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Student Biographies - Ed.D. Professional Leadership K-12

Our Ed.D. students come from diverse personal and professional backgrounds. They contribute importantly to the learning environment and provide unique opportunities to build strong and lasting networks.

Our Students

Main Campus Cohort

Elizabeth Adams

Elizabeth Adams

Elizabeth Adams currently serves as an Instructional Coach at Cy-Fair High School in Cypress, Texas. In this capacity, she supports teachers in Social Studies and LOTE programs and serves as the campus Lead Mentor. Prior to this role, she spent nine years teaching World History and United States Government courses in Title I schools in the Houston area. She earned a B.A. in History from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and an M.A. in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. She plans to focus her studies on educational policy in Texas.
Tracey Bennett

Tracey Bennett

Originally from Del City, Oklahoma, Tracey Bennett attended the University of Oklahoma and earned a B.A. in English. Knowing that her passion was to teach, she continued her education at the University of Oklahoma and pursed an M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an emphasis in English Education. During that time, she also met the requirements to earn her teaching certification in Reading/Language Arts. Tracey officially started her teaching career in Detroit, where she taught 7th grade English Language Arts for 7 years at Post Middle School. She continued teaching in Cypress, Texas for Cypress Fairbanks, ISD at Truitt Middle School where she taught 6th grade reading and 7th grade reading workshop. Tracey was honored with the recognition of teacher of the year at Truitt and moved to a curriculum support position for the next two years at the school. She attended Sam Houston State University to earn an M.Ed. in Educational Administration. Upon graduation, she served as the director of Instruction at Campbell Middle School for 8 years. Wanting to expand her experience with grade levels, Tracey accepted her current position as an assistant principal at Andre’ Elementary School in Cy-Fair ISD. Tracey holds certifications in Principal (EC-12), Core Subjects (EC-6), English Language Arts and Reading (4-8), English as a Second Language Supplemental (EC-8), Special Education Supplemental (EC-8), and Gifted & Talented (CFISD). As a lifelong learner, Tracey is thrilled to pursue her doctorate degree at the University of Houston. Her aspiration is to become a principal who makes a difference in the lives of both students and teachers.
Jay Berckley

Jay Berckley

Jay Berckley coaches top performers with remarkable results, turning innovative ideas into dynamic realities and passion into possibilities. Jay has clients in the fields of software development, business entrepreneurship, executive administration, social media and network marketing, and in the areas of education, government, and non-profit organizations. He coaches leaders towards extraordinary success! Jay is Dean at Episcopal High School and oversees their arts program - one of the largest in Texas. He is a passionate educator, dedicated toward making systemic improvements in how we define, cultivate, and advance education in America.  Jay's career accomplishments have focused intently on integrating arts instruction into the core of the academic curricula in the schools where he has served. His focus on the arts stems from his conviction that creative endeavors are of critical importance to the development of young minds, an idea supported by numerous research findings that reveal a strong correlation between early emphasis on arts education and enhanced student performance in domains such as critical thinking and problem solving. Jay, his wife, and three daughters live in Houston, Texas.
Jeff Collier

Jeff Collier

Jeff Collier is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and has been a Houstonian since 2013.  He obtained his Bachelor of Music Education from Missouri State University Honors College with a General Business Minor.  During his time at Missouri State he performed, as a member of the saxophone section, with the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and was drum major of the PRIDE Marching Band for two years.  He currently is the assistant band director at Baker 6th Grade Campus in La Porte ISD.  Before Baker,  he taught at East Chambers ISD in Winne, Texas, where he taught 5th-12th grade band/music.  During his tenure at East Chambers the band experienced significant growth and earned multiple Sweepstakes at UIL Contest.  He received his Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of North Texas and has received Principal, Music, English as a Second Language (supplemental), and Gifted and Talented (supplemental) certification.  He has been published in the Southwestern Musician for creating an instrument sponsorship program that has put instruments in the hands of over 20 economically disadvantaged students.  He started his Ed.D. in Professional Leadership the Spring of 2017 at University of Houston in an attempt to expand his knowledge and his role as a leader in the field of education.  He is passionate about studying motivational techniques and strategies to inspire students, particular within diverse populations and low socioeconomic status schools.  Jeff is married to Cassie Collier who is also a student at UH, pursuing her Ph.D. in Management Information Systems.  They are members of Caring Critters and love taking their dog, Archie, to hospitals on weekends to help cheer up the patients and doctors.
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Megan Dickey

Megan Dickey currently serves as the program coordinator for the Tri-County East Regional Day School Program for the Deaf, where she manages services for students with an auditory impairment for 16 school districts. After earning her B.A. in Communications Disorders and her M.A. in Deaf Studies/Deaf Education from Lamar University, she started teaching students with hearing loss in her hometown district of Goose Creek. Megan has taken an interest is raising the achievement levels of students in Special Education and specifically Deaf Education through supporting teachers and families. In her spare time, she enjoys camping and exploring the outdoors with her husband and children as well as serving in her church.
Tammy Edwards

Tammy Edwards

Tammy Edwards is a native Texan, leading as chief academic officer/assistant superintendent for the Stafford Municipal School District where she oversees the student affairs, school leadership, CTE, Athletics, Counselors, Nurses, Fine Arts, and Technology departments. Prior to this role, in 2010 she had the privilege of opening Ridge Point High School in Fort Bend ISD and serving as its first principal. Before her role in Fort Bend, Tammy was the principal at Gentry Junior School in Goose Creek CISD. She began her career in 1988 as a high school teacher and coach before moving into administration in 2002 as an assistant principal. Tammy has served in rural, urban, and suburban school settings, ranging in size from class 3A to 6A with students from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. From this wide range of experience she has learned that kids are kids - no matter their background - and that what matters most in delivering a great education are not fancy programs but high quality teachers. Tammy was born into a family of educators, in which both parents were school administrators, as are both her sisters. She earned her B.A. from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and her M.A. from the University of Houston. She is also a proud mother of four amazing young people: Vallen (23), Vance and Vince (21), and Victoria (16).
Michelle Hall

Michelle Hall

After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas in Arlington, Michelle Hall has taught in both private and elementary schools for nine years. She recently earned a Master of Arts degree from Sam Houston State University in Educational Administration and is thrilled to continue her education in the field. Throughout the past nine years in education, Michelle has developed an interest in school climate and culture. She is thrilled to join the conversation in policy studies here at the University of Houston, and looks forward to her future in school policy and leadership.
Camedra Jefferson

Camedra Jefferson

Camedra Jefferson is a huge people person and loves working with diverse thinkers in education. Ms. Jefferson graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown with a B.S. in Sociology in 2009 and the University of St. Thomas with an M.Ed. in Reading and Educational Leadership in 2014. Ms. Jefferson is currently pursuing an ED.D. in K-12 Executive Leadership at the University of Houston. Ms. Jefferson holds certifications in Principal EC-12, Instructional Leadership Development (ILD), English Language Arts and Reading 4-8, Generalist 4-8,  and Special Education EC-12.  Upon entering the professional world of education, she began her career as a middle school Special Education Case Manager and Math & Reading Resource Teacher.  Ms. Jefferson has served as a Literacy Coach, Reading Intervention Teacher and currently as a Literacy Instructional Coach for HISD’s Secondary Curriculum and Development Department. Ms. Jefferson’s primary role on the Secondary Curriculum and Development  Literacy Team is Reading Intervention and Special Populations. Servicing special populations and providing intervention to the highly underserved has been her deep-rooted passion throughout her ten years in education.  Ms. Jefferson has been an SXSWEDU Advisory Board Member since 2015, where she provides feedback and approval for proposals submitted to the SXSWEDU (Education) festival.  Ms. Jefferson is honored to have the opportunity to empower teachers and support administrators in fostering growth in their students.
 Andrew Maddocks

Andrew Maddocks

Andrew Maddocks teaches Theatre Arts, Technical Theatre, and International Baccalaureate Theatre as the Director of Theatre and Fine Arts Department Chair at The Westchester Academy for International Studies in Spring Branch Independent School District. Andrew earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Houston - Downtown. In the intervening time, he studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and has performed on stage in Houston, New York, and Edinburgh, Scotland. He has always been interested in the performing arts, especially in the transformative power of educational theatre. His current focus in research seeks to explore the effects of financial inequality on performing arts programs for middle and high school students and how that creates an inequity that hinders student achievement. Outside of his academic pursuits, Andrew enjoys spending time with his wife Emily, and their new baby daughter Amaya. He enjoys directing and acting in plays and also hiking and fishing. Andrew’s hope is to pursue a career in teacher education, helping to guide and shape the next generation of passionate and professional teachers at the university level.
 Matthew Mahony

Matthew Mahony

Matthew Mahony is a student in the University of Houston’s Ed.D program. He is originally from Southern Louisiana and came to Texas during college, where he earned an undergraduate degree from Trinity University in San Antonio. He holds a B.A. in English with a minor in Spanish as well as an M.A. in Education Administration from Sam Houston State University. During his more than 15 years in public education, Matthew has supported teachers, students, and staff in grades 6–12 in several districts in the greater Houston area. In his current role, he serves as an assistant principal at Riverwood Middle School in Humble ISD. Previously, he worked in Galena Park and Conroe ISD in various administrative, academic, and athletic capacities. Some of his roles have included: English Instructional Specialist (grades 6–12), administrator, English department chair, English teacher (grades 9–12), team leader, high school soccer coach, UIL Academics coach, club sponsor, and mentor. Matthew is passionate about learning, teaching, and leading, and he believes education is the lens through which we can explore and access the world around us. As a result, he hopes to use his continued education in the K-12 Executive Leadership program to provide students with the resources and guidance for social, emotional, and academic success, facilitate the instructional and professional growth of teachers, and lead the communities in which he serves.
 Greg Meyers

Greg Meyers

Greg Meyers was elected to the Board of Education in 2004 and reelected to subsequent consecutive terms. He served as board president in 2010. In his first year of service, he was appointed to chair the Board Monitoring Committee, which developed an expanded system for district accountability that was adopted as policy in August 2005. Meyers is active in many areas of community service. He has been the honorary chairman of the Boy Scouts of America Scout Fair, chairman of the board of directors of the Houston West Chamber of Commerce, and chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee as well as a board member of the Joint City/County Commission on Children. He received the HISD Apple Pin Award for extraordinary service to schools, and served on his neighborhood association board and as a Cub Scout den leader. Today, he serves as a board member for the University of St. Thomas School of Education and as a delegate for the Texas Association of School Boards. He is also active in his son's Boy Scout Troop. Meyers earned a bachelor of business administration degree from Texas A&M University, with a double major in management and marketing, and a master of business administration degree from St. Mary’s University, with an emphasis in finance. In 1999, after 12 years in the dental-products industry, Meyers founded his own company. Currently Meyers is executive director of Citizen Schools-Texas and previously served on the leadership team at Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston. The son of an Air Force veteran, Meyers grew up in several U.S. cities, as well as in Okinawa, Japan. A Houstonian since the age of 15, he has developed a tremendous pride in and an understanding of the diversity and people that make Houston great.
 Delesa O’Dell-Thomas

Delesa O’Dell-Thomas

Delesa O’Dell-Thomas is a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program and she is excited about this opportunity that is a dream come true. She is currently the Principal at the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy in the Houston Independent School District. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education from Southern University of New Orleans and a Master of Arts degree from Xavier University of New Orleans. Delesa has been in education for twenty five years with nineteen of those years being in leadership. She has a keen interest in empowering young women to seek careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Her research interest centers around math and science academic performance of female students in single gender schools compared to that of young ladies in a comprehensive middle school in the urban context. When she is not working, Delesa enjoys attending church, plays, dining out, movies, and spending time with family and friends.
 Heather Perkins

Heather Perkins

Heather Perkins is originally from New Orleans, LA and moved to Houston during her high school years. A proud graduate of Louisiana State University, she has a degree in Biological Sciences with a minor in dance. Heather is in her 12th year of education and leadership serving as the Fine Arts Department Head and Dance Educator/Director at Manvel High School in Alvin ISD. Heather holds a Master of Education in Educational Administration from Houston Baptist University. She is looking forward to exploring options to serve as an assistant principal and fine arts director as a social justice leader. Heather is married to her best friend Larry and they enjoy HGTV, the beach, cooking, and watching movies. They have two children ages 15 and 11 and a dog named Tiger. Heather is excited about the UH doctorate program and the knowledge and network it will create for years to come.
 Monica Quintero

Monica Quintero

Monica Quintero currently serves as an assistant principal in the Houston ISD. She began her career in education as a teacher assistant and soon moved on to a teacher position. At Roosevelt Elementary, she began to develop her leadership skills as a fifth grade team lead, program chairperson, and summer school principal. From Roosevelt, Monica transitioned into an assistant principal position at Jackson Middle School, where she was instrumental in making double digit gains in nearly all subject areas in one year. She then transferred to Lee High School, serving as an assistant principal for two years, and then as principal for two years. During her term, students and teachers earned state distinctions in Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. Raised in Houston, TX, Monica received her B.A. from UH – Downtown in Interdisciplinary Studies and her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Sam Houston State University. Monica aims to create a positive educational atmosphere that provides students with a rigorous academic curricula, delivered by exceptional teachers and in a safe and supportive learning environment. She believes that all students can achieve at high levels and demonstrates a “no excuses” philosophy. She considers it a privilege to work with students, teachers, and the community.
 Tracy Robinson

Tracy Robinson

Tracy Robinson Gatewood is the dean of Students at Jack Yates Senior High School. She provides instructional coaching and support to the Social Studies, Fine Arts and JROTC departments, as well as monitors discipline for grade 10. Prior to this position, she was an instructional specialist with High School Ahead Academy, where she provided instructional coaching and support to the Math, English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies Departments. Prior to her administrative roles,Tracy taught sixth grade World Cultures and Science for four years. She graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.A. in Urban Studies, the University of Oklahoma with an M.A. in Public Administration, and UH with an M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision. She holds certifications in Principal EC-12, Instructional Leadership Development (ILD), and Generalist Grades 4-8. Tracy would like to focus her research on the Turnaround Model for school improvement.
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Ricardo Rodriguez

Ricardo Rodriguez currently serves as the Academics Program Manager with Houston ISD’s Talent Acquisition Team. In his role, Ricardo leads efforts to develop teacher pipeline programs and partnerships with universities across the region. This grow-your-own focus on building HISD’s future educator workforce has led to successful programs with Sam Houston State University, Texas Tech, and University of Houston. Prior to his current role, Ricardo served as a College Success Manager with Houston ISD leading district initiatives which drove College Readiness efforts for nearly 50 high schools and over 10,000 seniors. Ricardo joins education with an extensive business background having served in various leadership capacities with Wells Fargo Bank for over 9 years. Between roles with Retail Banking, Mortgage, and Insurance –Ricardo has now found a true passion in education and looks to serve advocacy and awareness efforts which will provide access to college and career for all undeserved communities. Outside of the day-to-day, Ricardo also remains active with professional organizations including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Leaders Institute, Houston Hispanic Forum, United Way’s Project Blue Print, and City of Houston’s LGBTQ Advisory Board. Ricardo holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with minor in Psychology from Texas A&M- San Antonio and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development from University of Houston. Through the Ed.D. Program – he will continue to be a voice which ensures Education, Exposure, and Empowerment.
 Christopher Rojas

Christopher Rojas

Christopher Rojas is a lifelong Houstonian who is excited to be continuing his educational journey as a doctoral student in UH’s Professional Leadership K-12 Ed. D. program. After deciding to leave a career holding various leadership roles within the field of business administration, Christopher chose to follow his passion for history and education. Thus, he is entering his sixth year as a social studies teacher for J. Frank Dobie High School in Pasadena Independent School District. During his tenure there, he has taught numerous classes, including World Geography, Government, AP United States History, and AP U.S. Government and Politics. Christopher earned his B.A. in History summa cum laude from the University of Houston and later completed his M.A. in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas in 2016. He has been happily married to his wife, Kacey, for over ten years, and they are blessed to have a three year-old son named Jameson who keeps them incredibly busy on a daily basis.
 Renee Silliman

Renee Silliman

Renee Silliman is originally from Austin, Texas where she attended the University of Texas for three semesters before transferring to the University of St. Thomas. It was there that she earned a B.A. in Elementary Education and an M.Ed. in Educational Administration degree. She began her educational career in Spring Branch ISD as a 4th grade ELA teacher for 8 years. While there she was named Teacher of the Year, was the coordinator for the 21st Century Grant program, and was a district summer school administrator before becoming an administrator. She served two years as administrative support at The Bendwood School in Spring Branch, a specialized campus that services the Gifted and Talented students as well as the PPCD (Primary Program for Children with Disabilities) students in the district. She then moved to Cy-Fair ISD, where she has been an assistant principal for the past 8 years at Lee Elementary and Francone Elementary. Renee is excited to be pursuing her doctoral degree and is eager to see what opportunities lie ahead of her in the future. Her passion is with Title I schools and growing teachers professionally so that they are equipped to provide the very best instruction, specifically designed for each child and what they need to be successful. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her two children, Ashlyn and Hudson, her family, and her friends.
 David Sanchez

David Sanchez

David Sanchez, M.S., is a graduate from the University of Houston and is an instructional assistant professor/master teacher for the teachHOUSTON program at UH. He recruits and teaches future math/science educators while giving them field-based experiences in the classroom. In addition, he serves as the program director for the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp and the StatOil Summer STEM camp at UH. Mr. Sanchez’ passion for teaching began as a middle school teacher at Ortiz Middle School, HISD: for over 12 years he worked with the Houston Independent School District (HISD), KIPP Charter Program, and Klein ISD as a math teacher in middle and high schools. He received three Teacher of the Year Awards for inspiring and challenging students throughout his career (2007, 2011, and 2013.) Mr. Sanchez served as an Instructional Technology Specialist, District Curriculum Writing Specialist and various department chair/leads throughout his teaching career. He has taught middle school math, Algebra I and II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus and Calculus.

Before he pursued his career as a teacher, David served in the US Army (1991-1999). Having held various leadership roles, he uses this experience to guide his students through their educational endeavors. Growing up in and out of inner city kids’ shelters, David is familiar with the hardships many of the students he serves go through daily; this has led him to reach out to the youth in the pursuit of giving them a sense of hope. He believes that all kids deserve great instruction and he holds all his future educators to high standards as he mentors them through their teacher programs. Mr. Sanchez is currently enrolled in the Educational Leadership Doctorate program at UH.
 Kimberly Walters

Kimberly Walters

Kimberly Walters is a passionate educator of 17 years committed to providing equal educational opportunities for all students, particularly those who have been historically disenfranchised. She currently serves as a high school assistant principal in Klein ISD. Kimberly is an enthusiastic supporter of public education and feels that pursuing her Ed.D in Educational Leadership at UH has further sparked her passion for learning and teaching as well as her involvement in advocacy work at the grassroots level. She is an avid reader and enjoys reading educational research to enhance the pedagogical practices on her campus in order to increase student achievement. Kimberly’s mission and commitment throughout her career is to "always do what's best for kids.” She helped lead her campus to being recognized as a Model PLC School by Solution Tree and a School Transforming Learning by N2 Learning. Kimberly believes in celebrating diversity: she developed a No Place for Hate coalition on her campus and created B.R.I.D.G.E. (Building Resilient, Independent, Determined Girls Towards Excellence), a club for girls focused on character development and post-secondary preparedness. She funded these organizations through grants from the Klein Education Foundation and the AAUW. She believes in supporting the whole child, and developed a food pantry on her campus to support students and families in need. Kimberly intends to leverage the knowledge gained in this program to assist districts in their cultural responsiveness and dedication to social justice in order to help close the achievement gap of our most disadvantaged students. Born in Beaumont, TX, Kimberly moved to Dallas as a young child and graduated from Garland High School in 1994. She earned a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Spanish in 1998 from UH. In 1997, she was awarded a congressional internship in Washington, D.C. with Representative Sheila Jackson Lee through the Mickey Leland internship program. This experience led to her interest in public policy. She has an M.Ed. in Leadership from UH-Victoria as well as Principal EC-12, Secondary Spanish, Secondary Psychology, and Instructional Leadership Development (ILD) certifications with an ESL supplement. Before becoming an administrator, she taught Spanish 1, 2 and Native Speakers in both Alief and CyFair ISDs. Kimberly currently resides in Tomball, TX with her two daughters, Alayna and Arianna, and their new Chorkie puppy, Prince Rogers Nelson.

Sugar Land Cohort

Jason Levin

Jason Levin

Mr. Levin is the band director of the Lamar Consolidated Mighty Mustang Band and the Fine Arts Department Chair at Lamar Consolidated High School. His duties include directing the Mighty Mustang Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Cadet Bands, Jazz Ensemble, as well as teaching AP Music Theory. Before coming to Lamar, he was the Assistant Director of Bands and Fine Arts Department chair at George Bush HS in Fort Bend ISD, the Director of Bands and Fine Arts Department chair at Estacado High School in Lubbock, TX, and the Director of Bands at Crosbyton CISD in Crosbyton, TX.

The Lamar Band has been named a finalist at the UIL Area Marching Contest and has twice been named an area finalist in the TMEA Honor Band Competition. They Mighty Mustang Band has performed at Bass Hall in Ft. Worth, the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, and Carnegie Hall in New York, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Orchestra Hall in Chicago, IL. Under his direction the Estacado band tripled in size during his five year tenure. On January 1, 2003, the Matador Band was selected as one of twenty bands from across the country to perform at the Nokia Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana, and in 2004 his band represented Texas at the International Lion’s Club convention in Detroit, Michigan. While at Crosbyton CISD, he earned the first Sweepstakes Award in the 90-year history of the school and the concert band was selected as a state finalist in the Outstanding Performance Series, finishing ninth.

Mr. Levin is a graduate of Texas Tech University and Lubbock Christian University. He has received his Bachelor of Music degree (‘98) and Masters in Education Administration (’00). While at Texas Tech, Mr. Levin played tuba in the Goin’ Band from Raiderland and was a member of the Court Jesters. He participated in the national music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

He is also active in the community as a member of the Lions Club, the Katy Masonic Lodge, and the West Houston Shrine Club, where he served as the club’s president in 2008 and 2016. In addition, he is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Bandmasters Association, and Texas Music Adjudicators Association.
Walter Berringer

Walter Berringer

After graduating from the University of North Texas, Walter taught at Crownover Middle School in Corinth, Texas. He served CMS for 1 year, and then went to Corsicana High School. While at CHS, he taught English, coached girl's soccer and coached football under Coach Dave Henigan before transitioning into school administration. At Corsicana High School, he served as an assistant principal and associate principal respectively. His experience at Corsicana High School helped him grow as an educator and a person. He has been fortunate enough work with some of the finest educators in the state of Texas while educating some of the most excellent students. As an assistant principal at Grapevine High School, he was exposed to true diversity in the realm of students enrolling from countries such as, but not limited to, Honduras, Dubai, Russia, Egypt, and South Africa. That experience lent itself to challenging his thought process of meeting the needs all students regardless of their educational or socio-economic background. He has been the principal at Charles Richard Drew Elementary School since July 2012. It transitioned from a 5th-6th grade campus to now a 1st-5th grade elementary campus this fall (2016). His motivation derives from seeing the students succeed in the different facets of their education and lives. He believes it is important to be a life-long learner and have an undying commitment to education and diversity.