• 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.

  • Rosemary Baker

    Associate Program Director

    Rosemary Baker joined NCTR in October of 2018 as an Associate Director of Programs. Prior to joining NCTR, Rosemary was the Director of Partnerships for the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education (NAATE) and the Director of Coaching for the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) in Chicago. At NAATE, she built partnerships with districts, funders, and schools who were committed to the continuous learning and growth of their teachers as a strategy to advance the profession as a whole. At AUSL, she helped build out the coaching program that facilitated the preparation and on-going support of hundreds of new teachers and former residents. Rosemary began her career two decades ago as a primary teacher with InnerCity Teaching Corps (ICTC), and taught for over ten years on the south side of Chicago. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Loyola Marymount and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Northwestern. Rosemary is based in San Jose.

  • Shannon Black

    Program Director

    Shannon Black joined NCTR in January 2019 as Program Director. In this role, she provides technical assistance to partners improving teacher quality by implementing key levers in the residency model. Prior to NCTR, she worked for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools as Executive Director of Talent Management overseeing performance management as well as new teacher supports. She also helped launch Metro Nashville Urban Teacher Residency, a partnership between Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and Belmont University. Shannon has experience working in the district’s Research, Assessment, and Evaluation office, has been an instructional coach and spent ten years as an elementary school teacher in both Tennessee and Kentucky. She holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Murray State University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Western Kentucky University. She is based in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Christine Brennan Davis

    Program Director

    Christine Brennan Davis has 13 years of experience in the education sector. As Program Director, Christine leads on the design and implementation of NCTR programming and continuous improvement and directly consults partner programs. Prior to joining NCTR in 2010, Christine worked as an Instructional Coach in Chicago Public Schools and was a high school and middle school English Language Arts teacher in Salem, MA and Brooklyn, NY. Christine is a former New York City Teaching Fellow. She has expertise in residency and clinically oriented teacher preparation, district and university partnerships, teacher development, and performance management. She has 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 City.

  • Jenna Caldwell

    Director of Talent & Operations

    Jenna Caldwell joined the NCTR team at the start of 2013.  As the Director of Talent & Operations, she drives our organization-wide talent management and development initiatives. She has over eight 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. Jenna earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas, a Master of Science degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University, and is also SHRM-CP certified. She is based in Chicago.

  • Sarah Cohen

    Associate Program Director

    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.

  • Kent Fischer

    Director of Communications

    Kent Fischer joined NTCR in 2017. As Communications Director, he oversees strategic communications, branding, social media, and marketing efforts for NCTR and its partner network. Kent began his career as a journalist. For roughly 17 years he covered education for newspapers big and small, and won national awards for feature writing, investigative reporting, and blogging. Later, he was a vice president with the public affairs firm GMMB, where he helped lead the agency’s work in the education sector. Kent graduated from Syracuse University with a BA in journalism. He is based in Texas. Press and media inquiries can be directed to or at 207.376.6282.

  • Keilani Goggins

    Associate Director

    Keilani Goggins joined NCTR at the start of January 2019. As Associate Director, Keilani provides technical assistance to aspiring residencies, districts, and colleges of education to improve teacher preparation by implementing elements of the residency model. Prior to joining NCTR, Keilani was the Assistant Director at Vanderbilt University’s Center for Student Professional Development and the inaugural Director of the Hope Street Group Teacher Fellowship. Keilani received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and obtained her Masters in Public Administration at Tennessee State University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate of Education at Trevecca Nazarene University. Keilani is based in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Tabitha Grossman

    Director of Development and Partnership

    Tabitha joined NCTR in 2018 as Director of Development and Partnerships and is responsible for developing partnerships to scale NCTR’s work. Prior to joining the team at NCTR, Tabitha led the development of a state-based teacher leadership Fellowship and worked with states to develop policies to improve teaching and learning conditions in public schools at a public policy, non-profit organization. She also previously led teams who delivered intensive technical assistance to the nation’s governors and their key policy staff at the National Governors Association. In that role, she also worked with governors to implement the Common Core State Standards and to adopt research-informed state policies to improve the quality of the educator workforce. Tabitha has worked in two state education agencies and for two governors leading the development of initiatives designed to improve outcomes for students in public schools. Tabitha began her career in education as an educator in Richmond, Virginia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in counselor education, a Post-Master’s degree in administration and supervision, and a Ph.D. in education leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is based in Richmond, Virginia.

  • Jessica Heard

    Chief of Equity and Inclusion

    Jessica Grady Heard has over 18 years of experience as an educator, non-profit leader, and school district administrator. As NCTR’s Chief of Equity and Inclusion, she oversees a national initiative to attract, develop, and empower black teacher residents. Additionally, she leads internal diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for NCTR staff. Prior to joining NCTR, Jessica worked in District of Columbia Public Schools as the Deputy Chief of Equity and Deputy Chief of Talent Acquisition and Retention. Previously, she was the Site Manager for TNTP’s DC Teaching Fellows program. Earlier in her career, Jessica led out-of-school time programs with Breakthrough Collaborative, KIPP DC, and the Urban Alliance Foundation. She began her career teaching in the autism program at the Ivymount School.  Jessica holds a B.A. in Psychology from Grinnell College and an Executive Master’s in Leadership from Georgetown University.  She is based in Washington, DC.

  • Emily Herrick

    Program Director

    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

    Associate Director

    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.

  • Sudipti Kumar

    Program Director

    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 Director, 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.

  • Lourdes Lafon

    Associate Director of Operations

    Lourdes Lafon joined the NCTR team at the start of 2016 as the Office Manager. As the Associate Director of Operations, she is the main support for projects and administration for NCTR staff, plans all NCTR events, supports the Human Resources and Finance functions, as well as acting as the administrator for all technology platforms. 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 a Master of Science degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University. She is based in Chicago.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Carrie Scheib

    Director of Data and Impact

    Carrie Scheib has over 10 years of experience in education. Carrie joined NCTR in 2017 as Director of Data and Impact. In this role, she supports NCTR teams and partner residencies to systematically use data to measure and improve their impact. Prior to joining NCTR, Carrie supported School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools, which rank among the lowest 5% of performing schools in the state, to implement the transformation model for school improvement. She also supported districts in multiple states to develop and implement teacher evaluation systems that incorporated measures of student growth. Carrie served as Senior Manager of School Performance for Chicago Public Schools, in which she managed over 40 school sites. She also taught middle school math. Carrie received her Bachelor of Arts and Letters from the University of Notre Dame and her Master of Public Policy degree from the Goldman School of Public Policy at University of California – Berkeley. Carrie is based in Chicago.

  • Wayne Shen

    Associate Director of Operations & Finance

    Wayne Shen joined NCTR in 2018 as an Education Pioneer Fellow. As Associate Director of Finance & Operations, he is helping NCTR expand their financial modeling and analytics capabilities while working with residencies to maintain their long-term sustainability. Prior to joining NCTR, Wayne worked as a consultant to numerous multinationals, helping them build out their marketing, data management, and product development strategies. In addition, Wayne has over a decade’s worth of experience in education, with roles in classroom teaching, admissions, private music instruction, and school administration. Wayne received his Bachelors’ and Master’s in violin performance from the University of Arizona and New England Conservatory of Music, respectively, and recently graduated with an MBA from Indiana University – Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business. He is based in Chicago.