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Board of Directors

2014-2015 Board of Directors

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Christopher "Kit" Bond is a former United States Senator who has been a longtime supporter of Parents as Teachers and advocate for families and children. Bond enrolled his son in the Parents as Teachers home visiting model during the organization's pilot stage and understands the important role PAT plays in strengthening families. Ultimately, his experiences as a young dad shaped his position on early childhood and parent education throughout his political career.

Bond, currently a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP, served four consecutive terms for Missouri in the United States Senate, from his first election in January 1987 to his retirement in January 2011. Prior to his career in the Senate, Bond served as Missouri's youngest governor, holding office from 1973-1977 and again from 1981-1985.

Through these roles Bond was instrumental in shaping state and federal policy for children, and was a tireless advocate for PAT. With his influence, the Missouri General Assembly passed the Early Childhood Education Act to establish the PAT program statewide in 1984, a success Bond refers to as his greatest accomplishment as governor, and through his continued advocacy as senator he helped expand PAT into a national and international program.

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T. Berry Brazelton is Clinical Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He established the Child Development Unit, a pediatric research center and the Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC) at Children’s Hospital Boston. Dr. Brazelton has been president of the Society for Research in Child Development and one of the founders of the Zero to Three. He is a strong parent advocate, appearing before Congressional committees in support of parental and medical leave bills and continues to promote strengths-based, family-centered care in pediatric and early education settings around the world.

One of Dr. Brazelton’s most notable achievements in pediatrics is his Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS), an evaluation tool used worldwide to assess not only the physical and neurological responses of newborns, but also their emotional well-being and individual differences.

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Sheila Casey is chief operating officer of The Hill Newspaper, a paper that reports on the U.S. Congress. Prior to joining The Hill in 1997, she was director of finance at the Texas Council on Family Violence in Austin, Texas. She also spent seven years at Grant Thorton, a national CPA firm, where she was an audit manager. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in accounting.

Casey is a member of the Board of Governors of the National Military Families Association, a nonprofit organization that is the voice for military families, and on the advisory boards of The Discovery's Military Channel and ThanksUSA.

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Maxine Clark founded Build-A-Bear Workshop® in 1997, and today the company has grown to more than 400 stores worldwide.

Clark is a member of the board of directors for Footlocker, Inc., and a former board member for the J.C. Penney Company, Inc.  She serves on the national Board of Trustees of Teach for America and the local St. Louis regional board, the national Board of Donorschoose.org and the KETC Channel 9 PBS Board of Directors. She and her husband are founding donors of KIPP Inspire Academy, a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory charter schools preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life.

Clark is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from St. Louis University.  In 2006, she published her first book, "The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart."

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Steffanie Clothier is the Senior Policy Director for the Alliance for Early Success, providing strategic support to states and national organizations as they work to improve outcomes for young children in the early years. Previously, as program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), she led early care and education initiatives with legislatures of the 50 states and territories.

Clothier has substantial experience in developing key partnerships and ways to engage policymakers through evaluation data and scientific research, and in advising states on policies, testimony and bills. She has work on state level policy issues related to early care and education for 20 years, and has extensive expertise in welfare reform, health care, child health, and environmental issues.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. and a law degree from the University of Denver School of Law.

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Brad Cowan is the assistant vice president of the Insurance Replacement Division of North America at Enterprise Holdings, Inc. He began his career with Enterprise Rent-A-Car in 1991, and rose to the rank of area rental manager. In 1999, Cowan moved to Dallas, Texas as a regional rental manager and later held the role as the Dallas group sales and marketing manager. In 2004, he was promoted to assistant vice-president of the Insurance Replacement Division of North America in 2006. Today, Cowan helps oversee many of Enterprise's largest insurance company partnerships at a national level and supports field operations in North America.

Cowan has a BBA in management from West Georgia University.

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Tom Curran leads the Service division of Edward Jones, which provides support for the company’s accounts, branches and clients, service optimization and financial advisor career development efforts. A member of Edward Jones’ Management Committee, Curran has been with the company since 1992, beginning as a financial advisor in Brighton, Mich., near Detroit. Over the years, he has served in various positions of increasing responsibility and leadership, including being named as a limited partner in 1997, and moved to the St. Louis headquarters in 2006 as a part of the Financial Advisor Development department responsible for the U.S. Northeast financial advisors.

He earned a master’s degree from the University of Iowa, and his bachelor’s degree from Augustana College, in Rock Island, Ill. He also attended the Securities Industry Institute at Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania, and holds the Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS®) professional designation.

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Katrina F. Farmer is the Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity at Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s Hospitals which are part of the BJC HealthCare system. She oversees the Center for Diversity and Cultural Competence and is responsible for leading the efforts at BJH and SLCH to ensure diversity and equity are strategic priorities through both clinical and business practices. Farmer promotes the consistent use of inclusive processes to positively impact organizational effectiveness, employee development, and community relations. Her team manages programs in the areas of cultural competence, health literacy, health equity and the elimination of disparities in health care.

Professionally, Farmer is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, American Leadership Council of the Institute for Diversity in Health Management and the National Association of Health Service Executives. She also serves as a member on the St. Louis Chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, the Society for Human Resources Management and the Human Resources Management Association of Greater St. Louis.

Farmer received her bachelor’s degree in human resources management and master’s degree in business administration from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. She also earned her professional designation as a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources through the Human Resources Certification Institute.

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Mark R. Ginsberg, PhD, is the dean of the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Va. His career spans more than 30 years, during which he has been a professor, psychologist and administrator, and has published extensively in the areas of education, psychology, human development and human services. He previously served as executive director of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Ginsberg has his doctoral and master's degrees from Pennsylvania State University, and his bachelor's degree from State University of New York.

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Luis A. Hernandez has served on the board of the Parent Services Project in California, the Florida Children’s Forum, the Child Care Workforce, NACCRRA and the Advisory Council for Accreditation at NAEYC. Currently, he serves on the board of the National Latino Children’s Institute and the Advisory Board of the McCormick Tribune Center for Early Childhood Leadership.

Hernandez holds a master of bilingual/multicultural education degree from the University of San Francisco. He speaks at many national, state and local conferences on early literacy, second language learning, collaboration and partnerships, changing demographics and diversity, adult learning, and ECE management topics.

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Stephanie Jones is associate professor in human development and urban education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She also serves as a faculty affiliate at the Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University. 

Dr. Jones holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Yale University. Her research focuses on the effects of poverty and exposure to violence on social and emotional development in early childhood and adolescence. In addition, she conducts evaluation research on the developmental impact of school based interventions. She was awarded the Grawemeyer Award in 2008 for her work on A Vision for Universal Preschool Education.

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Patricia Kempthorne (Vice Chair) is founder and president of the Twiga Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit corporation dedicated to promoting family consciousness at home, in the workplace and in the community. The Foundation works on several projects funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that focus on workplace flexibility and its impact on work and family.

As first lady of Idaho from 1999-2006, Kempthorne was instrumental in the implementation of Parents as Teachers in that state. She also serves on the St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital board of directors, University of Idaho College of Business and Economics advisory board and SPANUSA, among other activities. Kempthorne has a degree in business management from the University of Idaho.

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Colleen Kraft, M.D., is professor of pediatrics at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, Va., and is a primary care pediatrician with Carilion Pediatric Associates.  She is past president of the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and now serves on the National Medical Home Initiatives Project Advisory committee. 

Dr. Kraft received her M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia and did pediatric training at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals and often speaks about the return on public investments in children's health.

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Michael L. López, Ph.D. is Principal Associate at Abt Associates, is a national expert with more than 20 years of experience conducting applied early childhood research, with emphasis on low-income or culturally and linguistically diverse populations. He also is Co-Principal Investigator for the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, conducting research to help inform relevant Administration for Children and Families (ACF) programs and policies. Previously, he was the National Center’s executive director and also directed ACF’s Child Outcomes Research and Evaluation team, where he developed and directed large-scale, national research studies, including the National Head Start Impact Study, which examined the impact of Head Start on children’s school readiness.

His publication record reflects a commitment to the implementation and dissemination of high quality, applied policy research relevant to at-risk, low-income culturally and linguistically diverse children and families.

Losos_bw Carolyn Losos is a senior consultant to FOCUS St. Louis, an organization formed from the merger of The Leadership Center of Greater St. Louis and Confluence St. Louis. For 17 years she directed the Leadership St. Louis Program. She was the first chairperson of the Commissioner of Education's Statewide Advisory Committee on Parents as Teachers.

Losos serves on the boards of many local nonprofits such as the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Regional Arts Commission, OASIS and SSM Health Care. Her awards include the International Women's Forum's Women Who Make a Difference Award, the National Conference of Christian and Jews Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award, Washington University's Founder's Day Award, the Girl Scout Council of Greater St. Louis Women of Distinction Award and Thanks Badge, and the community advocate award from St. Louis Children's Hospital.

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Arthur Mallory served as Missouri commissioner of education from 1971-1987. Prior to that he served as president of Southwest Missouri State University, dean of faculties at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and assistant superintendent of the Parkway School District in St. Louis County.

During Mallory's years as commissioner of education, legislation for special education and the gifted was passed. Public Law 94142, federal legislation for special education, was modeled on Missouri's programs. When the Parents as Teachers pilot project results were released, he was instrumental in promoting legislation requiring that every Missouri school district offer a PAT program.

In 2013, Mallory received the Bronze Bear Award from Missouri State University. The award is presented to those who have exhibited extraordinary achievement and/or outstanding support for Missouri State.

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Mary Anne Mathews is director of Parenting Programs for South Carolina's early childhood initiative, First Steps to School Readiness. During her 37-year career, she has worked to improve quality services for children and families in both North and South Carolina, having previously taught infants/toddlers, teen parents and teachers candidates in early childhood education. Mathews has managed several early education and parenting programs for at-risk children, including Early Head Start, Head Start, Even Start and PAT. As a current PAT state leader in South Carolina, she provides training and technical assistance to the state's 46 First Steps county partnerships. She also is a member of the state leader group's advisory committee, which works directly with PAT staff.

Mathews has a master's degree in family/child development from North Carolina Central University and undergraduate degrees from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Mars Hill College.

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Thomas Melzer (Chair) is a managing director and co-founder of RiverVest Venture Partners. He has extensive leadership experience in finance, management, economic policymaking and board of directors service. Presently, he is a member of the board of directors of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. He also serves on the national council for the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University and the Stanford Institute of Economic Policy Research Advisory Board.

Previously, Melzer was president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and a managing director of Morgan Stanley. While at the Fed, he served on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Federal Reserve System’s chief monetary policymaking body. He received his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

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David Morley is a business consultant and former chairman of Dazor Manufacturing Company, leader in industrial lighting and microscopy. Prior to that he was the president and chief operating officer of The Falcon Companies and senior vice president for Monsanto Company. In this position, Morley led the development and integration of company–wide strategy, emphasizing emerging opportunities in the life sciences industry.

Morley holds degrees from Indiana University and Purdue University. He is past chairman and current board member for Wyman Center, Inc., a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to giving underprivileged children the opportunity to reach their full potential. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University.

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Janet Newton is the education program consultant for Parents as Teachers at the Kansas Department of Education. Her leadership and coordination for the state's PAT programs provides her with a deep knowledge and perspective of PAT and its operations. Newton's rich experience in early childhood education includes service to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Bureau of Child Care and Health Facilities. Newton also served as the executive director of the Kansas Head Start Association.

In addition to her work experience, Newton has furthered early childhood education through her work with professional associations, including the Kansas School Readiness Initiative, the Kansas State Interagency Early Childhood Team, and the Kansas Core Team for the state's home visiting grant application.

Nicastro_bw Chris Nicastro is the Commissioner of Education for the state of Missouri and has been a teacher and administrator in Missouri public schools for 33 years. She began her career as a high school social studies teacher in the Northwest R-I School District. She later served as assistant to the superintendent at Northwest R-I and at Ritenour School Districts, and as a superintendent of the Riverview Gardens and Hazelwood School Districts. She is the fifth person -- and the first woman -- to serve as Missouri's Commissioner of Education, since the office was created.

Dr. Nicastro earned a master's degree in educational administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a Ph.D. in educational administration at St. Louis University.

 

Nixon_bw Jeremiah (Jay) Nixon was elected as Missouri's 55th governor in November 2008 after serving a record four terms as Missouri's attorney general. Prior to becoming Attorney General, Nixon served as a state senator for six years. He is a native of De Soto, Mo., and earned his political science and law degrees from the University of Missouri–Columbia.
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Gregory L. O’Donnell is a training manager for the Ounce of Prevention Fund, a public-private partnership based in Chicago, Ill. that provides programs, curricula, training and advocacy throughout the state to prepare children for success in school and life. As Illinois’ PAT state leader, he also serves as a liaison to the Parents as Teachers national office.

He has significant experience providing clinical home visiting intervention services in the Chicago area and preventative home visiting services throughout Illinois. O’Donnell also has managed several Federal and local preventative program grants. He has been part of numerous research projects, including the Harvard University’s Graduate School Three to Third Project, Chicago University – Harris School of Public Policy’s Chicago Readiness project, and MDRC’s Foundations of Learning Project.

He received his master’s in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work.

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Jane Paine is an active community volunteer and was instrumental in establishing several inner-city preschool programs prior to Head Start. She served as an urban education consultant for the Danforth Foundation in both public and private schools and initiated programs which dealt with teen pregnancy, parent education, family support and school and community collaboration. She was also the first executive director of the Conference on Education.

Paine has received a number of awards, including the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Early Childhood and Parent Education Distinguished Service Award, and was the first recipient of the Association of Junior League International's Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award.

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Julie Palmer-Blackwell is a consultant and former senior program advisor for The Bounce Learning Network at the Ounce of Prevention Fund in Chicago where she supported the expansion, development and implementation of the network’s Educare Centers. She spent her career managing and coordinating services for a variety of programs serving high-risk families in Florida, North Carolina and New York. In addition, she is a National Head Start Fellow, class of 2004-2005. Palmer-Blackwell holds an undergraduate degree at Briarcliff College, a master’s degree in early childhood education and administration from Nova Southeastern University.

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Karabelle Pizzigati is a consultant to national and local organizations on services and policies that impact children and families. Before assuming her current responsibilities in 2001, Dr. Pizzigati was the director of public policy for the Child Welfare League of America. From 1983 to 1993, she worked with the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, serving as staff director for the last three years. 

Dr. Pizzigati's experience includes teaching in an adjunct role at George Mason University, research and policy consulting with the University of South Florida on financing systems of care, and policy development with the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C. She served on the Maryland State Board of Education from 2001-2009 and was elected the President of the National Association of State Boards of Education for 2008.

Dr. Pizzigati holds degrees from Cornell University and served as a Congressional Science Fellow under the auspices of the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She currently belongs to several professional and service organizations.

Roberts.D_bw Donald D. Roberts (Treasurer) has a progressive financial management background that spans 30 years. He currently serves as vice-president and chief financial officer of Mississippi Lime Company. Previously he held similar positions with IMC Agribusiness, Inc. and Big River Minerals Corporation.
 
Roberts is on the boards of directors for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Good Shepherd School for Children. He has also served as president of the Neurofibromatosis Foundation. He holds a degree in accounting from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and is CPA certified.
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Richard Sems (Secretary) is president and CEO at Reliance Bank, having moved there in June 2013. Previously, he served as regional president for St. Louis and Southern Illinois at PNC Financial Services Group (formerly National City Corporation). There he oversaw PNC's area operations and community-based activities, including PNC's Grow Up Great program, a comprehensive corporate-based school readiness program to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

He is a board member for Maryville University, United Way of Greater St. Louis, International Institute, Operation Food Search, the Regional Business Council and the Regional Chamber and Growth Association.

Sems hold an undergraduate degree in accounting from Grove City College and a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in corporate strategy from the University of Michigan.

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Don Senti has more than 40 years of experience in education and currently serves as the executive director of EducationPlus. Previously, Senti served as interim superintendent of the Parkway School District in St. Louis County. Earlier in his career he spent six years as Parkway's superintendent, and previously served that district as assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal and teacher.

Between stints in Parkway, Senti served as superintendent of the Clayton School District for 15 years. He holds a doctorate and an educational specialist degree from St. Louis University, as well as master's and bachelor's degrees from the University of Kansas.

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Sharon Wells is an expert on Native American programming, having worked for the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) for 35 years. She was one of the primary developers of the Bureau's Family and Child Education (FACE) Program, and served as the American Indian liaison/expert for the White House Task Force on Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities.

Wells holds a master's degree from East Central University in Ada, OK.

Zigler_bw Edward Zigler continues his lifetime interest in the motivational determinants of children's performance and the influence of life circumstances on children's behavior and development. This work includes the effects of socialization settings, child care, schools and schooling, intervention programs and family factors.

Dr. Zigler designed the School of the Twenty-First Century, a national program linking child care and family support services to the public schools, and has worked with the State of Connecticut to establish quality school readiness programs for low-income children. He continues his interest in the Head Start program, recently completing work with policy makers and administrators to revise the Head Start Program Performance Standards, establish Early Head Start for very young children and their families and design a research agenda. He is now working with Head Start leadership to develop assessment measures.

Dr. Zigler serves as a consultant to the Administration for Children and Families; the Administration on Children, Youth and Families; and the Government Accounting Office. He frequently advises members of Congress, Connecticut and other state legislators and the press.