Elizabeth Pungello Bruno, Ph.D., is the President of the Brady Education Foundation. She is also a Research Associate Professor in the Developmental Psychology Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to shifting her primary professional efforts to the Foundation, Elizabeth was a Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where her main research focus was on early care and education environments and school readiness skills of at-risk children, funded by grants from private foundations (Buffett Early Childhood Fund) and government agencies (e.g., National Institute of Child Health and Human Development). More specifically, her work included the investigation of the long-term outcomes of the Abecedarian Project (an early educational intervention for children at high risk for poor cognitive and academic outcomes); the exploration of the associations among race, income, parenting, childcare quality and language development and school readiness; and the investigation of factors that influence why and how parents search for and select child care. In addition, she led the initial phases FPG Infant-Toddler Initiative and served on the NonBiomedical Institutional Review Board at UNC-CH for over a decade. Dr. Bruno currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Marriage and Family and Early Childhood Research Quarterly, the Frank Porter Graham Executive Leadership Board, as well as on a number of other non-profit boards. Elizabeth received her doctorate in Developmental Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has published several articles on early education environments, family circumstances, and child outcomes.
Barbara Crockett is the Executive Director and Board Secretary for the Foundation. She has over twenty-eight years of experience as a Montessori teacher, school founder, director of curriculum, school principal, and most important of all, Montessori parent. She holds an AMS 3-6 Primary Teaching Credential from Seattle University and has taught and/or served in administration in Montessori schools in Washington State, Michigan, Louisiana, Oregon and North Carolina. On occasion she provides consulting for Montessori schools.
Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., is the Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of Center for Education Evaluation at HighScope Educational Research Foundation. Prior to joining HighScope, she was at the the Buffet Early Childhood Institute, University of Nebraska and Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Dr. Iruka’s research focuses on determining how early experiences impact poor and ethnic minority children’s learning and development and the role of the family and education environments and systems. She is engaged in projects and initiatives focused on how evidence-informed policies, systems, and practices in early education can support the optimal development and experiences of low-income, ethnic minority and immigrant children, such as through family engagement and support, quality rating and improvement systems, and early care and education systems and programs. She is co-PI for the IES-funded Early Learning Network, Nebraska Site, a large scale and far reaching study aimed at identifying malleable factors that (a) support early learning in preschool and Grades 1-3, and (b) may be effective at closing the achievement gap over time for students who are disadvantaged. In particular, she has been engaged in addressing how best to ensure excellence for young diverse learners, especially Black children, such as through development of a classroom observation measure, public policies, and publications geared towards early education practitioners and policymakers. She has served on numerous national boards and committees, including National Academies of Sciences Study on Parenting and National Research Conference on Early Childhood.
Dr. Iruka has a B.A. in psychology from Temple University, M.A. in psychology from Boston University, and Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami, Florida.
Mark Kuhn was educated at Duke University (BA) and its Fuqua School of Business (MM). He was employed by Duke University in various of its financial operations, most recently as Director of Public Securities at Duke Management Company. In 1993, Mark formed his own registered investment advisory firm that serves individual clients. He is a CPA licensed by the State of North Carolina. Mark currently serves on the board of the Triangle Community Foundation and chairs its investment committee. He also serves on the board of the Friends Council on Education and volunteers as a committee member at Carolina Friends School and Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Peter Lettenberger has been a Director and Officer of the W.H. Brady Foundation and the Brady Education Foundation for over thirty years. He retired after forty years of legal practice as a partner in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin law firm of Quarles & Brady. He has been and continues to be active in numerous civic and charitable organizations including having served as Chairman of the Board of his local Community Foundation, United Way and Health Care System.
William H. Brady, Jr. incorporated the W.H. Brady Foundation in 1954, the same year he became a founding member of the National Review. He believed that, “It is not government, it is not dictators or presidents or generals or popes who rule the world. It’s ideas.” From 1954 to 1988, the Foundation was based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and contributed to many civic, educational, and public policy organizations
After her father’s death in 1988, Elizabeth Brady Lurie assumed leadership of the W.H. Brady Foundation. In 1996, the Foundation’s headquarters were moved to Asheville, North Carolina with a major emphasis on supporting public policy non-profit organizations.
In 2001, Dr. Elizabeth Pungello Bruno, Elizabeth Lurie’s daughter and William H. Brady’s granddaughter, became president of the W. H. Brady Foundation. A few years later the Foundation engaged in a large gifting program followed by a major reorganization. Renamed the Brady Education Foundation, it moved its offices to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For the next five years, the board maintained a gifting moratorium as it developed a new mission and operating guidelines.
The Brady Education Foundation resumed a regular granting cycle in 2009. In keeping with Dr. Bruno’s own academic training and keen interest in education, the Foundation’s board currently focuses its attention on ways to close the achievement/opportunity gap for children at risk for poor school outcomes due to environmental factors associated with living in poverty. The Foundation currently funds evaluations of existing programs.
Currently, the Foundation is particularly focused on the development and evaluation of programs that are consistent with a strength-based approach and show promise of being feasible, effective and sustainable. Today’s Brady Education Foundation strives to be the place where “research and practice meet” because, as Mr. Brady used to say, “ideas have consequences.”