Strada Education Network Board Of Trustees Elects Three New Members, New Chair

Breaux, Jenkins and Olinger Join Governing Board; Coulis Selected as Board Chair for National Social Impact Organization Focused on Strengthening Education-to-Employment Pathways
November 23, 2020

Read Time

INDIANAPOLIS — Strada Education Network announced today the election of three new members to its Board of Trustees: Aminta Breaux, Nicole Thorne Jenkins, and Gerard Olinger, and the election of Marlene Coulis as the Board’s next chair. Each of their terms will begin on Jan. 1, 2021.

Coulis will succeed Edward Schmidt, who is completing his four-year leadership term. Mr. Schmidt will continue to serve as a member of the Strada Board of Trustees.

“I am honored to be chosen by my peers to lead the Board of Trustees for the next four years, and to do so at a time when better connections between education and employment are so vital for millions of Americans affected by the pandemic,” said Coulis. “Strada will benefit greatly from the experience and perspective of these esteemed new trustees, and I personally look forward to working with each of them.”

Aminta H. Breaux is president of Bowie State University, and a leading voice in 21st century education. She was appointed to the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Governor’s P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland, and serves as vice chair for the Board of Directors for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Her recent honors include the Educator of the Year Award from the National Council of Negro Women and the Daily Record’s 25th annual list of Maryland’s Top 100 Women.

Prior to joining Bowie State, Dr. Breaux led both advancement and student affairs at Millersville University, and was dean of students at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. At Drexel University, she served as assistant provost, overseeing experiential learning and service-learning programs, and as director of co-operative education and career services. She got her start in higher education as a career counselor at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Temple University, a master’s degree in psychological services in education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in counseling psychology from Temple University.

Nicole Thorne Jenkins is the John A. Griffin Dean of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Prior to arriving at McIntire, Jenkins was the Von Allmen Endowed Chair of Accountancy and Vice Dean in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky. She also served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Dean Jenkins received her Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Iowa and completed her undergraduate work in Accounting and Finance at Drexel University. Jenkins is a Certified Public Accountant and is the immediate past president of the Financial Accounting & Reporting Section of the American Accounting Association. Prior to becoming an academic, she was an Auditor and Consultant at PriceWaterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand.

Rev. Gerard J. Olinger, C.S.C., a Catholic priest and a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, serves as vice president for mission engagement and church affairs at the University of Notre Dame. He also oversees the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason in Dublin, and the Grotto Network. Previously, Olinger served as Vice President for University Relations, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Executive Assistant to the President at the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon.  He was also a Concurrent Assistant Professor of Political Science in the University of Portland’s College of Arts and Sciences. Olinger holds a bachelor’s, a juris doctorate and a master’s of divinity from Notre Dame. Before taking on his current role at Notre Dame, he served on its Board of Trustees; currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors for King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is licensed as an attorney in Indiana and Pennsylvania.

“Adding these dynamic leaders to our board will guide our mission impact for years to come, and I am grateful for the knowledge and passion they each bring. I am looking forward to working with each of our new trustees, and to working even more closely with Marlene in her new capacity as chair,” said William D. Hansen, Strada president and chief executive officer. “I also extend my gratitude to Ed Schmidt for leading Strada’s board through our transition to a new model of social impact over these last four years, and for his ongoing dedication to our mission and the populations we seek to serve.”

Strada Education Network board chair Marlene Coulis.

Coulis was elected to the board of Strada Education Network, then known as USA Funds, in 2011. She is the first woman, and the first Latino, in the organization’s history to hold the position of board chair. Coulis is a marketing strategy consultant with Coulis Consulting, and previously, she was a senior marketing executive with Anheuser-Busch Inc., then AB InBev for 18 years. She also is on the board of trustees for Embarc, a Chicago-based program that provides community-driven, experienced-based learning opportunities to low-income high school students. She is a trustee and president for the Bishop Noll Institute Foundation. Coulis is a graduate of Ball State University.

“As I return to my role as a member of the board at year-end, I am gratified to welcome new colleagues in Aminta, Nicole and Fr. Gerry,” said Edward R. Schmidt, outgoing Strada Board of Trustees chair. “Throughout a distinguished business career, Marlene has been recognized for her innovation and management leadership skills. She possesses all of the qualities to lead the Board of Trustees. Together with our superior management team, led by Bill Hansen, we can look forward to the role of the Board of Trustees in supporting the continued expansion of our overall mission impact.”

Breaux, Jenkins and Olinger will join the following trustees on Strada Education Network’s Board, in addition to Schmidt and Coulis:

  • Sureel Choksi, president and CEO, Vantage Data Centers
  • Blake E. Devitt, CPA and senior audit partner (retired), Ernst & Young
  • Wade Dyke, president, American Public University System
  • Marshall C. Grigsby, president and CEO, Grigsby & Associates LLC
  • Michael D. King, vice president and general manager, global education industry (retired), IBM
  • Thomas B. Mangas, founder & principal, Centerfire Capital LLC
  • Jack Markell, former governor, State of Delaware
  • Erik I. Moreno, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development and M&A, Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Ilene H. Nagel, president, Education Executives, LLC
  • William R. Neale, senior counsel, Krieg DeVault LLP
  • Ernest J. Newborn II, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, USI Insurance Services LLC
  • Mimi Wolfe Strouse, private equity investor


About Strada Education Network
Strada Education Network is a new kind of social impact organization dedicated to improving lives by forging clearer and more purposeful pathways between education and employment. Our approach combines innovative research, thought leadership, strategic philanthropy, mission-aligned investments and a network of affiliate organizations. Together, we work to better serve the millions of Americans seeking to complete postsecondary education and training, gain clear value from those experiences, and build meaningful careers. Learn more at