisher

Wayne Fisher is the Elementary Science Specialist for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools where he leads programs and initiatives to enrich and enhance student learning in STEM.

A former Coast Guard officer and project engineer/manager in industry, Wayne launched his career in education in 1996 as a high school physics teacher in Natick, MA. From 1997-2007 he taught physics at Myers Park HS in Charlotte, NC before being asked to leave the classroom to nurture and grow the elementary science program in a large urban/suburban school district with 100 elementary schools. Since 2007, Wayne has helped build capacity and excitement for elementary science by focusing on partnerships and programs that impact teacher practice and resulting in significant growth in student achievement in science. Wayne was recognized for his efforts by being selected for the 2016 North Carolina Outstanding Administrator Award in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education.

Read Full Bio

Melia Gordon

Melia Gordon has spent almost two decades in public service in the areas of human resources, budgeting and program/performance evaluation.

She currently holds the role as a Budget and Financial Manager with the City of Charlotte, where she has worked since 2007. Her community focus is to partner with nonprofits that address domestic violence, literacy, hunger, and housing issues. Melia holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina and has a Masters of Public Administration from University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Read Full Bio

Jake House

Jake House is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Community 1st Advisors (C1A), a leading association management company.

Prior to C1A, House spent six years in urban public education reform, first with Pittsburgh Public Schools. House then became the ED of the nonprofit Citizen Schools’ North Carolina chapter. House holds a MBA from the University of Michigan (Ross), a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from the Broad Center for Urban Education and a BS in marketing from the University of Maryland.

Read Full Bio

Philip Lloyd

Philip Lloyd is a culinary instructor at the Art Institute of Charlotte, NC. He also is the owner of Certified Chef’s Cuisine.

He began working in food service as a teen, when his father encouraged him to try his hand at cooking because he “ate too much.” Starting as a dishwasher, he quickly worked his way up and was a managing the kitchen by the time he was 17. Philip has had the privilege of working with highly regarded clubs, restaurants, chefs and service staff throughout his career. Philip is a member of the American Culinary Federation and the World Association of Cooks. He was twice named the ACF Greater Charlotte Chapter Chef of the Year. He received a degree in Culinary Management from Ai Pittsburgh in 2015 and a degree in AOS Culinary Science from the Culinary Institute of America Hyde Park in 1988.

Read Full Bio

Roger Sarow

Roger Sarow is a journalist, content producer and non-profit media executive.

After 26 years of service, Sarow retired in 2015 as president and general manager of WFAE Public Radio, Charlotte, and its affiliated media operations. WFAE was founded by UNC-Charlotte. It is now operated by the non-profit University Radio Foundation. Roger is a native of Wisconsin. He served as a public radio news director and later as a producer, program host and program director at Wisconsin Public Radio, a statewide network. He served for six years on the Board of Directors of National Public Radio where he chaired NPR’s Corporate Finance Committee. Previously Sarow was chair of NPR’s Satellite Distribution Committee. Sarow received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Wisconsin. He was a Rotary International Graduate Fellow in Germany. He has served as treasurer of the University Station Alliance, which represents public radio stations owned by higher education institutions. He also served as chairman of the Public Radio Program Directors’ Association.

Read Full Bio

Heidi Team

Heidi Team is the Chief Business Development Officer at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick’s Charlotte office.

She has extensive experience bringing structure and building business development and marketing programs within professional services organizations. Heidi works closely with attorneys and clients to enhance client relationships and growth strategies and supports the firm’s community contributions and partnerships. Prior to Shumaker, Heidi was a Client Relationship Executive with CohnReznick, a national accounting firm, where she led business development and marketing activities for the firm’s largest industry practice within the South Central region. Heidi is an active Charlotte Chamber Board of Advisors member, served on the Board of CREW Charlotte from 2011-2015, is an XTREME Hike participant (Cystic Fibrosis) and a fitness enthusiast.

Read Full Bio

Belinda Walters

Belinda Walters is retired from 30 years of serving K-12 and post –secondary educators with innovative products and services.

As a sales manager and product manager, Belinda oversaw the successful implementation of instructional, administrative and professional development technologies across the eastern half of the United States. With a deep understanding of education and better business practices, Belinda worked with a team of start-up specialists to introduce new technologies to public and private educators, leading to acquisitions of the start-ups by leading educational enterprises. Belinda graduated magna cum laud from University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a B.A. in business administration. Her focus was on finance and economics.

Read Full Bio


Texas Region


Jennifer Leigh Chandler — Dallas Board Chair

Jennifer Chandler is the Market Executive for North Texas for the U.S. Trust Private Wealth Management division of Bank of America.

She is a Leadership Dallas 2011 alumni and a “40 under 40” honoree for community service. She is an Executive Board member of Big Thought and a past board member of Junior Achievement of Dallas. She is the Chair for Bank of America Community volunteers and has acted as the liaison for non-profit financial literacy training needs served by Bank of America. Jennifer was a member of the founding committee for Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Development for Women (LEAD for Women). She received her B.A. in Government from the University of Texas and her M.B.A. from the University of Dallas with a focus on Finance.

Read Full Bio

Jeff Carter

Jeff Carter has spent more than 25 years in the real estate industry in the Dallas area.

Starting in 2006, he worked with Behringer, leading their Transaction Administration team, where he oversees contract negotiations, due diligence, and closing activities for different types of commercial real estate categories. Jeff connected with REAL School Gardens after establishing a mentoring program for at-risk students at Jerry Junkins Elementary School, where he connected more than 60 employees with students at school-related activities and functions. Before that, Jeff worked with the Trammell Crow Company, Lincoln Property Company, and Price Waterhouse. He previously served as a Trustee and Finance Committee Chair for Baylor Specialty Hospital and Baylor’s Our Children’s House, along with being a former Director with the Children’s Cancer Fund of Dallas. Jeff graduated from Indiana University at Bloomington in 1985 with a BS in Accounting.

Read Full Bio

Giles Davidson

Giles’ career in Information Systems and Project Management has spanned 30 years, working for companies such as Verizon, MCI/Worldcom, and Discovery Communications.

He is also a Managing Partner of GoWest, LLC, a residential development company. Giles got to know REAL School Gardens shortly after moving to Dallas in 2010 when he became a member of the inaugural class of Leadership DISD (Dallas Independent School District). He also serves on a number of other boards, including: Readers2Leaders; Dallas Social Venture Partners; Human Rights Campaign; and the Dallas Fort Worth Mountaineers Alumni Association. Giles holds a BS in Journalism, Minor in Chemistry from West Virginia University, and an MBA, from George Washington University.

Read Full Bio

Jerri Hammer

Jerri Hammer is an individual tax advisor, an attorney and a Certified Public Accountant.

She is a partner at TravisWolff’s Individual Tax & Advisory department and specializes in high net worth individuals, hedge fund managers, foreign exchange and expats, and not-for-profits organizations (both private and public). Prior to obtaining her CPA license, she practiced law in estate planning and probate. She serves on boards at the Arthritis Foundation – Texas Chapter, the Association for Independent Living, and the Communities Foundation of Texas. Jerri has a B.A. in English, a J.D. (making her an attorney with a Juris Doctorate Degree) and a Master’s in Accounting from the University of Texas.

Read Full Bio

Margie Hernandez

Margie has been a Dallas ISD Educator for 20 years, working as an elementary Math/Science Teacher, a middle school Academic Coordinator and Assistant Principal before becoming the Principal of John J. Pershing Elementary.

As a campus leader, her bottom line is to increase student achievement through the delivery of quality instructional practices. Since the installation of the Pershing Real School Garden three years ago, she has seen the positive impact the outdoor learning classroom has made on her students, and is always eager to share her experience.

Read Full Bio

Jo Marie Lilly

Jo Marie Lilly’s 45 year career in advertising and the graphic arts has given her the opportunity to work with numerous worthy charities.

As Senior Vice President of Creative Services for Neiman Marcus, she selected the company’s non-profit partners, and worked closely with UNICEF, Best Buddies and Starbright Foundation. Jo Marie became interested in REAL School Gardens as a member of the Founder’s Garden Club, an affiliate of The Garden Club of America. She also served on Dallas Contemporary and the USA Film Festival boards and was the President of Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. She holds a BS in Education from The University of Texas, and is a graduate of the Executive Education, Management and Marketing Perspectives Program at Stanford University.

Read Full Bio

Ruth Kinler

Ruth Kinler is the president of Redenta’s Garden, a company with two organic gardening stores and a landscape design, installation, and maintenance division.

Ruth founded Redenta’s in 1992 with the goal of establishing a successful environmentally conscious business. With REAL School Gardens Ruth felt she had finally found a cause she believed in enough to throw her support behind. Ruth supplies plant material for all of the Dallas/Fort Worth projects, and has supported REAL School Gardens in countless other ways for nearly ten years as a volunteer and advocate.

Read Full Bio

Sonja McGill

Sonja is Associate Chief Counsel for Labor & Employment at HMS Holdings, Inc., a healthcare company in Irving, Texas.

In addition to volunteering for programs such as Meals on Wheels, Junior League of Dallas, the African-American Museum, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s African-American Music Festival, She has also lead organizations such as the Princeton Alumni Association of Dallas/Fort Worth, the Lakewest/Oak Cliff YMCA, and Theatre Three. Sonja received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1993, and her law degree and Masters’ degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1998.

Read Full Bio

Paul Polanco

Paul began his career as a corporate banker, but took an unexpected turn and ended up spending more than nine years teaching in the Dallas Independent School District..

Paul’s passion for the teaching profession has only grown in that time, and he is currently a doctoral student in Education and research assistant at Southern Methodist University. Combining his background in finance and teaching, as a doctoral student, Paul is researching the economic outcomes and general effects of programs serving bilingual students. In addition to studying the impact of education, Paul has served as a treasurer for the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas and as a Vice-Chair for the United Way Dallas Distribution Committee. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration with a minor in International Business from the Pontificia Universidad Católica (PUCMM) in Dominican Republic and his M.B.A. with a focus on Corporate Finance from the University of Dallas.

Read Full Bio

Michelle Riddell

Michelle Riddell serves as Vice President of Strategic Communications and Community Investment at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX).

In her role, she leads the public and media relations and executive communications for the Plan President’s Office. She is also responsible for developing the community investment strategy and providing oversight to the Caring for Children Foundation. Currently, Michelle serves as the Chair of Be Covered Texas, a nationally recognized, grassroots community initiative to engage and educate Texans about the new health care law. Michelle is a 2012 graduate of the Leading Women’s Executive Program, developed by the Corporate Leadership Center of Chicago and currently serves as a board member for the North Texas Commission. Michelle graduated with honors from Oral Roberts University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and passed her certified public accountant exam shortly thereafter.

Read Full Bio


Mid-Atlantic Region


Brian D. Banks

Brian D. Banks is the current Director of Government Affairs for MGM National Harbor.

In this role, Brian works with local and state officials on policy issues relating to Prince George’s County, Maryland. Brian is also a Professor of Communications at Anne Arundel Community College, where he mainly teaches public speaking by bringing his real-life experience as a spokesperson into the classroom. Brian has been featured on many networks including the Food Network, BET, and others, discussing Federal legislation relating to food-security including access to healthy and affordable food choices for families. Brian has spent his career focused on Government Affairs where he has lobbied for health, education, and safety-net programs for several prestigious organizations including The American Lung Association. Brian believes in compassion for others and working to serve all people in need.

Read Full Bio

Dr. Maxine B. Freund

Dr. Maxine B. Freund (Max) is the Associate Dean for Research and External Relations at the George Washington University, the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD).

A tenured professor in the Department of Special Education and Disabilities Studies, Max has been engaged in the graduate preparation of special and general educators for over 35 years. Prior to her current role, she served as the Director of the Office for Partnerships and External Relations at GSEHD. Max holds a B.A in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, a K-12 Teaching Certification from the State of California earned during a post-BA program at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters of Arts in Early Childhood Education degree and a Doctor of Education degree in Special Education from George Washington University. In her current role, Max supports the research endeavors of faculty and staff in the Education school and the related development of federal and foundation grants and contract relationships.

Read Full Bio

Ervin Johnson

Ervin Johnson is the Director of Community Engagement for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), where he leads the AAMC’s outreach efforts to local communities.

Prior to joining the AAMC, Ervin served as the Confidential Policy Advisor to the Federal Co-Chairman at the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) where he developed policy initiatives to spur rural economic development, community development and human resource development for the Appalachian region. As a presidential appointee, Ervin worked to strategically to integrate the Obama Administration’s policies into the work of ARC by developing public-private partnerships to help improve the health and economic resiliency of rural communities. Ervin is a native of Salisbury, NC and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Carolina State University, as well as a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago.

Read Full Bio

Matt Monjan

Matt Monjan has blended technology and education for more than 15 years in the worlds of both business and K-12 education.

Prior to joining the Discovery Education team in 2004, Matt designed, developed, and implemented adult education and certification programs for two of the largest trade associations in the country. At Discovery, Matt has worked with classroom teachers on the nuts and bolts of implementing technology and with administrators on using data management to develop effective strategies for technology integration. He has pioneered innovative educational uses of technologies such as closed captioning. He is based in Discovery Education’s World Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland and is currently the Vice President of Educational Partnerships. Matt speaks across the United States and Canada. He has been featured and keynote speaker at local, state, and regional conferences including CUE, eTech Ohio, FETC, MASSCUE, MSET, PETE&C, and VSTE.

Read Full Bio

Dana T. Weekes

Dana is an attorney with the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, and advises corporations, universities, and nonprofit organizations.

Her agriculture portfolio includes a focus on food policy and nutrition programs, while her education portfolio includes learning and teaching standards, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, and digital learning. She advocates for client interests in major reauthorizations, including the farm bill, the Child Nutrition Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

Dana has married her passion for agriculture and education through her public service work by serving on the regional advisory board for REAL School Gardens.

Read Full Bio

Email Sign Up
Sign up to receive our latest email updates!