The judging panel includes experts in competency-based education, technology education, distance learning, rural education, community engagement, education program design, and workforce development. Judges will score submissions according to the official selection criteria.

Cheryl Carrier

Cheryl Carrier

Executive Director
Ford Next Generation Learning

Cheryl Carrier is the Executive Director of Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL), the signature education program of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. She leads the team responsible for developing and managing the innovative Ford NGL program, which is designed to engage educators, employers, and community leaders in the common goal of preparing today’s high school students for the careers of tomorrow. Cheryl joined Ford in 1978 and has held positions in Engineering, Finance, Business Strategy, and Investor Relations. Cheryl assisted Ford Executive Chairman William Clay Ford, Jr., for many years, including a special assignment with the Detroit Lions, as the Human Resource Director, where she was responsible for developing human resource policy.  Cheryl retired from Ford on December 31, 2013 and has continued as the Executive Director of Ford NGL, working closely with Ford Motor Company Fund.

Bruce Friend, M.Ed.

Bruce Friend, M.Ed.

Head of School
Pine Springs Preparatory Academy

With more than 25 years of K-12 education experience as a teacher, as an administrator, and in many leadership roles, Bruce Friend is recognized as one of the pioneers in developing innovative K-12 school models. Mr. Friend developed online and blended programs around the country, many with an emphasis on expanding learning opportunities for rural students. Mr. Friend is currently the Head of School at Pine Springs Preparatory Academy in North Carolina. Prior to that, he served as the Chief Operating Officer at the Aurora Institute. 

Cheryl Lambert, M.S., Ed.D.

Cheryl Lambert, M.S., Ed.D.

Assistant Professor
Eriksson College of Education, Austin Peay State University

Dr. Cheryl Lambert is a current member of the faculty at Austin Peay State University. Dr. Lambert teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Eriksson College of Education, Department of Teaching Learning. She serves as the Coordinator for the Center for Rural Education within the College of Education at APSU. Dr. Lambert also coordinates the Master of Arts in Teaching graduate program. Her experience in teaching for the past 15 years includes school district positions in Tennessee at the K-12 and administrative levels, as well as post-secondary education. Dr. Lambert’s research interests include supporting pre-service teachers, focusing on the challenges of rural educators, and building university-school partnerships.

Joel Mangan

Joel Mangan

Executive Director
P-TECH Network, IBM

Joel Mangan is the Executive Director of the P-TECH Network at IBM. He has grown the P-TECH model from seven countries to 24 countries that have integrated P-TECH into their education systems, with 100,000 students coming through the program. Mr. Mangan was previously the Global Health Initiatives Leader at the IBM Foundation. He led work with the American Cancer Society that culminated in access pricing agreements that reduced the price of cancer therapies for 20 low-income countries by half. His work consisted of bringing new technology and building new partnerships to tackle health disparities in the emerging health system. As a Senior Managing Consultant in IBM’s consulting services business, Mr. Mangan led many large-scale commercial transformation projects in supply chain, healthcare, and asset management for major industrial companies, working in Europe, Africa, and the United States.

Stacey McCullough, M.A., Ph.D.

Stacey McCullough, M.A., Ph.D.

Director for Community, Professional & Economic Development
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service

Dr. Stacey McCullough is the Director for Community, Professional & Economic Development with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. She oversees programs in leadership, local government, strategic planning and action, economic development, community and regional capacity building, workforce development, program planning and evaluation, and digital learning. She also serves as Director of the Public Policy Center, which provides Arkansans with timely, credible, and unbiased information and education about public issues, including state and local ballot issues. Nationally, she has served on the Joint Council of Extension Professionals Board of Directors and is a past President and Southern Region Representative of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals.

Kim Phinney

Kim Phinney

Senior Fellow
Center for Rural Strategies

Kim Phinney is a Senior Fellow with the Center for Rural Strategies, where she is designing a national rural and Native youth initiative. Previously, Ms. Phinney served as the Vice President of Program Design for YouthBuild USA, where she helped craft the strategy for YouthBuild USA’s overall vision and mission for scale and sustainability, managed a $13 million annual portfolio of federal and private funders, built cross-sector national partnerships, and crafted a range of technical assistance and professional development strategies across 262 urban and rural programs. In addition, she piloted several national initiatives, including strategies for building foundational readiness skills through a trauma-informed and Universal Design for Learning lens. She also led opportunity youth career pathway projects in manufacturing, IT, customer service, and natural resources, and she designed an education and career pathway framework for rural and Native youth.

Darryl N. Williams, Ph.D.

Darryl N. Williams, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President of Science and Education
The Franklin Institute

Dr. Darryl N. Williams is the Franklin Institute’s Senior Vice President of Science and Education. He oversees all aspects of the science and education programming at the heart of the Institute’s efforts to inspire a passion for science and technology learning. Dr. Williams joined the Institute from Tufts University’s School of Engineering, where he was Dean of Undergraduate Education and Director of Tufts Center for STEM Diversity, supporting the transformation of the undergraduate curriculum. Prior to Tufts, Dr. Williams spent four years with the National Science Foundation as a rotating program director; he managed a range of federal programs and research focused on STEM teaching and learning, formal and informal learning environments, and workforce development. Since 2016, Dr. Williams has served as a member of the Sloan Foundation’s Sloan Scholars Mentoring Network advisory board, and in 2018, was appointed to serve on the NASA Advisory Council’s STEM Engagement Committee.