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, 36,000 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.

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.

Vicki Denmark, Ph.D.

Chief Architect, Innovation Lab

Professional Background

As the Chief Architect for the Innovation Lab, Dr. Vicki Denmark oversees the design and development of solutions and resources for educational institutions to improve organizationally and most importantly, for students. She serves as the subject matter expert for products, content, and solutions and identifies new opportunities that lead to innovative solutions for institutions. She has worked with K-12 schools around the world, and prior to joining AdvancED in 2010, Denmark served in leadership roles in large public-school districts in Georgia. She began her 38-year career in education as a classroom teacher and then as an assistant principal, principal, area superintendent, and assistant superintendent. She also served as a full-time university professor where she taught master’s and doctoral level courses to aspiring educational leaders. Denmark has co-authored a book mentoring first-year teachers and several research-based journal articles and served on national and state-wide boards that focus on middle level education. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from Georgia 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.

Stephen Murphy, Ph.D.

Chief Assessment Officer

Professional Background

Dr. Stephen Murphy is the Chief Assessment Officer and in this role he oversees the Project Management; Content Development and Publishing; Assessment Services; Psychometrics; Reporting; and Research and Analytics teams. These expert teams perform all aspects of assessment and research design, measurement, development, delivery, scoring, psychometrics, analysis, analytics, and reporting. Murphy previously served as Vice President, Measurement Services for Measured Progress leading teams responsible for assessment design and development, including psychometrics and research, content development, publishing, and project management. Beginning his career in research and psychometrics, Dr. Murphy went on to assume leadership roles in K–12 assessment at major educational publishing companies. His experience includes leading teams of researchers, psychometricians, and data analysts, as well as overseeing the development of products and solutions for national, state, and district assessment programs. He is a frequent journal contributor and presenter at national conferences for educational measurement and for industrial and organizational psychology. Murphy holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of Oklahoma. He also earned a master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University, and Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Cumberland 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.

David Shafer

Chief Entrepreneur

Professional Background

David Shafer serves as Chief Entrepreneur of the Innovation Zone responsible for seeking and partnering with entrepreneurs who have made innovations that make a difference in teaching and learning.  His professional experience spans more than two decades as a successful entrepreneur and business leader.  He has participated in the formation of multiple start-up companies both tactically and strategically.  He is a key contributor that has consistently excelled at both emerging new businesses and leading innovative businesses.  He has worked in several diverse markets, including education, broadcast, entertainment, and banking.  At 26, he participated in co-founding Frontline Data (now Frontline Education) that today serves over 12,000 school systems. Shafer has served several terms as an elected school board member in Pennsylvania, as an Executive Board Member of the Boy Scouts of America, and on the executive board of the YMCA.  He is active with Best Buddies, an organization focused on the integration of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).