Dean's Advisory Council

Our advocates

The College of Education Dean's Advisory Council (DAC) consists of noteworthy and influential individuals from a wide range of professions and experiences. The Council, who meet with the dean on campus three times each academic year, advises the dean and serves as an advocate for the college.

The Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC) is an external consultative group to the leadership of the college. This group provides the college with a cadre of professionals, experts, and informed lay people who offer guidance, serve as ambassadors, and often provide financial support.  As such, members are valuable sources of expertise and networking contacts for our leadership. 

Governance and fiduciary responsibility for the University rest solely with Lehigh University’s Board of Trustees. The Dean's Advisory Council fulfills an important role for Lehigh’s College of Education and other constituent groups by serving in an advisory capacity.

College of Education Dean's Advisory Council members

Peter Bennett '63, Founder and President, Liberty Partners LP, New York, NY 

Peter Bennett is the founder and Chairman of Liberty Partners, a private equity investment firm which provides capital for middle market leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and growth financings. Liberty currently has over $500 million under management.  Mr. Bennett is a member of the boards of directors of several of Liberty’s portfolio companies including EdisonLearning Co. and Avenues, the World School, and is serving his third term as a member of the Board of Trustees of Lehigh University.  He is also a member of the advisory board of the New York chapter of New Leaders for Schools.  Prior to forming Liberty Partners, Mr. Bennett spent 21 years with Merrill Lynch & Co., most recently as a Senior Vice President of Merrill Lynch Interfunding, Inc.  Mr. Bennett received his B.S. from Lehigh University in 1963, after which he served for two years as a Lieutenant in the United States Army Signal Corps., including an assignment as Commanding Officer of the 28th Signal Detachment, U.S. Army Vietnam.  He received his MBA from Columbia University in June, 1967. 

Bob Doolittle '65, Retired Investment Banker, J.C. Bradford & Co.

From 1969, Bob worked at J. C. Bradford & Co., investment bankers based in Nashville, starting as an associate in Corporate Finance and eventually heading the Department as Managing Director until the firm was sold in 2000. In addition to managerial responsibilities, he did merger and acquisition advisory work for companies, with an emphasis on healthcare services in the US and abroad. From 2000 to 2003, he helped lead a new healthcare  banking effort as a Managing Director of Jefferies & Company, investment bankers,  based in New York. He retired in 2003 and now sits on several corporate boards and has been a Trustee of a private girl’s school in Nashville for a number of years. In 2010, the P.A.C. was terminated and the efforts folded into Success P.A.C., affiliated with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Doolittle sits as a board member of that PAC at present. Bob received his B.S. in Business Administration from Lehigh University in 1965 and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1968.

Beall Fowler ’59, Professor of Physics Emeritus at Lehigh University

Beall Fowler is a Professor of Physics Emeritus at Lehigh University. A 1959 graduate of Lehigh, he received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Rochester and joined the Lehigh faculty in 1966. As a faculty member he was active in teaching and research and served twice as physics department chair and as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He and his late wife, Linny, have been strong supporters of the arts, education, and community development in the Lehigh Valley. He currently serves on several boards, including the DaVinci Science Center and the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, and he is a strong advocate for community schools and urban education, especially in south Bethlehem.

Andrew J. Hermalyn B.A. ’10, President of Partnerships 2U


Andrew Hermalyn is President of 2U’s Degree Program Segment, which specializes in the delivery of world-class degree programs in partnership with leading universities.

Most recently, Andrew served as 2U’s President of Partnerships and, previously, as its Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. He joined 2U at inception in 2008 as the first intern and Director of Business Development and has been instrumental in helping build 2U from a start-up into one of the world’s leading online education companies. Andrew has played a crucial role in expanding and nurturing the company’s relationships with its network of more than 250 university and corporate partners.

Andrew is a board member of Mantra Health, the leading digital mental health provider for university students, and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for Lehigh University’s College of Education.

Andrew graduated from Lehigh University and lives in Manhattan with his wife and two daughters.

Sharon Maida, Ed.D. ’17P ’19P, Founder and CEO, Maida Mobility

Dr. Sharon O. Maida is a pioneer in the orientation and mobility of blind and visually impaired children and has received national recognition for her work. She is the founder and CEO of Maida Mobility, a private practice specializing in children with visual impairments.  She is the author of All in a Day's Work; Reaching, Crawling, Walking... Let's Get Moving; Friendship Tea; and Dynamic Systems Approach to the Development of Creeping. Sharon has served on the board of the Friends of Pennington Library.

Sharon and her husband, James, founded The James and Sharon Maida Foundation to further education and healthcare around the world. Sharon worked to construct a residence hall at one of the largest schools for the blind in Kenya, allowing more than 100 children to attend. The Foundation also provided canes, instructional videos and braillers to improve and enhance the everyday lives of the students. Sharon and James are also major supporters of the Go! Campaign here at Lehigh University. 
Sharon earned her undergraduate degree in visual impairment from Kutztown University in December 1983, a semester early, but still maintains her identity as a member of the class of 1984. She went on to earn a master’s degree in orientation and mobility from Boston College, and her doctoral degree from Rutgers University (1997).

Bridget O’Connell ’94 ’98G ’99G, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Superintendent, Palisades School District

Bridget O'Connell, Ed.D. has served as the Superintendent of the Palisades School District (Bucks County, PA) since August 2011. During her tenure she has demonstrated student-centered leadership with a focus on promoting academic excellence, customized learning and community partnerships. Dr. O’Connell was recognized as the 2022 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year. She was also recently recognized by the Patriot League (collegiate athletics) as a Trailblazer of Distinction during the 50th Anniversary of Title IX as well as the PIAA for paving the way and continuing to advocate for female student athletes. Dr. O’Connell has received leadership awards from the Red Cross for coordinating efforts with the community during Hurricane Sandy, National School Development Council, Blended Schools Network, and she was named a top five Superintendent to watch in 2015 by the National Academy of Education Arts and Sciences. She has collaborated with colleagues at both Google NYC and the U.S. Department of Education on issues related to technology in education and the U.S. Department of Education on COVID response. She serves as a board member for St. Luke’s Quakertown Hospital, the DaVinci Science Center and the Washington Crossing Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, she was elected to the AASA Governing Board in 2020. Dr. O’Connell earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees from Lehigh University.

In addition to her work at Palisades, she has served as an adjunct faculty member at Lehigh University in the College of Education since 2008 and is an avid scuba diver. Dr. O’Connell lives in Bethlehem, PA with her husband and four children.

Howard Polsky ’73 B.A., Retired EVP and General Counsel, K12 Inc. 

In 2018, Howard retired as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of K12 Inc. K12 is America's largest provider of online education for students in grades K-12. Designed to facilitate individualized learning, its products and services are offered to online public and private schools, school districts and directly to consumers. K12 employs thousands of teachers trained for online instruction and offers a curriculum that is accessible to students with disabilities and aligned to state standards. 

Prior to joining K12 in 2004, Mr. Polsky served as Vice President and General Counsel of Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications. Before being acquired by Lockheed Martin, Mr. Polsky was at COMSAT Corporation, where he held both legal and government relations positions. As COMSAT’s Vice President of Federal Policy and Regulation, he developed corporate policy initiatives and advocated extensively before the FCC, Executive Branch, Congress, and within intergovernmental organizations. From 1983-1992, he was a partner at Wiley, Rein & Fielding where he  represented a variety of U.S. and international clients in administrative and judicial proceedings. He began his legal career at the FCC and Kirkland & Ellis. Howard received his Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University in 1976 and was an editor of the Indiana Law Review. He also served on the Lehigh University  Advisory Board to the College of Arts and Science from 2012-2018. 

Jake Schaufeld ’15 B.A., Co-founder, Executive Officer of Curator Solutions, Inc.

Jake Schaufeld is a co-founder, Executive Officer of Curator Solutions, Inc. Curator is a next-generation learning platform for content curation, migration, and distribution for both rapid development of content and disaggregated large scale deployment. Through machine learning Curator can adapt how that content is presented based on an individual’s distinct learning profile. Curator works with global brands of the Fortune 500 and Higher Education Institutions equipping them with tools that help better train and improve their workforce and learners. 

Prior to founding Curator Solutions, Mr. Schaufeld originally gained business experience working for the private equity group SWaN & Legend located just outside of Washington DC. While working in private equity, he focused on due diligence, financial modeling, valuation, and financial approval for startups and high growth companies around the US. 

Mr. Schaufeld holds a Bachelor of Arts in Earth and Environmental Science with a minor in Entrepreneurship.

Karen O’Donnell VanderGoot ’99, Division Chief, Conflict, Peacebuilding and Governance Division, USAID

Karen O’Donnell VanderGoot is a senior conflict advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She previously served as a director for African affairs at the National Security Council and was a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s policy planning staff. In 2006, she received a Meritorious Honor Award for exemplary advocacy and support to USAID work in the field. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and French from Lehigh in 1999 and a master’s of public policy degree from Duke University in 2002.

Susan C. Yee '82, Bethlehem, PA

In 1995, as Chief Operating Officer of Twin County Cable Television, she orchestrated a $100 million merger with RCN, a publicly held cable television company. Proceeds of that merger were used to fund companies in the Internet industry. In 1995 Ms. Yee launched an Internet firm – Regional Network Communications, which built and operated 13 community web sites in partnership with the Media News Group, owner of the Oakland Tribune, and other newspapers across the country. Active Data, Inc. was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of Regional Network Communications, Inc. to capitalize on the content management, events calendar, and content syndication software that was developed to power the community web sites. Active Data Exchange provides business-to-business technology solutions to streamline web based publishing and information distribution processes. She graduated from Lehigh University in 1982 with a B.S. in Finance & Marketing and a Minor in International Relations. Ms. Yee currently serves on the Lehigh Valley Hospital & Health Network Board of Trustees and the Lehigh Valley - Muhlenberg Hospital Board. She has also been named one of Pennsylvania’s 50 Best Women in Business.

Emeritus Members

Richard A. Anderson, President and CEO, St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network

Beth E. Barnett, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Joanne Barnette, 76', Community Activist

Leanne Bergey, Chief Strategy Officer, BoardEffect

Claire Birney, Director of Philanthropy- Pennsylvania Chapter at The Nature Conservancy (deceased)

Michael H. Danjczek, Past President and Executive Director, Children's Home of Easton (deceased)

Kim Frock, '82, Chief Administrator, Alternative School for Math and Science

Susan Freed Gadomski, Retired Speech Pathologist

Michael Gausling, Co-founder and former CEO of OraSure Technologies

Michael Golden, 74', Vice Chairman and Board of Directors, New York Times

Heidi R. Gore, P'13, Director of Admissions, St. Bernard's School, New York, NY 

Nathaniel S. Gore, '75, P'13, Founder and Managing Partner, Zukerman Gore Brandeis & Crossman, LLP, New York, NY 
Rahul Mahna '93, Founder and CEO, Class Compete, Somerville, NJ
Mary Jane McKeever, Vice President of Finance, St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network

Luis Ramos, Community Relations Manager, PPL (deceased)

Sharon Kanovsky Richter '86 - Certified Focal Point Business Coach and Area Developer.

Nan Ronis, Manufacturing Company Executive/Owner of Suntex, Easton, PA.

Dr. Joseph Roy, '09G, Superintendent, Bethlehem Area School District, Bethlehem, PA

Ana Sainz de le Pena, Educational Consultant for Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN)

Arthur L. Scott, Past President, Northampton Community College

John Tersigni, '04G, Sierra Resins, Inc., Bloomsbury, NJ

Steven A. Villas '75, VP of Oil and Gas Marketing & President of Hess Trading Corporation, Hess Corporation, New York, NY

James Wassel, President, Wassel Realty Group 

Edmond Watters, III, President, Quality Professional Consulting

E. Belvin Williams, Executive Director Emeritus and Trustee, The Turrell Fund

Michael Golden, Vice Chairman, '71, '74G, The New York Times Company Board of Directors