Board of Directors


Mr. John F. Ebersole LPD

President of Excelsior College in Albany, N.Y

John F. Ebersole, LPD, is president of Excelsior College in Albany, N.Y., one of the oldest accredited, private, nonprofit distance education institutions in the country. In his 25 year career in higher education, Dr. Ebersole’s personal experience as a post-traditional student has formed his approach to adult education.

Dr. Ebersole has held teaching and management positions at John F. Kennedy University and Boston University, as well as management positions at the University of California – Berkeley and Colorado State University. He developed the “Berkeley Worldwide” international education program; the Colorado State University “CSUN” Network for Learning; and Boston University’s “BU Global.”

A retired Coast Guard commander and Vietnam veteran, Ebersole began his college education while in the military. In addition to being a graduate of the Naval War College, he earned a doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University; an EdS from The George Washington University; and master’s degrees in both business and public administration from John F. Kennedy University. He has served as a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he conducted research into innovation in higher education.

Dr. Ebersole serves as Chairman of the American Association of Community Colleges’ Corporate Council. He is a former board member of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (New York). In 2014, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the United States Distance Learning Association.

A former president of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, Ebersole is co-author (with William Patrick) of Courageous Learning: Finding A New Path Through Higher Education (Hudson Whitman Press, 2011).

Dr Ebersole is the Chairman of the Board.

James Catterall 2

Mr. James S. Catterall Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigator, Centers for Research on Creativity

Mr. James S. Catterall is Co-Principal Investigator at Centers for Research on Creativity (CRoC).  He is a Professor Emeritus at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Informational Studies where he has served on the curriculum and education policy faculty from 1981 to 2012.  He served as Director of Imagination Group, a collaboration group of academics, students, teachers and art professionals interested in learning through the arts.

Mr. Catterall’s research focuses on the roles of the arts in human development, with an emphasis on basic roles of imagery in cognition and on arts-related instructional and curriculum policies impacting teaching and learning.  He is nationally known for works related to children at risk, and in recent years for his studies examining the influences of participation in the arts and learning development.  Mr. Catterall also served as director of multi-year evaluation of the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, a program which pairs artists and teachers for interdisciplinary teaching.  Reports of his longitudinal studies and the CAPE research can be found in the Champions of Change volume available on the Arts Education Partnership website.  Mr. Catterall holds a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University, an M.A. in public policy from the University of Minnesota, and an B.A. with honors in economics from Princeton University.

Elizabeth Holland

Ms. Elizabeth Holland

CEO, Abbell Credit Corporation

Ms. Elizabeth Holland is the Chief Executive Officer of Abbell Credit Corporation, a sixty-year old private real estate investment, development and management company with an approximately 2 million/sf portfolio, comprised of shopping center, office, and enclosed mall properties.  She is responsible for overseeing all business and legal matters, including development, financing, leasing, capital improvements, and investor and tenant relations.  Ms. Holland is active in the International Council of Shopping Centers, currently serving as a Member of the Board of Trustees and as Central Division Vice President.  Other Board memberships include Vice Chair Development Partners of Uptown United; Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI); and 1,000 Friends of Iowa.  Ms. Holland holds a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and a B.A. from Hamilton College.

Mary Anne Lock

Ms. Mary Anne Lock

Co-Founder, Lock Educational Consulting, LLC

Ms. Mary Anne Lock is a consultant and co-founder with Lock Educational Consulting, a company that offers customized educational services to schools and school districts in the areas of Standards and Indicators for School Improvement, standards-based curriculum and instruction, arts infused instruction, literacy, leadership, instructional coaching and program evaluation. She brings over thirty years of diverse educational experiences to provide consulting which includes designing professional development, implementing professional development training and mentoring teachers and administrators in elementary, middle and high schools across the nation.

Prior to co-founding Lock Educational Consulting with husband, Larry, Ms. Mary Anne Lock was a programs consultant and an artist and instructional coach at the Collaborative for Teaching and Learning, a non-profit organization that works with educators to improve instruction and increase learning for all students. While at CTL she worked with projects such as the Striving Readers National Literacy Initiative, the Lumina Foundation Community College Literacy Initiative, the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Level Reform, Gear Up, Accelerated Schools and Different Ways of Knowing, a comprehensive arts-infused, interdisciplinary curriculum for elementary and middle school. Starting her career as a public school teacher, Ms. Lock taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels, as well the college level. In 1989, she was named the Kentucky Teacher of the Year. Over the course of her career, Ms. Lock has done extensive coaching, consulting and presenting in the public and private sectors for local, state and national audiences, including the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ms. Lock holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master of Arts degree, both from Western Kentucky University.


Dr. Ebbie Parsons III

Founder and Managing Partner, Yardstick Learning

Ebbie Parsons, III is a seasoned business executive with a passion for education.  Having spent most of his career at Fortune 500 companies including Intel, Medtronic and American Express, Dr. Parsons made the decision to transition from a promising career in business in 2007 to join the prestigious Broad Residency Program in Educational Leadership. The Broad Residency was Parsons’ first introduction to the inner-workings of America’s public schools where he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Hartford Public Schools. Dr. Parsons championed the overhaul of the district’s school funding methodology, negotiated the state’s first pay for performance teacher union contract, and led the redistricting of the city to an “All-Choice” system of schools. Following his time in Hartford, Dr. Parsons was on the founding team of the groundbreaking Relay Graduate School of Education where he led the Human Capital function of the organization. Following Relay, Dr. Parsons took on a new challenge to serve as the Chief Operating Officer of the third largest Charter Management Organization in the nation, Mosaica Education, Inc. At Mosaica, Dr. Parsons managed over 80 schools across 8 states, Washington, D.C., the Middle East and Asia. Parsons led Mosaica to their two consecutive most profitable years in the company’s 14 year history while simultaneously leading the company to their highest academic performance results in years.  Dr. Parsons leveraged his wealth of experience in business and education to launch Yardstick Learning. Yardstick Learning provides specialized management consulting services to renowned mission driven organizations.

Dr. Parsons holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Florida A&M University, an MBA from the University of Minnesota, a Performance Management Certificate from Harvard University, and a Doctorate in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. He’s also a Faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Parsons has extensive board leadership experience, including serving on the boards of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Children’s Orchestra Society, Georgia Symphony Orchestra, Urban Ministries, Inc., the Atlanta Music Project (an El Sistema Program), The Winans Group, and the Finance Corps.

Joy Collins

Ms. Joy Profet

General Manager, Essence Communications, Inc.

Ms. Joy Profet is the General Manager of Essence Communications, Inc., overseeing the brand’s strategic, financial, and administrative functions.  Her work at Essence is focused primarily on creating revenue growth strategies across all media platforms and identifying and entering new businesses. Prior to joining Essence, Ms. Profet was Vice President of Business Development for NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. Prior to joining NBC, she was an Associate in JP Morgan’s Investment Banking Division, where she focused on serving media clients in the field of mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, equity and debt offerings and capital maximization strategies.

Ms. Profet is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in Business Economics, where she received the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship. She also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School. She is a recipient of The Network Journal’s 40 Under-Forty Achievement Award (2010); the Women United in Philanthropy’s Woman of Excellence and Achievement Award (2011); and the Uptown Summer Classics Hearts in the Streets, Inc Award (2011). She formally sat on the board for the Bronx Lighthouse Charter School and has also served as Community Service Chairwoman for the Seven Roses Legacy Foundation. She is an active member of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Alumni Association, HBS’ African-American Alumni Assoc., the HBS Alumni Club of New York, UCLA Alumni Assoc., Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Alumni Assoc., and the LEAD Program in Business.


Mr. Jabar Shumate

Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in Education

Jabar Shumate is a life-long Oklahoman who grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma graduating for Booker T. Washington High School.  Jabar completed his bachelors and master’s degree at University of Oklahoma.  During his undergraduate years, he served as Student Body President and went on to work for OU President David Boren as his Press Secretary.  Jabar spent 10 years in the Oklahoma Legislature serving in both the State House and State Senate where he focused on expanding quality educational options for all kids.  During his time in the Legislature, he served as chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus and was selected for the prestigious Toll Legislative Fellowship Program.  Jabar was selected by OU President David Boren to serve as the University of Oklahoma’s first Vice-President for University Community overseeing the University’s diversity programs and initiatives.  Jabar is active in his community serving on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma City Urban League, as Trustee for the National Urban League, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and on the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in Education. 

Andrew Towne

Mr. Andrew Towne

Consultant, Boston Consulting Group

Mr. Andrew Towne is a Consultant in the Minneapolis office of the Boston Consulting Group.  Mr. Towne previously worked for CarVal Investors, Goldman Sachs, and the Central Intelligence Agency.  He currently promotes intercultural exchange as a Trustee for Youth For Understanding.

The son of a music professor and a symphony manager, Mr. Towne attributes much of who he is today to his arts-infused upbringing.  He holds a B.A. with honors in political science from Yale University, and he spent a year at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, as a Boren Scholar.  A member of the Minnesota Bar, Mr. Towne earned his JD/MBA from the University of Pennsylvania as a Friedman Scholar, Morgenthau Scholar, and Institute for Law and Economics Scholar.  An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Towne is a national champion rower and runner and has climbed six of the “7 Summits.

Khori Whittaker

Mr. Khori Whittaker

President and Chief Executive Officer, Lighthouse Academies, Inc.

Mr. Whittaker started his career as a fifth grade teacher in Long Beach, California through the Teach for America movement. He was an early employee at InsideTrack, Inc. working to improve college access and completion for students across the country. Mr. Whittaker led recruiting at InsideTrack during a critical growth phase and led InsideTrack’s Community College Impact Initiative team, successfully launching, for the first time, unique student coaching and train-the-trainer programs in two states and ten college campuses. He also served as Assistant Director for Undergraduate Admission at Stanford University. Prior to joining Lighthouse Academies, Mr. Whittaker launched and led the grassroots and community engagement team at the Foundation for Florida’s Future. He serves on the board of directors of Global Glimpse, Inc. and the advisory board of the Drug Free America Foundation. Mr. Whittaker earned a BA in Economics from Princeton University and a MA in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach.