Board of Directors
Meet Our Board
Christopher Grabau, Board Chair
“As an educator, I believe one of my most important tasks is to find opportunities where technology can be used to help create inclusive, equitable, and dynamic learning experiences.”
Christopher Grabau, Ph.D., is an Instructional Developer for the Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning at Saint Louis University. With over 20 years-experience working in higher education, Grabau consults with faculty, graduate students and academic departments on instructional design elements, course design, and thoughtful uses of instructional technologies. Grabau holds an MA in Counseling and a Ph.D., in Education Foundations. His expertise and research often explores authentic uses of technology as well as humanistic teaching perspectives. Dr. Grabau has taught courses in Educational Psychology and has presented at national conferences on faculty development, course design strategies, and authentic teaching practices.
Carl Reed, Vice Chair
In addition to his work on the publishing side of Lion Forge, he runs the creative services side of the company, Lion Forge Labs, where he directs the company’s efforts at exploring new industries and markets with an eye toward understanding the technology and business needs of each project and client.
Jane Vancil, Treasurer
Jane Vancil is the founder and CEO of IncentiLock. IncentiLock is a 2018 Arch Grants recipient and was named one of the 2018 Most Innovative Companies by Small Business Monthly. Jane advises startups through her role as a mentor and entrepreneur-in-residence with ITEN, a technology incubator in St. Louis for many years. Prior to founding IncentiLock, Jane spent 20 years in senior management with Fortune 500 companies, consulting firms, and startups. Her experience includes finance, corporate tax, mergers and acquisitions, and IT implementations.
Jane received her business degree from Fontbonne College (now University) in St. Louis. Speaks regularly on topics related to business tax credits and incentives, technology, and startups.
“Innovation in elementary education helps to foster and grow the next generation of innovators and creators. That’s why it’s critically important that we as a community ensure the educational and technological gaps are removed, and all students can flourish and thrive equitably.”
Sherita Haigler serves as the Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at United Way of Greater St. Louis, where the mission is to: “Help People Live Their Best Possible Lives.” Sherita’s primary responsibility is to lead the internal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts and ensure they align with the strategic plan of the organization. Sherita works in partnership with leadership and Human Resources to create an inclusive organizational environment where employees, volunteers, and investors of all genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, and orientations feel welcome and can flourish and contribute to United Way’s mission. Before joining UWGSL, Sherita served as the Director of STEMSTL, a non-profit STEM Learning Ecosystem that aims to ensure that all St. Louis area learners have equitable access to high-quality STEM learning and career opportunities.
Sherita also works as a facilitator for Diversity Awareness Partnership in its Give Respect Get Respect Program. Sherita holds a Masters and Bachelors of Business Administration from Fontbonne University, where she was an adjunct faculty member for the Options Program for many years. She has a vast amount of experience in Client Services, Account and Client Relationship Management, and Program/Project Management in the Telecommunications and Health Care industries. Sherita is a native of St. Louis.
“Math was the proverbial ‘great equalizer’ for all students of the 20th century. ‘Technology’ is the great equalizer of the 21st. And “equalizing” must guarantee equitable access for all children to state-of-the-art resources, innovative educators, and filling opportunity gaps of all students. Anything less is unjust. Consequently, more than ever, we must leverage systemic change to unleash innovation, creativity, and technology in combination with what we know about learning, pedagogy, and leading in our schools.”
Dr. Hochman is a career learner and educator and knows the power of teaching. Since elementary school, he had teachers who modeled innovative teaching, utilized experiential learning, and addressed the events and issues of the day; and they inspired him. During his first year teaching, Dr. Hochman’s 8th grade students built a geodesic dome in the classroom and met Buckminster Fuller! That was just the start of implementing and supporting innovative and technology endeavors.
Dr. Hochman is a former public school teacher, principal, and district administrator. He served as Superintendent of Schools in three school districts and most recently as a network superintendent in St. Louis.
Throughout his career, Dr. Hochman has been active in state and national associations including the National Middle School Association, the American Association of School Administrators, and the Minority Student Achievement Network. Currently he contributes to the work of advocacy groups in educational policy and practice.
“I view the importance of educational innovation through two lenses. First, the rapid rate of global change dictates that educational institutions must evolve to remain relevant to their customers. Secondly, educational innovation can serve as a critical means to help schools create equitable opportunities for all children, especially those residing in under-resourced and under-represented communities.”
Bill Kent Jr., President and CEO, has led Youth Learning Center (YLC) since its inception. Recognizing that so many of the boys he grew up with did not have the family support he enjoyed and that many of those boys ended up in prison, Mr. Kent was moved to leave his business career and dedicate his professional life to improving academic and life outcomes of youth from under-resourced backgrounds. He applied his background in business management to directing the original YLC building project in 2010 and the 2015 renovation. He has also overseen the development of programming from an all-volunteer organization to the current organization providing STEAM education through outreach programs and eventually the founding of The Biome School in 2015. The Biome School is a new kind of K-8 school for the next generation – one that offers customized, project based and student-centered learning opportunities with an emphasis on growth mindset and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) education. The Biome charter school creates a balanced learning ecosystem in which teachers work together with students to cultivate a growth mindset as they discover their unique gifts, talents and interests. Mr. Kent earned his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Lindenwood University and joined Youth Learning Center after serving as a manager and career insurance underwriter with Reliable Insurance Company for 13 years.
Dr. Grace Lee (she/her) is the Dean of Faculty at Mary Institute St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS), an independent school in St. Louis, Missouri. She is also the director of the Equity and Justice Academy in Character Education for Character Plus. Previously, she served as a school social worker, ELA teacher, assistant principal and principal in the Jennings, Parkway, Webster Groves and University City School Districts. In every aspect of school leadership, Dr. Lee brings her social work lens to her role as an educator. She works to create systems to ensure equity and access. The core of her beliefs centers on elevating student and teacher voices to leverage leadership to shift the educational landscape for change. Her work focuses on moving away from incentive based and punitive consequences that only perpetuate the school to prison pipeline but truly engage children as active, equal partners in upholding a school community that fosters a sense of belonging, purpose and recognition of self-worth.
Dr. Lee has presented across the region and country at various conferences around character education, restorative practices and racial equity. She has shared the outcome of her work and what a school looks like when students and teachers feel seen, heard and loved. She continues to reimagine school for children in her current educational home, empowering and supporting students and teachers. She hopes that everyone understands their worth and encourages people to walk unapologetically in their purpose.
“Finding new ways to use technology is part of what makes us human, but it doesn’t happen all on its own. Educators and children need support to ensure they have the creative space to be curious and discover how technology can facilitate learning that prepares us all for what’s next.”
Adam Scimone has been working in education since 2010. He began his work as a naturalist, focused on creating emotional connections with natural resources and later transitioned to science education in a classroom. Most recently he ran a middle school gifted program where he differentiated for the needs of unique learners that require more than a one-size-fits-all approach. He is a former Kirkwood School District Teacher of the Year, a Missouri Regional Teacher of the Year, and a recipient of the Emerson Excellence in Education Award among others accolades. Adam has a BS in biology and chemistry from the University of Illinois and an M.Ed. in Science Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri. He is passionate about empowering children and nurturing curiosity.