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Lauren Shepherd

Lauren Shepherd joined Batten in 2022, coming from Teach For America where she served as Managing Director, Chief of Staff to the Vice President of Executive Director Learning. Prior to that, she served as the Chief of Staff to the TFA Bay Area Executive Director and as Managing Director of Teacher Onboarding Strategy. Originally trained as a journalist, she has professional experience as a writer and reporter as well as many years involved in strategic and operational planning, project management, partnerships, and talent development. 

Elinor Tappe

Elinor (Ellie) Tappé serves as Executive Director of Strategic Advancement where she helps shape and realize the strategic objectives of the Batten School. With a 25-year history in strategic planning and development, Ellie has held a variety of leadership roles in the corporate sector, as well as higher education and nonprofit. Her experience in philanthropy spans more than a decade and includes UC Berkeley, Larkin Street Youth Services and Urban Teachers.  

Michael Mallory is President of the Ron Brown Scholar Fund and Executive Director of the Ron Brown Scholar Program. In these roles, Mallory demonstrates a profound commitment to increasing educational opportunities for young people.  Since 1996 he has been instrumental in shaping a distinguished program named in honor of Ron Brown, former Secretary of Commerce. This program not only awards $40,000 college scholarships to academically talented African American students, but also creates a life-long network of outstanding black leaders committed to community and national service.

Russell Libby is Chairman of the Board of Directors at HF Foods Group Inc. (NASDAQ: HFFG), a leading food distributor to Asian restaurants across the Southeast, Pacific and Mountain West regions of the United States. Libby has nearly 30 years of comprehensive global experience in mergers and acquisitions, strategy, business development, international business, corporate governance, and corporate social responsibility. From 2007 to 2019, he held numerous leadership positions at Sysco Corp. and most recently served as the company’s executive vice president and corporate secretary.

Jennifer Ludovici

Jennifer Ludovici is the NSPC Director of Operations & Research Initiatives. She has over 18 years of experience in higher education administration in both the public and private sector. In her role at the NSPC, she focuses on faculty research collaboration, project coordination and program development as well as general operations and communications. Jennifer holds a post-graduate certificate in project management from UVA, and a BA/MEd in history and education from James Madison University.

Colin Achiles

Colin Achilles is the Associate Director of the Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL), a joint partnership between the Batten School and Vanderbilt University. He is the manager of day-to-day operations at CEL. 

Mark Outten

Mark was most recently the Director of Technology for the Orange County Public Schools in Orange, VA, has over 20 years of education-related technology leadership and management experience, worked in private industry for a Hewitt Associates, and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He brings a wealth of strategic and practical education technology experience to Batten.

Linda Sherck

Linda has been working in higher education advancement since she moved to the Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina area in 1992 to earn her master’s degree in public relations from UNC-Chapel Hill.  She spent many years in alumni engagement at UNC and then as a fundraiser at Duke.  A number of circumstances coincided to bring her to Charlottesville in 2021 where she is thrilled to be working to secure resources to advance Batten’s mission and support the School’s amazing students and faculty. Originally from Michigan, she is now an empty-nester and is enjoying exploring all the beauty and fun activities that comes with living in wonderful Charlottesville.

john robinson

John Robinson is the NSPC’s Director of Academic Programs. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses focused on national security, including Innovating for Defense, an experiential course that pairs student teams with sponsors from the Department of Defense (DoD) to solve real-world national security problems. His research interests include international security and naval affairs.

John holds a Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Virginia, and a M.A. from the U.S. Naval War College.   

Sofya Olenicheva currently serves as a Policy Advisor at the Zero Emission Transportation Association, a federal coalition advocating for transportation electrification, and Pioneer Public Affairs, a climate- and renewable energy-focused lobbying firm. Sofya’s professional policy experience began at Batten with an assignment to conduct research for the Virginia gubernatorial transition team. Later, she worked as a Program Assistant at the Community Climate Collaborative, a nonprofit committed to facilitating environmental policy development in local government and encouraging residents to integrate sustainable solutions into their lifestyle. At UVA, Sofya earned a Bachelor of Arts with Highest Distinction in Public Policy and Global Environments & Sustainability.