The Penn GSE Magazine

Fall 2022 Alumni Notes


Maxine Schnall-Mitnick, ED’56, has optioned three of her novels, two for a TV series and the other for a movie or TV series. The books are the Jackie Kennedy spy novels Paris to Die For and Spy in a Little Black Dress, published under the pen name Maxine Kenneth, and Prison Camp Confidential.


Eric White, GED’67, GRD’75, received the 2022 Leigh S. Shaffer Award from NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. The annual award recognizes an article submitted to either the NACADA Journal or NACADA Review that contributed significantly to the scholarship of academic advising.

Leslie Nicholas, GED’85, a trainer at Walt Disney World, received the company's highest honor, the Walt Disney Legacy Award. Previously, he taught in the Wyoming Valley West School District in Plymouth, PA, for thirty- four years.

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.


Deborah Bender, GED’92, has taught in Philadelphia public schools for twenty-seven years, including the past thirteen providing instruction in web design and digital media production at the Academies at Roxborough High School.

Kristi Clements, GED’97, is in her twenty-third year of teaching. She founded a FIRST Robotics team at Easton Area High School in Eaton, PA, where she teaches ninth-grade science. The Easton RoboRovers just completed their first successful season after a rocky first two years, due to the pandemic.

Alison Cook-Sather, GR’96, received the 2022 Stanford University GSE Alumni Excellence in Education Award for her Students as Learners and Teachers program, which pairs undergraduate consultants with faculty to create more equitable and anti-racist pedagogy and stems from collaboration with Ondrea Reisinger, GED’93. Her most recent publication is Co-Creating Equitable Teaching and Learning: Structuring Student Voice into Higher Education (Harvard Education Press).

Michelle Emery, GED’92, is in her thirtieth year teaching French, including eight years in Paris. For the past eighteen years, she has been teaching high school French in Pennsylvania and Vermont and has led student trips to Quebec, France, and Morocco. She also established a French exchange for her school with a lycée in Pau, France.

Greg Dubrow, GED’98, GR’03, moved from San Francisco to Lyon, France, in 2022 to take a course for the Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. He works as a freelance English teacher, mostly in universities in Lyon. 

Amy Feldman, GED’94, L’94, completed her book, Ezra Exposed. Intended to initiate conversations about internet safety with elementary school children, the book was published November 1 by Blackstone Publishing.

Jennifer Glynn, GED’97, GR’03, an independent consultant focusing on college access and success, was selected to participate with the 2022 National Working Group on Advanced Education, which makes policy recommendations aimed at reducing inequality of achievement for high-ability students from diverse backgrounds. Previously, she spent ten years leading research at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Margaret Haykal, C’87, GED’92, uses her Penn-honed skills while planning lessons for her dream job teaching adults and children how to swim and enjoy the water safely.

Tania Israel, C’88, GED’92, was appointed associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion for U.C. Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education.

David Lawrence, GED’91, began his twentieth year in education as principal of Dover-Sherborn Middle School in Dover, MA. He taught middle-school science and math for thirteen years and served as an assistant principal for six years.

Gloria McNeal, GNU’75, GR’98, received the Pioneering Spirit Award by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. The award recognizes significant contributions that influence progressive and critical-care nursing and relate to the association’s mission, vision, and values.

Michael-Joseph Mercanti-Anthony, GED’99, GRD’12, wrote the article “Are You Wrong Like Me?” for Educational Leadership, a publication of ASCD, an educational nonprofit dedicated to empowering educators. 

Lisa Morenoff, GED’98, was recently named the lower school special education case manager at the charter school where she has worked for eighteen years.

Kathleen Murphey, C’87, G’91, GED’92, GR’06, has her Rainbow Tales collection of twelve sex-positive fairy tales now available in paperback from JMS Books. Her other fairy tales have appeared in Woman’s Voice, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and on other platforms.

Scott Riotto, C’90, GED’91, is in his thirty-second year of teaching history in the New Jersey public school system. 

William Smith, GED’91, GR’94, retired from a position in regulatory affairs in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. He is now a part-time substitute teacher and an educational rights advocate for a foster child.


Theodore Burnes, GED’01, wrote the Handbook of Consensual Non- Monogamy Affirming Mental Health Practice, published in August 2022 by Roman & Littlefield.

John Craig, GRD’08, was appointed interim dean of University College at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He also is the founding editor of the Journal of Access, Retention and Inclusion in Higher Education, a scholarly peer-reviewed publication.

Rahshene Davis, GED’03, would like to build a Penn GSE network in the Houston, TX, area and hopes to connect with fellow alumni soon.

Two individuals, smiling, stand together behind a registration desk. The Penn GSE logo is seen in the background.

Malik Edwards, GR’06, was named the inaugural John D. Fassett Professor of Law at the North Carolina Central School of Law in May 2021 and was appointed interim dean in July 2022.

Teppei Hayashi, GED’07, the study- abroad coordinator for Temple University's Japan campus, coordinated the visit of nine Ukrainian students who fled their country after the Russian invasion.

 Francis M. Hult, GR’07, has been elected chair of the Committee on Language and Languages for the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations.

Romilla Karnati, GED’00, GR’08, is the senior director of Early Childhood Care and Development at Save the Children, US. She provides strategic leadership to the ECCD team and technical assistance to countries in Africa and Asia and is involved with programming for children from birth to three years.

Cristina Keeton, GED’06, who teaches middle school Spanish in the Loudoun County, VA, public schools, was nominated for The Washington Post Teacher of the Year for 2021–22. 

Esther Kim, GED’05, teaches research methodology courses and equity and inclusion at Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.

Richard Marchini, GRD’05, has retired from public education after thirty-two years and now serves as upper school director for The Quaker School of Horsham in Horsham, PA.

Julian McNeil, GED’09, WEV’11, has been promoted to director of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He previously served as the Anti- Racism Roadmap Program manager.

Adam Parrott-Sheffer, GED’06, with co-authors Jen Cheatham and Rodney Thomas, published Entry Planning for Equity Focused Leaders with Harvard Education Press in October 2022.

Joseph Petrosino, GRD’07, is chief academic officer at Educational Assurance Solutions, where he writes about the relationship between education and humor. He also consults on special education, career and tech education, trust building, and educational leadership.

Jeanine Staples, GRD’05, was promoted in May 2020 to the rank of full professor, with tenure, at Penn State University.

Jordan Tegtmeyer, GED’08, GRD’21, was appointed associate dean for finance and administration in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty at Princeton University.

Joan Torbet, GR’01, accepted a position with Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences in Lancaster, PA, teaching clinical techniques to students seeking an associate's of science in nursing.

James Wadley, GR’01, is director of the Sex Therapy Program at the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia, as well as professor and chair of the Counseling and Human Services Department at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. As a licensed professional counselor, he also maintains a private practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Elliot Weinbaum, GR’04, was recently appointed chief philanthropy officer at the William Penn Foundation, where he will oversee an annual grant budget of more than $120 million and lead grant-making activities. Previously, he was program director for the foundation's Great Learning program.

Austin D. Williams, GED’09, completed a fellowship in breast surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY. He will be joining the faculty at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology.

Sally Winterton, GRD’00, professor emerita at West Chester University, has held many roles during her tenure and currently serves on the College of Education and Social Work Advisory Council and on the New Faculty Orientation Committee. A longtime educator, she previously worked as a teacher and principal, and was director of personnel in Pennsylvania public school districts.

Regina Zurbano, GED’03, CGS’04, is the new director of curriculum and instruction for middle grades at the Palmdale School District in Palmdale, CA, where she also spent her adolescence.


Alejandra Abusada, GED’19, joined Partners of the Americas in April 2022 as a senior program officer managing US Department of Labor-funded projects in Latin America in the Child Protection Unit. Her work focusing on mental health for single mothers in Peru continues.

Shade Adu, GED’11, received a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in multicultural education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in December 2021. Her research centers on the experiences of African American women entrepreneurs who have PhDs.

Elaine Allard, GR’10, is an associate professor of educational studies at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA, where she was recently appointed inaugural director of the new Teaching and Learning Commons. With psychology professor Barbara Thelamour, Allard was awarded a Spencer Foundation small grant to support a mixed-method research project at an immigrant-serving high school in Philadelphia.

Tony Alleyne, GRD’16, founder and executive director of Delaware College Scholars in Wilmington, DE, was a winner of an award from the Black Voices for Black Justice Fund.

Kathryn Brossa, C’13, GED’18, is completing her first year as the director of student information and registrar at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. She participated in the University-wide Next Generation Student System implementation.

Jeannette Bruno, GED’12, earned her credential as a certified professional from the Society for Human Resource Management. She is working toward a credential in foresight through The Futures School.

Peter Cavanaugh, GRD’15, has been appointed assistant professor in technology and organizational leadership at the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, CT, beginning in the 2022 fall semester.

Bingbing Chen, GED’18, supports career development among Michigan State University's Chinese alumni and students in China. She recently received the university’s Best University- Corporate Collaboration Award on behalf of MSU given by a China-based employer.

Michael Cioce, GRD’18, president of Rowan College at Burlington County in Mount Laurel, NJ, has been named a 2022–23 New Presidents Fellow by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, recognizing twenty-five promising and innovative community college presidents.

Victoria Creamer, GRD’18, was selected as Durham Public Schools' 2021–22 Principal of the Year in Durham, NC. She is one of fifty-five principals in the district, which serves about 32,000 pupils.

Aubrey Daniels, GED’15, GED’16, has accepted a position as assistant professor at Rutgers University in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs.

Rachel Demma, GRD’18, recently left a career in education policy to oversee the education department at Port Discovery, a children's museum in Baltimore, MD. Research from her dissertation also was published in the Journal of Early Childhood Research.

Dexter D. Evans, GED’18, was named the inaugural director of donor experience at the newly opened National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, TN.

Christine Galib, GED’13, published her first novel, a Grail-quest archaeological mystery called Etched in Stone. The book is intended to empower individuals to form strong partnerships and teams. 

Edward Gallagher, GRD’17, recently started a new position as the assistant head of school for academics at the Wilmington Friends School in Delaware.

Alounso Gilzene, GED’15, is an assistant professor at Florida State University specializing in restorative justice and school leadership. He has been featured on the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership's Jabber podcast.

Margaret Hadinger, GRD’14, has joined OnlineMedEd as director, academic and student affairs, where she supports their mission of changing the approach and delivery of medical education. She also recently launched Hadinger Coaching & Consulting LLC.

Tyrah Hodge, GED’13, is the education officer at the Ministry of Education in the British Virgin Islands, assessing educational performance to certify individuals, upholding regional standards, and advancing quality in assessment matters globally.

Chimere Holmes, GED’15, launched the BIPOC Sisters' Circle Outpatient Therapy Group at the Women's Emotional Wellness Center of Main Line Health in Philadelphia. The BIPOC group seeks to promote diversity and inclusivity by providing a safe space for women to process mental health challenges that are often exacerbated by racial disparities and inequities.

Shannon Kane, GRD’13, joined the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park, as an assistant clinical professor teaching undergraduate and graduate students while researching literacy pedagogies and the influence of teacher identity on pedagogy.

Jessica Koehler, GR’18, recently cofounded the Phare Education, LLC, with two partners. The consultancy works to support the holistic thriving of teens and young adults through evaluation, professional development, curriculum, and youth coaching services for adolescents or those who support them.

Kristina Lewis, GED’12, GR’22, started as an assistant professor of TESOL and applied linguistics in the English Department at Illinois State University this fall. 

Rina Madhani, GED’19, is executive director and cofounder of Start Lighthouse, which has distributed more than 21,000 multicultural books to students in Bronx, NY, since its founding in 2019. Literacy Hubs, a new, mission- driven initiative, utilizes unused space in libraries to provide resources and opportunities for students, families, and the broader community.

Christopher Nittle, GED’16, has been applying the principles learned in Penn GSE’s School Leadership Program to corporate enablement at Pega.

Alysia Patel, GED’15, GED’16, started a private counseling practice in 2020. She spent the previous four years as a counselor working with a diverse range of populations and environments in Denver, CO.

Jasmine Phillips, GED’17, is one of twenty 2022 Envestnet Scholarship recipients, a scholarship for select individuals within the financial planning profession.

Michael Roth, GRD’16, was appointed chief academic officer/deputy superintendent of the Allentown School District in Allentown, PA, and will lead its Department of Whole Student Learning. He was also elected treasurer of the Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Allison Still, GED’10, has accepted a position as senior digital editor of supplemental literacy for Savvas Learning Company. She previously worked in the Philadelphia school system for fifteen years.

Joseph Sweeney, GRD’16, leads an organization moving to bring Decision Education, or the teaching and learning associated with skillful judgment formation and decision-making, to K–12 schools. Recently, the organization published a set of learning standards, launched its third national cohort of fellows, established graduate research scholarships, and began season three of the Decision Education podcast.

Mengchen Zhang, GED’17, moved from the private sector to cofound the Center of Activities and Academic Support at an international school in China. She intends to share her knowledge in early education, tech-immersive curriculum designs, and expertise in running businesses. 


Lilian Ajayi-Ore, GRD’20, was named one of the Top 50 Learning and Development Professional Award winners by OnConferences and her peers in the field.

Keon Berry, GED’21, is the new director of parent services at Quality Care for Children, a forty-year-old company that seeks to equip families and childcare providers with the knowledge and resources to support infants and young children in Georgia.

Abdulrahman Bindamnan, GED’21, is beginning a PhD program at the University of Minnesota, to study ways to achieve transformative positive change in conflict-affected environments.

Audience members sit under a tent at the groundbreaking ceremony, some seated and some standing, raising their glasses for a toast.

Gregory D. Blake, W’76, GED’22, is pursuing dual career tracks since completing his Penn GSE program. He is a resident in counseling at a firm in Richmond, VA, and serves on the board of trustees of the Cancer Hope Network.

Jasmine Blanks Jones, GR’21, hosted four youth artists from Liberia on their first American tour of a Liberian bicentennial play, 200 Years of Returns, in collaboration with Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Museum Theater Department and Angels of Praise, a Baltimore dance team. The US-based artists will join the Liberian team for a closing performance of this historical drama in Liberia in December.

Ashley Bryant, GED’22, has started at Jackson-Reed High School in Washington, DC, teaching sophomores and juniors the subjects modern world and US history.

Tina Fletcher, GR’22, was named by Arkansas Business magazine to the Top 40 under 40 list for 2022 and appeared on the publication's May '23 cover.

Yuna Hur, GED’20, cowrote and published her first children's book, ABCs of Positivity, with her cousin, Christina Shim. Throughout the book, diverse characters guide readers through what positive thinking looks like in their communities.

Keith Keating, GRD’22, is chief learning officer at Archwell and founder of the Archwell Academy, where he uses learning sciences as a scientific method supporting the lifecycle of global talent. His career spans more than two decades in learning and development.

Lee Means, GED’22, is director of family equity and justice at Family Equality, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ families and children.

Wenzhi Pan, GED’21, GED’22, joined Vanderbilt University Counseling Center as a social justice and inclusion counselor. She works to continue providing culturally sensitive mental health care to students at a college campus. 

Alaina V. Robinson, GED’21, is a policy specialist at the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration in the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration. In addition to collaborating on policy research and public service projects, she researches ways to improve student outcomes and promote college access to high school students in Delaware.

Jonathan Stark, GRD’21, was named executive director of Northwestern Mutual’s Data Science Institute, in partnership with Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. He previously worked at Columbia University for seventeen years.

Jeremy Wright-Kim, GR’21, joined the faculty of the University of Michigan as an assistant professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education this fall. He will be teaching courses in finance and public policy.

Two blue hard hats are placed on a flat surface. Text contained within the logo printed on the hard hat reads “Extraordinary Impact: The Campaign for Penn GSE.

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