Elizabeth Pungello Bruno, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Pungello Bruno, Ph.D., is the President of the Brady Education Foundation. Prior to shifting her primary professional efforts to the Foundation, Dr. Bruno was a Research Associate Professor in the Developmental Psychology Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute where her main research focus was on early care and education environments and school readiness skills of placed-at-risk children, funded by grants from private foundations and government agencies. More specifically, her work included the investigation of the long-term outcomes of the Abecedarian Project (a longitudinal study of the effects of early education (delivered ages 0-5) on cognitive and academic, social-emotional, and health outcomes through adulthood); the exploration of the associations among race/ethnicity, 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. Dr. Bruno currently serves on the editorial boards of the Early Childhood Research Quarterly and the Journal of Marriage and Family and has published many articles and book chapters on early education environments, family circumstances, and child outcomes. In addition, she currently serves on the Board of Directors of Brady Corporation based in Milwaukee, WI (Chair of the Governance Committee and member of the Finance Committee and Technology Committee); on the Board of Trustees of the University of Rochester (Chair of the Student Affairs Committee and member of the Nominations and Board Practices Committee and Executive Committee); on the Board of Advisors for the Trust for Learning (co-Chair of the Executive Committee); as well as on a number of other non-profit boards. Prior service includes membership on the Frank Porter Graham Executive Leadership Board (Board Chair). Dr. Bruno received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Rochester (graduating Magna Cum Laude and with Highest Honors) and her M.A. in Child Clinical Psychology and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Barbara Crockett is the Foundation Administrator and Board Secretary. She has over twenty-eight years of experience as a Montessori teacher, school founder, director of curriculum and school principal. A graduate of Knox College, 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, and North Carolina.
Iheoma Iruka, Ph.D.
Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., is a Research Professor in the Department of Public Policy at UNC-CH and a Fellow and Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at the Frank Porter Graham hill Development Institute. Prior to her current appointment, Dr. Iruka was 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 Carolina Friends School and volunteers as a committee member at 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.
Sarah Hoffman is a 2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow and attorney at Disability Rights North Carolina, North Carolina’s federally-mandated Protection & Advocacy Agency (P&A). Her self-designed project focuses on improving prison conditions for people with mental illness and other disabilities who are incarcerated in NC prisons. Sarah is dedicated to expanding access to high-quality behavioral health treatment, particularly for people involved in the criminal legal system and marginalized populations who often lack agency over care. Sarah earned a law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law and a Master of Public Policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy in 2021. She has worked with the National Disability Rights Network, the NC Department of Behavioral Health, and the Mental Health Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.
Matthew Peterson was made a director of the Brady Education Foundation in September 2022. Shortly before then, Matt retired from The Northern Trust Company of Chicago, Illinois where he had worked since 1985. At the time of his retirement, Matt was a Senior Vice President and Senior Fiduciary Officer in the Milwaukee office of Northern Trust where he advised high net-worth individuals and their families, foundations and non-profit organizations.
William H. Brady, Jr. incorporated the W.H. Brady Foundation in 1954, 40 years after the Brady Corporation (the business that provided the original funding for the Foundation) was founded. 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 William H. Brady Jr.’s death in 1988, his daughter, Elizabeth Brady Lurie, assumed leadership of the Foundation. In 1996, the Foundation’s headquarters were moved to Maggie Valley, North Carolina and focused 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. After engaging in a large gifting program, the Foundation was renamed the Brady Education Foundation, and the headquarters were moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For the next five years the Foundation maintained a gifting moratorium as a new mission was developed.
The Brady Education Foundation resumed a regular granting cycle in 2009. Since that time, in keeping with Dr. Bruno’s academic career and keen interest in equitable learning opportunities, the Foundation has focused its funding on supporting access and equity in education.
Across these three generations of leadership, one extraordinary Board Member steadfastly served, providing sound council and wisdom. Peter Letterberger joined the Foundation in 1977, and during his tenure on the Board, he served in many roles, including: Assistant Secretary, Secretary, Assistant Treasurer, Treasurer, Vice-President, and importantly, Acting President during the transition from the W. H. Brady Foundation to the Brady Education Foundation.
In May 2023, in great appreciation for his many years of service, the Board created the Board Member Emeritus position and voted Peter Lettenberger as the first (and currently only) individual to be elected to this position. Although he decided to retire after his many years of service, the Board felt his perspective was so valuable that they asked him to continue to serve in this capacity so that they might be able to call upon him when his wise council would be needed once again. In many ways, the Foundation is able to do the work that it does today because of Peter Lettenberger’s service, dedication, and leadership.