BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Members of the Board of Directors value and demonstrate commitment to the vision, mission and principles that guide the work of Parents as Teachers. They bring to their service personal and professional interest in ensuring the healthy development of young children and families at local, state and national levels.

The Board of Directors sets on-going strategic planning and policy which is monitored and evaluated to ensure growth, expansion and responsiveness to key trends in the ever-changing economy and emerging demographic shifts of families and their young children.


Christopher "Kit" Bond is a former United States Senator who has been a longtime supporter of Parents as Teachers and advocate for families and children. Bond enrolled his son in the Parents as Teachers home visiting model during the organization's pilot stage and understands the important role Parents as Teachers plays in strengthening families. Ultimately, his experiences as a young dad shaped his position on early childhood and parent education throughout his political career.

Bond, currently chairman of Kit Bond Strategies and a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP, served four consecutive terms for Missouri in the United States Senate, from his first election in January 1987 to his retirement in January 2011. Prior to his career in the Senate, Bond served as Missouri's youngest governor, holding office from 1973-1977 and again from 1981-1985. Bond also served as State Auditor.

Through these roles Bond was instrumental in shaping state and federal policy for children, and was a tireless advocate for Parents as Teachers. With his influence, the Missouri General Assembly passed the Early Childhood Education Act to establish the Parents as Teachers program statewide in 1984, a success Bond refers to as his greatest accomplishment as governor, and through his continued advocacy as senator he helped expand Parents as Teachers into a national and international program.


Maxine Clark founded Build-A-Bear Workshop® in 1997, and today the company has grown to more than 400 stores worldwide.

Clark is a member of the board of directors for Footlocker, Inc., and a former board member for the J.C. Penney Company, Inc.  She serves on the national Board of Trustees of Teach for America and the local St. Louis regional board, the national Board of Donorschoose.org and the KETC Channel 9 PBS Board of Directors. She and her husband are founding donors of KIPP Inspire Academy, a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory charter schools preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life.

Clark is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from St. Louis University.  In 2006, she published her first book, "The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart."


Steffanie Clothier serves as an Investment Director for Gary Community Investments and the Piton Foundation, where she develops and manages a portfolio to promote school readiness that deploys a mix of capital types such as grants, PRI’s and for-profit investments. At GCI she leads a team that is designing and implementing innovation strategies to support innovators to have access to the supports and capital they need to dramatically improve outcomes for young children.

Prior to joining GCI she was Senior Policy Director for the Alliance for Early Success, providing strategic support to state and national organizations as they work to improve outcomes for young children in the early years. For nearly a decade, Ms. Clothier led early care and education initiatives with legislatures of the 50 states and territories as program director with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Her experience and expertise encompasses investment strategies to support young children’s early learning and development, developing key partnerships, initiating new strategies to problem solve at the early childhood sector level, and substantive knowledge in a range of early childhood research, policy and practice areas. Ms. Clothier earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and a law degree from the University of Denver School of Law.


Tom Curran co-leads the Edward Jones Branch Development division, which shapes nearly every aspect of the financial advisor and branch office administrator roles. The division encompasses Financial Advisor Talent Acquisition, Branch Training, Branch and Region Development, Branch Insight and Learning Strategies, BOA Talent Acquisition and Development, and Branch Administration.

He is a member of the Management and Executive Committees - which provide critical thought and lead and drive initiatives that enable Edward Jones to progress toward its vision of becoming the first choice of serious, long-term individual investors - as well as several Branch Development committees.

Tom joined Edward Jones in 1992 as a financial advisor in Brighton, Mich. A year later, he relocated to Geneseo, Ill., where he remained for 12 years. From June 2001 to December 2005, Tom served as a regional leader, with responsibility for 80 branch teams in northwest Illinois. He helped grow the firm by hosting an asset-sharing program.

In 2001, Tom participated in the Global Edward Jones Organization class, researching opportunities in additional foreign markets for the firm.

He was named a principal in 2006 and relocated to St. Louis to join Financial Advisor Development as the area leader responsible for financial advisors in the Northeastern United States. In 2009, Tom accepted the Banking Services global leader position, and the following year he was asked to lead the Service division. Tom was responsible for Financial Advisor Talent Acquisition from 2016 until August 2018, when he assumed his current responsibilities.

He is the executive sponsor of the Black-African American Business Resource Group and serves on the board of the Parents as Teachers National Center.

Tom earned a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. Tom also attended the Securities Industry Institute at the Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania and holds the AAMS® professional designation.


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Libby Doggett has over 40 years of leadership and management experience with schools, Head Start and childcare. She uses these skills to build public awareness and strong, diverse, local coalitions in Texas with the goal of improving children’s readiness for Kindergarten. Doggett served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education, overseeing both the Early Learning Challenge and the Preschool Development Grant Programs. Doggett provided expertise and policy guidance to the Secretary and served as ED’s early learning liaison to the While House, the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal and state agencies.

Doggett previously worked with the Pew Charitable Trusts, directing the Pew home visiting campaign. She oversaw a robust research agenda and worked with advocates in target states to build political and public understanding and support for data-driven investments that align with federal guidance. Doggett also directed Pre-K Now, worked for the National Head Start Association, and began her career as a bilingual first grade teacher at Ortega Elementary School in Austin. She holds a doctorate from the University of Texas in early childhood special education.


Katrina F. Farmer is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, American Leadership Council of the Institute for Diversity in Health Management and the National Association of Health Service Executives. She also serves as a member on the St. Louis Chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, the Society for Human Resources Management and the Human Resources Management Association of Greater St. Louis.

Farmer received her bachelor’s degree in human resources management and master’s degree in business administration from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. She also earned her professional designation as a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources through the Human Resources Certification Institute.


Mark Ginsberg joined George Mason University in 2010 as the dean of the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. Dr. Ginsberg's career spans more than a 35-year period as a professor, psychologist and skilled administrator. He has published extensively in the areas of education, psychology, human development and human services. In addition, he has lectured and presented at over 200 conferences, seminars and other educational meetings and professional development events, both within the United States and internationally.

Dr. Ginsberg served as the executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) from January 1999 until June 2010. Prior to joining NAEYC, Dr. Ginsberg was chair of the Department of Counseling and Human Services in the Graduate Division of Education at The Johns Hopkins University and a member of the faculty of both the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine in the School of Medicine. He served as a member of the Hopkins full-time and part-time faculty for 25 years. Before joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Ginsberg held the position of executive director of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy in Washington DC, from 1986-93. From 1981-86 he was a senior member of the management staff of the American Psychological Association, after having been a faculty member at the University of Rochester.

 

Dr. Ginsberg serves as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the respected international organization, Parents as Teachers. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Hopecam, a non-profit organization that supports children with cancer and their families. He is a Past-Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Council of Academic Deans of Research Education Institutions and the Board of Directors of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. He also is a past-president of both the International Step by Step Association, a nongovernmental organization of thirty education-focused NGOs in Europe and Central Asia, and the Society of Psychologists in Management.

Dr. Ginsberg is a Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Maryland Psychological Association, a Clinical Member and Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a member of the American Counseling Association, American Educational Research Association and American Society of Association Executives, of which he was elected to serve on the national Board of Directors.

Dr. Ginsberg completed his master's degree in 1978 and his doctoral degree in 1981 at The Pennsylvania State University, after being awarded a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Cortland. He also completed a Fellowship in Clinical Psychology at the Yale University School of Medicine. In 2006, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by the State University of New York.

He is married to Elaine A. Anderson, a Professor in the Department of Family Science in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland. They have two grown children, Andrew and Robert.


Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter is a professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Her research focuses on effective instruction, supporting social emotional development and addressing challenging behavior, and coaching teachers. She has been a PI or Co-PI on numerous projects funded by the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. Through her work on the National Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning and funded research projects, she was involved in the development of the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Young Children and a model for coaching teachers to implement effective practices known as Practice Based Coaching. She is currently leading projects focused on examining the efficacy of the Pyramid Model in infant toddler, pre-k and kindergarten settings. She is a co-author on the Connect4Learning Pre-K Curriculum. She was a co-editor of the Journal of Early Intervention and President of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Early Childhood. She received the Mary McEvoy Service to the Field Award and Merle B, Karnes Service to the Division Award from the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children.


Patricia Kempthorne (Chair) has dedicated her work life and her life’s work to building a family-consciousness in her family, workplace, and community. After graduating with a degree in business management from the University of Idaho she chose to build her career in the non-profit sector and community service. In 2014 she was awarded an honorary doctorate in Administrative Policy from the University of Idaho.

A champion for families and children, she was able to shine a spotlight on the issues closest to her while serving as Idaho’s first lady from 1999 to 2006.  She was instrumental in implementing Parents as Teachers statewide in 2001. Mrs. Kempthorne volunteered her time to ensure that Idaho continues to be the best place to raise a family.  In 2005, she created the Twiga Foundation, Inc. – a non-profit dedicated to continuing that work with organizations through educating them about work-life fit, flexibility, and effectiveness for working parents. Today, the Twiga Foundation focuses on parent engagement and early learning opportunities that impact strengthening families and the workforce.  In 2009, through a partnership with the University of Idaho, Twiga became the exclusive licensor of BLOCK Fest®.  BLOCK Fest® raises awareness of early math and science learning opportunities by offering hands-on block play experiences to families of young children thus helping to develop the workforce of the future. 

A leading advocate for women, families, and children, Mrs. Kempthorne serves as the Chair of the St. Luke’s Children’s Advisory Board and Executive Committee, the Idaho Food Bank Capital Campaign and is a member of the Preschool the Idaho Way Coalition. In 2016 she was honored by the American Mothers, Inc. as a National Mother of Achievement.

Mrs. Kempthorne and her husband, Dirk, were married in 1977, have two grown children and five grandchildren.


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Susan Lipstein has served as a Parent Educator with Parents as Teachers in the School District of Clayton, MO from 2001 to 2018. Mrs. Lipstein began her career as a certified physician assistant in Pediatrics. She worked in the intensive care nursery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore from 1983 to 1994, with a specialty emphasis on chronic lung disease associated with premature birth. In 1994, Mrs. Lipstein entered private pediatric practice with Dr. Peggy Supple until the family moved to St. Louis in 2000.

Mrs. Lipstein received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and her master’s degree from the University of Colorado (Denver). She has served on the Board of Trustees of The Scholarship Foundation, chairing the Board Development Committee from 2011 to 2013. Mrs. Lipstein has served as a grant reviewer and site visitor for the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund from its inception in 2006 to present. 

Susan is married to Steven Lipstein, and the couple has three children, Greg, Ross and Kate. She is a native of Atlanta, Georgia.


Carolyn Losos is a senior consultant to FOCUS St. Louis, an organization formed from the merger of The Leadership Center of Greater St. Louis and Confluence St. Louis. For 17 years she directed the Leadership St. Louis Program. She was the first chairperson of the Commissioner of Education's Statewide Advisory Committee on Parents as Teachers.

Losos serves on the boards of many local nonprofits such as the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Regional Arts Commission, OASIS and SSM Health Care. Her awards include the International Women's Forum's Women Who Make a Difference Award, the National Conference of Christian and Jews Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award, Washington University's Founder's Day Award, the Girl Scout Council of Greater St. Louis Women of Distinction Award and Thanks Badge, and the community advocate award from St. Louis Children's Hospital.


Arthur Mallory served as Missouri commissioner of education from 1971-1987. Prior to that he served as president of Missouri State University, dean of the evening division and dean of faculties at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and assistant superintendent of the Parkway School District in St. Louis County.

During Mallory's years as commissioner of education, legislation for special education and the gifted was passed. Public Law 94142, federal legislation for special education, was modeled on Missouri's programs. When the Parents as Teachers pilot project results were released, he was instrumental in promoting legislation requiring that every Missouri school district offer a Parents as Teachers program.

In 2013, Mallory received the Bronze Bear Award from Missouri State University. The award is presented to those who have exhibited extraordinary achievement and/or outstanding support for Missouri State.


Thomas Melzer is a managing director and co-founder of RiverVest Venture Partners. He has extensive leadership experience in finance, management, economic policymaking and board of directors service. Presently, he is a member of the board of directors of Goldman Sachs Bank USA, as well as the boards of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and the Gateway Arch Park Foundation. He also serves on the national council for the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University and the Stanford Institute of Economic Policy Research Advisory Board.

Previously, Melzer was president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and a managing director of Morgan Stanley. While at the Fed, he served on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Federal Reserve System’s chief monetary policymaking body. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University.


David Morley is a business consultant and former chairman of Dazor Manufacturing Company, leader in industrial lighting and microscopy. Prior to that he was the president and chief operating officer of The Falcon Companies and senior vice president for Monsanto Company. In this position, Morley led the development and integration of company–wide strategy, emphasizing emerging opportunities in the life sciences industry.

Morley holds degrees from Indiana University and Purdue University. He is past chairman and current board member for Wyman Center, Inc., a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to giving underprivileged children the opportunity to reach their full potential. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University.


Janet Newton is the education program consultant for Parents as Teachers at the Kansas Department of Education. Her leadership and coordination for the state's Parents as Teachers programs provides her with a deep knowledge and perspective of Parents as Teachers and its operations. Newton's rich experience in early childhood education includes service to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Bureau of Child Care and Health Facilities. Newton also served as the executive director of the Kansas Head Start Association.

In addition to her work experience, Newton has furthered early childhood education through her work with professional associations, including the Kansas School Readiness Initiative, the Kansas State Interagency Early Childhood Team, and the Kansas Core Team for the state's home visiting grant application.


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Michael L. Parson was sworn in as Missouri’s 57th Governor on June 1, 2018 by Missouri Supreme Court Judge Mary R. Russell. He came into the role of governor with a longtime commitment to serving others with over 30 years of experience in public service. 

Governor Parson previously served as the 47th Lieutenant Governor of Missouri. He was elected Lieutenant Governor on November 8, 2016 after claiming victory in 110 of Missouri’s 114 counties and receiving the most votes of any Lieutenant Governor in Missouri history. 

Governor Parson served the people of the 28th Senatorial District in the Missouri Senate from 2011-2017. He served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 2005-2011. Governor Parson also served as the Sheriff of Polk County from 1993-2005. He also served six years in the U.S. Army. 


William Reichmuth currently serves as President of Reichmuth and Associates, a Human Resource and Security consultancy based in St. Charles MO.   

Prior to starting his own business, Reichmuth served as the Regional Vice President of Administrative Services for Centene Corporation, a leading multi-line healthcare enterprise that works with state governments to ensure that people receive quality care through Medicaid and other government-funded healthcare programs. Reichmuth joined Centene in September 2009 as Senior Director of Security. He currently serves as Vice President overseeing Corporate Human Resources, Facilities and Security.

Prior to joining Centene, Reichmuth was Director of Client Services for Griffin Personnel Group, a human resources and security consulting firm based in O’Fallon, Mo. For nearly 20 years, he served with distinction as a police officer, detective and child abuse investigator for the Florissant Police Department.

Reichmuth currently serves on the board of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce. A native of St. Louis, he received his BA in Human Resources from Lindenwood University and graduated cum laude. He also received a master’s degree in Management from Lindenwood University. William has been impressed with Parents as Teachers, since learning about them as a young parent, when he had a parent educator come to his house and work with his child.


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Adele Robinson is the Karabelle Pizzigati Endowed Clinical Professor of Advocacy for Children, Youth and Families at the University of Maryland at College Park. Ms. Robinson has more than 25 years’ experience in education, child and family policy from her work in the U.S. Senate, several national organizations, and as a consultant to the Office of Child Care in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She has drafted and negotiated federal and state legislation and regulations, provided technical assistance to policymakers and program administrators, testified before state legislatures and boards, and trained individuals to be informed, effective policy advocates. In addition to publishing a variety of policy materials and articles, she is the co-author of the recent advocacy case study Taxing Sugary Beverages to Expand Prekindergarten: Advocacy Efforts in Philadelphia and Santa Fe.  Currently, she is teaching courses on child and family policy advocacy at the University of Maryland College Park and supporting the pipeline of advocates to improve the conditions for all children, youth and families to thrive. 


Kwesi Rollins is Vice President of Leadership & Engagement at IEL and guides IEL’s portfolio of programs designed to develop and support leaders with a particular emphasis on Family and Community Engagement, Early Childhood Education and Community-based Leadership Development. He directs the District Leaders Network on Family and Community Engagement and Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, an initiative that designs and delivers professional learning and support opportunities for school and district leaders. 

Working with local communities and state agencies to improve cross-sector collaboration and service delivery systems Kwesi provided technical assistance and training to state and county agencies, school districts, and community-based organizations in projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Kwesi is an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the National Capitol Area, and has been recognized as the Big Brother of the Year in the DC area. He holds an MSW degree from the University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Social Work where he was a Maternal and Child Health Leadership Training Fellow.


Steven Rosenblum is Assistant Vice Chancellor for Alumni & Development Prgograms at Washington University. He served as Director of Major and Planned Gifts at the Saint Louis Zoo before returning to the university in 2013 as Executive Director of Development. Rosenblum also worked in Arts & Sciences Alumni & Development and then transitioned to the Planned Giving Office at the university. His expertise includes charitable gifts and estate planning, annual giving programs and campaign strategies. He formerly served as Vice President for Communications of the St. Louis Planned Giving Council Board and as co-chair of the Leave A Legacy program. He was also the co-chair of the Legacy Awards Dinner and served on the planning committee for the “Will to Give” program.

Rosenblum currently serves on several Boards of Directors including the Crown Center for Senior Living, an independent living apartment complex for low-income seniors where he currently serves as Immediate Past Board President; the Clayton History Society; and the Clayton Century Foundation.

Rosenblum received his JD from Washington University Law School and his BA from the History Honors College at the University of Texas at Austin. Steven used Parents as Teachers services for his children and is passionate about its impact and reach.


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Melanie Rubin is a policy consultant in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Melanie has extensive experience in strategic planning, needs assessments, grant writing and policy development.

She currently serves as the Director of the Dallas Early Education Alliance and the Comprehensive System Plan Consultant for the Dallas County Texas Home Visiting Project. Melanie has worked with ChildCareGroup as Director of Marketing, Director of Public Affairs and now as a consultant. She was successful in devising a method to draw down previously unused federal dollars to Texas and has actively worked to improve statewide early childhood education policy in the last thirteen state legislative sessions. Melanie was Project and Coalition Director for the Building Better Beginnings project for the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health and Interim Executive Director of Texans Care for Children. She is a 2015 recipient of the Mental Health America of Greater Dallas Prism Award.

Melanie currently serves on the Advisory Councils of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Children and Families and the University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts.


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Dr. Francis Rushton, M.D. provided clinical care for 32 years at Beaufort (SC) Pediatrics, PA and as a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of South Carolina. He helped found and for ten years was the Medical Director for South Carolina QTIP, a statewide ambulatory pediatric quality improvement collaborative. In 1998 he authored the book “Family Support in Community Pediatrics: Confronting the Challenge.” He has served in a variety of positions with the American Academy of Pediatrics and was a member of its Board of Directors. He served on the AAP's Early Brain Development Work Group

Dr. Rushton currently serves on the Boards of Voices for Alabama’s Children and the Jefferson County (AL) Child Development Council and is past Chairman of the Alliance (Voices) for South Carolina's Children. Francis attended Georgetown University and is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Medicine. His pediatric residency was at UAB in Birmingham. Francis is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest honor. Dr. Rushton currently lives in Birmingham and is married to Margaret. 


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Aaliyah Samuel, Ed.D., a Fellow at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard, is the Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at NWEA. Aaliyah is a bilingual executive leader with expertise from early childhood through higher education. Her experience includes program evaluation and evidence-based programs; data collection and disaggregation; family and community engagement support strategies; and policy development and implementation at the local, state, and national level. Aaliyah has informed state policy agendas, assisted with developing cross systems approaches to develop policy solutions to support children and families and leading systems-level change. In her current role at NWEA, she leads a team working on driving a state and federal education agenda. Prior to NWEA, Dr. Samuel was the Director of Education at the National Governors Association (NGA). While at NGA, Aaliyah’s work included business development, strategic planning, and supporting high-ranking state officials on the development of policies that impacted health, education, and workforce. Aaliyah has worked with diverse constituents, philanthropies, and national partners. Aaliyah holds an undergraduate degree from Tuskegee University, a Masters from University of South Florida, and a Specialist and Doctorate Degree from NOVA Southeastern.


Karen Shanoski’s work at the Center for Schools and Communities includes multiple responsibilities for family support programs including the Parents as Teachers (PAT) state leader office, Children’s Trust Fund work, training and consultation services in strengths-based family engagement practices, and family-school-community partnerships.

She serves on PA Home Visitation Stakeholders Committee, Family Center Network, Strengthening Families Leadership Team and Childhood Begins at Home Campaign among other statewide workgroups. She has been an active community volunteer and served as a public school board member for ten years. Karen holds a BSW and a Master’s degree in Management, from Pennsylvania State University. She is a graduate of the Education Policy Fellowship Program.


Margie Vandeven is passionate about ensuring that each child has the opportunity to graduate prepared for success. She has more than 27 years of student-centered service in education, including three at Missouri's top educational post. She is a teacher who has provided education leadership in the classroom, school, state and national roles assumed throughout her career.

Vandeven joined the Department in 2005 as a supervisor of the Missouri School Improvement Program before serving as a director of accountability data and school improvement, an assistant commissioner in the Office of Quality Schools, and as deputy commissioner of the Division of Learning Services. She was appointed commissioner of elementary and secondary education by the Missouri State Board of Education in December 2014 and served in that capacity until December 2017. She was reappointed in January 2019. During the interim, Vandeven worked as the director of educational partnerships for the SAS Institute in Cary, N.C. As commissioner, Dr. Vandeven works collaboratively with a diverse group of stakeholders to improve educational opportunities for more than 918,000 Missouri students.

Dr. Vandeven began her education career in 1990 as a Missouri teacher. From 1995-2002, she taught high school English and served as an administrator in Maryland before returning to Missouri as an English teacher and administrator.

Dr. Vandeven earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Missouri State University and a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Loyola University Maryland. She received a doctorate of philosophy in educational leadership from Saint Louis University and has been recognized by Missouri State University and St. Louis University as a distinguished alumna. A native of O’Fallon, Missouri, she and her husband, David, reside in Foristell.


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Francis Vigil is from the Pueblo of Zia, and is also Jemez Pueblo and Jicarilla Apache. He is the Education Specialist for Native Culture, History, and Language for the Bureau of Indian Education. He is currently a PhD candidate at Arizona State’s School of Social Transformation. He has been an administrator, coach, mentor, school board member, and teacher in several educational settings and entities throughout New Mexico. Mr. Vigil continues to support the development and integration of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive and Sustainable Educational Methodology and Pedagogy as a best practice in various learning environments. 

Mr. Vigil and his wife Stella, a preschool teacher, are most active in the lives of their seven children, whose ages range from 23- to 10-years old. He also has three grandchildren. Mr. Vigil is quite active in engaging the needs of his children, two of whom are deaf. Mr. Vigil has worked with several non-profit and state entities to engage communities in awareness, engagement, and enhancement of learning opportunities and understandings. 


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Renee Welch, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Applied Learning is a newly created role centralizing learning, the development, administration and delivery of noncredit continuing education, and systems that supports the Ounce's strategies, practices, products and solutions. In this role, Welch leads the development of a coordinated enterprise wide learning strategy, infusing applied learning principles and learner experience design practices that expressly ensure that the Ounce of Prevention Fund customers learning journey is enjoyable, engaging, relevant, and informative. This role is responsible for the integration of a learning ecosystem of best class solutions that are more agile, cost efficient and effective and focus on the Ounce's strategic priorities.

Prior to her current role, Welch served as Co-director of External Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was responsible for developing, directing and promoting the university’s online, blended and professional development programs. Known as a learning architect, Renee leverages 20 years of professional experience, and a Ph.D. in educational policy, organization and leadership, M.S. in education and  B.S. in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana –Champaign.


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Patricia (PJ) West is the Program Manager of the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visitation (MIECHV) program. PJ has worked within the family support arena for over 20 years at both the local and state level. Ms. West currently works closely with Iowa's local MIECHV contractors as well as serving as a trainer for both Lemonade for Life and the Futures without Violence Healthy Mom’s Happy Babies Training. PJ serves on several councils and committees specific to family support programming in Iowa and currently serves in the role of Iowa's Parents as Teachers state leader, providing continued support and technical assistance to the local Parents as Teachers programs. PJ lives in a small rural Iowa town with her two daughters.