The National Education Finance Conference Lifetime Award recipients have been individuals who have distinguished themselves over a career in the financing of education on a national, state, and local level through research and practice. The winners reflect individuals who have contributed nationally to the improvement of education funding. The winners are chosen by a distinguished panel of education finance experts from nominations made from individuals and organizations across the nation. In every instance, the winners have been individuals who were nationally recognized experts in the field of financing education. Individuals have written major textbooks, scholarly journal articles in leading education finance journals, and served as consultants to school districts, universities, and state legislatures as well as served as expert witnesses regarding the financing of education. The winners are professors at major research universities as well as education finance practitioners who have worked with universities, school districts, and state legislatures.
R. Craig Wood, University of Florida
Craig Wood is one of the leading scholars in the field of financing public education in America. He is currently a Professor of Educational Administration and Policy at the University of Florida. His career has spanned public school classroom teacher, school district business manager, and assistant superintendent for finance for school districts across the nation. Prior to his present position, he was a professor of educational administration at Purdue University. He is President of Wood, Rolle & Associates, a national education finance-consulting firm with offices in Gainesville, Florida and Providence, Rhode Island.
He is one of the most prolific authors in America regarding the funding of public education. His publications record includes more than 250 book chapters, monographs, law reviews, and scholarly journal articles including the American Education Finance Association’s Annual Yearbooks and the Education Law Association’s Handbook of School Law series.
His authored and co-authored books include Money & Schools, (six editions), Education Finance Law (four editions), Fiscal Leadership for Schools, and Principles of School Business Management (three editions). He serves on the editorial boards of Education Law Reporter, Journal of Education Finance, and Education Law & Policy Review. He has published his education finance research in such journals as the Journal of Education Finance, the Kentucky Law Review, The Saint Louis University Public Law Review, The University of Arkansas Law Review, The Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal, Educational Considerations, School Business Affairs, Planning & Changing, and the Education Law and Policy Review. He has presented at numerous national academic conferences over the years including those in England and South Africa.
He has conducted education finance litigation workshops for the National Conference on State Legislatures and the National Association of Attorneys General. He has served as the lead expert involving state constitutional challenges to financing public education in many states over the years. He has served as the lead expert witness for charter schools regarding funding. He has consulted with over two-dozen state legislatures regarding the financing of public education and many school districts. He is a past President of the Association of Education Finance Policy as well as its Executive Director. He is past President of the Education Law Association housed at Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, Ohio and the past President of the National Education Finance Academy. He holds an Ed.D. and M.A. Ed. in Educational Administration from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a B.S. cum laude from Campbell University in North Carolina.
Deborah Verstegen is Professor of Education Policy and Finance at the University of Nevada Reno. She has served as a consultant to local, state and national organizations/governments, has twice been a member of the Board of Directors of the American Educational Finance Association, is on the NEFC Board of Advisors and was editor of the Journal of Education Finance. She has published extensively and is co-editor of Spheres of Justice in Education and The Impacts of Litigation and Legislation on Public School Finance. She serves on numerous editorial boards, is policy editor of the Journal of Education Finance, past Chair of the AERA SIG on Fiscal Issues, Policy and Education Finance, and Founder of Women Education Leaders in Virginia. She has served as expert witness in finance litigation and developed an equity statistic. Her text Financing Education in a Climate of Change (2016) was recently released by Pearson, Inc. Deborah joined the university community after serving as teacher and administrator in public, private and alternative education.
Mary McKeown-Moak has been the senior financial officer for a university system, associate director of finance and facilities for a state higher education agency, a school finance specialist, foundation business officer, professor, and consultant to colleges and universities, legislatures, governors, foundations, and school districts. She has developed state or system funding formulas and/or performance funding systems for universities and community colleges in 36 states, school transportation and general state funding formulas in 10 states; and has worked with over 500 colleges, universities, and school districts on issues of resource allocation, facilities, human resources and strategic planning. She also has served as an expert witness in education finance court cases. She has authored five books on educational finance and management and published over 400 articles and chapters in books on education finance and management.
William Harman, is a Professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education at Pennsylvania State University. He has a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering with High Honors from the University of Florida, a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University. His present research focuses on understanding and investigating the impacts on school districts of the current economic crisis-the new fiscal reality. Other areas of interest include school budgeting, resource allocation at school and district levels, decision-making models in educational finance, and special education finance.
Richard G. Salmon is a recognized national authority in the area of public school finance. He has authored several textbooks, monographs, technical reports, and numerous journal articles in some of the most prestigious journals, including articles in the Journal of Education Finance, where he also serves as a member of the Board of Editors. He has conducted studies in twenty-seven states presented research in federal and state trials. Professor Salmon has spent most of his career at Virginia Tech, arriving as an assistant professor in 1972 and retiring as professor in 2010. He was appointed as Professor Emeritus in 2011.
David C. Thompson, professor and chair of the educational leadership department in the College of Education at Kansas State University, is often sought out by national media on school funding issues and has authored textbooks on the subject used at more than 200 universities. Thompson’s 40-year career includes experience as a teacher, principal, superintendent and the professoriate.
Lynn Moak has been involved in virtually every major education finance policy change since 1967. He has developed research presented in every major case regarding public school finance since the Edgewood litigation in 1984. He has conducted research into many facets of public education finance including administrative costs, cost variations associated with size, economic factors, community differentials, and changing state policy. He has participated in the basic design of state systems to gather and report financial and other information. At the regional and local level, he has assisted districts in projects ranging from the design of data systems to the analysis of revenue and expenditure options.
Kern Alexander holds postgraduate degrees from the University of Oxford, Pembroke College and Indiana University, Bloomington. He is now Excellence Professor of Educational Administration at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Earlier in his career he served as Professor of Educational Administration at the University of Florida for two decades, University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, President of Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green and, twice as President of Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky. Dr. Alexander takes an active part in state school finance planning and litigation. He is Editor of the Journal of Education Finance. His research interests are in the areas of public education finance, policy and law.