Strada Education Foundation Announces Three Appointments to Board of Trustees

Nationally recognized experts on postsecondary education and workforce development will provide leadership and support for Strada’s strategic plan.
June 13, 2024

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INDIANAPOLIS – June 13, 2024 – Strada Education Foundation, an organization dedicated to strengthening the link between education and opportunity, today announced three appointments – Dr. Sue Ellspermann, Dr. Mike Flores, and Ms. Ardine Williams – to its 15-member Board of Trustees. Their combined experience in postsecondary education and workforce development will inform and support the organization’s strategic plan and goals.

“I am delighted to welcome these leaders to Strada’s Board of Trustees,” said Marlene V. Coulis, Chair of the Board. “Each of them brings a wealth of experience and talent that will support our mission to create more equitable pathways to opportunity. Strada has embarked on an ambitious strategy to create large-scale change that is supported by quality, actionable research and effective policy solutions. These leaders bring expertise in two vital areas – postsecondary education and workforce development – that will help us achieve our goals.”

Sue Ellspermann is president of Ivy Tech Community College, which serves nearly 200,000 students on 19 campuses around Indiana and online. Ellspermann chairs the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Board of Directors and serves on the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, Indiana Chamber, Indy Chamber, Applied Research Institute, and Center for Leadership Development boards. Her corporate board service includes OneAmerica and German American Bancorp. “Strada’s education to employment mission is fully aligned with our work at Ivy Tech,” said Ellspermann.

“I am excited by the incredible contributions Strada is making to measurably improve both educational and career outcomes through research, innovative initiatives, and national policy,” said Ellspermann. Before leading Ivy Tech, Ellspermann served as Indiana’s lieutenant governor from 2013 to 2016 and, from 2010 to 2012, in the state House of Representatives, where she represented a rural district in southwest Indiana. From 2006 to 2012, Ellspermann served as founding director of the Center of Applied Research and Economic Development at the University of Southern Indiana, which engaged faculty, staff and students in more than 200 economic and workforce development projects. Ellspermann holds doctorate and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from the University of Louisville and a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in industrial engineering.

Mike Flores is chancellor of the Alamo Colleges District, a consortium of five community colleges which serves San Antonio and the surrounding area. Under his leadership, the Alamo Colleges District has launched AlamoPROMISE, a tuition-free college program for graduating high school students in Bexar County, Texas.

“I’m thrilled to join the Strada Board of Trustees as it focuses on workforce development and how to rebuild and strengthen pathways to the American middle class,” said Flores. “Strada is focusing on the key drivers of economic mobility for learners and I look forward to supporting the organization’s ambitious goals.” Flores is nationally known as a former coach for Achieving the Dream and as a fellow for the American Council on Education, Aspen Pahara Institute, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. He was also awarded the Ohtli Award, one of the most prestigious awards given by the Mexican government, acknowledging his work to educate and empower Mexican and Mexican-American students. Flores holds a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s in political science from Illinois State University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Ardine Williams is Secretary of the Board of Visitors at William & Mary, an institution that has been nationally recognized for its strong internship program. Previously, Williams served as Vice President, Workforce Development for Amazon, and Vice President, Talent Acquisition for Amazon Web Services. In those roles, Williams advised teams and businesses across Amazon on talent attraction and development. She also worked closely with community and state leaders to grow a strong talent pipeline for the region and to ensure educational pathways that include the in-demand skills needed for today’s careers and future labor markets.

“It is a privilege to support Strada’s efforts to strengthen and widen the bridge from education to opportunity,” said Williams. “My experience and passion lie at this critical intersection so serving on the Strada board is a natural fit for me. Strada’s strategic agenda is ambitious, but I am confident that the organization is ready and able to meet the challenge.” Williams has more than 35 years of leadership experience across the tech industry. Before joining Amazon, she served in multiple roles at Intel Corporation, Hewlett Packard, and Behring Company. An Army veteran who began her career as a commissioned officer in the Signal Corps, Williams holds a bachelor’s degree from Pacific Lutheran University and completed the executive program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

About Strada Education Foundation
Strada supports programs, policies, and organizations that strengthen connections between postsecondary education and opportunity in the U.S., with a focus on helping people who face the greatest challenges. We advance this mission through research, grantmaking, social-impact investments, public policy solutions, and Strada-supported nonprofit organizations, including CAEL, Education at Work, InsideTrack, and Roadtrip Nation. We collaborate with students, educators, employers, policymakers, and other partners to help create more equitable pathways to opportunity. Learn more at