Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

ARCC Staff

The ARCC fields its staff across the region to provide state-of-the-art technical assistance to state education agencies in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Our seasoned management team has a history of engagement in the region and extensive experience in education. The ARCC deploys two coordinators to each state, who share responsibility for sustaining relationships with the state education agency, assessing needs, and developing and delivering technical assistance. An array of experts in various aspects of education completes the ARCC team.

Leadership Team

  • Director

    Dr. Caitlin Howley serves as Director of the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC). In this role, she is responsible for the center’s design and operation, oversight of technical assistance initiatives, supervision and professional development of staff, and stewardship of center resources. She also provides technical assistance to state education agencies (SEAs) through regional initiatives and serves as the leadership liaison to the ARCC Tennessee and Virginia teams. Howley has nearly 20 years of experience providing technical assistance, program evaluation, and research services to a variety of clients, with specialties that include rural education, college access and success, at-risk students, and organizational capacity building. In previous roles, she served as Associate Director of the ARCC; directed evaluation of an array of technical assistance centers; and led evaluations of education programs for low-income, minority, and Appalachian youth. The American Educational Research Association and the National Rural Education Association have honored her work. Howley received her Ph.D. in sociology from Temple University.

  • Associate Director

    Dr. Kimberly Hambrick serves as Associate Director of the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC). In this role, she conducts day-to-day management of the center, oversees and provides technical assistance, assists with staff supervision and professional development, and leads quality assurance. She also serves as the leadership liaison to the ARCC Kentucky and West Virginia teams and oversees evaluation of the ARCC. Most recently, as Principal-in-Charge, she was the liaison between the ARCC and its parent organization, ICF International. Hambrick has more than 24 years of experience, primarily in program evaluation, technical assistance, and research. She has extensive knowledge of federal, state, and local program management and has directed evaluations of numerous large federal contracts. Previously, Hambrick served as the Task Lead for needs assessment, coordination, and cross-center collaboration for the REL Mid-Atlantic, directed the Appalachia Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Consortium, led evaluation of the Region IV Comprehensive Center, and conducted evaluation for the Appalachia Regional Educational Laboratory. She earned her Ph.D. from Capella University.

State Coordination Teams

  • State Coordinator
    Kentucky

    Dr. Anthony Marchese is a state coordinator for Kentucky and for West Virginia, offering needs assessment, technical assistance, and progress monitoring services to these states. Marchese has more than 16 years of leadership and organizational development experience in educational institutions and consulting firms. Marchese's areas of expertise include organizational assessment and design, executive coaching, development and deployment of face-to-face and hybrid professional development, change management, and stakeholder analyses and needs sensing. He is also an expert in employee engagement, college and career readiness, social and emotional learning, strengths-based leadership development, and ethical development.

  • State Coordinator
    Kentucky

    Sarah Sayko is a state coordinator for Kentucky, along with her colleague Anthony Marchese. Together, Sayko and Marchese offer needs assessment, technical assistance, and progress monitoring to the state. In previous capacities, she served as a technical assistance provider for the National Reading TA Center and its predecessor, the National Center for Reading First TA; was a literacy content specialist for the Center on Instruction; provided assistance to the Connecticut and Oklahoma Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy projects; was an instructor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia; and served as an elementary school reading coach and literacy specialist. Sayko received her masters of education degree as a consulting teacher of reading from Lesley University.

  • State Coordinator
    Tennessee

    Dr. Terry Lashley, Ph.D. is a state coordinator for Tennessee, along with her colleague Beverly Mattson. Together, Lashley and Mattson offer needs assessment, technical assistance, and progress monitoring services to the state. Lashley has long-standing professional relationships with the Tennessee Department of Education, and with local education agencies, schools, institutions of higher education, STEM centers, and reform organizations in Tennessee and Kentucky. Lashley stays current with education in Tennessee through her service, leadership, and advisory roles for Tennessee SCORE; the Rural Education Network; the Expect More, Achieve More Coalition; the Tennessee Science Teachers Association/National Science Teachers Association; and a large-scale Appalachian education reform project funded by the National Science Foundation. During her 35-year tenure as an educator, national laboratory program manager/partnership leader, and college faculty member, she has provided high-quality, standards-based technical assistance on content and pedagogy in 15 states, often in the Appalachian region. She is experienced in building capacity through her work with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Tennessee Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative Resource Collaborative, and Math Science Partnership grants. She has documented successful experience with the design and development of K-20 STEM instruction and education reforms for faculty and students. She earned a Ph.D. in education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

  • State Coordinator
    Tennessee

    Dr. Beverly Mattson is a state coordinator for Tennessee, along with her colleague Terry Lashley. Together, Mattson and Lashley offer needs assessment, technical assistance, and progress monitoring services to the state. Mattson has 40 years of experience in education, including 22 years working with state education agencies. For 18 years, she has provided technical assistance services to state and local educational agencies through four comprehensive centers: for example, to Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio through the Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center and to Pennsylvania and Delaware through the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center. She has worked with 11 other states, including Virginia, assisting in the implementation of federal education legislation and other initiatives, including personnel and professional development systems; statewide systems of support; special education; statewide literacy plans; high-performing, high poverty schools; and public charter schools. She adapted Kentucky’s education reform initiatives and its Standards and Indicators for District and School Improvement for the Indiana Department of Education, with permission from the Kentucky Department of Education. Previously, she served on U.S. Department of Education-funded professional development partnerships and technical assistance projects supporting state and local education agencies. Mattson earned her Ph.D. from George Mason University in special education and the sociology of persons with disabilities.

  • State Coordinator
    Virginia

    Kandace Jones is a state coordinator for Virginia, along with her colleague Allen Schenck. Together, Jones and Schenck offer needs assessment, technical assistance, and progress monitoring services to the state. She previously served as Special Assistant for School Turnaround and Acting Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. In earlier capacities, Jones was the Director of the Office of Out-of-School Time Programs for the District of Columbia Public Schools; led the development of a support system to drive school turnaround efforts for the Pomona Unified School District in Los Angeles County, California; co-founded Global Elevation, a nonprofit whose mission was to stimulate economic growth and build capacity in underserved communities; and directed school partnerships for the Gallup Organization's education division. A member of the 2008–2010 class of the Broad Residency in Urban Education, Jones earned her MBA from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

  • State Coordinator
    Virginia

    Dr. Allen Schenck is a state coordinator for Virginia, along with his colleague Kandace Jones. Together, Schenck and Jones offer needs assessment, technical assistance, and progress monitoring to the state. For the past 40 years, Schenck has provided technical assistance to states and districts in selecting and using large-scale student assessments, identifying best practices for the instruction of at-risk students, and holding schools accountable for meeting the needs of diverse learners. From 2005 to 2012, he was a member of the New York Comprehensive Center staff, providing technical assistance to the New York State Education Department in the development of comprehensive assessment systems at the district and school level, including the use of formative assessment practices in the classroom. His primary areas of expertise include educational research and evaluation, educational assessment and accountability, and using data to support school improvement.

  • State Coordinator
    West Virginia

    Sarah Sayko is a state coordinator for West Virginia, along with her colleague Anthony Marchese. Together, Sayko and Marchese offer needs assessment, technical assistance, and progress monitoring services to the state. In previous capacities, she served as a technical assistance provider for the National Reading TA Center and its predecessor, the National Center for Reading First TA; was a literacy content specialist for the Center on Instruction; provided assistance to the Connecticut and Oklahoma Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy projects; was an instructor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia; and served as an elementary school reading coach and literacy specialist. Sayko received her masters of education degree as a consulting teacher of reading from Lesley University.

  • State Coordinator
    West Virginia

    Dr. Anthony Marchese is a state coordinator for Kentucky and for West Virginia, offering needs assessment, technical assistance, and progress monitoring services to these states. Marchese has more than 16 years of leadership and organizational development experience in educational institutions and consulting firms. Marchese's areas of expertise include organizational assessment and design, executive coaching, development and deployment of face-to-face and hybrid professional development, change management, and stakeholder analyses and needs sensing. He is also an expert in employee engagement, college and career readiness, social and emotional learning, strengths-based leadership development, and ethical development.

Evaluation Team

  • Evaluation Team Lead

    Dr. Kimberly Cowley serves as the lead for the ARCC internal evaluation team. In this role, she assesses the implementation and impact of ARCC’s capacity building technical assistance services provided to the four-state region. She works closely with other evaluation team members as well as with the ARCC leadership and state coordinators to ensure an embedded, integrated approach to the evaluation. Cowley has more than 20 years of experience in the field of educational research and evaluation, including previous experience in evaluating Comprehensive Centers. She has conceptualized and managed numerous studies, ranging from case studies to experimental designs. Her responsibilities have included project management, supervision, instrument development, data collection and analysis, reporting, and client interactions. She also has numerous years of experience serving on various institutional review boards. Cowley has experience in institutional leadership, business development, and project oversight. She has authored or co-authored more than 40 presentations at national conferences and more than 75 research and evaluation reports. Her dissertation received a third-place award from the Rural Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and she has received nearly a dozen awards from the AERA Division H Outstanding Publications Competition for reports she authored or co-authored. She earned her Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from Marshall University.

  • External Metaevaluator

    Keith M. Sturges, Ph.D. directs the external metaevaluation of ARCC’s program evaluation. He engages ARCC’s different stakeholder groups to gather feedback on the evaluation’s development and delivery of credible information that meets the information needs of those stakeholders. He also assesses instruments and tools, facilitates strategic planning and solutions planning, and provides feedback for improving the evaluation’s processes. Keith is Principal at Indikus Planning & Evaluation, a firm that serves K-12, higher education, and state agencies with program implementation and operations studies. With more than 21 years as a program evaluator, including six with Comprehensive Center programs, Keith is experienced at what he does. In addition to ARCC, he oversees two large-scale U.S. Department of Labor-funded college access evaluations, an evaluation of a National Science Foundation-funded program designed to encourage prospective first generation college students to enter engineering programs, and an adult learning curriculum review and rewrite project for a Tennessee state agency. Keith has published in peer-reviewed journals on evaluation use, metaevaluation, planned education systems change, and transitions from secondary to higher education. He has taught university courses in organizational effectiveness, organizational intervention, and research methods. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin and is a certified group facilitator.

  • Evaluation Team Member

    Dr. Anne Rogers Poliakoff serves on the ARCC internal evaluation team. In this role, has primary responsibility for the case study element of the ARCC’s annual evaluation of its capacity building technical assistance services. She works closely with the evaluation team lead, as well as with the ARCC leadership and state coordinators. Poliakoff brings more than 30 years of experience conducting qualitative research, including national cross-site evaluations, leading case study research and qualitative data collection, analysis, and reporting. She served as a member of the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education research team and coauthored the cross-case study of the impact of Perkins IV legislation on secondary and postsecondary career education in states and local communities. She designed and directed the Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching study of the role of mentors and their work with school-based instructional and data coaches in high schools across Pennsylvania. Poliakoff led three in-depth case studies of urban community colleges for the Community College Labor Market Responsiveness Initiative, created to identify the characteristics of a “labor-market responsive” college, and the policies, practices, and steps that colleges could take to support labor market responsiveness. She earned her Ph.D. in American Civilization from the University of Maryland.

Technical Assistance Staff

  • Technical Assistance Staff

    Aracelis Gray serves as a technical assistance staff member for the ARCC. She has more than 15 years of experience directing technical assistance and research and evaluation services on behalf of state and federal clients across the human and social services sectors. Gray currently leads the implementation evaluation of Diplomas Now, a whole school reform and dropout prevention model implemented in 32 schools in 11 of the largest urban school districts in the country. She recently served as Associate Director of the Reform Support Network for which she directed a team of experts to support the provision of high quality technical assistance to Race to the Top states as they moved to implement education reforms and achieve dramatic improvements in student outcomes. Her areas of specialization include dropout prevention, services for at-risk youth (children in the child welfare system, children of incarcerated parents, homeless children, victims of violence), youth and family engagement, large-scale program implementation, program sustainability planning and cross-system partnerships. She has a diverse range of skills including policy research and analysis, strategic planning facilitation, consensus building and collaboration processes, qualitative research and analysis techniques, design of needs assessment tools and protocols, and development of strategies and approaches to support the identification and dissemination of promising and effective practices.

  • Technical Assistance Staff

    Gerald (Jerry) Malitz serves as a technical assistance staff member for the ARCC. He has acquired extensive knowledge of education data and information technology through 30 years of experience in the federal government, and more recently, consulting independently as an IT professional, researcher, and statistician. In his last federal position, he served in a senior leadership role as chief information technology officer (CITO) at the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES). In this role, he conceptualized, designed, and implemented information technologies, including all website initiatives across IES. Prior to his role as CITO, he served at NCES as chief technology officer, webmaster, and project director for several large-scale national data collection efforts: development of the Classification of Instructional Programs Codes, the NCES Course Classification System, and the Student and the Staff Data Handbooks for Elementary, Secondary, and Early Childhood Education, among other projects. Malitz has served as a creative director, leading substantial website improvements, developing web usability studies, and providing a strategic vision for the role of technology and information in serving the needs of policymakers, practitioners, and general users. Malitz continues to work extensively with federal agencies, regional education laboratories, regional comprehensive centers, state departments of education, and school districts, contributing to the improvement of education research by designing the proper tools and providing the knowledge to use them to practitioners and policy makers.

  • Technical Assistance Staff

    John Ross is a technical assistance staff member of the ARCC. He has spent much of the past 15 years helping educators understand how technology integration enhances school improvement efforts. Formerly the director of the Institute for the Advancement of Emerging Technologies in Education and the director of technology for the ARCC, he currently works as an independent educational consultant. He spearheaded the launch of a regional online professional development environment in 2004 and has since designed and delivered online professional development to thousands of educators. His book, Online Professional Development: Design, Deliver, Succeed! (Corwin) was a publisher’s bestseller and selected as book-of-the-month for July 2011 by Learning Forward. He has also served as evaluator for numerous projects, such as the Virginia Department of Education’s e-Learning Backpack Initiative and Kids’ Tech University at Virginia Tech. Ross earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction and instructional technology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He was a classroom teacher for 10 years.

  • Technical Assistance Staff

    Dr. Kyle Snow is a technical assistance staff member for the ARCC. A senior research associate at RMC Research, Snow’s multi-faceted career in child development research and policy includes experience in overseeing research studies and application to policy as the director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Program in Early Learning and School Readiness. He directed large studies, for example, as principal investigator for the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort Study. Snow also served in a senior research and communications role with a national education organization, as director of the Center for Applied Research at the National Association for the Education of Young Children, providing scientific leadership for the organization. In those roles, he has often communicated the results of research in high stakes settings to policymakers, practitioners, and the public. Snow has served on numerous federal, state, and private foundation advisory panels, applying his content knowledge in assessment, factors affecting children’s early care and education, transition to school, and the experiences of young dual language learners.

  • Technical Assistance Staff

    Ashley Walther is a technical assistance staff member of the ARCC. Walther spent her early career as a secondary mathematics teacher and intervention specialist. Additionally, she served as a state-wide Common Core Coach in mathematics for the Tennessee Department of Education. Currently she works as an instructional coach and independent educational consultant. She has experience writing, implementing, and evaluating state and nationally funded grant projects—including Math and Science Partnership Grants (MSP) and Improving Teacher Quality Grants (ITQ). In all her roles, Walther spends time helping educators improve instruction, specifically in mathematics. She has designed and delivered professional development sessions in both traditional and online formats, relating to mathematics and mathematics education. Her research interests include professional development, rural education, teacher practice, and making mathematics meaningful. Walther has presented her research and work at the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education and the Tennessee Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators. She is a Ph.D. candidate in education specializing in mathematics education with an anticipated graduation date of summer 2017.

  • Technical Assistance Staff

    Kimberly Cook is a technical assistance staff member for the ARCC. She has more than 25 years of experience in the education sector. As an analyst in ICF’s Charleston, West Virginia office, she provides research assistance and support on several projects, including the Regional Education Laboratory Mid-Atlantic and the ARCC. Her past work in a variety of capacities includes support of federal programs such as the Eisenhower Regional Mathematics and Science Consortium, the Region IV Comprehensive Center, the Appalachia Educational Laboratory, and the Reform Support Network.