Chair of the Board
Mary Sylvia Harrison serves as the Vice President for Programs at the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2008, Mary was President and CEO of The College Crusade Rhode Island. Under her leadership, the organization became the state’s most comprehensive college readiness and scholarship program for students in low-income urban school districts. Mary served on the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education from 1994 to 1999 and represented The College Crusade as Core Partner with the Providence Public Schools in a Carnegie Corporation-funded High School Redesign initiative. Prior to joining The College Crusade, she was Executive Director of Times2, a nonprofit provider of math and science enrichment programs for underserved learners. Mary holds a B.A. from Villanova University and a J.D. from Antioch School of Law.
Lynn Bowman spent over 20 years in the educational and non-profit sector as a committed senior-level administrator, consultant, leadership coach, and teacher. During her tenure as a senior-level educational administrator, Lynn had the responsibility of supervising, training, and coaching mid-level managers and other senior leaders. She gained experience with strategic planning at the board and administrative levels and has worked to establish and build partnerships with community organizations and other educational institutions. A seasoned facilitator, Lynn has been invited to speak and lead workshops on a number of topics such as increasing the capacity of emerging leaders, creating cultures of belonging, and examining the characteristics and behaviors of highly effective teams. Lynn finds the most joy in her work when she is creating and designing learning experiences that provide participants with opportunities to shift perspective, transform thinking, collaborate with others and connect deeper with self.
As an executive leadership coach and consultant, Lynn specializes in leadership and team development helping leaders onboard new senior-level administrators, build trust, master conflict, and decision making, foster accountability, and become more inclusive and empathic leadership teams. Grounding her coaching practice in the core values of compassion, curiosity, belonging, and optimism, Lynn co-creates an experience of reflection, practice, and action to help her clients build capacity as leaders to better serve their organizations and those around them.
Lynn attended Brown University where she graduated with a degree in American Literature, and she has a master’s degree in American Literature from Sacramento State University. She is certified in restorative justice practice and circle training for educators by the Center for Restorative Justice, and she recently completed coaching training through Georgetown University’s Executive Leadership Coaching Program.
Donna Coderre is presently the principal at Leo A. Savoie Elementary School and a principal for 15 years. Was named RI Principal of the Year in 2017 and was honored in Washington, D.C. Serves on many district and state committees. Member of the Harvard Principals Center which welcomes new and aspiring principals from all over the country and internationally to institutes to strengthen their foundational leadership. Board member on the Feinstein Foundation which encourages schools and students to give back to the community. Lives in Woonsocket with her husband George and has been blessed with 5 children and 5 grandchildren. Belief is always to be part of the solution not part of the problem.
Julian Dash has 15+ Years of Renewable Energy Experience. Dash founded Copacity in 2012 and has advised and assisted its clients in the procurement, financing, negotiation, completion, and management of over 100 mW of distributed renewable energy projects. Against this backdrop, Copacity is now developing a new end-to-end online renewable energy procurement solution, which will provide efficiencies and greater savings via a completely client-controlled, client-customized platform.
Prior to Copacity, Dash served as Rhode Island’s Renewable Energy Fund Director, where he oversaw the state’s clean energy financing, programs, and initiatives. Dash transformed the then small residential solar grant program into a comprehensive clean energy economic development program and made targeted investments that supported the nation’s first offshore wind project, convened over 120 stakeholders to produce the state’s green economy strategic roadmap, and led to the implementation of new policies and programs that have increased Rhode Island’s renewable energy installed capacity potential by over 1,000mW.
Before the REF, Dash oversaw the finance and development of a variety of green, mixed-use, and mixed-income projects, including the award-winning “Plant” project, along with numerous clean energy initiatives within large-scale public and affordable housing projects in Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD. Dash earned his undergraduate degree in International Finance at Morgan State University and his MBA from Babson College. A native of South Providence, RI, Dash currently divides his time between both Providence and New York City, while being an active member of his communities, serving on numerous boards.
Nicholas Trott Long
Nicholas Trott Long serves as an arbitrator, investigator, and mediator, as well as a pro bono attorney for political asylees. He is chair of the Bar Association’s Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee and a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs.
Previously he served as counsel for the Providence Educational Excellence Coalition and was the first General Counsel for the University of Rhode Island, the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Commissioner of Higher Education. He also was Rhode Island's Chief Assistant Attorney General - Civil Division and Counsel to the Attorney General, R.I. special prosecutor, and Assistant District Attorney for Philadelphia, PA.
He is the author or contributing author of the books Strategic Legal Planning: The College and University Legal Audit, Managing Overseas Liability and Programs, and Legal Deskbook For Administrators of Independent Colleges and Universities, The Standard of Proof in Student Disciplinary Cases, 12 J. of C. & U. L.71 (1985), and a variety of articles, monographs and conference papers. He is also the creator of the Electronic Policy GuideSM, which may be previewed at www.ntlong.com. Mr. Long earned his B.A. from Cornell University and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
Dr. Soljane Martinez
Dr.Soljane Martinez has been an educator for 20 years. She has been a classroom teacher of grades 3 through 12, a Dean of Culture & Students, principal of a dual-language school and founder of Soljane Martinez Educational Consulting which focuses on culturally responsive teacher preparation and development.
She currently serves as Education Coordinator at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University where she coordinates the university’s K-12 education programs through collaborative partnerships that support the needs of school districts and communities throughout the state. She is an adjunct faculty in the Master’s of Arts in Teaching program at Johnson & Wales University (Providence, RI).
She holds a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Johnson & Wales University (‘20), a Master’s in Education from CUNY-Staten Island (‘03) and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island (‘98).
A native of New York, Dr. Martinez moved to RI after beginning her teaching career with the New York City Teaching Fellows Program, which attracts professionals from different careers to education.
She attended the University of Rhode Island, receiving her B.A. in Journalism, '98, and earned a spot at The Providence Journal, covering local news and writing a column geared at young adults in RI. In 2000 her budding journalism career took her back home where she joined The Wall Street Journal Sunday, writing personal finance stories for the world's most prestigious financial newspaper.
In 2008 she was selected among thousands of teachers across the country as a Freedom Writer Teacher, a powerfully engaging curriculum based on the book and film of the same name. The program trains educators to teach all students through challenging, project-driven activities focused on social justice. She was recognized by the League of Women Voters for her civics teaching and received the Susan B. Wilson Civics in Merit Award.
In 2013, she and her 8th grade students were honored to host Justice Sandra Day O'Connor! In 2014, she was one of 24 teachers from around the world invited to attend the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, where she spent a week with survivors and their families.
Dr. Martinez is a founding Board Member of the Rhode Island School for Progressive Educators (RISPE), Rhode Island’s first residency-style graduate school of education which aims to improve outcomes for all students in Rhode Island’s urban public schools by diversifying the teacher pipeline and employing an anti-racist curriculum.
She also serves on the Board of the Brown-Foxpoint Early Childhood Education Center and co-chaired the World Class Talent Community Design Team which helped the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) draft recommendations for the Providence Public Schools Turnaround Plan. Dr. Martinez is an active member of the Educators of Color affinity group sponsored by RIDE.
She currently lives in Coventry with her husband and two teenage boys. She aspires to effectively prepare future educators and write cultural children's’ books and enjoys dancing, cooking and nature.
Dr. Jeffery Williams
Dr. Jeffery A. Williams has dedicated his life as both a spiritual guide and social change advocate. Raised in Englewood New Jersey, Dr. Williams is a graduate of Brown University where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Environmental Analysis, The Harvard Kennedy School of Government with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and has an earned Doctorate from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, in Urban Complex Settings.
In addition to being a sought-out advisor to members of Government, Dr. Williams’ works as the founding pastor of The King’s Cathedral, located in Providence Rhode Island. Dr. Williams has authored several books, “Knowing Your Why: The Key That Unlocks Your Full Potential” (2017) and “Resurge: From Disorder To Divine Order in 7 Steps.” His latest release, the “Morning Decree Devotional Journal” in four volumes (2018-19) is a quarterly devotional journal designed to deepen your spiritual life.