About Us


Board Chair

Sari Byerly Sari Byerly, PhD
Assistant Vice President, Division of Student Affairs, TRIO Access and Opportunity Programs, Idaho Statue University
Museum Building, Room 408, 921 South 8th Avenue, Stop 8345, Pocatello, ID 83209
Phone: (208) 282-3242, E-mail: ()

Dr. Sari Byerly is the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Idaho State University, where she has the pleasure of overseeing nine U.S. Department of Education grants. Her leadership with Idaho State University's Access and Opportunity Programs spans across six campus/outreach locations, 21 high schools, and 250+ miles of the state of Idaho. During Dr. Byerly's tenure at ISU she has taken the reach of TRIO programs from three TRIO grants to its current level of service delivery to include: two TRIO Talent Search, TRIO Upward Bound, TRIO Upward Bound Math Science, TRIO Veterans Upward Bound, TRIO Educational Opportunity Center, TRIO Student Support Services-Classic, TRIO McNair Scholars, and a College Assistance Migrant Program. Dr Byerly has been blessed to have worked for TRIO programs since 2002, starting her journey with the TRIO Upward Bound program at the University of Utah as a student employee. She personally feels she found her home when she began working for TRIO. She was a first-generation college student herself and now holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master’s of Science in Social Psychology from the University of Utah as well as a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of Idaho. She strongly believes in the positive impact College Access and Success programs have on people's lives at all levels whether a participant, an employee, the institution, or the community. Over the years, Dr. Byerly has had the privilege to work towards educational access through her various leadership roles. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Idaho Association of TRIO Professionals (IATP), regionally on Board of Directors for the Northwest Association of Educational Opportunity Programs (NAEOP), and nationally with the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE).

Past Board Chair

Kyle Ethelbah Kyle Ethelbah
Director of Federal TRIO Programs, The University of Utah
1901 East South Campus Drive Annex 2075, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
Phone: (801) 581-7188, E-mail: ()

Kyle Ethelbah is the Director of Federal TRIO Programs at the University of Utah overseeing the Student Support Services (SSS) and Upward Bound (UB) projects. Kyle is also founder and CEO of Positive Native LLC, an agency whose goal is to address health disparities and educational opportunity training needs within agencies and organizations that serve low income communities. Kyle has 26 years of personal and professional TRIO experience beginning as a participant with UB and SSS Programs. Kyle began his professional TRIO career in SSS, and Talent Search, and ultimately, oversaw the EOC and ETS projects at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he stayed for 11 years. Kyle has served on the boards of the National Educational Opportunity Center (NEOCA) and the ASPIRE UT board, where he served as president for the state of Utah. Kyle is a proud member of ‘Dischiidn’ (Bear) clan of the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Central Eastern Arizona. He received a Bachelor’s degree (BA) in Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) — Health Promotion emphasis from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is currently completing credits toward a graduate Certificate in American Indian Health (CAIH) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

Board Chair-Elect

T. Chris George, EdD T. Chris George, EdD
Director, TRIO Student Support Services, Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd, #11096 Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone: (270) 745-3978

Dr. T. Chris George is the Director of TRIO Student Support Services in the Division of Enrollment and Student Experience at Western Kentucky University (WKU). Chris began his professional TRIO career at Murray State University (KY) Talent Search. In addition to TRIO, over the course of his career Chris has been a faculty member teaching University Experience for 15 years at WKU, in 2007 he was honored with the WKU First Year Student Advocate Award. He has also taught World Civilization II at WKU and currently teaches World History I and II for Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College. George holds a Bachelor of Arts in History, Master of Arts in History, and an Education Specialist in School Leadership, all from Western Kentucky University. He also holds a doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Cumberlands. Over the years, Dr. George has had the privilege to promote college access and success through various leadership roles. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky TRIO Association, regionally on the Board of Directors for Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP), and nationally with the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE). He has worked as a TRIO Trainer for both SAEOPP and COE, as well as consultant with First Gen Solutions LLC. He is a co-founder of First Gen Solutions, LLC and of George Education and Events Solutions, LLC. Chris enjoys playing slow pitch softball, fantasy football, and attending sporting events (especially baseball and football).


Leo Conway Leo Conway
Assistant Director, TRIO Upward Bound Programs, Penn State University
210 Grange Building, University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-2320, E-mail: ()

Leo Conway began his work with TRIO as an Upward Bound Summer Program Tutor Counselor at Saint Francis University in 1990. Prior to working full-time for TRIO, Leo was a high school mathematics teacher who returned almost every summer to the SFU Upward Bound Program to teach the students Calculus and Trigonometry and help to supervise the tutor counselor staff. He enjoyed working with TRIO students so much that when a full-time position opened up in 1999 at Saint Francis University, he jumped at the opportunity. Leo worked at SFU for over eighteen years before being recently named the Assistant Director of TRIO Upward Bound Programs at Penn State University. His first day on the new job was November 30th.

Leo has been actively involved in the Pennsylvania Association of TRIO Programs (PA TRIO) and has served in various positions including Financial Affairs Committee Chair, Conference Chair, Treasurer, and President. Prior to his election two years ago as President-Elect of the Mid-Eastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MEAEOPP), Leo began as a regional Emerging Leader and served as Treasurer for almost six years.

Leo earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics with a Minor in Secondary Education from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA and his Masters of Education Degree from Saint Francis University. While a high school instructor, he was active in the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), served as the Student Organizations Committee Chair, and sat on its Board of Directors. Leo enjoys watching Pittsburgh Steeler football, going to the movies, and listening to music from the 1980s (especially Tina Turner).


Diana Tapia-Wright Diana Tapia-Wright
Director of Grant Funded Programs, RC, Upward Bound, State Center Community College District
995 N. Reed Avenue, Reedley, CA 93654
Phone: (559) 638-3641 x3668, Fax: (559) 638-0375, E-mail: ()

Diana Tapia-Wright currently serves as Director of Grant Funded Programs at Reedley College. She has worked within State Center Community College District for 30 years in various capacities, especially in management of federal and state grants that focus on serving a large region of first-generation, low-income students including Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Student Support Services, Title V, HSI-STEM, Career Technical Education and Basic Skills. Overall Dr. Diana Tapia-Wright has successfully applied and worked on over 35 million dollars of grant funded projects during her time at Reedley College. She is currently overseeing three Upward Bound and three Upward Bound Math and Science programs at Reedley College and the Madera Community College Center.

Diana Tapia-Wright has been a member of Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel for over 20 years and has chaired several committees, Research, Bylaws, and Communications. In addition, she is a founding member of WESTOP Central California Chapter. Diana Tapia-Wright completed her Doctorate in Education Leadership- Higher Education in from California State University, Fresno. In addition to her to recent accomplishments, Dr. Tapia-Wright was selected to work on an exclusive statewide committee for the California Community Colleges League, known as the Futures Commission. She was one of the authors of California Community College League Vision 20/20 Report which was the foundation used to create the Student Success Act 2012 which is the cornerstone of California Community College reform initiative aimed at improving educational outcomes for students. In May 2013, she was awarded the Educator of the Year for Administrator in Higher Education by the Association of Mexican American Educators (AMAE) for her many accomplishments in serving the Hispanic/Latino community. In November 2015, she was inducted into State Center Community College Muro De Honor (Wall of Fame) for her contributions and distinguished work for serving on a boards and commission representing the district.


Maureen Hoyler Maureen Hoyler
President, Council for Opportunity in Education
1025 Vermont Avenue N.W., Suite 900, Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: (202) 347-7430, Fax: (202) 347-0786, E-mail: ()

On October 1, 2013, Maureen Hoyler assumed the position of President of the Council for Opportunity in Education, a nonprofit organization that provides professional development, program improvement, and advocacy for nearly 2,800 federally funded college opportunity programs at almost 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide. Ms. Hoyler has been a voice for low-income, first-generation students and individuals with disabilities. As President, she oversees management of the Washington office and the fiscal affairs of the Association also while serving as the primary liaison between the Association and the United States Congress, the Executive Branch, all Governmental Agencies. She is the official representative of the Association with all other postsecondary educational associations.

She began her career at the Educational Opportunity Program at Marquette University as an assistant to the then Director, Dr. Arnold Mitchem. Ms. Hoyler moved to Washington in 1981 to establish the Council’s office. As the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, she has played an integral role in the growth of the organization over the past 33 years, which started with a staff of just one full-time professional in 1982. Ms. Hoyler has lectured widely on federal law and regulations. Her publications include “Collaboration to Widen Participation in Higher Education” (The European Access Network) and “Expanding College Access and Success: The Chicago Model” (with George Lowery). Over the years, she has received numerous awards from TRIO-based associations. She received her B.A. and her law degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Please note, COE's Board of Directors is comprised of representatives from its affiliate regional associations.

Members and Bylaws

The current Board of Directors members list is available for download Document is available for download (.pdf), as well as the Board Bylaws Document is available for download (.pdf).