Leadership Team


Lattie F. Coor, PhD

Lattie F. Coor, Ph.D.
Chairman and CEO


Dr. Lattie Coor founded the Center for the Future of Arizona in 2002 with the goal of creating an Arizona in which there are opportunities and quality of life for all citizens, now and in the future. Under his direction, the center has focused upon collaborative initiatives such as creating a unified state vision and action plan, and implementing the Beat the Odds research findings in Arizona K-12 schools. He also is the Ernest W. McFarland Arizona Heritage Chair in Leadership and Public Policy and a professor of public affairs at Arizona State University.

Dr. Coor is a highly regarded Arizona statesman and esteemed president emeritus of Arizona State University (1990-2002) and the University of Vermont (1976-1989). As president of ASU, Dr. Coor elevated the universityís status as a major research institution with high-quality academics and a diverse student body.


 

Sybil Francis, PhD

Sybil Francis, Ph.D.
Executive Director


Dr. Sybil Francis was part of the founding team of the Center for the Future of Arizona in 2002 and is the executive director.  She is engaged in all aspects of the center’s agenda, from conceptualization through implementation. Under her direction the center launched the Move On When Ready initiative, a bold new design for high school to prepare students for success in college and careers and she continues to advance innovative approaches to improving educational outcomes for Arizona students. She is also deeply embedded in the Arizona State University Community and serves as the Director for Strategic Advancement for the ASU Foundation.
 
Dr. Francis' commitment to advancing innovative solutions to societal imperatives spans a 30 year career as a public policy analyst/architect advancing the nation’s science and education enterprise. She began her career working in the U.S. House of Representatives and later served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Francis was part of the leadership team of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a small private college in New York City, prior to moving to Arizona in 2002.


 

Marjorie Kaplan, PhD

Marjorie Kaplan, Ph.D.
Director, Beat the Odds Institute


Dr. Marjorie Kaplan joined the Center for the Future of Arizona in 2008, following an exemplary career in K-12 public education. Her responsibilities include developing and managing the Beat the Odds Institute programs, operations and community relationships. Previously, she was superintendent of Shawnee Mission School District in metropolitan Kansas City and superintendent of the Paradise Valley School District.

Dr. Kaplan was named one of the top 100 educators in the United States by Executive Educator magazine and is a recipient of the Arizona Superintendent of the Year award and the Outstanding Arizona Superintendent Award. Throughout her 16-year tenure as its superintendent, Kansasís Shawnee Mission School District was ranked among the top four percent of school districts nationally by Expansion Management magazine.


 

Darcy Renfro

Darcy Renfro
Director, The Arizona We Want Institute


Darcy Renfro joined The Arizona We Want Institute as its inaugural Director in March 2014.  Since 2008, she served as the founding Director of the Arizona STEM Network at Science Foundation Arizona.  Ms. Renfro led the statewide Network to advance, align, integrate, and embed Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) principles and practices benchmarked to international standards at all levels of Arizona’s education system.

Ms. Renfro is a native of Tucson and received both her undergraduate and juris doctorate degrees from the University of Arizona.


 

Amanda Burke Ed.D

Amanda Burke Ed.D
Director of Education Strategy and Innovation


Dr. Amanda Burke joined the Center for the Future of Arizona in 2009 and is the Director of Education Strategy and Innovation. She is responsible for the overall leadership of the Arizona Move On When Ready (MOWR) Initiative, a new performance-based high school education model designed to increase academic achievement and prepare all students for college and careers. In this role, Dr. Burke provides strategic leadership in the design, development, and implementation of the Move On When Ready model, working with partner schools as well as with local, state, and national partners.

Previously, Dr. Burke was Director of Education Innovation and Policy with the Arizona State University Office of University Initiatives in the Office of the President. Since 2004, Dr. Burke has been involved in the conceptualization and start-up of a number of education innovation initiatives including the nationally recognized ASU and Teach For America partnership, and the University Public Schools Initiative, which resulted in the opening of ASU affiliated preK-12 charter schools for the purpose of scaling education innovation. She began her career in education as a high school teacher and was a Teach For America corps member.


 

Breanne Bushu, M.Ed.

Breanne Bushu, M.Ed.
Project Development and Operations Coordinator


Breanne Bushu joined the Center For the Future of Arizona in 2012. She is engaged in project development and management of Move On When Ready and related education projects.

Prior to joining the Center for the Future of Arizona, Breanne served as a fiscal analyst for the Joint Legislative Budget Committee at the Arizona State Legislature where she worked on K-12 and higher education fiscal policy. Breanne is a Teach for America alum who began her career in education as a 6th and 7th grade mathematics teacher in St Louis, Missouri, and later taught 8th grade mathematics in Marana, Arizona. Her work in and out of the classroom has focused on curriculum and teacher development, as well as education finance.


 

Megan McWenie

Megan McWenie
Move On When Ready Learning Collaborative Coordinator


Megan McWenie joined the Center for the Future of Arizona in 2012 and is the Move On When Ready Learning Collaborative Coordinator. She is responsible for coordinating the efforts of school leaders implementing the Arizona Move On When Ready (MOWR) initiative. In this role, she oversees the statewide MOWR Learning Collaborative and various communities of practice supporting different stakeholder groups within the Collaborative.

Megan began her career as an educator as a high school reading intervention teacher and Teach for America corps member in Las Vegas, Nevada. She returned to her home state of Arizona to join the Phoenix Union High School District as a teacher, instructional coach, and Cambridge Coordinator. Megan has also continued to support the development of new teachers as a Corps Member Advisor and Literacy Specialist for Teach for America’s Summer Institute in Phoenix.


 

Michael Silver, M.Ed.

Michael Silver, M.Ed.
Education Innovation Research Fellow
in partnership with the National Center on Education and the Economy


Michael Silver conducts research on innovative education strategies to inform the Center for the Future of Arizona's administration of Arizona Move on When Ready (MOWR) and the National Center on Education and the Economy's roll out of the nationwide Excellence for All (E4A) initiative. His work focuses on developing an archive of model practices for the planning, communication, and execution of MOWR/E4A, paying particular attention to the institution of competency based pathways, effective use of aligned instructional systems, and standards that promote college and career readiness for all students.

Before joining the Center for the Future of Arizona as a Graduate Research Assistant, Michael served as Assistant to the President of the Arizona Board of Regents. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Evaluation at Arizona State University.


 

Robert Luster

Robert Luster
Director, Web Communications


Robert Luster brings more than 20 years of professional technical development experience to his duties. As director of Web communications, he is responsible for the intranets and public websites for the Center for the Future of Arizona initiatives.

Prior to joining the Center for the Future of Arizona, he worked as manager of electronic communications at Arizona State University Foundation and consulted extensively on enterprise application projects with Fortune 500 companies and a number of small businesses.

Robert is a bassist and member of the Chandler Symphony Orchestra.


 

Senior Fellows


Pat Beaty

Pat Beaty
Center for the Future of Arizona


Pat Beaty is a strategic planning and marketing consultant with more than 40 years experience working with three public university systems and a broad array of non-profit and business organizations.She has consulted with the Center since 2006, where she serves as study director.

Formerly, Beaty was vice chancellor of strategic planning at Colorado State University, where she helped lead the effort to align university research, annual budgeting and fundraising into a cohesive planning effort. Beaty also served as the founding vice president of strategic planning and marketing for the ASU Foundation, following 11 years as a senior consultant supporting campaign planning and marketing for the $560 million ASU Campaign for Leadership. During her foundation tenure, she supported the ASUF Board through two strategic planning efforts in 2000 and 2003 in addition to other university-wide and college-level initiatives.


 

Ellen R. Babby, Ph.D.

Ellen R. Babby, Ph.D.
The Arizona We Want


Dr. Ellen Babby is a consultant with more than 30 years of experience in executive management in the non-profit arena with a focus on higher education. Her particular areas of expertise are in strategic planning, corporate and foundation relations, advancement, and organizational development. Babby recently moved to Phoenix after serving for several years as Vice President, Advancement & Strategic Alliances, at the American Council on Education (ACE) in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining ACE in May 1999, she served as senior director of Planning and Development at NAFSA: Association of International Educators and as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the National Foreign Language Center at The Johns Hopkins University. From 1982 to 1991, Babby served as the first Executive Director of the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, an organization that promotes the study of Canada at colleges and universities in the United States. She built this start-up and led it for 10 years.

In addition to serving as Senior Fellow at the Center for the Future of Arizona, Babby also serves as Senior Advisor for Higher Education of Encore.org (formerly Civic Ventures).


 

Larry E. Penley, PhD

Larry E. Penley, Ph.D.
The Arizona We Want


Dr. Larry Penley is a management consultant working primarily with the technology, education, and healthcare industries. His experience includes 35 years as an academic leader serving three U. S. and two Latin American universities. Dr. Penley's work with the Center focuses on job creation and the alignment of new research and entrepreneurship with Arizona's economic development

Formerly, Dr. Penley was president of Colorado State University, where he led its market repositioning as a major research university with excellence in biomedicine, energy and the environment. Accomplishments include a 50% increase in R&D to a record $302 M and the creation of an innovative technology transfer program to stimulate economic development. Penley also served as dean of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University for 13 years where he held the Herberger Arizona Heritage Chair. His accomplishments include recognition of the school as one of the top business schools in the country, and the creation of the Online MBA, the Tech MBA, two MBA programs in China and one in Mexico.


 

Staff


 

Lin Phillips

Lin Phillips
Executive Assistant


Lin Phillips is the assistant to Dr. Coor. She has been a staff member since the centerís inception in 2002. Previously, she was on the staff of the Arizona State University Presidentís Office where she served continuously through the terms of four university presidents.


 

Anna C. Chaplin

Anna C. Chaplin
Administrative Secretary


Anna Chaplin is the center’s receptionist and assistant to Dr. Kaplan. Previously, she held several positions with Indiana University Kokomo and served as an administrative secretary to various elementary and middle school principals in Indiana and Florida. She taught private preschool prior to working in public school administration.


 

Patricia Denis

Patricia Denis
Administrative Secretary


Patricia Denis is the assistant to Darcy Renfro. Previously, she worked for Senior management at The Rockefeller Group and Marsh & McLennan companies in their legal, financial, insurance, entertainment and real estate departments in New York.