AAE Foundation Board of Directors


Gene Bedley

Gene Bedley is an award-winning educator and an international consultant for the Bureau of Education and Research. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the National Character Education Center in Rancho Santa Margarita California.

Gene has authored dozens of books and materials on character development, including The Big R: Responsibility, Discipline Strategies and Solutions, The Respect Factor and the Self Management Program, which are currently being used across North America by more than 200,000 educators and parents. As a frequent keynote speaker at national and international conferences, Gene is known for his highly practical, innovative and portable ideas.

Gene is chairman of Rachel’s Challenge National Educational Advisory Board the largest assembly and youth leadership training program in North America. Rachel’s Challenge includes the true life story of Rachel Scott the first student killed in the Columbine High School shooting. The program is currently reaching 1,500,000 students each year.

Gene’s pioneering work in Character Education has brought him numerous awards including the PTA National Educator of the Year, Keeper of the Dream from the Association of California School Administrators, Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, the George Washington Honors Medal from the National Freedom Foundation, and most recently, the National Rotarian Paul Harris Award for Character-Centered Classrooms.

Dr. Robert Bryant

Dr. Bryant is a highly respected and honored educator and public school administrator in the state of Florida. Robert has earned advanced degrees from New York University, Florida State University, and his Doctor of Laws from Bethune Cookman College.

Since entering the education profession, he has served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal of a high school, assistant superintendent, district superintendent, and school board member. Upon his retirement he has served as an advisory to and board member of the Professional Educators Network of Florida (PEN).

In addition, Dr. Bryant has served other professional organizations as:

  • Past President of Florida Association of Secondary School Principals
  • Board Member of the Association of Florida School District Superintendents
  • Chairman of Florida State Hospital Advisory Board
  • Board Member of Florida A&M University Community Development
  • Member of Tallahassee Community College Foundation Board
  • Advisory Council to Panhandle Regional Center for Excellence in Mathematics & Science
  • Member of United States Military Academy Nomination Board

Dr. Bryant has received many special awards and recognition for his achievements in the field of education, including the Bethune Cookman College Pinnacle Award and the NAACP Black Achievers Award. In addition, Dr. Bryant served on the Teacher Assistance Corp (TAC) at the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Bryant is a Korean War Veteran, having served in the 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army.

Becky Norton Dunlop


Becky Norton Dunlop is a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, an education and research institute headquartered on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the senior management team with oversight responsibilities for external relations departments that do strategic outreach. She is the foundation’s chief ambassador to external audiences speaking about the Heritage Foundation’s products and the conservative principles on which Heritage was founded that inform policy debates in the world community today.

Her career prior to Heritage includes serving as Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Cabinet of Governor George Allen (1994-1998). During her tenure, agencies were streamlined, decentralized and down-sized while the quality and condition of the natural resources and the environment were enhanced. Mrs. Dunlop was a senior official in the Administration of President Ronald Reagan, including service as Deputy Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel and Special Assistant to the President and Director of his Cabinet office in the White House from 1981-1985. In addition, she served in the U.S. Department of Justice in 1985 and 1986 as Senior Special Assistant to the Attorney General managing Cabinet level domestic policy issues including environment, family policy, federalism, tort reform, privatization and welfare reform. She also was in the Reagan Administration subcabinet as Assistant Secretary of the Interior Department for Fish, Wildlife and Parks and was Deputy Undersecretary of DOI also.

Mrs. Dunlop is the author of Clearing the Air, an autobiographical narrative about her tenure as Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources which discusses environmental and natural resources challenges in the context of federalism. She is a frequent speaker both in the United States and internationally on topics as diverse as the Reagan Presidency and the principles that guided it, Energy and Environment issues, Federalism and the Constitution, Faith in the Public Square, and Educational choice issues for parents, students and teachers. Mrs. Dunlop also serves on a number of boards.

Her bachelor's degree is from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Alan P. Dye

Alan P. Dye is a partner with the Washington , D.C. law firm of Webster, Chamberlain & Bean. Prior to joining the firm, he was law clerk to a judge of the United States Tax Court. Mr. Dye is a member of the Committee on Exempt Organizations of the Section of Taxation of the American Bar Association and past Chairman of its Subcommittee on Trade Associations, as well as a member of the Election Law Committee of the Administrative Law Section.

He is also a member of the District of Columbia and Florida bars, a fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, and a former member of the Council of the Legal Section of the American Society of Association Executives. In addition, he is a director and former Board Chair of the Cancer Research Foundation of America and the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation.

Mr. Dye specializes in the representation of non-profit organizations. He is frequent lecturer at programs organized by ASAE and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others; co-author of the Association Legal Checklist, published by the Chamber, and the Tax Management Portfolio entitled Trade Associations, published by the Bureau of National Affairs; and Chairman of the Washington Non-Profit Legal and Tax Conference.

Mr. Dye has a degree in economics from Duke University , was graduated from the University of Florida School of Law in 1971, and was awarded a Masters of Law Degree (Taxation) from New York University in 1973.


Dr. Lewis Hodge

Dr. Hodge is retired professor of education at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville . He has enjoyed a uniquely diverse experience in public education. He has taught junior high school English and social studies in Dallas, Texas; served as an education and training officer, Air Training Command, USAF (during the Vietnam era); coordinated the Secondary Teaching Laboratory, University of Texas at Austin, Research and Development Center; in addition to serving as a faculty member at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

As a university professor and consultant, he has teamed with others to evaluate a large school system (Memphis); develop curriculum at all grade levels in small, large, rural, suburban, and inner city schools; and implemented professional enhancements systems (state and local).

Additionally, Dr. Hodge has published numerous professional papers and journal articles on teacher education. He has been active in several professional organizations and honorary societies: the Association for Supervision and Curriculum and Development, the American Educational Research Association, Kappa Delta Pi, and Phi Delta Kappa. During the 1993-94 academic year, he lectured in Russia , Belarus , and the Ukraine at the invitation of the Russian Ministry of Education on topics related to establishing a new ethically based curriculum for Russian public education.

Lewis Hodge has been uniquely recognized throughout his career as an outstanding educator, underscored with honors such as a United States Air Force Commendation Medal, Outstanding Young Men of America Award, and the Governor's Outstanding Tennessean Award.

His educational background includes earning a B.A. degree in English from Lamar State University , a M.Ed. in secondary school administration at North Texas State University, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at the University of Texas.

Dr. Kevin Ryan

Dr. Ryan is a professor emeritus at Boston University and the founding director of the Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character. The Center's mission is to support elementary and secondary schools in efforts to aid children in acquiring good moral judgment and habits.

Dr. Ryan began his teaching career as a high school English teacher. Since entering the higher education profession with degrees from Stanford, Columbia, and the University of Toronto, Kevin has taught on the faculties of Harvard, the University of Chicago, the University of Lisbon, the Ohio Sate University and Boston University. He has written and edited twenty one books, focused primarily on teacher education and character education.

Dr. Ryan and the Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character garnered national praise for writing the Character Education Manifesto which has been endorsed by fifty of the nation's most recognized educators, legislators, and business executives in America. Whenever the subject of character education comes up in the news, Dr. Ryan is one of the first persons the media calls for comment. He has appeared on Good Morning, America and The O'Reilly Factor and has been featured in articles in U.S. News & World Report, the New York Times, the Washington Times, and the Boston Herald. In addition, Kevin has served on the AAE Advisory Board since its inception.

Kevin has extensive experience in education project fundraising.

Gary Beckner


Gary Beckner is a successful business executive with a vision for America's educational future. He knows first hand the important role a teacher has in the development of America's citizens. His background includes being a lifetime credentialed instructor with California's community colleges, authoring a college textbook, teaching courses in business ethics, and conducting seminars throughout the state.

Immediately after graduating from Florida State University with a B.S. degree in marketing in 1967, he began a career in business that led to management and part ownership of several insurance industry companies. In 1988 Gary began consulting work in insurance and marketing, while holding seats on the board of directors of several organizations.

In 1993, he contracted as a consultant for a Washington, D.C. based association management company. Over the next year, while working on an education project, and after surveying teachers across the nation, he became convinced there was a need for the Association of American Educators.

In 1994, Gary helped found the AAE, and its support foundation, as an alternative for teachers who were disenchanted with the nation's monopolistic teacher unions. He and a group of nationally recognized and respected educators came together to form this new organization because they thought the two unions were leading our public school enterprise in the wrong direction.

He has also served as the executive director of the Coalition of Independent Education Associations (CIEA). The coalition represents nearly 300,000 teachers in 18 separate independent, nonunion associations across the nation. They are united in their belief that educators should be free from compulsory membership, and should not be forced to join or otherwise pay dues to a labor union in order to teach. Gary is a frequent lecturer on the nonunion independent teachers association movement and has been featured or quoted in articles published in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, and the Investors Business Daily Review among others.

He was a participant, along with fellow AAEF Board Member, Dr. Kevin Ryan, at the White House Conference on Character and Community, hosted by First Lady Laura Bush.