NAPE Staff

Ben Williams, PhD, Chief Executive Officer

Ben Williams, PhD is the Chief Executive Officer for the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE).

He oversees all program development and implementation, including professional development/learning, research and evaluation, and technical assistance. He is also principal investigator (PI) for two NSF-funded projects, which facilitate the training and technical assistance of state and local educators and leaders in implementing research- and evidence-based strategies to increase the participation, persistence, and program completion of under-represented students, based on gender, race and ethnicity, and special populations, in CTE and STEM nontraditional career preparation classrooms and programs. Prior to joining NAPE, Dr. Williams spent 12 years at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio, where he coordinated the Secondary Career-Technical Recruitment Process, worked as an academic advising administrator, and oversaw the Carl D. Perkins Grant.

Dr. Williams is a national expert on Equity in CTE, and a Mentor Instructor in NAPE’s two Comprehensive Educational Equity Programs:  The Program Improvement Process for Equity (PIPE™) and Micromessaging to Reach and Teach Every Student™ (Micromessaging). In 2015, he co-authored the NAPE Explore Nontraditional Careers toolkit, which provides tools and activities for educators and counselors to more effectively recruit and retain students in nontraditional career preparation programs.  Dr. Williams began his work with NAPE as a volunteer leader with the NSF-funded STEM Equity Pipeline Project in 2009; he later became a consultant with NAPE and was instrumental in the development and implementation of the latest iteration of PIPE, and he came on board full-time with NAPE in 2015. He is deeply passionate about our work and excited to work with the NAPE membership and colleagues throughout the country dedicated and committed to increasing student access, educational equity, and ultimately workforce diversity.

Dr. Williams earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Philosophy from Wheaton College, Massachusetts; his Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration and Higher Education and his Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership, from The Ohio State University.

Daphne Berwanger, Director of Finance and Administration

Caryl Clippinger

Caryl Clippinger, Technology and Design Manager

As NAPE’s Technology and Design Manager, Caryl develops innovative technological infrastructure solutions and captivating designs to allow NAPE to scale its educational equity programs.

She comes to NAPE with over 25 years of professional experience providing solutions across multiple mediums for companies and organizations of all shapes and sizes.  She has managed, directed, designed and developed projects ranging from website, database, interactive cd/dvd, video, and print projects to complete corporate branding, marketing, and advertising campaigns.

Caryl holds an MA in Communications, with a focus on new media and computer/human interaction, from The Pennsylvania State University and a BA in International Studies from Dickinson College.

Ashley Conrad, Associate Director of Programs

Ashley Conrad is a thoughtful community organizer, facilitator, and researcher committed to a lifetime of working alongside our most vulnerable populations to create a more just world through collective action and policy change. Ashley has a strong history of creating supportive learning communities by facilitating courageous spaces for groups to self-author the changes they want to see in their communities by integrating participatory action research with creative
engagement strategies. 

Ashley graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree in both Sociology and Psychology and completed her Master of Science degree from Illinois State University in Sociology with a focus on Community and Economic Development. She is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, spending more than two years in the Philippines teaching out-of-school youth and conducting autoethnographic research following Typhoon Haiyan. Ashley focuses her passion on community organizing efforts that address root-cause issues with a cross-sectoral approach to understanding how we can all participate in creating a more equitable future. She currently lives in Chattanooga, TN with her cat and partner and enjoys reading, spending time in nature, and baking delicious treats for friends and family.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Senior Program Manager

Kathleen Fitzpatrick is a Senior Program Manager. In this role, she assists a national team of equity professionals that build educators’ capacity to implement effective solutions for increasing student access, educational equity, and workforce diversity.

Her passion has always been in promoting the STEM message for the next generation. In addition to her role at NAPE, Kathleen leads the Southern Colorado Girls’ STEM Initiative (SCGSI), a regional organization that supports more than 500 middle school girls in exploring careers in STEM.  Kathleen has conducted extensive research and is a sought-after speaker on the topic of girls in STEM, including gender equity in the classroom. She sits on the leadership board for the statewide Colorado Collaborative for Girls in STEM (CoCoSTEM) as well as other statewide and local STEM initiatives. Kathleen joined the Center for STEM Education (CSTEME) at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) as Programs Manager in 2009, directing the programs that supported the longitudinal research on what attracts and retains students in STEM. She also is instructor on Entrepreneurship for the Bachelor of Innovation TM program at UCCS.

Prior to joining academia, Kathleen worked in industry as an engineering consultant and as the process engineering manager for Hewlett Packard’s Colorado Springs site, being the first woman engineer on the production floor. She was part of the first class of women at Claremont McKenna (Men’s) College graduating with a BA in management engineering. She also received a BS and MS in industrial engineering from Stanford University.

Nicole Fritz, Administrative Associate

Nicole Fritz is the Administrative Associate at NAPE’s home office in Gap, PA. In her role, she demonstrates her ability to maintain the workflow of the office by ensuring that all systems are in place and running appropriately. She also assists our talented team of professionals in supporting NAPE’s mission.

Prior to joining NAPE in 2018, Nicole was an elementary education/early childhood teacher for 10 years. She began her teaching career in kindergarten where she enjoyed cultivating a love of learning in her students.

Nicole holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. Adm

Gregory Jackson, Associate Director for Membership and Partnerships

Gregory Jackson is Associate Director for Membership and Partnerships.

His passion is sustainable community building, through partnerships and collaborations.

With Girl Scouts of the USA, a 3.2 million member organization, Jackson designed and managed important national relationships. His work emphasized membership growth, engagement of underserved communities, and STEM turnkey program opportunities. At the American Red Cross, Jackson managed blood donor engagement for Greater New York and served during the 9/11 long term recovery—building corporate, community, and government collaborations to reach and serve victims, and supporting the distribution of the $1.3 billion dollar September 11 Recovery Program Fund.

Gregory began his career as Director of Community Building at the United Way of Essex and West Hudson, resulting in more than $100 million dollars of investment.

Gregory has a BA in history from Lafayette College and was member of the first joint MPP/Peace Corps program at Rutgers University.

Janay McClarin, Engagement Manager

Janay McClarin is the NAPE Engagement Manager and has spent the past 20 years passionately working in the fields of service, education and youth development.

She began her career as a Law Enforcement Officer in Jacksonville, Arkansas serving as a Community Resource Officer and later as a Corporal for the State Capitol Police. Janay relocated to Washington State where she was Dean of Students for the Kent School District and was the staff trainer for classroom management. She transitioned to the non-profit sector as the Director of Impact for City Year in Seattle and oversaw the implementation of programs focusing on service learning, student achievement and increasing graduation rates.

Prior to joining NAPE, Janay served as Program Director for Girl Scouts in Central Florida where she expanded community partnerships with an emphasis on STEM opportunities. There she launched programs such as Not Your Mother’s Career Fair and Earn Your Lab Coat as platforms to encourage girls to think outside the box and pursue nontraditional career paths.

Janay holds a BA in Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where she served as a mentor for nontraditional students. She also received a BA and a MBA from Columbia College.

Ayana M. Patterson Young, Program Assistant

With over 20 years of experience in administrative & project management in the nonprofit, for profit and education sector, Ayana skillfully manages projects and client relations for the Program Managers at NAPE.

Ayana is the owner & founder of Ayana M. Patterson Consulting Services. Prior to joining NAPE in 2018, she served as Director of Administration for Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore as well as Sr. Administrative Coordinator for Johns Hopkins University.

Ayana believes that access and opportunity should be granted to all and understands the various systems and structures in place that prevent it.  She also believes wholeheartedly in the Muhammad Ali quote that “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth“, and strives to be in service in whatever capacity she can.

When not working and traveling Ayana loves spending time with family and friends.

Tegwin Pulley, Texas Director

Tegwin Pulley is a woman on a mission to create environments where inspiration, opportunity, and achievement are available for all. She retired from Texas Instruments (TI) where she was Vice President. Her leadership track record inside and outside the company resulted in: TI becoming one of the best companies to work for; over 180 awards to TI for diversity, work-life and inclusive environment; and 7 public/private partnerships designed to grow the technology workforce.

She is a past chair of the Texas Engineering and Technical Consortium, Leadership Texas, the DFW Regional Workforce Leadership Council, and the Texas Business and Education Coalition. She has a BS in Education (math) from Northwest Missouri and an MBA from SMU.

Lisa Ransom, Senior Policy Advisor

Lisa R. Ransom is the former Vice President of Federal Affairs and Senior Legislative Associate for State Affairs for the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). A coalition leader, she worked directly with consumer and civil rights groups and labor unions on the landmark Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Obama. Lisa is also chair and CEO of the Augustus F. Hawkins Foundation. As well, she serves as an appointed member of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships.

Prior to joining CRL, Lisa served as the Senior Director of State Action Networks for the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA); she is the second non-elected Fellow of the Arthur S. Flemming Leadership Institute for State Legislators. As External Relations Manager for the National Congress for Community Economic Development (NCCED), Lisa served as the liaison to the White House Initiative for Empowerment Zones/Enterprise Communities Champion Communities. As part of NCCED’s 30th anniversary celebration, Lisa produced and directed a federally funded documentary on the 30-year history of community economic development in America narrated by famed actor/producer/director Bill Duke. Lisa is a former congressional staff member, for Congressman and House Education and Labor Chairman Augustus F. Hawkins, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Congressman John W. Olver.

Elected in 1994 to an at-large position with the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, Lisa was the first African American woman to hold a party affiliated elected office in Montgomery County, Maryland. Locally, she serves on the Bowie Economic Development Committee. Lisa was also a primary candidate for the 2016 U.S. House of Representative 4th congressional district and the 2010 Maryland House of Delegates, District 23A.

Lisa attended the Howard University and University of Maryland University College. Her affiliations include National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); National Council of Negro Women; Continental Societies, Inc. (Prince Georges County Chapter); Charter member, Mount Rose (MD) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated; Washington Government Relations Group; Order of the Eastern Star-PHA; American Association of University Women; Association of Career and Technical Education; National Association of State Directors for Career and Technical Education.

Ricardo Romanillos, Director of Professional Learning

Ricardo Romanillos, EdD, Senior Director of Programs

Ricardo Romanillos, Ed.D. is passionate about building structures and pathways that empower underserved communities. He has 14 years of experience in public education, including work as a Science Curriculum Director leading curriculum development and professional learning. The commitment to empowering underrepresented students is reflected in his professional work as the Director of Professional Learning with the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, and in his volunteer work with local Dallas, TX organizations.

Ricardo brings many lenses and identities to his work, including husband, father of a medically-dependent child, second generation Latino, and scholar. He earned his Doctorate in Education from Johns Hopkins University, focusing on improving teachers’ sense of self-efficacy to engage minority students in the sciences. He graduated with honors from Southwestern University with a BA in Chemistry and a minor in Biology, and earned a Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from UT Arlington.

NAPE Consultants

NAPE consultants, located throughout the country, assist in delivering NAPE’s suite of professional development services.