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Governing Board

About the Governing Board

The REL Midwest Governing Board comprises a diverse group of stakeholders from across the Midwest region who represent the interests of states, districts, rural locations and populations, regional service agencies, professional organizations, and students in economically disadvantaged areas. The Governing Board oversees and guides the programmatic work of REL Midwest.

Members of the Governing Board

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Illinois

  • Tony Smith, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Education, Illinois State Board of Education
  • Jason Helfer, Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Illinois State Board of Education (designee for Tony Smith)
  • Lynn Burgett, Early Childhood Division Supervisor, Illinois State Board of Education
  • Kim Nelson, Executive Director of Early Childhood, Rockford Public School District
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Indiana

  • Jennifer McCormick, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction, Indiana Department of Education
  • Kelly Wittman, Senior Advisor, Indiana Department of Education (designee for Jennifer McCormick)
  • Cole Dietrich, English Language Learners and Migrant Educator Coordinator, Indiana Department of Education
  • John Hill, Ed.D., Former Executive Director, National Rural Education Association
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Iowa

  • Ryan Wise, Ed.L.D., Director, Iowa Department of Education
  • David Tilly, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Iowa Department of Education (designee for Ryan Wise)
  • Kay Schmalen, Science and Technology Consultant, Central Rivers AEA 267
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Michigan

  • Sheila Alles Interim State Superintendent, Michigan Department of Education
  • Venessa Keesler, Ph.D., Deputy Superintendent, Division of Educator, Student, and School Supports, Michigan Department of Education (designee for Sheila Alles)
  • Leah Breen, Director, Office of Professional Preparation Services, Michigan Department of Education
  • Jason Mellema, Superintendent, Ionia County Intermediate School District
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Minnesota

  • Brenda Cassellius, Ed.D., Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Education
  • Greg Keith, Chief Academic Officer, Minnesota Department of Education (designee for Brenda Cassellius)
  • Jeremy Hanson Willis, Deputy Commissioner for Workforce Development, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
  • Paula Palmer, Director of Career and College Success, Minnesota Department of Education
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Ohio

  • Paolo DeMaria, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio Department of Education
  • Chris Woolard, Senior Executive Director, Accountability and Continuous Improvement, Ohio Department of Education (designee for Paolo DeMaria)
  • Matt Linick, Ph.D., Executive Director of Research and Evaluation, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
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Wisconsin

  • Tony Evers, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • Kurt Kiefer, Assistant State Superintendent, Division for Libraries and Technology, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (designee for Tony Evers)
  • Andreal Davis, Culturally Responsive Practices Coordinator, Wisconsin RtI Center
  • Madeline Hafner, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Minority Student Achievement Network, University of Wisconsin-Madison