AdvancED Leadership Team
Mark Elgart, Ed.D.
Mark Elgart, Ed.D.President and CEOProfessional background:Dr. Mark A. Elgart currently serves as the founding President and Chief Executive Officer for Advance Education (AdvancED), the parent organization for the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). Under his leadership, AdvancED is recognized as a leader in achieving educational quality. AdvancED drives education improvement through research and innovation, policy and advocacy, technology, and accreditation serving over 32,000 institutions and 20 million students worldwide.Elgart is responsible for leading the development and implementation of the new, innovative "AdvancED Performance Accreditation” model, as well as the nationally acclaimed "AdvancED School System Accreditation" model. Through his leadership, accreditation has been transformed into a systems-oriented process that focuses on institutional performance with respect to Standards of Quality, student performance in all program areas and learner and stakeholder engagement.Elgart is active and influential in helping policy leaders at the state and national levels shape and enact policy related to educational quality, continuous improvement and accountability. In July 2011 and 2013, he was recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the 100 most influential people in Metropolitan Atlanta. He is also a national and international trainer and presenter on the topics of accreditation, school improvement, leadership and accountability in education. Elgart currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Knowledge Alliance and Measured Progress as well as a National Advisor for Learning Forward. Elgart also represents AdvancED as a lead business partner with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).Prior to joining SACS CASI in 1995, Elgart served nine years as a math and science teacher, as well as a school administrator at the middle and high school levels, which included six years as a middle school principal.
Motivation comes from:
My motivation each and every day is driven by the possibility that my actions and contributions could positively impact the life of a child. As a parent and former teacher, I know from personal experience how in one special moment an educator can change a child for a lifetime.President and CEOexecutive-leaders
Albert MayoChief Technology Officer
Mr. Mayo serves as the Chief Technology Officer for AdvancED where he has spearheaded the development and implementation of web-based solutions for school improvement and accreditation processes. Mayo has proven skills in planning and implementation of e-business and core IT technologies, including enterprise web-based applications and systems/network infrastructure. He has a solid background in the full software development life cycle, effective project management methodologies, and process re-engineering. Throughout his extensive career, he has worked in organizations of all sizes, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, in a variety of industries.
Mayo holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science degree from Georgia Tech in Electrical Engineering. He is bilingual with fluency in Spanish.
Best High School Experience:
My fondest memories in my formative high school years are of music education, which gave me a sense of belonging and instilled the academic confidence I needed to excel.Chief Technology Officerexecutive-leaders
Angela HilliardChief Strategy OfficerMost important thing students should take away from their K-12 years:The willingness to try and fail can be life changing. Students need to understand that failure is rarely fatal or a permanent state. School should be the safest place to learn this lesson. If we can transform the classroom experience so that learners leave school with the courage to learn and move on from failure, we will have given them the capacity to transform this planet.Chief Strategy Officerexecutive-leaders
Annette Bohling, J.D.
Annette Bohling, J.D.Chief of Global Operations
Dr. Bohling joined AdvancED in 2006 and serves as the Chief Operations Officer to lead the organization’s Accreditation Division, which manages and oversees the accreditation functions, policies, and procedures for accredited institutions and school systems in the AdvancED network around the world. Bohling’s professional career spans 37 years, including the fields of education and law. Her 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.
Working for AdvancED:
Working for AdvancED allows me to see the positive impact our work has on the lives of so many young people around the world. It is such a pleasure to work with great educators who create learning environments to ensure not only each student's individual success but also help society as a whole.Chief of Global Operationsexecutive-leaders
Heather KinseyChief Operations Officer
Working at AdvancED:
Working at AdvancED gives me the ability to impact future generations. With six children of my own, I personally am driven to ensure that all children are provided an education that enables them to be successful in our ever-changing world. Through my work at AdvancED, I play a part in helping to shape the future of education on a global scale.Chief Operations Officerexecutive-leaders
Kenneth I. Bergman
Kenneth I. BergmanChief Legal OfficerProfessional background:Mr. Bergman serves as Chief Legal Officer for AdvancED and handles legal matters ranging from 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 AdvancED corporate and accreditation issues, as well as training on a variety of Board and Governance issues. 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.Mr. Bergman earned his Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Emory University. 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.Best Way to Learn:I find that I learn best when I am in an environment where I can engage and work with others on a challenge or problem. The open discourse and free exchange of ideas that occurs when confronting a challenge oftentimes provides me with new ways of looking at and solving issues.Chief Legal Officerexecutive-leaders
Ludy van Broekhuizen, Ph.D.
Ludy van Broekhuizen, Ph.D.Chief Research Officer
Dr. van Broekhuizen joined AdvancED in 2012 and serves as the Chief Research Officer. The Research Division leads research and development for the organization including the ideation of all products and processes for continuous improvement and accreditation.
Before joining AdvancED, he was Executive Director of SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina Greensboro where he was instrumental in procuring a multi-year contract of nearly $40 million with the US Department of Education to operate the Regional Educational Laboratory for the Southeast.
Dr. van Broekhuizen’s past achievements include the development of an online early reading intervention for English Learners and serving as Senior Evaluator for the first national evaluation of the federally funded Star Schools Program and Partnerships in Education Program. He is fluent in several languages and holds degrees from the University of Oregon and the University of Amsterdam. He has life-long K-12 teacher certification to teach Spanish and English in the Netherlands.
Best aspect of elementary school:
I learned to love reading. I remember asking the school librarian, “How many books can I check out at one time?”Chief Research Officerexecutive-leaders
Rosario RodriguezChief Financial Officer
Mrs. Rodriguez joined AdvancED in 2012 and serves as Chief Financial Officer. She oversees the finance department and is responsible for managing all financial aspects of the company including reporting financial results to the Board of Trustees and other stakeholders, budgeting, forecasting, banking, cash flow management, business process improvement, defining and monitoring internal controls and other company-wide projects.
Mrs. Rodriguez has over 25 years of professional experience in accounting and finance including Big 4 public accounting. Before joining AdvancED, she was the Controller for Kaplan IT (a division of Kaplan Inc.). She has 11+ years in the education industry and has also worked in the healthcare and professional services industries.
Mrs. Rodriguez holds a Bachelor in Science major in Accounting from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas, Venezuela.
Working at AdvancED:
I have always had a strong interest in education. Through the years I have volunteered in several capacities for schools, including serving as a board member. I believe in AdvancED’ s mission and I am thrilled to contribute to it. It is only through improving education that we can change the world for the better. I enjoy the dedication, forward-thinking culture and professional environment that we have here at AdvancED.Chief Financial Officerexecutive-leaders
Aleksei TolompoikoDirector, Software Development
Motivation comes from:
An ability to learn something new every day to allow growth professionally and personally. Motivation also comes from working with inspiring teammates in a positive environment.Director, Software Developmentsenior-leaders
Angie KoppangVice President, Quality Assurance
Most memorable moment on an External Review:
While there were many memorable moments, the one that had a long-lasting impact on me was in a small high poverty school in a rural area. I was interviewing a group of middle school students and asked them if there was one thing that they could change about their school, what would it be? After a long pause, a young lady spoke very softly and said, “I have gone to 15 different schools and this is the only school that cared about me and cared enough to be sure that I learned.” The other students simply nodded and agreed with her comment. I can think of no better testament to the educators at the school in not only building a caring environment but in promoting learning. I think of that young lady often and the impact that school had in her life and how educators do make a difference.Vice President, Quality Assurancesenior-leaders
Anna PeharVice President, Europe
Motivation comes from:
My background and upbringing equipped me with an open mind towards other cultures, a sound curiosity and a genuine interest in people. My motivation to work in education is that I find education the biggest gift you can give to anyone, because it enables human beings to grow, take charge of their own life and become independent. In my opinion, after the basic human needs of food, shelter and health care, it is an important universal right. I am committed to working in this area and genuinely believe that we can all learn from one another.Vice President, Europesenior-leaders
Barbara Remondini, Ph.D.
Barbara Remondini, Ph.D.Vice President, Mountain USA
Favorite K-12 teacher:
My favorite teacher was Mr. Mike Ellis. He was my vocational agriculture teacher in high school, but taught me more about myself than how to manage a farm. I was an extremely shy adolescent, and he encouraged me to participate in public speaking and judging competitions. He insisted that I run for and hold office in our local and district chapters – building leadership skills in the process. Those lessons have been invaluable to my career in education.Vice President, Mountain USAsenior-leaders
Bob WhiteVice President, Facilities Management
Working for AdvancED:
I enjoy the challenge of and working with exceptionally dedicated and smart people.Vice President, Facilities Managementsenior-leaders
Claudia Carter, Ed.D.
Claudia Carter, Ed.D.Vice President, Specialized Services
Favorite K-12 Teacher:
My sixth grade teacher changed my life forever. For her, encouraging students to become engaged in learning was an art and one she created beautifully. My career as a lifelong educator is dedicated to her genuine inspiration during that year.Vice President, Specialized Servicessenior-leaders
David Hurst, Ed.D.
David Hurst, Ed.D.Chief of Solution Services
Most memorable moment on an External Review:
Seeing the tears of joy in the eyes of a school leadership team as they heard our exit report. A couple of years earlier, the school was in terrible shape and got a really bad report. They pulled themselves together, created a culture of collaboration and teamwork, and made absolutely remarkable changes in the performance of their students and their school’s effectiveness.Chief of Solution Servicessenior-leaders
Dennis Klumpp, Ed.D
Dennis Klumpp, Ed.DVice President, Latin America
Favorite K-12 teacher:
My senior year in high school I was blessed to have an incredibly talented and challenging English teacher, Mr. William Bell. Mr. Bell impressed upon me the importance of having well-considered thoughts, ensuring that my feelings were ever clear and honest about what I wanted to say, and always treating my listeners as respected peers. From grammar to literature, he personalized learning for each student and made the class come to life each day. It was because of him that I chose English as my undergraduate major, communications as my minor and to become a secondary English teacher. As a result, I am today a better communicator, someone who seeks to be fully engaged in whatever I take on and always demonstrating an enthusiasm for whatever learning opportunities and challenges come my way.Vice President, Latin Americasenior-leaders
Eddie Krenson, Ed.D.
Eddie Krenson, Ed.D.Vice President, Nonpublic School Services
Favorite teaching experience:
While I had the opportunity to teach every grade in high school, I found freshman World History to be the most enjoyable. Freshmen came to class with a level of impressionability I did not experience with the other levels. In my experience, freshmen were in constant search of both an understanding of the world around them and personal affirmation as a maturing adult. When these two dynamics were intentionally fostered in the classroom, an openness of thought and a potential for formation was created that was unique indeed. To share this time with them, to see them learn and grow at this critical juncture in life, was both an honor and a privilege.Vice President, Nonpublic School Servicessenior-leaders
Jeana BrownDeputy General Counsel
Most memorable moment on an External Review:
Talking to a room full of middle school students about their experiences at their school. I was impressed with their candor, self-awareness, and willingness to laugh at themselves.Deputy General Counselsenior-leaders
Kimberly LeidgertwoodVice President of Internal Communications
Favorite K-12 teacher:
My favorite K-12 teacher was my second grade English teacher, Mrs. Stewart. Her guidance and support laid the groundwork for what I would become in life. She fostered my love of writing at an early age and set me on the path to become a writer. I am profoundly grateful for her influence. I truly believe that without her, I might not have sought a career in Corporate Communications. She encouraged me to use my imagination and to make the words trapped in my heart come to life on paper—even if a few of the words were misspelled. I was only seven years old at the time! Under her tutelage, I wrote my first short story. I still have that story to this day, and I have never forgotten Mrs. Stewart. I encourage all students to embrace that one favorite teacher who sees future greatness within them and wants nothing more than each of their students following their dreams.Vice President of Internal Communicationssenior-leaders
Leonard D. Paul
Leonard D. PaulVice President, Pacific USA
Motivation comes from:
My motivation comes from my upbringing. I was raised in a farm environment where everyone was challenged to work hard and we had to use common sense to make decisions regarding emergency repairs on equipment, how to approach a challenge and that projects had to be completed in its fullness. Whining about something was not accepted. We call it, "put your shoulder to the wheel."Vice President, Pacific USAsenior-leaders
Mary Ann Keeley, Ph.D.
Mary Ann Keeley, Ph.D.Vice President, Northeast USA & Canada
Working at AdvancED:AdvancED truly is a forward-thinking organization that promotes excellence in education worldwide. Its commitment to assist in preparing students for their futures comes alive in different ways but most importantly, through its personnel. Working with so many creative and committed educators is enriching and refreshing.Vice President, Northeast USA & Canadasenior-leaders
Matt Dawson, Ph.D.
Matt Dawson, Ph.D.Senior Researcher
Motivation comes from:
What motivates me to do the best work I can is the belief that all children deserve the best education possible. I hope that the work to which I contribute helps improve teaching and learning for all students, by providing more meaning to the wealth of data collected by educators around the world.Senior Researchersenior-leaders
Renee BlackmarVice President of Finance
Favorite K-12 teacher:
My favorite teacher was my high school Honors English teacher, Lynn Hendren. She was amazing! I had the privilege of having her all four years of high school. She brought the whole world to a small group of kids from rural Georgia through Shakespeare, Kafka, Bronte, Orwell, Steinbeck, Dickens, Twain and so many other talented authors. She taught us how to think and write critically about what we read. She encouraged open, honest and energetic discussions. She helped me to see all the possibilities beyond the confines of a small town but yet how to appreciate the values and the strength of my roots. I would not be who I am today without Ms. Hendren.Vice President of Financesenior-leaders
Vicki Denmark, Ph.D.
Vicki Denmark, Ph.D.Vice President, Education Innovation
Most important thing students should take away from their K-12 years:
No matter the environment in which students attended school - traditional, virtual, home schooling - the most important outcome of the years of education should be that their learning is in its beginning stage. Learning should be a constant process for them and as important to their intellectual health as breathing is to their physical health.Vice President, Education Innovationsenior-leaders
Denise Borders, Ed.D.
Denise Borders, Ed.D.Board Member, Chair
President, SRI Education, Vice President, SRI International
Dr. Denise Borders serves as President of SRI Education, a division of SRI International. Borders also acts as a vice president of SRI International. SRI International is a nonprofit, independent research center serving government and industry while working on some of the world’s most important problems, collaborating across technical disciplines to spark new ideas and solutions. Most recently, Borders was 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 where she oversaw program operations covering a broad spectrum of projects, such as birth-adult education, early child development, gender equity, youth, disabilities, workforce/economic development, research/evaluation, and education policy and practice. 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 also has been a senior administrator and teacher in many school systems. Her experience spans multiple areas—academia, for-profit, nonprofit, federal government, and public sectors. She holds a Doctorate of Education in Psycholinguistics and Research, a Master of Education 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 in Elementary Education from SUNY Cortland/Cornell University.Board Member, Chairboard-members
Eugene White, Ph.D.
Eugene White, Ph.D.Board Member, Vice Chair
President, Martin University
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 as President of the Board of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. He also is an accomplished author having written a book for colleagues and practitioners on leadership and co-written a book on school diversity. He completed his doctoral work at Ball State University, graduate work at the University of Tennessee, and undergraduate work at Alabama A&M University.Board Member, Vice Chairboard-members
Janet Womack, Ph.D.
Janet Womack, Ph.D.Board Member
Dr. Janet Womack is the Superintendent for Florence City Schools and has served in this capacity since 2010. Dr. Womack has experience as a classroom teacher, elementary and high school principal, system level Director of Instruction K-12, Regional Inservice 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 24 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’s passion is in the K-12 arena in ensuring success for all students. The Florence City Schools system is recognized as a leader in innovation and has won numerous state and national awards. The high school’s graduation rate is 96 percent, one of the top graduation rates in the state. Womack also has garnered success through the implementation of a 1-1 technology initiative, launching of the Florence Academy of Fine Arts and operation of the Florence Virtual School.
Dr. Womack received her undergraduate degree from Jacksonville State University in Elementary Education and her masters and doctorate degrees from Auburn University.Board Memberboard-members
Jeff Keller, Ph.D.
Jeff Keller, Ph.D.Board Member
Director General, American Nicaraguan School
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. The American School Foundation of Monterrey is a private, non-profit, independent, international day school that provides a U.S.-type education to international and Mexican students from Nursery through Grade 12. Dr. Keller previously served as the Assistant Superintendent at ASFM from 1991 to 1994. 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. Currently he is a member of AdvancED’s Council on American International Schools. He has over 37 years of experience working in SACS CASI accredited schools including chairing and serving on dozens of SACS CASI Quality Assurance Review teams. Dr. Keller is fluent in English and Spanish. 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.Board Memberboard-members
Jerry PeacockBoard Member
Principal, Baker High School
Mr. Jerry Peacock has been Principal of Baker High School in Baker City, Oregon for the past 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.Board Memberboard-members
Jo KirchnerBoard Member
President and CEO, Primrose Schools
Ms. Jo Kirchner, President and CEO of Primrose Schools, leads more than 230 schools nationwide. She oversees strategic direction for the company, manages its vision to maintain service excellence and brand leadership strategy, while guiding new business development to drive quality, sustainable growth, and profitability.
Kirchner first began her career with Primrose Schools over two decades ago. Working with Primrose Schools' founders, she developed the concept of franchising a research-based educational environment for preschool children. At Primrose, she serves as a member of the Primrose Schools Advisory Council and oversees the Primrose Schools Board of Directors. She founded the Primrose Children's Foundation, which provides financial support to not-for-profit organizations supporting young children. Kirchner also serves on the AdvancED Corporation and Distance Education Council and the AdvancED Accreditation Commission.
Before joining Primrose, she was the president and founder of Creative Logistics, an Atlanta-based marketing firm offering strategic planning, advertising and public relations. 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.Board Memberboard-members
Phil JacobsBoard Member, Past Chair
Chair, Founding Partner, The Pendleton Consulting Group
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 of Optus Communications in Sydney, Australia, as Chief Operating Officer. Jacobs also 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 completed his undergraduate work at Denison University.Board Member, Past Chairboard-members