Alumni News

by John Conroy


Abdullah Ali Al-Qataee (PhD ’86) is vice president of the National Center for Assessment in Higher Education and chair of its Measurement and Research Division in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Kay Ferrell (PhD ’83) received the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)’s prestigious Migel Medal Award for 2013. The award is the highest honor in the blindness field. Established in 1937 by M.C. Migel, the first chairperson of AFB, the award was created to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements have improved the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. Ferrell is professor of special education at the University of Northern Colorado. She is the author of Reach Out and Teach: Helping Your Child Who Is Visually Impaired Learn and Grow and has taught individuals of all ages with visual and multiple disabilities, from infants through adults.


Adel H. Al-Mubarak (PhD ’99) is assistant professor of counseling psychology in the College of Education at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Michael P. Ghilani (MEd ’96), principal of Upper St. Clair High School, was named 2013 Principal of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals. Ghilani joined the district as high school assistant principal and dean of students in 2001 and became principal in 2006.

Randal Lutz (BS ’90, MEd ’96, EdD ’04) was appointed superintendent of the Baldwin-Whitehall School District.

Cindy Reed (EdD ’97) was elected president of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) at its annual conference. UCEA, the top professional organization for the educational leadership field, is an international consortium of major research universities with doctoral programs in educational leadership and policy. The dual mission of UCEA is to improve the preparation of educational leaders and to promote the development of professional knowledge in school improvement and administration. Reed is currently a professor at Auburn University and director of the Truman Pierce Institute, a research and outreach unit in Auburn’s College of Education.


Lutitia Clipper (PhD ’08) was selected by the Pittsburgh Business Times to receive a 2013 BusinessWomen First Award. The publication honors the top women executives in Pittsburgh for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Clipper works at Peoples Natural Gas on clean energy-related projects and teaches part time.

Timothy Glasspool (EdD ’06) was appointed superintendent of the Plum Borough School District.

Brandon Keat (MAT ’07) received a 2013 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. The awards are given each year to projects that encourage and promote environmental stewardship. In the winter of 2009, Keat started a beekeeping club with a few students at Propel Andrew Street High School, and the group soon became an elective class due to increased student involvement. The honey produced is available for purchase, and sales of honey and hive-based products have made High School Beekeeping a self-sustaining class.

Kakenya Ntaiya (PhD ’11) was named a 2013 CNN Hero, an award featured in an annual television special. The network honors individuals who make extraordinary contributions to humanitarian aid and a real difference in their communities. Ntaiya is among 10 others from around the world to be chosen for the honor last year. In 2009, she opened the first primary school for girls in her native Kenyan village and today helps to provide education to 155 students. Ntaiya also spent her time in the United States promoting awareness of the issues affecting Kenyan girls. She was the first youth advisor to the United Nations Population Fund and traveled around the world to speak on the importance of educating girls, particularly as a means of fighting the practices of female genital mutilation and child marriage.

Joseph Pasquerilla (EdD ’08) was appointed superintendent of the Northgate School District.

Laura Scharphorn (MS ’11, PhD ’12) was a semifinalist for the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program, which is organized by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to help develop potential government leaders. The PMF program was created more than three decades ago by executive order and has gone through many changes over the years. While at Pitt, Scharphorn worked with Heather Bachman and Shannon Wanless on research investigating best practices for supporting the development of young children’s early social and academic skills.

William Stropkaj (EdD ’02) was appointed superintendent of the Keystone Oaks School District.

John D. Wilkinson (EdD ’03) was appointed superintendent of the Belle Vernon Area School District.