The Penn GSE Magazine

Spring 2021 Alumni Notes

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Maxine Weisman Greenberg, ED’61, is a realtor associate for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach in Margate, NJ. She received a 2020 Circle of Excellence Award from New Jersey Realtors.


Myrna Agris, CW’63, GED’73, GRD’79, was promoted to associate vice president of wealth management at Morgan Stanley in Houston, TX.

Barbara Bry, CW’71, GED’71, is back in the entrepreneurial world as chief operating officer of Blackbird Ventures. She is also writing a book with her husband about the biggest Ponzi scheme masterminded by a woman and celebrating twin grandchildren from her daughter, Rachel Aberasturi, GED’16.

Linda Hirsch, GED’71, is an entrepreneurial photographer, photojournalist, and mindfulness meditation teacher-guide.

Alice Korngold, CW’74, GED’77, president and CEO of Korngold Consulting LLC, speaks at global conferences on sustainability and board governance, the topics of her books and research. Her firm trains and matches executives to NGO boards.

Gwendolyn Samuels, C’77, GED’79, has begun a third career as an artist and writer, exhibiting and winning awards for her fiber art and publishing two books. She previously worked as a K–12 teacher and administrator, an adjunct professor, and a certified freelance interpreter and translator.

Joan Shapiro, GED’71, GRD’78, is cowriting the fifth edition of Ethical Leadership and Decision Making in Education (Routledge, 2016). Another book she coauthored, Ethical Educational Leadership in Turbulent Times (Routledge, 2013), has been bought by a publishing house in China.

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.


David Basile, GED’85, of Pine Ridge Middle School in West Columbia, SC, was named 2021 South Carolina Middle Level Principal of the Year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. He was also named Principal of the Year by the South Carolina Council for Exceptional Children.

Ellen Brooks, GRD’81, an instructor at Purchase College, completed the facilitator training program for Narrative 4, a global organization that brings people together to share personal stories and build empathy. She facilitated her first story exchange in July.

Maria Antonia Cowles, GED’87, a consultant for Language Testing International, is certified in Portugese as a second language tester, both online and face-to-face.

Saundra Epstein, CW’75, GED’76, GRD’83, works regionally and internationally in interfaith relations and has written on related topics for academic publications. She also directs the Welcoming Shuls Project for Eshel to foster inclusion of LGBTQ+ Jews in religiously observant Jewish communities.

Anne Pierpont, GED’83, is director of auxiliary programs at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Pennington, NJ. She contributes to the school’s participation in the National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project to develop leaders who drive change towards social justice.

 Nathan Scott, C’89, GED’89, is in his thirtieth year in public education. As assistant principal at Council Rock High School-North in Newtown, PA, he oversees social studies, special education, special services, and the Class of 2024.

Mona Weissmark, GR’86, is author of The Science of Diversity (Oxford University Press, 2020), which was chosen for the publisher’s essential reading list of nine titles that offer cutting-edge perspectives on racism and hate, leadership, and human nature.


The iconic red LOVE sculpture appears amidst green foliage on Penn’s campus.

H. Penny Bryan, GR’92, is professor emerita and former head of graduate leadership programs at Chapman University. She works with administrators, educators, families, and communities to apply restorative practices towards building a culture of equity and deepening community.

Lynell Engelmyer, GED’96, works with the nonprofit Alexander Hamilton Scholars to mentor and serve high-achieving, low-income students. She uses her college admissions and financial aid experience to help the students break barriers and succeed in college and beyond.

Kimberly Y. Erwin, GED’99, is an intercultural communicator, author, and host of Race Talks® on WGXC-90.7 FM, a station serving the greater New York state regions. The show provides expertise on race and ethnicity to promote a better informed, appreciative, and active local citizenry. 

Tania Israel, C’88, GED’92, wrote Beyond Your Bubble: How to Connect Across the Political Divide (APA LifeTools, 2020). A professor at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, she was named a 2019 Congressional Woman of the Year for her scholarship and community engagement.

Jennifer Park, GED’98, assistant professor at Colorado Christian University, presented at the American Counseling Association’s 2021 conference. She coauthored an article forthcoming in The Professional Counselor as well as “Comparing Behavioral Health Graduate Students in Spiritual and Religious Competence” (Spiritual Psychology and Counseling, 2018, Volume 3, Number 2). 

Margaret Roth, CW’68, GED’91, has worked in marriage and family therapy at Council for Relationships since 1991. She is part of a research project, Transcending Trauma, which will help inform therapy for current and future populations affected by trauma. 

Michael Townsley, GR’94, published Colleges in Crisis: How Private Colleges and Universities Can Survive (Gatekeeper Press, 2021) and is editing a paper about cash and financial analysis.


The iconic white button sculpture appears before Van Pelt Library and a green tree on Penn’s campus

Jeanne Arnold, SW’80, GRD’06, was elected to the board position of first vice president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) and appointed chairperson of the 2021 NADOHE Annual Conference. She formerly served on the board as secretary.


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

Stefani Hite, GED’95, GRD’05, is founder of Tigris Solutions. 

Alexander Joujan, GED’06, published the second edition of his fifteen-book algebra series, Summit Math (independently published, 2020). He also recorded screencasts to supplement

the books for students learning at home.

Elizabeth Lehmann, GED’03, is principal of West Hollywood Elementary School in Los Angeles, CA. She recently completed her Ph.D. in intercultural education at Biola University, where she previously earned her M.Div. 

Julian McNeil, GED’09, WEV’11, is serving as the first anti-racism program manager at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

James Miller, GED’05, is principal of Chambers Hill Elementary School in Harrisburg, PA. He was previously assistant principal of Central Dauphin Middle School in the same district. He earned his Ed.D. in educational leadership from Widener University in 2017.

Steve D. Mobley Jr., GED’06, assistant professor of higher education administration at The University of Alabama, was named one of five 2021-2023 Emerging Scholar-Designees by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). He will undertake research and leadership commitments towards the ACPA Emerging Scholars Award.

Khalid Mumin, GRD’08, superintendent of the Reading School District, was named 2021 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators for leadership that has put the district back on a positive track since he joined it in 2014. The award recognizes leadership for learning, communication skills, professionalism, and community involvement.

Natasha Murray, GRD’05, was elected to the board of directors of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. The board strives to provide every student with exceptional learning opportunities through improved policy, practice, and advocacy.

Joseph Petrosino, GRD’07, is available to speak nationwide on special education issues and building trust and humor in the workplace. He is chief academic officer of Educational Assurance Solutions.

Michelle Robinson, GED’06, has been principal of Glenside Elementary School in Cheltenham Township, PA, since August 2017. She has successfully implemented initiatives in school climate and culture, STEM education, and literacy and is enrolled in Penn GSE’s Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership.

Tian Song, GED’09, joined Amerigo Education as director of campus operations in the Twin Cities. She also serves in volunteer leadership positions on the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee of NAFSA: Association of International Educators and on the Partnerships Team of the Global Leadership League. 

Kimberly Stock, GED’05, was named Delaware’s 2021 State Teacher of the Year and the state’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year. As a representative of all Delaware teachers, she plans to promote equitable access and opportunities for students. She works closely with English learners as a teacher at McKean High School.

Nyeema C. Watson, GED’01, is vice chancellor for diversity, inclusion, and civic engagement at Rutgers University-Camden. She is responsible for leading campus diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts along with civic engagement.

Valerie Weaver-Zercher, GED’00, is an acquisitions editor at Broadleaf Books, a general trade publisher that produces adult nonfiction for a more open, just, and compassionate world.


Valerie Adams-Bass, GR’11, coauthored a chapter of Strong Black Girls: Reclaiming Schools in Their Own Image (Teachers College Press, 2020) with Keisha L. Bentley-Edwards, GR’09. She has published and spoken about the experiences of Black students during the pandemic in Successful Black Parenting magazine and elsewhere.

Ryan Elizabeth Arey, GED’12, married Eric Byington on October 17 in Bay Harbor, MI, in a small ceremony with close family and friends. She and Eric live and work in Washington, DC.

Jessica Bacal, GRD’18, wrote The Rejection That Changed My Life: 25+ Powerful Women on Being Let Down, Turning It Around, and Burning It Up at Work (Plume, 2021). She is director of reflective and integrative practices and of the Narratives Project at Smith College.

Carlo Cinaglia, GED’16, is a Ph.D. student in second language studies at Michigan State University. His research focuses on language learner and teacher identity, translanguaging in higher education, and instructed second-language acquisition. 

Dexter D. Evans, GED’18, accepted a position as executive director of the FRIENDS of Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy, which supports the boys’ public school in Dallas, TX. Previously he was associate dean of students at his alma mater, Paul Quinn College, under the mentorship of President Michael J. Sorrell, GRD’15.

Esther Glasgow, GED’18, has continued working at READ 718, providing one-on-one reading tutoring for students from low-income families and serving in the new READ Up program for students who are or may be dyslexic.

Anna Q. Han, GED’15, L’15, joined the Career Development Office of the UC Berkeley School of Law as director of judicial clerkships. She previously worked in private legal practice in San Francisco, CA, and Washington, DC.

Angelica Jackson, GED’19, is opening the first public charter and arts-as-curriculum school in her hometown of Charles County, MD. She has also launched a wellness tech startup, Me Time, which automated the planning and scheduling of sustainable self-care practice for overwhelmed parents and caregivers.

Hieu Le, GED’18, is founder and CEO of G.A.P. Institute, a social enterprise that provides training for disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. The organization hit a record number of twenty-five thousand students in 2020 and was recognized by Forbes Vietnam for helping workers find jobs during the COVID-19 crisis.

Rosa Leff, GED’12, a former kindergarten teacher, is a full-time hand cut paper artist. She bought her first X-Acto knife and fell in love with the medium when asked to make children’s books for a class at Penn GSE.

Anne Marie Liebel, GRD’12, contributed to the special issue “Against Autonomous Literacies: Extending the Work of Brian V. Street” (Literacy in Composition Studies, 2021, Volume 8, Number 2). The late Brian Street taught in Penn GSE’s Reading, Writing, and Literacy programs. Liebel has brought Street’s work into the health sector. 

Holly Link, GR’16, is director of educational programming and research at the Centro de Cultura, Arte, Trabajo, y Educación, a community center in Norristown, PA, that aims to empower the Latinx and immigrant community. She is working on participatory research through which young people and adults can promote social transformation and inform public policy.

William Liu, GED’11, moved to the Idea Judson College Preparatory campus in San Antonio, TX. There he serves sophomore students and faculty as grade team lead and teaches Pre-AP Chemistry and AP Biology. In nine years of teaching, he has learned that the truest knowledge is shared knowledge.

Noni Thomas López, GRD’16, has been elected to the board of trustees of the National Association of Independent Schools. 

Robert Luisi, GED’11, was granted tenure as of August 2020 in his role as assistant professor of mathematics at Bucks County Community College in Doylestown, PA.

Rina Madhani, GED’19, launched a literacy nonprofit, Start Lighthouse, in response to the widespread school and library closures during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, she has distributed 1,453 books, impacted 385 families, and hosted a decolonizing education hackathon for 120 individuals nationally.

Ivan Montes, GRD’19, was elected in November 2020 to represent his community on the Morgan Hill Unified School District Board of Trustees. The district serves 8,500 students from transitional kindergarten to adult across fourteen schools in California’s Silicon Valley.

Thai-Huy Ngyuen, GED’06, GR’15, was promoted to associate professor with tenure at Seattle University, but decided to leave for a new opportunity as a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation.

Kasey Price, GED’18, was recognized by the TD Bank “Thank You” campaign for her diversity and inclusion work in the Philadelphia area and at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. 

Amber Ravenscroft, GED’19, manager of innovation for The EdVenture Group, Inc., is co-chair of NatlEshipWeek, a congressionally chartered annual movement to support America’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. The 2021 program brought an unprecedented number of federal agencies to the conversation for Federal Entrepreneurship Day. 

Lisabeth Shean, GED’11, has taught art for the past eight years at various elementary schools in The School District of Philadelphia. Her students have won more than $14,000 in awards and grants.

Lisa Smoots, GED’10, has been appointed director of the Cranbrook Schools Horizons-Upward Bound Program. One of the oldest and largest of its kind in the nation, the program prepares students from the Detriot Metropolitan area to succeed in postsecondary education. 

Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, GED’12, wrote a picture book, Your Name is a Song (The Innovation Press, 2020), which Time magazine named to its list of the ten best young adult, middle grade, and children’s books of 2020. 

Justice Walker, GEN’12, GR’19, was appointed to a tenure-track position as assistant professor at the College of Education at The University of Texas at El Paso. He thanks his faculty advisor, Yasmin Kafai, as well as Sigal Ben-Porath, Vivian Gadsden, and many others at Penn GSE for their strong mentorship.

Guan Wang, GED’15, plans to receive her doctoral degree in human development and begin a new career as a management consultant in a top consulting firm this year. She thanks Penn for a wonderful educational and life experience. 

Nicole Wang-Trexler, GED’11, has joined Wharton Customer Analytics and AI for Business as associate director of data science and research. She is thrilled to come back to Penn.

Taryn Williams, C’14, GED’15, teaches and works as a classroom coach in the Alaskan bush and has enrolled in Penn GSE’s Strategic Leadership in Education Certificate Program.


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. 

Michael Ernst, C’13, LPS’16, GED’20, began designing and teaching courses in art history at Temple University as part of his Ph.D. program. His course The Art of Video Games: Art, Affect, and the Responsive Image is inspired by his studies with Yasmin Kafai at Penn GSE.

Jessica Gladstone, GR’20, GRW’20, joined CTI Clinical Trial & Consulting Services as a biostatistician. She is grateful to apply skills and experiences gained at Penn GSE towards improving the quality of life of patients, especially those with rare, debilitating, or critical illnesses. 

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. 

Matthew Wolf, GED’20, a teacher and coach at Middle Township High School in Avalon, NJ, will be responsible for the safety of the bathing public during the summer as chief of the Avalon Beach Patrol. The patrol consists of over one hundred lifeguards and fifty beach taggers.

Jessica Yoos, GED’20, has been appointed director of Penn’s human research protections program after having served in the acting director role since July 2020.

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