At People to People Ambassador Programs, we're in a position to inform students about their world in ways that will likely stay with them the rest of their lives. We take this responsibility very seriously as we develop engaging and up-to-date curriculum and seek out the most immersive and impactful experiences to cement students' global education.
To crown these efforts, we've assembled a board of national leaders in all areas of education, who draw on their own wide knowledge and global connections to enhance the educational content of each Ambassador's travel. Their assessments and guidance won't just provide each student with a personal academic advantage personally—they'll also help prepare students across the country to be competitive in a global society.
Diane Barrett joined USA TODAY in 1984, introducing teachers to USA TODAY (her previous experience included teaching social studies and career education in New York and Pennsylvania public schools). She moved to USA TODAY Education as its director in November 2000, where she has worked to expand USA TODAY's education initiatives creating a seamless kindergarten-to-college program.
USA TODAY Education's resources and programs are currently in use in more than 25,000 K-12 classes across the country, as well as 400 college campuses. Educators rely on USA TODAY for its unique format, credible non-fiction text, and topics that are relevant and motivating to students.
Executive Director, National Association for Secondary School Principals
JoAnn D. Bartoletti is executive director of NASSP, a 25,000-member professional organization for principals, assistant principals, and aspiring leaders in middle level and high schools.
Prior to assuming leadership of NASSP in 2011, Bartoletti was the executive director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) for 20 years, during which time she revolutionized the product, service, and professional development offerings for the organization’s 7,400 member administrators and raised the profile of New Jersey administrators in public policy circles. During her tenure, Bartoletti partnered with the state department of education on a nontraditional principal certification program that greatly expanded the pool of competent school leaders by enabling professionals with advanced degrees in areas other than education to become principals.
Prior to her tenure at NJPSA, Bartoletti spent 15 years as assistant principal and principal at West Windsor-Plainsboro (NJ) High School, which was ranked as one of the top 10 schools in New Jersey in 1989. Bartoletti has served on many educational boards over the years, including the 21st Century Skills Advisory Committee and NASSP's Board of Directors.
Bartoletti received a B.A. and M.Ed. from the College of New Jersey and holds a number of certifications in education administration.
Executive Director, Emeritus, National School Boards Association
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) represents state associations of school boards and their 13,809 member districts across the United States. NSBA's mission is to work with and through state school boards associations to advocate for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA represents the school board perspective in working with federal government agencies and national organizations that impact education, and provides vital information and services to its member state associations.
Bryant is an experienced association executive who has researched and written extensively on K-12 education, volunteer-staff leadership issues, and the role of the federal government in education. Bryant serves as a spokesperson for NSBA to Congress, the news media, and national organizations. She continuously seeks to forge new partnerships to guarantee every child an equal opportunity for a high quality education.
Bryant also is on the steering committee for the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, a coalition of more than 40 advocates, educators, practitioners, officials, and organizations dedicated to promoting civic learning in America's schools, and serves on the board of directors of the Foundation for Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Inc. and the Character Education Partnership.
Executive Director, National Association of Elementary School Principals
President, NAESP Foundation
Gail Connelly is Executive Director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and President of the NAESP Foundation. She has served the Association in senior leadership roles for more than two decades. Located in Alexandria, Virginia, NAESP serves 25,000 Pre-K-8 principals and 35 million students in the United States of America and other affiliates worldwide.
During Connelly's 25-year tenure as a member of NAESP's executive team, the Association more than doubled in size to become the largest and most well-respected advocacy organization dedicated solely to serving elementary and middle level school leaders in their commitment to all children. Connelly led the development of NAESP's National Distinguished Principals Program, the National Principals Resource Center, the NAESP Web site, the e-Knowledge Portal for Principals, and the Peer Assisted Leadership Services, a mentoring program for principals. She recently orchestrated the development of two major publications: Vision 2021: Transformations in Leading, Learning and Community, and Leading Learning Communities: What Principals Should Know and Be Able To Do and created a Strategic Framework to guide operational efforts aligned with Vision Goals established by the NAESP Board of Directors.
NAESP has long been a leader in setting standards for high-quality early learning with its Leading Early Childhood Learning Communities. Historically, NAESP produced early learning resources for parents – Little Beginnings – and for grandparents – Little Things Make a Big Difference. Most recently, plans involve establishing a "blue ribbon" task force on early learning through the NAESP Foundation to inform policy recommendations and resource development to enhance seamlessly aligned learning experiences for all children from preschool through grade three.
Believing passionately in the power of education to expand human potential, transform lives, and shape new visions for leading and learning in a globally complex world is what drives Connelly. Grounded in her earliest years as an English teacher, Connelly's career has encompassed all levels of organizational leadership, development, and management for educational nonprofits including a Presidential Advisory Council on Innovations in Education, the American Council on Education, and the Florida Mental Health Association. She has served as a strategic planning, management, and fundraising consultant for several national and state organizations, including the National PTA.
Connelly was awarded the NAESP Honorary National Distinguished Principals Award in 2008 and recently received the NAESP Outstanding Service Award for 25 years of dedicated service to principals and children.
B.A., University of South Florida
MBA, American University
The George Washington University -
Executive Leadership Doctoral Program
DECA, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit student organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe with members in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Canada, China, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. DECA reaches more than 200,000 high school and college members each year.
Dr. Davis was a DECA member in high school. He has served DECA in roles of increasing responsibility including chapter advisor, state advisor, and associate executive director. He was named executive director in 1992.
Davis has worked with over 100 companies, associations, and foundations to create innovative partnerships in areas such as youth entrepreneurship, financial literacy, employment, and college readiness. He serves on the boards of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Johnson and Wales University, and the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations.
Daniel A. Domenech has served as executive director of the American Association of School Administrators since July 2008. AASA is the professional organization for more than 16,000 educational leaders across North America. Its primary responsibilities include improving the condition of children and youth, preparing schools and school systems for the 21st century, connecting schools and communities, and enhancing the quality and effectiveness of school leaders.
Domenech has more than 40 years of experience in public education, 27 of those years as a school superintendent. He has also served as a senior vice president at McGraw Hill Education, president and cofounder of the New York State Association for Bilingual Education, and a member of the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment Governing Board.
Humanitarian Ambassador, People to People Ambassador Programs
President, People to People International
Eisenhower, the granddaughter of People to People founder and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, joined People to People Ambassador Programs in 2013 as its Humanitarian Ambassador. In this role, she helps to ensure that service opportunities for Student Ambassadors offer both deep learning to participants and maximum benefit to the local community.
While serving as president and CEO of People to People International (Ambassador Programs’ partner organization for 50 years), Eisenhower championed the causes of the world’s children, including disaster relief, educational initiatives, and landmine removal. Through People to People International, she also oversaw chapters numbering more than 80,000 members in 135 countries devoted to promoting peace through understanding, as well as numerous peace camps and forums bringing together young leaders from around the world.
Eisenhower has been recognized with a Knight of Peace Award from the International University in Assisi, Italy, the Medal of Honor from the Slovak Republic, and the title of Friendship Ambassador to China, as well as honorary doctorates from three universities.
Executive Director, National PTA
Eric R. Hargis is the executive director of National PTA, the largest volunteer child advocacy association in the nation. PTA reminds our country of its obligations to children and provides parents and families with a powerful voice to speak on behalf of children while providing the best tools for parents to help their children be successful students. Working in cooperation with many national education, health, safety, and child advocacy groups and federal agencies, National PTA collaborates on projects that benefit children and that bring valuable resources to its members.
Hargis also has more than 30 years of non-profit experience, including high-level positions at the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the American Diabetes Association and the Arthritis Foundation. Most recently, he was president and chief executive officer of the Epilepsy Foundation of America for more than 10 years.
Hurley is a 35-year veteran of the education industry, having served in top executive positions in both publishing and technology companies. She has been at the forefront in leading the charge for students' global preparedness as chairman of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21). She also sits on the boards of three top education associations dedicated to the use of technology in education: the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), and the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET).
Her work with the philanthropic arm of Pearson, the Foundation, has taken Hurley around the world, exploring and inspiring new and innovative ways to help children learn. In 2001, Hurley was named to receive the CoSN's first ever Outstanding Private Sector Achievement Award and in 2003, she was inducted into the Association of Educational Publishers Hall of Fame for her achievements and service to the education publishing industry.
Dr. Darla F. Strouse
Executive Director: Partnerships, Development and Recognition Office;
Maryland State Department of Education
At the Office of Partnerships, Grants, and Resource Development at the Maryland State Department of Education, Dr. Strouse develops state and regional corporate, community, and government partnerships to support education in Maryland. She also developed and directs major education recognition programs such as the Maryland Teacher of the Year Program, The Blue Ribbon Schools Program, and The Milken National Educator Awards. She created Maryland's first statewide workplace literacy program for AFL-CIO members and the nationally known Phoenix Project, which donated thousands of free computers to Maryland schools and community organizations.
She has received numerous state and national honors including twice being named by Warfield's Daily Record as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women as well as Innovator of the Year. She currently serves on the Board of Maryland Life Magazine, the Advisory Board of Johns Hopkins University's Center for Technology in Education, and the Board of the Center for Character Education at Stevenson University.
Senior Director of Educational Programs and Senior Director of Research, Development, and Sponsored Programs at the National FFA Organization
Since 2006, Dr. Waidelich has held posts as Senior Director of Educational Programs and Senior Director of Research, Development, and Sponsored Programs at the National FFA Organization, an educational organization with a membership of more than 500,000 students (ages 12–21) across more than 7,500 schools. He comes to NMSA with 29 years of educational experience, including 6 years as a former Ohio high school teacher, 2 years as Virginia Department of Education FFA organization specialist in the Adolescent Education Division, 14 years at The Ohio State University as Director of Curriculum Material Services and adjunct assistant professor for 11 of those years, 1 year as educational consultant, and 1 year as university researcher. While he taught school, he served as the education association's president and, later, as a parent, was a school board member and legislative liaison to the state legislature. Whether in Indiana, Ohio, or Virginia, Dr. Waidelich has been an active advocate for educational development activities for schoolchildren and professional development for teachers. Dr. Waidelich is excited to return from Indianapolis, where the National FFA Organization headquarters are located, to his Ohio roots where he completed his early education. He holds master's and bachelor's degrees from The Ohio State University and a Doctor of Education degree from Virginia Tech. A lifelong learner, he is currently completing the requirements for certification from the American Society of Association Executives. Over his career, Dr. Waidelich has repeatedly demonstrated effective leadership. One of Dr. Waidelich's colleagues, when asked about his administrative style, summarized, "Will listens first, is a deep thinker and a visionary who leads with quiet strength." Additionally, his portfolio reflects strengths in these areas:
"Thriving now and in the future requires the ability to apply sophisticated skills in a demanding and evolving global culture. Global connections that provide varied perspectives, insights, and contacts will help students become successful and responsible global citizens."
Described as an innovative and collaborative educational administrator by peers and supervisors, Dr. Waidelich is also an internationally recognized leader, teacher, and program developer. While teaching, he was one of 20 teachers selected nationally to the Christa McAuliffe Institute for Educational Pioneering, which included attending a three-week institute on instructional technologies at Stanford University. Since then, he has been conferred the Ohio Agricultural Educators' Person of the Year Award (twice) and also was twice bestowed the Award of Achievement by the Ohio School Boards Association. Over the last 11 years he has given more than 70 national, state, and local presentations; earned $3.5 million in grant funding; conducted 11 research studies; served on more than 75 professional committees; and published 8 journal/magazine articles and newsletters. A self-described family man, Dr. Waidelich somehow finds time to balance family with being an association executive, small business owner, small farm owner, and member of numerous associations and fraternal organizations.