Directors and Officers
Dr. Mark David Milliron is Chief Learning Officer at Civitas Learning. Prior to Civitas, he was the founding chancellor of Western Governors University, Texas. He has also served as Deputy Director for Postsecondary Improvement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading efforts to increase student success in the US postsecondary education sector. In previous roles, he founded the private consulting group, Catalyze Learning International (CLI); served as an Endowed Fellow, Senior Lecturer, and Director of the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin; served as Vice President for Education and Medical Practice with SAS, the world’s largest private software company; and was President and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College.
In 1999, The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education named Mark a Distinguished Graduate for his service to the education field. In 2005, he received the annual PBS/ETS O’Banion Prize for transformational work in support of teaching and learning. In 2007, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) presented him with its National Leadership Award for his work in advancing education opportunity. And in 2011, the National University Technology Network (NUTN) named Mark the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for his leadership in advancing innovative technology use in education. He is an award-winning leader, author, speaker, and consultant well known for exploring leadership development, future trends, learning strategies, and the human side of technology change. He has worked with universities, community colleges, K-12 schools, corporations, associations, and government agencies across the country and around the world.
Mark also serves on numerous corporate, nonprofit, and education boards and advisory groups, including WGU; the Global Online Academy, a not-for-profit educational partnership serving independent schools nationally and internationally; and the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), the parent organization of the Big Ideas Fest.
Jonah Houston joined IDEO in 2000 as a member of the manufacturing group. Currently Jonah is a senior project leader at IDEO in Palo Alto. While at IDEO, Jonah has worked on a wide variety of project ranging from medical devices, office furniture, consumer electronics, food and beverage, and large-scale systems design.
Jonah has led large and small teams and a broad range of clients - from the Federal Government to Eli Lilly, down to start-ups that have stayed up (Pure Digital and Playaway). Jonah has deep experience with DFMA, DFX, production readiness and process capability as well as extensive experience in metal processes -- extrusion, stamping, casting, powdered metals, etc. -- and their use in complex electromechanical assemblies. Jonah has also taught a series of courses at Stanford and Santa Clara University on the subject of materials and process selection as well as design for manufacturability and assembly.
Prior to IDEO, Jonah was a co-founder of American Suspension, the only domestic manufacturer of suspension forks for motorcycles. With the other founders, Jonah co-developed over 50 products in under two years. Jonah began his manufacturing career as the team manager for Russell Racing in Monterey. There he was responsible for the maintenance, assembly, and new component development for a fleet of 40 race cars. He also developed and administered a training curriculum for aspiring race car mechanics. During his tenure, Russell Racing successfully converted power plants and redesigned the bodywork of half the cars in the fleet. The retrofit also included intensive aerodynamic studies to optimize cooling for the larger engine.
Lance T. Izumi is Chair of the ISKME Board and Senior Fellow in California Studies and Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (PRI). He is the co-author of the book Free to Learn: Lessons from Model Charter Schools (Pacific Research Institute, 2005). He is the author of several major PRI studies, including the "California Education Report Card: Index of Leading Education Indicators" (1997, 2000 and 2003 editions), "Developing and Implementing Academic Standards" (1999), "Facing the Classroom Challenge: Teacher Quality and Teacher Training in California’s Schools of Education" (2001), and “They Have Overcome: High-Poverty, High-Performing Schools in California” (2002), and “Putting Education to the Test: A Value-Added Model for California” (2004). Mr. Izumi is a member of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. He serves as the chair of the Board’s economic development and vocational education committee. He is also the Board’s representative to the California Postsecondary Education Commission.
In 2003, United States secretary of education Rod Paige appointed Mr. Izumi to the Teacher Assistance Corps, a task force of experts assigned to review state teacher quality plans as they relate to the federal No Child Left Behind Act. He also served as a member of the Professional Development Working Group of the California Legislature's Joint Committee to Develop a Master Plan for Education.
Mr. Izumi received his juris doctorate from the University of Southern California School of Law and his master of arts in political science from the University of California at Davis. He received his bachelor of arts in economics and history from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Lisa Petrides, Ph.D. is president and founder of ISKME (Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education), a global leader in research and practice around data use, open education, and social learning in the education sector. ISKME, an independent, non-profit organization founded by Petrides in 2002, is well-known for its OER Commons initiative, as well as its award winning international research. Her research and writing are at the forefront of innovation in how education can be made relevant to learning through open access, social learning, information sharing, and knowledge collaboration. This includes over $12 million of grant-sponsored research and development including the award winning OER Commons initiative, an open teaching and learning network that facilitates the discovery and reuse of open educational resources, as well as an international "best of breed" event dedicated to catalyzing education innovation, the Big Ideas Fest.
A former professor at Columbia University, Teachers College, and a post-doc fellow at the Educational Testing Service, she gives keynotes, workshops, and counsel to open education advocates and aspirants, and to those who desire to foster the sharing and use of data, or the creation of knowledge-based ecologies focused on teaching and learning.
Dr. Andreea M. Serban is the former President of Santa Barbara City College in California. Previously, she served as Vice Chancellor of Technology and Learning Services at South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) in Mission Viejo, California, providing leadership for districtwide programs encompassing instructional and student services, administrative and academic technology, economic development and workforce training, grants, research, and planning.
Prior to joining SOCCCD in August 2006, she was first the Director of Institutional Assessment, Research and Planning and then the Associate Vice President for Information Technology, Research and Planning at Santa Barbara City College in Santa Barbara, California since 1999. Dr. Serban also had administrative and faculty positions at University of Redlands, Rockefeller Institute of Government, State University of New York System Administration, Institute for Educational Sciences and University of Bucharest.
Dr. Serban received a Ph.D. and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from University at Albany, State University of New York and a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from University of Bucharest. Dr. Serban is a published author, former editor of the Professional File, a publication of the international Association for Institutional Research (AIR), current associate editor of Planning for Higher Education, the journal of the Society for College and University Planning, and current executive editor of the Journal for Applied Research in the Community College. She co-edited and authored monographs and articles and is a frequent speaker at regional, state and national events on knowledge management, performance funding and reporting, assessment of student learning outcomes, enrollment management, and strategic planning.
Dr. Serban is Past President of the Research and Planning Group of California Community Colleges and the former chair of the AIR Publications Committee. Dr. Serban has participated in major statewide projects, including the development of the AB1417 accountability framework and the environmental scan for the statewide strategic planning for California Community Colleges. She is one of the authors of “Basic Skills as a Foundation for Student Success in California Community Colleges,” which has become the basis for the statewide initiative on student success and basic skills currently under way. On February 23, 2008, this seminal work was honored with the Mertes Award for Excellence in Community College Research from the Association for California Community College Administrators.
Dr. Serban is a member of the Action Planning Groups for the implementation of the basic skills and intersegmental transfer components of the Statewide Strategic Plan for California Community Colleges. Dr. Serban is also a successful grant writer. She is currently directing two $1.6 million dollar statewide projects: the Transfer Leadership Center and Articulation of Career Technical Education Pathways to Four-year Institutions.
Marshall “Mike” Smith, who has served as advisor or top deputy to several U.S. Secretaries of Education and has been a pioneer in the support and development of Open Education Resources (OER), has joined the Board of Directors of the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), effective October 1, 2010. Smith is currently a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He has served as a leading federal education official in the Carter, Clinton, and Obama administrations, including a stint as acting deputy secretary, which included managing the day-to-day affairs of the 5,000-employee U.S. Department of Education.
Smith was recently awarded the first Harvard Graduate School of Education Medal for Education Impact for making a lasting difference in the field of education and on the lives of learners across the nation and beyond. Smith also has served as the program director for education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation where he oversaw the development of OER, supported sweeping reforms in California public schools, and played a significant role in supporting efforts to strengthen the nation’s community colleges. Smith has written extensively about federal education policy and the use of technology in K-12 education and is a former dean of the Stanford University School of Education.
Laarni von Ruden is a certified public accountant with a private practice in Palo Alto, California focusing on services to nonprofit organizations, closely held businesses, and individuals. She also teaches a Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting class at the College of San Mateo in San Mateo, California. She received her Masters in Accounting from Northeastern University and a B.A. in Chinese Studies from Wellesley College.
She serves as the co-chairman of the Not for Profit and Governmental Accounting Committee of the Peninsula Silicon Valley Chapter of the CalCPA. She has also served on several boards of not for profit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.