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Meet Our Team


Dr. Lisa Herring has been graced with the gift of leadership in multiple capacities. She currently serves as the President of The PROPEL Center and Strategic Advisor to the US Secretary of Education.

In these roles, along with her successful past leadership as a K-12 district leader, Dr. Herring has cultivated a professional journey deeply invested in reimagining learning, innovative leadership development, and curating extraordinary corporate partnerships with learning institutions. Supported by founding funders Apple and Southern Company, The PROPEL Center is the country's first HBCU technology and innovation hub designed to collaborate with HBCUs and industry partners across the country to cultivate mutually beneficial career opportunities for scholars and industry partners.

As Strategic Advisor to the US Secretary of Education, Dr. Herring helps shape the department’s strategy to engage state and local officials, complementing the Department's call to action to "Raise the Bar: Lead the World." This initiative is designed to transform education and unite around proven methods—based on decades of experience and research—to advance educational equity and excellence.

With a wealth of experience spanning public, private, urban, and rural settings, Dr. Herring has garnered recognition for her steadfast leadership, driving districts toward equitable, measurable, and accountable improvements. She stands at the forefront of a movement dedicated to propelling students to new heights of academic achievement, ensuring that every background is represented and celebrated. In her most recent transition out of urban superintendency, she celebrates improving systems she led by first healing organizational culture and establishing measurable outcomes. Under her leadership, the Atlanta Public School System celebrated the highest graduation rate in its 150-year history, even amid the challenges of a global pandemic.

Success, reimagining, innovation, and creativity do not evolve without challenge. Dr. Herring eagerly shares strategy, coaches through complications, and develops dynamic, passionate leaders and organizations dedicated to joining a movement to change the face of education and lead the world through innovation.

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As the Chief of Staff for PROPEL Center, Michael Johnson brings a wealth of experience and expertise as an accomplished higher education leader.

With a track record of driving innovation and positive change at colleges, universities, and higher education-focused organizations, Michael is renowned for his strategic acumen in collaborating with senior executives to develop data-driven strategies that advance student success, enrollment growth, financial sustainability, and other top institutional priorities. Previously, Michael held various senior-level positions focused on strategic enrollment management, technology integration, and student success.

Notably, as Vice President of Enrollment Management and Technology at Miles College, he spearheaded initiatives that led to an 18% increase in overall enrollment and improved student access to technology.  At Indiana University Bloomington, Michael played a pivotal role in advancing diversity and inclusion efforts for the Provost's office during a crucial period of racial justice awareness.

Michael's commitment to higher education administration stems from his background as a first-generation college graduate.  Armed with a Master's in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University and a BA in Communications from North Carolina Central University, he is deeply dedicated to expanding access, affordability, and student achievement. Currently pursuing his Doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership at the University of Southern California, Michael is continuously honing his skills to lead institutional transformation.

In recognition of his leadership potential, Michael was selected as a Fellow for the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute for Aspiring HBCU Presidents hosted by Clark Atlanta University in 2022. This prestigious program equips emerging leaders with the tools and knowledge needed to excel in executive roles within the HBCU community. Now, as the Chief of Staff for PROPEL Center, Michael's visionary leadership and strategic prowess drive the organization forward towards its mission and goals.


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“Our hands-on training and career readiness programs ensure that students are well-prepared for the demands of the cybersecurity industry.”