AAE Foundation Board of Directors

Biographies

Gary Abud, Jr.

Gary Abud, Jr. is an award-winning educator and double cornea transplant recipient who, since having his sight restored, was moved to use his teaching gifts to make science fun for kids. He is the author of Science With Scarlett, a children's book about a young girl scientist and her teddy bear assistant who do experiments with the reader (available January 2019). Gary lives with his family near Detroit and writes to inspire children, like his preschool daughter, to love science.

In 2014, he was named Teacher of the Year for the state of Michigan. When he's not writing, Gary is an educational consultant at Saga Educators, Inc., specializing in ADHD, where his team is providing executive coaching for adults, non-legal education advising to families, and academic coaching to kids in school.

Previously, Gary has served in education as a science teacher, principal, adjunct professor, and curriculum specialist. For more information on Gary’s educational consulting practice, visit SagaEducators.org or to learn more about his book, check out ScienceWithScarlett.com





Becky Norton Dunlop

Secretary/Treasurer

Becky Norton Dunlop is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, an education and research institute headquartered on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Dunlop oversees special projects, travels as an ambassador for Heritage to the worldwide conservative movement, and works tirelessly to assure that the legacy of principles, policies, and practices represented by the life and service of Ronald Reagan remain in the hearts and minds of Americans. She previously served as a vice president of external relations, a member of the senior management team with oversight responsibilities for external relations departments that do strategic outreach.

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.





Dr. Kris Enright

Dr. Kris Enright has been active in the areas of teaching, leadership, online and alternative education for more than 30 years as a teacher, principal, executive director, district administrator, community college instructor, and university graduate professor. Dr. Enright has served on numerous boards including the Professional Association of Colorado Educators, Colorado Cyberschool Association, the Colorado League of Charter Schools Membership Council, the Imagine Classical Academy at Indigo Ranch, Colorado Calvert Academy, and the Rachel’s Challenge National Advisory Board. He has worked as an evaluator and consultant for more than 40 organizations, businesses, schools, and school authorizers. Dr. Enright received his B.A. in Music, Elementary Education, and Middle School Education, his M.A. in Special Education, and his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. He has conducted research in the areas of educational technology, educational leadership, online learning, and education reform. He has served as a member of accreditation, school evaluation, doctoral, and graduate research committees. Dr. Enright’s professional interests lie in alternative and online education as well as partnerships among communities, organizations, and policy-makers which advance education reform and address the needs of all students.





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Dr. Karen Kay Harvey

Dr. Karen Kay Harvey has been involved in education for forty years and has served in all educational capacities. Dr. Harvey was an elementary teacher for fourteen years, an elementary principal for eight years, served in various capacities at the central office level for eleven years, New Mexico NAEP Coordinator; New Mexico Public Education Department Assessment Specialist; and performed the duties of the Assistant Secretary for Quality Assurance and Systems Integration at the New Mexico Public Education Department.  Her broad background includes teaching at the university level and serving as a school board member in Douglas County, Colorado Public Schools. 

During these years in education, Dr. Harvey has worked in Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, Canada, Washington, and Nevada.  She has worked in three districts as the leader of curriculum and instruction. In these positions she worked on systemic reform to impact student achievement and was responsible for the development of standards based grading and reporting systems.   

Dr. Harvey serves as an educational consultant and national presenter in standards-based grading and reporting, gap analysis, curriculum alignment, administrator mentoring, and supporting Schools in Need of Improvement (No Child Left Behind), and Turnaround Schools.  In addition, she is a Nationally Certified Mentor for building administrators; trained in cognitive coaching; and the Virginia Leadership Model. 

Recently, Dr. Harvey co-authored a book entitled, Sacred Elephants: The Catastrophic Crisis in Education Impacting the Decline of America.





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. William H. Hughes

Dr. William H. Hughes has worked in education for 35 years as a teacher, principal, superintendent of schools, and director of leadership development. He is the Chief Academic Officer at Seton Catholic Schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Previously, he served as Director of Leadership Development with Schools That Can Milwaukee, an educational nonprofit that is expanding the number of high performing urban schools in the City of Milwaukee and as the Director of Instructional Leadership Program at Alverno College.

For 16 years, Hughes led the Greendale School District to recognition as one of the highest performing school districts in Southeast Wisconsin. He is a former board member of the Milwaukee Area Technical College and a member of the National School Climate Council. Hughes works with the Special Olympics International to bring Project Unify to national scale, is a board member of the National Center for Learning and Citizenship and a partner with Cascade Educational Consultants based in Bellingham, Washington.

Bill holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Leadership from University of Wisconsin- Madison. A resident of the Milwaukee area, Bill is a proud husband, father, and grandfather.





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 State 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.





Dr. DeLaina Tonks

DeLaina Tonks is the Director of Utah’s award-winning Mountain Heights Academy where she promotes collaboration and leverages technology to improve education. A champion of digital learning and innovation, Mrs. Tonks is a proven educational leader and reform advocate. Prior to leading Mountain Heights Academy, DeLaina taught high school French and Spanish, and worked as an instructional designer in Upper Arlington, Ohio.

DeLaina is a frequent presenter on open educational resources and digital learning, and has been featured at national and international conferences speaking on topics such as creating open content, leveraging data-driven instruction, and implementing best practices for online teachers. DeLaina has also written extensively on open educational resources and technology in the classroom.

She is a 2012 Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education Fellow, the 2014 “Best of State – Principal” winner and was also named as one of Utah Business’s “30 Women to Watch” in 2014. She is a strong advocate for serving others and believes in giving back to her community. DeLaina has served as the Chair of Legislative District 27, Chair of the Draper Youth Council, and on the Utah Valley University President’s Advisory Council, Argosy University’s Educational Program Advisory Council, Utah’s Immigration Commission, and the Utah Association of Public Charter School’s Board, among others. She has been the recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Award every year since 2008.

Dr. Tonks completed the Instructional Psychology and Technology Ph.D. program at her initial alma mater, Brigham Young University. She also holds a Master of Arts in Second Language Acquisition from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Tonks and her attorney husband, Paul, live on top of a mountain in Utah, with their four children (Amanda, Natalie, PJ, and Emily), three cats, two bettas, and one turtle.





Tracy Valentine

Tracy J. Valentine is a celebrated educator and active leader in the West Memphis, Arkansas community. She received her B.S. degree from the University of Memphis and her master’s degree from Union University. In 2009 she received her National Board Certification, and in 2010 she was awarded the Milken Educator Award. Tracy is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Leadership and Supervision.

Mrs. Valentine taught in Memphis, Tennessee for four years as a certified teacher in first and second grade. Before receiving her teaching degree, she worked at Grace-St Luke’s in Midtown, Memphis under Head Master Tom Beasley, and After School Care Director, Dianne Youngblood. There she received extensive hands-on training and teacher preparation. Tracy also taught at Mid-South Community College and has given several educational presentations with the hope of encouraging and motivating future generations of educators.

Mrs. Valentine and her husband Henry have three children – Jazmin, Kameran, and Christopher Henry. Henry is also an educator working at L.R. Jackson Elementary as a fifth grade and sixth grade science and social studies teacher. Their eldest child, Jazmin, is a class of 2014 graduate of West Memphis High School and plans to attend Harding University to study accounting and business. Kameran and Christopher Henry are students at Bragg Elementary School where Tracy currently works as an assistant principal. Tracy and her family are active members of the 14th Street Church of Christ in West Memphis, Arkansas, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.





Gary Beckner

Chairman

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.