Speaker Bios

Kurt M. Landgraf

Kurt M. Landgraf, Past ETS President and CEO (2000–2013)

Kurt M. Landgraf joined Educational Testing Service as President and Chief Executive Officer on Aug. 7, 2000. Since then, he has overseen ETS's entrance into the K–12 market, expanded its international businesses, broadened its education research activities and raised the company's profile as a voice for education reform.

In addition to strengthening ETS's business and research initiatives, Landgraf has nurtured the company's social and community outreach efforts, in part by instituting a policy that provides one paid community service day for every employee each fiscal year and that actively encourages employees' participation. He has also led the establishment of innovative company programs to assist local communities and service groups and improve education. These include the ETS-Trenton Community Partnership, which aims to improve student and teacher performance in the Trenton, N.J., public school system by bringing to bear ETS's resources, including research-based instructional tools and tactics, on curriculum and student needs. ETS, moreover, works with the school system and the community to help build a school culture that fosters motivation and learning.

In its ongoing efforts to help close the academic achievement gap between affluent and disadvantaged students, under Landgraf's leadership ETS has strengthened ties and collaborated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Urban League, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the ASPIRA Association and Native American education groups.

Landgraf began his career at ETS more than 30 years ago, when he served as Associate Director of Marketing. Before returning to ETS in 2000, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the DuPont Pharmaceuticals Company, having previously held a variety of leadership positions at DuPont and the Upjohn Company.

Landgraf is a member of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education, a post to which he was appointed by former Gov. Richard Codey; the Washington Higher Education Secretariat; and the American Council on Education, and serves on the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges. Landgraf is also a member of the board of directors of IKON Office Solutions, Inc., Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, and Corning, Inc. He has chaired the National Pharmaceutical Council, United Way of Delaware, the Delaware Association for Rights of Citizens with Mental Retardation and Delaware CarePlan. He recently completed a term as President of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Sciences, Inc. Landgraf is a member of the board of directors of Jobs for America's Graduates, a national nonprofit organization that helps keep at-risk students in school and then in jobs, and is a member of the Rock Institute of Ethics at Pennsylvania State University.

Landgraf earned his bachelor's degree in economics and business administration from Wagner College. He also holds three master's degrees: an M.Ed. from Rutgers University, an M.A. in economics from Pennsylvania State University and an M.S. in sociology from Western Michigan University. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, and has also received three honorary doctorates.

In addition to the work he has done in the corporate world, Landgraf has taught college-level economics, sociology and labor relations at institutions throughout the United States.

Richard Coley

Richard Coley, Director, ETS Policy Information Center

Richard Coley, Director of the Policy Information Center at ETS, focuses on federal, state and local education policy issues in his work, including studies of school finance, teacher education and certification, educational standards, tracking, education indicators and education reform.

The former teacher earned a master of arts degree in teaching from The College of New Jersey and has studied the politics and economics of education at Teachers College at Columbia University. Some of his publications include:

  • Windows on Achievement and Inequality
  • Locked Up and Locked Out: An Educational Perspective on the U.S. Prison Population
  • The Fourth-Grade Reading Classroom
  • Growth in School: Achievement Gains from the Fourth to Eighth Grades
  • Preparing Teachers Around the World
  • An Uneven Start: Indicators of Inequality in School Readiness

Paul Barton

Paul Barton, Senior Associate, ETS Policy Information Center

As Senior Associate for ETS's Policy Information Center (PIC), Paul Barton conducts policy research on a range of education issues. His areas of expertise are in education policy and testing, adult education, labor market policy, the school-to-work transition, welfare reform, unemployment insurance and labor statistics. Barton also works as an independent education consultant and writer.

Prior to his current position, he served as the PIC's Director and as Associate Director for the National Assessment of Educational Progress program in Research & Development. Barton was also President of the National Institute for Work and Learning, served on the U.S. Secretary of Labor's Policy Planning Staff, and worked in the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the U.S. President.

Barton is the author of Worklife Transitions: The Adult Learning Connection, Indicators of Welfare Dependency, What Jobs Require, Literacy and Dependency, Toward Inequality: Disturbing Trends in Higher Education and Learning by Degrees: Indicators of Performance in Higher Education.

His recent publications include Parsing the Achievement Gap: Baselines for Tracking Progress; One Third of a Nation: Rising Dropout Rates and Declining Opportunities; High School Reform and Work: Facing Labor Market Realities; and "Failing" or "Succeeding" Schools: How Can We Tell?

Barton earned a bachelor's degree in social science from Hiram College in 1953 and a master's degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University in 1957.

Marc H. Morial

Marc H. Morial, National Urban League President and CEO

In the words of one major publication, President and CEO Marc H. Morial is ushering the National Urban League (NUL) into a "new era with street smarts and boardroom savvy."

Elected in May 2003 as the eighth President and CEO of the nation's largest and oldest civil rights and direct services organization empowering African Americans and other ethnic communities, Morial has helped propel the League into the forefront of national discourse on public policy issues, research and effective community-based solutions in urban America.

From Hurricane Katrina and the extension of the Voting Rights Act to creating jobs and housing through effective economic strategies, he is considered one of the nation's foremost experts on urban issues. He has also been recognized twice by the NonProfit Times as one of America's top 50 nonprofit executives and has been named to Ebony's 100 "Most Influential Blacks in America" list.

Upon his appointment to the League, Morial established an ambitious five-point empowerment agenda — encompassing Education & Youth, Economic Empowerment, Health & Quality of Life, Civic Engagement and Civil Rights & Racial Justice — that informs the League's programs, research and advocacy efforts. He created the new quantitative "Equality Index" to effectively measure the disparities in urban communities across these five areas. The index is now a permanent fixture in the League's much-heralded The State of Black America report.

Under Morial's leadership, the League joined a select group of nonprofits to receive the Better Business Bureau/Wise Giving Alliance's seal of approval in 2007, the only civil rights organization selected. Morial established his President's Council of Economic Advisors to assist the League in its efforts to mold public policy at the national level and put the NUL Opportunity Compact, a comprehensive and ambitious set of policy prescriptions for economic change, on course for release in late September.

In 2006, the National Urban League Economic Empowerment Tour was launched to raise national awareness of economic disparities between minorities and mainstream America, one city at a time. Since its inception, the tour has stopped in Pittsburgh, Pa., and the New York City metropolitan area, with two stops in the works.

Under Morial's direction, the League in 2005 came to the rescue of more than 30,000 victims of Hurricane Katrina through its 100-plus affiliates, assisting them with food and clothing and connecting them with government resources. Morial played an instrumental role in organizing a Black Entertainment Television network telethon to help raise millions of dollars for those affected by the disaster just days after it struck. The NUL also served as an advocate for Katrina victims through the release of its Katrina Bill of Rights, which the Congressional Black Caucus used as the basis for its hurricane relief bill, and through the creation of the Katrina Fund.

In 2004, Morial launched the League's first Annual Legislative Policy Conference (LPC) in Washington, D.C. Armed with a common agenda of jobs, education and civil rights, the Urban League leadership (staff, board and volunteers) from across the country served as frontline advocates in discussions with congressional lawmakers.

A Black Male Commission was formed to explore and formulate concrete recommendations, solutions and programs to address the alarming inequities, disparities and social trends disproportionately affecting Black males. Morial also established the Urban Entrepreneur Partnership (UEP), combining public and private sector resources to support business development growth among minority entrepreneurs.

Under Morial's economic agenda, five economic empowerment centers have been established, and $127.5 million has been secured in new market tax credits for business financing.

Prior to joining the National Urban League, Morial served two distinguished four-year terms (1994–2002) as Mayor of New Orleans, maintaining a 70 percent approval rating. During his tenure, crime fell by 60 percent; a corrupt police department was reformed; and $400 million was appropriated for city infrastructure improvements, including the construction of 15,000 new homes, 200 miles of streets, a new sports arena and the expansion of the convention center. He also brought the NBA's Hornets basketball team to New Orleans and was President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Before becoming mayor, Morial served as a Louisiana state senator for two years. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a law degree from Georgetown University, and honorary doctorate degrees from Xavier University and the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Isabel Sawhill

Isabel Sawhill, Senior Fellow, co-Director, Center on Children and Families, Brookings Institution

Isabel Sawhill is a Senior Fellow and Co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, where she holds the Cabot Family Chair. She served as Vice President and Director of the Economic Studies program from 2003–06. Prior to joining Brookings, Sawhill was a Senior Fellow at The Urban Institute and an Associate Director at the Office of Management and Budget, where her responsibilities included all of the federal government's human resource programs, accounting for one-third of the federal budget. Sawhill has also worked as a visiting professor at Georgetown Law School, Director of the National Commission for Employment Policy and President of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Sawhill's research has spanned an array of economic and social issues, including fiscal policy, economic growth, poverty and inequality, welfare reform, the well-being of children and changes in the family. She also serves on many boards, and helped to found and serves as Board President of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a nonprofit organization devoted to reducing teen pregnancy in the United States.

In addition, Sawhill has authored or edited numerous books and articles including: Restoring Fiscal Sanity 2005: Meeting the Long-Run Challenge and Restoring Fiscal Sanity: How to Balance the Budget, both with Alice Rivlin; One Percent for the Kids: New Policies, Brighter Futures for America's Children; Welfare Reform and Beyond: The Future of the Safety Net; Updating America's Social Contract: Economic Growth and Opportunity in the New Century; Getting Ahead: Economic and Social Mobility in America; and Challenge to Leadership: Economic and Social Issues for the Next Decade.