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Governing Board

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Todd Alexander

State: West Virginia
Todd Alexander was appointed the Superintendent of Wayne County Schools on July 1, 2017. Prior to that role, Mr. Alexander served as the Assistant Superintendent for Leadership and Administrative Services for Cabell County Schools from 2013–2017. He also worked as the Administrative Assistant for Secondary Schools from 2004–2013, Attendance Director from 2003–2004, and Principal of Huntington High School from 2001–2003. Mr. Alexander began his career in education as a teacher and taught for five years before he was hired as an assistant principal at Milton Middle School. Mr. Alexander received his master's degree in Leadership Studies from Marshall University in 2000 and a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Marshall University in 1994. Mr. Alexander has worked extensively with educational policy and legal matters. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Mountain State Educational Services Corporation.

Headshot of Brigitte Blom

Brigitte Blom

State: Kentucky
Brigitte Blom is the President & CEO of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. She has been an education leader for over 20 years, spending time in both public service and professional public policy, maintaining a steadfast commitment to improving the quality of life for Kentuckians through increased education outcomes and opportunities. Before joining the Prichard Committee, Ms. Blom was director of public policy for United Way of Greater Cincinnati with a specific focus on early childhood policy. She spent a decade as an elected member of the Board of Education in rural Pendleton County and is the former vice-chair of the Kentucky Board of Education where she served from 2008–2014. Ms. Blom has worked in policy, research, and advocacy on issues related to education, poverty, and state taxes and budgets – including work for universities in Ohio and Kentucky and for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. She holds undergraduate degrees in economics and international studies and a master's degree in public policy from the University of Kentucky Martin School. In 2019, Ms. Blom was recognized as one of 50 Notable Women in Kentucky Politics and Government, by the Kentucky Gazette, and in 2018, under Ms. Blom's leadership, the Prichard Committee received the 24th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. award from the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

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Laura Booker

State: Tennessee
Dr. Laura Booker currently serves as a Senior Lecturer at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations (LPO), and she will be starting a new role as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Education Research Alliance in spring 2022. Prior to joining the faculty in LPO, Dr. Booker worked for six years at the Tennessee Department of Education, where she led the research team and served as a broker for several research-practice partnerships. She currently serves on the steering committee of the Tennessee Education Research Alliance and co-founded the education research podcast The TNth Period. Dr. Booker completed her PhD in Education Policy at Vanderbilt University as an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Fellow, where her dissertation focused on measuring the quality of instructional practices. Laura has a B.A. from the University of Alabama and a M.P.P. from Vanderbilt University.

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Kimberly Bradford

State: Tennessee
For over 15 years in education, Kimberly R. Bradford has poured into the lives of students, teachers, and parents. Ms. Bradford earned her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Middle Tennessee State University, a master's degree in Special Education from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and an educational specialist's degree in Educational Leadership. Currently, Ms. Bradford serves as Principal at George R. Stuart Elementary School in Cleveland, Tennessee. Prior to becoming Principal, Mrs. Bradford served as an Assistant Principal of the 6th Grade Academy at Cleveland Middle School and as an Instructional Coach, providing professional development for teachers at her local elementary school and across the school district. In addition, she has provided professional development at a state level and evaluated Tennessee's Read to be Ready literacy programs for portions of eastern Tennessee. Ms. Bradford has always had a passion for helping others succeed while encouraging strong bonds of learning among all students, regardless of race, ability, or socioeconomic status. The avenue of education has allowed her to impact several diverse groups, such as students with different learning abilities and students within urban educational areas. These opportunities have caused her to focus her studies on differentiated instruction and urban education.

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Nathan Carter

State: Virginia
Dr. Nathan Carter is the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO) at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). NOVA is the second largest community college in the United States. He is a member of the college's executive leadership team and oversees NOVA's Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI). Dr. Carter is the chief organizer and executive lead on NOVA's Inclusive Excellence DEI Strategic Plan. He provides oversight for funded DEI projects, grants, policy review and various programs related to equity-mindedness, diversity practices, and other college concerns that have DEI implications. Dr. Carter earned a PhD from Howard University in 2005 and his master's degree from California State University, Northridge in 2002.

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Amelia Courts

State: West Virginia
Dr. Amelia Courts serves as the President/CEO of The Education Alliance, a West Virginia based non-profit organization that mobilizes business and community support to strengthen public education. Dr. Courts is passionate about developing West Virginia's human capital by investing in our youth. Under her leadership, the Alliance has advanced workforce initiatives including the Governor's STEM Council, computer science, and high school Work-Based Learning and career pathways. Dr. Courts previously served as Assistant State Superintendent of Schools and taught ESL in Japan and China. She earned her doctorate at West Virginia University, is active in her local church, and, along with her husband, is the proud parent of two children.

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Karen Dodd

State: Kentucky
In 2011, Ms. Dodd was appointed as the Chief Performance Officer by the Commissioner of Education for the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). In this role, Ms. Dodd supervises a team of strategic data analysts who evaluate the current programs in Kentucky as well research new practices in education to make recommendations on education policy and strategies. Ms. Dodd has served the KDE for over 17 years beginning with her role as process manager where she developed and improved operational processes in order to improve office-wide efficiencies. She has also served as the manager over the Project Management Office and implemented processes and templates to improve how projects are managed throughout the department. Ms. Dodd graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor's degree in Information Technology. As part of her continued education, she has earned credentials as a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Six Sigma Black Belt, and Certified Manager of Process Excellence.

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Catherine Finnegan

State: Virginia
Dr. Catherine Finnegan is assistant vice chancellor for research and reporting at the Virginia Community College System where she leads statewide institutional research, data warehousing, and external research activities. Her office provides national and state reporting for all 23 community colleges for academic and workforce programs. She has responsibility for non-credit student information system and Virginia Workforce Connection system used by adults, dislocated workers and youth for training and services. Dr. Finnegan supports the systemwide strategic planning and performance funding efforts, as well as policy initiatives such as direct enrollment redesign. Prior to coming to Virginia in 2010, Dr. Finnegan worked 20 years for the University System of Georgia in college and system institutional effectiveness and instructional technology roles. She earned her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Georgia.

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Paul Green

State: Kentucky
Dr. Paul Green is a life-long educator. He currently is serving as the Superintendent of Carter County School District in Kentucky. Before taking the position in Carter County, Dr. Green gained a wealth of knowledge as he served in a variety of positions in public education. These positions include teaching high school history and coaching basketball, serving as a middle school assistant principal, an elementary school principal, and as a high school principal. He also worked as Chief Academic officer for Owsley County School District where he led the district to be recognized as a Kentucky District of Innovation and by USDOE sponsored Digital Promise as a League of Innovative School Recipient. He also served as Superintendent of Jackson Independent Schools (KY). Prior to the job in Carter County, Dr. Green also worked with Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative and their Race-to-the-Top District award Appalachian Renaissance Initiative (ARI). As part of ARI, Dr. Green created the Appalachian Technology Initiative, a blended instructional model that brings about high-level technology educational opportunities to ALL students in a traditionally isolated region. He continues to fight to bring opportunities to the students of the Mountains.

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Chris Jones

State: Virginia
Dr. Chris Jones is the Executive Director of VASCD and most recently served as the principal of Thomas Dale High School in Chesterfield County Public Schools (2,500 students in two campuses), where he also served on division-level leadership committees. Dr. Jones has also served as the Programs Committee Chair for VASCD, the Chair for the Central District, and the Chair for Region 6A as part of the Virginia High School League. Prior to his service in Chesterfield, Dr. Jones was an assistant principal, central office teacher leader, and high school math teacher in Virginia Beach. He has also served as assistant principal of Sussex Central Elementary School. He obtained a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education–Mathematics from Columbus State University, a master's degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from The George Washington University (GWU), and a doctorate in Education from GWU. Dr. Jones found his passion for education following his service as a United States Army Airborne Ranger.

Headshot of Sara Lewis-Stankus

Sara Lewis-Stankus

State: West Virginia
Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus is a Deputy State Superintendent of Schools in West Virginia. As a Deputy State Superintendent, Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus assists with the West Virginia Department of Education's (WVDE) efforts to address teacher vacancies throughout the state and to support student achievement and success. Before joining WVDE, Dr. Lewis-Stankus proudly served as Superintendent of Upshur County Schools for five years. In her 32 years of educational experience, she has also served as a teacher, special education teacher, counselor, and principal. Dr. Lewis-Stankus earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from West Virginia University, a master's degree in Counseling from Marshall University, and an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC). She is also a Nationally Distinguished Principal, Licensed Professional Counselor, a Nationally Certified Counselor, and a certified Ruby Payne "Understanding the Structure of Poverty" trainer.

Headshot of Jamie Reagan

Jamie Reagan

State: Kentucky
Ms. Reagan has 14 years of experience as an educator and currently serves as the Math Intervention Teacher at Bell Elementary School in Wayne County. In this role, she works with students who need Tier 3 support in mathematics and serves as a coach to teachers within her building. Last year she was one of the top 24 Valvoline Teacher of the Year nominees and she presented at the 2021 National Family Engagement Summit. Ms. Reagan is passionate about helping students and teachers make mathematical connections, which is why she seeks out math training opportunities whenever she can. She is an avid member of the Kentucky Center for Mathematics. She also has her Math Recovery Certification and just finished her Math Recovery Champion Training. She is always looking for new innovative ways to help students and their families achieve academic success.

Headshot of Penny Schwinn

Penny Schwinn

State: Tennessee
Dr. Penny Schwinn was sworn in as Tennessee's education commissioner on February 1, 2019. As commissioner, Dr. Schwinn is committed to building on Tennessee's momentum over the last decade and plans to continue to accelerate growth through the state's strategic plan, Best For All, which focuses on high-quality academics, student readiness and supports, and the state's strong current and future educators. Coming from a family of educators and committed to increasing access to an excellent education for all children, Commissioner Schwinn began her work as a high school history and economics teacher. She previously served in a number of roles in education including Chief Deputy Commissioner of Academics, an Assistant Superintendent, a school principal, and an elected school board member. Commissioner Schwinn earned her bachelor's degree from the UC-Berkeley, her master's degree in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, and her PhD in Education Policy from Claremont.

Headshot of Kinsey Walker

Kinsey Walker

State: Regional
Ms. Walker is a South Charleston, West Virginia native serving as a Workforce and Education Program Analyst with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). She began her career in the classroom as an educator before transitioning to the nonprofit and federal sectors, where she worked to create pathways to careers through education and economic development. When she's not working on ARC projects, Ms. Walker likes to spend time back home in Appalachia, where she enjoys visiting friends and family, exploring nature trails with her dog, and supporting the region's unique small businesses and local restaurants.

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