Kate Walsh (@nctqkate)
Kate Walsh has served as the president of the National Council on Teacher Quality since 2003, leading work to ensure that every child has equal access to effective teachers. At NCTQ, Walsh has spearheaded efforts to instill greater transparency and higher standards among those institutions that exert influence and authority over teachers. Notably, she launched the first-ever review and rankings of the nation's teacher preparation programs. Previously, Walsh worked at The Abell Foundation in Baltimore, the Baltimore City Public Schools, and the Core Knowledge Foundation. Among her accomplishments, she: started and ran a boarding school located in Kenya, East Africa, in order to educate at-risk boys from Baltimore; founded one of the nation's premier STEM programs, yielding numerous Intel Talent Search winners for Baltimore City; and, started the first alternative certification program for teachers in Maryland. A long-time resident of Baltimore, Walsh has also served on the Maryland State School Board.
Kate tweets @nctqkate
Director of Finance
Kathleen joined NCTQ in 2005. She has a BS in Business Administration from Towson University and is a Quickbooks ProAdvisor. She handles the organization's Financial and HR functions.
Chief of Staff
Sarah Brody serves as NCTQ's chief of staff
after having worked at Charter Board Partners as the nonprofit's Director of
Development and External Affairs. Prior to that, she managed fundraising and
assisted with state policy work for NCTQ from 2009-2013. Sarah began her career
as a Teach For America corps member, teaching high school English in the School
District of Philadelphia and then at Mastery Charter School. Sarah holds an MS
in education from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in English and history
from Emory University.
Communications and Marketing Coordinator
Stephen serves as the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at NCTQ. Stephen joined in the summer of 2016, having come from an international development think-tank in DC where he focused on education policy. Stephen has also spent time working at the US Department of Education, European Commission, and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs where he worked on projects related to communications and research. Having worked on political campaigns and volunteered to mentor refugee children, Stephen has developed a passion for politics and education. Originally from Ireland, Stephen loves to practice yoga and dance.
Senior Vice President, Teacher Quality Initiatives
A former special education teacher, Barbara has been deeply involved in education reform issues for over 30 years. She has held senior positions at the U.S. Department of Education, ran the nonprofit education consultancy StandardsWork, and most recently was Deputy Director of Great Minds, an education publishing company that develops and markets content rich, Common Core-based curricula. Barbara leads NCTQ's programmatic work, including Teacher Preparation, Path to Teach, and a growing practice focused on supporting school district as the work more closely with higher education to prepare teachers for classroom success. Barbara is a graduate of the University of Iowa's teacher preparation program. She makes her home in Montgomery County, Maryland, where she has been involved in a variety of school improvement initiatives.
Team Manager, Teacher Preparation Strategies
Graham joined NCTQ in 2011 following the completion of a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Kentucky where he concentrated on education policy. He gained experience working in Washington during an internship at the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Graham has previous classroom experience following the attainment of a BA and MA in Secondary Social Studies Education which were also earned at the University of Kentucky.
Nicole has joined the NCTQ team with nine years of teaching experience at the secondary level. She has taught history, economics, English literature, and government in North Carolina, West Africa, and DC. Nicole holds a BA in Government and International Politics from George Mason University, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Political Science.
Executive Assistant and Office Manager
Karen Gray comes to NCTQ with a richly varied professional background, including over 15 years in private practice as a Life coach. She is an ordained Interfaith Minister, and continues to lead ceremonies and worship services, and to answer pastoral care calls. She's also a jazz vocalist who has led hundreds of performances, including at the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Jazz Cafe, and countless private and public events. In a previous life, she worked in Organization Development for Goldman Sachs and Accenture. Karen holds a BA in General Liberal Arts from George Washington University and an MBA in Organizational Behavior from Columbia University.
Senior Advisor for Teacher Preparation
Julie taught secondary math for 13 years in Montgomery County (MD) schools before joining NCTQ. During that time she was a co-founder in two applications for the Jaime Escalante Public Charter School. Prior to teaching, she worked as a policy analyst for state government in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and for Yale University's Institution for Social and Policy Studies. She holds a BA (geology, Carleton College), a MS (water resources management, University of Wisconsin), and a MAT (secondary math, American University).
Director, District Policy and Practice
Prior to joining NCTQ, Sarah worked for Baltimore City Schools where she designed and implemented district teacher compensation, evaluation, and preparation policies. Before that, she taught high school English in west Baltimore. Her professional interests include teacher support and development, performance management, assessment and evaluation. She has a BA in English and History from Oberlin College and holds a Maryland Advanced Professional Teaching Certificate earned through the Johns Hopkins University MAT program.
Director, State Policy
Nithya joined NCTQ after having worked at StudentsFirst as a Senior Policy Analyst. Prior to that, she worked at the DC Department of Parks and Recreation where she managed city-wide summer programming and at DC Public Schools where she assisted with summer school and after school programs. Nithya has a BA in Sociology from UC San Diego and an MPP from Georgetown Public Policy Institute.
State and District Policy Analyst
Autumn began her work at NCTQ on the Teacher Prep team, launching the Path to Teach website and leading efforts to engage aspiring teachers in NCTQ's work. She now serves on the State and District Policy team as a development officer and policy analyst. Prior to joining NCTQ, Autumn was a staff assistant in the Office of Senator Mark Pryor from Arkansas. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from the University of Arkansas.
Director, New Initiatives
Cassie joins NCTQ with experience in policy and strategy roles in Australian government, including for federal and state Departments of Education, and as a policy adviser to the Minister for School Education. Most recently she worked as a Fellow at Grattan Institute, a leading Australian think tank. Cassie holds a Masters in Public Policy from Princeton University, and a BA/BSc from Monash University.
Research Analyst, Teacher Preparation Strategies
Amber is a former guidance counselor and K-12 research consultant for school districts and nonprofit organizations. She holds an Ed.M. in Risk and Prevention from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in English and Psychology from Columbia University.
Manager, Teacher Trends
Kency comes to NCTQ after completing a Master of Public Policy degree at American University where she focused on statistical analysis and education policy while working as a graduate research assistant. She also holds a BA in economics and political science from UCLA.
Policy Analyst, Teacher Preparation Strategies
Laura Pomerance taught middle school and high school physics and biology for five years before joining NCTQ. She has also worked in science education policy for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as a legislative assistant in the Maryland State Legislature, and in Congress. She holds a M.Ed in secondary education from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a BA in physics and biology from Swarthmore College.
Director of Research
Hannah comes to NCTQ following four years conducting education research with Westat, a social science research company. Her projects included work on informal science education and teacher incentive programs. Prior to Westat, Hannah taught seventh and ninth grade English for three years in the Bronx, New York, as a Teach For America corps member. Hannah holds BA's in English and Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, an MS in Teaching from Pace University, and an MPP from the George Washington University with a focus on education policy and evaluation.
Senior Director, Teacher Preparation Strategies
Robert Rickenbrode served as the Chief Academic Officer and mathematics/computer science teacher for the Cesar Chavez Charter Schools in DC for nine years prior to joining NCTQ. Before that, he worked in the San Juan School District in Utah and for seven years was a member of the 'Ndahoo'aah Summer Program at Monument Valley High School. He is on the board of the Bryant Woods Montessori School in Maryland. He holds a MA in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University and a BS in economics from the California Institute of Technology.
Team Leader, Teacher Preparation Strategies
Isabel Spake joins NCTQ after overseeing AmeriCorps grants for Serve DC - The Mayor's Office on Volunteerism. Isabel holds a BA in History from St. Mary's College of Maryland- Public Honors College, and an MPA from George Washington University's Trachtenberg School.
Operations and Outreach Manager, District Team
Caryn joins NCTQ having most recently worked at the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) as an Accreditation Associate. Prior to CAEP, Caryn was a teacher and assistant director of an early childhood education center. She received her BS in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota.