Our Leadership

As an organization, we are dedicated to providing service and support for our institutions to improve what they do to help students learn. To succeed, our leadership must be in concert with our culture as a service organization. We are governed by an independent Board of Directors and an executive team dedicated to these values, strategic direction, and a commitment to focusing on the ultimate outcome for students.

Executive Team

Mark Elgart, Ed.D.

President and CEO

Professional Background

Dr. Mark A. Elgart serves as president and Chief Executive Officer. Elgart works closely with government agencies and other leading education-focused organizations to help establish the policies, strategic vision, and actions to propel and transform the learning experience so that every learner is prepared for the rapidly and ever-changing global world. Under his leadership Cognia was established, following the merger of AdvancED and Measured Progress, to bridge the gap between school evaluation and student assessment. Dr. Elgart provides vision and leadership for a global nonprofit in over 80 countries, 40,000 institutions serving and supporting nearly 25 million students and 5 million educators every day. Cognia is an undeniable force for enhancing schools, engaging students, and driving better outcomes for all learners. Elgart’s professional experience includes serving as a mathematics and physics teacher; a middle and high school administrator; and a middle school principal. Elgart earned a bachelor’s in mathematics from Springfield College, a master’s in education from Westfield State College, and a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts.

Patti Ayer

Chief Administrative Officer

Professional Background

Patti Ayer serves as Chief Administrative Officer where she manages the areas of Government Contracts Oversight and Related Services, Procurement, and Business-Process Management. Her background includes over 30 years of extensive experience in global treasury operations and risk management for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Ayer provides high level leadership and consultative support to the executive team to monitor and manage the execution of high-priority initiatives, operational improvements, and efficiencies across the organization. She also has served three terms as an elected school board member in Maine. Ayer attended Northern Virginia Community College and Southern New Hampshire University earning her degree in Accounting.

Kenneth I. Bergman

Chief Operations Officer

Professional Background

Kenneth I. Bergman serves as Chief Operations Officer handling legal matters, including intellectual property; statutory, regulatory, and legislative analysis; contract review and negotiation; and drafting of corporate and legal documents. He also provides advice and guidance on corporate and accreditation issues, as well as training on a variety of Board and Governance issues. Bergman acts as an advisor to the CEO and executive leadership group. Some of his responsibilities under this charge include ensuring all staff issues are properly addressed; overseeing the daily operations of the company and executive work; leading employees and evaluating performance to optimize staff roles; and assisting with resource allocation. He is a former partner in the law firm Dreger, Coyle, Bergman, Pieschel & Reemsnyder, LLC and is well-versed in corporate law, employment law, intellectual property, real property, and civil litigation. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia (School & College Law, Corporate Counsel Law, Business Law, Intellectual Property Law, Real Property Law, and Litigation Sections); Association of Corporate Counsel; and the American Bar Association. Bergman earned his Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Emory University.

Annette Bohling, J.D.

Chief Global Officer

Professional Background

Dr. Annette Bohling serves as the Chief Global Officer leading Cognia’s Certification Division, which manages and oversees the accreditation and certification functions, policies, and procedures for accredited institutions and school systems in the Cognia network around the world. Bohling’s professional career spans over 37 years, including the fields of education and law. Her professional experience includes teacher, administrator, deputy state superintendent, interpreter/translator, and attorney. She was the chief architect in the design of Wyoming’s assessment and accountability system under No Child Left Behind. Bohling’s degrees are from the University of Tulsa College of Law, University of Wyoming, Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State University.

Angela Hilliard

Chief Marketing Officer

Professional Background

Angela Hilliard currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer, where she is responsible for marketing, communications, public relations, advocacy, and corporate strategy.  Her background includes over 20 years of extensive experience in finance and marketing across multiple industries. Hilliard holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of the Incarnate Word and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Georgetown University.

Christopher Picou

Chief Solutions Officer

Professional Background

Christopher Picou joined Measured Progress in 1992. Roles of increasing leadership and responsibility led to his appointment as Cognia’s Senior Vice President, Information Technology, before being named to this strategic role in Cognia’s Center for Innovation. As Chief Solutions Officer, Picou’s charge is to bring to life Cognia’s vision and next-generation solutions, developing or finding the best, scalable approaches to deliver powerful tools and services to the Cognia global network. His forward-thinking and collaborative team includes product and project management, application support, and software development (business analysis, quality assurance, and platform development). Picou earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Franklin Pierce University and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University.

Channa Williams

Chief Financial Officer

Professional Background

Channa Williams is the Chief Financial Officer responsible for managing the company’s financial operations. As a successful financial executive with more than 22 years of experience in the corporate and government sector, Channa offers a wealth of knowledge, experience, and financial leadership in the areas of budget, finance, accounting, capital investment, treasury, education finance, and risk and audit management. She has led financial operations across various public, private, and nonprofit entities, including serving as Chief Financial Officer for Charleston County School District, the second largest district in South Carolina. Channa also has managed significant budgets for Achievement First, Inc., an educational non-profit, Baltimore City Community College and Foundation, Baltimore City Public Schools, and Baltimore City Department of Public Works. In addition to her work in Baltimore, Maryland, she’s developed automated database solutions and accounting practices for the Department of Homeland Security-Immigration and Customs Enforcement, focused on financial revenue recovery operations as a managing partner with UPS, and managed financial analyses and reporting for the SC&H Group. Channa holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and finance from Morgan State University, an MBA in Finance and Accounting from Morgan State University, and completed a dual study abroad program with St. Louis University via City University of Hong Kong in international finance.