Center for Leadership and Educational Equity

Our Mission: 

The mission of the Center is to provide leaders with professional learning and support to create equitable outcomes for students in our schools.

We believe the best way to learn is together and the best way to lead is by example; therefore, our programs engage leaders in professional learning communities that model best practices for staff development in schools. The Center currently runs two such programs for teacher and school leaders, the Principal Residency Network (PRN) and the Learning Leader Network (LLN).

CLEE Team:

Donna Braun Ed.D., PRN ’04, Executive Director

Prior to co-founding CLEE, Donna served in urban secondary public schools as a science teacher and a school leader in Tucson, AZ and Providence, RI. She holds a BS from Southern Illinois University, an MS from the Florida Institute of Technology, is a PRN grad and has an Ed.D. from Johnson and Wales University. Donna’s focus is on research and implementation of transformative leadership development to advance educational equity. @DonnaLBraun

Kirsten LaCroix PRN ’11, Director, Principal Residency Network

Kirsten believes in the power and potential of public schools and is driving toward a vision where every student’s unlimited potential is unleashed, rather than defined.  Kirsten’s career has spanned over twenty years as an elementary school teacher and administrator. She has been with CLEE since 2011. Kirsten lives with her husband, two teenage daughters, and beloved dog where they enjoy various sports and recreational activities, the outdoors, and traveling.  @PRNRI

Barbara Mullen Ph.D., Co-Director, Learning Leader Network

Barbara’s professional and research interests include special populations, universally designed instruction, educational equity across policy, organizational systems and instructional landscapes and cultural competency. She has served in several large districts in Chicago, Seattle and Houston in campus and district leadership roles. The native Chicagoan lives in Providence, with her family. She also enjoys crafting, singing, throwing down in the kitchen, yoga, and writing Afro-Futurism science fiction. @DrBarbaraMullen

Mary Vieira PRN ’11, Co-Director, Learning Leader Network

Mary’s professional work anchors in a deep commitment to education as a tool of liberation and social justice. Prior to CLEE, Mary participated in educational projects in Brazil, Colorado, Boston, and rural Alaska. Most recently, she served as a founding advisor and principal of the MET School, Newport. She earned her B.A. in Education Studies from Brown University, and her M.Ed. in School Leadership from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. @mvieira4equity

Deirdre Newbold, Assistant Director, Communications & Operations

Deirdre professional interests include social justice, experiential education, persuasion & influence, and arts education. Prior to her work at CLEE she led service-learning programs at Johnson & Wales University, and worked in arts & healthcare nonprofit organizations. Deirdre has an MBA from Villanova University, and a BA from Susquehanna University. She lives with her family in Hope, where she enjoys cooking, the arts, and spending time with loved ones. @dcnewbold

Annajane Yolken, Assistant Director, Research & Data

Annajane supports data and evaluation efforts at CLEE and aims to make data exciting and accessible for the CLEE community. Previously, Annajane worked on data and evaluation at The College Crusade and Thundermist Health Center. In addition, Annajane also works on drug policy reform and volunteers with local racial justice organizations. Annajane has a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University and an AB from Brown University.

CLEE Board:

Chris Cuthbertson PRN ’08, Board President, LLN Facilitator, CFG Coach

Chris is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at  The UCAP School and was a founding teacher of the school.  Prior to that, Chris taught middle school and high school at The Lincoln School and Worcester Academy.  She graduated from the PRN in 2008, and earned an MAT from Brown University and a B.A. in History from Williams College. @chriscuthberts

Joany Santa Ed.D. PRN ’04, Board Vice President

Joany taught middle school Math in Central Falls and later established their Home School Liaison Team. She pursued a graduate degree from Cambridge College, graduated from the Principal Residency Network, and earned her Ed.D. from Johnson & Wales University. She served in school leadership positions in RI and MA. Joany is wicked funny and tireless in her efforts. She lives with her family in Providence. @JoanySanta

James Brown Ph.D., Board Treasurer

Jim is a retired public and independent school principal. Currently, he is a school leadership consultant. He served as Assistant Executive Director of MESPA, and on the Board of the NAESP. He has a Ph.D. and M.A. in educational leadership from The University of Alabama and a BS from Robert Morris College.  Jim and his wife, Pat, love international travel, summers in Kennebunk, ME and living in Providence.

Pauline Lisi PRN ’02, Board Secretary

Pauline is Assistant Superintendent of South Kingstown Schools. Pauline’s professional interest include curriculum, personalized learning, student internships and STEAM education.  Prior to her assistant superintendency, Pauline served as a principal of three elementary schools in Rhode Island. She attributes her success to the training she received through the Principal Residency Network. @Asstsupersk

Mario Bueno, Board Director

Mario Bueno is the Executive Director at Progreso Latino, Inc.; a multi-service Latino-led CBO in RI dedicated to community progress through a Latino and immigrant lens. His experience includes community organizing, policy development, and adult education.  Mario has a BA in ECN & PCS and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership. He is interested in education reform to meet the 21st century needs of ELLs in K-16 and the workforce development arena.

Shannon Campbell, Board Director

Shannon’s professional interests include student leadership, mental health, and advocacy. She is a School Counselor at The UCAP School in Providence. Her previous experience includes expanded learning programs in Central Falls and educational fundraising at The UCAP School and Brown University. Shannon lives in Cranston with her husband, new baby, and two dogs. She likes to travel, watch sports, and try new restaurants.

Joan Crothers PRN ’02, Board Director, LLN Facilitator/Coach

After graduating from URI with a BA and an MLS, Joan taught in a variety of public schools in RI before graduating from the PRN.  Now retired, Joan served as principal in NK, RI. Joan’s professional interests include leadership and its effects on student equity and efficacy.  She is passionate about mentoring. When not traveling, Joan lives in Wakefield with her husband where she enjoys yoga, knitting, and reading. @crothersjh

Chris Haskins, Board Director, LLN Facilitator

Chris is Head of Schools, Paul Cuffee Schools. His professional interests include school and district leadership, equitable education, and economic justice. Prior to this role, Chris was a principal and teacher of learners of English.Chris completed post-graduate work at Providence College, obtained his M.Ed. from Bridgewater State University, and earned his B.S.E. at Henderson State University. Chris has two children and enjoys skiing, hiking and running. @Hopewhistle

Karen Swoboda Ed.D., PRN ’07, Board Director

Karen  currently directs the School of Education at Johnson & Wales University, where she oversees three academic programs, including an M.A.T., M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.  Karen was also a teacher and school leader in RI for 30 years, and holds a B.A. and M.A. from URI, is a proud PRN graduate, and has an Ed.D. from JWU. @karenswoboda

Team Members Not Pictured Above:

Flor Ardon, Student Intern, The Met School, Providence

Miguel Cenicacelaya, Student Intern, Johnson & Wales University

Joe Battaglia, LLN Facilitator/Coach

Danielle Blasczak, Research & Data Consultant

Desiree Gamble, LLN Facilitator, CFG Coach

Rodney Gamble, LLN Facilitator, CFG Coach

Jonel Love, Student Intern, Johnson & Wales University

Azadeh Noorbaloochi, LLN Facilitator, CFG Coach

Contact Us:

Are you interested in serving on the CLEE Board of Directors? Please click this link to learn more and let us know more about you.
The Center for Leadership and Educational Equity is a Rhode Island non profit organization with 501(c)3 federal tax exemption status.

For more information, email, call 401-400-2407, or fax 401-432-7815.

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