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Driven By Landmark’s Mission: Chair Charles Manley & His Board Envision Great Outcomes For Landmark Students

By Mary Kukovich

The first thing you notice about Charles Manley  is the way he listens with great care and intent.  The second thing you notice is that when he  speaks—which is not often—his comments are  insightful and precise.

That talent will serve Mr. Manley well in his  new role as Chairman of Landmark College’s  Board of Trustees, which he assumed in  November 2006. Like many board members,  his relationship with Landmark began when  his daughter, Julia, enrolled as a student. After  graduating from Landmark in 1996, she went  on to Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, to  complete her baccalaureate degree in education  and now teaches kindergarten.

“My wife and I convinced Julia to attend  Landmark’s summer program. It was a huge  adjustment for her, being separated from her family  and friends back in Texas. However, at the end  of program, she told us: ‘This is where I need to  be. For the first time in my life, I feel like I can  learn in a new way.’ It was an incredibly brave  thing for her to do and we’ll always be grateful  to Landmark. What she learned here will sustain  her throughout her life.”

Mr. Manley joined the College’s Board two  years ago, though landmark had tried several  times to involve him even sooner. “With my  job demands, I knew I couldn’t commit the  kind of time needed to do the job well,” he said.  However, upon retiring in 2005 as Executive  Vice president and Chief Administrative Officer  at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, one of the  world’s largest independent oil and gas exploration  companies, he was ready to sign on.

“Based on our family’s experiences and those  of others, I knew firsthand the tremendous impact  Landmark can have on its students. There was  never any doubt in my mind of the value of  Landmark’s mission; when I retired, I finally had  the time to get involved the way I wanted to,”  he said. As Board Chair, he believes his primary  task is to assure Landmark’s long-term financial  stability. “We are a young college, so we lack  the level of endowment other institutions have  to develop new programs, fund scholarships and  reduce dependence on tuition.” Key to achieving  that goal will be to continue to expand the  Board “with a full cadre of individuals who are  willing to devote their efforts and commitment to  Landmark’s vision.”

Today’s Board is largely comprised of individuals  who are grateful parents of current and  former Landmark students. “We’re making terrific  progress with the added perspective new  Board members like Dr. Tom Brown from Yale  bring to the table,” he said. “Ultimately, though, I  hope many successful alumni of the College will  form the majority of our Board. They know and  understand the power of Landmark better than  anyone else.”

To help achieve that goal, the College recently  held the first meeting of its President’s Alumni  Advisory Board. “Seven very successful  Landmark graduates attended that meeting,” Mr.  Manley said. “We were greatly impressed by  their energy and enthusiasm—and we’re looking  forward to their insights and ideas.”

Mr. Manley also sees opportunity in further  developing the Landmark College Institute for  Research & Training (LCIRT). “I would like  to see the Institute realize its full potential,  because it plays an essential role in our ability  to reach out beyond Putney to the rest of the  world,” he said. “There’s a tremendous demand  throughout the country and the world for help  in teaching students with learning differences.  We hope that Landmark will be at the front and  center of this effort.”

Mr. Manley states that it is Landmark’s students,  faculty and staff members who ultimately  hold the key to Landmark’s future. “The degree of  dedication at the College is unlike any I’ve ever  seen. Landmark really is a place that changes the  lives of the students who attend its programs and  their families. We have set tall goals to help sustain  and grow the College’s work, but I believe  that we have the collective will and the people in  place to make it all happen.”#

GARY MOONEY is a self-confessed “John  Knox clone; a thundering evangelist for meaningful  accessibility” in the world of alternative  learning. His avowed mission is to bring the  insight that is the Landmark charisma into every  post-secondary institution in Canada. Gary  comes by his missionary zeal honestly. He is  a former Jesuit Priest, educated at Cambridge  University, who has been in turn an academic,  a lawyer, an entrepreneur, and is currently CEO  of the Canadian Division of a Fortune 500  Company. His declared goal is to create affiliation  agreements between Landmark and multiple  Canadian Universities such that the “accessibility’  for the learning disabled which is guaranteed  by both American and Canadian law is  not merely a tinkling bell or clamoring cymbal.  Gary is a member of multiple Public Boards,  a Governor of the University of Toronto, and  a member of the Board of Osgoode Hall Law  School at York University in Toronto, Canada.  “Duces Caveant.”

I am a real estate developer in Washington,  D.C., focusing on urban mixed-use projects  and affordable housing. My wife Madalyn is  a painter. Landmark College has made a significant  impact on our son Jacob’s academic life  through its comprehensive approach to learning  differences supported by its dynamic and caring  teachers and staff. While I just recently joined  the Board, from what I have learned thus far,  I believe Landmark could play a major role in  redefining the way schools approach certain  aspects of learning in all schools. That enormous  potential to change the way things are done on  a national basis is what led me to accept an  invitation to join the Board in November 2007.  As a prior board member for the Edmund Burke  School where my son Jacob attended in D.C.,  as well as being a parent of a child with ADD  and executive functioning issues, I became  exposed to the difficulties even the best schools  go through in trying to meet the needs of kids  who learn differently and the negative impact  of that failure on the confidence of those kids.  These creative, different kids deserve more and  at Landmark College they have the opportunity  to break through barriers and find success. I have  seen my son take steady and sure steps from a  disastrous first six weeks to significant improvement  each semester (he is just entering his 4th  semester). All this great work is going on in little  Putney, Vermont—it’s pretty amazing. #

Drawing on her experience in both education  and business, Holly Hayes is helping Landmark  College look at ways of serving students outside  of Vermont. A former high school English  teacher, a recent member of the NSSED board  in suburban Chicago and past president of her  local school board, she understands the needs  and opportunities of students. She holds a master’s  degree from Wesleyan University and an  MBA from Yale’s School of Organization and  Management. A former corporate development  executive at Kraft Foods, she thinks strategically,  understands market economics, and knows  how new markets develop. She has worked in  and with schools for over 30 years.

I am an attorney specializing in admiralty  and maritime law litigation. Although my  office is located in Washington, Pennsylvania,  I represent injured seamen and victims of river/  boating accidents from all states in the Ohio  and Mississippi river valleys to the Gulf of  Mexico. I earned my undergraduate degree  from Washington & Jefferson College in 1990.  However, I struggled in high school and college  but fortunately—almost five years after earning  my undergraduate degree—I was diagnosed  with ADD. I immediately enrolled at Landmark  College where I remained for two semesters in  1994-1995. I became an effective learner for the  first time in my academic career and actually  enjoyed school. Because of the skills I learned  and confidence I gained at Landmark, I was able  to graduate cum laude from Thomas M. Cooley  Law School in 1998, where I served as an editor  of the Law Review. Landmark helped me  realize my dream of becoming a lawyer. Based  upon my experience, I know that Landmark can  help those like me, who might have been able  to graduate from college, but still lack the keys  necessary to unlock their full potential.#

BELLE BROOKS O’BRIEN holds a B.A.  in Speech and English Education and a M.A.  in Communications. Before Belle began the  full time position of child rearing, she held the  position of Director of Marketing and Public  Relations for Jones, Day Reavis and Pogue; for  KPMG Peat Marwick; and for Americom, Inc.  Prior to moving to the private sector, Belle  served in the Federal Government for 16  years in a variety of senior consumer and  public affairs positions at The White House,  Department of Health and Human Services and  The Federal Communications Commission.  During her tenure in government, she served  as the Executive Director of The White  House Council on Consumer Affairs; the  Chairperson of the Interagency Council on  Citizen Participation and as President of the  Washington Chapter of American Women in  Radio and Television. She is currently Chair  of the Suburban Hospital Foundation and a  founding member of the Washington Area  Women’s Foundation.  Belle became involved at Landmark when  her son attended and graduated from the  College. She and her husband, Morgan E.  O’Brien, Founder of Nextel and now Cyren  Call, became committed members of the  President’s Council. She later joined the Board  because she and Morgan believe the college  made a profound difference in their son’s  life and path to success. She believes that  the expertise that Landmark has developed  in helping students learn in different ways  needs to be available to as many students as  possible on the Vermont campus and shared  throughout the world through the Landmark  College Institute.#



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