Education and Child Development Advisers

To acquire knowledge of the general education, social-emotional learning and child development communities and how best to participate with them, and for credibility with the public and with potential sponsors, the campaign originally relied for guidance on the following individuals who support our goals.     


Dr. Bermudez is Director of Child Studies at Antioch University in Los Angeles and Director of Training at Los Angeles largest facility treating troubled youth. He has 35 years of experience as a clinical and family psychologist in poor urban neighborhoods (New York’s lower Eastside and the South Bronx; Los Angeles’ East Los Angeles and Watts). Dr. Bermudez has been an associate professor at the California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, specializing in Multicultural Clinical Psychology, and he has a Certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy from the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute. Apart from his direct work counseling youths and families, his focus has been training others in a multi-dimensional, integrative approach to psychological theory and practice that brings together developmental theory, psychoanalysis, family systems, group psychology, and multiculturalism. He is a regular speaker at conferences on child and adolescent development, family systems theory, couples counseling, developmental psychopathology and group treatment. 


A renowned educator who early on included SEL programs in alternative schools he founded, Mr. Cummins is current CEO and President of the Coalition for Engaged Education with the mission of creating opportunities for all children to have equitable access to a quality education.  Among the numerous highly-rated schools he has founded or co-founded are Crossroads, New Roads, Camino Nuevo, and New Village, all in Los Angeles. He also founded P.S. Arts, a non-profit that provides art classes to children in Title I schools. Mr. Cummins has published four books on education plus a biography, two volumes of his poetry, and two children’s books. His forthcoming book is entitled Engaged Education: New Visions for Joy and Success in Learning.


Dedicated to helping all children thrive through building the field of social and emotional learning and advancing the effectiveness and impact of SEL-focused organizations, she provides customized strategic, programmatic, and organizational development consulting to non-profits and foundations working with public schools and districts. Her clients range from large and small foundations to multi-national education non-profits to start up social and emotional learning organizations. Pamela started her career in philanthropy at NoVo Foundation, a $2 billion grant making Foundation in New York, where she became the first manager of the Social and Emotional Learning Initiative. There, she gained experience designing and managing large-scale education initiatives involving multiple stakeholders, managing a portfolio of grantees, and developing a capacity building grants program for SEL providers.

Pamela’s strong operational acumen and passion for performance management was brought to bear in her role as Tauck Family Foundation’s Fellow, where, during a nine-month engagement, she led several special projects and implemented the Foundation’s social investing strategy. Most recently, as Dovetail Learning’s Associate Director, Pamela led the California-based non-profit’s strategic planning and growth initiatives, oversaw and improved all aspects of operations, wrote a three-year business plan to scale the organization’s K-6 SEL program, and co-led a curricula redesign. Pamela has a background in childcare and the arts and holds a certificate in Grantmaking and Foundations from NYU’s Heyman School of Philanthropy and Fundraising and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Otterbein University.


A recognized national leader in the world of life skills and SEL programs for youth, she founded and for 30 years led (and is now President Emeritus of) The CityKids Foundation, which, in its own words, “engages and develops diverse young people to positively impact their lives, their communities and the world by making sure their voices are heard. CityKids has pioneered, maintained and innovated cutting edge youth development programs for three decades, training tens of thousands of young people to be leaders and motivated agents of social change.” She has also been a consultant to the SEL program of the Hawn Foundation. Currently, she is CEO of Laurie Inc. and Team, a company that describes itself as “designed to innovate, connect and, activate brands and media from around the world. With extensive experience in executive production, resourceful collaboration, and strategic planning, Laurie masterfully uses her vast network to build bridges and devise projects with significant and resounding societal influence.” Other causes or socially conscious businesses she has led are Cancer Shmancer, Inc., (as CEO), Chat the Planet (co-founder and President), and Next Next Entertainment (co-founder and President).


Former Director of the Initiative for Social and Emotional Learning at the NoVo Foundation, Mr. Sherman is now a prominent consultant to foundations and nonprofits in areas of education reform, youth development and leadership, and civic engagement. Current and most recent clients include:  Ford Foundation and the Movement Strategy Center, a consortium of six national education funders focused on education reform that includes Ford, Hewlett, Sandler, Nellie Mae, Stuart Foundations, and the National Education Support Fund.  The broader list of his consulting includes:  Einhorn Family Charitable Trust; Growth Philanthropy Network/Social Impact Exchange; National Afterschool Association; Public Interest Projects/Neo Philanthropy; City Year; Coro NY Leadership Center; Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, and NJ Performing Arts Center.

A major focus of his tenure at NoVo was the Collaborating District Initiative, which funded the planning and rollout of district-wide social and emotional learning, K-12, in eight large US school districts, as well as evaluation and significant strategy sharing across districts. Prior to NoVo, he was Executive Director of the Action Center to End World Hunger, a division of Mercy Corps.  Here he also developed and supervised the agency’s Global Citizen Corps, a youth activist and service program involving thousands of young people from 11 countries who convene in person and online in a yearlong peer-to-peer leadership, learning and service effort focused on local action-taking on global challenges around hunger, poverty, conflict, and human rights. Earlier, he founded and directed the national Effective Citizenry program at the Surdna Foundation in New York City, where he served for 15 years. Anchored in SEL at its core, the program supported organizations that help young people participate meaningfully in shaping civic and community life. Still earlier he worked in the NYC government in senior community relations positions. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University, and a BA from Haverford College.


A life-long teacher and trauma expert, especially related to post-traumatic stress in children, William Spear serves as the Executive Director of the Fortunate Blessings Foundation which he founded in 1983, described as  “dedicated to education for the well-being of human life and the environment.” The organization’s focus has included work with children who were victims of nuclear accidents and war as well as people facing life-threatening illnesses — particularly AIDS and cancer. Mr. Spear works closely with health care professionals and agencies seeking holistic strategies to overcome trauma.

In response to the 2004 tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia, Spear and the foundation spun off a new initiative, Second Response, and quickly assembled a team of mental health professionals to assist orphaned and traumatized children in Sri Lanka. Following natural disasters in 2006 in Java and in 2009 in Samoa, and after Fukushima in 2011 in Japan, he and the Second Response team trained hundreds of medical students, doctors, disaster relief specialists, clergy, parents and volunteers in somatic trauma healing methods for children.  In response to Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT in 2012, Spear began to work closely with FEMA officials, policy makers, child protective services, community organizers, relief workers and CERT teams to implement training programs designed to prevent PTSD after disasters. Second Response dispatched additional teams to the Philippines in 2014 and Nepal in 2015 where trainings in those countries resulted in ongoing programs still in place today. Most recently, Spear focuses much of his efforts on two US-based Second Response programs to expand body-centered social-emotional intelligence and trauma relief skills for schools and professional settings commonly affected by secondary trauma; the School Resiliency Program and Caring for the Caregivers.


Until two years ago Mr. Wilson was CEO and President of All Management Corporation whose primary business is student loans and which secondarily organizes “College Clubs” at high schools around the country to develop higher education awareness and aptitude. Both an education and financing specialist, Mr. Wilson has earlier served as Commissioner of Higher Education for the State of Missouri where he oversaw the State’s student loan guarantee agency, as well as was Cabinet Director and Revenue Director for the state. He also served as Associate Director for the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA). the Missouri School College Relations Commission, and the Board of Excellence in Missouri Foundation. He holds an MBA from St. Louis University and BA from George Washington University. He is also a graduate of the State and Local Government Executives Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.