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Board Members’ Bios

Dr. James Blasingame
Professor, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University Tempe

As a professor at Arizona State University, JIM BLASINGAME focuses on young adult literature, Indigenous curriculum, censorship, secondary reading and writing pedagogy, preparing pre-service teachers, and cowboy poetry. He also works with the ASU chapter of the US State Department’s International Leaders in Education Partnership, for which he helps visiting teachers from around the world to create professional development modules to use with teachers in their home countries. Dr. Blasingame is the executive director of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English, and has served as its president and co-editor of The ALAN Review, a journal devoted entirely to young adult literature. He is an assistant to Henry Quintero and Simon Ortiz on the RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All: Collaboration and Creativity at Work. Dr. Blasingame has published over 100 interviews with poets and authors of young adult literature and over 200 book reviews in VOYAJournal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, The ALAN Review, and English Journal.

Dr. Blasingame was the 2018 ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Zebulon Pearce Professor for the Humanities, a 2018 Pat Tillman Veterans’ Center Professor, and the 2017 Arizona Humanities Dan Shilling Public Humanities Scholar. He was a 2014 ASU Doctoral Mentor of the Year, and the 2008 ASU Parents’ Association Professor of the Year. He was the 2008 International Reading Association Arbuthnot Award winner for outstanding professor of children’s and young adult literature.  He has given presentations and/or performed cowboy poetry at the National Council of Teachers of English convention, the International Reading Association, the Western States Conference on Rhetoric and Composition, and the Graz University International Summer School at Seggau Castle in Austria. Before coming to ASU in 2000, Dr. Blasingame spent twenty-four years in secondary education as a high school teacher, coach, bus driver and principal.

Edgar Rafael Olivo
Vice Chair
CEO/Business Leadership Educator and Economic Development Advisory, Compass Computer and Business School, LLC 

EDGAR RAFAEL OLIVO is an award-winning bilingual business communication expert, international corporate trainer, author and speaker whose work is regularly featured on Univision, Telemundo, CNN Latino, NPR, Phoenix Business Journal and many other media platforms across the country.  He founded Compass CBS, a computer and business school that delivers innovative leadership and training solutions to top businesses in North and Latin America in order to help grow and develop strong, harmonious, productive and inclusive work communities.

A passionate advocate for economic development, community, culture and education. Edgar has invested much of his philanthropic efforts as an executive board member for grant-giving organizations, social-arts focused charter schools, financial advisory boards, and social justice projects.

Edgar hosts a weekly social media show called “Hablemos de Negocios con Edgar Olivo” or “Let’s Talk Business with Edgar Olivo” with Univision Arizona. The show is for Spanish-speaking professionals who wish to establish and successfully grow in their profession and business.

Edgar is certified in business, finance, data analytics, corporate training, and executive coaching. He holds a business communication degree and applied business data analytics certificate from the W.P Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Edgar is the son of Mexican immigrants in the United States and is the eldest of eleven siblings. When he is not working, you can find Edgar on his ranch in Northern Arizona searching for fossils and assisting his husband build his natural history museum.

Karl Kendall
Deputy Director of Collections and Programming, Phoenix Public Library

KARL KENDALL has worked for the Phoenix Public Library for the past 17 years.  In his current role as the Deputy Director of Collections and Programming, Karl oversees the coordination of programs, services, and the purchasing of library materials across this diverse system of 17 Library locations.   Prior to his current position, Karl managed the Century, Cesar Chavez, and Agave libraries, overseeing the opening of the latter two.  Karl holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree in Information and Library Sciences from the University of Arizona.  Married with three young children, Karl’s main passions are music, baseball, and, of course, reading.  

Eshe Pickett 150x150Eshé Pickett
Cloud Automation Engineer, Intel Corporation

ESHЀ PICKETT is a Software Architect at the Intel Corporation in Chandler, AZ with the Internet of Things Group; she has been with the company since 2005. In her role, she focuses on cloud-to-POS workloads and system software operations in the store. Eshe participates in STEM outreach, specifically targeting women in engineering. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University and her Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Chicago.

Eshe is an active community member who strongly advocates for civic and civil engagement. She is a graduate of Valley Leadership, mentored for 6 years with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona, was a Precinct Committeeman (PC) in Legislative District (LD) 18 from 2008-2018, and is presently a Democratic PC in Legislative District 17. She served as the Recording Secretary for LD 18 from 2010-2014 and is currently on the Communications and Technology Committee.

julie codell 150x150Dr. Julie Codell
Member at Large
Professor, Art History and Film, Barrett Honors College Faculty, Arizona State University

JULIE CODELL is Professor of Art History at Arizona State University and affiliate faculty in English, Gender Studies, Film and Media Studies and Asian Studies. She has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Indiana University Bloomington, an MA in Art History from Indiana, an MA in English from The University of Michigan and a BA in English from Vassar College. She was Vice Chair of the Montana Humanities Council while teaching at the University of Montana, Missoula, and a grants evaluator for the NEH, the Australian Research Council and the National Humanities Center.  Her research and teaching interests are 19th-century European culture and the press, the British empire, 19th- and early 20th-century India, life writings and film. She wrote The Victorian Artist, and edited Transculturation in British Art; Power and Resistance: The Delhi Coronation Durbars; The Political Economy of Art; Imperial Co-Histories; and co-edited Orientalism, Eroticism and Modern Visuality in Global Cultures; Encounters in the Victorian Press, and Orientalism Transposed. She received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Getty Foundation, Kress Foundation, Huntington Library, Ransom Center, and Yale Center for British Art. She has been president of 5 Victorian studies societies, board member of 8 professional organizations, and 6 scholarly journals.

Dr. Alain-Philippe Durand
Dean of the College of Humanities, University of Arizona

ALAIN-PHILIPPE DURAND is Dean of the College of Humanities, Professor of French, Honors College Distinguished Fellow, and affiliated faculty in Africana Studies, Latin American Studies and LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona. His research interests include French and Brazilian literatures, French Cinema, Hip-Hop, and the promotion of the Humanities disciplines in the professions. He is the author and editor of four books: Black, Blanc, Beur. Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture in the Francophone WorldA Techno World. New Electronic Spaces in the French Novel of the 1980s and 1990s (preface by Marc Augé, published in French); Novels of the Contemporary Extreme (co-edited with Naomi Mandel), and Frédéric Beigbeder and his doubles (published in French). He has published chapters and articles in journals such as PMLAThe French ReviewRomance NotesContemporary French CivilizationL’Esprit créateur, and Romance Quarterly, among others. He is Associate Editor of the journalContemporary French Civilization. The French Government awarded Durand the Palmes Académiques. The University of Arizona awarded Durand the Five Star Faculty Award, the Richard Ruiz Diversity Leadership Faculty Award, and the African American Community Council’s Distinguished Faculty Award. The French publication France-Amérique named him among its list of fifty French talents living in the United States.

Andrew Krahe
Learning and Development Technical Administrator, Central Arizona Project

ANDREW KRAHE is currently serving as technical administrator in Learning and Development at Central Arizona Project.  His oversight includes the coordination, dissemination, and recording of Manager, Supervisor, Safety, and Field training delivered to CAP’s approximately 500 full-time employees who are distributed across the organization’s Pumping Plants, Headquarters, field offices, and 336 miles of canal system. Prior to this role, Andrew was the co-founder and operations director of an international membership-based medical continuing education organization headquartered in Arizona with international presence in Canada, India, and China.

Andrew received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Sociocultural Anthropology with a focus on Medical Anthropology.  His personal and professional goal has always been to translate this academic understanding of dialogue and culture into the corporate learning and development environment. He is a lifetime member of both the Sigma Alpha Lambda National Leadership and Honors Organization and the Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honors Society.  He holds technical Certifications in the Perigon® Method of Process Mapping and the SumTotal Learning Management System. He also has extensive experience with customer relationship management.

Dr. Tanae Morrison
CEO of Morrison Education Group, Inc. / Sun Valley Charter School

TANAE MORRISON is an educational change agent. An Arizona native hailing from Tucson, she has methodically and strategically forged through the ranks of statewide educational leaders to find herself among the top educators in her field. Tanae earned a B.A. in Sociology, an M.A. in Educational Psychology, an M.A. in Educational Leadership, and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership respectively and is now setting the educational system in Arizona on fire by becoming one of the most highly regarded women in business in the state. Tanae has been a driving force in the Arizona educational system and has not wavered from her passion for rigor and excellence in the academic development of students wherever she has served. Dr. Morrison has been in the educational field for over 20 years beginning as a teacher assistant, and progressing through special education, student advocacy, teaching, school counseling, and now is the CEO of Morrison Education Group, Inc. dba Sun Valley Charter School founded in 2009. A mark of excellence many cannot claim.

Sun Valley Charter School emerged because Dr. Morrison saw that students in the Laveen/South Mountain community were being underserved. Dr. Morrison committed to make a change in this community. With the help of enthusiastic believers in her mission, Tanae brought the school’s program to a high need area because of a strong conviction that all students can learn when given the right tools along with love and support. Over the course of nine years Dr. Morrison has employed a diverse group of passionate educa-tors beginning with 10 employees to now over 35 employees. Sun Valley is currently ranked among the highest in its service area by the Arizona Department of Education. Morrison Education Group is now extending its reach through a new school campus pro-ject to improve the academic outcomes for more than 750 young scholars and employing over 50 faculty and staff all while positively impacting the local community. This is due in part to Dr. Morrison’s strong character, excellent interpersonal communication skills, relentless desire for excellence and a genuine love for those she serves. Dr. Morrison is a respected member of the Phoenix business community, an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated, which is an international service organization, is involved in ongoing community outreach through Pilgrim Rest Foundation. She is a well- respected pillar in the community.

Debbie Nez-Manuel

DEBBIE NEZ-MANUEL’S professional accomplishments have profoundly impacted the humanities and Arizona communities. She earned her Master’s of Social Work, and advanced degree in Nonprofit Leadership, from Arizona State University. Nez-Manuel is a proactive community leader, and also a public servant. Nez-Manuel currently serves as the Co-Chair of the “MMIWG” Data Sharing Committee, the committee charged with developing a state-wide plan to examine and reduce the murder and missing of Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).  Her expertise and leadership on the Study Committee was instrumental to the passage of HB2570 signed by Governor Ducey. Nez-Manuel remains an active and engaged community leader, who mobilizes community members to be strong, productive, healthy, and resilient people. She serves as a Consultant to promote equity and social engagement among Native American communities and peoples across Arizona.

Dr. Almira Poudrier
Principal Lecturer, Arizona State University

ALMIRA POUDRIER is principal lecturer in the School of International Letters and Cultures at Arizona State University. Her research interests include Greek history and religion, particularly the material culture of religious space and cult described in Herodotus. A specialist in teaching first-year Latin, she teaches many of the lower division Latin courses at ASU as well as frequent courses in ancient Greek and Roman language, myth, culture, the classical tradition, and comparative literature. As faculty sponsor of Solis Diaboli (the Classics club on campus), she organizes the yearly Fall Forum in Classics, and several other outreach activities both on and off campus. She organizes the annual international poster contest at the SILC Language Fair. She also serves as vice-president of the Central Arizona Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, which brings monthly lectures on archaeology and material culture from national and international scholars to the Valley. She recruits volunteers for and occasionally participates herself in “mudslinging,” a monthly conservation activity at Pueblo Grande Museum. As the organizer of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS) Medieval Latin Research Group, she leads weekly reading sessions in translating medieval and Renaissance Latin authors. In her free time, she enjoys reading and watching futuristic science fiction and space opera, hiking in the desert with her dog, Fridays for Future Climate Strike rallies, and true crime podcasts.

Dr. Tamika Sanders
Talent Development Manager, Silicon Valley Bank

Dr. Sanders is the Talent Development Manager at Silicon Valley Bank. Dr. Sanders has over 10 years of experience working with schools and businesses in the areas of teaching, training, curriculum design, public programming, strategic planning, and professional development. She has a PhD in Higher Education, a Master’s in Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Her work revolves around bringing a diversity of real-world perspectives into programming initiatives and creating strategic community partnerships that can generate revenue and provide access to resources and opportunities for marginalized groups. Dr. Sander’s work in the community earned her an invitation to speak at the TEDx Phoenix Salon about community sustainability in 2012, a Community Luminary Award in 2014, and a nomination for the 2015 Humanities Rising Star Award for individuals using creative approaches to engage the public in humanities topics. Her goal is to continue using the arts to break barriers, inspire youth, and create social change.

Martin Stamat
Executive Director, Glen Canyon Conservancy

MARTIN STAMAT has worked in and on public lands for the past 9 years.  In his current role as Executive Director of Glen Canyon Conservancy, he oversees a philanthropic nonprofit that educates visitors to public lands in northern Arizona and southern Utah including Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  Before his current role, Martin worked in the Glen Canyon river corridor as a daily river guide on the Colorado River. Martin earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Appalachian State University of Boone, NC. He lives and works in Page, AZ, where he is frequently outside on the public lands he loves.

Crys Waddell
Chief Operating Officer/Creative Strategist, Hustle PHX

Crys is the Creative Strategist/ Chief Operating Officer at Hustle PHX. Hustle PHX is a non-profit that serves under-resourced areas in Arizona by providing intellectual, social and financial capital to entrepreneurs. She is the appointed Vice Chairperson for the Arts and Culture Commission for the City of Phoenix. The Commission is a critical voice in promoting the importance and value of arts and culture experiences for all Phoenix residents. Crys Waddell is a servant leader. Crys’s extensive background in all things creative has lent itself to a variety of creative, community-building projects that have fostered tremendous change in marginalized communities. She is also a member of the A.A.W.E.G.C.(African American Women’s Empowerment Giving Circle) which is a part of the Black Philanthropy Initiative to advance equity, health, education, leadership and social justice for African-Americans in Arizona. Crys graduated from California State University of Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theater Arts and Dance. She is a mixed media artist, who loves to use her artistic talents volunteering her time to communities in Arizona and throughout the U.S.