Dr. James Toscano is the president of Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust and is a national leader in the fight to make college more affordable for American students and families. With a career that spans both public policy and higher education, Toscano brings a practitioner’s perspective to bear on both the challenge--and opportunity--of transforming institutions of higher education. During Toscano’s tenure as a vice president at Tidewater Community College, one of the largest in the U.S., the college was the nation’s leader and model for lowering the cost of education for students through the innovative use of open educational resources.
An advocate for elevating the consumer voice in public decision making, Toscano’s passion took root as a student when he served on his university’s board of trustees under a new state law. Since that time, he’s been a leading voice on opening up public governing boards to stakeholder input via traditional public participation and digital methods. He started his career as a legislative staffer in the Virginia General Assembly. Toscano has served out terms in various policy board appointments under two former Virginia governors, and in 2018 he served on the Higher Education Policy Commission during the transition of Virginia Governor-Elect Ralph Northam. Toscano’s commentary and research can be found in The Washington Post, GOVERNING, Government Technology, Public Management magazine, The Conversation, and opinion pages throughout Virginia.
A first generation college graduate, Toscano holds a doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University, a master’s in public policy and management from the University of London, and a bachelor’s in communications from Old Dominion University. And he’s a 2012 graduate of the Sorensen Institute Political Leaders Program at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Archie P. Cubarrubia serves as Vice President for Policy and Advocacy at Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust. He previously served as Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness at Miami Dade College, providing executive leadership and oversight of the institution’s strategic planning, research, policy analysis, assessment and evaluation, and quality assurance activities.
Prior to joining Miami Dade College, Dr. Cubarrubia spent close to a decade at the U.S. Department of Education leading several of the agency’s high-priority and high-profile activities related to post secondary access, affordability, and accountability under the Obama and Bush Administrations. He oversaw the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative and directed research and development activities for the Integrated Post secondary Education Data System (IPEDS). He also served as the Designated Federal Official for the federal advisory committee on Measures of Student Success and served as the principal analyst for former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings’ Commission on the Future of Higher Education.
A lifelong student advocate, Dr. Cubarrubia began his career directing student success programs at Boston University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Rhode Island. He earned his doctorate in higher education administration from The George Washington University.
Matthew Farrey is Vice-President for Development and Projects at Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust. Farrey has more than 24 years of experience in fundraising, management, and issue advocacy in the nonprofit sector, including at advocacy organizations, think tanks and in higher education.
Prior to joining Partners, he was Senior Director for Development at Families USA, a nonprofit that advocates for state and federal policies that will ensure that high quality health care is available to everyone in the U.S. He was previously Director of Philanthropic Partnerships for the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan “fact tank” that informs the public about the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping America and the world. Before joining Pew, he was Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at American University and at Mount Ida College, where he was also an adjunct professor of Political Science.
Earlier in his career, Farrey was the Associate Director of the Alliance for Better Campaigns where he helped design and direct a series of advocacy campaigns that aimed to increase and improve television coverage of elections to open up the democratic process to more candidates and new ideas. He was also Director of Election Services at the League of Women Voters of the United States, where he managed voter registration campaigns and directed a nationwide public opinion research and education project about money in politics.
Farrey holds an MA in political science from the School of Public Affairs at American University and a BA in communication from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Stacie Gordon is the State Advocacy Manager at Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust. Stacie has extensive experience working in both the political and legislative fields, having previously worked on both state and federal campaigns and as a legislative aide in the Virginia House of Delegates.
A longtime political activist, Stacie has spent several years advocating for college affordability and addressing student loan debt. In advocating for higher education reform, she has led efforts in fostering civic engagement amongst younger voters and has crafted policy solutions with state legislators.
In 2016, she co-founded a Millennial-focused advocacy organization, holding a series of roundtable policy events in college towns, organizing a rally to highlight student loan debt at Longwood University before the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate, and hosting a weekend policy summit event. During Virginia’s 2016 statewide elections, Stacie led efforts to host a statewide candidate debate, featuring candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. During her tenure as co-chairman, the organization welcomed young activists from across the country as host of a policy forum on higher education and workforce development at the White House.
Stacie holds a BA in Political Science from Virginia Tech.