Dr. James E. Samels
President and CEO
Dr. James E. Samels is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of both The Education Alliance and The Samels Group, a full service higher education consulting firm specializing in academic planning and program development, enrollment management, campus, multi-campus and system-wide change management, strategic alliances, new academic program development, executive leadership search and organizational development, international education, and distance learning.
Dr. Samels is the founding partner of Samels Associates, a law firm serving independent and public colleges, universities, foundations, non-profit and for-profit higher education organizations across the nation and overseas.
Dr. Samels has served on the faculties of the University of Massachusetts and Bentley College, and as a guest lecturer at Boston University and Harvard University. Prior to his appointment at the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Samels served as the Deputy and Acting State Comptroller in Massachusetts, Special Assistant Attorney General, Massachusetts Community College Counsel, and General Counsel to the Massachusetts Board of Regents.
Dr. Samels holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a Master’s degree in Public Administration, a Juris Doctor degree and a Doctor of Education degree.
Dr. Samels has published a number of scholarly articles, monographs, and opinion editorials appearing in the Chronicle of Higher Education,AGB Trusteeship, The Christian Science Monitor, The London Guardian, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Boston Business Journal, The Journal of Higher Education Management, and the SCUP Planning Journal. He is the co-author of Merging Colleges for Mutual Growth (Johns Hopkins, 1994), and First Among Equals: The Role of the Chief Academic Officer (Johns Hopkins, 1997), Presidential Transition in Higher Education (Johns Hopkins, 2004), Turnaround: Leading Stressed Colleges and Universities to Excellence (Johns Hopkins, 2009), The Sustainable University (Johns Hopkins, 2012), The Provost's Handbook (Johns Hopkins,2015), Consolidating Colleges and Merging Universities (Johns Hopkins, 2017), and The New American Collegetown (Johns Hopkins, 2019).
Dr. Samels has previously consulted on projects and presented research papers at universities, colleges, schools, and ministries of education in China, Canada, Great Britain, France, Korea, Sweden, Thailand, and Turkey.
Arlene L. Lieberman, Esq.
Arlene L. Lieberman, Esq., has been an Associate with Samels Associates, Attorneys at Law, for more than 25 years, concentrating her practice in the fields of higher education and preventive law. The firm advises schools, colleges and universities in the areas of labor relations, discrimination, student rights, contracts, and real and intellectual property.
A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Attorney Lieberman received her law degree from Northeastern University. She previously served as General Counsel for Cambridge College, Assistant Counsel for the former Board of Regents of Higher Education in Massachusetts and as staff attorney for the Boston Juvenile Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and to the United States District Court, First Circuit.
Jonathan Reinsdorf serves as a senior analyst and advisor to CEO for the Education Alliance. In addition, Mr. Reinsdorf is the CEO of FroogalPay, LLC, a payments solutions company that provides solutions to software developers and merchants designed to improve the efficiency and functionality of credit card and ACH processing.
Mr. Reinsdorf is a member of the Executive Committee for the United Center Joint Venture (home to The Chicago Bulls and The Chicago Blackhawks). In addition, Mr. Reinsdorf is a board of trustee for the Noble Network of Charter Schools and YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. Finally, he serves on the philanthropic committee member for TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities) and the advisory board of Zacoustic.
Mr. Reinsdorf holds an MBA with concentrations in Accounting and Finance from The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and a JD from Northwestern University School of Law.
Mr. Kevin Carney has 21 years of experience as an educator, ranging from Pre-Kindergarten through post-secondary grade levels. As a former school superintendent, assistant principal and principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, director of education who managed the operations for all grade levels at a special education school, and guidance counselor, he has worked extensively in the transitional efforts of school organizations. Kevin brings extensive experience in the programmatic and logistical restructuring of high schools, junior high schools, and middle school and elementary school models while working with staff, families, and communities to address the challenges of change. He is a also a former graduate instructor in the Education Leadership and Management Program at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts where his coursework centered in “The Dynamics of Planned Change” and “School-to-Community Relations.”
As communities across the nation face new challenges in decreasing student enrollment in both PreK-12 school systems and higher education institutions, combined with the issues of local taxation burdens, higher education debt burdens, and the growing demand of varied workforce needs, Kevin has targeted his attention to these areas. He brings a depth of experience in strategic planning, strategic budgeting, risk management, school safety and security, school scheduling, school guidance programming, and strategic partnerships that connect student learning in K-12 school systems to higher education and industry sector demands in the regional, state, and global economies.
Kevin earned his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Education Leadership and Management from Fitchburg State University, a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling with a concentration in School Guidance from Assumption College in Worcester, MA, and a Bachelors Degree in Social Rehabilitation Services from Assumption College.
Dr. Charles Combs
Dr. Charles E. Combs served as head of General Education/Liberal Arts at Berklee College of Music for 16 years and Associate Professor/Director of Theatre at Plymouth State College (NH) for 12. He also was invited to serve for a year as Interim Associate Director of CIHE/NEASC. While at Plymouth State he established the Theatre Arts major, served as editor of the Children's Theatre Review and the Youth Theatre Journal, and was founding editor of the New England Theatre Journal.
In his duties with NEASC and in his subsequent consulting activities, Dr. Combs has helped numerous colleges address issues of accreditation (such as organizing the self study for re-accreditation), licensing, GenEd curriculum reform, program development, assessment and cultural arts programming. Dr. Combs received his Ph.D. in Theatre and Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his B.A. and M.A. from San Jose State University in California.
Mr. Brewer recently joined The Education Alliance after receiving his B.A. in Economics and Psychology from The University of Chicago. He brings his experiences in behavioral economics and data analysis to his work with the Alliance.