CDL is directed by a volunteer Board of Trustees comprised of business, educational, and civic leaders who share in CDL’s passion for ensuring that every child has an equal opportunity for a solid education.
CDL has spent more than two decades developing an international network and collaborating with the world’s best minds to create initiatives using research-based best practices that deliver increased student achievement. Our Board of Trustees, Professional Advisory Board, Community Advisory Board and professional staff provide CDL with sound leadership and valuable resources.
Board of Trustees
A governing board of 15 elected or appointed to direct the policies of an educational institution.
CEO, Lusher Charter Schools
Founder and President, The Slone Group
Glenny Lee Buquet
Former Member, Louisiana Board of
Elementary and Secondary Education
Founder and President, Quality Support Coordination, Inc.
Principal, St. Peter Claver Catholic School
Elizabeth “Beth” Laine
Joseph P. Lopinto, III
Sheriff, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office
Meg Marino, M.D.
Pediatric Emergency Medicine Specialist
Cynthia Hedge Morrell
Robin D. Pittman
Judge, Orleans Parish
Gregory N. Rattler, Sr.
First Vice President, JPMorgan Chase
Holly Sharp, CPA, CFE, CFF
Shareholder and Director
LaPorte Sehrt Romig Hand
Deputy Superintendent, New Orleans Police Department
Director of the Public Integrity Bureau
Professional Advisory Board
A group of 12 professional individuals who have volunteered to offer advice and guidance to CDL.
Robert B. Brooks, Ph.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor,
Harvard Medical School
G. Emerson Dickman, III, J.D.
Attorney at Law
Immediate Past President
International Dyslexia Association
Michael Fullan, Ph.D.
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education,
University of Toronto
Sam Goldstein, Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry,
University of Utah School of Medicine
Salt Lake City, UT
Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.
Child & Adult Psychiatrist;
Senior Lecturer, Harvard Medical School;
Director, Hallowell Center for Cognitive and
G. Reid Lyon, Ph.D.
Synergistic Education Solutions
Louisa C. Moats, Ph.D.
Moats Associates Consulting, Inc.
Joanne Quinn, MBA
Quinn Consultants, Inc.
Craig T. Ramey, Ph.D.
Distinguished Scholar and Professor
Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
Carol Rolheiser, Ph.D.
Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation
University of Toronto
Timothy Shanahan, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
University of Illinois at Chicago
Robert Sternberg, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President
Oklahoma State University
Community Advisory Board
A group of 11 individuals from the community who have volunteered to offer advice and guidance to CDL.
Herschel L. Abbott, Jr.
Jones Walker Law Firm
Kelvin Adams, Ph.D.
St. Louis Public Schools
Gerard Ballanco, M.D., FAAP
Gordon Blundell, Jr., M.D.
Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
Louisiana State Senator
President, DonahueFavret Contractors
The Honorable John W. Greene
Judge, 22nd Judicial District (Ret.)
Stephen Hales, M.D.
Hales Pediatrics, New Orleans
Ruby Bridges Hall
President, Ruby Bridges Foundation
Mary Lou Ochsner
Robert D. Reily
Chairman, The Standard Companies
A group of 9 individuals who help CDL run smoothly.
President and CEO
Vice President for Advancement and Strategy
Vice President of Strategic Alliances
Early Childhood Program Assistant
Literacy and Learning Specialist
Early Childhood Specialist
Director of Business Operations
Director of Early Childhood Programs
Director of Public Policy
Dr. John E. Wyble, CAE, is an accomplished leader, strategist, and collaborator with more than 25 years’ proven success leading complex organizations to sustained and strategic growth. His career is concentrated in executive leadership, organizational development, governmental advocacy, and stakeholder engagement along with significant experience in strategic planning; program design and assessment; professional development and training; and leadership development. He is particularly adept at convening stakeholders to facilitate innovative strategies for improving organizational capacity, efficiency, and competency.
Dr. Wyble’s work and service has focused in the education, healthcare, and child welfare sectors, both here in his native Louisiana as well as across the nation. His vision, leadership, and genuine regard and care for all people are core strengths that distinguish him as a consummate professional.
Dr. Wyble has created, expanded, and led organizations on national, state, and local levels, with extensive experience in governmental advocacy in Baton Rouge, Washington, DC, and in other state capitols. Honors and distinctions include: Certified Chief Executive; a distinction earned by less than 2% of Nonprofit Executives Nationally; Gulf Coast Region (U.S.) Service-Learning Leadership; Leadership and Service Award for Louisiana Children and Families; and Outstanding Service Award for developing programs for students with special abilities.
He served on the Louisiana Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board for three Governors, including three years as Chair. He also served as Chair of the Louisiana Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Council numerous task force and committees appointed by the Legislature and Governor.
Dr. Wyble is a first-generation college graduate who mentored and coached countless young adults into developing, pursuing, and achieving career and continuing education goals. He has earned degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi (Ph.D. in evaluation and leadership with a concentration in adult learner theory); Louisiana State University (M.S., Vocational Education); and the University of Louisiana Lafayette (B.S.)
Sarah Cortell Vandersypen, CFRE is the Vice President for Advancement and Strategy. In this new role, Sarah will oversee the organization’s fund development, marketing and communications, strategic partnerships, and organizational strategy. She comes to The Center for Development & Learning from the LSU Foundation where she established the Office of Strategic Engagement, which is responsible for raising $2.5 million annually. Additionally, Sarah maintains her consulting firm, Philanthropic Partners, which helps nonprofits cut through the noise around raising money. Through her consulting services and trainings, Sarah shows organizations how to raise funds more effectively while making meaningful connections for donors.
Through her years of experience at various arts and cultural institutions and higher education around the United States, Sarah has developed a unique skill set in nonprofit operations, fund development, volunteer management, board development, program evaluation, program planning, and grant making. Sarah launched her fundraising career at Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras and then went on to several fundraising positions at arts and cultural organizations, including the Wexner Center for the Arts, Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Art, and LSU Museum of Art.
Sarah has been a Certified Fund Raising Executive since 2016. She received her MA in Arts Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University and her BA in Art History from Boston University. Sarah serves on the Global Board for the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Frank Williams, MS, is the Center for Development and Learning’s Vice President of strategic alliances. He has over 40 years of experience in senior executive positions. Positions he has held include CFO and assistant treasurer of the Democratic National Committee; CFO of Medicaid, New York City Human Resources Administration; vice chancellor of finance at Southern University – Shreveport; executive director and CFO of a recruitment and training program for women and minorities; CFO of a New York ,three billion-dollar healthcare and pension fund; executive director of a national resources development organization; founding executive director of Greater New Orleans Education Foundation; founding chair of Brothers Empowered to Teach; and founding board member of Orleans Public Education Network. Frank’s community activities include being a founding board member of three New Orleans public charter schools, of which he served as treasurer for two and currently chairs the third; serving as board chair of the Southern University – New Orleans (SUNO) Foundation; serving as chair of his church’s strategic planning committee that is responsible for a $35 million capital project; serving on the boards of three community-based nonprofit organizations; and chaired the board of directors of the Broadmoor Education Corridor in New Orleans. In addition, Frank served as chair of CDL’s board of trustees and board member of the United States Youth Council where he led political youth study tours in Western Europe. Frank attended New Orleans public schools and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from SUNO and a Master of Science in business from Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY.
Jen Hebert is the early childhood program assistant at CDL where she works with teachers who are participating in CDL’s CDA Cornerstones Louisiana BESE-approved Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate program. Jen has worked in the field of early childhood education for over 15 years as a teacher, mentor, and child care center director designee. Jen received a bachelor’s degree in child development and a minor in health education from the University of Southern Mississippi. Jen is an approved Child Development Associate (CDA) Professional Development Specialist and an Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K CLASS reliable observer.
Denise Howell, as CDL’s programs manager, spends much of her time organizing CDL’s annual Plain Talk about Literacy and Learning. She also coordinates the logistics and collects data for all professional learning sessions conducted by CDL professionals. Prior to coming to CDL, Denise worked with the Youth Service Bureau in St. Tammany Parish as their referral coordinator and the assistant coordinator for the Youth Service Bureau’s annual fundraiser, Chef Soiree.
Alana Mangham, M.S., is the Literacy and Learning Specialist for the Center for Development and Learning. Alana is also a member of Louisiana’s Early Literacy Commission. She has taught elementary school for fourteen years in both New York City and Louisiana. She held the position as the Rapides Parish District English Language Arts Curriculum Specialist, Dyslexia Coordinator, STAR Early Literacy Coordinator and Summer Literacy Camp co- chair before joining the Center for Development and Learning team. Alana holds several trainer certifications such as the Data Team Process, Common Formative Assessments, and DIBELS. She also holds a local certificate in LETRS, (Language Essentials of Teachers of Reading and Spelling). She has been an Education Week guest alongside Dr. Louisa Moats, sharing best practices and successes from Rapides Parish. Alana is excited to share her passion for early childhood literacy through her experience with evidence-based reading practices.
Mary Hannah Mills is an early childhood specialist at CDL. Mary is passionate about the field of early childhood education with a specific focus of working to ensure positive growth and development for all children. Mary’s academic and professional experience in early childhood education enables her to support early childhood teachers in providing high-quality care and experiences for every child. Mary received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in human development and family science with a focus in early child development from Mississippi State University.
Cindy Phillips is CDL’s director of business operations. Cindy oversees CDL’s accounting and risk management issues. Cindy brings extensive non-profit financial management experience to CDL, having previously worked for the Volunteers of America, managing multi-million dollar budgets with various program delivery models. Cindy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of New Orleans.
Amy E. Poirier is the director of early childhood programs at CDL where she enjoys working side-by-side with early childhood professionals to provide support and thereby positively affect outcomes for young children. Amy’s extensive experiences in the field as an early childhood teacher, center director, and director of curriculum and training allow her to develop professional learning services for early childhood professionals, organize and implement early childhood mentoring and coaching efforts, and support CDL’s early childhood team in meaningful ways. Additionally, she has worked as a program monitor, coach, trainer, and curriculum specialist for several statewide programs. Amy is an endorsed Louisiana Pathways trainer, an approved Child Development Associate (CDA) Professional Development Specialist, a Zero-to-Three approved trainer, and provides training and technical support for the Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). Amy is the creator and program administrator of CDL’s Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate Program, CDA Cornerstones. Amy knows that children benefit most from high-quality interactions provided by teachers who understand child development and early childhood pedagogy, and that relevant, on-the-job coaching and mentoring support significantly increases these skills. Amy received a bachelor’s in education from Wichita State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in early childhood education at Kansas State University where she is researching early childhood pedagogical leadership.
Lauren Richardson is CDL’s graphic designer. She designs and prints all training and promotional materials, including all materials for the annual Plain Talk about Literacy and Learning Institute. She also updates and creates graphics for the Plain Talk app and CDL’s website. Lauren graduated from Louisiana State University College of Art and Design in 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in graphic design.
Michael Willis is the Director of Public Policy at CDL where he brings close to a decade of Governmental Relations experience. Having been raised in Brusly, Louisiana, Michael understands the unique dynamic of Louisiana culture through politics, and strives to help those most in need. Early in his career he knew the importance of fostering relationships in both Washington, D.C. and Louisiana to help achieve this goal.
Michael began his career interning for Senator Bill Cassidy before being moving to Washington, D.C. to work for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. After gaining valuable knowledge about the intricacies of Capitol Hill, he moved back to Louisiana to begin working for Checkmate Strategies. This allowed him the opportunity to both learn the Louisiana State Legislature, as well as start passing meaningful, impacting legislation. Representing 9 state-wide non-profits showed him how to work with lawmakers of all backgrounds and parties, and navigate the difficulties that presents.
Due to his experience and success in the State Legislature and experience on Capitol Hill, he began working with Congressman Ralph Abraham’s office. His role was to cover the southern end of Congressional District 5 and monitor the Louisiana State Legislature. With his position, he grew in expertise of dealing with peoples of all walks of life and from all backgrounds. Most importantly he grew in knowledge about what it takes to foster an even deeper relationship with high level federal government officials, and bring down essential federal monies.
Alice Thomas, M.Ed., is the founder of CDL and the president and CEO Emeritus. Alice’s work has been guided by a steadfast belief that all children, regardless of how they look, where they come from or how they learn, can and will achieve school success when provided with highly effective teachers and positive, supportive learning environments. In addition to executive duties, she facilitates professional learning for school leaders, teachers, and related specialists. Alice previously served as a teacher, counselor, and intervention specialist. She has taught university graduate courses on differentiating instruction for struggling students. She is a Learning Forward Academy graduate. She is the creator and director of the annual evidence-based Plain Talk about Literacy and Learning Institute. Alice is coauthor of the Plain Talk about Learning professional learning curriculum, the Right from Birth parent/caregiver training curriculum, and the Teens & Tots curriculum; and editor of CDL’s online blog. Alice completed a fellowship in neurodevelopmental variations at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and doctoral level studies in change leadership at the University of Toronto. She is the recipient of the New Orleans Children’s Defense Fund’s Champions for Children award and the International Dyslexia Association’s 2013 Presidential Award for Excellence.