Executive Directors

Kirk Lawson

President and CEO – Business Professionals of America

Kirk Lawson has been the Executive Director of Business Professionals of America for over six years. He has directed a variety of non-profits at the local, state, national and international level.  

Paul Wardinski

Paul Wardinski

Executive Director – DECA

Paul A. Wardinski is the Executive Director of DECA Inc. Wardinski brings nearly 30 years of experience in educational leadership and management, serving in roles from a marketing education teacher and DECA advisor to secondary education administrator, including Director of Student Activities, Academy Administrator, two high school principalships at McLean HS and West Springfield HS, and serving as the Director of the Office of Professional and Life Skills in the Instructional Services Department, all for Fairfax County Public Schools (Va.), the 10th largest school district in the United States.

His DECA experience began as a Collegiate DECA student member over 34 years ago at Virginia Tech.  Wardinski served as a high school DECA advisor for 11 years before assuming various educational administrative positions.  Wardinski continued his involvement with DECA, serving as a competitive events conference coordinator at DECA’s International Career Development Conference for 17 years. In addition, he served on the DECA Competitive Events Task Force from 2012-2014, received the DECA Inc. Outstanding Service Award in 2012, authored nearly 400 competitive events scenarios, and participated in numerous scholarship and program reviews for DECA. Wardinski was also part of a small team that created the sports and entertainment marketing curriculum in Va., and served as a reviewer and consulting editor for numerous marketing textbooks.

Dan Brown

Co-Director – Educators Rising

Dan Brown, a National Board Certified Teacher, has served as Executive Director of Educators Rising since September 2013. Previously he taught high school English at a charter school in Southeast Washington, D.C., and served for a year as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education. He holds a master’s degree in education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and is the author of The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle, a memoir of his first year of teaching fourth grade in the Bronx. Dan’s writing on education has appeared in Education Week, the Boston Globe, and the New York Daily News, among other publications. He contributed a chapter to the book The American Public School Teacher: Past, Present, and Future, published by Harvard Education Press. In January 2014, Dan was named one of “10 Rockstar Teachers on Twitter” by Mashable. Dan Brown did not write The Da Vinci Code, and he is okay with that.

Steve Brown

Steve A. Brown

National Advisor & Board Chair – FFA

Dr. Steve A. Brown, National Advisor & Board Chair, National FFA Organization (FFA) is celebrating its 88th year  making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Under his leadership in 2014-15 has experienced a record high national membership of 629,367 from 7,757 chapters.  

Brown is a product of FFA and school-based agricultural education. He became the National Advisor in 2011 with more than 35 years of service to FFA and school-based agricultural education. He served as the National FFA Executive Secretary from 2008 to 2010.  Brown began his professional career as an agricultural education instructor and FFA Advisor at the Area Career and Technical Center in Macon, Missouri.  He served as a district supervisor in agricultural education and state FFA executive secretary at the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for 23 years. 

Brown received his doctoral degree in agricultural education at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Some of his previously served professional roles include president of the National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education and Director on the National Council for Agricultural Education.  He serves as an Educational Program Specialist in the College and Career Transition Branch (CCTB), in the Division of Academic & Technical Education (DATE) of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Responsibilities include providing technical assistance, professional leadership and expertise in developing, improving, planning and evaluating Career and Technical Education programs.

Sandy Spavone

Executive Director – Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

Sandy Spavone, Executive Director of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), has worked with youth peer education national programs for the past thirteen years.  She served as the Executive Director for National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) from 2006 – 2013 and recently returned to FCCLA as their Executive Director where she formerly served as the FCCLA Director of Programs. The focus of her work has been to provide programs and opportunities for youth to have leadership tools to take a concern and turn it into action. She has developed national youth leadership training programs, programs to address specific health and safety concerns, and coordinated national campaigns. Before entering the non-profit field Mrs. Spavone taught 12th Grade English and Advanced Placement English and served as the Student Government Sponsor for eight years.


Jean M. Buckley

President and CEO – Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL)

Jean M. Buckley is president and chief executive officer of Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. (FBLA-PBL), which is celebrating seventy-two years of preparing students for careers in business and business-related fields. Jean joined FBLA-PBL in 1997. Under her leadership, the association has grown to become one of the largest career and technical student organizations, involving more than a quarter-million students and teachers across the United States and abroad. Jean provides the strategic direction for the association, ensuring its mission — “To bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs.” During her tenure, she has increased the number of business partners, expanded competitive event offerings with a focus on technology, and grown member benefits for all divisions. Prior to joining FBLA-PBL, Jean had a distinguished twenty-year career with Junior Achievement Inc., where she held several field office and national positions. As the senior vice president of education at the national headquarters, she was responsible for the development and implementation of K–12 business and economics curricula, as well as leading all educational outreach efforts.

Jim Koeninger, Ph.D.

Executive Director – HOSA–Future Health Professionals

Since 1984, Jim has served as Executive Director of HOSA-Future Health Professionals. His 45 years of experiences in public education, higher education, corporate training and development, association management and strategic partnerships between government and corporations have been beneficial in managing a CTSO for the health industry.

Following completion of a Ph.D. program at The Ohio State University, Jim held faculty positions through the years at universities in Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma.  Jim served as the leader designer and facilitator of the Walton Institute over an 18-year period for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  He authored numerous articles, monographs, training programs, videos, media productions and training manuals including a unique classroom simulation package for McGraw-Hill Book Company.  Jim and his wife, Karen, co-founded the Leadership Development Institute (LDI) and conducted scores of summer camps, retreats, workshops, and regional conferences.

Timothy W. Lawrence

Executive Director – SkillsUSA

Having been involved with SkillsUSA for most of his life, Timothy Lawrence firmly believes that getting involved in technical education and joining SkillsUSA in high school set his course for a successful future.  He worked in both labor and management positions in the manufacturing industry for nine years while continuing his education, graduating Magna Cum Laude from James Madison University with a degree in Administration and Training. He fulfilled one of his life dreams when he became a teacher in Virginia in 1978. He achieved another life goal when he was named the National Trade and Industrial Education Teacher of the Year in 1983. In 1987, he joined the Virginia Department of Education as a vocational student specialist and chief executive officer of the state SkillsUSA organization.  He also served other youth initiatives with the National Safety Council’s Youth Division, Students Against Driving Drunk and numerous community service organizations.  In 1996, Mr. Lawrence joined the national SkillsUSA organization as Business and Industry Partnerships Director at their National Leadership Center in Leesburg, Va. In January, 2001, Mr. Lawrence became the Chief Executive Officer of SkillsUSA, one of the nation’s largest individual membership organizations.  In this position, he feels he works for the students and teachers of America’s technical education system.

Dr. Rosanne White

Executive Director – Technology Student Association (TSA)

Rosanne White has been the national executive director of the Technology Student Association (TSA) for over twenty years. She holds a doctoral degree from Virginia Tech University in education administration. Her master degree from George Mason University is also in education administration. Dr. White’s bachelor degree is from Radford University in early childhood education and special education. She is a former instructor and program administrator with Fairfax County Public Schools.