Maryland 529 Board
Nancy K. Kopp, Board Chair, has been the Treasurer of the State of Maryland since February 2002. Prior to that she served in the Maryland House of Delegates for over 27 years. She has served as Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and Economic Development for the past seven years and served as Assistant Majority Leader and Speaker Pro Tem in the House of Delegates.
Peter Franchot was elected Maryland's 33rd Comptroller on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006. Prior to his election to statewide office, Comptroller Franchot served 20 years in the Maryland General Assembly, in the House of Delegates, representing the residents of Silver Spring and Takoma Park. During his time in the House of Delegates, Peter was a member of the Appropriations Committee and served as Chairman of the Transportation & the Environment Subcommittee. Through his career, he has been a strong advocate for education, health care, transportation and environmental protection initiatives.
Carol Beatty currently serves as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities. Prior to her appointment in 2015, Secretary Beatty was the Executive Director of The Arc of Howard County, a private, non-profit organization which provides advocacy and support services for more than 750 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities along with their families. She also held roles in an executive-level capacity at Alternative Living, Inc., and Bello Machre, Inc., both dedicated to providing quality services to individuals with disabilities. Over the past 20 years, Secretary Beatty has received numerous awards for her work on behalf of individuals with disabilities including induction into the Howard County Women's Hall of Fame in 2012 and selection as one of The Daily Record's 2013 Maryland's Top 100 Women.
Chancellor Robert L. Caret, Ph. D. joined the University System of Maryland as its fourth Chancellor on July 1, 2015. Before joining USM as chancellor, Caret was president of the University of Massachusetts from 2011 until 2015 and was president of Towson University from 2003 to 2011, where he also served as a faculty member, dean, executive vice president and provost during his more than 25-year tenure there. Active in the national higher education community, Caret serves on the National Association of System Heads, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the Business-Higher Education Forum boards. He also is a member of the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, Southern Regional Higher Education Board, Higher Ed for Higher Standards Board of Advisors, and the Government University Industry Research Roundtable.
Carol Coughlin, is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of BottomLine Growth Strategies, Inc. a growth advisory service firm which works with CEOs of privately held companies to transform their enterprise value through implementation of proven best practice financial and operations strategies and to assist them in the development of board governance best practices. Before founding BottomLine Growth, Carol was an accomplished CFO who helped lead four of the most prominent healthcare services companies in the United States to sustained profitability. In addition to serving as a public member of the Maryland 529 Board, she currently serves as the Board Chair of Hamilton Bancorp and is a Board Member and Finance Affairs Chair of the University of Maryland Medical Center.
James D. Fielder, Jr., Secretary of Higher Education, is a highly regarded executive and public servant with a passion for leading change. He is focused on improving the economic well-being of Marylanders through educational and business opportunity. He has served four Maryland governors, lending his talents and expertise in numerous leadership capacities. Some of these include his current position as Secretary of Higher Education; Secretary of Appointments for Governor Hogan; Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation; Acting Secretary for Business and Economic Development; and Member of Governor-elect Hogan’s Transition Team. He also served as Towson University’s Vice President of Finance and Administration. Secretary Fielder received his Ph.D. in Higher Education from Michigan State University, and his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Keith D. Persinger, is the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Prior to UMMC, Mr. Persinger served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for University of Maryland Medical Systems and a was consultant in the firm of KPMG, LLP in KPMG’s Healthcare Financial Strategies Consulting Group. In addition to serving as a public member of the Maryland 529 Board, Mr. Persinger is the Past Chairman and Board Member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore, Inc.
Dr. Karen B. Salmon, became Secretary-Treasurer of the State Board on June 1, 2016 and became State Superintendent of Schools on July 1, 2016. She joined the State Department of Education last year, first as Assistant State Superintendent for College and Career Readiness and soon thereafter as Interim State Superintendent for School Effectiveness.Immediately prior to joining MSDE, Dr. Salmon served as Superintendent of Schools on the Bay Shore Union Free School District in Bay Shore, NY. Named the Maryland Superintendent of the Year in 2012, Dr. Salmon is the recipient of numerous awards and honors throughout her educational career. Dr. Salmon holds a Ph.D. in Special Education/Administration from the University of Maryland College Park, as well as a Masters in Special Education from the same institution. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from the University of Delaware.
Dee Anna Sobczak, is the CFO and Partner in ThinkBig Networks, an internet provider for rural and underserved communities. Ms. Sobczak’s previous positions include President of CSS Antenna, Inc., an antenna manufacturing company based in Edgewood, MD that supplied antennas to the wireless industry nationwide and played a key role in the sale of the Company in 2013. She also ran an accounting firm prior to CSS and served as a financial consultant until 2014. In addition to serving as a public member on the Maryland 529 Board, Ms. Sobczak has served on local Private School Boards and various committees.
Charles Tharp, is currently an advisor to institutional funds on financial policy, pension structure, and implementation of investments. His previous work has been with the governments of Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority to restructure pension funds to increase equities, stimulate regional capital markets, and improve employment. Prior to that, Tharp was the Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio. He has been a member of numerous committees and foundations, such as The Infochange Foundation and the National Committee on Public Employee Pension.
Rev. Dr. Lisa M. Weah, is a civil engineer with experience in land development, roadways, and drainage systems. Rev. Dr. Weah has worked on several major land development projects including M&T Bank Stadium, Strathmore Mansion, Johns Hopkins Advanced Research Center, and Quantico Marine Base. In addition to serving as a public member on the Maryland 529 Board, Rev. Dr. Weah is the Senior Pastor at the New Bethlehem Baptist Church in Baltimore, MD and is the Chair of the Sandtown Resident Action Committee.
Board Vice Chair - Geoffrey F. Newman, Designee for Maryland Higher Education Commission
Board Secretary - Steven Serra, Designee for State Department of Education