School of Education Board of Visitors

The Board of Visitors serves as an external advisory body to the Dean. Members of the board have attained prominence in their field and are chosen because of their value in providing sound advice and counsel. Board membership includes graduates, emeritus faculty and staff, and friends of the School of Education. The current members of the board are:

Carla Austin

Carla AustinAustin was born and raised on the east side of Madison. She was a first-generation college student and earned her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from UW–Madison. She met her husband at UW as well. In 1982, the couple moved to Dallas, Texas, where they raised two children. Austin owns a pediatric occupational therapy private practice serving children and their families at home and in schools in the Dallas metropolitan area. She serves on the boards of two nonprofit agencies serving children with special needs in the Dallas area and volunteers her services at a school for children with special needs.

Austin and her husband enjoy biking and traveling, and are especially happy when they combine the two on bike vacations. She enjoys reading, gardening and follows Badger football and basketball. Austin is passionate about education and occupational therapy’s unique contribution to the functioning of children and their families.

Kathy Chazen

Photo ChazenChazen received a bachelor of science degree from UW–Madison in the School of Education in 1974. She launched her career in the insurance industry after college in Madison and has had an insurance practice in New York City since that time. She was a founding member of the Stop AIDS Project, a non-profit organization for AIDS education, and a founding member of the Asthma Immunology and Respiratory (AIR) Society, a non-profit organization to benefit National Jewish Hospital. Kathy is currently a trustee of National Jewish Hospital; board member of the 92nd Street Y in New York, and involved in arts and music education for New York City public schools; and Trustee at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School.

Chazen lives in New York City with her husband Larry Miller, a music executive and professor at NYU; her daughter Anna and son Zachary (UW–Madison class of 2015). Kathy comes from a family of Badgers, including both of her parents, longtime UW supporters, Jerome and Simona Chazen, and now her son.

Karen Falk

Karen FalkFalk completed her bachelor's degree in education at UW–Madison, with an emphasis in special education. After graduation, she spent several years teaching at the middle school and high school levels, ​and also taught independent living skills to young adults with special needs. Following that, she transitioned her skills to the business environment, where she designed and implemented computer and network training programs.

She continues to satisfy her passion for education, and the causes and effects of poverty, through non-profit organizations in her community. Falk and her husband, Tom, live in Dallas, Texas.

Eric Flanagan

Eric FlanaganEric attended primary school in Hong Kong before returning to Ireland.  He was an international student at UW–Madison. After an experience working as a special education classroom assistant in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland; he transferred to the UW as a Junior in 2006 from the University College Dublin to study in the School of Education earning both his bachelor’s degree (’09) and master’s degree (’10) in Rehabilitation Psychology from the UW. He was also a 2009 Meyerhoff Award winner in International Student Services.

He has experience serving adults with disabilities in the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Dane County Public Defender’s Office, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Currently living in Chicago, he is a clinical counselor and vocational consultant for Stevens Point-based Encore Unlimited LLC. In addition to counseling, he works with private companies, law firms and the insurance industry on return-to-work issues for individuals with disabilities.

While in grad school, he served on the Wisconsin Rehabilitation Counselor and  Educators Association (WRCEA) board.  He currently serves as a board member and vice-president of the Delta Upsilon of Wisconsin Foundation.  He has enjoyed volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for the past six years, both in Madison and currently in Chicago.

Robert A. Frahm

Photograph of Bob Frahm

Frahm is a freelance journalist who has written about education for more than 40 years. A former high school English teacher, he began his journalism career in Wisconsin, where he covered the education beat for the Racine Journal-Times. In 1984, he moved to Connecticut as the chief education reporter for the Hartford Courant, writing about a range of topics such as testing, teacher quality and school reform. He wrote extensively about school desegregation, including Connecticut’s long-running Sheff vs. O’Neill lawsuit. After leaving the Courant in 2007, he did freelance work, and in 2009, joined the staff of the Connecticut Mirror, a startup online news service focusing on statewide governmental issues, including education. He worked fulltime at the Mirror for a year and then began doing part-time freelance work for the Mirror and other organizations.

He was a board member of the Education Writers Association for 11 years and was EWA’s president from 1995 to 1997. His numerous writing awards include the nation’s top prize for education reporting from EWA in 1983 and 1996, and the 1996 Master Reporter Award from the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. In 1994-95 he was a fellow in the Michigan Journalism Fellows program at the University of Michigan. Frahm, a 1968 graduate of UW-Madison, lives in West Hartford, Connecticut with his wife, Gail.

Mary Gulbrandsen

Photo Gulbrandsen Gulbrandsen is executive director of the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars (FFWS). The FFWS is a private not-for-profit foundation providing need based grants to recent graduates of Wisconsin public high schools who are attending Wisconsin public colleges full time. A pediatric nurse practitioner and former school district administrator, Mary has dedicated her career to helping children, by combining her interest and expertise in health care and education.

Mary joined the Madison Metropolitan School District over 30 years ago to implement and run the program that placed health-services staff in all Madison public schools. Mary went on to serve in a variety of leadership roles in the school district, including as chief of staff, where she worked on long-range planning, finance and operations, and programs designed to improve student achievement.

Mary holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and two master’s degrees, in pediatric nursing and in administrative medicine, from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  Mary also devotes substantial time to volunteerism and board service. She is currently a board member of the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation, the Fund For Wisconsin Scholars, and Opera for The Young.

Edward Holmes

Holmes HeadshotDr. Ed Holmes hails from Washington, D.C.  He came to the UW–Madison where he completed his undergraduate degree in English and Political Science,  a master of social work, and a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.  Holmes established Ebony Expression Cultural Awareness Project in 1982; he received congressional recognition for this innovative program dedicated to the development of the talents of African American youth, and the education of the broader community about the richness and significance of African American culture.  His career has focused on implementing creative-community based educational programs, and creating inclusive, engaging, academically successful public schools. 

Holmes received the prestigious Milken Educator of the Year award for the state of Wisconsin in 2003 for his work in the revitalization of Wright Middle School.  He successfully led Madison West High School for a decade, one of the top public high schools in the state of Wisconsin and nation.  He also received the state of Wisconsin's first Martin Luther King, Jr. Heritage Award.

Barbara L. Kornblau

Kornblau Barbara L. Kornblau earned her bachelor degree in occupational therapy from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a JD from the University of Miami, School of Law. She is a past president of the American Occupational Therapy Association and a former Robert Wood Johnson Health Foundation Policy Fellow, serving in the Offices of Senators Harkin and Rockefeller as an advisor on health and disability issues. She was a Professor of Occupational Therapy and Public Health at Nova Southeastern University for 15 years and did a stint as Dean of the School of Health Professions at the University of Michigan-Flint.


She currently lives in the metro Washington D.C. area with her husband Larry Sherry, where she is a consultant on disability and health policy, and patient participation. She runs the Coalition for Disability Health Equity, advocating for disability issues, and is a consultant to the United Spinal Association's grant-funded Pathways to Employment Program. Kornblau is an Adjunct Professor of Occupational Therapy at Florida A&M University, where she teaches via Skype. She is the mother of six adult children who have benefitted from a variety of special education experiences.

Anand Marri

Marri head shotAnand R. Marri, a Professor of Social Studies and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, currently serves as Vice President and Head of Outreach and Education at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Anand’s work and views are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System.

A former high school social studies teacher, his research focuses on economics education, civic education, community and economic development, multicultural education, and teacher education. In addition to authoring numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, his work has appeared on CNN and in Dallas Morning News, Forbes, and The New York Times. He has received over $5.5 million in grants from organizations such as Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Joyce Cowin Foundation, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Anand received his PhD from University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2003. He also holds an MA from Stanford University and an BA from Bowdoin College.

Tashia Morgridge

Tashia F. Morgridge headshot Morgridge earned her bachelor's degree from the School of Education in 1955 and a master's degree in 1975 from Leslie University in Massachusetts. She is a longtime member of the School of Education Board of Visitors. Now a retired special-education teacher, she lives in Portola Valley, California. Morgridge is a supporter of Reading Recovery, a literacy program for at-risk first-grade students. In addition, she is active in encouraging civic engagement among students at Stanford University and at UW–Madison. Morgridge's husband, John, is a 1955 graduate of UW–Madison’s School of Business and earned his MBA from Stanford University in 1957. He is a member of the board of directors of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. 

Tashia and John are founders and members of the board of trustees of the Morgridge Institute for Research at UW-Madison; founders, and board members of the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars; and founders of the Wisconsin Technology Initiative. Both Morgridges are members of the Chancellor's Board of Visitors.   

Pat Neudecker

Pat professional 2Pat has a BS in education from UW-Stout and an MS and PhD in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis from UW–Madison.  She has been a public school educator in Wisconsin for over 30 years, recently serving as superintendent of schools in Oconomowoc for 11 years.  Pat is currently working with the Woodrow Wilson Foundation on the development of a new MBA leadership program for emerging principals which combines best practices in education, business, and leadership development. 

During her career, Neudecker served as national president for the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), and served on numerous state and national committees.  She received the state Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators (WASDA) Educator of the Year and Distinguished Service Awards, and the national American Association of School Administrators Distinguished Service Award.  Through professional associations, Neudecker has traveled and studied education systems in Germany, China, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Poland.  She is also a member of a leadership group committed to addressing educational social justice issues across the continents.  Pat also conducts executive searches for school districts and school boards. 

A strong believer in community service, Neudecker is a member of Rotary International, and has served on local boards for the YMCA, Lake Country Free Clinic, Waukesha Symphony, Oconomowoc Education Foundation, and Oconomowoc Sister City Project with Dietzenbach, Germany.  Pat is married with two grown sons and three grandchildren.  A strong supporter of the arts, Pat also enjoys time with family, travel, and swimming. 

Cynthia Schaus

cindy schaus2 

Schaus earned her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Disabilities from the UW–Madison School of Education in 1977, and her master’s degree in Exceptional Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1981.  She spent her career as a special education teacher in Franklin Public Schools.  

She is involved in disability service organizations in the greater Milwaukee area, serving on the board of Life Navigators and supporting other organizations focused on improving the lives of individuals with disabilities to live to their full potential.

Ron Schwarz

Photograph of Ron Schwartz

Schwarz graduated from the UW–Madison School of Education in 1977. He taught high school math in Managua, Nicaragua and Cali, Colombia for three years before going on to pursue his MBA from the University of Texas, Austin (1982). Since then, Ron has founded a myriad of companies mainly in the directory publishing arena. He now works a lot with startups and also does a lot of financial consulting in divorce cases.

In his free time, Ron enjoys playing tennis and golf. He currently lives in Dallas, Texas. His two children, Aaron and Rachel (BS ’10, in Communication Arts), live in Dallas and Chicago, respectively.

James T. Thompson

Jim Thompson Thompson is a Wisconsin native with a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison in Agricultural Economics. He also attended Executive Business program at the University of Michigan. Jim worked at privately held Cargill, Inc. for more than 30 years, leading to the position of President - Steel Group. Following his retirement, he served as Executive Vice President of The Mosaic Company, a publicly traded spin-off of Cargill's fertilizer business.

Jim has served on numerous industry and non-profit boards and currently serves on two publicly traded boards, one based in Minnesota, and the other in Sydney, Australia. His hobbies include orchestral music, art, most spectator sports, and a growing interest in wine. Jim resides in Minnetonka, Minnesota with his wife Georgia.

Kathleen Woit

Headshot Kathleen WoitWoit recently joined the law firm of McDonald Schaefer as a Senior Associate. She previously retired from serving as president of the Madison Community Foundation for 16 years. Prior to this, Kathleen was president of Meriter Hospital and Assistant Chancellor of University Relations at UW-Whitewater and UW-Milwaukee. She spent her early career as a classroom teacher and reading specialist in the Madison area and Alexandria, VA.

Dr. Woit holds a doctorate and two master’s degrees from UW–Madison and a bachelor’s degree from UW-Whitewater. She has served on the boards of numerous community organizations and has received the Association of Fundraising Professionals Visionary Award, YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, Urban League of Greater Madison’s Whitney M. Young Award, and Best of Madison Business Award.