Behind the scenes is a dedicated team moving the mission of NGLC forward, helping to bring next gen learning to today’s students. It’s the network of innovative educators working to improve student success that inspires us. Learn more about who we are, what we do for NGLC, where we live, and what we care about. See the smiles? We love what we do!

Amanda Avallone

Amanda Avallone | Learning Officer
Home base: Boulder, CO
Connect: @avallonian1

Working closely with learners of all ages, I have come to recognize both the limitations of traditional schooling and the great potential of educators to act as change agents for a new kind of learning, one that will prepare students to succeed in the world as it is today—learning that is designed for equity, worthy of students’ effort, and relevant to their lives today and in the future.

As a Learning Officer for NGLC, I am excited about collaborating with pioneering educators and their communities to design authentic, powerful learning that prepares young people not only to thrive in a changing world but also to shape that change: to be empowered to solve problems and create a more equitable society.

I bring 25 years of experience as a teacher, school leader, and learning designer to my leadership roles in NGLC Services and the NGLC MyWays Project. Over the course of my career in education, I have taught English and Literacy and held leadership positions in district, charter, and independent schools. I am passionate about supporting the learning of adults, as well as young people. I strive to create educator professional learning experiences that exemplify the kind of learning we want for our students: authentic, relevant, and collaborative. I also work to support, connect, and celebrate, through storytelling, the educators who are already doing the challenging work of transforming learning every day.

Stefanie Blouin | Deputy Director
Home base: Burlington, VT
Connect: @StefanieBlouin; LinkedIn

At NGLC, I wear many hats, many of them organizational: team structures and communication, fundraising, financial management, program implementation, project management, progress monitoring, and reporting. That's right: I'm detail-oriented and I really do love project management. But what's my favorite role at NGLC, and the one that taps my creativity and passion for learning? That's supporting educators as they design or redesign equitable schools—schools where all students have access to engaging, high-quality learning and a learning environment where they feel safe and celebrated as individuals.

I have over 20 years of experience as a teacher, teacher leader, and district leader. Before joining NGLC, I was the director of curriculum for a Vermont school district, facilitating curriculum and assessment development, analyzing data, and supporting teachers and administrators with ongoing professional learning. There I led teacher teams in the research and design of a next gen school model, worked with stakeholder groups to build ownership and support, and facilitated all the work leading to implementation of the new model—budget, facilities, human capital, curriculum design, platform design, assessment design, scheduling, professional learning. (Remember all those hats I love to wear across project management, creativity, and learning?!)

I am a Data Teams trainer through the Center for Performance Assessment, a trained facilitator via the National School Reform Faculty, literacy coach and specialist, and a licensed principal. I taught a range of grades from kindergarten to literacy in a clinical setting for high schoolers to adults in college courses. I will always be a teacher at heart!

I love to run, hike, and explore the world. My favorite place to be is on a beach with my kids.

Andy Calkins | Director
Home base: Gloucester, MA
Connect: @AndrewCalkins; LinkedIn

I am passionately in love with my job, which is to work with the crackerjack team you can meet on this web page and with our more than 150 pioneering grantees and partners to catalyze a next gen learning revolution across K-12 public education in the U.S. That means that I wake up every day, looking forward to working with impatient, visionary, hard-working, kid-loving, social-purpose-driven, get-important-things-done kinds of people. All in the interest of fundamentally reimagining the experience that children and young adults have in our nation’s public schools so that they can thrive—and contribute—during that experience and for their adult lives.

That pretty much defines my job. Each day I wonder how I ever got so lucky.

Prior to joining NGLC in April 2011, I served as senior program officer at the Stupski Foundation, senior vice president at the education reform group Mass Insight, executive director of Recruiting New Teachers, Inc. (the nonprofit behind the national “Reach for the Power: Teach” campaign working to build a highly skilled, diverse teacher workforce), and as the editor of Electronic Learning magazine at Scholastic Inc. Oh: and there was also my very first full-time job, which was to create the FunStuff pages and detective riddles for one of Scholastic’s weekly elementary newsmagazines, back in the day. Chief Hugh R. Guilty and Detective Ida Knows—that was me.

I hold a B.A. from Harvard College and was a Henry Fellow at Cambridge University in the UK. I am the lead author of The Careers in Teaching Handbook and The Turnaround Challenge, Mass Insight’s 2007 report on turning around the nation’s persistently underperforming schools. When I’m not working to catalyze next gen learning, I’m enjoying the life of Cape Ann, in Massachusetts, where my wife and I have raised three daughters including one artist and art teacher, an actress/drama teacher, and a celebrity cake designer in NYC. We are hoping that Daniel Pink was right and that the MFA is “the new MBA.”

Tony Siddall | Program Officer
Home base: Boston
Connect: @horacemanifesto

A mentor of mine once said that careers in education reform only really make sense in retrospect—often the path isn’t clear until you arrive a job that perfectly draws on the experience you’ve acquired over the years. This is very true for me, and that job is supporting the Assessment for Learning Project community at NGLC.

I’ve worked at schools and districts building community partnerships to support youth development, and I’ve also worked on charter school governance and accountability at a state agency and at a network of charter schools. And I also had a cup of coffee in edtech. But before NGLC, my most formative professional experience was actually a volunteer one.

A few friends and I felt that too many important decisions in education get made behind closed doors by a very small group of people. So we decided to send out an invitation to meet up at a bar, forget about our job titles, and just talk about the future of education in Boston. We thought ten people showing up would be a success. More than 100 came. We had tapped into something. So we issued a challenge: if you can get a team of educators together to propose an innovative idea, we can give you something more important than money (which was good, because we didn’t have any money): access. When the mayor and superintendent saw the hundreds of people turning out, they agreed to meet with all the teams who submitted a proposal. The late, great Tom Menino asked me, “How did you get all these people to show up? They’re not the usual suspects.”

The answer is that we invited them to help build the future. I learned that there are untold numbers of educators who desperately want to contribute beyond their classrooms, if only someone would ask them (and possibly offer them beer). What I love about working with NGLC is our profound faith that if we invite educators to build the future of public education, if we create spaces for them to bring their full selves, they have both the expertise and the passion to deliver beyond our wildest dreams.

Liza Veto | Program Officer, Mass IDEAS
Home base: Boston, MA
Connect: LinkedIn

My job is to develop and grow Mass IDEAS, a multi-year initiative to create next generation schools for Massachusetts, engaging educators and community members across the Commonwealth to design and launch genuinely bold models of learning designed for equity, student-centered learning, and 21st-century definitions of student success.

Prior to joining NGLC, I spent six years supporting some of the most struggling schools and districts in Massachusetts to interrupt their history of low performance to ensure that all students received high-quality educational experiences. My work at the state and district levels was both immensely rewarding and extremely challenging; it also made me want to substantially rethink how we “do” school on the front end instead of trying to remedy schools’ many challenges once they underperform. NGLC is a great place for me to do that!

As a recovering English major (Dartmouth College), I love reading and listening to fiction, and think there’s nothing better than watching a child (or an adult!) become wrapped up in a story. I earned a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, concentrating on health policy, which led me to 13 years in public health policy at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including as CDC’s liaison to the U.S. Department of Education, which led me to strong interest in school health. Following my time at CDC, I joined the Broad Residency in Urban Education, during which I began my turnaround efforts in Massachusetts and earned a Master’s degree in Education.

Kristen Vogt | Knowledge Management Officer
Home base: Philadelphia
Connect: @KVogt300; LinkedIn

My job is to create and share content. Through our website, publications, social media, and blogging, I work with our team to document the strategies NGLC grant recipients are using to transform education, capturing the lessons they are learning along the way and highlighting the outcomes that result from their efforts.

Before joining NGLC, I was the assistant director for early college high school at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. I also worked in student and academic affairs in programs like first-year transitions, service-learning, undergraduate research, and academic support for college students.

I majored in math at the University of Notre Dame and there’s a special place in my professional heart for supporting women and students of color in STEM. I then earned degrees in higher education administration from the University of Michigan and college student personnel from the University of Maryland. My passion is to make education work for students from groups that have been least served educationally. I’m detail oriented (a blessing and a curse), reflective (don’t make me give an answer on the spot!), and appreciate sarcasm. I want to explore the natural wonders of the world, even those in my neighborhood, watch my kids grow up, and read, read, read.