Leadership

Mark Elgart, Ed.D.

President and CEO

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, 36,000 institutions serving and supporting nearly 25 million students and five 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.

Denise Borders, Ed.D.

Board Member

Dr. Denise Glyn Borders served as president of SRI Education, a division of SRI International from 2012-2018. Dr. Borders also was vice president of SRI International, a nonprofit, independent research center serving government and industry. She has served as senior vice president and director of the U.S. Education and Workforce Development (USEWD) Group at FHI 360, which acquired the technical and managerial experts and programs of The Academy for Educational Development (AED) in 2011. At AED, Dr. Borders served for 10 years as a senior vice president. Prior to joining AED, she was president and chief executive officer of The McKenzie Group where she focused on research, assessment, accountability, and K-12 reform in urban school districts. She holds a Doctorate of Education in Psycholinguistics and Research, a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Teaching, and a Master of Arts in Urban Education all from Columbia University, Teachers College. She also earned a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Cortland/Cornell University.

Martin Borg

Board Member

Martin Borg joined Measured Progress as president in November of 2008 and was appointed chief executive officer in 2011. Under his leadership, the organization broadened its strategic outlook to bring innovative and responsive assessment solutions to districts and schools, while continuing to work with state clients on large-scale programs.

With the merger of Measured Progress with AdvancED in July 2018, Mr. Borg initiated the role of chief solutions officer. This role brings together Mr. Borg’s primary interests and experience with technology, assessment and education. His teams will focus on developing holistic solutions that support schools, districts and states in their continuous improvement initiatives.

Mr. Borg is an experienced and dedicated educator who is committed to helping students and teachers in the classroom. Prior to joining Measured Progress, he taught social studies, served as a school district technology officer, developed an online test delivery system, and founded Achievement Data Inc., which he ultimately sold to a testing company.

Dan Caton

Board Member, Chair

Daniel Caton, president of Wittel/Morris Strategic Consulting, is based in Telluride, Colorado, where he advises educators and education resource providers on improving their services to children and teachers. Mr. Caton has been an educational leader for more than 45 years, beginning as a middle school teacher in southern California before joining the educational publishing world. Mr. Caton served in management roles in editorial, graphic design, production, marketing, sales, and software and online product development, before serving as president of Pearson Learning Group and then McGraw-Hill School Education. Mr. Caton has served as president of the board of the Association of Educational Publishers and was on the Executive Committee of the Association of American Publishers. He currently serves on the board of the Pinhead Institute, a Smithsonian affiliate dedicated to enhancing science education. In 2013 Mr. Caton received the Hall of Fame Award from the Association of American Publishers, recognizing lifelong service to education and the educational resources industry. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College and a Masters in Education from Claremont Graduate University.

Karen Cowe

Board Member

Karen Cowe is CEO of Ten Strands, a San Francisco-based nonprofit whose mission is to build and strengthen the partnerships and strategies that will bring environmental literacy to all of California’s 6.2 million K–12 students. Ms. Cowe is an education-industry executive with over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, professional development, business development, and operations. She most recently acted as president and CEO at Key Curriculum Press. Prior to that she was managing director of Burlington Books in Athens, Greece. In addition to her understanding of the complexities of the U.S. education landscape, she has valuable insights into education in other nations, having built relationships with education distributors in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. She holds a Bachelor in Business and a minor in Education from Saint John’s College, York and an MBA from Saint Mary’s College, California.

Ellen Haley

Board Member

Ellen Haley has extensive experience in educational assessment and business leadership with more than 35 years of experience leading educational assessment activities. She served as a senior executive of CTB/McGraw-Hill for more than 30 years, including eight years as president. Ms. Haley’s business expertise spans business development, acquisitions, sales, finance, and operations. Ms. Haley has extensive experience in all aspects of assessment, including product development, custom test development and transitions to online test delivery. Ms. Haley holds a master’s degree from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, Calif.; and a bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College, Detroit, Michigan.

Phil Jacobs

Board Member, Past Chair

Mr. Phil Jacobs is a founding partner for The Pendleton Consulting Group, an Economic Development Consulting business in Atlanta, Ga. He spent 34 years working for BellSouth/AT&T in various roles such as corporate officer, president of operations for BellSouth-Georgia, president of business services for AT&T Southeast, and president of BellSouth business services. He also worked for two years on an international assignment with Optus Communications in Sydney, Australia as chief operating officer. Jacobs has distinguished himself as a leader among civic organizations, serving as former board chair for the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement, Georgia Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, Georgia Early Learning Initiative, and Metro Atlanta United Way. He currently serves on the Boards of several Atlanta-area organizations. He completed his undergraduate work at Denison University.

Jeff Keller, Ph.D.

Board Member

Dr. Jeff Keller serves as director general of the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, Nicaragua. The American Nicaraguan School (ANS) is a private, non-profit, coeducational multicultural institution, founded in 1944. With grades from Nursery through Grade 12, ANS is composed of students of more than 35 different nationalities. Previously, Keller served as the superintendent for the American School Foundation of Monterrey in Mexico. He also has served as assistant director for the Inter-Regional Center for Curriculum and Materials Development in Barranquilla, Colombia. He began his education career as an elementary teacher in Tallahassee, Florida. He has over 40 years of experience working in SACS CASI accredited schools, including chairing and serving on dozens of SACS CASI Quality Assurance Review teams. He has a Doctorate in Educational Administration and a Masters in Instructional Leadership from the University of Alabama as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Colorado.

Jo Kirchner

Board Member

Ms. Jo Kirchner, CEO of Primrose Schools, leads more than 378 franchised schools nationwide. She oversees strategic direction for the early education and child care company and its vision to deliver service excellence for children and families. She oversees brand leadership strategy, while guiding innovation and new business development to drive continuous improvement, sustainable growth, and profitability. Kirchner first began her career with Primrose Schools over three decades ago. Working with Primrose Schools' founders, she developed the concept of franchising a research-informed early educational environment for preschool children. Kirchner also serves on the AdvancED Corporation Board, the Council for Economic Development, the Early Care and Education Consortium board, and the International Franchise Association Education Foundation board. Before joining Primrose, she was the president and founder of Creative Logistics. She previously served as vice president and publisher at two Atlanta-based magazine publishing companies and as a sales executive for Proctor Silex Corporation. Kirchner graduated with an Associate degree in marketing from Ohio Career College.

Jerry Peacock

Board Member

Mr. Jerry Peacock is the former director of Baker Technical Institute and served as the principal of Baker High School in Baker City, Oregon for over 20 years. He began his career as a high school teacher of multiple subjects in a small eastern Oregon community. He then served as an assistant principal at the high school level before taking a position as an elementary principal for seven years. He also has served on the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and was president-elect prior to NWAC joining AdvancED as an accreditation division. In addition to his involvement in education, he has served on numerous boards and committees in his community and at the state level. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University in Health and a Masters in Health Education from Oregon State University.

Paul A. Ramsey

Board Member

Beginning his career as a teacher at the high school and college levels, Paul A. Ramsey went on to a 30-year career with Educational Testing Service (ETS). After early work in teacher licensing and national testing programs, Mr. Ramsey became senior vice present of the Global Division. In that role, in addition to overseeing national testing programs in English language proficiency, he worked on educational reform and assessment in the international arena, most notably in Qatar. Since retiring from ETS, Mr. Ramsey has served as a consultant in international education and assessment, and in diversity. His main work now is overseeing two charitable organizations he co-founded: Friends of Puerto Aventuras (FOPA) and The India Group (TIG). FOPA provides English education and post-secondary scholarships for students in a Mayan community in Mexico. TIG offers scholarships to low-caste children and basic healthcare to their families in three communities in India. Mr. Ramsey received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, and master and doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan—all in English Literature and Language.

Richard Swartz

Board Member

Richard Swartz served as vice president, strategy, products, and portfolio at Measured Progress from 2010 through 2017. His vision and leadership led to the growth of the district and classroom portfolio of products and services that help educators improve teaching and learning. Mr. Swartz is a veteran assessment professional and educator. Before coming to Measured Progress, he served as president of Riverside Publishing. He previously served as president of ETS Technologies, Inc., a for-profit subsidiary of Educational Testing Service, leading successful efforts to commercialize ETS’s online learning and assessment technologies, including e-rater, ETS’s natural language-processing automated essay-scoring technology. Mr. Swartz received a master’s degree from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Mansfield State University.

Eugene White, Ph.D.

Board Member, Vice Chair

Dr. Eugene White is the president of Martin University in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is an educational pioneer in Indiana with over 30 years of experience in education. He was the first African American high school principal in the Fort Wayne Community Schools and in the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township’s North Central High School; the first African American superintendent of the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township; and the first African American president of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents (IAPSS). He has achieved numerous honors including Outstanding Superintendent of the Year and has served in leadership roles with several organizations including president of the board of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. He also served as president of the American Association of School Administrators (The National Superintendent's Association). Additionally, he is an accomplished author. He completed his doctoral work at Ball State University, graduate work at the University of Tennessee, and undergraduate work at Alabama A&M University.

Janet Womack, Ph.D.

Board Member

Dr. Janet Womack is a retired superintendent of Florence City Schools. Dr. Womack has experience as a classroom teacher, elementary and high school principal, system-level director of instruction K-12, regional in-service center director, and director of Federal Programs and Student Assessment. She has extensive experience with effective leadership, data analysis and continuous improvement. Dr. Womack has served as chair of the AdvancED Alabama Council and a member of the AdvancED Accreditation Commission. She has 26 years in education and during that time received numerous awards and accolades, including her selection as the 2016 Alabama Superintendent of the Year. Dr. Womack has served the past year as CEO of the Alabama Renaissance School, the first statewide, blended conversion charter school authorized in Alabama. Dr. Womack received her undergraduate degree from Jacksonville State University in Elementary Education and her master and doctorate degrees from Auburn University.