Advisory Committee

Below are profiles of the OSTRC's Advisory Committee:

Ezekiel Dixon-Román William Richards
Martin Friedman Salvatore Sandone
Cheryl Oakman Tom Sheaffer

Ezekiel Dixon-Román
Assistant Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice
University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Dixon-Román received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish from North Carolina Central University and his master’s in the social sciences from the University of Chicago, where he concentrated on quantitative methods and race, class, and culture. He also accrued a master’s in psychology while working on his Ph.D. in psychometrics at Fordham University.

Ezekiel Dixon-Román completed a two-year Institute of Education Sciences postdoctoral fellowship in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University in 2008. He currently has research grants from the American Educational Research Association, the University of Pennsylvania University Research Foundation, and the University of Pennsylvania TRIO Pilot Project Competition.

Research & Current Projects


Dr. Martin Friedman
Executive Director

Dr. Martin Friedman is the founder and Executive Director of the National School and Community Corps (NSCC), an AmeriCorps program; and EducationWorks, a nonprofit organization he established to house the NSCC and develop new programs.  Earlier, he served with the New Jersey Department of Higher Education as Director of the Offices of Teacher Education, College-School Collaboration, Inter-Agency Programs, and Executive Director of the Office of Community Service and Special Programs.  Dr. Friedman has a B. A. from Antioch College (Ohio) and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.


Dr. Cheryl Oakman
Assistant Professor
Temple University School of Social Work

Dr. Cheryl Oakman is a newly appointed full-time Assistant Professor at Temple University School of Social Work, where she teaches practice classes with undergraduate Seniors and a graduate level Management and Planning practice course. She has also served as Adjunct Faculty in Eastern University’s Masters of Urban Studies Program since 2006, where she teaches Resource Development and Programming for Youth Development, and advises students in the Youth Development concentration.

Aside from academia, Dr. Oakman has close to 35 years of professional experience in the youth services field. Most recently she spent over 16 years as Director of Education and Director of the Center for Youth Development at United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, where her main focus was on professional development and improving the quality of out-of-school time and mentoring programs for youth. Previously she spent 18 years in working in the child welfare system to assist foster care youth in the aging out process. Dr. Oakman also serves in the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church Biblical Counseling Ministry, is a licensed clinical social worker, and is a certified employability life skills educator. She is a social worker to the core, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Welfare from the Pennsylvania State University; a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Temple University; and a Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research from Bryn Mawr College, with a concentration in clinical work and policy formation/program development. Dr. Oakman also has a Certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership from Bryn Mawr College, and is certified through Eastern University as an online teaching instructor.


William H. Richards, M.Ed.
Director, Philadelphia Out-of-School-Time Literacy Initiative (POSTLI)
Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation

Bill Richards directs the Philadelphia Out-of-School-Time Literacy Initiative (POSTLI) programs for the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation in expanding high quality after school literacy programming in city funded afterschool sites. His work in afterschool began at Public/Private Ventures in 2000 supporting the Youth Education for Tomorrow literacy model, expanding this innovative, research based approach by providing technical support and training throughout the country. He developed Project Based Learning in After School Time (Project BLAST), an expansion of the YET program for middle and high school youth that includes effective recruitment and retention strategies. He taught English, Reading and worked as a Literacy Coach with students in Pre-K-12 for the School District of Philadelphia for 31 years.

Mr. Richards has a B.S. and M.Ed. from Temple University in Secondary Education and Psychology of Reading, respectively, and holds teaching certificates for K-12 Reading Specialist, Communications II, and Special Education. His doctoral residency project concluded with publication of a literacy curriculum to develop reading skills necessary for reading US Armed Forces’ training manuals, developed in conjunction with the Education Department at RCA.


Salvadore J. Sandone, M.Ed.
Executive Director
Zhang Sah Martial Arts

Salvatore has been practicing martial arts since the age of seven. At the age of twenty he won The World Tang Soo Do World Championship Brown Belt Division in both fighting and forms. He has competed locally, nationally, and internationally. Since then he has earned black belts in the martial arts of Karate, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, and Tang Soo Do.  He has a B.S. in Business Administration, accounting from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s Degree in Education Administration, Education Leadership and Policy Studies from Temple University. He currently is working on his doctorate degree at Temple University. His research interests include positive youth development, fitness, and educational outcomes.  As founder of Zhang Sah Martial Arts, a 501C(3) non-profit organization, leading the organization for the past 15 years towards achieving its mission of synthesizing martial arts and education.  He enjoys surfing, gardening, and wine making in his spare time.


Thomas Sheaffer

Tom Sheaffer, at the time of his retirement in November 2013, had been a Deputy Managing Director in the Philadelphia Deputy Mayor's Office for Health & Opportunity. During the last of his 37-year history with the city, he had been the Project Lead for Philadelphia’s “Building an OST System of Systems Project” and the Office’s Fiscal Director. Tom had been either an employee of or consultant to the City of Philadelphia since 1976, having served in such diverse roles as:

  • Planning Director for the City’s Area Manpower Planning Council

  • Director of Planning and Community Resource Development, Office of Mental Health/Mental Retardation

  • Fiscal Director of the Philadelphia Nursing Home

  • Financial Officer for OMH/MR

  • Staff positions to the Deputy Managing Director for Social Services and to the Deputy Mayor for Health & Opportunity 

Tom earned his BS in Business & Administration at Drexel University and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning at The Pennsylvania State University. He has been involved with numerous non-profit agencies in a variety of ways including board member and continues his activity with several organizations including the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) and the National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC), of which his is a founding member.