Dr. A. Wade Boykin
Dr. Boykin is the former national co-director of the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk (CRESPAR). He is also a Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in the Department of Psychology at Howard University. He spent a year as a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, California. He was Co-Director of the Task Force on the Relevance of the Social Sciences to the Black Experience, Yale University. Dr. Boykin currently serves on the editorial boards of the Sage Publications Book Series on Race, Ethnicity and Culture and those of several scholarly journals. In addition, Dr. Boykin served on the President’s National Mathematics Advisory Panel advising the then President and the Secretary of Education with respect to evidence-based mathematics instruction that improves math performance among American students.
Jennifer Lee, Ph. D.
Director of Assessment and Evaluation and Assistant Director
Dr. Lee is an expert on assessment and evaluation, especially culturally responsive evaluations. Dr. Lee has served as a consultant evaluator for various organizations and universities. Dr. Lee’s research interest center primarily around identifying the best evidence based practices that enhance teaching and learning, therefore, providing all children with quality educators and a quality education. Dr. Lee has a very specific interest in identifying new practical uses of Educational Assessments for the 21st century.
Carol A. West, Ed.D.
Currently, in that capacity she is project director for the Building Connections. This is a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation to support HBCU faculty working in networked improvement communities to enhance their ability to develop high quality, competitive grant proposals, research articles and conference presentations in the area of STEM and STEM education. Prior to that appointment, she served as Assistant Dean at Howard University’s School of Education. Dr. West has extensive experience in coordinating and developing synergistic activities within the education community at the national level as well as internationally.
Crystal Cotten Faison
Faison provides administrative coordination and is responsible for the arrangement and synchronization of many of the Center’s projects and events. In her administrative capacity, Mrs. Faison provides technical assistance with grant writing, program design and management for federal, state and foundation funding to meet the needs of diverse organizations and program initiatives. Mrs. Faison establishes, coordinates and maintains marketing/promotional activities and opportunities for Capstone Institute programs. Mrs. Faison is currently a doctoral student at Morgan State University, seeking a degree in higher education leadership.
Vanessa P. Robinson
Fiscal Administrator and Office Manager
Ms. Robinson has over 20 years of professional experience in non-profit fiscal management with a total commitment to high quality customer service. Vanessa has extensive experience in office operations, human relations, budget development, contract review, and grant management. Ms. Robinson’s expertise in these areas is demonstrated by her judicious use of resources—resulting in cost containment. Vanessa’s commitment to excellence has made her an essential team member and contributor to the success and longevity of the Institute.
Director of Leadership Development & Coordinator of The Promise Program
Leonard Upson is an education consultant for leadership development with more than 40 years of experience as a teacher, coach, and administrator in urban school settings. Mr. Upson brings insights and skills in instructional leadership and organizational change and has received numerous awards for his endeavors including Junior High School Principal of the Year by D.C Public Schools in 1983, Principal of the Year by the District of Columbia Association of Secondary Schools in 1989, and was identified as a Principal of Excellence by the Washington Post in 1997. His work as a faculty member, for 13 years, at Harvard University’s Principals’ Center spurred his development as a trainer and coach of school leaders.
A native of Washington, D.C., Mr. Upson earned a Master’s Degree in Urban Learning at George Washington University. His professional memberships include The School Club of Washington, National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He currently serves as Director for Leadership Development with Capstone Institute at Howard University. Most recently in October 2013 Mr. Upson was certified by the National Association of Elementary School Principals as a Mentor and Coach for elementary and secondary principals.
Ladan Rahnema, Ed.D.
In this capacity she supports schools in the implementation of research-based instructional strategies; turning educational research into practice in K-12 classrooms. Dr. Rahnema began her career in education in 1997 as an elementary education teacher in the Bronx, New York. She has over seven years of teaching experience in urban schools. Since 2004, Dr. Rahnema has worked in the area of school reform, coaching and training teachers and administrators in behavior management and instructional strategies. Dr. Rahnema earned her doctoral degree in educational leadership from The George Washington University.
Director of Training and Curriculum
Gayle is an independent education consultant with 30+ years of teaching and administrative experience in urban and suburban school settings. Ms. Upson brings the insights and skills of instructional leadership and organizational change and extensive experience in managing productive schools. As Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Community Academy Public Charter School in Washington, DC, she gained extensive experience in curriculum design and teacher development.
A native of Philadelphia, Ms. Upson received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University. She earned her Master of Science degree at Villanova University where she studied Education Administration. In 1999 Ms. Upson received the Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award during her tenure as elementary principal in Alexandria, Virginia. (158)
R. Davis Dixon, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
R. Davis Dixon is a doctoral candidate from Charlotte, North Carolina attending Howard University in Washington, D.C. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. With an interest in African-American child development and education, he finds passion and purpose in creating ways for these children’s voices to be heard by those who have power to change their circumstances. This drive leads him to enjoy researching methods of talent development for students placed at risk along with understanding how the history of race and culture in America has informed the current education dilemma.
Adrian Wayne Bruce
Graduate Research Assistant
Adrian is a doctoral graduate student in the Developmental Psychology program at Howard University. His research interests include academic achievement, cultural preferences, student engagement, cultural instructional contexts, teacher expectations, and self-efficacy. Adrian works as a Teaching Assistant in the Psychology department at Howard, and is also a Graduate Research Assistant at Capstone Institute. A few of his duties include providing research support for large grant proposals and technical reports, assisting with the creation and implementation of professional development programming, building and managing multiple statistical databases, and supporting ongoing school improvement initiatives via direct service delivery with various school stakeholders (e.g., students, teachers, parents, administrators).
Chastity C. McFarlan, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr. McFarlan’s research, which spans early childhood through young adulthood, focuses on closing the academic achievement gap at all educational levels. Her interests include the cognitive development of young children, effective instructional practices for culturally diverse students, and curriculum development. A native New Yorker, Dr. McFarlan earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. John’s University in New York City and her Master’s and PhD from Howard University.