Colin David Pears, PhD

Founder & Executive Director

Dr. Pears was formerly the University Director of Academic Support and Advising and Co-Director of The Center for Academic and Career Success at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He is an expert on student success and retention and has teaching experience at the primary, secondary, and university levels of education. As a higher education administrator he has developed support frameworks and retention initiatives for high-risk, under-represented, and underserved students, served as a professional consultant, and trained faculty, advisors, and academic coaches in important aspects of student engagement and pedagogy. He holds an MA in Political Science and an MA in Philosophy from Boston College, and a PhD in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America.

Lisa Weaver, PhD

Senior Learning Architect

Dr. Weaver is Assistant Professor of Worship at Columbia Theological Seminary, and Executive Director of Women Working on…Well. Lisa has taught at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels, and has over 20 years of experience teaching, advising, coaching, and counseling traditional, adult, and second career learners. Additionally, she has over 20 years of ministry experience as an ordained clergy person. She holds an MA in English and Language Arts Education from Columbia University, an MDiv. in New Testament and Christian Origins from Union Theological Seminary, and a PhD in Liturgical Studies/Sacramental Theology from The Catholic University of America.

Omar Estrada Torres, EdD

Senior Student Affairs Consultant

Dr. Torres is Director of Strategic Partnerships and Client Relations at Grand River Solutions. He formerly served as the Dean of Student Services and Campus Life at Clark Atlanta University, one of the nation’s oldest HBCUs, and as AVP of Student Affairs at the State University of New York (SUNY), Old Westbury. He was a Public Policy Fellow for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) and he served as Liaison and Program Coordinator at the U.S. Department of Justice. He has expertise in residence life, student activities, leadership development, fraternity and sorority life, and student conduct, and has developed and instituted initiatives on drug and alcohol education, sexual education, supporting first-generation students, and student ethical development. He holds an MPA in Public Administration from SUNY Albany, and an Ed.D in higher education administration from Northeastern University.

William Buracker, PhD

Senior Coaching Strategist

Dr. Buracker is the Associate Rector of All Saints Church in Chevy Chase, MD, and the former Associate Dean of the Metropolitan School at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He oversaw the development and operation of a cutting-edge Academic Coaching and Assessment program, which continues to serve as a premier retention initiative for high-risk students. He is an expert on adult and continuing education with a background in student development, retention, and academic advising for both traditional and non-traditional student populations. He holds an MA in Mathematics from NC State, an MA in Theology from Edinburgh University, and a PhD in Biblical Studies from The Catholic University of America.

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What Brings Us Together

A shared view of what education can be at its best and a deep commitment to individual student success.

Our team brings together several decades of experience in higher education in both academic affairs and student life. We have broad exposure to the inner workings of colleges and universities, from the front lines of direct 1-on-1 student support to the development of institutional programs and initiatives designed to foster student success and retention. We hold advanced degrees in Clinical Psychology, Philosophy, Political Science, Theology, Education, Mathematics, International Affairs, and Business. We have direct experience teaching students of all ages and ability levels—K-12, undergraduate, and graduate. We have expertise in the areas of student development and success, disability support, student retention and persistence. And while we come from diverse backgrounds and draw from different educational experiences, we share a philosophy of education that aims to foster students’ ability to achieve their fullest potential, where the self-realization of their dreams sets them on a course for a lifetime of learning, professional development, and personal fulfillment.