Advisory Board

The University of Iowa College of Education Advisory Board consists of 21 leaders, scholars, and innovators from around the country. In addition to advocating for the college, the board will advise and guide the dean on major issues in the college, future directions for the college, and fundraising efforts.

Current Members

Abilasha AparajithaAbilasha Aparajithan

Abi Aparajithan is a doctoral student and Higher Education and Student Affairs graduate assistant at the College of Education. Prior to coming to the University of Iowa, Aparajithan worked professionally in residence life at the University of Georgia. She is excited to be back in the academic setting with new perspective from her working experience, and looks forward to being involved in College’s advisory board.

Aparajithan has served on multiple boards at various higher education institutions and currently serves as a senator on the University of Iowa Graduate Senate.


Linda BakerLinda Baker

Alumna, philanthropist, and retired public school teacher, Linda Baker continues to inspire a love of learning. Her support provides life- and career-changing opportunities for College of Education students. One of her gifts helps cover costs of student teaching abroad, and another provides funding for students to volunteer in a Romanian orphanage where Baker once had a life-changing experience of her own. Baker’s gifts also support the College’s Writing Resource, which provides coaching and tutoring to students in academic writing, and the Baker Digital Teacher Project that provides each teacher education student with an iPad and the training for use in their future classrooms and community service work.


Jake ChungJake Chung

Jake Chung is assistant superintendent for personnel and planning at Arlington Heights School District 25 in Arlington Heights, Ill. As an alumnus of the College of Education, Chung attributes where he is today to the foundational education he received at the University of Iowa.

In addition to serving in his current role, Chung is pursuing a doctorate through National Louis University. Before becoming assistant superintendent, Chung worked as a building principal in multiple school districts in Illinois. Chung is actively involved in the University of Iowa: he served on the board of the University of Iowa Alumni Association and sponsors a scholarship to support student teachers in the College.


Joseph M. CrozierJoseph M. Crozier

Joseph M. Crozier serves as chief administrator for the Grant Wood Area Education Agency, and he sees the College of Education as a proponent for change in the education system.

Before his current position, Crozier served as an elementary, middle, and high school teacher, as well as a high school principal and superintendent. He was also an officer in the School Administrators of Iowa and served on the board of the Association of Education Services Agencies. Crozier currently serves on the board of the Southeast Iowa STEM Hub, the AEA Purchased Operations Board, and the United Way Education Advisory Committee.


Robert DensonRobert J. Denson

Robert J. Denson is president and CEO of Des Moines Area Community College, and he is excited by the College of Education’s ability to assist future teachers to fulfill their dreams of being successful educators. Prior to his current position, Denson served as assistant dean at Iowa State University, in addition to other leadership positions in higher education. He also operated his own law practice for 16 years.

Denson serves in many volunteer capacities, including chair of the National Opportunity Nation Leadership Council, STEMconnector Higher Education Council, Innovation Task Force and Food and Ag Council, Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Executive Council, and United Way of Central Iowa.


Cindy DietzCindy Dietz

Cindy Dietz directs external relations for Rockwell Collins. For Dietz, teaching is one of the most important professional callings, and she is interested in the College of Education’s approach to adapting and evolving to changes in K-12 classrooms.

Prior to her current role, Dietz held various roles at Rockwell, including director of corporate communications and executive director of the Rockwell Collins Charitable Corporation, where she created a strategic plan for STEM education outreach. She currently serves on the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, the Aviation Industry Association’s STEM Education Steering Committee, and the board of United Way of East Central Iowa.


L. Miguel EncarnaçãoL. Miguel Encarnação

L. Miguel Encarnação is an innovation management executive and the principal of Innovation by Design Intl. Consulting. He is also an adjunct professor of computer science at the University of Iowa and the editor in chief of the IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications magazine. Encarnação is the former chief innovation officer of ACT, led emerging technology innovation at Humana, founded and incubated a certificate-granting institution of higher education in Rhode Island, and also directed applied R&D in human-media technologies for the Germany-based Fraunhofer Society. In addition to his current work on numerous boards, Encarnação is a member of Industrial Advisory Boards at the University of Iowa and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Prior to his work at ACT, Encarnação led emerging technology innovation at Humana and also directed applied R&D in human-media technologies for the Fraunhofer Society. In addition to his current work on numerous boards, Encarnação is a member of the Industrial Advisory Boards at the University of Iowa and Georgia Institute of Technology.


Mark GinsbergMark Ginsberg

Mark Ginsberg owns M.C. Ginsberg, a jewelry and design store located in downtown Iowa City. He is highly involved in the Iowa City community, giving back, and creating opportunities to champion and engage with art.

Ginsberg currently serves on the boards of the Iowa City Downtown District, the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, U.S. Bank, Englert Theatre, and the University of Iowa School of Religion. He is intrigued by the College of Education’s exploration of new directions in educating future teachers.


Krystal J. GladdenKrystal J. Gladden

Krystal J. Gladden is the museum educator at the African American Museum of Iowa (AAMI) and is currently pursuing her master’s degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. In her work at the museum, she coordinates and directs AAMI programs across the state; she also works with teachers looking for resources to incorporate multicultural content into their lesson plans.

Prior to her position at the AAMI, Gladden led research on traveling and living history exhibits at the Indiana Historical Society.


Nate KaedingNate Kaeding

Nate Kaeding currently serves as the Iowa City Downtown District’s retail development director. He also owns or is an investor in multiple downtown businesses.

From 2004 to 2013, Kaeding was a kicker in the National Football League. In addition to serving on the College’s advisory board, Kaeding is on the boards of the National Advisory Council for the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center and the Englert Theatre.


Stephen F. MurleyStephen F. Murley

Stephen F. Murley has been superintendent of the Iowa City Community School District since 2010. He is excited about the College of Education’s ability to prepare the next generation of teachers in the constantly changing world of public education.

Prior to his current position, Murley served three different school districts in Wisconsin. He is currently on the boards of the Iowa City Area Junior Achievement and the Iowa City Community School District Foundation. He has also been involved in the U.S. Department of Education Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, the American Association of School Administrators, and other associations and organizations.


Chuck PetersChuck Peters

Chuck Peters is the president and CEO of The Gazette Company, a media company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His passions include early reading development, and he is excited by the College of Education’s effectiveness at developing narratives and practices around all learning.

Prior to his current position, Peters was president of Amana Refrigeration and vice president of Maytag. He was a founding director of Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust and today serves as a trustee at Coe College and on the boards of the Tippie College of Business, Hall-Perrine Foundation, and Prairiewoods.


Janet PhippsJanet Phipps

Janet Phipps directs the Iowa Department of Administrative Services. She is impressed and excited by the College of Education’s ability to attract and educate students to teach in diverse classroom settings.

Prior to her current role, Phipps worked for Governor Terry Branstad’s previous administrations, practiced intellectual property law, and served as the director of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget. She had a 28-year military career which ended in 2013 when she retired as Brigadier General with the Iowa National Guard. Phipps contributes to multiple boards, including the College of Education’s I-SERVE Advisory Board.


Al RuffaloAlbert Ruffalo

Educational Leadership alumnus Al Ruffalo is the founder and executive chairman of RuffaloCODY, a company specializing in fundraising and enrollment management for colleges and universities. He is excited to be involved with the College of Education, which he sees as engaged with students and graduates.

Ruffalo serves on a number of boards and organizations including Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Cancer Society, Mercy Medical Center, Higher Learning Technologies, and Bankers Trust.


Gary SassoGary Sasso

Gary Sasso serves as the dean of the College of Education at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. From 2001 to 2008 he served as the chair of the University of Iowa Department of Teaching and Learning, and prior to that he was a faculty member in Teaching and Learning and also Pediatrics at the Carver College of Medicine.

Sasso has held multiple positions at scholarly journals: he served as editor of Behavioral Disorders and as an editorial board member for Exceptional Children, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, among others. Sasso looks forward to his involvement with such a promising institution as the College of Education.


Cynthia SchmeiserCynthia Schmeiser

As chief of assessment at The College Board, alumna Cynthia Schmeiser is responsible for the design and development of assessment programs. She sees the College’s breadth of educational opportunities and its diverse faculty interests and expertise as an asset to students studying across the spectrum of education.

For 37 years, Schmeiser was the president and COO of the Education Division at ACT. She previously served on a number of boards, including the American College of Education, the Diversity Pipeline Alliance, the National Council for Community and Education Partnership’s GEAR UP Evaluation Council, the NGA-Gates National Advisory Committee, and the Digital Learning Council.


Brent SiegristBrent Siegrist

Brent Siegrist directs services for the Iowa Area Education Services. He also serves as vice president of the Iowa Public Broadcasting Board and as a trustee of Iowa Western Community College.

Prior to his current position, Siegrist taught for 18 years. He also served in the Iowa House as an elected representative for Council Bluffs – for seven years he was the majority leader of the House, and for three years he served as the speaker of the House. For the entirety of Siegrist’s life, he has been involved in education; he looks forward to another opportunity to have input on education in Iowa as he serves on the College’s advisory board.


Jon S. TwingJon S. Twing

Alumnus Jon S. Twing is managing director of the global Pearson Assessment Centre. For 35 years, Twing has worked in psychometrics, research, and assessment development, and today he serves as Pearson’s global voice regarding assessment, research, measurement, and legal defensibility of assessment.

Through his career, Twing has served on numerous boards and committees, including The College Board Psychometric Panel, the American Educational Research Association, the National Council on Measurement in Education, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Association of Test Publishers, and the American Psychological Association. He is also an Honorary Oxford Research Fellow.


Christie VilsackChristie Vilsack

Alumna Christie Vilsack serves as senior advisor of international education for the U.S. Agency for International Development, where she works to support the agency’s goals of improving children’s reading skills, strengthening workforce development, and providing equitable access to education in settings of crisis and conflict.

Vilsack taught secondary and college English and journalism for 25 years, which influenced her focus during her tenure as Iowa’s First Lady. In addition to her work at USAID, she serves on the board of the Library of Congress Literacy Awards.


Paula VincentPaula Vincent

Educational Leadership alumna Paula Vincent is the chief administrator of the Heartland Area Education Agency, Iowa’s largest AEA. She has worked in classrooms and administration in both rural and urban school districts.

Additionally, Vincent currently serves on the McPherson College board of trustees and the Iowa School Finance Advisory Board, and she has been involved in United Way of East Central Iowa, Red Cross, and other organizations.


Ex-Officio Members

J. Bruce Harreld
President, University of Iowa

Sue Curry
Interim Provost, University of Iowa

Daniel Reed
VP for Research and Innovation, University of Iowa

Nicholas Colangelo
Emeritus Dean, College of Education

Lynette Marshall
President, UI Foundation


Cally Murray
Director of Development, UI Foundation