Beacon College’s Board of Trustees is responsible for setting the institution’s strategic goals and direction, assuring the financial health and programmatic quality of the College, and the support and oversight of the President and the institution’s operations.
As the fiduciaries of an independent, non-profit (501(c)(3) institution, Beacon’s Board is self-perpetuating. New members are customarily elected at the September Board meeting and may serve a maximum of three consecutive four-year terms.
Respecting the College’s legacy as a parent-founded institution, some members of the Board may be chosen from among accomplished alumni parents. The majority of Board members are, however, drawn from a national pool of distinguished professionals previously unaffiliated with Beacon, with significant experience and leadership in the fields of education, business, government, medicine, and non-profit management.
The Board traditionally meets four times per year on or near the Beacon campus.
Dr. Averbeck has over 30 years of experience as a licensed psychologist specializing in industrial and organizational psychology. He was the President/Owner of Applied Assessments, Inc., until his retirement in 2016. Applied Assessments, Inc. is a firm that implements principles of applied psychology and organizational behavior to advance both corporate change and individual development. Applying objective metrics, Dr. Averbeck guided individuals in career choices and leadership development and organizations in personnel selection and strategic planning. Dr. Averbeck has served on numerous nonprofit and educational boards. He currently serves on the board at Elder High School, a large, private boys’ school in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Dr. Mark J. Griffin is an educational and developmental psychologist who, for more than 50 years, has served students with special needs and learning disabilities. He is a principal with Mark Griffin & Associates LLC, an educational consulting company. From 1969 through 2009, Griffin served as a special education teacher and school psychologist/assistant headmaster at Eagle Hill School in Massachusetts; he served as headmaster at Eagle Hill School in Connecticut, which educates students with learning differences. Griffin is a founding expert and now consultant for Understood.org, an organization that supports individuals with learning differences and attention issues. He also serves as a consultant to the Poses Family Foundation, a New York City–based charitable fund that focuses prominently on learning and attention issues.
Ms. Flanagan has more than 30 years of experience in higher education policy and planning. Since 1994, she has headed the government relations staff at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, where she focuses on the issues of government regulation, student financial assistance and tax policy She was previously the professional staff member for higher education on the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts and Humanities, working for Rhode Island’s Claiborne Pell and was also staff director for the Senate Subcommittee on Children, Families, Drugs and Alcoholism under Connecticut’s Christopher Dodd. In addition to serving on Beacon’s Board, Ms. Flanagan is on the Board of Trustees at Mary Baldwin College and is Trustee Emerita at Providence College.
Jennifer L. Braaten, Ed.D.
Dr. Jennifer Braaten brings to the Beacon College Board an extensive and successful background in the field of higher education. Upon receiving her baccalaureate degree in Education from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Braaten began her career as a teacher at the middle school, high school and, then, collegiate levels. She earned a master’s and doctoral degree in Education from Florida Atlantic University, as she prominently transitioned her talents and focus to higher education leadership. She served as Academic Dean, Provost, and then Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lynn University in Florida – roles in which Dr. Braaten worked extensively with students with learning differences. Dr. Braaten is past president of both Ferrum College (Virginia) and Midland Lutheran College (Nebraska). Prior to becoming president of Ferrum College, she served as chair of the board of trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Now devoting most of her time to life in Sedona, Arizona, Dr. Braaten has also successfully completed interim assignments in college president roles and as a search consultant.
John R. Gill, MBS
John R. Gill is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Quest, Inc. John is responsible for the leadership, management, guidance, and the development and implementation of the strategic vision of Quest, Inc. Quest’s 700 employees at 27 locations make a difference in the lives of more than 1,000 people with developmental disabilities each day. Quest has been part of the Central Florida community for over 50 years. John is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a BSBA in Finance and of the Crummer Graduate School at Rollins College with a Master’s degree in Business Administration. John’s professional perspective and business skills were shaped through experiences gained from a diverse group of organizations including Tews Company, Robert Half, Resources Global, The Walt Disney Company and Darden Restaurants.
John Gill is involved in various community and civic organizations including serving as a current member of the Board of Directors of Beacon College and the Board of Directors of CareerSource Central Florida. John is the past Chairman of the City of Winter Park’s Vision Steering Committee, past Chairman of the Board of CBC Holdings which operates the metro Orlando area child welfare organization, and past Chairman of the University of Central Florida National Alumni Association. John is a recipient of the designation Notable Knight by the UCF College of Business and was recognized as one of the Most Influential People in the City of Winter Park by Winter Park Magazine.
Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D.
Sheldon H. Horowitz is the Senior Advisor for Strategic Innovation, Research & Insights at the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). He provides leadership and oversight of key programs, and serves as an in-house expert on learning and attention issues to the NCLD and Understood teams. Prior to his arrival at NCLD in 1996, Dr. Horowitz served as associate director of the Learning Diagnostic Center at Schneider Children’s Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York. Before that he was assistant unit chief, educational supervisor, and grand rounds chairperson of the Center for Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Sheldon has taught at primary, secondary and college levels, and worked as a consultant to school districts throughout the New York metropolitan region. His special interests include neurobiology of learning, educational assessment, fetal alcohol effects in children, language-based learning disabilities, disorders of hyperactivity and attention, and learning disabilities in adolescents.
Sheldon completed his master’s degree at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee, and holds a doctorate in learning disabilities from Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York, with a specialization in learning disabilities and neurosciences in education. He is a regular presenter at professional conferences in the field of special education, and is frequently cited in the popular press. During his more than twenty years at NCLD, Sheldon has provided leadership on many of NCLD’s projects and programs as well as oversight of NCLD’s Professional Advisory Board. He enjoys being the ‘go to’ person for questions about learning and attention issues across program areas, and is co-author of NCLD’s signature publication, The State of Learning Disabilities Report.
For over 25 years, Ms. Judge has served in executive positions on a variety of nonprofit and educational boards. Most recently, she was President of the Board of Directors of the Winnetka Historical Society in Winnetka, Illinois, where she oversaw acquisition and restoration of two historic houses. Ms. Judge’s professional background is in finance; she served as Vice President – Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley & Co. Ms. Judge is the proud parent of a Beacon alumnus.
Jennifer Ford Knopf is the founding director of REED Charitable Foundation, a Central Florida-based organization dedicated to empowering the dyslexic community and ending the global literacy crisis by ensuring Orton-Gillingham training is financially and geographically accessible to all while also providing exceptional content and a meaningful community to those on the dyslexia journey.
Knopf’s advocacy is personal: her son Reed (the namesake of the foundation) was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was seven.
Previously, leading her practice, Knopf Law Firm, she represented clients in architects and engineers litigation matters in both state and federal court. The firm also represented a large family-owned company in all in-house matters including corporate buy/sell agreements, commercial leasing and employment matters. Knopf also helped create a personal injury and products liability law firm that has grown exponentially.
Earlier, as an attorney with Holland & Knight LLP in Orlando, she represented and defended businesses in federal and state court litigation and agency proceedings in federal and state employment law litigation involving claims under the ADEA, ADA, FLSA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and whistleblower and retaliation claims. She also counseled clients in legal compliance matters including employee relations, employee handbooks and employer policies and EEO training and counseled on tenant/landlord matters.
Knopf holds a B.S. in psychology from the University of Florida and a J.D. from Stetson University College of Law. She serves or has served on several boards of directors including NoticeAbility and the Orange County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She is also a graduate of Leadership Orange – Class XI.
She is married to Andrew and mom to daughter Mackenzie and Reed.
Alfred H. Moffett, MD
Dr. Alfred Moffett recently retired as the founding principal of OB-GYN Associates of Mid-Florida. A respected and preeminent obstetrician and gynecologist, he practiced medicine his whole career serving Lake County, Florida. A graduate of the Miami University’s Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, he is the recipient of numerous awards for distinguished service to his profession and patients. Among these, Dr. Moffett received a Distinguished Service Award from the Florida Obstetric and Gynecologic Society and the Castle Connolly Regional Top Doctor Award.
Alumni ParentMs. Resnick is a speech/language pathologist with 35 years of experience in working with school-age children. From 1983 to 2010, she was supervisor of the speech/hearing language program for the non-public schools in Pittsburgh, PA. During her last years in that position her responsibilities were expanded to include coordinating services for special needs, psychology and reading. Ms. Resnick holds certifications in both clinical and instructional speech/language pathology and special education supervision from the State of Pennsylvania. She is very active in several nonprofit and community organizations. Her board current positions include serving as executive vice president of the board of trustees at Community Day School and member of the board for FAME. She is also involved in the Jewish Women’s Foundation, where she serves on the advisory committee and is co-chair of the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh’s committee on inclusion.
John R. Rogers served as executive vice president of the Urban Institute from 2000 to 2018, acting as the chief operating officer and a senior advisor to the president and trustees on strategic, financial and other matters at the Washington D.C.-based highly regarded policy research organization. Rogers began his career on the consulting staff of Price Waterhouse in Tokyo. He later served in the United States Foreign Service in Indonesia and Czechoslovakia, where he led U.S. efforts to help develop stronger financial institutions and privatize state-owned enterprises.Following his years in the Foreign Service, Rogers launched KPMG Consulting’s applied economics’ practice in Washington DC. The group undertook projects in more than 20 countries, focusing primarily on macroeconomic policy development, trade policy, tax and fiscal issues and small enterprise development. In recent years, he has worked as a consultant for several nonprofits in investment decision-making, environmental advocacy and fundraising.
Rogers was educated at Duke University and the University of Pittsburgh. He serves on the board of visitors for the University of Pittsburgh’s graduate policy school and the board of directors for the Washington Men’s Camerata. An avid outdoorsman, Rogers enjoys long-distance hiking, particularly in the Scottish highlands.
Pola Rosen, EdD
Currently on leave of absence
Dr. Rosen has been an educator for more than three decades and is currently chair of Hunter College’s Panel on Writing. She is also founder of Education Update, an award-winning free monthly online newspaper dealing with issues in education from preschool to graduate school which gets over two million page views annually. In addition to its reguar publication, Education Outreach sponsors a range of innovative programs, including recognition for New York City’s outstanding principals and teachers, an annual Distinguished Leaders in Education honor, an NYC-wide conference on special education, student internships and a project to engage developmentally disabled sixth graders in producing a special edition of the paper. Both Dr. Rosen and Education Update have received numerous awards for their work. Dr. Rosen’s nonprofit activity includes serving on the Advisory Councils of Teachers College/Columbia University and the New York Botanical Gardens and on the Board of the Kennedy Child Study Center. She was previously a member of Landmark College’s Board of Trustees for 10 years.
Hugh W. Thompson, III
Mr. Thompson has more than 40 years of experience in business, focused primarily in the food and beverage industry. In 2015 he retired as president of Cutrale Citrus Juices USA, after nineteen years of leadership. Cutrale Citrus Juices is the largest orange juice processor in the U.S., headquartered in Auburndale, Florida. Previously, he spent 27 years in various positions at the Coca-Cola Company, culminating as Senior Vice President for Finance at Coca-Cola Foods. Mr. Thompson is an active board member at the Florida Citrus Research and Development Foundation, serving on the Executive and Commercial Product Delivery Committees, as well as Chair of the Finance Committee. He is also past President of the Florida Citrus Processors’ Association.
Charo Uceda, MA
Charo Uceda is an author, educator, philanthropist and entrepreneur. In 1988, she founded the UCEDA School, which teaches international and local students in more than 25 locations across the United States to speak English and hones their cultural awareness equipping them to compete in the global marketplace. She developed the school’s curriculum, penned the Charo Uceda English Series, a set of textbooks and workbooks as well as the Charo Uceda English at Home Series of textbooks. Since 2009, Uceda has served on the President’s Advisory Council at Teachers College, Columbia University and established also established the Charo Uceda Scholarships, an annual fund that supports graduate students in applied linguistics and policy in education programs at Teachers College.
Term of Board Service: 1998-2011
For nearly 40 years, Mr. Battaglia was an energy executive, retiring from Dominion Virginia Power in 2007. He has been active in education and community issues, serving for twelve years on the Nutley, New Jersey Board of Education, including four years as President. He was also elected to the Nutley Township Board of Commissioners, serving four years as Commissioner for Public Affairs. He has been a trustee of the 1st Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey since 1974. Mr. Battaglia was recognized by his local Jaycees for contributions to health and education. Mr. Battaglia is proud to be the father of a Beacon alumnus.
Bruce Vincent, MA
Term of Board Service: 2009-2016
Mr. Vincent has over 40 years of experience as a catalyst for transformational organizational change in both the for-profit and non-profit arenas. He was the principal consultant with Colorado-based New West Institute LLC where he specialized in the design and implementation of a proprietary organizational transition process, the 3rd WayTM. As an executive, coach, and teacher, he has influenced the careers of hundreds of business owners, educators, and other professionals both directly and through his book, From Anxiety to Action – A Fresh Start for Management/Staff Partnerships. Mr. Vincent continues to consult and write, dividing his time between the U.S. and his native Canada.
Richard O. Williams, PhD
Term of Board Service: 2002-2014
Dr. Williams has an unusual mixed background in education, science and finance. With an academic career spanning 20 years, he taught and researched at several European universities and with the World Health Organization in Africa. As a recognized investor and manager for pre-public biotech companies, he was involved in such notable organizations as Amgen, Bioveris and Supergen. He is currently Managing Partner of a fixed income hedge fund and a member of the American Society of Microbiology’s Investment Committee, as well as serving on the boards of several private companies.