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HERDI History

HERDI was born eleven years ago as the extension of an organization called ERDI that provides a similar product/ concept for the K to 12 market. There the panels are made up of leading school superintendents from across the U.S. That organization is still going strong after 24 years of success in helping companies find their way in the public school market.

The concept was created and lead by Dr. Michael Kneale until 2007, when Mike decided his health would prevent him from building on the success he had produced in the past. HERDI - Higher Educational Research Development Institute. At that time Dr. Toni Cleveland, who had been one of Mike’s board members since the inception of HERDI, took over the growing business. With her husband Don Lee, Toni manages all aspects of HERDI from their office in Richmond VA.

Toni Cleveland has devoted her career to the Community College sector where she has served as a faculty member, Dean, Vice-President, Interim President of Rockland County Community College (NY), President of Niagara County Community College (NY) and as Vice-Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System.

Dr. Cleveland’s undergraduate and master’s degrees are from Cortland College in New York and she received her doctorate from Syracuse University (NY), while carrying on the normal duties of a mother of four. Don Lee retired from a successful career in marketing and general management with Procter & Gamble and now supports Toni’s development of the HERDI marketing concept.

Toni’s passion for the value of community colleges can be seen in the Mission of HERDI: “To provide better products and services for students, faculty and staff of America’s Community Colleges by facilitating frank and critical dialogue between Community College leaders (presidents and chancellors) and the business community that seeks to serve them.”


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