Our Staff

Dr. Sandy Addis

Director, National Dropout Prevention Center and Network

Email: haddis@clemson.edu
Phone: 864.656.0957

Dr. Sandy Addis joined the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network staff as Associate Director in May of 2013 and currently serves as Director. He holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from South Carolina State University. He has 44 years of experience in public education in a variety of roles that include teacher, counselor, coach, principal, system-level administrator, and director of a regional educational service agency. He has designed and administered a variety of dropout prevention initiatives that include after-school programs, counseling, and service-learning. Dr. Addis has served as an alternative school principal and authored numerous grant proposals that funded summer programs, professional learning, family engagement, and character education. Dr. Addis has served as an adjunct instructor at several colleges in South Carolina and Georgia, trained local school boards, and consulted with local school systems on policy and leadership development. He has led educator teams in the development and distribution of student achievement measures and on-line systems for delivery of educator training. Dr. Addis has served on numerous professional boards, testified before legislative committees, and recently chaired the Educator Ethics Task Force of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

John Gailer

Assistant Academic Program Director for Programs and Outreach

Email: jgailer@clemson.edu
Phone: 864.656.2675

Mr. Gailer joined the Center as a Program Coordinator in 2011. As the Assistant Director for Programs and Outreach, he is responsible for all NDPC/N events. He earned his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Georgia and has more than 25 years of experience in the field of youth development in the contexts of youth at-risk and third culture kids. John has conducted leadership and teambuilding workshops throughout the country at the local, regional, and national levels. He has served as a consultant in areas of program, intervention, and collaboration design. He has 15 years of experience in higher education leadership, classroom instruction, and nonprofit administration. In his current role with NDPC/N, John designs professional learning experiences that impact educators and youth practitioners nationwide. John and his wife, Susanna, have two married sons and a daughter in college. They manage and live in a home in Toccoa, Georgia that provides housing for 15 third culture kids whose parents reside all over the world.

Cairen Withington

Assistant Academic Program Director for Research, Evaluation, and Public Relations

Email: cairenw@clemson.edu
Phone: 864.656.2873

Mrs. Withington holds an M.A. in Economics from the University of South Carolina, specializing in the economics of human capital and education; and a B.A. in English from the College of Charleston. She has been with the Center since 2006. She has been a key investigator on two recent major studies by the Center: one involving research on career-focused education, “A Longitudinal Study of the South Carolina Personal Pathways to Success Initiative,” and the other focused on dropout prevention strategies, “A Meta-Analysis of Dropout Prevention Outcomes and Strategies.” She is a grant writer, researcher, and evaluator, and she oversees Web resources and public relations for the Center.

Z. Annette Bassett

Administrative Assistant

Email: acarver@clemson.edu
Phone: 864-656-1143

Ms. Bassett joined NDPC/N in 2013, with more than 32 years of experience with Clemson University in business management. She provides administrative and project support for NDPC/N’s Leadership Team, and handles Human Resources activities.

Debra Andrews

Program Assistant

Email: ddandre@clemson.edu
Phone: 864.656.4139

Debra joined the NDPC/N in 2015.  She holds a B.S. in Communications.  As Program Assistant, she is responsible for the center’s graphic design needs and works with membership, publication’s and conference support. She has 15 years of experience in graphic communications, marketing, and public relations, working primarily with national non-profit organizations.

Savannah Wigington Bock


Email: sdwigin@clemson.edu
Phone: 864.656.1779

Mrs. Bock is an accountant and fiscal analyst for the College of Education at Clemson University. She has been servicing the Center as the accountant since 2015.


Jennie Cole

Research Associate

Email: jecole@clemson.edu
Phone: 864-656-3875

Mrs. Cole joined the National Dropout Prevention Center in 2013. She holds a B.S. Degree from the University of Tennessee in Business Administration with a concentration in Logistics/Transportation. Her experience includes new business development, logistics, transportation, and organizational management. She is responsible for monitoring state and national accountability systems, legislation, and initiatives impacting dropout issues as well as development and implementation of databases and record systems that support the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network.

Lynn Dunlap

Public Information Director

Email: ldunlap@clemson.edu
Phone: 864.656.2678

Mrs. Dunlap was awarded a B.A. in Secondary Education (English and history) and an M.A. specializing in Professional Communications from Clemson University. She is a highly-qualified teacher licensed in South Carolina and taught both secondary and post-secondary communications classes for 10 years. She has extensive experience in marketing and public relations at a local not-for-profit healthcare organization and, more recently, an international healthcare organization. Mrs. Dunlap’s responsibilities include publications, the Solutions webinar, and publicity.

Denise Gianforcaro

Administrative Specialist II

Email: jgianfo@clemson.edu
Phone: 864.656.3882

Mrs. Gianforcaro is an Administrative Specialist II and has been with the Center since April of 2008. She manages the Cvent online registration system and provides administrative support for all aspects of conference planning, registration, and implementation. She also manages the NDPN membership database and processes membership and literature requests.

John Peters

Network Coordinator

Email: pj@clemson.edu
Phone: 864.656.0253

Mr. Peters earned a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. He has been with the Center since 1992. Initially hired to provide Network support services, today he also handles the logistics of our professional development seminars, conferences, and workshops.



Tommy Stephens

Grant Project Leader

Email: tsteph6@clemson.edu

Mr. Stephens oversees the implementation and completion of the Toyota USA Foundation grant to the National Dropout Prevention Network, a three-year, $1.5 million grant to support high school students interested in pursuing career-focused education in New York, Kentucky, and Mississippi. He has previously worked with the Center as a consultant providing school improvement plans for several schools. Mr. Stephens has had a lengthy career of education service, and is a former Superintendent from both Georgia and New Hampshire, principal, assistant principal, teacher, and educational consultant. He has extensive experience in career education, school improvement, dropout prevention, and educator training.


Anna Wilson

Information Systems Business Analyst

Email: aew8@clemson.edu
Phone: 864.656.1734

Anna assists in making the web and digital resources and materials of the Center accessible to those looking for information and resources in the area of dropout prevention.

Peg Chrestman

Public Information Specialist

Email: merry@clemson.edu
Phone: 864.656.2874

Mrs. Chrestman has been with the Center since 1990. She is our desktop publisher and editorial assistant on all Center publications.