Staff
Kate Walsh President

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

kwalsh@nctq.org
Kathleen Bolles
Kathleen Bolles 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.

kbolles@nctq.org
Sarah Brody
Sarah Brody Vice President of External Relations

Sarah Brody serves as NCTQ's Vice President of External Affairs 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.

sbrody@nctq.org
Graham Drake
Graham Drake Director, Teacher Preparation Strategies

Graham serves as NCTQ's Director of Teacher Preparation Strategies and is primarily focused on data collection and analysis for the Teacher Prep Review. Prior to joining the organization in 2011, he completed master's degrees in Public Policy and Secondary Social Studies Education at the University of Kentucky.

gdrake@nctq.org
Christie Ellis
Christie Ellis Program Coordinator

Christie Ellis serves as a Program Coordinator with NCTQ, supporting student teaching initiatives. She came to NCTQ after four years as a third grade English Language Arts teacher. Christie holds a MS in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and a BA in Anthropology and Cognitive Science from Case Western Reserve University.

cellis@nctq.org
Nicole Gerber
Nicole Gerber Manager of Strategic Initiatives

Nicole joined the NCTQ team after nearly a decade in the classroom as a social studies and language arts teacher. At NCTQ she has combined her education experience with her research and policy skills to support multiple projects, including Great Districts for Great Teachers and the State Teacher Policy Yearbook. She works across organizational priorities, with foci on process management and communications. Nicole holds a B.A. in Government and International Politics from George Mason University and a M.S. in Political Science from the University of Nebraska - Omaha.

ngerber@nctq.org
Karen Gray
Karen Gray Executive Assistant to the President

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.

kgray@nctq.org
Samantha Jacobs
Samantha Jacobs Communications Associate

Samantha joined NCTQ after gaining experience in both the education and journalism worlds. She held public relations roles for several non-profit and educational organizations, and she coordinated and participated in academic and extracurricular programming for LAUSD. Most recently, Samantha was an English Language Arts and drama teacher in South Los Angeles. Now at NCTQ, she works on the communications team and focuses on strategy, outreach, and publication. Samantha holds a B.A. in Public Relations from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in English in Education from King's College London, and she earned her teaching credential through Loyola Marymount University.

samanthajacobs@nctq.org
Ashley Kincaid
Ashley Kincaid Chief of Staff

Before joining NCTQ, Ashley co-founded and co-led Educators Rising, a national non-profit supporting high school-based teacher pathway programs. With more than a decade of experience in education, Ashley also served as Executive Director of Pi Lambda Theta and Director of Membership and Marketing for PDK International. In addition, she worked as an executive management consultant helping clients identify challenges and develop actionable solutions. Ashley holds a B.A. and an M.A. in organizational communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Texas at Austin, respectively.

akincaid@nctq.org
Amber Moorer
Amber Moorer Director, District Initiatives

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.

amoorer@nctq.org
Kency Nittler
Kency Nittler Director, Teacher Policy

Kency manages NCTQ's Teacher Contract Database and serves as the lead data analyst for district projects. She has a Master of Public Policy degree from American University where she focused on statistical analysis and education policy and a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from UCLA.

knittler@nctq.org
Laura Pomerance
Laura Pomerance Senior Analyst, Teacher Preparation Strategies

At NCTQ, Laura has conducted data analysis and evaluation for the Teacher Prep Review, and contributed to reports such as Learning about Learning and Student Teaching. She came to NCTQ after five years as a middle-school and high-school science teacher, and several more years working in state and federal government. Laura holds a BA in physics and biology from Swarthmore College, and a M.Ed in secondary education from the University of Maryland, College Park.

lpomerance@nctq.org
Hannah Putman
Hannah Putman Managing 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.

hputman@nctq.org
Rob Rickenbrode
Rob Rickenbrode Senior Managing 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.

rrickenbrode@nctq.org
Elizabeth Ross
Elizabeth Ross Managing Director, Teacher Policy

Elizabeth is the Managing Director, Teacher Policy, at the National Council on Teacher Quality, where she oversees research, policy, and technical assistance to support states' efforts to ensure that every student has effective teachers and every teacher has the opportunity to be effective. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University Law Center and American University School of Education.

Elizabeth began her career as a third grade teacher at Simon Elementary School in Washington, D.C. Immediately prior to joining NCTQ, Elizabeth worked at the U.S. Department of Education on initiatives including: ESEA flexibility, Excellent Educators for All, and regulations and guidance under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Elizabeth holds a B.A. from Georgetown University, where she studied English Literature and Government; an M.A.T. from American University in Elementary Education; a J.D. from Villanova University School of Law, where she was a public interest scholar; and an Ed.M. from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, where she was a Zuckerman Fellow.

eross@nctq.org