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STEM Education in Urban Settings: Understanding Realities and Imagining Possibilities

April 30, 2012—


Dr. Vivian Lee


Dr. Vivian Lee is currently Director, Counselor Advocacy at the National Office for School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA) of the College Board where she has worked since June 2004. NOSCA is a dynamic office that is charged with advocating for school counselors on a national level. The overarching goal of NOSCA’s work is to advance equity and social justice in educational outcomes for all students, but especially for underserved populations. Much of Dr. Lee’s work centers on training school counselors to become culturally responsive practitioners who can engage in the systemic change necessary to meet the needs of all student populations. Additionally, Dr. Lee works with counselors, district leaders, and state departments of education, professional organizations and counselor educators to advance equity-focused counseling practice.

Dr. Lee is a co-director of the NOSCA-CSCOR Fellows Program, a new national initiative designed to build a community of young scholars by supporting doctoral level counseling students who are interested in pursuing dissertations in the area of college-readiness counseling. Since 2004 she has served as adjunct professor at University of Maryland, College Park.

Dr. Lee is a former teacher, secondary school counselor, director of guidance and counseling and full-time counselor educator at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA and University of Scranton, Scranton, PA. She served as membership chair for Pennsylvania Counseling Association, trainer for the Education Trust National Initiative for Transforming School Counseling and, has authored and co-authored articles and book chapters on developing school counseling programs, conflict resolution and violence and, group counseling. Dr. Lee worked in public education for twenty four years before joining the College Board in 2004. She received her Master’s and Doctoral degrees in counseling from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Lee continues to collaboratively support a library/school building project in Ghana, West Africa at the Tema Royal Preparatory School. The library, commissioned for use in 2005, is open to members of Community 7 which is served by the school. This project began as an outgrowth of her involvement in a Fulbright-Hays Scholars Group Project Abroad to Ghana, West Africa in 2001. She is a recipient of the O’Hana Award in 2008 by the Counselors for Social Justice.

Dr. Liza Herzog


Liza Herzog is the Director of Research at the Philadelphia Education Fund*, an organization working to improve the quality of public education for underserved youth throughout the Philadelphia region.  Since joining the Ed Fund in 2003, Dr. Herzog, in partnership with researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Delaware, and others, has co-directed research and authored reports on comprehensive school reform, the professional development of teachers, access to postsecondary education, teen motherhood and educational outcomes, school-based teacher teams and data use, and dropout prevention.  She led a regional advisory team of researchers, practitioners, and social service agencies around using education, health and social welfare data from the Philadelphia Educational Longitudinal Study (PELS), which followed more than 2,000 8th graders in Philadelphia public schools through to three years past on-time graduation. 

Currently, Dr. Herzog works with internal (Ed Fund) programs such as the Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Project, the College Access Program, the Math/Science Coalition and the Philadelphia Teacher Residency to track student outcomes, link outcomes to supports, and help partners conduct gap analyses to guide program improvement.  Before joining the Ed Fund, Dr. Herzog was a Research Associate at the University of Pennsylvania, where she conducted qualitative research in higher education.  Prior to her work in education, she was a practicing attorney in Philadelphia and in Washington, D.C. Dr. Herzog holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, a J.D. from Temple University, and a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Herzog serves on the Boards of the Rock School for Dance Education of the Pennsylvania Ballet and the Live Arts Festival/Fringe, is on the Leadership Circle at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Leadership Council of the Wistar Institute, and the Every Family Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

*In its twenty-sixth year as a member of the Public Education Network, the Philadelphia Education Fund is one of more than 85 local education agencies (LEAs) across the country.

Penny Nixon

NixonPenny Nixon, Chief Academic Officer in The School District of Philadelphia (SDP), prides herself in promoting an environment of academic excellence and positive school culture. She is committed to making rapid improvements in school quality and student outcomes.

Ms. Nixon supports the design, implementation, and coordination of instructional leadership and curriculum-related initiatives, with a focus on:

• Strong, aligned College and Career – Ready Curriculum
• Effective Leaders and Teachers
• A strong system of supports
• Shared Accountability
• A System of Great Schools

Prior to her position as Chief Academic Officer, Penny Nixon served as Associate Superintendent of Schools, Regional Superintendent, Assistant Regional Superintendent, Principal, Academic Coach, and teacher. In all of her respective roles, she has been a reflective practitioner, researcher, and agent for change.

Mrs. Nixon is currently a participant in the University of Pennsylvania Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. She received her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and completed her undergraduate studies at Temple University. She also holds a principal certification and a Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility.