The Penn GSE Magazine

Fall 2020 Alumni Notes

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Carol Serotta, CW’67, GED’68, reports that she has survived the coronavirus, has antibodies, and hopes to donate her plasma.


Beverly Ahrensdorf, GED’74, is volunteering in Naples, FL, on the board of Empty Bowls Naples, which raises money through an annual fundraiser for community food pantries. She previously taught in southwest Philadelphia for thirty-eight years.

Barbara Bry, CW’71, GED’71, has focused as a candidate for mayor of San Diego, CA, on the expansion of the city’s innovation economy and increased linkages between employers and schools. 

Sandy Snitow Gorman, CW’72, GED’73, and her husband, Dr. Ed Gorman, after living in Stamford, CT, moved to central New Jersey, where they have been living for the last several years. Sandy writes, “For sure, no more moves! Hope everyone is staying safe and well.”

Carol Parlett, GED’78, keeps active in her community, recently as a commissioner on the planning commission of St. Michaels, MD, which rewrote the zoning code for the town, and previously as president of the St. Michaels Business Association.

Richard Piccard, GED’71, has completed a half-century of teaching and has been married for forty-four years. He began his career teaching physics, transitioned to information technology while teaching part-time, and continues teaching in retirement.

Joseph Sessoms, GED’76, retired in 2005 and is enjoying time with his wife and family. He taught mathematics for thirty-three years at Penncrest High School in Media, PA, where he also coached varsity football.

Penn Affiliations

At Penn, all alumni have an affilia­tion, or series of letters and numbers, following their name to indicate their degree, school, and year of graduation. A master’s degree from GSE is represented as GED and an education doctorate as GRD. A philosophy doctorate from any school at Penn is represented as GR. An undergraduate degree offered by the School of Education until 1961 is represented as ED. The two numbers following the letters represent the year in which that degree was completed.


Peter Bobbe, GED’88, recently presented at the National Council of Teachers of English and was elected vice president of the Professional Educators of North Carolina. He has visited schools internationally as a teacher and instructional coach. 

James Day, GR’87, has joined the think tank The Taos Institute and was elected professor emeritus at Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. He is a widely cited contributor in moral psychology and other areas.

Saundra Epstein, CW’75, GED’76, GRD’83, has spent more than forty years consulting, running schools, and more in the Jewish educational world and beyond. Her current work addresses LGBTQ inclusion, multi-faith dialogue, and other areas.

Barbara Mitchell, GED’83, GR’87, visited Cuba last year, having wanted to do so since 1959. She spent ten days hearing the stories of three generations of Cubans under the Castros, staying in privately owned homes, and driving all over the country.

Margaret Mulqueen, GED’78, GR’84, is devoting more time to writing and media while continuing her private psychotherapy practice. She has published numerous articles on NBC News Think about COVID-19 and its impact on mental health.

Vicki Oswald, GED’89, is proud to report that, despite her disability, she handwrote one hundred postcards to Pennsylvania swing voters reminding them to vote on November 3.

Christine Parini, C’87, GED’88, is in the process of founding Genesis-Justice Reframed, a nonprofit to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, create work with a living wage for the formerly incarcerated, and provide treatment for trauma.

Nathan Scott, C’89, GED’89, is entering his thirtieth year as a public school educator at Council Rock High School North in Newtown, PA. He is collaborating to reinvent schools and create the best opportunities for students during the pandemic. 

Mark Steinberg, C’83, GED’83, has retired from the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District in Long Island, NY, after thirty-five years of teaching science. His fulfilling career culminated in serving as union president for six years.

Mona Weissmark, GR’86, wrote The Science of Diversity (Oxford University Press, 2020), which was featured on OUPblog in August as one of nine titles on the frontiers of psychology research.

Wendy Wollner, GED’85, is founder and CEO of Balancing Life’s Issues, which now offers fully digital trainings. She reports that the company will educate over one million people this year in areas such as racism, finance, health, and wellness.


Barbara Caruso, GR’93, a registered nurse with forty-five years in practice, is working as a COVID-19 case manager to support individuals struggling with the illness. She urges compliance with public health guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.

I-Chu Chang, GED’98, has been teaching Chinese at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, CA, for seventeen years. She is grateful and touched that the Class of 2020 dedicated the school yearbook to her.

Karin Donahue, C’87, GED’88, GRD’96, coauthored Right from the Start: A Practical Guide for Helping Young Children with Autism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), which discusses helpful strategies to address the struggles of children with autism.

Michelle Emery, GED’92, teaches French at a high school in Manchester, VT. She has led numerous international trips and was recently elected president of the Vermont and western Massachusetts chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French.

Kimberly Erwin, GED’99, is owner, speaker, and educator at OneUniversal Media.

Patricia Freeland, GED’91, has spent fourteen years with Educational Testing Service, writing tests and focusing on accessibility for candidates with disabilities. Previously she trained English teachers in a program developed by the late Penn GSE professor Teri Pica.

Edmund ‘Ted’ Hamann, GR’99, received career recognition as a 2020 AERA Fellow from the American Educational Research Association. He credits Fred Erickson, Kathy Hall, John Puckett, Nancy Hornberger, and others at Penn GSE with mentorship that supported his success.

Donna Walker James, C’86, GED’90, has completed her first year as executive director of Computer CORE, a basic computer skills workforce development program for low-income adults in northern Virginia.

Kimberly James, GED’91, a career consultant with more than twenty years of experience, works through the James Consultancy Group to help professionals address burnout, stress, upward mobility, and other career challenges to achieve success.

Gloria J. McNeal, GNU’75, GR’98, received a grant to use virtual and augmented reality to prepare nursing students for practice in underserved communities. As director of the National University Nurse Managed Clinic, she will guide a virtual interprofessional team to deliver care.

Laura Zaharakis, GED’92, is president of the Lehigh Carbon School Counselor Association. Her school counseling program at Luis A. Ramos Elementary School in Allentown, PA, has been named a Recognized ASCA Model Program by the American School Counselor Association.


Aerial shot of three people sitting at separate tables in a library, working on laptops

Deborah Bieler, GR’04, received the 2020 American Educational Research Association Division K Exemplary Research in Teaching and Teacher Education Award for The Power of Teacher Talk: Promoting Equity and Retention through Student Interactions (Teachers College Press, 2018).

Francesca de la Torre-Shu, C’04, GED’07, has joined Westtown School in West Chester, PA, as an upper school learning specialist. She is slated to present on transition planning at the conference of the Pennsylvania Council for Exceptional Children.

Greg Dubrow, GED’98, GR’03, returned in April to the University of California, Berkeley, taking on a new role in development and alumni relations as director of information strategy and analytics for the Haas School of Business.

Pamela Felder, GRD’05, was recently appointed associate editor for the International Journal of Doctoral Studies.

Tanya Glenn-Butler, GED’07, is a recent graduate of Northeastern University and is a critical race theorist and expert in culturally relevant pedagogical practices.

David Hanson, GRD’09, recently joined The Branson School in Marin County, CA, as chief financial and operating officer.

Teppei Hayashi, GED’07, is study abroad coordinator at Temple University Japan Campus in Tokyo and will teach a hybrid-format high school English class. He sees exciting intercultural opportunities as he works with virtual exchange students.

Stefani Hite, GED’95, GRD’05, coauthored Leading Collective Efficacy: Powerful Stories of Achievement and Equity (Corwin, 2020). The book has been endorsed by Michael Fullan, professor emeritus of the University of Toronto.

Ji Kim, GED’00, gained certification from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in 2011 and is currently working as chief financial officer of Il Woo Corporation in Seoul, Korea.

Angela McIver, GR’05, was featured on Good Morning America for her line of Dinner Table Math games and activities for families of elementary-age children.

Joe Petrosino, GRD’07, is chief academic officer at Educational Assurance Solutions, a company specializing in interim administrative positions, special education issues, and expert witness opinions for educational lawyers.

Philip Sirinides, GED’06, GR’09, is associate professor of education at Penn State, Harrisburg. His team at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at Penn GSE has launched ECDataWorks Community to advance early childhood policy and programs through integrated data.

Manami Suzuki, GED’01, finished a sabbatical at the Japan Center of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany. She contributed to a chapter in Studies and Essays on Learn- ing, Teaching and Assessing L2 Writing in Honour of Alister Cumming (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020).

Kelly M. Thompson, GRD’08, was awarded emerita status at Culver-Stock- ton College after six successful years as the twenty-sixth president and the first woman in the role. Her tenure included enrollment and net tuition revenue increases and a successful fundraising campaign.

Adrienne G. Whaley, GED’08, has been promoted to director of K–12 education and community engagement at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, PA. She will continue exploring how history can empower and sup- port learners from diverse communities.

Regina Zurbano, GED’03, CGS’04, is the proud principal of Bell Mountain Middle School in Menifee, CA, and entering her twentieth year of public education. She wishes fellow Quakers well during this time of challenge and struggle.


Robert J. Alexander, GRD’12, has been named dean of admissions, financial aid, and enrollment management at the University of Rochester.

Nida Arafat, GED’11, has returned to her work as educational supervisor of math in the directorate of education, Nablus, West Bank, since graduating from Penn GSE. She also worked as educational supervisor at the Palestinian school in Qatar in 2019-2020.

Jennifer Beatty, GED’15, LPS’18, is a doctoral student in the Diversity Science Lab of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. She develops and tests long-term interventions for bias reduction.

Matthew Antonio Bosch, GRD’19, published the chapter “We’re Here, We’re Queer, We Persevere in This Career: Experiences of LGBTQ+ Housing Professionals” (Journal of College and University Student Housing, 2020, volume 46, number 3).

Katrina Burns, G’11, GED’13, has earned her Ph.D. in public health, focusing on occupational health in academic research laboratories.

Lisa Cauda, GRD’14, has transitioned to board management after twenty-five years in development and alumni relations. As vice president and secretary of the institute at Rochester Institute of Technology, she works jointly for the president and board chair.

Carlo Cinaglia, GED’16, is beginning a Ph.D. program in second language studies at Michigan State University, having spent the past four years teaching linguistics, Spanish, and English as a second language at St. Joseph’s University.

Lourdes DelRosso, GED’16, a sleep expert at the University of Washington School of Medicine, is the leading researcher in the identification of restless sleep disorder, a new pediatric condition. She believes this accomplishment will help children receive treatment for the disorder.

Nyree Dawn Dixon, GRD’19, is executive director of EduStat, a research- based approach to school improvement within the New York City Department of Education. She also co-leads My Sister’s Keeper, a project to change outcomes for girls and young women of color.

Samuel C. Evans, GED’18, was appointed assistant principal of Penncrest High School in Media, PA. He recognizes that this opportunity comes with the sacrifice of leaving Philadelphia schools, but looks forward to serving Penncrest’s community.

Stephanie Fazio, GED’11, recently published a new fantasy romance series, Opal Contagion Books 1-3 (Syafant Press, 2020). This is her third series published this year.

Ashley Glover, GED’11, is a curriculum and instruction specialist serving the Camden, NJ, region of Democracy Prep Public Schools. She previously taught in the charter network since helping to found its Freedom Prep High School in 2014.

Bridget Goodman, GED’01, GR’13, was promoted to associate professor of multilingual education at Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education in Kazakhstan. Her articles have been accepted to TESOL Quarterly, the Journal of English for Academic Purposes, and the Asian EFL Journal.

Margaret (Maggie) Hadinger, GRD’14, was named a 2020 Forty Under 40 winner by Lehigh Valley Business. The award recognizes leaders in the Greater Lehigh Valley, PA, who are committed to business growth, professional excellence, and the community.

Terri Harpster, GRD’16, retired as an elementary school principal in the Bell- wood-Antis School District in Bellwood, PA. She is president and codirector of The Hope Center, a nonprofit to bring support, encouragement, and friendship to the Bellwood-Antis community.

Maggie Hart, GED’19, began working for Philadelphia City Councilmember Kendra Brooks in March. As communications director, she amplifies the office’s legislative work in affordable housing, funding public education, workers’ rights, and climate justice.

Chimère G. Holmes, GED’15, joined Main Line Health’s Women’s Emotional Wellness Center as a psychotherapist and began doctoral study at Eastern University. Her research will address how the Black church, pastoral psychotherapy, and systemic therapy can offer healing to the African American family system.

Vanessa Irvin, GRD’12, was granted tenure and promotion from assistant professor to associate professor in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, effective August 1.

Savannah Johnson, GED’19, is an incoming venture capital intern for Harlem Capital. She is also consulting as a strategy manager for Manatee, a digital pediatric mental health startup, and completing a venture residency with Gener8tor.

Susan Klusmeier, GRD’17, was named vice provost for academic success at the University of Kansas, a role providing leadership of the university core curriculum and multiple student-facing units. She was also named a courtesy assistant professor in the School of Education.

Paul Langteau, GRD’17, was named president of Presentation College, a small, private, Catholic college in Aberdeen, SD.

Robert LeBlanc, GR’16, has been appointed Board of Governors’ Research Chair (II) at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, effective 2021.

Rosa Leff, GED’12, decided in February to leave the classroom after eight years of teaching kindergarten to focus on her arts career, having worked hard to juggle both pursuits. She is now a full- time hand cut paper artist.

Fredrik Leuhusen, GRD’17, was promoted to assistant dean of strategic initiatives at UCLA Anderson School of Management, a position responsible for strategic planning, revenue diversification, a transition to a data-driven decision-making, rankings, and accreditation.

William Liu, GED’11, has spent the past eight years teaching secondary education science and is currently a science teacher at IDEA Judson College Prep in San Antonio, TX. He and his wife have a two-year-old son, Solomon.

Linda Luciano, GRD’13, was elected chair of the board of trustees of Caldwell University, effective July 1.

Carlos Martinez-Cano, GR’19, has accepted a tenure-track position as assistant professor of learning sciences and human development at the University of Washington College of Education.

Dana Nickson, GED’15, received her Ph.D. in educational studies with a concentration in foundations of education and policy in August. She is now a tenure-track assistant professor of education equity and justice at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Angeles Ortega-Luque, GED’19, is working as a customer care manager this year while applying to Ph.D. programs.

Pamela Pruitt, GRD’16, has been promoted from director to executive director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Rider University. The university has provided additional staff to support her work and a new space for the center.

Nadia Schafer, GED’17, was promoted to associate director of data supports and evaluation at Philadelphia Academies, Inc. She oversees and supports a network of high schools in The School District of Philadelphia to increase ninth grade on-track rates.

Carolyn Sloan, GED’17, spent six months developing TeachMe TV, an online education company for children and their families. Her interactive music book for kids, Welcome to Jazz (Workman, 2019), has won two awards.

Nicole Wang, GED’11, has successfully passed her defense for her Ph.D. in learning, design, and technology with a dual title in comparative international education from Penn State University. She is scheduled to graduate in December.

Diego Zelaya, GED’18, is a full-time tenure-track professor at the Universidad del Mar in Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico. He teaches English as a second language to a diverse group of Mexican students and is pursuing his Ed.D. at the University of Glasgow.

Qianqian Zhang-Wu, GED’14, accepted a tenure-track position as assistant professor of English and director of multilingual writing at Northeastern University. She received a 2020-2022 Cultivating New Voices among Scholars of Color fellowship from the National Council of Teachers of English.


Tara Bryant-Gray, GED’20, is proud of her training and cohort in Penn GSE’s School and Mental Health Counseling program. She is grateful for the experience of learning from outstanding professors who inspired and challenged her during the past two years.

Klarissa Spencer, GED’20, passed the School Leadership Series Praxis exam and is working as coordinator of special needs for The School District of Philadelphia.

Submissions have been edited due to space constraints and magazine style guidelines.