College Unbound Central Office, Providence, Rhode Island
Dennis Littky, Co-Director (biography)
Adam is the founding Director Curriculum of College Unbound, the Co-Director of The Center for the Transformation of Higher Education, and has co-designed College Unbound’s partnership with the Ashé Cultural Arts Center (www.ashecac.org) in New Orleans to open Ashé College Unbound. Adam received his PhD in 2013 from USC’s Department of American Studies and Ethnicity for his dissertation, “Passing Notes in Class.” He is also a member of the Next Generation Engagement collective of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (www.nerche.org), and a board member of Imagining America and the national director of IA’s Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) program (www.imaginingamerica.org).
Tracy Money, Director of Communications and Program Development
Tracy started skipping class in kindergarten in order to pursue her own ideas. That practice continued through high school. Determined to change the system and connect students to their own passion for learning, she became an educator and has taught at all levels K-16. She founded a high school in Washington State that offers a highly personalized program of self-directed project-based learning. Tracy has a BA in Education, a Masters in Curriculum, principal certification, and a doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard University. She is at College Unbound to help develop, sustain and scale a program that will positively disrupt higher education. Tracy is a leader who understands what it takes to make substantive and sustainable systems-level change. A lifelong learner, Tracy stays on top of current education research as well as her own on-the-ground action research, continually testing ideas and theories to improve learning opportunities for students K – 16.
Jill Van Leesten, Recruitment Director
Jill Van Leesten is the Recruitment Director for College Unbound. Before moving back home to Providence, RI she was an Alumni Counselor for Achievement First in New Haven,CT and prior to that she lived in Atlanta, GA for twenty years. While in Atlanta she was the Program Director for Breakthrough Atlanta at the Lovett School. Before joining Breakthrough Atlanta, Jill was the Field Supervisor for Communities In Schools of Atlanta and the Program of Operations for the Performance Learning Centers with Communities In Schools of Georgia.
Jill is very active in her community and is a mentor to several high school students. She is a blog talk radio host for The International Black Summit radio network, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a member of the NAACP.
Jill graduated from Virginia State University with a B.S. degree in Public Administration and studied abroad for a year at Regent’s College of London. She earned her MSW from Clark Atlanta University, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Instructional Leadership at Argosy University.
Rachel Brian, Director of Online Systems
Allison Campfield, Special Programs Coordinator
After studying Economics and Management at Gettysburg College, Allison moved to California where she spent two years working with AmeriCorps. It was during her second year as an elementary school mentor that she developed a passion for education. Allison then spent time teaching in South Korea and Colorado before moving to Providence to study Urban Education Policy at Brown University. She joined College Unbound in August 2012 as a Special Programs Coordinator and Academic Advisor. In her free time Allison enjoys photography, running, sketching, and exploring the great outdoors.
Elaine Hackney, Director of Special Projects
Elaine first worked with Big Picture from 1995 to 2000 as part of the team that established The Met High School in Providence, RI. She was responsible for the implementation of the LTI – Learning Through Internship — which is the core component of this ground-breaking school and the essential element of Big Picture’s philosophy and mission to lead vital changes in education. She has now returned to Big Picture to support the development and expansion of College Unbound, another critical innovation — this time in post-secondary education.
In addition to her work with Big Picture, Elaine’s experience in education includes classroom teaching, teacher training, and “coaching” of high school principals and headmasters in designing and implementing whole school improvement plans. Outside of education, she has been a corporate marketing and sales manager and also started her own retail business “from scratch.” She says, “Owning a small business means learning everything from finance to marketing to personnel to inventory control and more . . . it’s an education in and of itself!”
In addition to a Bachelor’s degree in education, Elaine holds an MEd from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an MBA from Boston College.
James Monteiro, Recruitment Associate & Academic Advisor
James grew up in the Mount Hope neighborhood of Providence under the mentorship of community leader Billy Taylor. To empower community youth and honor his early mentor, James dreamed of creating The Billy Taylor House. The community program facility he envisioned would offer youth paid on-the job experience in Business Management, Barbering, and Landscaping. From organizing a peace march to lobbying state and city officials, James made his dream a reality. With transfer credits approved and prior learning experience honored, James completed his Bachelor’s Degree with College Unbound in three semesters. His degree program grew out of his need to gain skills and knowledge in Grant Writing, Community Development, Housing, Youth Studies, Economics, and Non-Profit Management. In addition to his work as founder and Director of the Billy Taylor House, James has signed on as a Recruitment Associate and Academic Advisor at College Unbound, helping others to achieve their dreams.
John Stout, College Unbound Registrar
John is Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Public Administration at Roger Williams University. He was one of the founding members when it moved from a two-year college to a four-year college and eventually to a university. Over the years John has held five deanships, chaired two academic divisions and an academic department, and was Assistant to the President under two presidents. Recently, John served for three years as the Director of the Institute for Public Policy. John is also a Senior Lecturer at Northeastern University and an adjunct instructor at Mount Wachusett Community College. He has worked as a consultant to colleges and universities and to government programs in urban affairs and public management. He holds graduate degrees in public administration from Nova Southeastern University and political science from Northeastern University, and he also studied at Boston University. He earned a BA in political science from Dickinson College.
Heather Grim, Online Systems Coordinator & Academic Advisor
Heather graduated from Bridgewater State University with a double major in Communication Studies and Psychology. Seeing an opportunity to both kick off her career and experience some serious personal growth, she joined the College Unbound team this summer as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Outside of her studies, Heather previously worked as a preschool teacher and also entertained the idea of an acting career. She never did land a gig, but had tons of fun auditioning, especially for a small role in the movie “Ted.” Had she gotten the part, she totally would have met Mark Wahlberg!
Heather loves creative writing and one of her aspirations is to publish a fiction novel. A self-proclaimed old soul, she enjoys listening to classical music (especially piano), deciphering the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and watching Vincent Price portray a villain in classic campy horror films.
Leann Heath, Recruitment Coordinator & Academic Advisor
Leann holds a BGS in Non-Profit Arts Administration and a certificate in Community Development from Roger Williams University. Her specific interests are sustainable financial models for artistic non-profits, the intersection of the arts and community development, and storytelling in its various forms. She took an alternate route through her college education, ending up in the College Unbound program. Her passion for education was reignited, and she decided to join the College Unbound team after graduation to help other adult learners earn their degrees. While not in the office, she can be found playing with performance, budgets, her camera, her two exceptionally awesome kiddos, or trying to get the cat hair off of her clothes.
Tara is the executive assistant to Dennis Littky as well as the special assistant to College Unbound. Tara received her BA in Communications from Emerson College in Boston, MA. Upon graduation she moved to Los Angeles and began working in production for MTV, FOX and The Discovery Channel. After four years on the west coast she relocated to New York City where she continued working on television shows for the Discovery Channel and Food Network. In the summer of 2007 she left New York and returned home to Providence where she found herself working for Big Picture Learning. When she isn’t busy decoding Dennis’s handwriting, she enjoys converting people into Justin Timberlake fans and running book groups for anyone who will listen to her.
College Unbound @ Southern New Hampshire University Team
Elizabeth Sheehan, Director and Academic Coordinator
Michael Reaves, Academic Coordinator