meet the Board of Trustees

Peter Shapiro

Peter A. Shapiro
Chair, Prince George’s County Commissioner

Peter brings a wealth of professional experience and in-depth knowledge of Prince George’s County and the region. He previously served nine years as Executive Director of the Prince George’s County Revenue Authority, where he oversaw a $47 million budget, a staff of over 100-employees, and many major initiatives including the project to reimagine and revitalize the community surrounding Suitland Federal Center. 

Peter is also a former member and two-term chair of the Prince George’s County Council (1998-2004). As a Councilmember, he led numerous community revitalization efforts and oversaw land use and zoning for the County. One of his most notable community revitalization projects involved creating the vision for and spearheading the Gateway Arts District, a comprehensive public/private/non-profit revitalization effort resulting in over $500 million in new, high-quality investments along the Route 1 corridor. Peter led the effort to pass the smart-growth oriented 2002 Prince’s George’s County General Plan. 

In addition to his extensive list of accomplishments, Peter earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in African American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park and earned a graduate Certificate in Leadership and Organizational Behavior from the International Forum for Social Innovation in Paris, France.

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James Hedrick

Vice Chair, Montgomery County Commissioner

James Hedrick has spent his career working in community development and affordable housing. He completed his PhD in Political Science at Rice University in 2017 and has degrees in both public policy and anthropology from American University and the University of Texas, respectively. Before being appointed to the Planning Board, Dr. Hedrick was an affordable housing consultant, a community college professor, and a long-time federal employee. He previously served on the board of the Action Committee for Transit (ACT), the steering committee for Montgomery for All, and the board of the Twinbrook Community Association, as well as serving as the Chair of Rockville Housing Enterprises (RHE), Rockville’s public housing authority. He lives in the Twinbrook neighborhood of Rockville, MD with his wife and three kids.

Caroline McCarthy

Montgomery County Open Trustee

Caroline “Carrie” McCarthy is the Division Chief for Research and Strategic Projects at the Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The Division serves as a think tank on issues affecting land use and development in Montgomery County and the team’s work helps the Department stay ahead of the curve on planning decisions through analysis of demographic, economic, real estate, and housing data. 

Carrie joined the Montgomery County Planning Department in April 2016 from HR&A Advisors, a national real estate, economic development, and public policy consulting firm, where she was managing principal in the Washington, DC office. She has extensive experience developing market analyses and implementation strategies for master plans of complex sites, including brownfields, former military bases, downtowns, and transit-oriented development. She has also provided advisory services to private sector clients looking to advance real estate development or public policy initiatives. 

Carrie holds a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Wesleyan University. She is a Co-Chair of ULI NEXT Washington and a member of the programs committee for Montgomery Women.

Asuntha Chiang-Smith

Executive Director

Ms. Chiang-Smith was appointed the Commission’s Executive Director in November 2019.  Before joining the Commission, Ms. Chiang-Smith had extensive professional experience that spanned across Montgomery and Prince George’s counties as well as the State of Maryland. Most recently, she was the Chief Innovation Officer, and before then, the Chief of Staff, for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Before joining DHCD, Ms. Chiang-Smith worked at the State House for five years as the Executive Director of Maryland’s Sub-cabinet on Base Realignment and Closure, better known as BRAC.  In that role, she assumed front-line responsibility for managing Maryland’s $3.5 billion BRAC initiative. She also worked as former Governor Parris Glendening’s Special Assistant for Economic Development, and form Senator Barbara Mikulski’s Special Assistant on projects that include White Oak in Montgomery County and Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County.

Ms. Chiang-Smith earned her bachelor’s degree from Catholic University, master’s degree in public affairs and communications from American University and an MBA from the University of Maryland. She also completed the Senior Executives Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  
In addition, she has experience working in IT management and holds the certification as a Project Management Professional from the PMI. 

Howard Brown

Fraternal Order of Police Representative

Sergeant Brown joined the Prince George’s County Park Police Division of the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission in March 2015 and was selected to represent the Fraternal Order of Police on the Board of Trustees in July 2015. Sergeant Brown has 15 years of experience as a board member for the Anne Arundel County Retirement System.  He is a member of the Investment Monitoring Group, Administration and Personnel Oversight Committee and Audit Committee.

Pamela F. Gogol

Montgomery County Public Member

Ms. Gogol works as a Principal Risk Analyst for the Federal Housing Finance Agency responsible for the analysis and oversight of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's governance and risk frameworks.  
Ms. Gogol was the former Assistant Treasurer of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and served as the Bi-County Open Trustee on the ERS Board in 2008.  

Ms. Gogol holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from George Washington University and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance/Economics from Michigan State University. 

Lisa Blackwell-Brown

Montgomery County Government Employees' Organization Representative

Ms. Blackwell-Brown is the Secretary-Treasurer for the UFCW Local 1994 and the field representative for public safety, which includes Sheriffs, Cumberland City Police and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

She served as Recorder from December 2020 until her election as Secretary-Treasurer in September 2021. She has her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Dayton, 
and her law degree from Widener University School of Law (J.D). She also graduated from Wayne State University with a LL.M. in Labor and Employment Law. 

Prior to working at UFCW Local 1994, she worked at Legal Aid in Baltimore, representing abused and neglected children.  Ms. Blackwell-Brown lived in Quito, Ecuador for four years teaching English to attorneys and honing her Spanish-speaking skills, becoming fluent.

Sheila Morgan-Johnson

Prince George's County Public Member

Ms. Morgan-Johnson was the Executive Director for the District of Columbia Retirement Board from 2017 until she retired in 2021. As Executive Director, she was responsible for the strategic direction of the Agency, including, but not limited to, the fiscal management of the Agency’s $45 million operating budget, prudent management of the $9 billion defined benefit plan, as well as personnel and contracting discretionary authority. Prior to being named Executive Director, Ms. Morgan-Johnson had a long-serving career as the Chief Investment Officer and Chief Operating Officer for the District of Columbia Retirement Board. Ms. Morgan-Johnson worked closely with the Board of Trustees, the City’s Treasurer, the Board’s independent audit firm and actuary and investment consultant to implement 
financial decisions on behalf of the membership.  

Elaine Stookey 

Bi-County Open Trustee

Ms. Stookey began her career at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 2014 in the Finance Department’s Accounting Division. Ms. Stookey served as a City Finance Director/Treasurer with prior employers and received certification as a Certified Public Finance Administrator by the Association of Public Treasurers of the U.S. and Canada. 
Gavin Cohen picture

Gavin Cohen, CPA

Gavin Cohen joined the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission ("Commission") in November 2021 as the Secretary-Treasurer. He previously served as the Chief Financial Officer/Director of Finance for the City of Rockville from 2005-2021. He has over twenty-five years in municipal finance including roles as the Finance Director/City Treasurer for the City of Solana Beach in San Diego County California and the Assistant Finance Director for the City of Glendora in Los Angeles County California. Prior to his municipal service he was a controller and auditor in private industry. 

Mr. Cohen has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Cape Town. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), Certified Employees Benefit Specialist (CEBS), and a Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO).

Mr. Cohen is a member of several professional organizations including American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), and Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). Has served previously on the GFOA national committees on Retirement and Benefits Administration, and Treasury and Investment Management, and was a reviewer for the GFOA publication an Elected Officials Guide to Government Finance.


Theodore J. Russell III
Prince George’s County Open Trustee

Tedd has lived in Prince George’s County for more than 40 years. He became a Budget Coordinator for the Prince George’s County Parks & Recreations in 2017. In 2019, he took on a new formed role of Cost Recovery Management Analyst. He has served in a voluntary capacity as a basketball coach and with the Park Police Volunteer Association. Prior to joining M-NCPPC, Tedd was a Director of Finance for several national intermediary non-profit organizations. In this capacity, he oversaw the human resource administration of the organizations including the retirement portfolios and investment policies. 

Tedd received a bachelor’s degree from Howard University in Accounting, and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland Global Campus in Financial Management. He is passionate about youth sports programs and continues to work with the Park Police and the local cycling community to conduct bike rodeos and community rides along the trail systems roadways. Tedd has been the Chair of the Prince George’s Countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Community Advisory group since the establishment in 2020.