2018 Brock Prize Jurors


cobbContact Nominee

Casey D. Cobb
Neag Endowed Professor of Educational Policy at the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
Nominee:  Carol S. Dweck

Casey D. Cobb is the Neag Endowed Professor of Educational Policy at the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Cobb is a former associate dean and department head of educational leadership at the Neag School. He is editor of Educational Administration Quarterly, a highly ranked SAGE journal. Dr. Cobb is co-author of Fundamentals of Statistical Reasoning in Education (Wiley/Jossey Bass) and Leading Dynamic Schools: How to Create and Implement Ethical Policies (Corwin Press). Dr. Cobb has published in such journals as Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Policy, Education and Urban Society, Educational Leadership, and the Peabody Journal of Education. He was co-award winner of the 2015 Outstanding Policy Report award for the American Educational Research Association’s Division L. Dr. Cobb is a National Education Policy Center fellow and member of the research advisory panel for the National Coalition on School Diversity. He is an elected member of the executive committee for the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), a national consortium of 100 top universities. Dr. Cobb has served as PI or co-PI on projects with grant funds totaling over $8 million. He holds an A.B. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University.


Contact Nominee

Sam Duell
Associate Policy Director for Charter School Policy at the Foundation for Excellence in Education
Nominee:  Rob Riordan

Sam Duell is an associate policy director for charter school policy at the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Previously, Sam was a managing director at the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, where, among other education infrastructure projects, he focused on building the capacity of charter school authorizers. Before joining the Resource Center, Sam was a special education teacher, a school administrator, a central office administrator and the executive director of school choice at the Oklahoma State Department of Education, where he oversaw charter schools.

A native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Sam earned a bachelor’s from the University of Colorado Boulder and a master’s from UC Berkeley. He and his family live in Oklahoma City.


Contact Nominee

Deborah A. Gist

Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Nominee:  Diane Tavenner

Deborah A. Gist is superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools and a proud graduate of Memorial High School. She holds a Bachelor of Science in early-childhood education from the University of Oklahoma, a Master of Arts in elementary education from the University of South Florida, a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a doctoral degree in education leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to returning home, Deborah served as commissioner of education for Rhode Island. Deborah started her career in 1988 as a teacher in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1996, as an administrator, she designed and implemented a literacy program in the Hillsborough County School District in Florida. Deborah then served as a senior policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Education and as the Washington, D.C. state education officer. In 2007, she became the first state superintendent of education for the District of Columbia, overseeing early childhood through higher education.

Deborah was in the 2008 cohort of Broad Superintendents Academy fellows and a 2013 Pahara Fellow through the Aspen Institute. In 2010, she was one of Time Magazine’s "100 Most Influential People in the World” and one of The Atlantic's “Brave Thinkers.”


 Contact Nominee

Yohai Gross

Emissary of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Nominee: Lee Gordon

Yohai Gross is an educator specializing in at-risk and special needs youth.  His professional background encompasses the formal education system as well as a variety of nonprofit organizations. 

Yohai started his work with youth in distress at ELEM, a nonprofit organization that assists troubled teens who often live on the streets, by extricating them from their situation and, through an extensive training and counseling program, helping them find their place in society as self-sufficient adults who contribute to their families and community.  In this program, Yohai was the direct contact for at-risk youth, tasked with the mission of gaining the trust of street kids and then convincing them to accept help.

Following his tenure at ELEM, Yohai joined Teach for Israel (TFI), working as a teacher in inner-city Haifa schools, focusing on kids with special needs and learning disabilities.

Yohai graduated from The Academic College of Tel-Aviv, Yaffo, with a B.A. in government and society and earned a master’s degree in Israeli Studies from the University of Haifa. Currently, Yohai is the emissary of the Jewish Agency for Israel in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He works to enrich the Tulsa community by educating them about the state of Israel.


Contact Nominee

Michael T. Miller
Professor, Hotz Endowed Chair, and Dean of the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas
Nominee:  Roy Jones

Michael T. Miller is professor, Hotz Endowed Chair, and dean of the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. In his 30 years of experience working in higher education, he has served as associate dean of the College of Education at San Jose State University, chair of higher education at the University of Alabama, director of the research and development unit at the University of Nebraska, and director of annual giving at Southern Illinois University. His international work includes participation in the World Bank funding of postsecondary reform in Hungary, vocational technical education assessment in Jamaica, serving as a Binational Fulbright Commission scholar in Egypt, and lecturing on higher education leadership in China, Spain, and Ireland. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in higher education from Southern Illinois University and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Nebraska.
He has served as president of two national associations, has served as the editor of three different academic journals, has published nearly 300 articles and book chapters, has authored five and edited eight books. He has also chaired nearly 100 doctoral dissertations and has authored over $2.5 million in externally funded grants.


Contact Nominee

Carol A. Mullen

Professor of Educational Leadership at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
Nominee:  Fenwick W. English

Carol A. Mullen is professor of educational leadership at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, and a Fulbright Scholar. She has published on topics of curriculum, leadership, mentoring, and policy across the disciplines of educational leadership, teacher education, and higher education. The focus of her writing is on (1) alternative and empowering forms of traditional mentoring, and (2) social justice and equity approaches to education. She has authored more than 225 journal articles and book chapters, and 15 guest-edited, special issues of high-impact journals. Among her 21 academic books are Creativity and Education in China: Paradox and Possibilities for an Era of Accountability (2017, Routledge) and Education Policy Perils: Tackling the Tough Issues (with C. Tienken, 2016, Routledge). In 2017, she was honored with the Living Legend Award from the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA). Additionally, she received the 2016 Jay D. Scribner Mentoring Award and the 2015 Educational Administration Quarterly Service Award for Outstanding Editorial Board Service, both from the University Council for Educational Administration. In 2016, the Virginia Educational Research Association granted her the Charles E. Clear Research Award. She has served as NCPEA’s 67th president and, in the academy, as department chair, school of education director, and associate dean.


Contact Nominee

Mariela A. Rodríguez
Associate Dean of the Graduate School and Director of Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Nominee:  Carlos Alberto Torres

Mariela A. Rodríguez is associate dean of the graduate school and director of teaching, learning, and professional development for graduate students at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is also associate professor in the department of educational leadership and policy studies where she previously served as doctoral program coordinator. Mariela earned her Ph.D. in educational administration from New Mexico State University as a W.K. Kellogg Foundation fellow through the Hispanic Border Leadership Institute. At the national level, Dr. Rodríguez is the 2016-2017 president-elect of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). Her primary area of research focuses on the supportive practices of school leaders working with culturally and linguistically diverse students. She has presented at national and international conferences and her work has been published in several book chapters and peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Equity & Excellence in Education and the International Journal of Leadership in Education. Dr. Rodríguez is also active in the American Educational Research Association (AERA). She has been elected as chair and program chair of the Hispanic Research Issues SIG, and in 2015 was elected as member at large of the Learning and Teaching in Educational Leadership (LTEL) SIG.


Contact Nominee

Jayanti Tambe
NAEYC Coordinator and Adjunct Professor, De Anza College
Nominee:  Pedro Noguera

Jayanti Tambe is the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) coordinator for De Anza College. She was the executive director of UCLA Early Care and Education. She was also an assistant professor and director of CORE (Institute for Community Research & Education) with Pacific Oaks College’s school of education, where she specialized in early childhood education and created POC's trauma specialization in early childhood. Jayanti also served as interim executive director for Pacific Oaks Children’s School, where she provided educational leadership and managed their children’s programs. She has also served as the director of the Rainbow School and Pepper Tree School at Stanford University

Throughout this time, she continued her work in the college classrooms of numerous institutions. She is author of The Art of Math and Science and A Kaleidoscope of Children.

She is well versed with state regulations for early education, and on national and international levels, facilitated the adaptation of teaching strategies to students’ individual learning styles and cultural differences. She can speak several languages and considers this to be an asset while working with diverse families. Through her appointment by several national associations, institutes and universities, she has been widely accredited for her innovation in teaching practices.


Contact Nominee

Lemuel W. Watson
Executive Director for the Center for Innovation in Higher Education
Nominee:  John Gardner

Lemuel W. Watson is a seasoned executive and his career spans across various industries. His expertise is in talent management, systems design, diversity, policy analysis, research design, and leadership. Lemuel W. Watson is executive director for the Center for Innovation in Higher Education and the former dean of the college of education at the University of South Carolina and professor in the department of educational leadership and policies. Dr. Watson was also the former executive director of the Center for P–20 Engagement and dean at Northern Illinois University. He brings more than 25 years experience at various public land-grant and research institutions that prepared him to deal with all areas of operations. Watson completed his undergraduate degree in business from the University of South Carolina, a master’s degree from Ball State University, and his doctorate from Indiana University, Bloomington. Dr. Watson was a senior research fellow at the C. Houston Center at Clemson University and research fellow at the Institute for Southern Studies at University of South Carolina. He is a Fulbright Scholar to Belarus and has written articles, books, and served as editor for several volumes related to organizational behavior, educational leadership, human development, public policy, K-12 issues, and higher education.