Policy Makers

Dr. Patrick Linehan

Dr. Patrick Linehan joined the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA) at George Mason University as its Chief Operating Officer in April 2012 following 36 years of experience in policy development and program management in the federal government, primarily the Department of Defense. Pat is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel whose last assignment in the Army was as the Product Manager for the Improved Army Tactical Missile System, an advanced technology Major Defense Acquisition Program. Pat has a Bachelor of Science from West Point and a PhD in Public Policy from George Mason University. Pat is also a former school board member for the City of Manassas Public Schools.


Dr. Neal McCluskey

Dr. Neal McCluskey is the associate director of Cato's Center for Educational Freedom. Prior to arriving at Cato, McCluskey served in the US Army, taught highschool English, and was a freelance reporter covering municipal government and education in suburban New Jersey.
More recently, he was a policy analyst at the Center for Education Reform. McCluskey is the author of the book Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples, and Compromises American Education, and his writings have appeared in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the Baltimore Sun, and Forbes. In addition to his written work, McCluskey has appeared on C-SPAN, CNN, the Fox News Channel, and numerous radio programs. McCluskey holds an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, where he double-majored in government and English, has a master's degree in political science from Rutgers University, and has a PhD in Public Policy from George Mason University.


Administrator Panel

Milton C. Johns

Milton C. Johns began his second term as Chairman At-Large of Prince William County Public Schools on January 1, 2012.
Mr. Johns is an attorney in private practice and has spent over 20 years in the national defense industry as a program and contracts manager, as well as corporate counsel. He is also a former adjunct professor of business law at Strayer University in Woodbridge, Virginia and of legal research and writing at George Mason University School of Law. A graduate of George Washington University with a BA in Political Science, he also earned a master's degree from GWU in security policy studies. His Juris Doctorate was awarded by the George Mason University School of Law with high honors. Before taking office as Chairman at Large in January 2008, Mr. Johns served as the Brentsville District Representative to the Prince William County School Board from January 2004 through December 2007. Mr. Johns served as Vice Chairman of the Prince William County School Board from January 2004 through December 2004. Mr. Johns has served as the Vice Chairman of The Governor's School at Innovation Park Joint School Board since June 2009. He is also a member of the Radford University Board of Visitors, appointed to a four-year term by Governor Bob McDonnell in July 2010. Mr. Johns served on Governor McDonnell's K–12 Education Transition team from November 2009 to January 2010. In September 2011, he was appointed by the Rector of Radford University to chair the Academic Affairs Committee. Mr. Johns has been elected by unanimous acclamation as Vice Rector of Radford University effective July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. Mr. Johns was awarded the Aeronautical Merit Cross, second class, by the government of Spain in 1995. He is published in both fiction and nonfiction.

Dr. Virginia Strong Newlin

Dr. Virginia Strong Newlin is the accountability coordinator and supervisor for secondary and STEM education for Kent County Public Schools in Kent County, Maryland, where she is in charge of state assessments and curriculum, instruction, and professional development for grades 6-12. Newlin is a member of PARCC's Educator Leader Cadre, a team of K-16 educators from PARCC states who have met over the course of several years to develop expertise on PARCC and the Common Core State Standards. She has worked as a Master Teacher in Leadership for the state of Maryland, helping administrators with the transition to Common Core.
She earned a doctorate in leadership and innovation from Wilmington University in Delaware, a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College in Maryland, and is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescent Mathematics. She taught computer science, algebra, pre-algebra, and geometry for twelve years and was a middle school principal for five years. Dr. Newlin is an adjunct professor for Washington College of Maryland, where she teaches Math Methods courses for prospective elementary and secondary teachers. She also reviews manuscripts on mathematics teaching and learning for Routledge/ Eye on Education.

Cecilia Roe

Cecilia Roe is the Director of Instructional Assessment and Professional Development at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). In addition, Cecilia has served for the past six years as an adjunct instructor for Graduate Programs in the Education Division of Goucher College. Cecilia's responsibilities with MSDE include the federal grants, Title II A/B; Program Manager for select Maryland Race to the Top projects; coordination and implementation of Maryland state-wide professional learning initiatives; and administration of Maryland Assessments.
Cecilia formerly served as a specialist in MSDE's Secondary English Language Arts (ELA) Office where she worked with curriculum, professional development, and assessment related to ELA. Cecilia joined the MSDE family after 34 years with Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) where she served as the Coordinator of the Office of Secondary English Language Arts. Her responsibilities included development and implementation of county curriculum, assessments, and professional development. Prior to her tenure in the BCPS English Language Arts Office, Cecilia fulfilled 30 years as a secondary English teacher, department chairperson, and reading specialist.


Teacher Panel

Stephanie Douglass

Stephanie Douglass is from northeast Atlanta where she matriculated through Gwinnett County Public Schools. She now teaches 10th grade English at Berkmar High School in Gwinnett County. Prior to teaching, Miss Douglass worked as a banquet manager for Marriott in Columbus, Georgia where she also earned her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education-English at Columbus State University. Miss Douglass also holds a Master of Education in Sport Management from Springfield College. Miss Douglass has a particular interest and drive for teaching her students through technology to increase engagement, specifically to reach achievement of the Common Core State Standards.


Dr. Mary Wilson Leventhal

Seasoned teacher Dr. Mary Wilson Leventhal has 48 years' experience in public, private, and American international schools and universities. A veteran teacher, she believes the Common Core is the breakthrough change necessary for educating students with rigor and personalized learning. Mary has served as teacher, parent volunteer, community advocate, administrator, and school board member.
For over 13 years, Mary's favorite place has been her rural Title 1 classroom. Her classroom experience with Common Core Standards began with its inception. A world traveler, she previously worked in inner city schools, university settings, corporate board rooms, and international schools. For 25 years, she worked in East Asia with American international schools and speaks Chinese fluently. Dr. Leventhal chairs the International Committee for Kappa Delta Pi (International Honor Society in Education). Dr. Leventhal serves on the Maryland Education Association's Instruction and Professional Development committee. She chairs her school's Multicultural-STEM Committee and sits on the Faculty Advisory Council, the district's Cultural Competency Committee, and its Task Force for Accelerating Minority Student Achievement. Mary holds an EdD in Teacher Leadership from Walden University, an MBA from the University of Hong Kong, and a BSc in Elementary Education, summa cum laude, from Temple University.


Shannon Rice

Shannon Rice is a middle school special education teacher with 10 years of teaching experience.  She teaches in a small, rural K-12 school building in upstate New York.  Shannon has experience teaching and supporting students using the Common Core State Standards and aligned state assessment programs as well as serving on her district's Annual Professional Performance Review Plan development team.  She supports students in grades 5-8, primarily through Resource Room or special class instruction in ELA and/or math.  She also is trained in administering and scoring the New York State Alternate Assessment for students with exceptional special needs.  Her particular area of interest is in infusing life-skill instruction into different courses for students with more intensive special needs.  She is committed to collaborating with classroom teachers to deliver the unique instruction that each of her students require to be successful.  Shannon is a graduate of SUNY Oswego with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education.  She is also a member of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, where she currently serves as the Chairperson of the Membership Committee.