Kim Cook, Executive Director
Kim Cook, NCAN's executive director since 2008, has worked in the higher education and college access field for her entire professional career, including experience in undergraduate admissions and financial aid, administration of a last-dollar scholarship program, and a succession of responsibilities at NCAN including Director of Government Relations, Assistant Director and Executive Vice President. Ms. Cook also served as the Interim Executive Director of the Ohio College Access Network.
She serves on the College Board's College Planning Advisory Board, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Training for Counselors and Mentors advisory panel, the National Education Working Group on Foster Care and Education and the editorial board of the Journal of College Access. She is often consulted to speak on federal policy issues and building college access networks and community-based college access programs.
Prior to joining NCAN in 1999, she was a Senior Program Associate at Plan for Social Excellence, Inc., a foundation supporting innovative projects in education, and served as its Grants Manager and Scholars Program Manager. Previously, she was as a college admission counselor at Pace University in New York. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from Pace University and a Bachelors degree in Communications, Law, Economics and Government from The American University (Washington, DC). She has completed continuing professional development through courses in Georgetown University’s Certificate in Non-Profit Management and Harvard University’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management institute.
Paula Acevedo, Graduate Policy Assistant
Paula Acevedo is a graduate policy assistant at the National College Access Network, where she expands and promotes NCAN’s policy work through research and writing on federal financial aid policy, with a focus on FAFSA simplification, and on early awareness of college and financial aid.
Prior to joining NCAN in May 2016, Ms. Acevedo interned for the policy team at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, where she assisted on projects and research regarding taxes, entitlement programs, budgetary policy, and the economy. She has also worked at other nonprofits, on political campaigns and in education.
Ms. Acevedo is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration, with a concentration in policy analysis, at American University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida Atlantic University. In her spare time she enjoys running, hiking and exploring Washington, D.C.
Kendall Everette Cook, Graduate Data and Research Intern
Kendall Everette Cook became NCAN's graduate data and research intern in May 2016. His work includes documenting and analyzing student outcomes and financial aid data, coordinating regional learning labs for NCAN members, and exploring promising research practices and member developments.
Mr. Cook is earning his master’s degree from Appalachian State University, studying higher education administration with a focus on policy and government relations. He recently worked closely with underrepresented students as an admissions counselor there, and is also a former communications and events intern and research assistant at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. That’s where he earned his bachelor’s degree in communication studies with a focus on organizational communication, before going on to earn a graduate certificate in counselor education from North Carolina State University the following year.
Mr. Cook’s research interests are in American governance, African American political thought and education policy. His current research is anchored in the interplay between access and success for underrepresented students and federal policy.
Amina Anderson Pringle, Member Services Manager
Amina Anderson Pringle joined NCAN in 2012 as Member Services Manager after four years as a college retention advisor at the District of Columbia College Access Program (DC-CAP), one of NCAN’s largest members. Her responsibilities include coordinating and evaluating NCAN membership recruitment and retention, delivering quality services to members, and developing member-related events. She is NCAN’s primary liaison to its membership and works to ensure that members receive the training, professional development, and resources they need to grow and serve students well.
Mrs. Pringle is also an alumna of the DC-CAP program, which helped her enter Lincoln University in 2001. She completed two bachelors’ degrees (social work and criminal justice) at Lincoln University and an MBA at Trinity University. At DC-CAP, she managed a caseload of more than 3,000 college students in 13 states. Her responsibilities included providing orientation to college life, monitoring students’ academic progress, helping students access support services on campus and advocating on their behalf, and ensuring annual completion of financial aid and scholarship forms.
Allie Ciaramella, Communications Manager
Allie Ciaramella is Communications Manager at the National College Access Network, where she delivers and promotes key messages, information and opportunities to NCAN members, policymakers, the media and other stakeholders in the field of college access and success. That includes managing the content in NCAN's quarterly newsletters and its weekly, members-only Success Digest, as well as the network's main Twitter account, @collegeaccess.
Before joining NCAN in May 2016, Mrs. Ciaramella covered federal and state higher education policy at POLITICO Pro. Under the byline Allie Grasgreen Ciaramella, she reported extensively on the Barack Obama Administration's postsecondary agenda, including efforts by the Education Department to streamline federal financial aid, simplify the FAFSA form and strengthen the volume and value of Pell Grants. She also covered efforts in Congress to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, improve student loan servicing and hold colleges more accountable for student outcomes.
Prior to POLITICO, Mrs. Ciaramella was a reporter at Inside Higher Ed, where she covered the National Collegiate Athletic Association and student affairs issues such as health, activism and administration. She earned her bachelor's degree in 2010 from the University of Oregon, majoring in newspaper/editorial journalism and minoring in environmental studies.
Twitter: @collegeaccess (NCAN news), @alliegrasgreen
Crystal Courtney, Office and Events Manager
For more than 15 years, Crystal Courtney has worked in web production, publications, and executive administration for the telecommunications, government, and nonprofit sectors. At NCAN, she is responsible for office operations, website management as well as office and event planning.
Prior to joining NCAN, Ms. Courtney worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, American Geophysical Union as an Editor's Assistant where she was responsible for editing and managing technical, scientific, and college publications. She has also worked for EMC and Verizon in Communications, Internet and Business Services where she was an integral part of developing Home Monitoring and Controls systems, developing vendor partner relationships; and managing and maintaining numerous websites. She studied computer science at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, MD, and is completing a bachelor’s degree in business management.
Bill DeBaun, Director of Data and Evaluation
As NCAN’s Director of Data and Evaluation, Bill DeBaun researches and writes about college access and success programming that demonstrates significant results for students’ college enrollment and graduation rates. He has worked with the Common Measures Learning Community to produce resources for NCAN members like the Data and Evaluation Toolkit. Additionally, Mr. DeBaun works on NCAN's Benchmarking Project.
Prior to joining NCAN, Mr. DeBaun was a policy and advocacy associate at the Alliance for Excellent Education in Washington, DC, where he authored the white paper “Inseparable Imperatives: Equity in Education and the Future of the American Economy” and co-wrote several reports on the need for federal student aid reform. Mr. DeBaun has a bachelor’s degree in political science, with a minor in education studies, from American University and a master’s degree in public policy from the George Washington University.
Colette Hadley, Director of Consulting Services
As NCAN’s director of consulting services, Colette Hadley helps foundations, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and schools to deploy best practices in college access and financial aid advising services for underserved students, strategic need-based scholarship management, fundraising, and related organizational and board development. Services include program assessment and recommendations for improvement, strategic planning, and technical assistance to implement new approaches.
Ms. Hadley has unparalleled credentials and commitment to help communities increase rates of college-going and completion. She was the executive director of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara (SFSB) from 2006 through early 2015, where she had a proven track record of strong scholarship program management and fundraising. Under Ms. Hadley’s leadership, the SFSB increased its net assets by 85 percent to $43.4 million, doubled the number of college scholarships awarded, and increased the average scholarship amount by 35 percent. SFSB program advisors reached more than 37,600 Santa Barbara County students and parents in 2013-14 with rigorous FAFSA trainings, targeted scholarship workshops, early awareness financial aid presentations, and intensive one-on-one counseling sessions. Beginning in 2008, Ms. Hadley also provided nonprofit consulting services to organizations including the Pedrozzi Scholarship Foundation, Scholarship Sonoma County, California College Access Consortium, Storyteller Children’s Center, and the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum on best practices in scholarship development, fundraising, governance, and organizational culture.
Before joining the SFSB in 1992, Ms. Hadley worked as a student affairs officer and then marketing manager for the University of California-Irvine. She studied biological sciences at the University of California-Irvine and has completed certificate programs in nonprofit management and executive leadership. Ms. Hadley has significant nonprofit board experience as the chairman of the Santa Barbara Cal-SOAP (Student Opportunity and Access Program) Consortium and as a board member for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Barbara County (CASA) and the Santa Barbara Special Olympics. She served as an NCAN board member during the organization’s formative years in the late 1990s and early 2000s as well as from 2011 through 2015.
MorraLee (Holzapfel) Keller, Director of Technical Assistance
Ms. MorraLee Keller serves as Director of Technical Assistance and provides professional development to both direct service providers and managers to help ensure the success and sustainability of new and existing college access programs. She offers consultation services with advice on governance issues, programming, data collection, research and best practices and also develops comprehensive training materials.
Mrs. Keller has a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in higher education administration, both from The Ohio State University. A former financial aid coordinator at OSU, Mrs. Keller has extensive experience in student financial aid. In her time at the Columbus, Ohio-based NCAN member program, I KNOW I CAN, Mrs. Keller developed a program with K-12 early college awareness programming and developed a comprehensive college advising program and last dollar grant program. Mrs. Keller is the past president of NCAN and served as the treasurer of the Board of Directors of NCAN.
Tong Lee, Membership and Events Manager
Tong Lee is NCAN's Database and Events Manager. Ms. Lee's responsibilities include managing the NCAN member database, event registration, and member renewal and billing.
Previously, Ms. Lee served as director of membership services for the Rights Working Group, which promoted civil liberties and human rights in the United States. She has also worked for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and Hmong National Development, Inc. She is passionate about museums and has many years of experience as a Smithsonian volunteer information specialist. Ms. Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA, and is a proud first-generation college graduate.
Sara Melnick, Deputy Director
Sara Melnick, Deputy Director of the National College Access Network, has nearly 20 years of experience helping schools and communities work together to enhance outcomes for K-12 students. As Deputy Director, Ms. Melnick oversees projects focused on college access and success, manages the organization’s annual conference and provides technical assistance on the development of statewide college access networks.
Prior to joining NCAN, she spent seven years as the Associate Director, K-16 Initiatives with the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) where she worked with college access programs across the country, including the federally funded GEAR UP grantees. In that role, Ms. Melnick managed projects, provided technical assistance to communities and co-authored training curricula on developing partnerships to support early college awareness initiatives.
Ms. Melnick has also worked with America’s Promise, the National Association of Partners in Education and as a public school teacher in New York City. She has written publications on the intersection of service-learning and school-to-work, integrating telecommunications technology into education, developing school-to-career initiatives and after-school programs and creating safe learning environments, and has served on the Community and Civic Organization Steering Committee of the United States Department of Education's Partnership for Family Involvement in Education and the board of the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education.
Ms. Melnick holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Vassar College and a Master of Business Administration degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Baruch College. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.
Elizabeth Morgan, Director of External Relations
Elizabeth Morgan is Director of External Relations for the National College Access Network, where she is responsible for fundraising and communications.
Previously, Ms. Morgan was director of youth programs at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, where she oversaw the development and management of up to $7.5 million annually in grants to other nonprofit organizations as well as the foundation's scholarship program helping low-income students attend highly selective colleges and universities. Through the foundation’s grants, Elizabeth helped to launch or grow several NCAN member programs, including the University of Virginia College Guide Program, the National College Advising Corps, CollegeTracks, SoMD CAN, and the Rappahannock Career and College Access Program. She has significant expertise in college access and success issues, nonprofit management and evaluation, out-of-school-time programs for youth, and communications.
Before joining the foundation, Ms. Morgan was a grant officer for the Michigan State Bar Foundation, which awards more than $8 million annually to provide civil legal assistance to the poor. Ms. Morgan has also worked as a journalist and editor for the Bureau of National Affairs, the World Bank, and the alumni magazine of the Washington College of Law.
She served on the NCAN board of directors from 2008 to 2010 and is a board member of the Duke Student Publishing Company, the nonprofit owner of Duke University's daily student newspaper. She holds a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at American University and an A.B. in history from Duke University.
Carrie Warick, Director of Partnerships and Policy
Ms. Carrie Warick is the Director of Policy and Advocacy for the National College Access Network. She leads NCAN’s policy and advocacy work to promote policies that support low-income, first-generation, and minority students access to and success in higher education. This includes managing NCAN's policy priorities at both the federal and state level.
Joining NCAN in May 2008, Ms. Warick has also served as a Program Associate, the Director of Member Services, and the Director of Partnerships and Policy. In these positions, she managed NCAN's technical assistance to statewide and regional networks, developed and disseminated resources and training to NCAN members as well as managing membership events, communications, recruitment, and renewal.
Ms. Warick holds a Masters of Public Policy, with a concentration in education policy, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and History, both from The George Washington University. While pursuing her Masters, Ms. Warick was a Presidential Administrative Fellow and worked in various areas of communication within GW.
Warick is a five year member of Women in Government Relations and currently serves as co-chair of the Education Taskforce. She lives with her husband and daughter in Northeast DC.