Jennifer Bell

Customer Account Executive

Hello! I’m Jennifer Bell. I’m a wife, mother of four, and avid runner who loves to laugh! I am a NC Teaching Fellows graduate of Meredith College and am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. Before coming to SAS I served the public schools of North Carolina as a National Board Certified teacher and data coach for 15 years. As an education nerd and passionate teacher at heart, my role at SAS as an education specialist is a perfect fit. Working with schools, districts and states to use data to drive school improvement and improve student outcomes allows me to continue to champion every student.


Dr Ashley Griffin

Interim Director of P-12 Research

A native of Ohio, Ashley holds doctoral and master’s degrees in developmental psychology from Howard University, with a concentration in educational psychology and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgetown University.


As interim director of P-12 research, Ashley conducts primary and secondary research to inform decision-makers at the national, state, and local levels and to generate knowledge that can help practitioners raise achievement and close gaps for students of color and low-income students.

Prior to joining Ed Trust, Ashley worked as a research and evaluation analyst on projects to inform program implementation and instruction at the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). Previously, Ashley served as the director of research and evaluation at Capstone Institute at Howard University. Her work examined engineering education teaching strategies and the intersection of culture, context, motivation, engagement, and cognition for African American students. Ashley has presented numerous papers, both nationally and internationally, on issues surrounding African American achievement for students grades P-16, and serves as a reviewer for The Journal of Negro Education.



Dr Cassandra Herring

President and CEO of BranchED

Dr. Cassandra Herring is President & Chief Executive Officer of the Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity(BranchED), a start-up that she incubated for a year as Dean-in-Residence at Deans for Impact. BranchED is a nationwide effort to maximize programming and drive innovation in preparing highly effective diverse educators for all learners. Dr. Herring’s passion about culturally relevant educator preparation reform fuels her work.

Prior to BranchED, Dr. Herring served as Dean of the School of Education and Human Development at Hampton University. Under her leadership, struggling education programs were transformed, earning state approval and highest commendations by accrediting bodies. She doubled her school’s enrollment through strategic recruitment efforts and securing external resources for student support.

In addition to her work within the school of education, Dr. Herring conceptualized and launched Hampton U Online, the university’s virtual campus for the delivery of online degree programs, and opened theHampton University International Office, a central hub for supporting international students and faculty, promoting study abroad, and building global connections.

Dr. Herring has served on national and international boards, including serving as Chair of the HBCU Academic of Deans of Education Council and as a member of both Deans for Impact and the advisory board for The Jandris Center for Innovative Higher Education. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the international Online Learning Consortium and as a Salzburg Global Institute Fellow at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Herring holds the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Policy from Georgia State University, and Master of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. She is married to Theodore Herring, owner of University Insurance Agency and an international business insurance consultant; and they have three children: Emmanuel, Joshua, and Elizabeth. 



Lillian M Lowery, Ph.D.

Vice President for P-12 Policy & Practice

Lillian M. Lowery, Ph.D. serves as Ed Trust’s, vice president for preK-12 policy, research, and practice, leading Ed Trust ambitious agenda to focus national attention on inequities in public education as well as the actions necessary to close gaps in opportunity and raise achievement.

Most recently, she served as president and CEO of FutureReady Columbus, where she led a commission of representatives from across the Columbus, Ohio, region to focus on college and workforce readiness. Prior to her time in Ohio, she served as the education lead for two states, both as the state superintendent of schools for the Maryland State Board of Education and as the secretary of education for the State of Delaware.

Additionally, she served as superintendent of the Christina School District in New Castle County, Delaware; assistant superintendent in Fairfax County Public Schools in Fairfax County, Virginia; and area administrator for Fort Wayne Community Schools in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She also has school-level experience, having been a high school principal and assistant principal, a minority student achievement mentor, and a secondary English teacher.

Lowery served on several organizational boards, including Delaware State University,, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Lowery holds a doctorate in education and educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, a master’s degree in education curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina, and a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education from North Carolina Central University



Ann McColl

Co-Chair NC Justice Center

Ann McColl is an attorney who has practiced in the field of education law since 1991. She served as an associate professor of educational leadership at the UNC Charlotte College of Education from 2002 to 2009 and as a visiting and adjunct associate professor of public law and government at the School of Government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. McColl has served as legislative director for the State Board of Education and as general counsel for the North Carolina Association of Educators. She is currently an attorney at Everett Gaskins Hancock in Raleigh.



Courtney Crowder

Founder of Crowder Consulting

Courtney Crowder has nearly fifteen years of experience in public affairs, government relations and political strategy. Prior to founding Crowder Consulting, he served four years as Legislative Director and senior advisor to Governor Bev Perdue.

Courtney honed his skills in a range of public affairs and government relations positions. He counseled corporate, nonprofit and governmental organizations while at Capstrat, North Carolina’s premier strategic communications firm. He served as the Legislative Liaison for the North Carolina Department of Insurance and Special Assistant to Commissioner James E. “Jim” Long and was on the campaign and congressional staff for Congressman Bob Etheridge from 2000 to 2003. No stranger to the political arena, Courtney has played an active role in a host of campaigns at every level – presidential, statewide, congressional and local.

Courtney holds B.A. degrees in English literature and French from North Carolina Central University and an M.A. in liberal studies from Duke University. He also studied at Oxford University in Oxford, England where he completed the Program of History, Politics and Society at Exeter College.



Dr Davis Dixon

P-12 Research Associate

As a research associate for the P-12 research team, Davis conducts primary and secondary research that will inform discussion and debate among education decision-makers at the national, state, and local levels, ensuring that Ed Trust’s practice and policy work is driven by the most current education research.

Before joining Ed Trust, Davis worked as a research associate at Howard University’s Capstone Institute, a research, development, and technical assistance center that prioritizes urban and ethnically diverse schools, districts, and communities. In this role, he collected and analyzed data surrounding teaching effectiveness, professional development interventions for teachers, and math interventions for students deemed to be at risk. Davis has presented at conferences across the nation on topics regarding minority and low-income student achievement. He has also published research findings on cultural identity for African-American students at an HBCU and issues of mattering and belonging for elementary students.

A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Davis completed his master’s and doctoral work in developmental psychology at Howard University. He holds a bachelor’s in psychology from North Carolina Central University.

© 2013 by