Richard J. Williams, Jr., Esq., is a partner at the law firm McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP, where he has practiced law since 1997. Richard serves as a Practice Group Administrator for the firm’s largest group of lawyers, the Litigation and Insurance Services Group, which consists of over 65 lawyers in four states. Richard’s law practice focuses on civil litigation and includes personal injury defense, insurance coverage, workers’ compensation, products liability, and an extensive appellate practice. Richard is a 1993 graduate of the University of Scranton, where he earned a B.S. in Political Science and an M.A. in History. He earned his law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1996, and served as law clerk to the Honorable James Petrella, P.J.A.D., Presiding Judge of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division. Richard has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute since the formation of the organization.
Dr. Jim Fink, M.D., MPH, is currently working as a physician (Internist) in Queensland, Australia. He is an Assistant Professor with the Bond University Medical School and serves as the clerkship director in medicine for the 3rd year students at the Robina Hospital. Prior to moving to Australia, Dr. Fink was Director of the Hospitalist Program in the Department of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, where he had been on staff since 2004. His volunteerism has included work as an attending physician for Jeffhope overseeing medical students caring for patients in shelters in the Philadelphia area; work with the Wallace Medical Concern program, which provides free medical care to poor, uninsured residents in Portland, OR; and, volunteer service with the International Service Program for poor/orphaned boys in Mexico City. He holds degrees from the University of Queensland Graduate School of Medicine, Australia, (MD), Thomas Jefferson University (Masters of Science in Public Health), and the University of Scranton (BS, Biology).
Cathy Fisher Cathy is an innovative educational leader with extensive experience in professional development, certification, continuous improvement, policy development and board relations, curriculum development and assessment design. As a district administrator, Cathy provided leadership to all aspects of the instructional program, including curriculum and assessment design consisting of sixty-one general education courses for 1650 learners/teachers, resulting in Exemplary and Commendable Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) summative designations. Cathy was responsible for the design and implementation of professional development for two-hundred staff members, to ensure a certified and highly qualified faculty. Cathy managed all aspects of federal and state grant programs, inclusive of writing, implementing, and compliance reporting. Cathy provided leadership to the implementation in the ISBE and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) COVID-19 rules and regulations for daily health certification, contact tracing, quarantine, and on-site testing.
Cathy is the co-author of Now Classrooms Leader’s Guide (Solution Tree Press, 2018) and Excellence with Integrity, Optimal Performance, and Power2Achieve Curriculum (Institute for Excellence and Ethics 2013-2018). Cathy earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from National Louis University and a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education from Elmhurst College.
Jennifer M. Hayden, M.Ed. is the current managing editor of the Journal of Dermatology for Physician Assistants. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from LeMoyne College and her Master’s Degree in Higher Education from Salisbury State University. While earning her graduate degree, she served as a Resident Director on campus, responsible for supervising staff, as well as overseeing a residence hall of undergraduates. Upon earning her Master’s Degree, she worked as an academic advisor at St. Leo University and the Navy College Office of Virginia Beach, VA. There she worked at three different military bases providing educational guidance to U.S. military members and their families. Jennifer then went on to spend two years teaching English at the high school level and has enjoyed writing and editing since.
Travis M. Hayden, MPAS, PA-C completed his undergraduate studies at Le Moyne College and upon graduating he was awarded enrollment into the U.S. Navy’s Health Services Collegiate Program. Through the program he received his formal training as a physician assistant (PA) at the Sisters of Charity Medical Center of Staten Island, New York. He then proudly served on active duty as a Medical Service Corps Officer in the U.S. Navy, working as a PA in military and family medicine. During his time in the Navy, he completed his master’s degree in physician assistant studies from the University of Nebraska. Since completing his tour in the Navy in 2003, he has been working in the field of dermatology in beautiful upstate New York. Since 2003 he has enjoyed teaching PA students and currently holds a faculty position at Le Moyne College Physician Assistant Program as the Assistant Academic Coordinator. He also is a clinical instructor and preceptor for the SUNY Upstate Medical University Physician Assistant Program.
In 2013 Travis was honored to receive the Central New York Physician Assistant Association’s PA Educator of the Year award. Travis is an NCCPA nationally certified PA and is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and a Fellow member of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants (SDPA) where he has held appointments as Committee Chair and as Board of Director. He is the founding Editor in Chief of the Journal of Dermatology for Physician Assistants (JDPA) and an inaugural Board of Trustee member and Research Committee member of the Dermatology PA Foundation (DPAF).
Erik Heyer is a respected education leader, business manager and social entrepreneur. Over the past two decades, he has played key roles building, managing, and advising numerous high-quality education organizations including private schools, charter schools, school districts, special education programs, online and education technology companies, colleges, universities, and education focused investment firms. Erik’s roles in finance have included work with Goldman Sachs, New Mountain Capital, and Bridges Fund Management, a global pioneer in the field of social-impact investing. Mr. Heyer holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in systems engineering with high honors from the University of Virginia. He has served as a trustee or director of The Siena School, Capital Education Group, Victory Schools, the International Dyslexia Association, the Education Design Lab, the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County, Springboard Education, and Calvert Education.
Chris Nicholas is the founder and President of Sports Technologies in Collinsville, CT. He started the company in 2006, overseeing the launch of FanNation.com, which was later sold to Sports Illustrated. As President, he manages current client relationships with Sports Illustrated, Time Inc., the NFL, and the United States Olympic Committee. Before starting the company, he was Executive Producer of ESPN.com, responsible for all non-editorial content on the site, as well as the fantasy sports business and ESPN Insider business. An internet veteran, he began his career at Starwave Corporation, Paul Allen’s groundbreaking Internet media company, which was the first to put sports news, information and fantasy games on the internet. Between his two tours at ESPN.com he was part of the executive team at entertainment startup Inside.com, serving as Vice President of Product Development. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College.
Rich Parisi holds BA and MA degrees from Syracuse University and a CAS degree from SUNY at Oswego. Rich taught in Syracuse, NY and Baldwinsville before spending nearly three decades as a school administrator in Central NY. One of the highlights of his career was when Morgan Road Elementary was named a National School of Character in 2000. Rich also served on the Advisory Board at The Center for the 4th and 5th Rs at SUNY Cortland for several years. Rich also did consultant work for the Character Education Partnership for several years as well as independent trainings for many school districts around the country. After retiring Rich worked as an Interim Executive Director for BASCOL and then joined the Excellence with Integrity Institute for many years. Rich is currently serving as a part-time Associate Pastor at North Central Church with a focus on ENCORE Ministry (55 and older folks) and Legacy.
Adam Plumpton is currently Vice President of Product Operations at Cisco Systems. He has held a variety of leadership positions with Tesla Motors, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems. He’s a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and the Navy’s nuclear power training curriculum and served as an officer on the submarine USS Houston. Adam also holds a graduate degree in Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.
Margaret Seidel’s has been in the field of education for 24 years, and currently serves as the Principal of Simsbury High School in Simsbury, Connecticut. After graduating from SUNY Geneseo, Margaret earned a Master's degree from Stony Brook University with a concentration in educational technology. Her degree in educational administration is from Sacred Heart University, and she also completed the University of Connecticut's Executive Leadership Program. Early in her career, Margaret held teaching positions, both as a classroom teacher and a special education case manager, in New York and North Carolina before relocating to Connecticut. In the Avon Public Schools, she continued to bring multiple perspectives to her work by serving as an elementary classroom teacher and then an English Language Arts Coordinator.
In 2013, she was hired for her first administrative role when she became the assistant principal at Squadron Line School in Simsbury, CT. From 2016-20, Maggie completed a successful tenure as principal at Tootin' Hills School, and for the last several years, she has been the district's Director of Instructional Technology. In that position, Maggie supported the work of teaching and learning across the K-12 span and effectively led the Simsbury Technology Department through an improvement process that resulted in more effective professional development for teachers and dramatically improved response times for end users. In her nearly ten years of administrative service, Margaret has established a reputation for effective problem-solving, the ability to be a systems thinker, and keen insights into the teaching and learning process.
Margaret and her husband Phil are residents of Simsbury and are active in a number of community organizations. They are also the proud parents of two sons who attend the Simsbury Public Schools, Owen and Thomas.
Matthew L. Davidson, Ph.D., President and Director of Education. Dr. Matthew L. Davidson is an original Founder and the current President of the Excellence with Integrity Institute. Through his work at the Institute Dr. Davidson seeks to foster optimal performance in individuals and organizations through the assessment and development of leadership, teamwork, work ethic, and overall well-being. The Institute's Excellence with Integrity Assessment and Development Tools have been used in a wide-range of educational, youth development and workplace settings, as well as with student-athletes in youth, high school, and Division I, II, and III college settings. He is the lead author of the Excellence with Integrity ESSENTIALS Series and The Power2Achieve Program. Dr. Davidson has dedicated over 20 years to the theory, practice, and assessment of character and culture.
Previously he served as Research Director at the Center for the 4th & 5th Rs (Respect & Responsibility) at SUNY Cortland. He has also been on staff at the Family Life Development Center at Cornell University, the Values Program at Le Moyne College, and the Mendelson Center for Sport, Character, and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, where he was also an Adjunct Professor of Education.
Vladimir T. Khmelkov, Ph.D., Vice-President and Director of Research and Technology. Before co-founding the Institute, he was a senior research analyst at the University of Notre Dame and served as research consultant for the Notre Dame Center for Ethical Education. He has been engaged in research projects and published on socio-moral development of youth, teacher education, social organizational characteristics of schools and higher education institutions for over 20 years. He has served as co-principal investigator or external evaluator on federal and private foundation grants, totaling over $8 million.
Honorary Lifetime Board Member
Ken Fisher, Board Member 2007-2020, was the Executive Director of The Abraham Lincoln Center for Character Development, a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to provide character development training and support services to schools, businesses, and communities, based on Lincoln’s character. Ken had over twenty years’ experience in a variety of roles in management and human resource development at large corporations and worked for over 10 years in the field of education as a high school biology teacher, college counselor, and dean of students. He was a founding board member of The Institute. He was a man of tremendous faith and character. We are all better people for having known him and he is greatly missed.
“I had the great fortune to get to know Ken through our work together at the Institute. Ken was always a calm voice of reason in what were frenetic debates in the early days. We relied on Ken heavily over the years for his wisdom and good judgment. He was one of the most genuine, kind, and decent human beings I have ever met.”
~ Richard J. Williams, Jr., Board Chair, Excellence with Integrity Institute
“Ken was a person of extraordinary faith and character who has been a steady guide since the inception of our Institute. Anything we needed, Ken would help: including taking meeting notes, and even doing some of our early Power2Achieve training. Ken was impeccably decent and kind, I don’t know that I ever heard Ken say an unkind word about anyone, and he always found the silver lining in any difficult situation. He had deep faith but preached mostly by his life. I’m terribly sad for our Board and our world to lose one of the really good and decent human beings. I’m especially sad that his beloved wife Bunny will lose him. Ken and Bunny had an amazing relationship and were a model of what a thriving marriage can look like. But, my sadness is also born of my deep blessing. Ken filled my life with love and support and a life to emulate. A favorite quote says, “Unless we are radically grateful, resentment always sets in.” It takes radical gratitude to move beyond my sadness for our loss, to focus on the gift he has been here, and the eternal gift that I know awaits a good and faithful servant like Ken.”
~ Matt Davidson, President, Excellence with Integrity Institute