Our Team

Featuring the staff that makes the National Education Foundation what it is today.

Dr. Appu Kuttan

Founder & Chairman

Dr. Kuttan has been an advisor to many national and world leaders, including three US Administrations — Clinton, Bush and Obama, U.S. Congressional leaders, Indian Prime Ministers (in helping to make India a global IT power in the 1980s, and in helping to make India the leader in 21st century skilled workforce now) and Mauritius Prime Minister (on transforming Mauritius into an IT-focused nation). He is also the author of many innovative concepts such as MBS (Management By Systems), Cyberlearning (coined the word), Total Tennis, Win-Win-Win, Happy Executive, Holistic Executive, Kuttan Preschool (Mind-Body-Soul Life Style Development), and acclaimed books such as “From Digital Divide to Digital Opportunity,” and Happy Executive – A Systems Approach: Nurturing Mind, Body and Soul. He is a Philanthropist who donated most of his personal funds from the sale of the World-famous Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy to the National Education Foundation (NEF). Described as a “Dedicated Difference Maker,” he has won several awards including the 2006 Global Digital Literacy Champion, the 2011 University of Wisconsin Distinguished Achievement and the 2018 California State Assembly Recognition. He has been a mentor to many people, including world tennis champions Andre Agassi and Monica Seles, and U.S. Presidential Honoree Roger Kuttan.

Dr. Tim Tatsui

NEF Vice President for CTE & Higher Ed

Dr. Tim TatsuiDr. Tim Tatsui is a lifelong educator, with a passion for preparing K12 and college students, especially the disadvantaged, for high-demand jobs and STEM skills. He began his career in education as a classroom teacher for Teach for America in Houston, TX and Compton, CA. Dr. Tatsui served in the Compton USD for 9 years in several capacities. Later, he served as an advisor to Los Angeles Unified School District on policy, program development and evaluation. He also advised teaching and learning candidates, and directed clinical practicum graduate studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine University and Loyola Marymount University.

As VP of Data and Analytics at Pearson, Dr. Tatsui worked with K12 District, State Partnership and Higher Education system-level clients in the U.S. and Canada.

Dr. Tatsui is a Board Member at the UCLA School of Education and is an Advisory Board Member at Jazz Hands for Autism. Tim earned a B.A. from Baylor University, a Doctor of Education at UCLA, and an M.B.A. from UCLA.

Prof. Anthony Betrus

NEF National Academic Advisor

Prof. Anthony BetrusProf. Tony Betrus, a national expert in digital education system, is a professor of Educational Technology at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam. With funding support provided by NEF to SUNY Potsdam and Dr. Betrus, Tony and his team direct NEF’s CTE and STEM systen solution programs in the Nation’s schools and colleges. Tony and his team, guided by NEF Chairman Dr. Appu Kuttan, developed a digital literacy course that has been successfully completed by several thousand students worldwide since 2012. A national expert in eSports, Tony and his team at SUNY Potsdam also provide completion certificates for NEF’s CTE, STEM and Digital Literacy online courses.

Supt. Art Stellar

Vice President & Resident Superintendent

Supt. Art StellarDr. Stellar, the Winner of AASA’s 2015 Distinguished Service Award, is a seasoned superintendent. He is nationally known as an author of 60 plus articles on education, and a former national president of ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development). He has served as a superintendent in many states including MA, OK and NC. Dr. Stellar provides QZAB assistance to school superintendents and their curriculum, business, technology and facilities deputies. He knows how to structure the QZAB. His loyalty is to the profession and fellow superintendents. He understands their world, and how difficult it is for them to find funds. He has an open invitation to superintendents across the US and their deputies to invest 5 minutes with him to learn about receiving millions of NEF grants to meet their urgent CTE, STEM and Sustainabilty (Energy) priorities.

Maya Kuttan

General Counsel & Communications Director

Maya KuttanMaya Kuttan with over ten years of experience as an attorney and media specialist, has implemented successful campaigns and legal strategies for NEF. She has also provided counseling, enforcement, litigation support and rulemaking for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and municipalities, agencies, startups, and nonprofits. She earned a JD from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law and a BA from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Maya has garnered awards for her films and legal work.

Roger Kuttan

Director of Strategy

Roger KuttanRoger Kuttan has decades of experience in business, counseling, and investment. He devised key strategies to expand NEF’s reach and effectiveness. A U.S Presidential Honoree, Roger earned from Stanford University, a JD with concentrations in Corporate and International Law, and an MBA where he completed the Global Management and Public Management Programs. Showing incredible achievement from a young age, he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Finance from American University at 18, and was awarded the national Volvo Tennis Athlete/Scholar of the Year Award.

Prof. Elizabeth Starks


Prof. Elizabeth StarksProf. Starks, a tenured professor at SUNY Jamestown Community College, is very passionate about K-12 STEM education and the NEF-SUNY STEM Vision for New York state- to help make New York the first STEM state in the U.S. Her efforts include working with Chautauqua County school districts to help them to replicate NEF’s highly successful TSSS (Total STEM System Solution) program in Brocton CSD. Prof. Starks is dedicated to providing quality education to early childhood learners. Her vast array of impressive credentials include serving as a Board member for NY State Association for the Education of Young Children, and the NY Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Board.

Patricia Dengel


Patricia DengelPat Dengel retired recently as the state QZAB director at the PA Department of Education PDE). Pat has the unique distinction of issuing all of PA’s QZAB allocations ($112 million) during 2009-2011. Working with NEF, she also made sure that the PA QZAB school districts implemented QZAB academies that “prepared students better for college and workforce,” as required by the Federal QZAB law. In her capacity as an NEF advisor, Pat assists school districts with their QZAB applications. She also advises state QZAB directors.