COSEBOC Administrative and Programming Staff

Administrative Staff

Ron Walker
Executive Director

Ron Walker, Executive Director, COSEBOC

Ron Walker has over 45 years of experience serving as a teacher, principal, staff developer, and consultant in various educational communities.  Currently, Ron serves as the Executive Director and is a founding member of the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color. The mission of COSEBOC, founded in 2007, is to connect, inspire, support and strengthen school leaders dedicated to the social, emotional and academic development of boys and young men of color. Under his leadership COSEBOC is impacting over 600 schools across the nation with a combined student population of over 300,000. COSEBOC has been recognized for its work on changing the negative narrative often perpetuated by the media and others to a positive counter narrative that lifts up the gifts, talents and promise possessed by boys and young men of color.

COSEBOC is recognized as a critical organization in the efforts to eliminate the academic achievement gap. In this regard recognition has come from many organizations such, the Council of Great City Schools, Education Trust, Cities United, The Center for Law and Social Policy, The Panasonic Foundation, The Kirwin Institute, Harvard University and the American Public Health Association just to name a few. COSEBOC has been awarded major national grants by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Open Society Foundation. 

Ron has also grown the visibility of COSEBOC and has made many presentations on the national and state level. He has presented to the U.S. Department of Education, College Board, California Association of African American Administrators and Superintendents, The American Public Health Association, The Council of Urban Boards of Education as well being interviewed by Soledad O’Brien on the topic of Educating Black Males. 

He was also invited to attend President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Forum held at the White House.  Ron has been recognized for his service in education by the Boston Public Schools, Boston College School of Education, Temple University -School of Education, The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and many community groups. He was nominated for Ebony’s Magazine Manifest Award for individuals making substantial contributions in the field of education. Ron has authored two publications on leadership and is featured in numerous education articles. He remains steadfastly committed to high quality education for children and particularly boys and young men of color and other underserved populations.

Ron attributes any success that he has gained to his unrelenting belief in God, the lessons taught by his parents Solomon and Delores Walker and the faith that his wife Toni, children and grandchildren place in him.

Sandra Spooner
Director of Operations

Margaret Jones
Office Manager 

Andrea Hurley
Web and Tech Consultant

Andrea Hurley, COSEBOC Web DesignerAndrea brings over 20 years of web design and development experience to COSEBOC. She is founder and creative director of Elytra Design, a Massachusetts web design firm, focusing largely on non-profit organizations. Andrea is responsible for keeping COSEBOC on the edge of web strategy, social networking and digital technology. She has many years of web experience working with major educational organizations including Tufts, Harvard, MIT, Smith and the Boston Public Library, as well as with smaller community-based organizations. She joined COSEBOC in 2007 to design the first website, and has continued to be part of the team, advancing the website and related digital functions. Andrea believes in COSEBOC's mission, that by working together to create the right conditions, young men of color can realize their educational and creative potential. Andrea has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from U.Mass Boston, and a Master of Science in Biology from U.Mass Amherst.

Programming Staff

Dr. Deidre R. Farmbry
Professional Learning Facilitator

Dr. Deidre R. FarmbryDeidre is a career educator previously with the School District of Philadelphia.  Over twenty-eight years she was interim superintendent, chief academic officer, regional superintendent, high school principal, English department head, and English teacher.  Deidre is currently an independent consultant specializing in social and emotional learning, leadership coaching, team development, classroom practice, and school improvement via structured inquiry and collaboration. Her passion for and commitment to African-American male success led to her hosting four forums in Philadelphia on African-American male achievement with follow-up Saturday sessions addressing the education of African-American males in various contexts including prisons, public schools, private schools, and universities.  A native Philadelphian, Deidre received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Temple University and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.  Although her favorite type of personal expression is poetry, Deidre is the author of several published speeches and essays on educational topics.

Gene Thompson-Grove
Professional Learning Facilitator 

COSEBOC Staff - Jene Thompson-GroveGene brings 30 years of experience working with numerous reform organizations, schools and school districts, leading seminars on becoming culturally competent, examining student work collaboratively, coaching for equity, engaging in collaborative inquiry, understanding school culture, developing facilitative leadership, creating professional learning communities, and designing and facilitating adult learning experiences. Gene is one of the original developers of Critical Friends Groups (CFGs), and is a founding Board member of the School Reform Initiative (SRI) and Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR).  She has been a CFG coach since 1995, and is a National Facilitator for SRI and All Kinds of Minds (AKOM).  She has authored several of the protocols used nationally for engaging in collaborative examination of practice.

Most recently, Gene was Co-Director of Clinical Teacher Education for the Boston Teacher Residency Program. For six years prior, she was the Director of Professional Development and Special Initiatives for the Public Schools of Brookline, where she was responsible for the district’s Equity Project, as well as for several system-wide adult learning initiatives. Gene was a Clinical Professor of Education, a Professional Development Associate for the Coalition of Essential Schools, and a Senior Associate at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform - all at Brown University.  She began her career as a high school and middle school English teacher in Watertown MA. Gene has a B. A. in English and Secondary Education from Boston College and received her M.Ed from Harvard's Graduate School of Education.

Noe J. Medina

Noe  has worked in the field of education program development and evaluation for almost 30 years. Working primarily as an independent consultant, he has been involved with projects addressing a wide range of educational issues, mostly focused on the needs of at-risk and underserved students and students of color. In addition to his consulting work, Medina served as Director of Field Services for the Education Alliance at Brown University, Director of Program Development and Assessment for the Cambridge Public Schools, Director of the Education Division for the Children’s Defense Fund, and Legislative Aide to Senator Edward Kennedy. Medina’s work with COSEBOC reflects a career-long commitment to promoting high-quality educational services for all students, particularly those who have been traditionally underserved by the public schools.

Kamau Ptah
Program Design and Facilitation Specialist

Kamau Ptah, Sankofa Passages Program Director

Educational leader, teacher, traveler, historian, drummer, writer and student of indigenous wisdom teachings are all terms that characterize Kamau Ptah.

For over 20 years Kamau has been a custodian and practitioner of the rite of passage system of transformative teaching and learning since earning his BA from Hampton University in History/Social Science and Education and his Master’s Degree in School Administration from Cambridge College.  Kamau is the co-founder and currently serves as Program Director of the Urban Assembly Academy of History and Citizenship for Young Men (one of the first all boy public high schools in New York City since the 1960s).  He is a Rite of Passage consultant for the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, Man Up Global, Nassau Community College GEAR UP, Excel High School Rite of Passage and Salaam’s Art and Inspiration program. 

For COSEBOC, Kamau has envisioned and helped launch the Sankofa Passages Program, a school based rite of passage that provides the optimal conditions for the healthy education, socialization and identity development of boys of color.  He also leads youth participation in our annual Gathering of Leaders.  Through the study and facilitation of Rite of Passage experiences, Kamau has established a creative style of educational leadership that stimulates the holistic development of educators and youngsters, hence awakening the sensibilities and intelligences to address the current challenges in educating our future.