Carissa Moffat Miller was appointed the Interim Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in January 2018. Known for her deep knowledge of education policy at the state and national levels, Carissa is focused on ensuring CCSSO remains committed to working with state chiefs to ensure all students have the opportunity to graduate from high school prepared for college, careers and life.
Carissa previously served as the Deputy Executive Director of Membership and Outreach at CCSSO where she oversaw all the activities of the membership services, leadership academy, advocacy, communications, and data and information services. Prior to joining CCSSO in 2013, Carissa served as a deputy superintendent at the Idaho State Department of Education and led the implementation of statewide online testing for the Idaho State Board of Education.
Carissa holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of Idaho, a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Wyoming, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Steve Bowen joined CCSSO in 2013 and is servings as the Interim Deputy Executive Director of Membership and Outreach. In his role, he directs the activities of the membership services, leadership academy, advocacy, communications, data and information services, and the collaboratives teams. Steve oversees the development, support, and implementation of programs and services designed to support our primary member groups (chiefs, deputies, federal liaisons, communications directors and public information officers) and ensures all membership events and services are aligned with state priorities.
Prior to becoming Interim Deputy Executive Director, Steve served as a senior advisor for CCSSO, working directly with chiefs and their senior staffs, in collaboration with the Leadership Academy and other Council teams, to improve the performance and effectiveness of their state agencies. Steve also previously served as the Strategic Initiative Director for Innovation, where he worked to support states as they advanced promising innovations to improve student outcomes, aligned data and information systems to ensure educators and school leaders had the tools necessary to better meet the needs of students, and worked to improve state agency and state leadership capacity and capabilities. Steve is also a former state chief, having served as the Commissioner of Education in Maine from 2011 to 2013.
Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Drew University and a master’s degree in secondary education from George Mason University.
Kirsten Carr is the Senior Program Director of Student Expectations at CCSSO. In this role, she leads our accountability work with states, supporting them in developing and implementing next-generation accountability systems. She also supports states as they transition to new assessments aligned to college- and career-ready standards. Prior to joining our team, Kirsten practiced corporate law in New York City. She specialized in private equity and advising emerging growth companies, as well as working on general corporate matters. She also previously worked on education policy in Senator Edward Kennedy’s office and spent several years working on education reform initiatives at the Boston Plan for Excellence.
Kirsten has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Middlebury College and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law.
Paul Ferrari is the Senior Director of Teacher Workforce at CCSSO. In this role, he works to support states in ensuring that every student has access to great teachers. Paul oversees a number of programmatic areas focusing on educator preparation initiatives, educator support and evaluation, educator professional development, and overseeing the nation’s oldest and most prestigious educator recognition program: The National Teacher of the Year Program. Paul joined our team in 2007, and in that time he has directed national and state efforts in communicating about the value of college- and career-ready standards and next generation assessments, developed an online and social media strategy for the organization, led the redesign of the our corporate website, and developed and implemented our strategic communications plan. Paul has worked at a number of professional theatres as an actor, company manager, marketer, and after-school project administrator.
Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Criticism from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
Melissa Johnston is the Deputy Executive Director at CCSSO. Melissa joined our team in 2003 and assumed her current role as Deputy Executive Director in January 2013. Melissa oversees the implementation of our strategic plan and the direction and leadership of programmatic initiative areas. Additionally, she manages our information systems and technology, meeting services, and strategic partnerships. Melissa previously worked for Reading Is Fundamental and the Public Education Network in grants management, program development, and technical assistance capacities. She also worked with the national professional development program at the National Association of School Psychologists.
Melissa holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies and black world studies from Miami University and a master’s degree in social service administration, with a concentration in policy analysis and nonprofit management, from the University of Chicago.
Scott Norton is the Deputy Executive Director of Programs. In his role, he directs and oversees the development and execution of our programmatic areas. Scott works to make sure all programs are designed to ensure strategic planning goals are met, core values are reinforced, and programmatic activities help to maximize organizational impact. Additionally, he oversees staff that supports programmatic connections to budgets/contracts, innovation, and activities related to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Prior to joining our team, Scott was the assistant superintendent in the Office of Standards, Assessments, and Accountability for the Louisiana Department of Education.
Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Tennessee Technological University, a master’s degree in education administration, a master’s degree of public administration and a doctoral degree in educational administration and supervision from Louisiana State University.
Carrie Phillips is the Senior Program Director of Student Transitions. In her role, Carrie leads teams that help states manage transitions into K-12, provide multiple pathways within K-12, ensure that students are career-ready, and promote seamless transitions to post-secondary education. Prior to joining our team, Carrie was a fellow on Capitol Hill for former Senator Chris Dodd. She began her career in education as a fourth and fifth grade classroom teacher in the Chicago Public Schools.
Carrie holds a bachelor’s degree in social policy and a master’s degree in education from Northwestern University.
Monica Taylor is the Senior Program Director of School Leadership and Continuous Improvement. In her role, she is responsible for identifying, developing, and implementing school leadership strategies designed to elevate and prioritize the roles of school leaders in advancing continuous improvement in all schools. Through a variety of initiatives, networks, and projects, Monica works with state education agency officials to strategically center school leadership and continuous improvement at the core of change in educational systems. Prior to joining our team, Monica worked as program manager of educational services for Goodwill Industries, project director at the Maryland State Department of Education, and as a former public school administrator in the Washington metropolitan area.
Monica holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Norfolk State University, a master’s degree in educational administration from Regent University, and post-graduate certificates in school leadership from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania.