spacerThe New England Comprehensive Center acts on behalf of all students in New England by working with education leaders in each state to fulfill the promise of No Child Left Behind.

Our Staff

Dr. Carol Keirstead, Director

headshot of Carol KeirsteadAs director of the New England Comprehensive Center, Carol Keirstead designs and executes Center structures, initiatives, and procedures and oversees the work of RMC staff and the partner organizations; she also serves as liaison to Massachusetts and to the National Center on Instruction Comprehensive Center. Keirstead brings expertise in educational leadership, research, and technical assistance to her support of state efforts to use research-based strategies in improving teacher quality, designing systems of school support, and developing instructional leadership. With a bachelor's degree in art education, Keirstead has a master's degree in educational administration and a doctorate in school leadership.

Maria-Paz Avery, Education Development Center

headshot of Maria-Paz AveryMaria-Paz Avery serves on the NECC Senior Management Team and is the NECC liaison to Connecticut. Avery's expertise includes technical assistance and professional development at the state, district, and school levels in principal leadership; school improvement teams; educating English Language Learners and students from diverse cultural backgrounds; and using data for instructional improvement. She received her doctorate in sociology from Boston University, and has a bachelor's degree in early childhood education and a master's degree in psychology. Avery began her career as a kindergarten teacher.

Robin Ahigian

headshot of Robin AhigianRobin Ahigian serves the NECC as liaison to the National High School Center. In that capacity, she works with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in Dropout Prevention and Recovery work and the state's High School Graduation Initiative. Ahigian brings more than 17 years of experience in education, including SEA work in accountability and targeted assistance and of state systems of support; elementary and secondary level teaching; coaching and mentoring paraprofessional teachers; and advising and administrative work in higher education. She earned a Master of Education degree in teaching and learning from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Kathy Dunne, Learning Innovations at WestEd

headshot of Kathy DunneKathy Dunne leads the Collaborative for Teacher and Educator Effectiveness. Dunne has more than 17 years of experience in providing technical assistance to the New England states in the areas of teacher quality, policy and standards, professional development, mentoring, coaching, and teacher induction, with an emphasis in mathematics and science education.

Ira Glick, RMC Research

headshot of Ira GlickIra Glick, a Research Associate at RMC Research Corporation, brings more than 35 years of experience to his work with educational organizations. He has served in the public schools as a teacher, supervisor, principal, and superintendent, as well as a school board member. Glick has directed numerous statewide, large-scale assessment programs, conducted evaluation studies for state education departments and large urban districts, conceptualized and developed products and services for the education marketplace, and provided technical assistance to schools, school districts and states.

Elizabeth Goldman, RMC Research

headshot of Liz Goldman Elizabeth Goldman provides broad writing and editorial support for the NECC website and a range of NECC publications. A published writer and college-level teacher, she also conducts qualitative research in the field of museums and informal science education and manages the multi-media Blue Ribbon Schools site visits production. She has a master's degree in religious studies from Indiana University.

Fred E. Gross, Education Development Center

headshot of Fred E. GrossFred Gross serves as a math specialist for the NECC. He brings over 30 years of experience in education as a former math teacher, district-level math coordinator, Mathematics and Equity Specialist for the Eisenhower Regional Alliance and as a designer of math curricula (in print and electronically). As a professional developer, Gross has presented nationally and internationally on topics related to mathematics education.

Steve Hamilton, Learning Innovations at WestEd

headshot of Steve HamiltonSteve Hamilton is a member of the NECC's Senior Management Team and NECC liaison to Maine and to the national Assessment and Accountability Comprehensive Center. Coordinator of the Regional Initiative on Formative Assessment Systems and a technical assistance provider to NCLB initiatives in the region, Hamilton draws on his experience in assessment and accountability practices, data use to inform practice, and professional development and training in leadership to support school improvement. He has worked as an elementary teacher, elementary principal, and NSF Project Evaluator, served on local school committees in both Vermont and Massachusetts, and currently directs District and School Services for Learning Innovations. He earned a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Vermont.

Heidi Larson, Education Development Center

headshot of Heidi LarsonHeidi Larson serves on the Technical Team for the New England and New York Comprehensive Centers and is working on the eLearning initiative for New York. Larson earned a Master of Education degree in technology, innovation, and education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has a background in professional development and distance learning, technology support and instruction, online course design and development, and Web design and development.

Lucy Levine, RMC Research

headshot of Lucy levineLucy Levine serves NECC as a literacy specialist. She brings more than 35 years of experience in education as an elementary teacher, bilingual coordinator, Title 1 coordinator, and Director of Reading for a large urban school district. With expertise in designing and managing literacy support systems for schools and school districts, Levine has trained numerous literacy coaches, district administrators, and elementary principals in the use of scientifically based literacy practices to improve student learning and achievement. She received her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Master's degrees in Education Administration and Supervision from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.

Karen Mikkelsen, Learning Innovations at WestEd

headshot of Karen Mikkelsen Karen Mikkelsen is a member of NECC's State Systems of Support Team and NECC liaison to Vermont. Her background includes consultation, training and technical assistance to state education agencies, particularly in the areas of early childhood care and education, personnel development, family/school/community collaboration, and teacher retention. She has also worked with federally funded technical assistance and training projects for special education and has a M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts.

Cerelle Morrow, Education Development Center

headshot of Cerelle Morrow Cerelle Morrow co-led the regional Adolescent Literacy Initiative and leads the regional NECC initiative on Literacy. Morrow's experience is in professional development and technical assistance for programs geared towards large, urban school districts, focusing on intervention strategies and teaching methods meant to motivate and raise the academic achievement of secondary school students. A former middle school English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, she holds a M.Ed. in International Education Development, with a specialization in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) from Teachers College, Columbia University. Morrow is served as an ESL teacher trainers with the Peace Corps in the Philippines.

Kirsten Peterson, Education Development Center

headshot of Kirsten Peterson Kirsten Peterson co-leads NECC's eLearning Initiative with Heidi Larsen. For the past twelve years, she has managed online learning and virtual school projects for EDC's EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO), a national capacity-building online professional development program. A skilled instructional designer and online facilitator, Peterson has experience in managing, scaling, and sustaining online learning programs. Currently, she mentors online course designers and facilitators, manages ETLO content, and supports several virtual high school initiatives. A former high school English teacher, she holds a B.A. in English Literature from Montana State University and an Ed.M. in Technology in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Jan Phlegar, Learning Innovations at WestEd

headshot of Jan Phlegar Jan Phlegar is working on the NECC's Leadership Networks for Advancing Student Literacy and Numeracy (ASLaN) Initiative and serves as the liaison to the National Center on Teacher Quality. She has 20 years of experience in providing technical assistance to New England states on education policy and practice in school and district improvement, leadership development and educator quality initiatives, and the use of technology to support learning, among other areas of expertise. Her Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Emory University is in history.

Andrea Reade-Thompson, RMC Research

headshot of Andrea ReadeAndrea Reade-Thompson serves as the NECC liaison to New Hampshire and engages in NECC regional and state initiatives in literacy and school improvement. As co-leader of the regional Adolescent Literacy Initiative, she drew on her background in curriculum and instruction administration, middle and high school English teaching, and teaching in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell to assist states in effectuating positive educational change. Reade-Thompson holds master's degrees in both educational curriculum and instruction and teaching English and is completing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell for her Doctor of Education in school leadership.

Joe Trunk, RMC Research

headshot of Joe TrunkJoe Trunk serves the New England Comprehensive Center as liaison to the Center on Innovation and Improvement and is a member of the NECC's Regional Adolescent Literacy Initiative. A former middle school principal, Trunk's expertise includes parent involvement, leadership for school improvement, and building states' capacity to assist districts and schools. He has a master's degree in educational administration from New York University.