Our Faculty

Fellowship Program workshops are taught by expert faculty as well as staff from state and local chambers who have put policy into practice to bring change and opportunity to their communities.

Faculty are listed in alphabetical order by last name. Select a letter below to jump to a specific faculty member.

C     D     F     G     H     K     M     N     R     S     W     Z


Josie Beets
Director of National Coordination, SAFE Project

Josie Beets is Director of National Coordination at SAFE Project, responsible for establishing, developing and maintaining individual state efforts and raising public awareness of SAFE Project mission to contribute in a tangible way to overcoming the addiction epidemic. Ms. Beets was the Senior Advisor to the President’s Management Council and Federal Chief Financial Officers Council. Prior to that, she was the President of the Military Spouse JD Network and the Public Policy Director of the Tennessee Bar Association.

Mike Bontrager
Senior Vice President, AP Southwest

Mike Bontrager was named President of AP Southwest in July 2016. In his role, Mike will be responsible for the region's leadership, strategic direction, and the overall growth and performance of the business. Mike's value is his extensive resume as an executive leader and his strong background in construction management. For nearly three decades, he held numerous positions at The Weitz Company, most recently as Executive Vice President. His tenure with the company included hands on experience as an engineer, project manager, superintendent, estimator, business developer, and construction manager. Under his leadership, The Weitz Company experienced rapid and sustainable growth. He spearheaded several initiatives to ensure market viability and profitable partnerships.

Mike received his degree in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University and serves on numerous associations including: Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, The Better Business Bureau Board of Directors, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Phoenix Community Alliance, Sky Harbor Coalition, and Leading Age Arizona.

In his free time, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife of 28 years, Monique, daughter Shea and son David. His hobbies include bike riding and working in his wood shop.

Kerri Briggs
Principal, Cicero Social Impact, Ed Direction

Kerri has significant leadership experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Most recently at ExxonMobil, Kerri managed the company’s K12 education partnerships and served as an advisor on critical policy issues. She was the founding director of Education Reform at the George W. Bush Institute, led the state education agency for Washington DC, and served as an Assistant Secretary in the USDE, where she managed large-scale policy initiatives to improve student achievement and ensure equal access for all students. Kerri has also directed programmatic and evaluation initiatives at various nonprofit organizations in Texas.

Jimmy Clarke
Senior Director of State Policy, HCM Strategists

Jimmy Clarke has gained experiences which have shaped his passion for postsecondary education policy and improving the lives of others. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and influenced by the cultural revolution of the 1960s, Jimmy received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California at Santa Barbara and later earned his master’s degree and a Ph.D. in education administration from Louisiana State University’s College of Education.

Jimmy spent twenty years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he served in a variety of capacities including dean of student personnel and dean of enrollment management. From this perch, Jimmy had an intimate view of the challenges students face in reaching their educational goals. He also served on the staff of the Louisiana Board of Regents for eight years, a portion of which he served in a dual capacity as acting chancellor of the statewide, 42-campus Louisiana Technical College. In these roles, Jimmy developed a deep understanding for policy issues affecting every stakeholder in higher education – an invaluable perspective that he brings to his work at HCM.

Jimmy believes that education policies crafted to benefit the student ultimately benefit the community and the nation; therefore, he strives to ensure that decision-makers sift through the complexity of public policy and consider all of the consequences on students and their families. At HCM, he serves as the director of Lumina Foundation’s Strategy Labs. Strategy Labs provide state leaders with technical assistance for policies that can increase higher education attainment. A people person at heart, Jimmy views his role as a builder of relationships and trust in an effort to foster collaboration among state policymakers with mutual student success goals.

Known for his problem-solving abilities and can-do spirit, Jimmy was tapped to be chief of staff to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco directly following Hurricane Katrina. He remained in this post throughout the rest of the Governor’s term, answering the call to duty during a time of crisis and rebuilding. A sports enthusiast, Jimmy has a long history of involvement with intramural and recreational sports. During football season, he enjoys cheering for the New Orleans Saints and remains loyal to the San Francisco Giants during baseball season. Jimmy lives with his wife in Lafayette, Louisiana, and has two children and four grandchildren.

David Dunn
President, D2 Strategies

In a career spanning over three decades, David has worked to drive effective public policy at all levels; state, federal and local. His enduring passion is working to improve educational outcomes for our nation’s students. David was the principal investigator for a project to design an accountability system for the public schools of Texas. This project, commissioned by the state legislature and including researchers from University of Texas, Texas A&M and the University of Houston developed the blueprint for the Texas Public Education Accountability system that helped to significantly improve student achievement and reduce the achievement gaps for low-income and minority students.

When President George W Bush made this system the template for school accountability systems under the No Child Left Behind Act, he called David to Washington to help with implementation. David served in the White House as the education advisor to the President and Domestic Policy Council and later served as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Margaret Spellings.

Recognizing the power in pairing strong accountability with educational choice for parents, David founded the Texas Charter School Association upon returning to Texas in 2008. While serving as Executive Director, David increased membership in the organization to include schools that serve 90% of the students in charter schools in the state, created training for administrators and board members, secured passage of major legislation allowing for the increase in the number and quality of charter schools. During David’s tenure with the TCSA, the charter movement in Texas experienced exponential growth in student enrollment and significant improvement in student outcomes, outpacing the gains achieved by their peers in the traditional school system.

David launched his company, D2 Strategies, to continue to help improve education experience and options, especially for low- income students. David graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Political Science and earned a Masters in Government from The University of Texas at Austin. He currently lives is Austin, TX with his wife, Terrell Halaska.

Jaime Fall
Director, UpSkill America

Jaime S. Fall is Director of UpSkill America at the Aspen Institute, an employer-led movement to expand opportunity for America’s workers and to help our economy and communities thrive by promoting training and advancement practices to help workers progress in their careers and move into better-paying jobs. The initiative, which was announced by the President following his 2015 State of the Union Address, is led by a coalition of nine business, education, workforce training, and human resource organizations.

Jaime also serves as Vice President for Workforce and Talent Sustainability for the HR Policy Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to getting America educated, qualified and hired through the development of research, services and resources to better inform students, jobseekers, workers, educators and policy makers about the skills needed by large employers in today’s rapidly changing workplaces. Jaime served as Deputy Secretary, Employment and Workforce Development, for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. As a Senate-confirmed leader in the Schwarzenegger Administration, Jaime provided policy and guidance to California’s $11 billion workforce system and the nearly 9,000 employees that made up the entities within the agency. 

Previously, Jaime spent more than a decade in Washington, DC working at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration; the National Association of State Workforce Agencies; Fall Communications, a workforce development-focused marketing and website development company founded by him and his wife; and on Capitol Hill. Jaime also served as district director for Senator Pat Roberts who was in the U.S. House of Representatives at the time. Jaime is a member of the Pearson Employability Advisory Board and a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Jaime was born and raised in rural Kansas and now resides outside of Sacramento, CA. He worked his way through college as a broadcaster before earning his degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas.

Aimee Guidera
Former Founder, President and CEO, Data Quality Campaign

Aimee Rogstad Guidera was the President and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a national, nonprofit organization leading the effort to empower educators, students, parents, and policymakers with the information they need to make the best decisions to improve student outcomes. Aimee believes that data has the power to transform education to ensure every child in this country is prepared for success in college and careers. 

A respected thought leader in education, Aimee was named one of TIME’s 12 Education Activists of 2012. She has also been cited as an expert on education policy and the value of education data by publications such as Business Week, NPR, and Education Week. Aimee is a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow and an alumna of the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Education Policy Fellowship Program. She serves on the board of directors of the Institute for Educational Leadership and the Friends of the Hennepin County (Minnesota) Library. Before founding DQC, Aimee served as the director of the Washington, DC, office of the National Center for Educational Achievement. She previously served as Vice President of programs for the National Alliance of Business (NAB), worked in the education division of the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices, and taught for the Japanese Ministry of Education.

Aimee received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and earned a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Aimee and her husband, Bill, are the parents of two school-age daughters. She is an active supporter of her daughters’ public schools and has served as a classroom volunteer, parent-teacher organization leader, and advisory committee member.

Katie Hagan
Edunomics Lab Research Associate, Georgetown University

Prior to joining the Edunomics team, Katie Hagan worked as a Policy Fellow at Business for Educational Success and Transformation in North Carolina, where she researched and advocated for high-quality state assessment and accountability systems. Katie has also been a classroom teacher in both traditional public and public charter schools, and was a 2011 Teach For America corps member in Las Vegas, NV.

She holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Duke University, a M.Ed. from the University of Nevada, and a B.A. from Virginia Tech.

David Keeling
Founding Partner, EdNavigator

David Keeling has more than 15 years of experience in strategic communications and public education. Over the last decade and a half, his words have appeared in teacher recruitment ads in the New York City subway, in news outlets from Education Week to The New York Times, and in the remarks and messages of some of the nation’s most prominent education leaders.

Before EdNavigator, he served for six years as Vice President of Communications for TNTP, leading the organization’s communications, marketing and publications strategy and advising TNTP staff, state education agencies and urban school systems nationwide on communicating with teachers, parents, school leaders, and other stakeholders.

He holds a BA in English from Middlebury College and lives with his wife and two children in Chicago.

Dr. John B. King Jr.
President and CEO, The Education Trust

John B. King Jr. is the president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. King served in President Barack Obama’s cabinet as the 10th U.S. Secretary of Education. In tapping him to lead the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama called King “an exceptionally talented educator,” citing his commitment to “preparing every child for success” and his lifelong dedication to education as a teacher, principal, and leader of schools and school systems.

Before becoming education secretary, King carried out the duties of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, overseeing all policies and programs related to P-12 education, English learners, special education, and innovation. In this role, King also oversaw the agency’s operations. King joined the department following his tenure as the first African American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State Education Commissioner.

King began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston, Mass., and as a middle school principal.

King’s life story is an extraordinary testament to the transformative power of education. Both of King’s parents were career New York City public school educators, whose example serves as an enduring inspiration. Both of King’s parents passed away from illness by the time he was 12 years old. He credits New York City public school teachers — particularly educators at P.S. 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island — for saving his life by providing him with rich and engaging educational experiences and by giving him hope for the future.

King holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Harvard University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, as well as a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies and a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. King serves as a visiting professor at the University of Maryland’s College of Education and is a member of several boards, including those for The Century Foundation, The Robin Hood Foundation, Teach Plus, and the American Museum of Natural History. He also serves on several advisory boards, including Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, the Rework America Task Force, the GOOD+ Foundation’s Fatherhood Leadership Council, the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement at the University of California, and the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

King lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his wife (a former kindergarten and first-grade teacher) and his two daughters, who attend local public schools.

Kim Kuchenbrod
Consultant, Workforce Development, Vermilion Advantage

Kim Kuchenbrod is a workforce development consultant with over twenty years of workforce development experience in the business/government/education sectors. Her expertise lies in business administration, training and staff development, planning, policies, procedures, research and monitoring in workforce development under the Workforce Investment Act.

In 2005, Kim joined Vermilion Advantage as a Workforce Development Specialist responsible for the oversight and growth of a comprehensive K-16 workforce development program for Vermilion County. Kim has a degree and certifications in entrepreneurship, ethics, and personal communications.

Mike Magee
CEO, Chiefs for Change

Michael Magee, Ph.D., is the CEO of Chiefs for Change. Prior to working at Chiefs for Change, he co-founded and was CEO of the Rhode Island Mayoral Academies (RIMA). Before starting RIMA, for a dozen years, Mike taught American literature and philosophy at Haverford College, Wheaton College, and the Rhode Island School of Design.

In 2004, his book, Emancipating Pragmatism, won the Elizabeth Agee Prize in American Studies. In 2007, Mike went on hiatus from academia to help found and direct Mayor Daniel McKee’s Office of Children Youth and Learning in Cumberland, RI. In 2008, he and Mayor McKee founded RIMA. He is a 2013 Pahara Aspen Education Fellow and Walton Family Foundation “Education Reformer to Watch.”

Mike holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English from the College of the Holy Cross.

Carmel Martin
Managing Director State and Local Partnerships, Emerson Collective

Carmel Martin was previously a distinguished senior fellow at American Progress, focusing on economic policy and education and workforce issues. Martin was formerly the executive vice president for policy at American Progress, managing the organization’s policy teams, shaping organizational strategy, and serving as a key member of American Progress’ Executive team. She also served as the treasurer to the Center for American Progress board. In 2004, Martin was a founding member of the American Progress staff as the associate director for Domestic Policy. Before joining American Progress as executive vice president, Martin served as the assistant secretary for policy and budget at the U.S. Department of Education.

Prior to her appointment by former President Barack Obama to her position at the Department of Education, Martin served as general counsel and deputy staff director for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) as chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. She also served as chief counsel and senior policy adviser to former Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and special counsel to former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD). Through her years in Congress, she worked on legislation related to education, workforce, budget, welfare, health care, and other issues of national importance.

Early in Martin’s career, she worked as a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the Educational Opportunities Section at the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as in the private sector as a member of Hogan and Hartson’s (now Hogan Lovells) education practice. There she counseled and represented school districts and institutions of higher education across the country. She graduated with a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law and a master’s degree in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. After graduate school, Martin was a law clerk to Thomas M. Reavley, judge in the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Martin has appeared on PBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox. She has been published in and cited in publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post. She was named one of the five women who shape education policy by the National Journal in 2014 and has testified as an expert witness in front of legislative committees, including the House Budget Committee.

Kathleen Mathers
Director, Education Strategy Group

Kathleen Mathers has worked with ESG since 2012, leading projects on state implementation capacity, educator effectiveness systems, and college and career readiness. She served as ESG’s project manager for the 2014 CCSSO Career Readiness Task Force and is now leading ESG’s work with CCSSO to support state implementation of those recommendations.

Prior to joining ESG, Mathers served as Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement in Georgia, a P-16 research, policy, and accountability agency. In that role, she led the development of Georgia’s Race to the Top proposal as project manager, annually prepared and published the state education report card for preschools through postsecondary institutions, collaborated on new legislation and policy initiatives to improve student achievement and school completion, and directed research efforts to determine the effectiveness of K-12 practices.

Kathleen has held a range of other positions in K-12 education. She worked for the Georgia Department of Education as the state director of the Math Science Partnership Program and as a professional learning specialist to prepare district administrators and school leaders across Georgia for the transition to rigorous performance standards. She led programming and professional development efforts at a nonprofit children’s science center, and she taught at the elementary level for eight years in Atlanta.

Kathleen earned a Master’s Degree from Georgia State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Math from St Mary’s College.

Dr. Michael Q. McShane
Director of National Research, EdChoice

Mike is the editor of New and Better Schools, the author of Education and Opportunity, and coeditor of Educational Entrepreneurship Today, Teacher Quality 2.0 and Common Core Meets Education Reform. His analyses and commentary have been published widely in the media, including in the Huffington Post, National Affairs, USA Today, and The Washington Post. He has also been featured in education-specific outlets such as Teachers College Commentary, Education Week, Phi Delta Kappan, and Education Next.

In addition to authoring numerous white papers, McShane has had academic work published in Education Finance and Policy and the Journal of School Choice. A former high school teacher, he earned a Ph.D. in education policy from the University of Arkansas, an M.Ed. from the University of Notre Dame, and a B.A. in English from St. Louis University.

Geoffrey A. Nagle, PhD, MSW, MPH
President and CEO, Erikson Institute

Geoffrey A. Nagle, PhD, MSW, MPH, is president and chief executive officer of Erikson Institute, a leading force in improving the lives of young children and their families through knowledge, research, service, and advocacy, and the nation’s premier graduate school in child development.

Dr. Nagle, an internationally recognized leader in the early childhood field, joined Erikson in January of 2014 after serving as the founding director of the Tulane University Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Tulane University School of Medicine. There, he worked closely with Louisiana government leaders to strengthen the state’s early childhood system and expand high-quality early care and education. His advocacy resulted in Quality Start, Louisiana’s child care quality rating and improvement system, and the School Readiness Tax Credits program, which, since implementation in 2008, has benefited Louisiana residents with tax credits in excess of $100 million in support of quality child care. In 2016, the tax credit program was replicated in Nebraska, where Dr. Nagle testified in front of the state legislature in support of the program.

At Erikson, Dr. Nagle has championed new strategies that draw from Erikson’s core strengths to broaden the institute’s impact in the complex and ever-changing early childhood arena. He has driven the development and implementation of a new strategic plan that addresses how Erikson will work to transform the early childhood workforce, inform the use of technology in early childhood, improve support for families and communities, and influence leadership and policy to benefit young children, families, and communities.

Under his leadership, Erikson launched a master of social work degree program, the first in the nation to integrate a child development perspective into a social work curriculum. Working with faculty, he established a groundbreaking global partnership with China’s largest private preschool provider that brings Erikson’s unique perspective on early childhood to the education of thousands of early learning professionals. He has also deepened Erikson’s advocacy efforts and relationships at the community level and created a new Early Childhood Leadership Academy to provide advocates and lawmakers with an informed understanding of how policy shapes programs and practices in early childhood.

Dr. Nagle has presented nationally and internationally on the pivotal topics that impact a child’s early years. In 2016, he received the World Association for Infant Mental Health Sonya Bemporad Award, a global honor recognizing his significant contribution to the advancement of social and public policies that contribute to the mental health and overall benefit of infants, toddlers, and their families. He is a past recipient of the Commissioner’s Award for Child Abuse Prevention from the U.S. Department of Health and Health Services and the Charles M. Vanchiere Child Advocacy Award from the Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others.

Born in New York City and raised in Westport, Conn., Dr. Nagle earned his bachelor of arts degree in political science from Duke University and both a master of social work and master of public health from Tulane University. His doctorate, also from Tulane, is in mental health policy research, an interdisciplinary degree that combined his interests in social work and public health. He serves on numerous committees and advisory groups, including the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences Board of Governors, the National Advisory Board for the Policy Institute for Children, and the Illinois Early Childhood Leadership Council.

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD
Pediatrician and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD is a pediatrician working in the public interest. He blends the roles of physician, occasional children's librarian, educator, public health professional, and child health advocate. With graduate degrees in public health, children’s librarianship, physician assistant studies, and medicine, he brings a unique combination of interests and experience together.

Dr. Navsaria is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and is director of the MD–MPH program there as well as the medical director of the physician assistant program. Clinically, he practices primary care pediatrics, with special interest in underserved populations. He is the founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin. Dr. Navsaria is heavily involved in both training and in the practice of child health advocacy — writing and speaking publicly locally, regionally and nationally on early brain and child development, early literacy, and advocacy to a broad variety of audiences. He also has extensive involvement with the American Academy of Pediatrics at the state and national levels.

Committed to understanding how basic science can translate into busy primary-care settings via population health concepts and policy initiatives, Dr. Navsaria aims to educate the next generation of those who work with children and families in realizing how their professional roles include being involved in larger concepts of social policy and how they may affect the cognitive and socioemotional development of children for their future benefit.

Elliot Regenstein
Partner, Foresight Law + Policy 

Elliot Regenstein is a Chicago-based partner at Foresight Law + Policy.  He is a frequent author and speaker on topics including accountability, governance, state data systems, and the connections between early learning and K-12.  Elliot has extensive experience in state-level policy and advocacy, with a particular focus on early learning; he has also consulted with more than two dozen states on a wide range of education policy topics.  His experience includes working with multiple states on successful applications for federal grants.

Elliot was one of the chief architects of Illinois' 2006 Preschool for All program, and co-chaired the Illinois Early Learning Council from 2004 until April 2009.  In 2015 he was appointed co-chair of the Illinois Longitudinal Data System Governing Board, and has served as chair of the Illinois Early Learning Council’s Data, Research, and Evaluation Sub-Committee since its creation in 2009.  In 2017 he chaired an Illinois State Board of Education workgroup that developed a recommendation for a P-2 indicator to be included in the state’s education accountability plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Prior to joining Foresight Elliot was the senior vice president for advocacy and policy at a major national early learning non-profit; before that he worked for six years in education at two national law firms, after serving as Director of Education Reform for the State of Illinois.  Elliot holds a bachelor of arts in history from Columbia University and a law degree from the University of Michigan, where he was the Executive Notes Editor on the Michigan Law Review.  After law school he clerked for the Hon. Kenneth F. Ripple on the United State Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  He is an active member of the Illinois bar and an inactive member of the New Mexico bar.

Roberto J. Rodriguez
President and CEO, Teach Plus

Roberto J. Rodríguez is President and CEO of Teach Plus. He spearheads the organization’s work to grow and strengthen the teacher leadership movement by developing and advancing teachers as leaders in education policy and practice, and by supporting their contribution to educational innovation and change in classrooms and schools.

Roberto has dedicated his career to advancing equity, access, and excellence in education. He is nationally recognized for his expertise in education policy and governance, and for his leadership in building multi-sector partnerships with schools, families, and communities to improve educational opportunities for all children. He is devoted to the principle that all students deserve a complete and competitive education that prepares them for college, careers, and lifelong success. 

Roberto served in senior roles in the United States Senate and in the White House. From 2009 to 2017, he developed and led President Obama’s education initiatives to build systemic change and improve opportunity and outcomes across the educational continuum. His efforts as Deputy Assistant to the President for Education led to an increase of tens of thousands of additional children enrolled in early education; new partnerships to better personalize and re-design the high school experience to meet individual needs of students; creation of a new, national focus on excellence in STEM education; and an expansion of the Pell Grant to boost participation in higher education. Under his leadership, support for higher academic standards, enhanced teacher development and advancement, and deeper investment in America’s schools ultimately led to the enactment by Congress of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.  

Prior to his service in the White House, Roberto spent eight years as principal education advisor to the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. In the United States Senate, Roberto led successful bipartisan efforts that resulted in the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, and the Head Start Act of 2007. Roberto began his professional career in Washington, D.C. at the National Council of La Raza, where he directed research and policy analysis of federal and state education issues.

Roberto holds a Presidential appointment to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. His numerous distinguished awards include the National Champion for Children Award from First Focus, and the Head Start Windows of Opportunity Award from the National Head Start Association. Roberto holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He resides with his wife and two children in the Washington, D.C. area.

Liz Ross
Director, K-12, HCM Strategists

Liz Ross leads state policy for HCM Strategists’ K-12 portfolio. She has spent the past seven years working with state policymakers, business and advocacy leaders, parents, and educators to ensure states adopt and maintain college- and career-ready standards and aligned assessments. During her time at HCM, she’s led an effort to analyze the standards, assessments and accountability landscapes of all 50 states in an effort to inform leaders about their states system and how to advance their policy agenda.

Liz is fully immersed in the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the development of strong accountability plans. She is working with the U.S. Chamber, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the state of New Mexico to create models for how to constructively engage stakeholders, identify gaps and comply with the new law without undermining reforms that are already underway. On behalf of Learning Heroes, Liz worked with the National PTA, National Council of La Raza, and Military Child Education Coalition America’s Promise Alliance in a ten-state campaign designed to educate parents on the PARCC and Smarter Balanced tests, including the components of the assessment and the critical role it can play in their child’s education.

Prior to joining HCM, Liz served as the interim director for the Common Core State Standards at the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). In this capacity, she led NASBE’s technical assistance and communications efforts supporting state boards of education on the adoption and implementation of the Common Core standards and aligned assessments. She also staffed the NASBE Teacher Workforce study group to develop recommendations for state board members to revamp educator preparation, recruitment, retention and compensation policies. Following her time at NASBE, Liz served as the manager of state chapters and programs at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Liz led the Association’s participation in two major initiatives to transform general and special education preparation policies to ensure candidates were prepared to teach to college and career ready expectations upon licensure.

In addition to her policy work, Liz has been involved in the special education community for over a decade. She is currently a coach with the Nova Cool Cats, an ice-hockey team for individuals with disabilities. Liz received her master’s degree in non-teaching special education from James Madison University.

Debra Tica Sanchez
Senior Vice President, Education and Children's Content Operations, Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Debra Sanchez is Senior Vice President for Education and Children's Content Operations for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. She develops and oversees children's content investments and educational initiatives at the national level and works closely with stations to enhance their development and execution of local educational services.

Prior to joining CPB, she was Vice President of Government Relations for the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS). In this role, she was the primary education policy professional for the public television community and provided strategic counsel on pursuing Pre-K to postsecondary federal initiatives. Working with Members of Congress on Capitol Hill, Sanchez built bipartisan support for the Ready To Learn and Ready to Teach initiatives and worked aggressively to have these successfully included in the No Child Left Behind Act. Sanchez also worked to secure annual federal appropriations for both programs.

Prior to her work in public broadcasting, she was a special education teacher in Arlington, Virginia and Highland, Indiana. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from Indiana University.

Todd Sanders
President and CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber

Todd Sanders is the president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber, Arizona’s largest and best-established business organization. He oversees a staff of 30 and works with the Chamber’s board of directors to develop and implement long-range goals and strategy for the state’s and largest business organization.

Prior to being appointed to CEO in May 2009, Sanders served for three years as the Chamber’s vice president of public affairs and economic development. In that role Sanders worked on behalf of the business community on important issues such as immigration reform, tax policy and health care. Before joining the Chamber, Sanders served as a policy analyst for the Arizona House of Representatives in the areas of taxation, environment, political subdivisions and international trade. Previous work experience includes: legislative committees on utilities and municipalities as well as public institutions and counties, campaign chairman for the Coconino County Attorney and contract work for British Petroleum.

Sanders serves on the board of directors for the following organizations: Valley of the Sun United Way, Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation, Equality Health, Visit Phoenix, Friends of Public Radio, the Arizona-Mexico Commission, Arizona Town Hall, Arizona Chamber Executives, Western Association of Chamber Executives, Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, and CALA Alliance (Celebración Artística de las Américas). Sanders holds a B.S. in Political Science from Northern Arizona University. 

James Shuls, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Director of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Missouri- St. Louis

James V. Shuls is an assistant professor and the graduate program director of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He earned his Ph.D. in education policy from the University of Arkansas. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Missouri Southern State University and a master’s degree from Missouri State University, both in elementary education. Prior to joining UMSL, he served as the director of education policy for the Show-Me Institute, where he is currently a distinguished fellow of education policy. Previously, he taught first grade and fifth grade in the Republic, MO R-III School District.

Dr. Shuls’ research focuses primarily on teacher labor markets, school finance, and school choice. He has served as an expert witness in the school finance case Martinez/Yazzie v. New Mexico. His research has been published in various scholarly journals, such as: Social Science Quarterly, The Rural Educator, Educational Policy, the Journal of Education Finance, and the Journal of School Choice: International Research and Reform, where he serves on the editorial board. Additionally, he has been featured in numerous popular print publications and has made many appearances on talk radio programs and television news.

Quentin Suffren
Innovation Policy Managing Director, ExcelinEd

As Innovation Policy Managing Director, Quentin oversees Personalized Learning, College and Career Pathways, and Course Access policies at ExcelinEd.

Previously, Quentin served as executive director of the college, career, and military preparation at the Texas Education Agency. He also held leadership positions with Amplify Education, an education consulting and technology firm, TNTP, and The Learning Institute. Quentin began his career as a high school English teacher. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Memphis.

Mike Wang
Partner, Impact for Education

Mike Wang is a Partner at Impact for Education. Prior to joining, Mike founded Leveraged Impact, a mission-driven consulting practice working with philanthropists to deepen their impact. Mike has worked in leading nonprofits and public policy for twenty years, most recently as executive director of a Philadelphia-based advocacy organization and managing director of a $100 million effort to expand high-performing schools in the city.

Mike was senior vice president at Teach For America and executive director of the organization’s Mid-Atlantic region. After graduating from Tufts, Mike taught high school in Louisiana where he also served as education policy adviser to the governor and policy director to the Lt. Governor. Mike volunteers on two nonprofit boards and lives in Philadelphia with his wife and three children.

Joe Waters
Co-Founder and CEO, Capita Social

Joe Waters is the co-founder and CEO of Capita. A nonprofit startup ideas lab, Capita works at the intersection of research, policy, social innovation, design, and the arts to explore how the great cultural and social transformations of our day affect young children, and to foster a future in which children and their families flourish. Joe also serves as a Senior Advisor to Openfields, a social innovation and impact consultancy. 

Prior to starting Capita, Joe was the Executive Vice President of the Institute for Child Success. His commentary on issues facing young children has been published by Investor’s Business Daily, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The State, and other outlets. He has given invited talks at the White House, the Aspen Forum on Children and Families, the Lego IDEA Conference, and Think Future. He is a member of the Board of Directors of AIR Serenbe, the acclaimed artist-in- residence program in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, and the Felician Center, which helps those who struggle to meet their basic needs in South Carolina’s rural Pee Dee region.

He graduated from Furman University (BA, history) and earned a master’s degree in divinity from Duke University. He and his wife Molly, a family physician, live in Greenville, South Carolina.

Kathryn Zekus
Senior Associate for Federal Policy, Advance CTE

In her role as Senior Associate for Federal Policy, Kathryn leads Advance CTE's government relations efforts, including advancing federal legislative priorities, engaging Advance CTE's members in advocacy efforts, and maintaining and growing meaningful partnerships with relevant stakeholders. 

Prior to her role at Advance CTE, Kathryn supported state-level advocacy efforts at Achieve. During her time at Achieve, she learned about the power of effective partnerships, convenings, advocacy, and communication to advance college- and career-ready policies in states. 

Kathryn holds a Master's degree in Public Policy from Vanderbilt's Peabody College of Education and Human Development and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.