Advisory Board


The advisory board is a critical differentiating component of the UELC program. Composed of a prolific team of experts whose primary mandate is to continuously inform the processes of topic identification, case development and program adaptation, the advisory board also ensures that content and structure remain relevant to target participants. The board is recurrently adjusted to guarantee representation of all areas relevant to the program’s modules. Participants can also expect to interact with advisory board members as some often participate as module facilitators.


Dr. DeWayne Davis

Deputy Superintendent, Division of Strategy and Accountability

Waukegan Community Unit School District #60, IL

Dr. DeWayne Davis has been an educator for over 25 years in the Los Angeles area of California and now serves as the Deputy Superintendent in the Division of Strategy and Accountability for Waukegan Community Unit School District #60 in the Chicago metropolitan area. Shortly after being recruited into the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Dr. Davis began his doctoral work at Pepperdine University, focusing his doctoral research on school reform and using his research findings as a theoretical platform to reform some of Los Angeles’s most challenging schools. As a school leader, Dr. Davis has received numerous awards including the Middle School Principal of the Year-2010, by the Association of California School Administrators. Dr. Davis is currently serving as was assigned as a Senior Director of Secondary Education in Los Angeles, replicating his leadership work and expanding the scale of his leadership and transformation of secondary school administrators. Dr. Davis also serves as an Adjunct Professor, board member on various educational and community organizations, guest speaker on school transformation and leadership; and, is a Visiting Committee Member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)-an organization that accredits schools.


Dr. John Fremer (PhD)


Caveon Consulting Services

Dr. Fremer has 40 years of experience in the field of test publishing and test program development and revision, including management level positions at Educational Testing Service (ETS) and The Psychological Corporation/Harcourt. He has served in various senior positions in test development and test programs, including serving as Director of Exercise Development for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Director of Test Development for School, Professional, and Higher Education Programs. He is also a past President of the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME). Dr. Fremer is a regular renowned speaker and author on issues relating to test development, testing standards, communicating about testing to various audiences, and developing state and national testing programs.


Mr. Niloy Gangopadhyay

Executive Director

Success Preparatory Academy

Niloy Gangopadhyay is the co-founder and director of Success Preparatory Academy, an K-8th grade charter school in Treme/Bienville Corridor. Before moving to New Orleans he was the founding principal of Cleveland Lighthouse Community School where he served as the instructional and operational leader of kindergarten through 6th grade. Before that he served as the Director of Special Projects at Excellence Charter School of the Uncommon Schools network in Brooklyn, New York. His initial entry into urban education was as a 2002 Teach For America (TFA) corps member in San Jose, California where he taught 4th grade and made significant gains with his students on state tests. He currently serves on Teach For America’s Collective National Advisory Board and is the New Orleans’ Leading Educators Advisory Board chair. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s in Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Ms. Deborah L. Keys

Director for Equity Programming

National School Boards Association
Ms. Deborah L. Keys is the Director of Equity Programming at the National School Boards Association. Prior to heading the Equity Programming department, newly created in 2016, she directed NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education. Ms. Keys has 20 years of nonprofit association experience, with 16 of those years spent at the Michigan Association of School Boards, where she directed conferences and exhibit shows; forged relationships with more than 60 companies; created their first Urban Conference; facilitated relationships between the Michigan African American Superintendents group and school board members; and led several urban initiatives. In addition, her collaboration with AASA, the School Superintendents Association and Howard University resulted in an Urban Superintendents Academy, where she teaches modules for aspiring superintendents. Ms. Keys holds a bachelor’s degree in management and organizational development from Spring Arbor University. She has also been awarded several leadership certificates and was selected as Michigan’s first scholar to represent the American Society of Association Executives’ Diversity Executive Leadership Program, which supports individuals from underrepresented identity groups in the association community to advance into the ranks of leadership.

Mr. Tim

Executive Director

New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA)

Mr. Tim Kremer has been the Executive Director or the NYSSBA since 1998. Prior to this he was with the Ohio School Boards Association for nearly 20 years. With his team of 56 professional staff, his primary responsibilities include fulfilling the NYSSBA’s mission of providing advocacy, information, leadership development programs, and customized consulting services for New York State’s nearly 700 school boards. He is a frequent spokesman for NYSSBA to its members, media, legislative bodies, and other related organizations. His areas of expertise include association leadership, legislative advocacy, school board governance, executive recruitment and development, organizational change and public relations.


Dr. Sandra Mariano

Head of Entrepreneurship & Management Department

Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dr. Mariano is the Head of Entrepreneurship and Management Department  at Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She designed and coordinates a MBA course on School Leadership and Management to train more than 3,000 principals from public schools in the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, from 2009 to 2017. She developed, together with the Cinema Department, 15 videos on successful school leadership showing how principals make the difference in their schools. Her recent publications include a chapter on Leadership in Brazil, in the book “A Decade of Research on School Principals Cases from 24 Countries” edited by Helene Ärlestig, Christopher Day and Olof Johansson, 2016, Spinger. Also a paper in Supporting innovation ecosystems with microfinance: Evidence from Brazil and implications for social entrepreneurship (Journal of Social Entrepreneurship) and Creating innovative solutions in microfinance and the role of organizational ingenuity (Edward Elgar, 2014). Her research interests include school leadership and management, innovation ecosystems, microfinance and entrepreneurship education.



Dr. Joshua Starr

Chief Executive Officer

PDK International

Before becoming chief executive officer for PDK International in June 2015, Joshua Starr was superintendent of schools in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland for nearly four years and previously superintendent of schools for Stamford, Conn., for six years.

Dr. Starr began his career teaching special education in Brooklyn, N.Y. He became a central office leader in urban/suburban districts in the NY metropolitan area and then served in the New York City Department of Education under Chancellor Joel Klein, first as deputy senior instructional manager in the Office of Programs, overseeing services for English language learners, special education, gifted and talented, instructional technology and early childhood. He then became director of school performance and accountability in the New York City Department of Education.

Dr. Starr has a bachelor’s degree in English and History from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree in special education from Brooklyn College, and a doctorate in education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Dr. Starr and his wife have three children in public schools.



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