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.

Board Members

Eugene White, Ph.D.

Board Member, Chair

Professional Background

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.

Karen Cowe

Board Member, Vice Chair

Professional Background

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. Cowe is an education-industry executive with over 30 years of experience in sales and fund development, marketing, program design, professional learning, business development, and operations. Prior to launching Ten Strands, she was President and CEO of Key Curriculum Press, an innovative and award-winning K-12 STEM publisher. Before that she was Managing Director of Burlington Books in Athens, Greece —the first publisher in Greece to offer locally-focused English language instructional materials for Greek students. 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 in Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Cowe holds a Bachelor in Business and a minor in Education from Saint John’s College, York and a Master of Business Administration from Saint Mary’s College, California.

Denise Borders, Ed.D.

Board Member

Professional Background

Dr. Denise Borders serves as President and CEO of Learning Forward, a nonprofit organization that develops the global Standards for Professional Learning and provides services to establish professional learning systems for educators and leaders to accelerate teaching and learning. Previously, Borders served as President of SRI Education, a division at SRI International, leading learning and development, technology, policy, and early learning. She also served as Senior Vice President at FHI 360, a global human development organization, where she led the U.S. Workforce Development and Education group; Senior Vice President at AED, where she oversaw U.S. and international program operations; and Deputy of Accountability, Research and Evaluation, assessment, and professional development for the Department of Defense (DoDEA) overseas and domestic schools. Borders also was Chief of Educational Accountability and Assistant Superintendent for Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland and a national consultant at CTB/McGraw-Hill. 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.

Dan Caton

Board Member, Past Chair

Professional Background

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.

Ellen Haley

Board Member

Professional Background

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

Professional Background

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.

Jo Kirchner

Board Member

Professional Background

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

Professional Background

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

Professional Background

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

Professional Background

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.

Janet Womack, Ph.D.

Board Member

Professional Background

Dr. Janet Womack is a Senior Vice President and Consultant for Integra Ventures, LLC. Womack served as CEO of the Alabama Renaissance School and was instrumental in pursuing the first public conversion charter school in Alabama. Dr. Womack retired as Superintendent for Florence City Schools in 2017. 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 National Accreditation Commission. She has 27 years in education and received numerous awards and accolades in innovation and leadership at the state and national levels, including her selection as the 2016 Alabama Superintendent of the Year. Womack also has garnered success through the implementation of a 1-1 technology initiative, launching of the Florence Academy of Fine Arts, and opening of the first virtual school in Alabama. Dr. Womack received her undergraduate degree from Jacksonville State University in Elementary Education and her masters and doctorate degrees in leadership from Auburn University.