2021-2022 Catalog

Board of Trustees Biographies

Andrea Backman, Ph.D., Ex officio 

Dr. Andrea Backman currently serves as the president of Strayer University. In this role she works to develop programs to help students succeed in school and find employment. She is focused on advancing economic mobility for students, learners and graduates with the intent of generating measurable, impactful return on student investment. In addition to her role as president, Dr. Backman also chairs the employability and student return on investment work at Strategic Education, Inc., Strayer University’s parent company. Dr. Backman previously served as provost and chief academic officer at Strayer University, overseeing faculty, curricula, learning design, institutional research and several other departments. Dr. Backman joined Strayer in 2013 as dean of the Jack Welch Management Institute, where she had the privilege to work for and be mentored by Jack Welch. She has held leadership positions at the University of Virginia and DePaul University. She holds a doctorate from the University of Virginia.  

Charlotte F. Beason, Ed.D., Chair

Dr. Beason is the chairwoman of the board of trustees. She has served as a member of the board of trustees since 1996. She has extensive experience in education, distance learning and the accreditation of education programs. She was executive director of the Kentucky Board of Nursing from 2005 to 2012. From 2000 to 2003, Dr. Beason was chair and vice chair of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (an autonomous agency accrediting baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing). She is an evaluator for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. From 1988 to 2004, Dr. Beason was with the Department of Veterans Affairs, first as director of Health Professions Education Service and the Health Professional Scholarship Program, and then as program director, Office of Nursing Services. Dr. Beason has served on the Board since 1996 and is a member of the Nominating Committee. Dr. Beason holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Berea College, a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing from Boston University and a doctorate in clinical psychology and public practice from Harvard University.

Jonathan Gueverra, Ed.D.

Dr. Gueverra was elected to the board of trustees in 2012. He now serves as the president and chief executive officer of Florida Keys Community College. Prior to this appointment, he was the founding chief executive officer of the Community College of the District of Columbia, the first community college in Washington, DC. With more than 25 years of higher education experience, Dr. Gueverra has served in a variety of administrative and faculty positions in two-year and four-year colleges and universities along the nation’s east coast. In 2015, he was elected to the board of trustees for the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Colleges. Prior to this, he served as a member of the board of the American Association for Community Colleges and co-chaired the Commission on Workforce Development. In addition, Dr. Gueverra serves on the steering committee and the communications committee for the Council of Presidents for the Florida College System. Dr. Gueverra holds an associate degree from Newbury College, a bachelor’s degree from Providence College, a master’s degree in business administration and a doctorate in education both from the University of Massachusetts.

Leslie Hitch, Ed.D.

Dr. Hitch was elected to the board of trustees in 2018. She is currently teaching faculty at William James College and has been associate teaching professor, Northeastern University and visiting fellow at Swinburne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. She has designed curriculum and taught in master's and doctoral programs in Leadership, Global Studies, and Higher Education Administration and for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In addition to her faculty position in Australia, she has extensive teaching experience internationally in Hong Kong and Vietnam. Her higher education administrative experience includes director of academic technology services at Northeastern University; vice president, Harcourt, Inc.; program director at Simmons College; and director of executive education at Babson College. She, and her co-author Shreshthi Mehta, received second prize in the Ivey-Publishing/Indian Business School Global Case Writing competition in 2015 and honorable mention in 2017. She is a member of the board for the Center for Independent Documentary and a trustee of the Newton Cultural Alliance. She holds a B.A. and M.B.A. from Simmons College, certificate in management and leadership in education from Harvard School of Education, and an Ed.D. in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

William C. Reha, M.D.

Dr. Reha has served as a member of the board of trustees since 2007 and is chair of its Alumni and Student Affairs Committee. He is a board-certified urologic surgeon in Woodbridge, Virginia. Dr. Reha is active in Strayer University alumni affairs and is the 2005 Outstanding Alumni Award winner. Dr. Reha has served as president of the Prince William County Medical Society, the Potomac Hospital Medical Staff, and the Virginia Urological Society. He was also speaker and is the immediate former president of the Medical Society of Virginia. He serves on the Virginia Delegation to the American Medical Association and is a State Society Network Representative for the American Association of Clinical Urologists. Dr. Reha is a fellow of the Claude Moore Physician Leadership Institute and he holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Binghamton University, an M.D. from New York Medical College, and a master’s in business administration from Strayer University. He completed his residency in surgery/urology at Georgetown University.

Peter D. Salins, Ph.D.

Dr. Salins has served as a member of the board of trustees since 2002 and is chair of its Curriculum and Assessment Committee. Having served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs of the State University of New York (SUNY) system from 1997 to 2006, he is currently university professor of political science at SUNY, Stony Brook University and director of its graduate program in public policy. Dr. Salins is a fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and a director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council of New York. Dr. Salins holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture, a master’s degree in regional planning and a doctorate in metropolitan studies and regional planning, all from Syracuse University.

Mr. Joe Schaefer, M.B.A.

Mr. Schaefer has served as a member of the board of trustees since 2018. He is currently the chief transformation officer of Strategic Education, Inc. Prior to that, for more than 10 years, he held multiple senior leadership positions at Strayer University, including chief technology and innovation officer, senior vice president of academic operations and chief information officer. Prior to joining Strayer University, Mr. Schaefer held various technology leadership positions at Accenture, one of the world’s leading consulting companies. Mr. Schaefer holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

Dr. Carol Shapiro, M.D.

Dr. Shapiro has served as a member of the Board of Trustees since 2015. Dr. Shapiro, a plastic surgeon, is the medical director of the Wound Healing Center of Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. She has served as president of the medical staff of the two hospitals in the county in which she practices. She has also served as president of the Prince William County Medical Society and was the first woman to be elected president of the Medical Society of Virginia. She chaired the Virginia Delegation of the American Medical Association. Dr. Shapiro served as president of the National Capital Society of Plastic Surgeons and was appointed to serve on the Ethics and Judicial Committees of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Additionally, she has served on the Board of Trustees of the Prince William Hospital and Potomac Hospital. Currently, she is the vice chair of the Potomac Health Foundation and chair of the Grants Committee, and serves on the Board of Trustees of Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. She recently completed a 12-year term on the Board of Visitors of Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Shapiro did her undergraduate work at the University of Pittsburgh and earned her M.D. at the Woman’s Medical College in Philadelphia. After completing a residency in general surgery and plastic surgery at Georgetown University, she started a solo practice in Woodbridge, Virginia. For several years, Dr. Shapiro was a clinical instructor at Georgetown University Department of Plastic Surgery. In 1996, she earned an M.B.A. from George Mason University

J. Chris Toe, Ph.D.

Dr. Toe has served as a member of the board of trustees since 2003. He served as president of Strayer University from 2003 to April 2006 and as minister of agriculture of the Republic of Liberia from 2006 to 2009. Dr. Toe now serves as executive chairman of Agrifore Advisory & Investment Services (AAIS), Incorporated in Liberia and senior advisory for Country Strategic Planning for the World Food Programme in Rome, Italy. Dr. Toe holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Liberia, a master’s degree in agricultural economics and a doctorate in economics, both from Texas Tech University.

Mr. Andrew Watt

Mr. Andrew E. Watt is chief operating officer of Strategic Education, Inc. Mr. Watt previously served as senior vice president of postsecondary education to Strategic Education, Inc., and previously under the same title to Capella Education Company. Prior to service as senior vice president of postsecondary education, Mr. Watt served as vice president of colleges and university operations and Capella University’s chief operations officer from 2014 to 2019. He has held a variety of leadership positions across Capella University, including roles in operations, finance, analytics and its markets and products team. Before joining Capella, he worked in transaction advisory services at both Deloitte & Touche LLP and Arthur Andersen LLP. Mr. Watt graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting.