Board of Directors
When creating a Board of Directors for PROUD Academy, it was important to us that our team reflected the diversity of the youth we wish to teach. Our Board is a uniquely diverse group of dedicated and passionate individuals who have made it their mission to bring PROUD Academy to life!
Carol Santos, M.Ed. (she/her)
Carol Santos is in her 27th year as an educator, having served at independent, public, and international schools as a teacher, coach, dorm parent and administrator in various capacities, including Assistant Director of Admissions, Director of Women in Science and Engineering, Director of Diversity, Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Head of School. After 20 years serving in private schools, Carol led Centennial Academy in Atlanta, GA’s conversion from a traditional public school to a charter school before traveling abroad to head the start-up of a PS-12 bilingual, international school in China, where she currently serves. Carol is the proud mother of two – Toni, 26 and Nemahn, 19, both of whom have benefitted greatly from their private school educations respectively at Watkinson School in Hartford, CT and Woodward Academy in College Park, GA. Another one of Carol’s most valuable personal accomplishments is sparking the 1990 reactivation of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., “an action-oriented community conscious organization.” Throughout her 33-year tenure in Zeta, Carol has held numerous leadership positions, including Chapter Treasurer and Budget and Finance Coordinator on the state and regional levels of the sorority’s governance. Carol holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at Penn and an M.Ed. in Private School Leadership from Columbia University Teacher’s College. Later, she returned to Penn for doctoral study in Educational Leadership and is in the final stage of completing her Ed.D. Carol is inspired to pay service to her roots in New Haven County, CT by participating in the success of PROUD Academy.
Dan Woog, BA (he/him)
Dan Woog is a writer, soccer coach, educator and LGBTQ activist. Dan has written thousands of stories for the mainstream and LGBTQ press, including The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and USA Today. His 18 books include “School’s Out: The Impact of Gay and Lesbian Issues on America’s Schools”; “Friends and Families: True Stories of Gay America’s Straight Allies”; “Gay Men, Straight Jobs”; "Jocks: True Stories of America’s Gay Male Athletes" and the sequel "Jocks 2: Coming Out To Play." His GLBT sports column, "The OutField," was syndicated nationally. His hyper-local blog “06880” (www.06880.org), covering everything going on in his hometown of Westport, CT, is read by up to 20,000 people a day. For 46 years, Dan was associated with the Staples High School (Westport, CT) boys soccer program, as a player and a coach. When he came out, he was one of the very first openly gay high school coaches in the country. He served as head coach from 2003-21, earning one state and four conference championships. Dan has been named National Youth Coach of the Year, and is a member of the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame. He remains active at the state and local level, including as a board member of United Soccer Coaches (the 30,000-member professional organization), overseeing all their DEI initiatives; on the Connecticut High School Soccer Coaches Association, and the soccer committee of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. Dan was a founder of OutSpoken, Connecticut’s first support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning youth. He speaks regularly on gay issues to sports organizations, schools and universities, corporations and civic groups.
Henrietta Small, LCSW, MSW (she/her)
Henrietta Small received her B.A. in Sociology from Monmouth University, an MPA from Rutgers University School of Public Administration, and an MSW in Public Policy from Rutgers University. Henrietta is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Connecticut and comes to us with an abundance of professional experience working with non-profit organizations. She has provided consulting services for small non-profit agencies including researching and evaluating funding opportunities, as well as federal, state, and local entities to develop federally funded community-based programs. Henrietta has secured over $10 million in federal, state, and local governments, and funding for several social services programs including youth development, mental health and substance use programs, domestic and federal foster care programs, and much more. She is also certified for working with transgender individuals and their families, offering counseling services and support for transitioning youth. Henrietta’s robust commitment to her work makes her an invaluable contributor to PROUD Academy’s future and continued success.
Kenneth Gatson, MBA (he/him)
Kenneth Gatson is currently the Treasurer for PROUD Academy’s Board of Directors. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Temple University and his Masters of Business Administration from Wilmington University. After beginning his career in the corporate arena, he later found fulfillment applying his financial skills in the education sector. Thus, he brings nearly 20 years of school finance experience to PROUD Academy. He is currently the CFO at Delaware Military Academy (DMA), a charter school in Wilmington, DE. He is responsible for an annual operating budget of $7MM, effectively managing State, Local and Federal funding. Under his tenure, he was also responsible for the oversight of two capital projects, one for $6MM and another for $2.5MM. In addition to his primary role as CFO, he also serves as the Human Resources Director and Transportation Supervisor. Some of his other functions at DMA, such as fundraising and admissions, will also be beneficial to PROUD. Kenneth is passionate about serving our youth and the community at large. He is an active member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., an organization committed to its motto of “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity.” He is also involved with other local organizations, as the current Treasurer on the Board of Directors for Duffy’s Hope, Inc., and a member of the Delaware African & Caribbean Affairs Commission’s Economic Development Committee. In Kenneth’s spare time, he finds joy as a voice actor and spending time with his four sons and especially the newest addition to his family, his 9-month-old granddaughter. He is excited to lend his financial knowledge and professional experience to such an important educational initiative as PROUD Academy.
John Rose, LLB (he/him)
John Rose, Jr. was the first lawyer of color to have worked in a law firm larger than five lawyers in 1970 and then the first such partner. John attended both Dartmouth College and Yale Law School, from which he moved on to practice law in private firms for some 35 years. In 2004, John became Hartford Corporation Counsel, serving the city for 6 years. In 2015, he was appointed New Haven Corporation Counsel serving for five years, where no lawyer had done before or since. John is also credited as the founder of the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association and a former Director of the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity. Although mostly retired, John serves on both the Board of Long Wharf Theater and our Board of Directors for PROUD Academy.
Michael Fiorello, MS (he/him)
Michael Fiorello has been a teacher of English and Language Arts in Connecticut public schools for some 32 years. Throughout his career, Michael has assumed volunteer and leadership roles with AIDS Project New Haven, the Connecticut chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) for five years, the Connecticut Writing Project, the Connecticut Education Association, and two high school Gay Straight Alliances. Presently, he serves as the President of the Stratford local affiliate of the CEA.
Brandt Handley (he/him)
Brandt A. Handley, Managing Director of ROI Executive Search, is an accomplished retained executive recruiter with extensive experience successfully serving large multinational corporations, start-up enterprises, and middle market firms with their top executive talent needs across multiple industry sectors, globally. Prior to founding ROI in 2009, Brandt spent 25 years in senior-level global sales, marketing, and general management roles with Procter & Gamble, The Walt Disney Company, and Somera Communications, a middle market telecommunications company. He has also invested in, as well as served in operational roles, with a number of internet and marketing service industry startups. Brandt received his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Business (Honors) from the University of Oregon and completed the Advanced Management Program at The Wharton School of Business.
Robert Rader (he/him)
Robert Rader has a passion for high-quality education, diversity and social justice. He was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) from January, 1996 until he retired in July, 2022. At the 2022 CABE/CAPSS Convention, he received CABE’s Friend of Public Education, its highest award. Bob, together with other members of CABE’s excellent staff, strengthened the Association’s membership, finances and technology. Under his leadership during the COVID crisis, the Association provided increased support for boards, including nonmembers by providing frequent workshops, information dissemination and analysis. He was a member of the State Education Department’s Partners group, which has worked extensively on COVID issues. Bob has written extensively on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion and staffs the CABE Board of Director’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He was the key driver for the services that CABE offers in this area, including the Equity Toolkit, which provides information to school boards and superintendents on an antiracism agenda. Over the last few years, he has also written extensively on social-emotional skills needed by board members to be as effective. He also did most of the writing as the CABE Board of Directors developed its first strategic plan and, in the early 2000s, CABE purchased its first home. Since appointment, Bob has presented numerous workshops on issues of importance to boards of education, nationally, statewide and locally. He has authored hundreds of articles for the CABE Journal and been published in the various National School Boards Association (NSBA) publications and in the Connecticut Society of Association's Source. He is the primary author of Leadership for State School Boards Associations, an NSBA publication. He was the key author and developer of The School Board of the Future. Bob joined the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) in 1981 and worked at NYSSBA in a variety of positions, including Legislative Representative, Director of Risk Management and Director of and Counsel for Policy and Employee Relations Services. He attended public school on Long Island, earned a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and a J.D. from Albany Law School. He also received the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives and was past president of its Connecticut branch, CSAE. He was the 2008 winner of the CSAE Executive of the Year Award. He was recently awarded a Certificate for Diversity and Inclusion from eCornell. Bob was Past Chairman of the National School Boards Association's Liaison Committee, which represented all state association executive directors in working with NSBA. He has served on many committees and task forces representing school boards. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Regional branch of the Anti-Defamation League, which fights for justice and tolerance for all.
Dr. Philip McAdoo (he/him)
Philip McAdoo brings over 15 years of experience as diversity, equity and inclusion practitioner and educator. He is the former Vice President of DEI at Earthjustice, an environmental law organization. Before founding his own consulting firm, he served as the Director of Equity, Justice, and Community at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. Among his many accomplishments there: he increased hiring and retention of staff of color; he evaluated years of graduate and alumni data to inform and create initiatives to support students; he spearheaded a professional development initiative for faculty and staff as well as an annual program for students and their families to foster understanding around race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and socio-economic diversity; he developed and implemented new transgender, nonconforming, and recruitment policies; and he created a Native American education and equity program, engaging Michelle Obama in the project. As an openly gay educator, he has specialized in character development, particularly from the perspective of diversity and inclusion. He has written numerous articles on DEI and has recently published a new book, Independent Queers: LGBTQ Educators in Independent Schools Speak Out. He is also the author of a children’s book, Every Child Deserves. As an LGBTQ activist, Philip has worked tirelessly to combat homophobia in his personal and professional life by fiercely advocating for himself, his family, and the rights of LGBTQ youth, families, and educators as well. He joined Rep. John Lewis to advocate in support of Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would lower some of the barriers faced by same-sex couples who want to adopt children from foster care, as Philip and his partner Sean did. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in communications studies. He holds an MA in transformative leadership from The California Institute of Integral Studies and earned his Doctor of Education from The University of Pennsylvania in the Graduate School of Education. Philip was a 1989 "original" Coca-Cola Scholar, performed in the Broadway productions of The Lion King and Rent and in readings of The Book of Mormon and Wicked. Philip has his partner, Sean, Zaden, their son, and dogs Bartley and Dobby.
Cathie Hillian, LPC, M.Ed (she/her)
Cathie Hillian received her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Springfield College and has been a practicing clinician for the past 17 years. She has spent most of those years working in independent schools as a counselor among other roles, including Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Class Dean, Coach and currently Associate Director of Counseling at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT. In her earlier years she held roles as Clinical Supervisor and Clinical Director for several programs with a non-profit organization, NAFI. Inc. She is currently serving on the Board of Education in Watertown, CT, advocating and working to provide the best curriculum and environment for all students in the district. Working in schools has put Cathie in a lot of meetings and conversations discussing the needs of students, what is needed to best serve them and help them thrive to be successful socially, emotionally and academically. She has worked a lot with LGBTQ+ youth and is passionate about advocating the needs and wants of all students. She wants to see that all students’ needs are met and believes it is important to teach students about our differences and to have empathy for and celebrate one another’s different backgrounds, stories and paths.
Dusty Rader (he/him)
Dusty Rader is the Interim Coordinator of the LGBTQ Center at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), where he also teaches Introduction to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Vermont, followed quickly by his Master of Arts in Teaching from CCSU. He began his career as a high school English teacher in Connecticut, simultaneously providing professional development workshops regarding LGBTQIA+ students, particularly transgender students, to districts and education organizations in the state, regionally, and nationally. Under the unofficial business name "Genderally Speaking," Dusty leverages his knowledge and experiences to cultivate and maintain empathetic, compassionate, and inclusive safe spaces across school boards, educators, and administrators. He continues this work by providing Safe Zone Trainings through CCSU. He has had the opportunity to give a TEDx Talk and write an article in the Hartford Courant, and has been featured in multiple publications including NEA Today, the Hartford Courant, and NBC's #Pride30. Raised by two educators, he is a strong proponent of the value of education in promoting equality, and continues his endeavor to educate through his work at CCSU and PROUD Academy.