Team

  • Tamara Azar

    Chief External Relations Officer

    Tamara Azar joined NCTR in 2010 as Policy Director and is responsible for developing NCTR’s policy agenda, advocating for policies that support and facilitate the development of high quality urban teacher residency programs, and supporting NCTR network partner programs to achieve scale and sustainability within the changing landscape of state and federal education teacher policy. Prior to joining NCTR, Tamara focused on state and federal education policy around educator quality, preparation, training, and evaluation for nearly 15 years. As a consultant for the U.S. Department of Education she has had extensive experience in education. Tamara taught special education for two years in New Orleans with Teach for America. After teaching, she received a Master’s of Education Policy from the University of Virginia and holds a bachelor’s in English from Mary Washington College.  She is based in the Washington, D.C. area.

  • Jenna Caldwell

    Associate Director of Finance & Operations

    Jenna Caldwell joined the NCTR team at the start of 2013.  As the Associate Director of Finance & Operations, she manages the daily office operations and the logistical planning for NCTR events.  She has over six years of experience in the non-profit sector including a year of teaching in AmeriCorps Project YES (Youth, Education, Service). During her year in AmeriCorps, Jenna taught music and after-school courses at Polaris Charter Academy on Chicago’s west side. Project YES also gave her the opportunity to plan community service projects and work with volunteers within the community. She also has five years of experience as an operations manager and a background in event planning. Jenna earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas and a Master of Science degree in Public Service Management at DePaul University. She is based in Chicago.

  • Sarah Cohen

    Program Manager

    Sarah Cohen joined NCTR in 2016 as a Program Manager. Prior to NCTR, Sarah worked at the Colorado Department of Education as a Title I program specialist and managed federal school improvement grants. Before working for the state, Sarah taught third and fifth grades in a dual language school in Denver Public Schools. She was a member of the inaugural cohort of Denver Teacher Residency. Sarah holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Colorado State University. She is based in Denver, Colorado.

  • Christine Brennan Davis

    New Site Development Director

    Christine Brennan Davis has worked in urban public education since 2006.  As New Site Development Director, Christine takes a lead role in supporting and consulting new and emerging residency programs.  Before joining NCTR, Christine served as an English Language Arts Instructional Coach in Chicago Public Schools. In this role, she supported high schools in the implementation of an inquiry-based curriculum. In addition to planning and facilitating citywide professional development, she provided school-based support to teachers in the form of observation feedback, model lessons and co-teaching. Before becoming a coach, Christine took an alternative route to teacher certification by participating in the New York City Teaching Fellows program, where she spent two years teaching high school English in Brooklyn.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Colby College and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brooklyn College.  Christine is based in New York.

  • Adithi Chandrashekar

    Marketing Manager

    Adithi Chandrashekar joined NCTR in December 2015. As Marketing Manager, Adithi is focused on building awareness of the residency model and increasing visibility for both NCTR and its Network Partners.  Adithi has spent nearly eight years in the non-profit sector, and worked in both development and communications roles with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship in Chicago. Prior to joining NCTR, Adithi was a freelance copywriter and managed a portfolio of non- and for-profit clients.  Adithi holds a B.A. in International Studies from American University and a J.D. from Indiana University – Robert McKinney School of Law.  She is based in Chicago.

  • Shari Dickstein-Staub, Ed.D

    Network Director

    As Network Director, Dr. Shari Dickstein-Staub is responsible for overseeing the design and delivery of effectiveness driven, relevant programming and technical assistance for all NCTR network partners. Shari manages multiple initiatives and external grants to infuse research on best practice teacher preparation, innovation, and rigor into all network offerings. Prior to joining NCTR in 2010, Shari worked as a social studies teacher in New York City, an adjunct faculty member at New York University and Baruch College, a consultant to multiple education reform-minded organizations and foundations, and in the Teacher Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she collaborated with program advisors and faculty to revise and innovate the existing teacher preparation curriculum. She earned her BA in Government from Cornell University, her Master’s in Teaching from New York University, and her Ed.D. in Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice from Harvard University.  Shari is based in San Francisco.

  • Shanti Elangovan

    Director of Solution Delivery

    Shanti Elangovan has worked in education for over 10 years. As Director of Solution Delivery, Shanti identifies and builds solutions that further the impact of NCTR and its Partners. Shanti first began working with NCTR in 2014 while obtaining her MBA as an Education Pioneers Fellow. Prior to that, Shanti worked in school leadership, as an elementary school teacher, and in development for the Chicago Children’s Museum. In her most recent role as Director of Mentorship at Willowwind School, Shanti worked with new and veteran teachers on curriculum development, technology integration, and overall professional development. Shanti received a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in International Public Health from Boston University, a Masters of Science in Inclusive Elementary Education from Teachers College and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Iowa. Shanti is based in Illinois.

  • Emily Herrick

    Associate Director of New Site Development

    Emily Herrick has 17 years of experience in education and the non-profit sector.  As Associate Director of New Site Development, Emily supports emerging and existing residency programs. Prior to joining NCTR, Emily served as the Managing Director of the Inner-City Teaching Corps, where she successfully managed all aspects of the program, including recruitment, selection, and preparation of corps members.  During her tenure, she drove significant shifts in ICTC’s approach to teacher preparation resulting in substantial gains in student achievement. Prior to joining ICTC, Emily served as the Director of Professional Development for the UNO Charter School Network, a Program Director for Teach For America in Houston and Chicago, and taught Special Education.  Emily brings a deep understanding of teacher development, strategic planning, district and university partnerships, and performance management.  She received her bachelors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and master’s coursework from the University of St. Thomas, Houston.  She is based in Chicago.

  • Erica Hines

    Program Manager

    Erica joined the NCTR network team in September 2016. As Program Manager, she provides consulting and implementation assistance and develops and facilitates program offerings for NCTR network partners. Erica previously worked in student support and program management with LINK Unlimited Scholars, a scholarship and mentoring organization serving African American students in Chicago, where she specialized in academic programming, curriculum development, and strategic analysis to improve program design and effectiveness. She previously taught English at the middle and high school level in independent, traditional public, and charter school settings. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Education and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Washington University in St. Louis. Erica is based in Chicago.

  • Kathlene Holmes, Ph.D.

    Program Director

    Kathlene Holmes has more than 15 years of experience as a school consultant, college administrator, and educator at the elementary and undergraduate levels. Kathlene joined NCTR in 2016 as a program director working with emerging residency programs. Prior to joining NCTR, she was a consultant with the National Urban Alliance where she led professional development sessions for urban and suburban school systems on various research-based initiatives. Before consulting with school systems, Kathlene worked in a variety of roles in higher education. While she was at Florida State College at Jacksonville, she served as the interim dean for the School of Education, program director of alternative certification, and as a professor of education. Kathlene holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and M.Ed. in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin. Kathlene is based in the Washington, D.C. area.

  • Sarah Kelly

    Chief Development Officer

    As Chief Development Officer, Sarah Kelly manages all of NCTR’s grant-funded projects, funder relations, communications and marketing. Prior to joining NCTR, Sarah worked in development and communications for education reform and youth development organizations in New York City and Boston, including Boston Teacher Residency and New Visions for Public Schools. She taught secondary English in New York City public schools as a NYC Teaching Fellow. Sarah has extensive experience consulting on federal reform initiatives, and has raised millions of dollars toward high-quality teacher preparation for urban districts across the nation. She holds a Master’s in Secondary Education and Youth Services from Queens College and a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature from Colgate University. Sarah is based in New York City.

  • Lambrina Kless, Ph.D.

    Chief Program Officer

    Lambrina Kless joined NCTR in October 2016 as Chief Program Officer. She is responsible for leading NCTR’s strategic consulting work, including new site development programming and curriculum development and innovation. Lambrina has extensive experience in education as a teacher, coach, administrator, and curriculum developer. Prior to joining the NCTR team, she co-developed a college readiness indicator system that school districts nationwide are using to help a greater number of students finish high school prepared for college. Lambrina has led various teams in the creation and evaluation of teacher and district development and training efforts. She previously managed data and analytics at San Jose Unified School District, ran service-learning programs at Chicago Public Schools, and launched a high school-university leadership program in Guatemala. Lambrina holds Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Comparative Literature from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Education Policy from Stanford University. She is based in Chicago.

  • Sudipti Kumar

    Associate Director of Program

    Sudipti Kumar has over 10 years of experience in urban education including working as a teacher, in teacher support at the district level, and as an advocate for teachers in national education policy. As Program Manager, Sudipti supports emerging and existing residency programs.  Prior to joining NCTR, Sudipti worked with the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) as the Director of Development and the Lead Analyst, District Studies. In her roles, she managed a portfolio of over 70 funders and also oversaw the district studies process, which were deep dive studies into human capital policies affecting teachers in selected school districts. Prior to NCTQ, Sudipti taught fifth grade math and science at a charter school in Boston and taught high school math in Brooklyn, NY.  Sudipti has a M.P.A from Columbia University, an M.Ed from Brooklyn College, and a B.S. from New York University’s Stern School of Business.  Sudipti is based in the Washington D.C. area.

  • Anissa Listak

    Founder & Chief Executive Officer

    Anissa Listak has 20 years of experience in the private and non-profit sectors.  As Executive Director, Anissa sets the vision for and directs the strategic operations of NCTR, as well as overseeing national fundraising efforts, policy and advocacy, and network development.  Before founding NCTR in 2007, Anissa worked at the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) as Director of Development & Community Relations, where she experienced success in raising several million dollars for their residency program. Prior to joining AUSL, Anissa worked for Public Allies Chicago and City Year Seattle/King County, successfully directing fundraising and development efforts. She has experience in business and non-profit development, organizational capacity building, fundraising, strategic planning and board development. Anissa has a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Dayton and a Master of Science in Public Service Management from DePaul University.  Anissa is based in Chicago.

  • Chris Lozier

    Chief Operating Officer

    Chris Lozier joined NCTR in February 2016 as Chief Operating Officer. He oversees finance, operations, and data, working across the organization to improve our impact by using data to inform strategy, resource allocation, performance management, and programming. He previously served as COO at Future Is Now and Civitas Education Partners, and also worked with New Schools for New Orleans and the Center on Reinventing Public Education. Chris spent the first 15 years of his career in the private and public sectors, leading an equity research team as Associate Director at Morningstar and serving as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Notre Dame and his MBA from Kellogg. Chris is based in Chicago.

  • Anne Matz

    Associate Director of New Site Development

    Anne Matz has more than 25 years of experience in education as a teacher, school leader, and staff developer. Anne joined NCTR in 2016 as a program manager on the New Site Development Program team, designing and delivering consulting to new and emerging residency programs. Prior to joining NCTR, Anne was the Director of Teacher Development for Civitas Education Partners leading instructional coaching, new teacher induction and mentoring, and teacher evaluation systems for four of the CICS charter schools in Chicago. Before moving into teacher development, Anne served as principal at two high-performing college preparatory schools in Chicago, CICS Northtown Academy and St. Scholastica Academy. Anne earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Carleton College. She holds master’s degrees in Educational Leadership from DePaul University and Pastoral Studies from Loyola University of Chicago. Anne is based in Chicago.

  • Jill Harvieux Pitner

    Chief Innovation Officer

    Jill Harvieux Pitner has more than 20 years of experience in education as an educator, teacher leader, staff developer, consultant, and curriculum writer. Jill joined NCTR in 2011 and holds the position of Chief Innovation Officer. In this role, she is responsible for developing and implementing all NCTR programming for new residency sites and network partners with the end goal of ensuring students in high-need classrooms are taught by effective teachers. Prior to joining NCTR, she co-developed Denver Teacher Residency (DTR), the first district-based teacher residency program in the country. At DTR, she worked with multiple stakeholders to develop and implement programming, curriculum, and evaluation metrics to prepare teachers to meet the needs of Denver Public Schools’ students.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa and master’s degree in Linguistically Diverse Education from the University of Colorado at Denver. Jill is based in the Washington, D.C. area.

  • Lourdes Reyes

    Office Manager

    Lourdes Reyes joined the NCTR team at the start of 2016. As the Office Manager, she assists in managing the daily office operations and is the main administrative support for the all NCTR staff. Prior to working at NCTR she spent four years working in the commercial real estate business, specifically the Serviced and Virtual office industry. She has experience in public relations, event planning, account management, team training and development, and customer service and sales. Lourdes has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from Columbia College Chicago, and is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University. She is based in Chicago.