State President - Valerie Koch, M.Ed. has over 20 years of teaching experience. She earned a bachelor's degree from Keene State College in Elementary Education and Special Education and a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from New England College. Valerie is currently the Teacher Preparation Instructor at Concord Regional Technical Center where she also mentors new teachers and is a professional development leader. She was awarded the distinction of 2017 Distinguished Educator for the Concord School District. Valerie is an adjunct faculty member for Southern New Hampshire University's School of Education and facilitator of the NH-CTE Summer Curriculum Institute for new teachers. Outside of school, she is program coordinator for End 68 Hours of Hunger- Concord South.
Secretary- Dawn Russell, M.Ed., BA English Teaching, has over 20 years of teaching experience working in the field of education. Seventeen years have been teaching elementary school, and eight of those years were also as adjunct faculty for UNH's Education Department. Over the years she has served as mentor and professional development presenter, participated in curriculum development with colleagues, and continued to expand her own professional development interests in the areas of reading and math instruction, differentiated instruction for diverse learners, the importance of play in early childhood education, and best practices at all levels of education. Currently Dawn is the Careers in Education teacher at the Seacoast School of Technology in Exeter, NH, adjunct faculty at Great Bay Community College, and teacher leader for Educators Rising-NH where she enjoys sharing her experience and passion with rising young educators.
Board Member- Courtney Ritchings, has an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and a BS in Adult & Occupational Education from the University of New Hampshire. Her experience in CTE spans three decades: student then instructor now administration. With 20+ years in Career and Technical Education (CTE) teaching and leadership, Courtney left the classroom in 2014 to take on the role of Education Consultant for the Bureau of Career Development at the NH Department of Education. There she uses her diverse background in CTE to support the students, schools, and industry of New Hampshire. Courtney is currently the Secretary on the Board of Directors (BoD) for SkillsUSA NH. As an FFA Alumnus, she stays actively tied to agriculture as a member of the BoD for NH Agriculture in the Classroom, NH Association of Agricultural Educators (NHAAE) member, and on her small acreage in NH. Most recently, Courtney has joined the Educators Rising NH BoD to support the growth and development of future educators, a critical resource for NH’s future.
State Director- Carla Frank, M.Ed. has been a CTE teacher at Portsmouth High School for the past 8 years as the Education & Teacher Training Instructor. Prior to becoming the classroom teacher Carla was the preschool lab teacher for the program for 9 years. She has been working with children of various ages for the past 20 years and truly enjoys watching the growth and development of each child.
Board Member- Nicole Bellebona, M.Ed., GCDF, strongly believes in the power of applied learning, career readiness, and imbedding 21st Century skill attainment into curriculum to most effectively prepare students for career pathways. She has a long history of work in the field of Career Services for Higher Education institutions in NH. Her experience spans over 20 years in a variety of roles teaching, academic advising and connecting with the employment community with a focus on workforce development. Nicole received her M.Ed. from UNH and Graduate Certification in Training and Development/Human Resources from SNHU. She held positions as the Director of Career Placement for the Whittemore School of Business, Director of Center Operations for Granite State College seacoast campuses, Associate Director of Career at SNHU and Career Director for the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at UNH. Most recently, she provided leadership at the Academy of Applied Science to the Northern New England Regional K-12 Invention Convention program in collaboration with the international STEMIE Coalition. She was also the driving force for instituting EPIC (Elementary Program Introducing Computing), UNH’s first ever coding camp for K-12 youth, and earned FIRST’s 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award for spearheading the effort to bring the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) to UNH for the first time. Her areas of specialty include Work-based, Service, and Extended Learning opportunity development as well as innovative approaches to broadening the boundaries around where students can meet competencies through collaborations with industry and community partners on project-based learning (PBL) and co-curricular professional student organization involvement. She hopes to bring her experience to her newest role as a consultant in the NH Department of Education’s Bureau of Career Development. One of the missions of EdRising is teacher development and imparting innovative approaches to teaching and learning to next generation teachers is very close to her heart.
Board Member - Sue Bergman, M.Ed. is an Adjunct Professor at Plymouth State University, Training Specialist, and Originator of Learning Is Contagious! LLC. She has over twenty years of experience working in the field of education in a variety of roles: Classroom Teacher, Enrichment Coordinator, Writing Coach, Professional Development Presenter, District Mentor, Collaborative Coach, and Literacy Interventionist. For the past twelve years, Sue has combined her years of experience and a dash of humor with best practices in education to present engaging workshops for educators in an assortment of pertinent topics ranging from Differentiated Instruction to Growth Mindset.
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