Board of Directors
William D. Budinger
Founding Director, The Rodel Foundations
Bill Budinger is an inventor and the holder of more than three dozen patents. He is also the founder of Rodel, Inc., where he served for 33 years as its CEO and Chairman. Bill has served on the boards of other companies as well as community and cultural organizations. He has been honored as the SBA Small Business Person of the Year, the Eastern Technology Council’s Legendary CEO, and was awarded the Henry Crown Leadership Award. Bill serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards, including the Aspen Institute. He was an elected delegate and chair of the White House Conference on Small Business, a panelist for Mikhail Gorbachev’s first State of the World Forum, and has been a guest lecturer at several universities including MIT and Harvard. His writings have appeared in various law journals as well as trade and public policy magazines. He drafted part of the 1998 patent reform legislation and has testified on patent, trade, and labor law reform before several committees of the U.S. House and Senate. Most of Bill’s time is spent helping the Rodel Foundations in their mission to improve public education.
Donald V. Budinger
Founding Director, The Rodel Foundations
Don Budinger is a founder and immediate past President of Rodel, Inc. Currently, Don is chairman and founding director of The Rodel Foundations, chairman and founding director of Science Foundation Arizona, and chairman and founding director emeritus of Arizona College Scholarship Foundation. He is a board member of Morrison Institute, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Basis Charter Schools and Greater Phoenix Leadership. In addition, Don serves on the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, the O’Connor House Advisory Group, the Phoenix Biomedical Campus Advisory Council and Tucson Values Teachers, for which he was also a founding director. Don has been the recipient of several awards including being named one of Morrison Institute for Public Policy’s Distinguished Associates; the 2010 O’Connor House Community Leadership Award; an Honorary Doctorate degree in Humane Letters from Northern Arizona University; the Science of Early Learning Award from New Directions Institute; the Horace Steele Child Advocacy Award from Children’s Action Alliance; the Outstanding Achievement in Higher Education Award from the Arizona Board of Regents; the Homeroom Heroes Award from Teach For America and the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Arizona College of Engineering.
Susan Budinger (Secretary)
Founding Director, The Rodel Foundations
Susan Budinger is a founding director of The Rodel Foundations. Before the formation of the Foundations, Susan was a director of Rodel, Inc. While a director of Rodel, Susan lead the process that generated the articulation of the company’s vision and core ideology, which ultimately lead to the establishment of the Rodel Foundations. During her earlier career at Rodel, Susan held management positions in marketing, sales, and organization development. Prior to joining Rodel, she was an Account Executive with Griffin Bacal Advertising in New York, NY. Susan is currently a board member of the Arizona Community Foundation, where she has chaired the committee responsible for all education programs and grants. She has been a member of the boards of the Arizona Early Education Funds, The Ellis Center for Educational Excellence and Phoenix Country Day School and was appointed to Governor Napolitano’s P – 20 Council. Susan has a Master of Arts degree in Developmental Psychology from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Economics from Hamilton College.
Tony Allen Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost, Delaware State University
Tony Allen is executive vice president and provost at Delaware State University, one of the nation’s oldest and most diverse Historically Black Colleges and Universities. As the institution’s Chief Academic Officer, Tony leads a faculty of more than 200 professors and 21 academic departments serving nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Previously, he led the corporate reputation group at Bank of America and was responsible for developing programming to influential external audiences including media elites, national social justice advocates, academics and elected officials and their staff at federal and local levels. He was also responsible for ongoing reputation analysis and related research and led communications for the bank’s Consumer, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management businesses. He is currently Chairman of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, a Commission created to strengthen public education for low-income black and brown students throughout the Delaware.
H. Raye Jones Avery
Executive Director, Christina Cultural Arts Center
H. Raye Jones Avery is the executive director of the Christina Cultural Arts Center. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology and earned a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration from West Chester University. She has 25 years of experience in non-profit management. Raye has been employed by Community Action of Greater Wilmington, Delaware League for Planned Parenthood, United Way of Delaware. Raye is the recipient of numerous awards from the NAACP; the Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families; the National Center for Justice; and Brandywine Professional Association. In 2000, she was appointed by then-Mayor James H. Sills Jr. to serve as chair of the Wilmington Neighborhood Schools Committee. Her public service includes positions with the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, Wilmington Renaissance Development Corporation, Downtown Visions, and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Delaware Chapter. Raye is board president of Kuumba Academy Charter School in Wilmington.
D. Wayne Holden
First Vice President, Merrill Lynch (retired)
Wayne Holden served as a senior-level executive at major financial institutions and was active in the field of financial consulting for over 38 years until his retirement in 2011. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Gettysburg College and served in the U.S. Army for four years where he was an Executive Officer, Forward Observer, and Battery Commander, and was honored with the award of a Soldier’s Medal. He has served on over thirty boards, including chairing the Delaware Community Foundation.
Fred C. Sears II
President and CEO, Delaware Community Foundation (retired)
Fred Sears has been President and CEO of the Delaware Community Foundation since December 2002. Through his work with the Foundation, he encourages individuals, businesses, and organizations to engage in long-term charitable giving in order to improve the statewide community, now and in the future. Prior to taking on the leadership of the Delaware Community Foundation, Fred had a 38-year career in banking, most recently as president of Commerce Bank/Delaware. Fred has been a member of the Board of Directors of more than 20 nonprofit organizations and currently also serves on the boards of Christiana Care Medical Center, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, the Diamond State Port Corporation, the Wilmington Housing Partnership, and the United Way of Delaware. He is a member of the Delaware Business Roundtable and the Wilmington Rotary Club.
James “Jim” W. Stewart, III (Treasurer)
Co-Founder and CEO, Epic Research
Jim Stewart, of Montchanin, Delaware, is the co-founder and CEO of Epic Research, a Wilmington-based direct marketing and investment company that serves the financial services industry. Prior to Epic, he was the co-founder and president of Juniper Financial, a Wilmington-based credit card issuer. From the start in 2000, Juniper grew to be the ninth largest bank credit card issuer in the country in 2008. Juniper was sold to Barclays in 2004. Mr. Stewart has also served as an executive vice president of credit policy and marketing at credit card issuer First USA. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and a trustee of the Brandywine Conservancy.
Rodman Ward III (Chair)
President and CEO, Corporation Service Company (CSC)
Rod Ward served on the CSC board for more than 15 years prior to his election as CEO in April 2010. Prior to that, Rod was president and chief executive officer of Speakman Company. He serves today as chairman of Speakman’s board of directors and is past president of PMI. In civic life, Rod serves on the Economic Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the Advisory Board of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. He is the board vice chair of East Side Charter School in Wilmington and a member of the Philadelphia chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization, as well as a board member of the World Affairs Council of Wilmington and the Delaware Theatre Company. Rod holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and Economics from Middlebury College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina.
The Honorable Thomas R. Carper (Chair)
United States Senator
Tom Carper was elected to the United States Senate in 2000 after serving two terms as Delaware’s Governor, five terms as its Congressman in the U. S. House of Representatives, and six years as State Treasurer. During more than 25 years of public service, Tom has earned the distinction of being an effective and nonpartisan leader skilled in finding practical solutions to real problems. The first bill he signed as Senator, the “Empowering Parents Act,” was signed into law by President George W. Bush as part of the Leave No Child Behind Act of 2001. As Governor of the First State, he gained national recognition for achieving real education reform by creating rigorous public education standards; instituting optional parent training programs; fully funding Head Start and other early intervention projects; demanding accountability from students, parents and teachers; and ending social promotion. Senator Carper attended Ohio State University as a Navy ROTC midshipman, graduating in 1968 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. He received his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Delaware. He completed five years of service as a Naval flight officer, serving in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and retired with the rank of Captain after 18 years in the Naval Reserve.
Instructional Technology Coach, Hodgson Vocational and Technical High School
Tim Brewer is an instructional technology coach at Hodgson Vocational and Technical High School, in the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District. Prior, he was a science teacher at St. Georges Technical High School and had been there since the school opened its doors in 2002, playing a critical role in the creation of the school’s science program. In addition to his responsibilities at St. Georges, he is an adjunct faculty member of Wilmington University, where he teaches online and face-to-face hybrid undergraduate and graduate courses in all areas of science. He is also a 2013-14 and 2014-15 Rodel Teacher Council Member. Tim has a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth and Space Science from West Chester University, a Master of Education degree in School Leadership and Instruction from Wilmington University, and a Doctorate in Education degree in Higher Education Teaching and Learning from Agrosy University.
Principal, The Buccini/Pollin Group
Rob Buccini leads general real estate development, non-hotel management, and leasing efforts for The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG), a privately-held, full-service real estate acquisition, development and management company with offices in Wilmington, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Prior to co-founding BPG, Rob was an assistant vice president for real estate development at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC). While at EDC, his projects included the Times Square-Disney redevelopment project; Brooklyn’s Metro Tech, the city’s first information technology building; and the New York City Discovery Fund (a $50 million venture fund investing in NYC-based technology companies). Prior to that, Rob was a broker and senior analyst for Kenneth D. Laub & Company, a commercial real estate brokerage firm based in New York City. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University.
Acting Director, Delaware Economic Development Office
Cerron Cade grew up in Washington D.C. and moved to Delaware to study political science and law, graduating from Delaware State University. Driven by a desire to make a positive impact and following his passion for politics and policy, Cerron pursued his career as a regional organizer with Democratic National Committee, legislative aide at the Delaware State House of Representatives, New Castle County deputy director for U.S. Senator Tom Carper and state projects director for then Congressman John Carney. Bringing with him a wealth of experience with research, drafting legislation, contracting, and funding, in 2015 Cerron joined Governor Jack Markell’s team as the legislative liaison. Today, Cerron is putting all these talents to work to help businesses throughout the state and boost Delaware’s economic growth by serving at the request of Governor John Carney as the acting director for the Delaware Economic Development Office.
The Honorable Christopher A. Coons
United States Senator
Chris Coons was elected to the United States Senate in November 2010. He began his career as a lawyer for W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., the Newark, DE-based makers of Gore-Tex fabrics and other high-tech materials. He was responsible for the ethics training program, federal government relations, e-commerce legal work, and general commercial contracting. In 1999, Chris was awarded the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award for his work with the “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Delaware, the Governor’s Mentoring Council, and the United Way of Delaware. Elected President of New Castle County Council in 2000, Chris helped secure the financial basis of county government and hired the county’s first independent auditor to protect taxpayers against fraud and fiscal abuse. He also led a Rental Housing Task force that proposed increasing oversight and regulation of rental properties. In 2005, he was elected as New Castle County Executive. In that position, he worked to re-focus the County’s budget to continue providing excellent services while managing taxpayers’ dollars appropriately and responsibly, and establishing a strong financial future for New Castle County. He graduated from Amherst College in 1985 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Chemistry and Political Science, earning a Truman Scholarship. In 1992, he earned his Juris Doctorate degree from Yale Law School, and a Master’s degree in Ethics from Yale Divinity School.
Stephanie Clark Fitzgerald
Founder & CEO, Strategy for Education
Stephanie Clark Fitzgerald is the immediate past President and CEO of the Rodel Foundation of Delaware. Her public education consulting practice is focused on strategic planning, meeting facilitation, human capital development, new school creation and/or expansion and developing learning cultures for children and adults. Before launching Strategy for Education, as an Executive Director at New Leaders for New Schools, Stephanie was responsible for the design and implementation of professional development for all program personnel. Stephanie began her career as a middle school social studies and language arts teacher in Chicago, where she also founded Perspectives School, served as principal of the independent pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade Harvard School, and was the Director of Planning and founding leader of Ariel Community Academy. As an education consultant, Stephanie assisted in opening two schools in Washington, D.C. for the Edison Project; provided school-level accountability development for Perspectives Charter Schools; and with KPMG Consulting, conducted performance reviews for districts and states and assisted in developing and marketing an education data warehouse. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University, Master of Arts degree in Education Leadership and Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Master of Arts degree in Economic Education and Entrepreneurship from the University of Delaware.
Senior and Founding Pastor, Harvest Christian Fellowship
Pastor Griffin is the senior and founding pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship. He is an ordained minister in the Chesapeake District of The Wesleyan Church, and serves as District Secretary, a member of the District Board of Administration, and District Board of Ministerial Development. Pastor Griffin is also a board member of Delaware Charter Schools Network.Pastor Meredith L. Griffin, Jr., holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Hampton University, a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Regent University.
Lois Hobbs is a former primary teacher, and middle school principal in Prince George’s County, MD, where she helped launch a unique middle school with an interdisciplinary approach to academic and arts instruction. As superintendent of Indian River School District from 1996-2006, the largest geographically in Delaware, she earned recognition for Delaware’s first No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School and was widely recognized as one of the best superintendents in Delaware. Lois has received the first Civic Star Award from AASA and Sodexho School Services for creating and expanding Project Village, a program for economically disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds.
Senior Advisor Community and Government Affairs, Nemours Health & Prevention Services
John Hollis is a former Vice President at the Delaware Community Foundation. Previous to the Delaware Community Foundation, John served as a Director at Delaware Technical & Community College, an administrator, a teacher, a coach, and a guidance counselor in the Seaford School District. He is an adjunct faculty member at both Wilmington and Salisbury Universities. In addition, he has presented numerous workshops on topics such as motivating youth and effective parenting techniques. John is a graduate of the University of Delaware and earned a Master’s degree in Counseling from Salisbury University. He is apast recipient of the Governor’s Volunteer of the Year Award and the Rural Educator of the Year Award.
President and CEO, Latin American Community Center (LACC)
Maria Matos has been President and CEO of the LACC in Wilmington since 1994. Prior to then, she was employed by the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council, Inc., where she held various management positions. From 1974 to 1985, Maria worked for the Red Clay Consolidated School District. Maria currently serves on the United Way Council of Agency Executives and serves on the Strong Neighborhood Advisory Council, as well as the Board of the Delaware Community Foundation. She is a member of the Delaware Hispanic Consortium and Delaware Prevention Network Alliance, and serves on the board for the 21st Century Delaware’s Children Fund. She has been appointed to several taskforces, including the Wilmington Neighborhood Schools Committee. She was appointed by Gov. Thomas Carper and Gov. Ruth Ann Minner to serve on the Governor’s Council of Hispanic Affairs and is a trustee with both the Grand Opera House and Christiana Care. Maria studied human services and family counseling at Delaware Technical and Community College, elementary education at Delaware State University and The Institute of Family Counseling in Philadelphia, PA. Maria earned a non-profit management certificate from the University of Delaware.
Dean, College of Education and Human Development, University of Delaware
Lynn Okagaki was appointed dean of the College of Education and Human Development in August 2011. She has been instrumental in increasing multidisciplinary collaboration across the University and renewing a focus on research. Prior to joining the University of Delaware, Lynn was Commissioner for Education Research in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education. Under her leadership, the center nearly doubled its research grant activities and launched several innovative research programs. She sought to improve the quality of education research while finding ways to engage policymakers and practitioners in research efforts. Lynn received her Bachelor of Science degree in applied Behavioral Sciences from the University of California at Davis and her Doctoral Degree in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University.
Executive Director, Teach For America – Delaware
Laurisa Schutt has been engaged in education reform and other civic causes since moving to Delaware in 2000 and has a deep commitment to ensuring that all children have the opportunity for an excellent education. She is currently on the boards of the Delaware Community Foundation and the East Side Charter School. She also chairs the Annual Fund at Wilmington Montessori School, as well as co-chairs the 1781 Society for Phillips Exeter Academy. From 1993-2000, she lived in Hong Kong, where she held corporate management positions in marketing and wholesale design and distribution at L’Oreal and Shanghai Tang before launching a successful luxury accessories company with distribution through top U.S. retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, as well as retailers in Hong Kong and London. Laurisa graduated cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in East Asian Studies, and received a Master’s degree in Oriental Studies from Cambridge University.
Director of Account Managment, Sitel
Former Delaware State Legislator Daryl Scott served in the General Assembly from 2008 – 2014 as the State Representative for the 31st district. Prior to joining the legislature, Representative Scott served three and a half years on the Capital School District Board of Education, and was involved with the parent-teacher organizations at his sons’ schools. He has participated on numerous school committees, coached with the Central Delaware Soccer Association, held a seat on the Board of Directors for the Elizabeth W. Murphey School in Dover, and currently serves on the board for Reading Assist Institute. Scott has degrees in Economics and Marketing from Eastern Kentucky University.
Dana Diesel Wallace
President and CEO, Schools That Lead
Dr. Dana Diesel Wallace is the President and CEO of Schools That Lead where she and her team leverage leadership development for teachers, principals, and school teams committed to advancing powerful student learning. Previously Dana served as a teacher, principal, central services administrator, superintendent, and lead for school development in a statewide educational intermediary. Throughout her career, she has acted as a change agent for the sole purpose of improving academic performance for all students. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from Old Dominion University, a Master’s degree in educational leadership from Harvard University, and a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University.