Board of Advisors

Mike Harris : Legal & Policy Advisor

Mike Harris

Legal & Policy Advisor

Mike Harris, Esq. – Mike works as a lawyer at the Burlington, VT law Collins McMahon & Harris, PLLC, ( that he runs with two partners.Mike’s law practice primarily focuses on civil litigation, representing clients before state and federal courts and administrative bodies in a variety of subject areas. He also provides clients general legal and contract matter advice and handles some business transactions and real estate matters. Mike enjoys helping people solve problems with legal implications, and he has represented a variety of nonprofit corporations.Mike has worked as a Burlington lawyer in private practice since 1987, after graduating Middlebury College (B.A. Biology, cum laude, 1980), receiving his law degree from the University of Wisconsin -Madison (J.D.,magna cum laude, 1986) and working from August 1986-1987 as a law clerk for the Honorable Albert W. Coffrin III, the former chief Judge for the Federal District Court for the District of Vermont.
Mike is married, has three children and lives in Williston. VT. He believes that getting an education truly serves as a springboard for opportunity. By getting involved with DOF, Mike can help others achieve this goal, as well as helping improve conditions in another part of the world. As Mike says:
There is an oft quoted saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” DOF takes this self-starting approach one step further, by in essence funding the future teachers who will teach others to fish. It has been my good fortune to meet Peter Garang Deng, and learn about the organization he has developed. Garang thoroughly understands the cultures where DOF operates, and has effectively communicated his mission, and its details, to others (both in the U.S. and abroad) now involved in DOF, who are bringing that mission to fruition. I am happy to provide whatever counsel and advice I can to assist this venture.
Besides spending time with his family, Mike’s non-work activities include running (including marathons and half-marathons), biking, gardening and home brewing. He’s served on Williston’s Conservation Commission since 1995, with an interest in public trails and land conservation. The Commission has helped Williston permanently conserve over 1,200 acres in over 10 conservation easement or land acquisition projects.

Will C. Derwin : Fundraising Board Member

Will C. Derwin

Fundraising Board Member

Mr. Will Derwin is from Litchfield, CT in the Northwest corner of the state. In Connecticut his family owns and operates two retail clothing establishments, specializing in high-end menswear and ladies merchandise. Mr. Will received his Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Business, graduating with Latin Honors from Champlain College. During his time as a student he made many memorable friends and connections, but none as important as the relationship he made with (Peter) Garang Deng. When Peter approached him with the opportunity to join the Board of Directors for his organization he was honored. Mr. Will have long harbored a strong connection with life-long learning and using business as a vehicle for change and being a part of NSJOF allows him to stay in touch with those values. He enjoy the merchant and manufacturing aspects of the field and know the importance education has had in helping shape his situation and he want to spread that sentiment. In Will his own word "Even though I no longer live in Vermont, I am taking what the state embodies and what NSJOF stands for wherever he go, along with a universal consciousness." NSJOF is proud to have Mr. Will on its Fundraising Board.

Scott Harris : Advisor Member

Scott Harris

Advisor Member

Scott Realized in the 2010 that something was missing in his life, what was missing was how he can help people that needed his help most. Within 2010 Peter, founder of DOF invited him to join and help out with the founder. Scott was excited to join and help, now he serve as the secretary of the board with Scott Baker. Mr. Scott is currently purusing his bachelor degree at Burlington College. Mr. Scott love ski boarding and selling T-shirts. "I joined the Deng Opportunities Foundation to do something constructive with my life." Said Scott.

Kyle Dodson : Outreach & Public Relations Advisor

Kyle Dodson

Outreach & Public Relations Advisor

Kyle is the Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement programs at Champlain College in Burlington, VT. Before joining the Champlain College staff in August of 2008, he founded and spent four years as the Principal of the Lee Academy Pilot School in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
He was a member of the inaugural cohort of the Boston Principal Fellows Program, a one-year intensive program to train new leaders for the Boston Public Schools. Before becoming a Principal, Kyle spent eight years as a Student Life Administrator at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT. Prior to his career in education, he was a vice president of mortgage-backed securities trading at Paine Webber, Inc. in N.Y.C. He played four years of Varsity basketball in college, including being elected captain in his senior year. He holds a B.A. in History from Harvard, an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia, and an Ed.D. from the University of Vermont in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
Kyle have known Garang for the last several years. Most of that time he dealt with Garang as a student at Champlain College. In Kyle own words “From the moment you meet Garang, the overwhelming impression you get is of someone who is very smart and highly motivated. Over the course of time I learned about Garang’s foundation work through him and several of his professors/mentors here at Champlain College. My interest in the Foundation, is really an interest in Garang. Garang is the kind of guy who makes things happen, and I like being associated with “doers”. Garang is solution-oriented and Burlington, Sudan, and the rest of the world need more people like him."

Scott H. Baker :  Advisor Board Member

Scott H. Baker

Advisor Board Member

Scott H. Baker has researched in, and written on, political development issues in China, most of Europe, Nigeria, and Turkey. He has conducted first-hand research on democratization issues within the Commonwealth, European Union and NATO, and has studied the relationship between economic and political disenfranchisement and conflict in Northern Ireland for the UN University Institute for International Conflict Research (INCORE). Scott presently serves as an International Advisor for a Nigerian NGO, the Center for the Environment, Human Rights, and Development (CEHRD), where he also conducts research on political and economic development issues in Nigeria. He also co-founded and serves as a Board Member to Global Reach Partnerships, which is a non-profit dedicated to empowering resettled refuges in the Burlington, VT, area. Scott also serves on the Board of the Deng Opportunities Foundation (DOF), which provides private school education and boarding for orphans in southern Sudan. Driven by this interest in the utilization of conflict studies within economic and political development frameworks, he teaches International Business at Champlain College (US), where he also serves as Assistant Dean of the Division of Business. Scott also serves as Faculty Advisor for Champlain’s International Development Club, which raises funds for micro-lending to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

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