Headquarters


UCEA Host Institution

The Department of Educational Administration in the College of Education at Michigan State University became the host for UCEA in 2020. The College of Education has a long-standing mission towards Leadership, Scholarship and Service. In this light, the college strives for excellence in: preparing professionals for leadership roles in education, seeking to understand, reform and improve education, and examining issues of education across the lifespan. This mission is closely aligned with UCEA’s focus on research, policy and preparation to advance educational leadership.    

MSU was founded in 1855 as a federal land-grant college. According to U.S. News and World Report, the College of Education is ranked among the top in the nation and MSU is one of the top 100 global universities. Well beyond rankings, however, the MSU proposal and site visit evidenced a deep dedication to outreach scholarship, belief in service, and commitment to the public good.  




Headquarters Staff

Leadership Teams

Mónica Byrne-Jiménez

Executive Director

executivedirector@ucea.org

Mónica Byrne-Jiménez

Executive Director

You may know Mónica as the Executive Director of UCEA, but there's more to her than leading a consortium of almost 120 universities across the country for the past five years! She started her career in education as a bilingual public school teacher in NYC. Not only did she develop her passion for teaching there, she also learned how to dance from her students when they would push all the desks to the edges and turn the radio up loud. Something she still loves to do only now it's in the kitchen. When she's not trying to build and strengthen UCEA through organizational improvement, relationship building, and research development, you might find her reading a book, gardening, taking pictures, or befriending a stray cat. She takes comfort and strength from being with the people she loves while watching a movie or playing board games. Three things drive Mónica: leading with heart and authenticity, opening the way for others, and leaving the world a little better place. She welcomes you to be a part of her journey!

John Yun

Associate Director

john@ucea.org

John Yun

Associate Director

John Yun is the Associate Director at UCEA. He brings extensive experience in educational administration and leadership to his role. John is passionate about fostering collaboration and innovation in educational settings. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, reading, and volunteering in his community.

Jerome Graham

Associate Co-Director

jerome@ucea.org

Jerome Graham

Associate Co-Director

Meet Jerome Graham, a Co-Associate Director for UCEA HQ. Within UCEA, Jerome supports efforts to expand the membership of UCEA and the graduate student development opportunities available to UCEA's next generation of scholars and leaders. Jerome is also an Assistant Professor of K-12 Educational Administration at Michigan State University. His research evaluates the implementation and effects of educational policies and practices that have the potential to make schools more humanizing for Black children. He anchors this work through interdisciplinary, mixed-method scholarship that highlights three areas that would look radically different if policies and practices nurtured (especially Black) students' wellbeing: school climate, school discipline, and mental health. His research draws attention to these areas by: (1) problematizing, analyzing, and documenting the disparities that often make school a 'site of suffering' for Black students and (2) investigating the implementation and effects of policies and practices offering alternatives to current schooling approaches that would center, improve, and affirm wellbeing.

Karl Gildner

Project And Events Manager

karl@ucea.org

Karl Gildner

Project And Events Manager

Karl Gildner has been the Project and Events Manager for UCEA since 2017. With over 20 years of planning experience, he brings a passion for planning meetings and events. You will often see him standing at the back of a UCEA event, session, or party. When not dominating the UCEA-event landscape, Karl will be suffering through CrossFit workouts, working sporting events for the University of Virginia Athletic Operations, or grilling/smoking different cuts of meat. His favorite entertainment genres are sports, mobster movies, true crime docs, and stand-up comedy specials. When taking it easy, he enjoys putting together 1000-piece puzzles, relaxing by the pool, or vacationing with the fam. Three types of people drive Karl crazy: people who don’t submit their proposal on time, people who don’t complete their reviews on time, and people who are divas. Don’t be one of these and get on his bad side! Seriously though, His commitment to planning excellent events and looking for ways to improve every day is his way of saying thank you to the UCEA Community.

Christine Thelen-Creps

Policy & Outreach Coordinator

chris@ucea.org

Christine Thelen-Creps

Policy & Outreach Coordinator

As UCEA’s Policy & Outreach Coordinator, Chris brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her position. A proud Michigander and graduate of MSU’s Educational Policy PhD program, Chris has dedicated her career to public service. Her work centers on educational policy and leadership, focusing on access and equity issues. In her free time, Chris loves to express her creativity through many different art forms: visual arts, poetry, photography, and fiber arts. On the weekends, you’ll find her tinkering with home improvement projects and cheering on her favorite sports teams. She also enjoys exploring nature through gardening and hiking with her wife, son, and dog. And nerd alert: she’s a HUGE Star Trek fan! Chris believes in the power of education to contribute to a more just, equitable world. Her passion for teamwork, mentorship, and member support make her an integral part of the UCEA HQ Team.

Ruth Norris

Headquarters Coordinator

ruth@ucea.org

Ruth Norris

Headquarters Coordinator

Meet Ruth, the HQ Office Coordinator at UCEA! With over 15 years of experience in all thing’s office-related, she's the organizational powerhouse behind our smooth operations. Ruth's attention to detail and strong organizational skills keeps our busy work environment running smooth. When she's not conquering deadlines, you'll find Ruth indulging in her passions for cooking and baking. Her culinary skills are legendary among family, friends, and colleagues alike. And speaking of loved ones, spending quality time with her family is at the heart of what fuels her passion for life. Professionalism and dedication are at the core of Ruth's work ethic, making her an invaluable asset to our team. Join us on this inspiring journey as we unlock new levels of productivity and success with Ruth leading the way!

Salih Cevik

Research Associate

salih@ucea.org

Salih Cevik

Research Associate

Meet Salih Cevik, the Research Associate at UCEA, where the synergy of policy and education ignites his scholarly pursuits. With a rich academic background from his studies at the University of Georgia, Salih has delved deeply into Educational Administration and Policy, further enriched by graduate certificates in Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies and Education Law and Policy.
Salih's academic endeavors are fueled by a passion for differentiated instruction, teacher evaluation, and a deep commitment to social justice. With a vision to shape education policy and practice, Salih's work transcends a mere career—it is a quest to forge equitable, innovative, and impactful pathways in teacher policy. Join us as we traverse the educational landscape with Salih, whose dedication to research and policy is crafting a brighter future in the realm of education.

Graduate Assistants

Talgat Bainazarov

Talgat Bainazarov

Talgat began his journey as an educator, initially drawn to the intricate world of mathematics as a teacher. His fascination with numbers and geometry led him to appreciate the beauty of perfect ratios, eventually transitioning into the role of photographer for the UCEA conventions. However, his true passion lies in school leadership and the ongoing learning of principals. Outside of work, Talgat finds immense joy in sharing the wonders of nature with his family, whether it's through hikes or peaceful stargazing sessions under the night sky. Talgat's strength lies in his ability to comprehend various perspectives and languages. Fluent in five languages, he is now on a quest to master a sixth, fully embracing the transformative power of effective communication and meaningful connections.

Yi-Chih Chiang

Yi-Chih Chiang

chiang19@msu.edu

Yi-Chih Chiang, currently a PhD candidate in K12 Educational Administration at Michigan State University, serves as a dedicated graduate assistant at UCEA. In her role, she actively manages UCEA's social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, and contributes to the organization by crafting policy briefs and conducting institutional analyses. Yi-Chih's research expertise lies in educational policy discourse and implementation, where she adopts a pragmatic approach and employs diverse methodologies such as case studies, discourse analysis, econometrics, and social network analysis. Her doctoral dissertation delves into a human resources analysis of instructional coaching, examining distribution patterns, teaching expertise, and career pathways with a central focus on equity. Prior to her doctoral journey, Yi-Chih contributed as a project manager in a teacher professional development program in Taiwan, emphasizing the implementation of competency-based curriculum. Yi-Chih's commitment to advancing educational research is evident, as she continuously strives to provide valuable insights to the UCEA community. Beyond her academic pursuits, Yi-Chih is an avid cat lover who finds joy in activities like yoga, skiing, traveling, and camping. Yi-Chih's diverse experiences and passions contribute to her dynamic presence within the UCEA community, fostering a multidimensional perspective in her roles and interactions.

Dasmen Richards

Dasmen Richards

Yashi Ye

Yashi Ye

Emma Taylor

Emma Taylor

Ruth Boamah-Agyekum

Ruth Boamah-Agyekum

Meet Ruth B, an international graduate student from Ghana. As a GA in HQ, she’s mainly involved in Graduate Student Programming like Jackson Scholars Network and, recently, the Policy Team. She’s also engaged in planning activities towards annual conventions. Ruth brings a wealth of experience as a former teacher and school principal, infusing the HQ team her leadership, organization, and support skills. Beyond her dedication to UCEA, Ruth indulges her passions for music, singing, and cooking up delightful Ghanaian dishes. As an avid writer as well, she is currently crafting a fictional novel while exploring newfound thrills like snow tubing. With an insatiable appetite for growth, Ruth remains committed to her work at HQ, always eager to embrace fresh challenges and expand her horizons.

Zhamilya Yessirkepov

Zhamilya Yessirkepov

Andii Layton

Andii Layton

Off-Site Staff

Fu-Min Hsiao

Web Developer

ifumin.hs@gmail.com

Jennifer Cook

Publication & Communication Editor

jenn@ucea.org

Justice Diggs

Finance Manager

finance@ucea.org

Contact us

University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA)
Michigan State University
College of Education
620 Farm Lane
431 Erickson Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824

email address: info@ucea.org