CADREI Candidates



Robert “Bob” McPherson
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The formal and informal professional development he has gained from CADREI over nearly 15 years cannot be replicated by any other professional association. Deans helping deans serves as his inspiration for seeking to serve as president-elect of this invaluable organization. For the last three years, he has served CADREI as the appointed board member representing minority-serving institutions. He has been honored to lead the University of Houston College of Education since 2011. The vast majority of his career has been dedicated to addressing educational and health disparities of children from low-income families. Through collective action, our colleges of education can take the lead in closing the equity gap. While CADREI provides exceptional opportunities for networking and professional development of deans and associate deans, he would like to help our conferences be a place for facilitating the:

  1. genesis of large-scale, multi-institutional research projects;
  2. creation of strategies for extending our institutions’ teacher, principal and other professional training program opportunities beyond state boarders toward communities with significant shortages of educational and health professionals;
  3. establishment of a data depository for determining our collective impact on the nation’s public school systems; and
  4. development of a more balanced system as an alternative to U.S. News & World Report’s ratings for guiding public opinion and the recruitment of prospective students to our institutions.

These are ambitious but achievable goals with the time and talent of our membership.

Michael E. Dantley
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Dr. Michael E. Dantley has a long and successful history at Miami University and within the College of Education, Health and Society. Since 1986, he has held teaching and administrative positions on the Oxford campus which include serving as Associate Professor and Coordinator of the School Leadership Master’s Program, Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education, Health and Society and serving as Miami’s Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Before becoming Dean of the College of Education, Health and Society at Miami University, Dr. Dantley served as the Dean of the School of Education at Loyola University Chicago.As a member of the Department of Educational Leadership faculty, Dr. Dantley has taught graduate courses in educational leadership, ethics and education, critical spirituality and educational leadership and social justice. He is currently exploring how school leaders’ use of critical spirituality and the prophetic tradition can assist them in leading institutions to make substantive societal changes, grounded in social justice and democratic practices.


Ali Carr-Chellman
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Ali Carr-Chellman is Dean of the College of Education, Health & Human Sciences (EHHS) and professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Idaho. As a relatively new dean, she is excited to get involved in CADREI and serve as its secretary. She is detail-oriented and timely in her responses to correspondence. Ali studies systemic school change, innovation, educational technology, boys and gaming, and online learning. She has a significant body of work in these areas, continues to write and teach as an administrator and has served in a variety of capacities such as chair of program prioritization, budget committee, and selection committee for distinguished professors at the University level for UI. Ali earned her doctorate at Indiana University, Bloomington, in Instructional Systems, Master’s and Bachelor’s at Syracuse in Instructional design and elementary education respectively. The majority of her academic career, where she earned associate and full professor as well as serving for 14 years as a program and department chair, was spent at Penn State University, University Park, PA. A few accomplishments during her time as Dean of EHHS: renaming the College, significantly re-vising by-laws, seed grant program, cascaded planning, increased faculty governance, initiation of a lab school design.
Karen Riley
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Dr. Riley has served as the Dean for the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver since 2013. She is a Professor with a dual faculty appointment in Child, Family and School Psychology and in Curriculum Studies and Teaching. Her education includes a B.S. in Psychology; a M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Child and Family Studies. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at The Children’s Hospital, Denver, in the Fragile X Treatment and Research Center. Dr. Riley currently serves on the Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board for the National Fragile X Foundation, the Mayor’s Education Compact, and the Colorado Council of Deans of Education. She has over 15 years of experience in teaching and administration of early childhood special education programs, and an additional 15 years of experience working with children who have neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. She recently received the National Fragile X Syndrome Clinical Award for her translational research. She lectures extensively throughout the US and internationally on behavioral and educational interventions for children with neurodevelopmental disorders.Goals for CADREI:

  1. In this rapidly changing field of higher education the best leaders may not be those who have done it before but rather those who know how to do things that have not been done before. CADREI has the opportunity to support and promote the skills of current and future deans in these new and yet to be defined competencies and dispositions.
  2. …there is an opportunity for us to extend our positive reach into more frequent touchpoints to increase the impact of our collective thinking by using technology.
Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin
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Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin is Dean of the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She previously held numerous leadership positions at the University of Vermont’s College of Education and Social Services including Interim Dean, Associate Dean, and department Chair, and was also the founding director of the Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. After earning a B.A. in Art at Bates College, Gerstl-Pepin received a Ph.D. in Educational Organizations and Policy Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2011 to teach and conduct research at Beijing Normal University in China, and received the Vermont Women in Higher Education Jackie M. Gribbons Leadership Award in 2016. Gerstl-Pepin is internationally recognized as an authority on ethical leadership and the role of the media in educational politics. Gerstl-Pepin’s most recent co-edited book, Reimagining the Public Intellectual in Education: Making Scholarship Matter, explores the many ways that education scholars can inform public dialogues on education policy. She is also the author of numerous journal articles, papers and presentations. Gerstl-Pepin has attended CADREI since she became an Associate Dean and has always found the CADREI meetings to be an incredibly supportive and informative space. In addition to the regular meeting sessions, the New Deans Institute was particularly helpful in negotiating the challenge of being a new dean. Gerstl-Pepin’s goals for CADREI is that it continues to be a supportive networking space for deans as well as providing professional development in emerging trends and policy challenges facing colleges of education.


Andrew Daire
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A driven and enthusiastic leader, Dr. Andrew P. Daire joined the VCU School of Education as its new dean in June 2016. He holds a masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from Stetson University and a Ph.D. from the Florida State University in Counseling Psychology & School Psychology. Along with extensive clinical intervention experience, Daire has received over $16 million in external funding to support his research. Prior to his deanship at VCU, Daire served as Professor and Associate Dean for Research at both University of Houston and University of Central Florida. He has been attending CADREI meetings for over six years and desires to become more engaged in CADREI leadership. His budgetary experiences as PI on multiple federal research grants and administrative experience in higher education prepares him well for the treasury position in CADREI.
Jon Pedersen
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Jon Pedersen currently serves as the Dean of the College of Education at the University of South Carolina. In his role, he provides leadership and sustained growth in scholarship, teaching, outreach and the development of innovative programs to support faculty, staff and students in the college. He is motivated by seeking opportunities to stimulate those who are inspired by a passion to serve children, families, schools and communities. He fully supports the mission of CADREI in the preparation of educators, research-based education policy proposals and recommendations, and professional development of deans. He has developed and provided leadership for innovative programs for faculty, staff, and students in PK-20 education settings that focus on social justice, equity and high-quality education by developing collaborations and coalitions in order to achieve college goals. His focus has been on the development of faculty skills; building participation and involvement in the leadership process; and, supporting the empowerment of individuals in order to improve education and influence policy in South Carolina and beyond. He has been active in multiple national/international organizations and has held many leadership roles including president of the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE). Jon has been participating in CADREI since the mid-2000’s.
Marvin Lynn
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Dr. Marvin Lynn serves as Dean and Professor in the College of Education at Portland State University, one of the premier urban research universities in the Pacific Northwest. The College of Education is the largest and most comprehensive College or School of Education in the State of Oregon, with a range of programs including collaborative and interdisciplinary undergraduate programs, innovative Master’s degree programs offered in a variety of formats across a range of programs, as well as a growing doctoral program that has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for its innovation. As Dean, Dr. Lynn oversees a college operating budget of nearly $15M, as well as research expenditures in excess of $6M and auxiliary unit budgets in excess of $10M. Dean Lynn is a visionary, trustworthy, open, and collaborative leader with a strong reputation for prudent and transparent fiscal management and oversight. He will work closely with other CADREI leaders to ensure the continued fiscal health of the organization.
Laurie Elish-Piper
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I am the Dean of the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. I am also a professor in the department of Curriculum and Instruction, and my research focuses on literacy coaching, literacy leadership, literacy assessment, and family engagement in literacy education.I am currently an Impact Academy Fellow through Deans for Impact. I am also a member of the IL Ed Prep Impact Network that is engaged in a two-year project to examine the preparation of teachers to work effectively in diverse classrooms (supported by Deans for Impact and funded by the Joyce Foundation).I serve as the Chair of the Illinois Association of Deans of Public College of Education, and I am a member of the Teach Illinois task force charged with coordinating a statewide campaign to elevate the teaching profession and inspire people, especially those of color, to join the profession.I have been a CADREI member since 2015 when I became Acting Dean. Since then, I have attended all CADREI fall conferences and spring meetings, and I am grateful to have participated in the New Deans Institute. This year I coordinated a panel for the fall conference regarding handling difficult faculty situations. I greatly value CADREI as an important professional network for deans. If chosen as treasurer, I would advocate for creating additional “touch points” for members as well as holding thematic virtual meetings to enhance the value of membership and to provide increased support and professional development for members.


Laura P. Kohn-Wood
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Laura Kohn-Wood is dean of the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Miami, where she has been on the faculty and serving in several leadership roles since 2009, including founding program director for new graduate programs and chair of the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Howard University, Ph.D. in Clinical/Community Psychology at the University of Virginia, and completed internship and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, San Francisco, and Georgetown University. She was on the faculty of the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan for a decade before coming to the University of Miami. Her research focuses on race, ethnicity, culture and the experience of psychological phenomena among diverse populations. Kohn-Wood has conducted community-based collaborative projects in urban areas, including the development of a service-learning program for undergraduates. She is co-editor of Qualitative Strategies for Ethnocultural Research, providing seminal discourse on qualitative methods and community studies. Kohn-Wood served as founding editor of a journal highlighting community-university collaborations, and served as the national Chair of the Council on Education for the Society for Community Research and Action. Given the impact that CADREI has had during Kohn-Wood’s inaugural year as dean, her goals for the Executive Committee would be to continue to strengthen the session for New Deans, and formalize the development of peer networks. Kohn-Wood would engage in outreach to MSIs given the significance of her HBCU experience, which fostered her identity as a future scholar.
Dawn Williams
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Dr. Dawn Williams is Dean of the Howard University School of Education (SOE). Her teaching experience spans over two decades. Underlying all of her work are premises that include the indoctrination of social justice through teaching, research, and service. Through her role as Dean, she has worked effectively with local, national, and international colleagues; secured and managed resources to support the institution’s strategic direction and vision; and built relationships with alumni, donors, local school districts, and professional/ academic communities. Dr. Williams distinguishes herself as an informed leader on accreditation and assessment of student outcomes. During the 2016-2017 academic year, she led the School of Education to successfully complete a CAEP review. The SOE met all standards, with no identified “Areas for Improvement”.

Currently she is researching the identity of Black Women in STEM. Her research in the STEM and Educational Policy arena are focused on issues of access and diversity while promoting a conscious social justice agenda. Dr. Williams is also Principal Investigator of a leadership training grant designed to prepare K-12 leaders for executive leadership positions. As a member of the CADREI Executive Committee, she will work to offer perspectives that represent the leadership experiences of those at the helm of MSIs.