Education Secretary Arne Duncan today announced 13 new National Board members for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), a unit within the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education. These new board members will advise the secretary and the assistant secretary for postsecondary education on priorities for improvement and suggest recommendations for implementing programs with demonstrated success. In addition, they will give advice about the operation of FIPSE, including guidelines for grant competitions.
FIPSE's mandate is to improve postsecondary educational opportunities across a broad range of concerns. Through its various grant competitions, FIPSE seeks to support the implementation of innovative educational reform projects, to evaluate how well they work and to share the findings with the larger education community. FIPSE conducts a number of competitive grant competitions each year for projects that focus on widely felt issues and challenges in postsecondary education and that support local initiatives, with the potential for national influence.
The newly reconfigured National Board will meet for the first time during the Obama administration in a public session today from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to discuss FISPE’s programs and special initiatives, and presentations will be made on behalf of the projects that FIPSE administers. The group will meet at the Capitol Hilton in Washington, D.C.
The new members have a wide range of backgrounds in education, business and law and will use their experiences to guide their recommendations:
Jack M. Wilson – Board Chair: Jack M. Wilson is the 25th president of the five-campus, 66,000-student University of Massachusetts system. He has served as president since September 2003. During his career, he has served as a professor of physics, department chair, research center director, dean, vice president, provost and a private sector entrepreneur. Previously at the University of Massachusetts, he served as the vice president for academic affairs and as founding CEO of UMassOnline.
Francisco Aguilar: Francisco Aguilar serves as corporate and communications counsel for Agassi Graf Holdings and the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education in Las Vegas, Nev. He is responsible for communications, government and legal affairs. Prior to joining Agassi Graf, he served as senior counsel at Southwest Gas Corporation, special counsel to the chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, and as a lawyer for Sunbelt Communications, parent company of the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, KVBC Channel 3.
Krishna Esteva: Krishna Esteva is a sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, double majoring in economics and mathematics. At MIT, he is an active member of the debate team, chairman of the undergraduate student government committee on sustainability and treasurer as well as rush chair for Theta Chi Fraternity.
Judy Lynn Genshaft: Judy Genshaft was appointed president of the University of South Florida system in July 2000. During her presidency, the USF system has been nationally recognized as a top-tier national research university. With campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland, the USF system serves more than 47,000 students in more than 232 degree programs. Genshaft has focused on partnering university research—more than $380 million in 2008-09—with corporate and entrepreneurial partners.
Bill Graves: William H. Graves earned a mathematics Ph.D. from Indiana University and proceeded to serve the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) for over 30 years as a professor, dean for general education, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs, senior information technology officer and founder of the Institute for Academic Technology (a UNC/IBM alliance). Now an emeritus professor at UNC, Graves is full-time senior vice president for academic strategy on the executive leadership team at SunGard Higher Education. He is also a member of the board of governors of Antioch University and the board of visitors of the School of Information and Library Science at UNC.
Annie Ruth Leslie: Annie Leslie is a professor in behavioral sciences at Bowie State University, where she teaches courses and conducts research about the culture, education and health of American women. She received a Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University, where she also served as dean. She has taught at Howard University and served as chairperson in sociology at Roosevelt and Bowie State universities.
Gayle Manchin: Gayle Conelly Manchin grew up in Beckley, W.Va., and graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor of arts in language arts and education and a master of arts in reading. As an educator, Gayle worked in Marion County Schools at the secondary level. She also served on the faculty of Fairmont State University in developmental education and was the director of the university’s first Community Service Learning Program. In addition, she was actively involved in community advocacy for children and families. From January 2005 until November 2010, she served as West Virginia’s First Lady. In addition, the governor appointed her to serve as a member of the State Board of Education and as a commissioner on the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service.
José D. Padilla: José Padilla has been in higher education for 13 years, after seven years in Washington, D.C., where he worked on public policy issues and in a senior executive position in the Clinton administration. Padilla joined DePaul University as its vice president and general counsel in May 2005. In the October 2010 edition of Hispanic Business magazine, Padilla was named one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the nation for 2010.
Camille Preus: Camille (Cam) Preus is the commissioner of the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development (CCWD). CCWD provides leadership and advocacy with the governor, the legislature and other statewide stakeholders for Oregon’s 17 community colleges, seven workforce investment areas and many community-based organizations.
Deborah Santiago: Deborah A. Santiago is the co-founder and vice president for policy and research at Excelencia in Education and has spent more than 15 years leading research, identifying promising practices and managing policy efforts to improve educational opportunities and success from the community to national levels. Her community work has included program design and implementation for the ASPIRA Association and translating data for community engagement as the vice president for research and data at the Los Angeles Alliance for Student Achievement.
Carl Takamura: Carl Takamura has held leadership positions in both the private and public sectors at both state and national levels that have enabled him to work to provide all children with an education reflective of excellence and optimal life opportunities. He recently retired from the University of Hawaii, where he served as senior associate for external affairs of Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, an initiative to strengthen Hawaii’s educational pipeline from early learning to post-secondary education.
Paula Whetsel-Ribeau: Paula Whetsel-Ribeau is the first lady of Howard University. She serves as the leader for the Alternative Spring Break program and provides keynote addresses for several programs and activities across the campus and community. Before becoming a member of the Howard family, she served as the assistant vice president for student affairs and as a faculty member at Bowling Green State University.
Tony Zeiss: Tony Zeiss holds a doctorate in community college administration from Nova University, a master’s degree in speech (radio and television), and a bachelor’s degree in speech education from Indiana State University. In 1992, Zeiss became the third president of Central Piedmont Community College, the largest community college in North Carolina, serving approximately 70,000 students per year. During his tenure, the college has grown from one campus to six and has become recognized as a national leader in workforce development.
Note to editors: A more extensive biography about each board member is available upon request.