Executive Director Advisory Council

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Executive Director Advisory Committee

John Fischer

John Fischer is a Senior Program Officer on the U.S. Programs Policy & Finance team. John’s focus is supporting K-12 and postsecondary pathways including CTE and Perkins V, the Economic Mobility strategy and the future workforce activities. Prior to this, John served as the lead program officer for the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) national strategy and earlier on the Foundation’s Florida and Tennessee teams, supporting the College Ready K12 strategy.  

Prior to joining the Foundation, John was the Deputy Secretary at the Vermont Agency of Education focused on innovation and transformation of the state’s education system including school improvement, assessments, flexible pathways, career technical education and competency based systems of learning.  In his work, John supported high expectations for all students, smooth transitions to college/career and strong partnerships between PK12, higher education and the workforce/economic development sectors.

Earlier in his career, John worked in higher education, serving as Dean, Vice President and Provost in NH.  John is a former member of the Advance CTE and served as president of the board in 2013. 

Michael Metz

Michael Metz  is a retired materials scientist, business owner, and business consultant engaged in the development and commercialization of precious metal products used in high technology applications. Prior to starting his own consulting business 25 years ago, Michael held a number of positions including President and COO of his family business, Metz Metallurgical Corp (25 years), growing the company to become the world leader in the development and processing of precious metal used in technology applications worldwide.

Michael currently serves on the board of the Maker Space Generator, The Burlington City Arts Foundation, ECHO, The Vermont Community Foundation, The Curtis Fund, and Spectrum’s social enterprise Detail Works.

Michael previously served on the board of Champlain College, Main Street Alliance Advisory board, BCA Advisory Board, Frog Hollow Craft Center, and numerous for profit boards.

Michael has a longstanding interest in art, education, creativity, economic development and technology.  He has been a photographer for the past five decades and exhibits locally, including at UVM’s Fleming Museum at Champlain College.

Michael is a graduate of Middlebury College and Columba Universities’ Graduate School of Business. He lives with his wife Denise Shekerjian (an attorney, author, and business owner) in South Burlington.  They have two grown sons.

Dana L. Mitra, Ph.D.

Dana L. Mitra has conducted research on voice and leadership as a Professor of Education Policy Studies at the Pennsylvania State University for over 15 years. In her work as a professor, she was named as a Students at the Center “Distinguished Fellow” with Jobs For the Future/the Nellie Mae Foundation in 2016. She is founding editor of the International Journal of Student Voice and Co-Editor of The American Journal of Education.

Dana has published over 30 papers and two books on the topics of student voice and civic engagement. Her books include Civic Education in the Elementary Grades: Promoting Engagement in an Era of Accountability, Student Voice in School Reform: Building Youth-Adult Partnerships that Empower Youth, and a textbook entitled Educational Change and the Political Process. She also has published a memoir entitled French Fries and Banyan Trees: American Kids Explore Bangalore and Beyond.

Dana holds a Ph. D. from Stanford University in Educational Administration and Policy Analysis. She has served as a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in 2012 to study child participation and educational reform in Bangalore, India. Her prior work experience includes teaching elementary school in the Washington, DC area and serving as the coordinator for two White House Conferences on Character Education.

Mark Murphy

Mark Murphy founded GripTape, an organization empowering our youth, helping them to become true drivers of their learning and seize great opportunities to grow, lead, and serve.

Before GripTape, Mark was the Secretary of Education in Delaware. During his tenure, Delaware youth significantly improved their academic achievement, college going rates soared, high school dropout rates reached the lowest level in history, and the graduation rate grew to a record high. Mark has also spent a considerable amount of his career directly developing and supporting hundreds of school leaders across the country as the Executive Director of multiple organizations.

Mark’s contributions across the country are significant, and he has served on many boards, including the Council of Chief State School Officers and Chiefs for Change. He began his career as a teacher, and then went on as a principal to lead the dramatic turnaround of a low performing school.