(Photography by Jim Graham)

Paul Herdman, Ed.D.,  is President and CEO of the Rodel Foundation of Delaware, which he joined in 2004. He is a founding member of Vision 2015, Delaware’s plan to transform its public schools to world class; an Aspen Institute-NewSchools Fellow in entrepreneurial leadership; and 2010 recipient of the NewSchools Venture Fund “Change Agent of the Year” award. He has served as a senior manager at New American Schools; consulted with Brookings Institution, RAND, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and The World Bank. Paul has taught K-12 in the U.S., South Africa, and Australia; and co-founded an Outward Bound-based school-within-a-school in New York City. He assisted the Secretary of Education for two governors in Massachusetts during the wholesale redesign of the state’s policies on standards, choice, and finance in the 1990s. He holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Delaware, and a Master of Arts and Doctor of Education in education administration and planning from Harvard University.

Matt Amis is the Senior Communications Officer at the Rodel Foundation. His responsibilities involve building public awareness and strategic partnerships through various media platforms and initiatives. Prior to joining the team, Matt served as Communications Manager at the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. With a background in journalism, Matt has appeared in the pages of many local publications over the years, including “Delaware Today,” “Out & About,” “The News Journal,” among others. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Delaware. 302.504.5245

Madeleine Bayard is the Vice President of Policy and Practice at the Rodel Foundation. She leads the Foundation’s education policy and research efforts, and she manages implementation and evaluation initiatives. Previously, Madeleine worked as a Senior Policy Analyst at the National Governors Association and as an Associate at The Alford Group, a consulting firm dedicated to strengthening nonprofits in Washington, D.C. Madeleine is the Co-Chair of the Delaware Early Childhood Council. She serves as a peer reviewer for the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Delaware Division of the Arts and volunteers with the Delaware Community Foundation and United Way. Madeleine earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Wake Forest University and a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University.

Jenna Bucsak is a Program Officer working at the Rodel Foundation. In her role, she supports the organization’s policy research, specifically projects related to college and career access and organizational outreach. She has worked at the University of Delaware on projects focused on education and public libraries. Jenna has also served as a Legislative Fellow in the Delaware General Assembly. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Public Policy from the University of Delaware and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Delaware.

Rachel Wiggans Chan is a Senior Program Officer at the Rodel Foundation. She works on the Foundation’s policy team and is responsible for supporting the organization’s policy initiatives, specifically projects related to personalized learning and innovation. She is the facilitator of the Rodel Teacher Council. Prior to joining Rodel, she worked at Freire Charter School in Philadelphia, PA, where she was the Director of Research & Quality Assessment. In that capacity, she conducted research and analysis and provided ongoing strategic counsel to school leaders and stakeholders. In addition, she secured start-up funding for the development of the school’s dashboard and student achievement modeling systems, and worked on the implementation of those systems. Rachel received a Bachelor of Science in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government.

Melissa Hopkins is the Director of External Affairs at the Rodel Foundation. In that role, she is responsible for providing accurate, in-depth research into issues, bills, or other education-related legislative actions to assist in the design and development of organizational strategies. Prior to Rodel, Melissa was Legislative Aide to the Delaware House of Representatives Democratic Caucus, where she served as the primary assistant to the Majority Leader and Majority Whip. She also has experience working in constituent relations, policy research, and staffing policy work groups. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Delaware.

Liz Hoyt is a Research Associate for the Rodel Foundation. She is responsible for working with the policy and communications team to support state and local leadership as well as partner organizations. Prior to joining Rodel, she was a Delaware high school social studies teacher. She additionally was a TaLK Scholar, teaching English in South Korea. While in college, she was an associate editor and site supervisor for GlobalConnect@UCI, an educational partnership developed to enrich California’s curriculum and bridge the global studies knowledge-gap in public schools. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies from the University of California, Irvine.

Neil Kirschling is a Program Officer at the Rodel Foundation. In this role, he supports the organization’s policy initiatives through research, data analysis, and support for various engagement projects. Previously, he served as a Legislative Fellow in the Delaware General Assembly, conducted research for the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration, and participated in the Delaware Department of Education’s “Future Education Policy Leaders” internship program. Neil graduated in December 2014 from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy and a Master of Public Administration.

Mamie Doyle Mannella is the Senior Director of Policy at the Rodel Foundation.  In this role, she is responsible for supporting policies and programs that advance the Foundation’s mission.  Prior to this position, she was the Director of the Office of Educator Recruitment & Preparation at the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE).  In that capacity, she lead a team dedicated to building strong pools of talent for school districts, and worked closely with teacher training programs to develop new policies for entry into the teaching profession, while developing an accountability framework for programs. She also served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner at the NJDOE, supporting the development of New Jersey’s waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as well as its successful Race to the Top grant.  Before coming to New Jersey, she spent five years at Teach For America serving in a variety of capacities and taught 6th grade in North Philadelphia.  Mamie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN and earned a Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania.

Brittany Mason is the Communications Officer at the Rodel Foundation. In that capacity, she is responsible for managing and creating internal and external communications and engagement strategies, including the iEducate Delaware initiative. While in college, Brittany served as an intern to U.S. Senator Thomas Carper in Washington D.C. Brittany has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts and Sciences from the Pennsylvania State University. She has served as Grants Chair and Treasurer to the Delaware Community Foundation’s (DCF) The Next Generation North and is an advisor to DCF’s Youth Philanthropy Board of New Castle County.

Nancy Millard is the Operations Manager at the Rodel Foundation. In her role, Nancy supports the organization’s operations, provides human resource support, and works with the Chief Operating Officer on grants administration and financial reporting. Prior to Rodel, Nancy worked in higher education administration at the University of Delaware and undergraduate admissions at Villanova University and St. Joseph’s University. Nancy has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Delaware.

Suwathna (Su) Reel is a Program Assistant at the Rodel Foundation. She provides administrative support to the Foundation’s programmatic work. Prior to Rodel, Su worked as an Office Assistant at the Project Management Institute. While in college, she conducted research on the impact of public art as an urban revitalization strategy and as an educational tool. Su has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Geography from Temple University and looks forward to earning a graduate degree where she can utilize her passion for both disciplines.

Rex Varner is the Chief Operating Officer at the Rodel Foundation. In this role, Rex is responsible for supporting the strategy and operations of the organization; he also provides strategic support to partner organizations. Rex has private and public sector experience in both technology and operations. Before coming to Rodel, Rex worked in executive positions at Bellwether Education Partners, Teach For America, and the Corporate Executive Board. He also was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, working throughout Africa, and Andersen Consulting (Accenture). In addition, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali. Rex has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the College of William and Mary and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Haley Qaissaunee is the current Communications Fellow at the Rodel Foundation. In this position, she is responsible for helping to manage the Rodel website, create presentations, and provide support for the communications team. Haley is currently a senior at the University of Delaware and will receive her undergraduate degrees in English (professional writing) and Public Policy. She will also get her Master’s degree in Public Administration at University of Delaware next year.

Laurie Jacobs is an Operations and Communications Assistant at the Rodel Foundation. She is responsible for providing administrative and program support to both the Operations and Communications team, including distributing email newsletters, analyzing social media trends, preparing promotional materials, and coordinating events. Prior to joining the Rodel Foundation, Laurie was a Sales and Marketing Support Specialist at Arkieva Supply Chain Software, where she led a re-branding initiative and managed various analyst relationships. Laurie graduated from George Mason University in 2014 with Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. She currently a member of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League Young Professionals and the Kennett Square Rotaract Club.

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