NAAB Leadership

The NAAB board has 13 voting members. ACSA, AIA, and NCARB each nominate three directors; AIAS nominates two; and there are two public directors. The Past President and Executive Director serve ex officio. The NAAB Board meets at least three times a year to consider official business including accreditation decisions.

The 2020-21 NAAB Officers and Directors are:

Marilys R. Nepomechie, FAIA, DPACSA, NCARB
President

Nepomechie is a Professor of Architecture and Associate Dean for Faculty and Program Development at Florida International University in Miami. Her professional and academic projects focus on urban resilience and design of sustainable, affordable housing and infrastructure. Included in the archives of the U.S. National Building Museum, her projects have been honored with over 40 design and research awards, national and international exhibitions, and publications. The NSF, NEA, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, as well as the Andrew W. Mellon, Graham, CINTAS and American Architecture Foundations, have funded her research, creative, and curatorial work.

Rebecca O’Neal Dagg​
President-elect​

O’Neal Dagg is an associate professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at Auburn University. She earned her M. Arch. from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and her undergraduate degree in interior design from Auburn University, where she was awarded the Mary Frances Carter Award. O’Neal Dagg served as associate dean for research and academic affairs (2006-2013) and interim dean (2011) for the College of Architecture, Design and Construction (CADC) at Auburn. She is the architecture senator for the Auburn University Faculty Senate and previously served as interior architecture program chair. O’Neal Dagg’s research and creative work is focused on architecture theory and representation, architecture pedagogy, and interior architecture.

Jeanne R. Jackson, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP
Secretary​

Jackson is a partner at VCBO Architecture, a 90+ person firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since joining the firm in 1990, Jackson has specialized in the design of innovative educational facilities, conceived of and planned for the future of education; she has presented on this topic at numerous national conferences. Multiple schools Jackson helped imagine and design have won national, regional, and local awards. She has been an accreditation team member for numerous schools of architecture in the U.S. and beyond. Jackson has been licensed since 1993 and served on the Utah State Architectural Licensing Board for 8 years.

Benjamin B. Lee, FAIA, LEED AP
Treasurer​

Lee is Senior Principal of Clifford Planning and Architecture in Honolulu, overseeing planning and design for affordable housing, education, institutional, hospitality, and health care projects in Hawaii and the Pacific Basin. Prior, Lee was appointed to several high-level cabinet positions in Honolulu, ultimately serving as Managing Director of the City and County of Honolulu where he managed daily operations of the $1.2B budget. During his 20 years of government service, Lee implemented policies and urban design strategies that transformed Honolulu into one of the most livable and economically sustainable cities in the country. Lee received his B. Arch. from Arizona State University.

Barbara A. Sestak, FAIA
Past President​

Sestak recently completed eight years as Dean at Portland State University’s College of the Arts, where she oversaw two major building renovations, a building addition, the development of an accredited Master of Architecture program, and the School of Architecture. As professor, her teaching encompasses design studio, structures, building technology, environmental design, and leadership. Sestak was employed in architectural offices in Seattle and Portland before joining PSU; her professional work primarily focused on multi-family housing, commercial, and industrial projects. Her research and service center on the integration of the profession and the academy, while her research focuses on wellness design.

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Elizabeth Caccavano, AIAS

Caccavano is currently a fourth-year student majoring in architectural design at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. While at Temple, Caccavano has served as the Chapter President and Chapter Secretary for AIAS. In 2019, Caccavano co-chaired the AIAS Northeast Fall QUAD Conference and ran for the Northeast Quad Director position after three years of AIAS involvement at a local and national level. Currently, Caccavano is Temple University’s NCARB AXP Student Liaison, Freedom by Design’s Project Manager, and chair of the AIAS National Social Justice Task Force which focuses on equity and diversity, and advocates for the rights and needs of underserved and minority groups of students.

Kelly Hayes McAlonie, FAIA​

Hayes McAlonie, FAIA, LEED AP is the Director of Campus Planning at the University at Buffalo. Her work involves overseeing the implementation of the university’s Comprehensive Master Plan and the strategic planning for UB’s three campus environments. Hayes McAlonie has dedicated her career to educational architecture. She has spent the past 14 years researching the life and career of Louise Blanchard Bethune, FAIA, the first professional woman architect. She is currently writing a monograph, The Lady Architect: Louise Blanchard Bethune, FAIA. Hayes McAlonie has been active in AIA, serving as 2008 President of AIA Buffalo/WNY, 2012 President of AIANYS and 2016-2019 Regional Representative of the AIA National Strategic Council.

David Hoffman, FAIA, NCARB, Hon. FCARM​

Hoffman is Senior Vice President of LK Architecture, Inc., a 115 person Architecture and Engineering firm based in Wichita, Kansas. He has held an NCARB Certificate for 40 years and is licensed in 29 jurisdictions. His professional activities include serving as the 2018-2019 President of NCARB, on the Kansas State Board of Technical Professions for 12 years, on the AIA Board of Directors, on three Editorial Review Committees for the Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, on numerous AIA national committees, and on the Advisory Boards of the University of Kansas’ School of Architecture and Design and Iowa State University Department of Architecture. He has also served on 9 NAAB accreditation visits and one International Certification team. Hoffman has received the Henry Shirmer Distinguished Service Award from AIA Kansas.

Damon Leverett, MFA, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP​

Leverett is an independent design and planning professional in Tucson, AZ. Formerly with the American Institute of Architects in Washington DC from 2013-2019, he served as Managing Director, Workforce Development and Strategy, and Managing Director Diversity & Emerging Professionals Engagement. His responsibilities included engaging membership in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion, emerging professional leadership as well as higher and K-12 education. Damon has over 30 years’ experience working in the architecture and design industry as a principal, lead designer, and instructor. He holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Web Design and New Media from the Academy of Art University.

Robyn Payne, Assoc. AIA

Payne earned dual Master’s degrees in Architecture and Business Administration from the University of Kansas. During her time at KU, Robyn served as the sole student member alongside 43 industry leaders on the School of Architecture and Design Dean’s Advisory Board; ran for the elected-position of National President of AIAS after five years of local and national involvement; and received the KU 2019 Outstanding Woman in Leadership Award. After graduation, she joined Safdie Architects in Somerville, MA, as their Communications Coordinator. She is passionate about leveraging business acumen to amplify architecture’s impact.

Michaele Pride, Assoc. AIA, NOMA​

Pride is a Professor of Architecture at the University of New Mexico. As an architect and urban designer, she emphasizes principles of collaboration and public engagement in her teaching, research, and professional consulting. Michaele’s current work focuses on the intersection of design and public health—seeking ways to create healthier and more equitable communities. As Director of the UNM Design and Planning Assistance Center (DPAC), Michaele leads projects that connect communities to students and faculty. She is also a co-convener of the HIVE Network at UNM (Health, Inclusion, Vibrancy and Equity), connecting to address adverse determinants of health and wellbeing in New Mexico.

Raúl Rivera-Ortiz, AIA, NCARB​

Rivera-Ortiz is a licensed architect in San Juan, Puerto Rico. For over 30 years, Rivera-Ortiz was the Chief Principal of Rivera and Lastra Architects (formally R.R.O. Architects), responsible for overseeing the design and project administration of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential buildings. Rivera-Ortiz received his architecture degree from Cornell University’s School of Architecture, Art, and Planning. Rivera-Ortiz has taught capstone design at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico and currently serves as an adjunct professor at la Universidad Politécnica de Puerto Rico, teaching ethics.

Gretchen Frickx, EdD
Public Director​

Frickx received her B.A. from The George Washington University, her M.S. from Northwestern University and her EdD from Benedictine University. She served for over 20 years at Harrington Institute of Interior Design in various roles including Director of Academic Affairs, Director of Institutional Effectiveness, and Campus Director. She developed the institutional assessment plan and was heavily involved in programmatic and institutional accreditation efforts. Frickx is now the Director of the Global Gateway Program at DePaul University, where she oversees all academics and operations. Frickx lives in Oak Park, IL, where she volunteers at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.

Rhea Steele, CAE
Public Director​

Steele received her B.A. and M.S. from the University of Colorado – Boulder. After working at the school’s Judicial Affairs and Writing departments and University Museum, she moved to Washington, DC where she became the Director of IT and Operations for the Council of Chief State School Officers, and later COO at the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and DECA, Inc. Steele now serves as the Chief of Staff at the School Nutrition Association overseeing human resources, governance, and strategic initiatives. Steele has presented and written about culture change, process improvement, strategic visioning, ethics, and the future of work.