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NEA President Reacts to Historic ESEA Vote

National Education Association

Today, an overwhelming, bi-partisan majority of the United States Senate approved the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, a critical and historic first step toward ensuring that every child, regardless of zip code, has the support, tools, and time to learn.

“Every student in America will be better off under this legislation than the generation of students wronged by ‘No Child Left Untested’,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia. “Educators enter their schoolhouses every morning with one desire foremost in their minds: that every student they encounter that day will know an educator cares for them and is dedicated to reaching, teaching, and inspiring them to reach their full potential. The unmitigated failure of the test and punish culture shackled educators, and we are now one step closer to ending that woeful chapter in American education policy.”

“The Every Child Achieves Act takes a significant step towards fulfilling the original goal of ESEA: to provide more opportunity for all students, but especially those most in need,” Eskelsen García continued. “This bill reflects a paradigm shift away from the one-size-fits-all assessments that educators know hurt students, diminish learning, and narrow the curriculum and that they fought to change. Now, Congress must act swiftly to reconcile the House and Senate legislation and get a bill to the President’s desk. Educators across the country have watched every floor speech, counted along with every vote and made their voices heard with a staggering volume of outreach to elected leaders. Those same educators will not rest until a final bill has the President’s signature. We thank Senators Alexander and Murray for their leadership on this critical legislation.”

During the weeks leading up to today’s historic vote, NEA’s nearly 3 million educators engaged in unprecedented advocacy and activism on behalf of America’s students. NEA national leadership, along with state and local affiliate leaders, board members, staff, and educators nationwide, made nearly half a million individual contacts to members of Congress, including:

    Nearly 2,000 face-to-face meetings with Members of Congress and key staff
    216,000 emails
    32,000 tweets
    15,000 phone calls
    25,550 petition signatures

This flood of member activism led to several key victories for students and significant improvements to the Every Child Achieves Act. One of the most important shifts educators fought to include in the underlying bill was the “opportunity dashboard,” a measure that will help ensure resource equity and opportunity for every student. For the first time, the Senate bill would require states to include at least one measure of student and school supports within their accountability system, such as access to higher level coursework, arts and music classes, school counselors or school librarians. The bill would require separation of this information by student subgroups and would help states identify and work to close opportunity gaps.

Further, a bi-partisan group of Senators voted to expand the dashboard measures beyond the already strong provisions contained within the Every Child Achieves Act as part of an amendment. While the vote fell short of the required 60 votes, the level of bi-partisan co-operation sends a strong message to potential conferees that a burning desire exists to ensure every child is more than a test score. Eskelsen García thanked the sponsors of the Opportunity Dashboard of Resources Amendment:

“As educators, we are deeply committed to the success of every student,” Eskelsen García said. “By leading on the bi-partisan Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources Amendment, Senators Kirk, Reed, Baldwin, and Brown show that they stand with us in that commitment.”

Additionally, Senators from both sides of the aisle voted with the recommendations of educators and rejected an amendment to closely replicate the failed NCLB-era approach of over identifying the number of schools in need of intervention. The Senate also rejected private school vouchers multiple times with nine GOP Senators joining Democrats in opposition to at least one of the amendments. Senators also rejected block granting federal funding that would erode its historic role in helping to target resources to students most in need, with nine GOP Senators joining Democrats in opposition.

While Congress is much closer to sending a law that commits America to the success of every student, the work of NEA is not done. We call on Senate and House leaders to quickly name conferees for the committee that will negotiate differences and present a bill to both chambers. Educators will continue their dogged advocacy to ensure that this already strong legislation is further improved in conference, and elected leaders should ensure such action is taken swiftly and deliberately. NEA’s goal is to proudly support a bill that, when signed by the President, gives every student, regardless of zip code, the support, tools, and time to learn.

Follow NEA on Twitter at @NEAmedia


The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

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WesternU Commencement Celebrates Achievements of Graduates and Founding President

Pasadena, California (PRWEB) May 27, 2015

Western University of Health Sciences’ 34th Annual Commencement Exercises were marked by a few historic firsts — and one profound last.

The May 20-22, 2015 ceremonies at the Pasadena Civic Center marked the first time the university surpassed more than 1,000 graduates at Commencement, and the first time a Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences (GCBS) alumnus graduated from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP).

The university’s fifth and final ceremony of its three-day Commencement – for COMP and GCBS – also included the first appearance on a WesternU graduation stage by Harriet Pumerantz, wife of Founding President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, and herself a major player in the establishment of COMP and many of the University’s traditions and events.

Mrs. Pumerantz’s “first” was the direct result of the historic “last” at the 2015 ceremonies: President Pumerantz’s final Commencement as president. He will retire on September 8 of this year, exactly 34 years to the day COMP opened for business.

“This is very special to me personally,” Dr. Pumerantz said as the COMP/GCBS ceremony got underway. He was surrounded by family – not only Harriet and the students, faculty and staff of WesternU, but also his children Andrew (on stage as COMP faculty), Richard and Beth, who sat in the front row of the Civic Center audience with the Pumerantz grandchildren and other family members.

Dr. Pumerantz later accepted a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., provided by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office and presented by Capt. Ha C. Tang, DO ’97, of the U.S. Public Health Service. That presentation was followed by a proclamation celebrating the president’s accomplishments, authored and signed by COMP Dean Paula Crone, DO, and GCBS Dean Michel Baudry, PhD.

“I’m very grateful for your attention to what we’ve all done,” Dr. Pumerantz said, spreading his arms to include everyone on stage and the dozens of WesternU employees throughout the auditorium who had risen to applaud him. As his grandchildren came to the stage, he said, “What we all work for is a better world for these kids. For your kids. And now we move on to a new chapter in our lives.”

WesternU’s 34th Annual Commencement Exercises saw diplomas handed out to 1,022 graduates from 21 degree programs in the University’s nine colleges. The new graduates bring WesternU’s total number of alumni to 12,435, a number almost unimaginable when COMP’s first graduates – 31 students in all – had degrees bestowed on them at the inaugural Commencement in 1982.

Commencement 2015 got off to a fast start, as the keynote speaker for the first ceremony on May 20 – for the colleges of Allied Health and Podiatric Medicine – was not only a high-profile political figure, but a visionary speaker.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor and likely 2018 gubernatorial candidate, told the 211 graduates (30 from CPM, 181 from CAHP) that they have an advantage over those from other universities: WesternU is the largest and most diverse graduate health sciences university in the nation, situated in the most diverse county in the most diverse state in the most diverse country in the world.

“We don’t tolerate that diversity, we celebrate that diversity,” he said. Applauding WesternU’s, and especially Dr. Pumerantz’s, commitment to humanism and improving the human condition, Newsom noted, “As Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.’ We are all better off when we are ALL better off.”

But what does that mean in a world that changes so rapidly? How do we get to “better off” for everyone? Technology is part of the key, Newsom opined, but so is respect for collaboration, appreciation for the importance of communication, and acknowledgment that individuals are empowered to make change.

One doesn’t have to BE something to DO something, the lieutenant governor concluded.

“Don’t let life de-genius you. Step up, step in, and recognize your voice. Success is synergistic with environment. Create the conditions where success becomes irresistible.

“I want you to appreciate your chance to take advantage of this opportunity. The future’s not in front of you. It’s inside of you.”

Michael Demian, father of College of Podiatric Medicine graduate Jeffrey Demian, DPM ’15, said his son first became interested in medicine as a 16-year-old while volunteering at a local hospital. His son will begin his residency at Chino Valley Medical Center in June.

“I’m so excited. It’s the best moment in my life,” said Michael Demian, adding that his son will be caring and loving to his patients. “He doesn’t care about money. He cares about being merciful and helpful to people.”

That afternoon, graduates from the colleges of Dental Medicine and Pharmacy were challenged by a former WesternU faculty member to make their mark. “You have received an excellent education,” said Patricia Chase, PhD, Gates Wigner Dean for the School of Pharmacy at West Virginia University. “Now I must challenge you that your job is to make a difference in the entire world.”

She had two suggestions to help graduates achieve this lofty goal: Be an explorer, and think “off the map” by choosing the road less traveled, engaging with people along the way, and collecting experiences rather than souvenirs.

At the May 21 ceremonies for the colleges of Graduate Nursing and Optometry, keynote speaker Devorah Lieberman, PhD, president of the University of La Verne, praised the graduates for their “appetite for healing and wellness,” and noted they have the unique privilege of being in positions to help people feel better.

“Each of you sitting here today is a master in the art of caring,” Lieberman said. “What a role model you will be for your families and for those you work with in health care settings.”

The graduates themselves were anxious to put what they’d learned into practice. College of Graduate Nursing graduate Serena Caldwell, MSN-FNP ’15, said she will practice primary care in Oregon.

“I always knew I wanted to do more, to be more involved in actual care, rather than just following orders,” she said of earning her master’s degree. “I’m excited. I have my own community of patients. We know and trust each other.”

Later that day, at ceremonies for the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), keynote speaker Clinton A. Lewis, MBA, Executive Vice President and President-U.S. Operations for Zoetis, said he was optimistic about the future for animal health care providers, despite forecasts to the contrary.

His optimism is grounded in a number of important trends: A growing middle class in emerging markets leading to an increase in the number of pets; a greater focus on safety, security and transparency in the food supply; and an aging population that is also increasing the desire for animal companionship. All bode well for veterinarians.

“Instead of an excess capacity in the profession, I believe we have an underappreciation of the tremendous opportunities that exist today and will exist tomorrow for veterinarians,” he said. “WesternU has prepared you exceptionally well to face the challenges of today and realize the opportunities for tomorrow.”

Audrey Keebaugh, DVM ’15, said WesternU CVM’s third- and fourth-year rotations provided exactly the kind of broader perspective Lewis mentioned in his address. “I got such an opportunity to travel and get a ton of fun and interesting experiences in the vet field. I think that’s what’s stood out to me these past four years.”

Apart from the tributes to Dr. Pumerantz and his family, the COMP/GCBS ceremony on May 22 featured inspiring words from Vice Admiral Matthew L. Nathan, MD, Surgeon General of the Navy, who told the graduates to appreciate the process as they embarked on their professional health care careers.

“Savor the journey. You’re so focused on the destination … But savor the relationships you’ve made along the way, and savor the relationships you’ll make in the future. You must recognize that there is an unassailable bond between you and those you care for. Embrace the human relationship. Make a difference. Give of yourself.

“Be memorable.”

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering President and CEO Irving Pressley McPhail to Address Class of 2015 and Receive Honorary Degree at NJIT Commencement

Newark, N.J. (PRWEB) April 22, 2015

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) will confer honorary degrees upon two distinguished individuals at the 99th Commencement exercises Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 9 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Irving Pressley McPhail, Ed.D., president and chief executive officer of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Charles Elachi, Ph.D, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a vice president at California Institute of Technology, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science.

Dr. McPhail was named the sixth president and chief executive officer of NACME on September 1, 2009. He joined NACME in 2007 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Prior to joining NACME, Dr. McPhail founded and served as principal of The McPhail Group LLC. He served 15 years as a college president or chancellor at The Community College of Baltimore County, St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, and LeMoyne-Owen College. Dr. McPhail also served as Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore City Public Schools. He is the co-editor of “Teaching African American Learners to Read: Perspectives and Practices,” published by the International Reading Association in 2005, and the author of more than 50 journal articles, chapters, monographs, and technical reports. He earned a bachelor’s degree in development sociology from Cornell University, a master’s degree in reading from the Harvard Graduate School of Education., and a doctorate in reading/language arts from the University of Pennsylvania as a National Fellowships Fund Fellow.

Dr. Elachi has been the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) since May 2001. Prior to becoming director, he was JPL’s director for Space and Earth Science Programs beginning in 1982, where he was responsible for the development of numerous flight missions and instruments for Earth observation, planetary exploration and astrophysics. He has been a principal investigator on a number of NASA-sponsored studies and flight projects including the Shuttle Imaging Radar series, the Magellan Imaging Radar, and the Cassini Titan Radar. Dr. Elachi is the author of over 230 publications in the fields of active microwave remote sensing and electromagnetic theory, and he holds several patents in those fields. He received his B.Sc. (1968) in physics from University of Grenoble, France; the Dipl. Ing. (1968) in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute, Grenoble, and both a M.Sc. (1969) and Ph.D. (1971) degree in electrical sciences from the California Institute of Technology. He also has a M.Sc. (1983) degree in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA (1979) from the University of Southern California.

For more information on NJIT’s 99th Commencement, visit the Commencement website:

About NJIT

One of the nation’s leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT’s multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks fifth among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $ 110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to

Retrofit Names Former Wrigley Exec Julie Goldman Vice President of Marketing and Product Management

Chicago, Ill. (PRWEB) April 10, 2015

Retrofit, the corporate weight management solution driving leading outcomes at the nation’s top employers, announces today that it has recruited former Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company global brand strategist and innovator Julie Newhouse Goldman to oversee marketing and product divisions at its Chicago, Ill. headquarters.

On the heels of the recent sales team expansion, the announcement marks a series of high-talent hires and steady growth for Retrofit. CEO Mary Pigatti brought in Goldman as VP of Marketing and Product Management to oversee the teams and assist with product innovation and marketing its targeted weight management solution for America’s largest employers.

“Julie’s experience in global marketing and strategic planning is a perfect compliment to our short-term and long-term strategic goals” said Pigatti. “Her track record as a results-driven innovator in health and wellness will allow us to bring next practices and first-in-class products to employers as part of a high-tech, high-touch solution.”

Goldman brings more than 20 years of global marketing, innovation, strategy and wellness experience to Retrofit. She previously served as Senior Director, Global Brand Strategy and leader of Global Wellness for the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. Prior to her role at Wrigley, she served as Director, Health and Wellness Marketing for PepsiCo. She also oversaw influencer programming and blue ribbon health and wellness advisory boards at Frito Lay, the Quaker Oats Company and the Clorox Company. Goldman is a graduate of The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. and received her M.B.A from The Anderson School at University of California, Los Angeles.

“The obesity epidemic is a global issue in need of a proven solution like Retrofit,” said Goldman. “I look forward to helping the leadership team capitalize on its steady momentum with employers and leading the Marketing and Product teams in further building the Retrofit brand and introducing new and enhanced Retrofit product offerings that meet and exceed the needs of our customers today and in the future.”

Retrofit is currently offered to employees at Google,, DeVry Education Group, the American Hospital Association and more. The weight loss solution includes proactive one-on-one coaching, interactive video classes and expert moderated communities that work with cutting-edge mobile apps and devices.

The national weight management company has been making national headlines as it aims to deliver the most personalized, effective and sustainable results. In fact, 90% of its clients lose weight and 68% keep it off 18 months later. Retrofit clients are two times more satisfied than those on other weight loss programs, according to a recent customer satisfaction survey.

A Duke University study found that as an individual’s BMI rises, his or her healthcare costs skyrocket and each overweight or obese employee costs employers nearly $ 1,500 a year in added healthcare costs.

About Retrofit

Retrofit provides a science based, tech-enabled proven approach to weight loss, delivered with the human touch of multi-disciplinary certified wellness experts. Retrofit is the truly personalized, holistic weight management solution that transforms lives and workplaces. Retrofit expert nutritionists, exercise physiologists and behavior coaches help individuals and corporate employees address underlying behavioral issues, and close the gap between what they know and what they do, in order to help them lose weight and live a healthy life they love. Retrofit has raised $ 15.7 million in venture financing, led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ). Cambia Health Solutions also participated. Retrofit can be found on the Web at and by calling 855-4-RETROFIT. Follow the company on Facebook and Twitter at @retrofitme.

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Real Capital Solutions Announces Hire of New President

Louisville, Colorado (PRWEB) February 06, 2015

Real Capital Solutions, a nationally focused investor of workout and value-add real estate, announces the addition of a new President.

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Shaun O’Connor as President, effective January 2, 2015,” indicates Real Capital Solutions founder and CEO Marcel Arsenault.

Shaun’s appointment as President comes as part of a planned leadership transition for RCS over the next three to five years. With the expectation that Marcel Arsenault will move to Chairman of the Board, and former President Sharon Eshima (now COO) will transition to the Arsenault Family Foundations and the Arsenault Family Office, it is anticipated that Shaun will ultimately be promoted to Chief Executive Officer, under Marcel’s and Sharon’s leadership.

Mr. O’Connor began his real estate career in 1997 with GE Real Estate and over the next 11 years he progressed through a series of roles including earning a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and was ultimately promoted to CFO of US Equity Real Estate. During the market crash in 2008, Shaun was recruited by CB Richard Ellis Investors as Global Chief Finance and Risk Officer. In 2011, Shaun was recruited by Tourism Development and Investment Company as CFO. TDIC is a master developer of major tourism destinations for both the public and private sectors in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Arsenault adds, “The addition of Shaun to the Real Capital Solutions team is truly a great opportunity for RCS, its employees and investors. Shaun will help RCS continue its rapid expansion, both nationally and internationally. With Shaun at the helm, and with new capital partners, RCS has the opportunity to grow its business from our current $ 1.3 billion assets under management, to an exciting company with assets exceeding $ 5 billion.”

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BPI Sports Names Walt Freese as New President & Chief Executive Officer

Ft. Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) November 11, 2014

BPI Sports, the fastest growing sports nutrition company worldwide, has added Walt Freese, a proven consumer products executive, with 35 years of brand building experience, as its new President & Chief Executive Officer. As the former CEO of Stonyfield Farms, Ben & Jerry’s, and Celestial Seasonings, Mr. Freese has accumulated a long track record of building iconic brands while delivering exceptional growth in revenue and earnings. He successfully transformed Ben & Jerry’s from a $ 240 million business into an international juggernaut with over $ 500 million of revenue through the disciplined execution of strategic initiatives, product innovation, transformative marketing strategies and operational improvements that characterize world class organizations.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of such a dynamic company. BPI’s passion for fitness and nutrition permeates the organization from its enthusiastic team, to its high quality, industry leading product portfolio,” said Walt Freese. “It has all the ingredients necessary to become the premier brand in sports nutrition in the US and globally. I look forward to building on the company’s already strong foundation and cutting edge products like 1MR Vortex™, Whey HD™ and Funnbar™. Our goal is to establish BPI as an iconic, global, multi-channel business with unparalleled innovation, that not only includes superior product options for the existing sports nutrition consumer, but also new products that reach historically underserved consumers, distribution channels and markets.”

“We are proud to have Walt join our team. His success building iconic brands has been complemented by a strong focus on operational excellence in marketing, sales, supply chain and all support functions, driving a more efficient and effective organization. Walt will play a huge role in BPI’s worldwide expansion in the years to come,” said James Grage, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder. “His ability to help define and build brands like Ben & Jerry’s will make BPI Sports an even bigger player in today’s growing fitness market.”

Mr. Freese has had great success building both domestic and global businesses. He has experience in public and private companies, as well as private equity. Moreover, with an energizing and transparent leadership style, Walt builds strong teams and high-engagement cultures that give each and every employee a stake in the company’s success. He takes great pride in creating an atmosphere where employees pull together to accomplish great things – and achieve levels some might have thought impossible.

“This is the perfect opportunity to align myself with a company with similar interests and goals,” Mr. Freese added. “I have been a fitness enthusiast since age 12, starting with weight lifting and evolving in to playing football, wrestling and track, competing in triathlons, challenging myself with rock and ice climbing and continuing a rigorous workout schedule six days a week . I continue to workout regularly while incorporating BPI products into my regimen. As the CEO at Ben & Jerry’s, I had a world-class gym built for the company, brought in personal trainers, nutritionists and massage therapists, leading the company to be named the ‘Fittest Company’ in the State of Vermont. This mentality and lifestyle is already instilled within the walls of BPI. The employees live what they preach by taking the products and using the company’s state-of-the-art gym daily. It’s a great atmosphere that I feel very fortunate to be a part of.”

BPI Sports

BPI Sports, based in Hollywood, FL, is a leading developer, formulator and marketer of branded sports nutrition supplements, primary for athletes and bodybuilders, sold through leading specialty retailers and distributors. For additional information, please visit