The Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS) announced the appointment of the following five new Commissioners:
Philip Harris III – Philip Harris III is an experienced career and technical educator who currently serves as the work-based education coordinator at Berks Career & Technology Center in Leesport, Pa., where he coordinates and supervises work-experience programs for students in business, industrial shops, and school laboratories. Harris has volunteered with Middle States since 2014 and has served on several peer-review teams. He has also served as an evaluator with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, a role that has included supporting K-12 schools in developing guidance plans that inform school counseling procedures.
Betty Lucas-Gardner – Betty Lucas-Gardner is the CEO of ProTrain, which offers classroom, live and online synchronous training in a wide variety of fields including accounting and finance, healthcare, graphic design, and green and renewable energy. Lucas-Gardner manages the company’s resources and operations and serves as primary point of contact for the board, employees, and the public. Previously Lucas-Gardner was director of two computer training centers, and an instructor of technology and marketing. Lucas-Gardner lives in Raleigh, N.C.
Julia Musella – Julia Musella is founder, owner, and director of Bb International School, based in Pompano Beach, Fla. In addition to establishing Bb International School nearly 30 years ago, Musella founded Children’s Studio Inc., an early childhood education program in East Rutherford, N.J. She is also executive director for Piccolo Picasso, an organization that provides educational enrichment and training in project-based learning through the arts with early childhood educators. Musella has extensive experience with Middle States as a volunteer and also having achieved accreditation for Bb International School. Musella also helped start “I Am Ready” a Florida-based nonprofit that serves as an advocate for early learning programs across the state and nationwide and promotes inclusion of the arts as part of the mandatory curriculum.
Michael L. Smith – Michael L. Smith is director of the American School of Valencia in Valencia, Spain, where he manages all facets of school operations including financial management and governance, curriculum design and instruction, student support services, staff oversight, accreditation, and more. Prior to becoming director in 2013, Smith was head of school for ES International School in Barcelona, Spain, where he began as a teacher in 2003. He has been a Middle States volunteer since 2008 and has led teams of educators on visits to schools in several countries including Kuwait, China, Spain, Moldova, Malta, Luxembourg, and Germany. He is also a member of Middle States’ International Schools Advisory Committee, where he volunteers twice annually to review and provide feedback on Middle States accreditation reports. In 2019, he earned the Susan K. Nicklas Outstanding Volunteer Award. Given annually, the Nicklas Award recognizes a dedicated volunteer who has advanced the Middle States mission to foster continuous school improvement through accreditation.
Amy Wesley – Amy Wesley is the executive director of SABIS®, a global education management organization headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn. She manages the organization’s U.S. public charter schools and a private school in Frankfurt, Germany. Prior to this role, Wesley was head of marketing for an international school in Germany. A seasoned leader with two decades of experience with SABIS Educational Systems, she is an experienced manager with a background in negotiation, conflict management, strategic planning, problem-solving, and team building. Wesley, who was a Fulbright Scholar based in Salzburg, Austria, is fluent in both English and German.
The Middle States Commissions on Elementary Schools and Secondary Schools comprise 38 Commissioners serving three-year terms and elected by the Middle States membership. Commissioners meet twice annually to review accreditation recommendations and the organization’s finances, policies, and strategic plan.