Advisory Board


Brooksie Ann Broome

Dr. Precious Guramatunhu-Mudiwa

WIELS Executive Director

Dr. Precious Guramatunhu-Mudiwa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies at Appalachian State University and the Director of the Women in Educational Leadership Symposium (WIELS). Her mission is to advance women’s leadership potential with the hope of reducing the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions. Dr. Guramatunhu-Mudiwa states:

"Born and raised in Zimbabwe, a developing country, and now living and working in a developed one, I still see underrepresentation of women in leadership positions as a common problem that continues to be pervasive.  As an educator, I believe learning empowers people; and, therefore, creating learning platforms and opportunities is important to advance women’s leadership potential.  Such forums not only prepare women to assume and exercise leadership, but increase the pool that potentially addresses the underrepresentation. I passionately believe that communities and society benefit when women have access to resources that enable them to participate meaningfully in the corridors of power. Nations that do not invest in women’s education diminish economic growth and prosperity. I do not have all the answers; however, I believe in a community of women who can learn and grow together through sharing knowledge, skills, career experiences and stories."

Wendy Kuhn

Dr. Roma Angel

WIELS Associate Executive Director

Roma Angel is Professor of Leadership and Educational Studies at Appalachian State University.  Her educational experience includes more than 20 years serving in a variety of leadership positions at the university and in small private colleges, including positions as assistant dean, director of graduate leadership and educational administration programs, director of undergraduate teacher education programs, director of faculty professional development, and assistant director of a innovative general studies program.  In addition she has taught more than 30 years in higher education at the graduate and undergraduate levels.  Her experience also includes public school teaching and administration at Pre-K through 12th grade levels. Dr. Angel’s primary research focus is on organizational structures and systems that support equitable opportunity for advancement and learning and the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings promoting sustainability of such organizations. Her current research includes qualitative studies of women in leadership positions, higher education mentoring, higher education international programs, and collaboratively led early college high school programs.

Brooksie Ann BroomeBrooksie Ann Broome

Brooksie Ann Broome is a native of Walnut Cove, NC who currently serves as the Equity Coach for Turnaround Schools for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of Guilford County Schools. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Middle Grades Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2000. She also has a Master’s in School Administration (2006) and a Specialist of Education certificate (2009) from Appalachian State University, where she is currently completing her doctoral studies. In addition, she has a Nonprofit Management Certificate (2010) from UNC Greensboro. Ms. Broome began her career in education in 2000 as a seventh grade English and history teacher at Southeastern Stokes Middle and then at Reidsville Middle. During her teaching tenure, she co-founded the “Mentoring in the Middle” after school program, and she was recognized as one of five finalists for the Rockingham County Teacher of the Year in 2006-2007. After teaching seven years, she was promoted to serve as the Literacy Coach at Reidsville High School before transitioning to Guilford County where she served as the Curriculum Facilitator at Jackson Middle School.  

Wendy Kuhn

Dr. Jewel Cherry

Jewel started her career in higher education as an admissions counselor and part time faculty member in business administration.  Over her twenty year tenure in community college and higher education she progressed from her faculty position into various leadership positions – including, department coordinator, Title III grant director, and dean of enrollment management. She currently serves as Vice President of the Student Services Division and Interim Vice President for Instruction and Chief Academic Officer at Forsyth Technical Community College, Winston Salem, NC. 

Jewel earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and MBA Degree, both from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC.  While working at Forsyth Tech she earned an Education Specialist degree in Higher Education Administration and a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

In addition to her professional career, Jewel is an active member of her church and community serving on numerous boards and committees.  Jewel has three adult children and currently resides with her husband in Clemmons, NC.

Brooksie Ann BroomeDr. Miriam Chitiga

Dr. Miriam Chitiga is an interdisciplinary, global researcher, educator, and leader, whose work is centered on investigating issues relating to transformative leadership, education, social justice and empowerment.  She simultaneously directed the doctoral and master’s programs during while executing her departmental leadership role at Fayetteville State university, a Constituent of the University of North Carolina.  She is interested in developing models of leadership that advance democratic, transformational, empowering and enriching experiences for all involved.  She is curious to discover more effective ways of utilizing women’s ways of knowing, leading, sharing, advocating, and leading within the leadership arena.  Her PhD. is in Educational Leadership and Policies, with specialization in Higher Education and cognates in Gender Studies, Qualitative Research Methods, and Applied Linguistics.  Her research and grant writing activities include work on Civics, Diversity and Social Justice, Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality, and National Origin; Critical Pedagogy.  Some of her major projects also include Civic Engagement, International Studies, HIV/AIDS and Minorities, Healthy Relationship Development and Freshmen Studies.  Her international and interdisciplinary work in civic engagement, leadership, and empowerment encompasses a variety of her most treasured activities and has earned her highly competitive institutional grants and prestigious fellowships.  Having led the department and its graduate programs from 2012 – 2015, she currently serves as a tenured, full-time associate professor, teaching a variety of courses in Educational Leadership.  Wherever there is leadership and social justice work to be done, Miriam welcomes conversations, collaborations, and ideas from colleagues and can be reached at:

Margaret Sithole


Dr. Margaret Sithole

Margaret Sithole is an Assistant Professor of Business Management at SUNY Empire State College in New York State.  Her educational experience includes more than 30 years serving in a variety of leadership positions at university level including positions as assistant academic registrar, director of international programs and interim director of an undergraduate management program for working adults at SUNY Empire State College. In addition she has about ten years teaching experience in higher education at the undergraduate level.  Her experience also includes public school teaching and administration at the secondary school level in Zimbabwe. Dr. Sithole’s primary research focus is on the theory and practice of leadership in organizations. Her current research focuses on leadership and culture and more specifically on the relationship between national culture and leadership. She believes that leadership is as much an organizational phenomenon as it is a cultural phenomenon and therefore that a leader or follower’s actions and responses are ultimately a reflection of the forms of behavior legitimized and deemed appropriate for the society in which the leader or follower lives. Dr. Sithole has a growing interest in research studies that investigate cross cultural leadership behaviors and practices.

Brooksie Ann BroomeDr. Debra Gladstone

Debra Gladstone is the Principal of Mineral Springs Elementary School in Winston-Salem, NC. Prior to becoming a principal, she served as an assistant principal at Prince Ibraham Elementary School in Winston-Salem, NC. Gladstone is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received a Master’s in the Art of Teaching from Salem College and a Master’s in School Administration from Appalachian State University. She completed an Educational Specialist Degree from Appalachian State University and is currently completing her doctoral studies in Educational Leadership at Appalachian.

Nan Nichols Van Hoy

Nan Nichols Van Hoy

Nan Nichols Van Hoy recently retired from public education, having held the position of teacher and administrator for over 32 years. A native of Wilkes County, NC, she attended Wilkes Community College before completing her education at Appalachian State University, earning a B.S., an M.A. and certification in Administration and Supervision. She taught at public schools in Davie and Catawba Counties, and served as instructor for programs at Wilkes Community College, Appalachian State University and Lenoir Rhyne University. She was a public school administrator for over fifteen years, serving at middle and high schools. During her tenure in public education, she received several local, regional and state recognitions and traveled to various sites in the US conducting professional development for educators at all levels.

Leslie McKesson

Dr. Trish Johnson

Trish R. Johnson currently serves as Associate Superintendent-Human Resource Services for Caldwell County Schools.  She has worked as a teacher, speech and language pathologist, assistant principal and principal in several North Carolina School Districts.  Trish holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Elizabeth City State University, Master of Arts Degree in Speech Pathology from South Carolina State University, Educational Specialist Degree from Appalachian State University and Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Appalachian State University.

She is active in her church and serves on several community boards and is an active member of several civic organizations.  I have an untiring passion in social justice issues.  My strong belief in “and justice for ALL” requires me to be involved in causes that address social injustices, especially issues involving women as well as the disenfranchisement of any non-majority population.

Trish is married and the mother of two adult sons.

Wendy Kuhn

Wendy Kuhn

Wendy Kuhn is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, HeartMath™ Mentor, ITIL Expert, and a Principal at Break Through Consulting, LLC. Ms. Kuhn has more than twenty years experience as a strategic planning and implementation consultant and IT professional. She works with individuals to help them to achieve their goals and with organizations to help them to improve their results through integrating employee wellbeing into the fabric of their culture; recognizing that meetings, strategic planning, projects, and other organizational efforts are most effective when employees are engaged, energized, focused and empowered.

Leslie McKesson

Dr. Leslie Dula McKesson

Leslie Dula McKesson serves as dean of the Business and Public Services division of Western Piedmont Community College in Morganton, North Carolina. With over 25 years of higher education experience as a teacher and administrator to her credit, she has devoted her career to life-long learning. Leslie holds a bachelors’ degree in the Administration of Criminal Justice from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also holds Masters of Arts and Education Specialist degrees from Appalachian State University, where she recently completed her doctoral course work. Included among her research interests are higher education attainment, critical race theory, discourse analysis, and racial performativity.

Wendy Kuhn

Dr. Fran Oates

Dr. Fran Bates Oates has been an educator for more than forty years. In the Winston-Salem Forsyth County School system she served in the roles of teacher, assistant principal and principal, Quality Training and Development Program Specialist and Director of Staff Development. After 31 years of service in the school system, Fran Oates retired in September 2004. In 2006, she joined Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) as a Clinical Faculty and currently serves as the Elementary Education Program Coordinator.

Born in Hampton, Virginia she later moved to Raleigh, NC where she attended and graduated fifth in her class from John W. Ligon High School and began her quest for life long learning. She came to WSSU to become a teacher graduating with the highest academic average in her major and in the top ten percent of her class. Fran Oates continued her education receiving a Master’s Degree, an Educational Specialist Degree, Curriculum Specialist Certification and her Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Appalachian State University. She earned the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award from the Principals' Executive Program at UNC Chapel Hill and completed the Summer Leadership Institute at Harvard Divinity School.

Fran has been very active for forty years at Union Baptist Church of Winston-Salem. Currently she serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Union Community Development Corporation.  Her other leadership roles have included President of the Forsyth Principals Association and President of the Winston-Salem Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa.

Brooksie Ann BroomeDr. Susan Day Scherz

Although born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Susan has spent most of her adult life in the Mountain West, including Arizona and Idaho. Her career in education  began as a substitute teacher in Casper, Wyoming. From there, she moved to Arizona, taught high school English, reading, and English as a second language and worked closely with migrant high school students and their families. In Yuma, Arizona she became involved in dropout retrieval and alternative education, including jail education and charter schools.

Susan’s work as an advocate for high-risk youth led to graduate studies and work as an educational administrator in both traditional and non-traditional settings.  She has master’s degrees in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Education Administration, as well as a doctorate in Educational Leadership. Her administrative roles have included principal and superintendent roles in K-12 education and associate superintendent/director for a county education agency.

Prior to her retirement, Susan worked as an assistant professor in the Colleges of Education at Idaho State University and the University of Wyoming teaching educational leadership courses for prospective principals and superintendents. Her research interests include superintendent and board relationships as well as cultural, linguistic, and social issues impacting parent involvement in rural schools.

As a semi-retired education professional, Susan Scherz currently serves as a contract trainer for the Idaho School Boards Association, providing training for governing boards of school districts and charter schools in Idaho. She also teaches as an adjunct professor for Northwest Nazarene University.

Wendy Kuhn

Carol Vandenbergh, J.D.

Carol Vandenbergh currently serves as the Executive Director for Professional Educators of North Carolina (PENC). Carol began her professional life as a high school math teacher. After teaching for several years in New York, she moved to North Carolina, taught for a year in Wake County at Broughton High School, and then decided to pursue a new challenge and went on to law school. Campbell law School prepared her for a purposeful life of leadership and service.

As PENC's Executive Director, Carol works directly with lawmakers and policymakers to ensure they understand the impact of their decisions on teachers, classrooms, and students. In addition, Carol takes great joy in working with members individually to help them understand their rights and responsibilities as educators and to represent them when they need employment support in their LEA. Carol takes great pride in protecting and advocating for teachers in North Carolina.

Wendy Kuhn

Dr. Audrey Dentith

Audrey M. Dentith has been an educator for 35 years. After serving as a classroom teacher for 8 years, she opened a large daycare and private Kindergarten where she served as the Executive Director for several years. Later, during her years as a graduate student, she worked with local districts to improve the educational experiences of students with disabilities. She earned her Doctorate from Penn State University in 1998. Since then, she has held faculty positions at several universities. At the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, she was the Program Coordinator for the Educational Administrative department. At the University of Texas San Antonio, she served as the Program Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Studies program. She is currently Professor and Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at Appalachian State University.

Susan Colby, EdD. Director, Faculty DevelopmentDr. Susan Colby

Susan Colby currently serves as the Director of Faculty Professional Development in the Center for Academic Excellence at Appalachian State University. She is also professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction where she served 12 years as chair and assistant chair. Prior to academia, she served in the public schools of Florida and Colorado as a principal, teacher, clinical professor, and Title I director. Dr. Colby earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University; her MA in Administration, Curriculum and Supervision from the University of Colorado, Denver; and her BS in Elementary Education with Distinction from the University of Minnesota. In 2002, she was the recipient of the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration Morphet Dissertation Award. She has authored articles in the fields of teacher education and P-12 education focusing on curriculum, assessment, and leadership. She is President-Elect for the Consortium for Research on Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness (CREATE).

Dr Leslie ZenkDr. Leslie Zenk

Leslie Zenk is Assistant Provost in the Office of Academic Affairs and Associate Graduate Faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Leslie has been a professional in higher education for over 15 years, including as Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Minnesota, Morris and Assistant to the Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. 

In her current role as Assistant Provost, Leslie directs all aspects of academic policy and collaborates with faculty on policy and curriculum development and implementation.  Leslie’s academic research focuses on leadership and decision-making and how institutional culture frames decisions.  She also serves on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Association of Research in Education (NCARE).  Leslie earned a B.A. in Communication from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration (Higher Education) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. 

Dr Levine-BrownDr. Patti Levine Brown

Patti is currently an assistant professor in the department of Leadership and Educational Studies at Appalachian State University. She received a doctorate in higher education, with a concentration in community college leadership, from the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, she holds an Ed.S in developmental Education from Appalachian State where she also completed the Kellogg Institute earning a certificate as a Developmental Education Specialists.