Movers and shakers: New higher ed leaders emerge

Dr. Lisa N. Herring in as Strategic Advisor to the DOE Secretary; Raquel Regalado starts as Director of STU's Ethical Leadership Institute; and Nevien Shaabneh becomes Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at College of DuPage.

PROPEL Center announced that the U.S. Department of Education has named its President, Dr. Lisa N. Herring, as Strategic Advisor to the Secretary. Herring, who officially begins her tenure with PROPEL on Monday, September 18th, will help shape the USDOE’s strategy to engage state and local officials.

“I am delighted to have Dr. Lisa Herring join us at the Department of Education, a leader whose decades of experience as a teacher and administrator will be a tremendous asset to the Biden-Harris team. As strategic advisor, Dr. Herring will draw upon a professional career that has spanned both rural and urban communities, and teaching in both public and private schools to deepen our relationships and collaboration with state and local education leaders. Dr. Herring shares our commitment to accelerating academic recovery in our schools and empowering educators to help students of all backgrounds to find their purpose and fulfill their potential. I look forward to working with her to raise the bar in education for all students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

As the incoming president of the PROPEL Center, Dr. Herring is singularly enthused by the distinctive appointment, and the many potential ways in which the strategic role with the USDOE aligns with and complements her important work with PROPEL on behalf of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their students. “I am honored to serve in this capacity to help impact and influence education across both the K-12 and Postsecondary spectrum communities,” Herring states. “I am incredibly eager to lead and work together to forge innovative, creative and student focused opportunities for scholars across our country through this collective work.”

The PROPEL Center is a first-of-its kind innovation and learning hub for the HBCU community, supported by founding partners Apple and Southern Company. PROPEL will serve as a catalytic epicenter of instruction, providing students with the knowledge, skills, tools and resources necessary to transform the nation’s talent pipeline and workforce. Propel also recently launched PROPEL Learn, a student-focused app designed to revolutionize the way HBCU students prepare for future job success.

Dr. Herring most recently served as superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, and the Birmingham City Schools in Alabama; chief academic officer for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky; and deputy superintendent of academics for the Charleston County School District in South Carolina. She additionally served in leadership positions in DeKalb County Schools (GA), Macon, GA and private schools in Pittsburgh, PA. In several of her previous roles, Dr. Herring established national models geared at creating long-term student achievement and expanded career pathways through noted corporate and community partnerships.

Throughout her 20-plus years in K-12 education, Dr. Herring has embraced the ideas of service and community through her many activities aimed at inspiring young scholars, empowering educational leaders and improving outcomes for students nationwide. Dr. Herring received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College, master and specialist degrees from the University of South Carolina, leadership certification from the University of Georgia and her doctorate from Georgia Southern University. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

St. Thomas University (STU) has announced the appointment of Ms. Raquel Regalado as Director of STU’s Ethical Leadership Institute. A graduate of St. Thomas University’s College of Law, Ms. Regalado has been a litigator for over two decades, and her career reflects a deep commitment to the people and issues she represents. Her leadership experience will be instrumental in the continued growth and success of the Ethical Leadership Institute, as STU remains dedicated to its mission of graduating ethical leaders for the global community.

Raquel Regalado is the first Miami-born Hispanic woman elected to the Miami-Dade County Commission, as well as the first former Miami-Dade County School Board Member to serve on the Board of County Commissioners. Currently, Ms. Regalado serves as Miami-Dade County Commissioner for District 7. She is the Chairwoman of the County’s Infrastructure, Operations and Innovation Committee, and the Vice-Chair of the Airport Committee. She is also the Chairwoman of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which is the governing body for Tri-Rail, South Florida’s commuter system running from Miami to the Palm Beaches.

“Ethical Leadership is a signature program at St. Thomas University,” shared STU President David A. Armstrong, J.D. “Raquel’s appointment underlines our emphasis on the continued growth of one of our most successful programs, and her skills and experience will be instrumental in illustrating the application of ethical leadership in real-world scenarios to our students.” President Armstrong established the Ethical Leadership Institute in 2019, shortly after his installation as STU President. The Institute, which offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees, combine studies in humanities, behavioral and social sciences, business and management, research methods, and technology to advance students’ ability to navigate complex professional environments and facilitate positive change.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to participate in St. Thomas University’s commitment to ethical leadership and to fostering Catholic convictions, character, vocation, and excellence in our students and community,” said Ms. Regalado. “Today, I am embracing the privilege of serving my alma mater in this new capacity.”

Ms. Regalado’s appointment has already energized the students and faculty. “We are excited to welcome Raquel as part of the Academic team here at STU,” said STU Provost Michelle Johnson-Garcia. “She has hit the ground running, and her enthusiasm is palpable. We look forward to evolving our Ethical Leadership Institute into a world class example of excellence in ethical leadership and the manifestation of our STU mission.” 

Nevien Shaabneh, Ph.D., brings more than 20 years of experience to her new role as Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at College of DuPage. “There is so much more to education than just teaching content,” she said. “People bring their whole selves to schools, and we need to recognize the importance of attending to the whole person. DEI is essentially about humanizing spaces and places to ensure everyone is treated with the dignity they deserve.”

COD President Dr. Brian Caputo said Shaabneh’s engagement with the campus community will benefit student success.

“Dr. Shaabneh has an impressive history of working on DEI efforts with institutions across the country, and that experience will help her make a positive impact at College of DuPage,” he said.

Shaabneh earned a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education from University of Illinois Chicago, a Master of Arts in education from Saint Xavier University and a Ph.D. in literacy, language and culture from UIC. She also earned the Certified Diversity Executive designation from the Institute for Diversity Certification.

She began her career teaching high school AP English but found herself drawn to DEI work, becoming the equity coordinator for her high school. During the past 20 years, Shaabneh also provided diversity consulting for a wide range of organizations, including educational institutions and nonprofits. As a published novelist and children’s book author, she has a unique insight and expertise on DEI that has been sought after by leaders in the book publishing industry. Shaabneh also has shared her expertise at numerous writing conferences.

Her work includes conducting research to inform diversity and equity initiatives; implementing workshops for leadership teams to help them recruit, hire and retain a diverse workforce; creating and implementing equitable hiring rubrics; implementing diverse, equitable and inclusive grievance procedures and protocols to align with company cultures; and creating training programs to develop employees’ skills. “It’s important to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels heard, respected and valued,” she said. “This not only benefits individuals but is also vital for the success of any organization.”

She believes in the power of community colleges and was impressed by COD’s early commitment to DEI work in 2019. “Community colleges are institutions that serve the community and provide necessary access to education and vocational training,” she said. “They are critical in preparing students for their future careers, whether they plan to transfer to a four-year-university or choose to complete a technical education program.

“I am excited to connect with people at College of DuPage and share my passion for this work. I am looking forward to learning more about their efforts, listening to their input and needs, and continuing this important work together. I see opportunities where I can make a great impact and look forward to being a part of them.”

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Kevin Hogan

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