Karen Parker

Vice President, Product

As Vice President of Product at the Lab, Karen will use her strategic orientation combined with her operational, technical and crossindustry savvy to help bring the Labs innovations to market. Karen will focus on bringing some of the Labs innovations through the product launch journey, from market identification to product definition, pricing, distribution strategy and commercialization. In this role, Karen will work closely with our innovation, partnership, and digital transformation teams.

Prior to joining the Lab, Karen implemented strategic initiatives at Southern New Hampshire University and developed and operationalized products at startups and Fortune 500s. Karen brings a unique blend of start-up energy, drive, and adaptability coupled with Fortune 500 discipline and operational expertise to the Lab.

HOMETOWN: Nashua, New Hampshire

BACHELOR’S: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara

MASTER’S: M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley

MASTER’S: MBA from Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

Angelique Bennett

Director, Administration + Finance

Angelique Bennett brings her accounting background to Education Design Lab as Director of Administration and Finance. She is excited to join the Lab to support the great work bringing Education to those that don’t fit in traditional academic environments. 

Prior to joining the Lab, Angelique worked at Deloitte and Touche, Fannie Mae, and Pfizer pharmaceuticals traveling the world as an Internal Auditor. While raising four children, Angelique worked as an accountant for a small family computer company and Treasurer for many schools and organizations. 

HOMETOWN: New Orleans, Louisiana

EDUCATION: Catholic University of America

BACHELOR’S: Accounting and Finance

MASTER’S: Accounting

FAVORITE QUOTE: “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think” – Christopher Robin (AA.Milne)

WHEN I’M NOT AT WORK I’M… hanging out with my husband, children, foster children and friends, playing tennis or pickleball, managing rental properties in Bar Harbor, Maine, watching a good mystery or traveling in the country and overseas.

Faby Gagne, PhD

Deputy Director, Digital Transformation

Faby brings  20 years of experience in higher education to the Education Design Lab. As Deputy Director of Digital Transformation, Faby manages the day-to-day Digital Transformation activities, supports and coordinates the Digital Transformation team members to ensure program milestones and goals are met, implements a LAB-wide entrepreneurial spirit for new opportunities and future go to market efforts, and leads diverse stakeholder groups (partners, employers, and community colleges) in designing supportive work flows and managing complex projects.

Prior to joining the Lab, Faby was the founding Executive Director for SNHU Labs, a strategic research and development (R&D) unit at Southern New Hampshire University aimed at dismantling outdated student engagement models and stimulating paradigm shifts. She is excited to join the Lab where she can continue to help higher education institutions and the workplace prepare for a better future by leveraging social psychology theory and research methods, data-informed insights, and human-centric technology to inform strategy and innovation while ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Her programmatic academic research on decision-making and goal implementation won the prestigious international Society of Experimental Social Psychology Dissertation Award, was recognized by the John Templeton Foundation and the Canadian Psychological Association, was published in top-tier journals such as the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and was cited in several media outlets including the New York Times and the New Yorker. 

HOMETOWN: Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Canada

BACHELOR’S: Bachelor’s in Psychology, l’Universite de Moncton

MASTER’S: M.A. in Experimental Social Psychology, McGill University

DOCTORATE: Ph.D. in Experimental Social Psychology, McGill University

WHEN I’M NOT AT WORK I’M… gardening or walking my dogs.

Jackie C. Thomas Jr., PhD

Lonestar Community College-Tomball

Dr. Jackie C. Thomas, Jr., has over 18 years of progressively responsible higher education leadership experience during which he has established himself as a visionary and innovative leader with a proven ability to set, define, and accomplish the goals he sets for himself, a team, and an organization. Throughout his career, he has been actively involved with coaching and mentoring leaders, building high-performing teams, strengthening communities, and working to get more people access to higher education.

Thomas currently serves as the Chief Strategist/ Interim Vice President for Student Success at Lonestar Community College-Tomball, located just outside of Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he leads the Division of Strategy and Innovation which is comprised of the following areas: college relations, professional development, multimedia services, diversity and inclusion, grants, strategic planning, alumni relations and fundraising, community engagement, research and innovation, and institutional effectiveness.

Thomas is a graduate of the Aspen Institute Rising Presidents Fellowship, American Association of Community College’s Future Presidents Institute, and the Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership.

BACHELOR’S: B.S. in Consumer Science and Merchandising, the University of Houston

MASTER’S: M.S. in Higher Education, Florida State University

DOCTORATE: Ph.D., Educational Psychology and Individual Differences, the University of Houston

Miguel Duenas, EdD

East Los Angeles College

Dr. Miguel Duenas is the Vice President of Student Services at East Los Angeles College (ELAC) in California.

Duenas is the oldest of six. He is a product of Los Angeles Unified School District, graduating from Bell High School. He then attended East Los Angeles College, where he attained his associate degree in Liberal Studies, then transferred to California State University, Dominguez Hills, where he received his bachelor’s degree in history, minored in political science, and attained a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Duenas also received his master’s at California State University, Northridge, in educational administration along with his Administrative Services Credential. He recently graduated from the University of Southern California, where he earned his doctoral in educational organizational change and leadership.

Duenas worked in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for over 20 years as a teacher assistant, elementary school teacher, categorical coordinator, instructional coach, and district administrator. He transitioned to East Los Angeles College in 2015 as an associate dean and was promoted to dean four years later. In 2021, Duenas became Vice President of Student Services, where he oversees all programs related to student services.

ASSOCIATE’S: Liberal Studies, East Los Angeles College

BACHELOR’S: History and Political Science, California State University, Dominguez Hills

MASTER’S: Educational Administration and Administrative Services Credential, California State University, Northridge

DOCTORATE: Ed.D. in Organizational Change and Leadership, University of Southern California

Tamika Duplessis, PhD

Delgado Community College

Dr. Tamika Tyson Duplessis is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, La. With a background in science, Duplessis has focused her attention on supporting the next generation of scientists by developing innovative scientific curriculum and advocating for two-year college/industry partnerships. In her role in Student Affairs, she has been heavily involved in supporting student basic needs, and promoting and designing programs that support first-generation students, adult scholars, and single mother learners.

Duplessis is an accomplished researcher in molecular and cellular biology. She has published over 30 different scientific papers, book chapters, and abstracts in the field of breast cancer and the molecular mechanisms associated with cancer progression. While her research focused on the complex nature of cancer etiology, she has spent many years teaching in the basic sciences. Duplessis began her teaching career as a chemistry instructor at Delgado Community College and advanced to the level of an associate professor, department chair, and served the executive dean of the Delgado Community College-Sidney Collier site.

With aspirations to continue the work to focus on those who have been historically excluded from higher education, Duplessis endeavors to focus on the margins and assist all learners with finding their purpose and providing supports to enable them to realize their goals through the pursuit of higher education.

HOMETOWN: New Orleans, Louisiana

DOCTORATE: Ph.D in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Tulane University School of Medicine

FAVORITE QUOTE: “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” — Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Matthew Morin, PhD

Chaffey College

Matthew Morin serves as the Interim Dean of Workforce Innovations at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., where he leads dual enrollment, work-based learning, and digital credentialing. Morin has spent most of his career working as an advocate for system change to create a more relevant and accountable form of public, post-secondary education.

His areas of expertise, gained over years as a faculty member and administrator, include general education reform, state policy development and implementation, learning outcomes assessment, process streamlining, and leveraging technology to accelerate change.

HOMETOWN: Boston, Massachusetts

BACHELOR’S: B.A. in Music and Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Boston

MASTER’S: M.A. in Ethnomusicology, Tufts University

DOCTORATE: Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology, Florida State University

FAVORITE QUOTE: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Anne M. Kress, PhD

Northern Virginia Community College

Anne M. Kress is the President of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), which serves over 70,000 students across six campuses.

She is a passionate advocate for NOVA’s mission of providing equitable and affordable access to exceptional higher education and workforce programs, transforming the lives of students and advancing opportunity in the region. Kress serves on the boards of the American Council on Education, Generation Hope, Capital Area Food Bank, Northern Virginia Chamber, Northern Virginia Technology Council, and the Consortium of the Universities of the Washington Metro Area, among others.

Kress has testified before Congress on community colleges and workforce development and served as a negotiator on federal higher education regulations. She has been named to the Virginia Business 500 and Washington Business Journal Power 100; and been honored by organizations including the Virginia Community College System, Phi Theta Kappa, and her alma mater, the University of Florida.

Prior to moving into academic administration, Kress was a professor of English at Santa Fe College (Fla.). She has also taught graduate courses in higher education administration and serves on the community college leadership program advisory board for the University of Maryland Global Campus.

BACHELOR’S: B.A. in English and BSBW with honors in Finance, University of Florida

MASTER’S: M.A. in English, University of Florida

DOCTORATE: Ph.D., Higher Education Administration, University of Florida

Paula Dibley

Forsyth Technical Community College

Paula Dibley is the Chief Officer of Student Success & Strategic Innovation at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dibley started her career in Washington, D.C., working in media relations and communications with nonprofit clients, such as the Save Darfur Coalition and Pew Charitable Trusts. After relocating to North Carolina, she began working in higher education, first at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and now at Forsyth Technical Community College.

Today, Dibley serves as both the chief student success officer and chief of staff to the college’s president. She has been married to her partner, Troy, for nearly 15 years and they have two children, Brielle (9) and Cole (6). Dibley is passionate about her community, an advocate for social justice, and a believer that education can be the great equalizer. In her spare time, she loves to read, drink copious amounts of tea and water, exercise, and spend time relaxing with family and friends.

HOMETOWN: Pottstown, Pennsylvania

BACHELOR’S: Bachelor’s in Political Science and Public Communication, American University, Washington, D.C.

MASTER’S: Master of Public Administration, the University of North Carolina

DOCTORATE: Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation, New York University (In progress)

FAVORITE QUOTE: “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” — Stephen Grellet

LaSha Norris

Associate Manager, Operations, People + Culture

LaSha is a goal-oriented talent and operations professional who will bring decision-making and sound judgment to the Lab in order to positively impact the organization’s hiring, team culture and internal operations. LaSha is excited to be joining the Lab as the Associate Manager of People, Operations + Culture. 

Prior to joining the Lab, LaSha spent the last 11 years working in operations, with the last nine specifically focusing on talent, project management, and internal/external communications. In her previous position, LaSha provided technical and operational direction in talent and organizational effectiveness project challenges, and worked closely with management teams to build employee-centric cultures promoting positive morale and optimizing productivity. LaSha is excited to join the Lab to help create and maintain streamlined systems and processes for talent and culture to continue to ensure the Lab is a great place to work.

HOMETOWN: Washington, D.C.

EDUCATION: Full Sail University

BACHELOR’S: B.S., Sports Marketing & Media

MASTER’S: M.A., New Media Journalism (in progress)

FAVORITE QUOTE: “The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow” – Stephen Richards

WHEN I’M NOT AT WORK I’M… spending my free time traveling the world with my husband, Tristin, and three children, Shante’, Darius, and Skylar — and posting it all on TikTok!