Synergy’s leadership team brings a shared commitment to professional excellence.

Business people walking and communicating

Leadership

Synergy’s leadership team shapes our company’s culture of quality, results, and trust that fuels our passion for excellence and supports our clients’ growth.

Senior Leadership

Prachee J. Devadas

President and Chief Executive Officer

Prachee J. Devadas

Prachee J. Devadas has a career marked by more than two decades of success in federal contracting. In 2003, Ms. Devadas founded Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy), a woman-owned small business and government consulting firm focused on public health and education. She built a nimble, small business with powerful, big business skills and expertise, replete with a deep commitment to critical private and public social initiatives. Synergy employs a staff of more than 100 employees who manage high-profile communications, technical assistance, and research contracts for 12 federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Education, State, Homeland Security, Energy, and Defense.

Synergy has received numerous prestigious awards and has been consistently recognized for outstanding work performance. Under Ms. Devadas’s leadership, Synergy was ranked 14th on Washington Technology’s 2008 List of Top 25 Nationwide 8(a) Firms. Ms. Devadas received several awards, including a “Top 40 New Power Women of DC Tech Recognition Award” in 2017 and a “Minority Business Leader Award” in 2016 by the Washington Business Journal. In 2009, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Ms. Devadas Small Business Person of the Year for the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, and she also was awarded a proclamation from the Montgomery County Council in Maryland, where Synergy is headquartered.

Former President Barack Obama invited Ms. Devadas to the Oval Office for a meeting. Following the meeting, President Obama personally recognized Ms. Devadas during a press conference in the Rose Garden, where he singled out Synergy’s success as representative of the promise of opportunity in America. In 2010, President Obama invited Ms. Devadas to be among a select group of business owners and members of Congress present in the White House as he signed the Small Business Jobs Act. Additionally, in 2010, GovCon named Ms. Devadas one of the top five “Executives of the Year.”

Ms. Devadas serves on the Board of Directors for The Children’s Inn at NIH, which provides residential respite for terminally ill children and their families. For the last 13 years, Ms. Devadas has also served on the Board of Directors for So Others Might Eat, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve the homeless. In 2019, Ms. Devadas became a Board member for the LastMile4D, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide women in remote areas worldwide with information and resources related to gender-based violence. Since 2016, Ms. Devadas has also served as an Advisory Board Member for the country’s sixth largest bank: Truist Bank. In addition to holding memberships in several professional associations, Ms. Devadas is a speaker for the National Association of Asian American Professionals. She has been featured several times on Executive Leaders Radio.

Stephanie Adams

Special Projects Director

Stephanie Adams

Stephanie Adams is a seasoned public health communications professional with 25+ years of experience managing multimillion-dollar federal, nonprofit, and private sector public education and engagement programs. The hallmark of Ms. Adams’s work is developing innovative solutions that enhance public services while driving cost efficiencies for clients including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and several Institutes within the National Institutes of Health. She employs an agile, data-driven approach to managing complex, high-quality public service programs that capture critical data about customer interactions, leveraging sophisticated business intelligence tools and techniques. Ms. Adams then translates that data to improve customer engagement and develop technology solutions—including mobile applications, websites, and customer engagement tools. She led the efforts to develop a series of award-winning mobile applications focusing on critical issues in behavioral health, including suicide prevention and opioid use disorder for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She brings specific expertise in managing large, omnichannel contact centers for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Her areas of subject matter expertise include substance use prevention, mental health, tobacco and smoking cessation, women’s health, healthcare financing, and vaccination programs. Ms. Adams serves on the Board of Directors of EveryMind, the leading nonprofit provider of mental health services—including suicide prevention—in Montgomery County, MD.

Janet Blank

Human Resources Director

Janet Blank

Janet L. Blank serves as Synergy’s Director of Human Resources, as position she has held since December 2014. Ms. Blank has worked in the employment field for nearly 20 years. She began her career interning at the Department of Labor. Since that time Ms. Blank has held HR leadership positions in various industries including real estate, medical, and not-for-profit. Ms. Blank holds a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, Columbia University, as well as law degree from George Washington University where she focused on Employment Law, Gender Identity Law, and ERISA. She has been a member of the Maryland bar since 2001, and a member of the Society of Human Resource Management since 2005.

Prachee J. Devadas

Prachee J. Devadas has a career marked by more than two decades of success in federal contracting. In 2003, Ms. Devadas founded Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy), a woman-owned small business and government consulting firm focused on public health and education. She built a nimble, small business with powerful, big business skills and expertise, replete with a deep commitment to critical private and public social initiatives. Synergy employs a staff of more than 100 employees who manage high-profile communications, technical assistance, and research contracts for 12 federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Education, State, Homeland Security, Energy, and Defense.

Synergy has received numerous prestigious awards and has been consistently recognized for outstanding work performance. Under Ms. Devadas’s leadership, Synergy was ranked 14th on Washington Technology’s 2008 List of Top 25 Nationwide 8(a) Firms. Ms. Devadas received several awards, including a “Top 40 New Power Women of DC Tech Recognition Award” in 2017 and a “Minority Business Leader Award” in 2016 by the Washington Business Journal. In 2009, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Ms. Devadas Small Business Person of the Year for the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, and she also was awarded a proclamation from the Montgomery County Council in Maryland, where Synergy is headquartered.

Former President Barack Obama invited Ms. Devadas to the Oval Office for a meeting. Following the meeting, President Obama personally recognized Ms. Devadas during a press conference in the Rose Garden, where he singled out Synergy’s success as representative of the promise of opportunity in America. In 2010, President Obama invited Ms. Devadas to be among a select group of business owners and members of Congress present in the White House as he signed the Small Business Jobs Act. Additionally, in 2010, GovCon named Ms. Devadas one of the top five “Executives of the Year.”

Ms. Devadas serves on the Board of Directors for The Children’s Inn at NIH, which provides residential respite for terminally ill children and their families. For the last 13 years, Ms. Devadas has also served on the Board of Directors for So Others Might Eat, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve the homeless. In 2019, Ms. Devadas became a Board member for the LastMile4D, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide women in remote areas worldwide with information and resources related to gender-based violence. Since 2016, Ms. Devadas has also served as an Advisory Board Member for the country’s sixth largest bank: Truist Bank. In addition to holding memberships in several professional associations, Ms. Devadas is a speaker for the National Association of Asian American Professionals. She has been featured several times on Executive Leaders Radio.

Stephanie Adams

Stephanie Adams is a seasoned public health communications professional with 25+ years of experience managing multimillion-dollar federal, nonprofit, and private sector public education and engagement programs. The hallmark of Ms. Adams’s work is developing innovative solutions that enhance public services while driving cost efficiencies for clients including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and several Institutes within the National Institutes of Health. She employs an agile, data-driven approach to managing complex, high-quality public service programs that capture critical data about customer interactions, leveraging sophisticated business intelligence tools and techniques. Ms. Adams then translates that data to improve customer engagement and develop technology solutions—including mobile applications, websites, and customer engagement tools. She led the efforts to develop a series of award-winning mobile applications focusing on critical issues in behavioral health, including suicide prevention and opioid use disorder for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She brings specific expertise in managing large, omnichannel contact centers for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Her areas of subject matter expertise include substance use prevention, mental health, tobacco and smoking cessation, women’s health, healthcare financing, and vaccination programs. Ms. Adams serves on the Board of Directors of EveryMind, the leading nonprofit provider of mental health services—including suicide prevention—in Montgomery County, MD.

Janet Blank

Janet L. Blank serves as Synergy’s Director of Human Resources, as position she has held since December 2014. Ms. Blank has worked in the employment field for nearly 20 years. She began her career interning at the Department of Labor. Since that time Ms. Blank has held HR leadership positions in various industries including real estate, medical, and not-for-profit. Ms. Blank holds a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, Columbia University, as well as law degree from George Washington University where she focused on Employment Law, Gender Identity Law, and ERISA. She has been a member of the Maryland bar since 2001, and a member of the Society of Human Resource Management since 2005.

Jill Herzog

Chief Operating Officer

Jill Herzog

Jill Herzog brings more than 25 years of public health experience to Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy). As Chief Operating Officer, she manages a national staff across five divisions, while providing counsel to the President/CEO on building strategic partnerships, spearheading new business development efforts, and managing brand reputation. Ms. Herzog is responsible for overseeing the full spectrum of Synergy’s corporate operations, including process and information technology system optimization, staff development, talent acquisition, benefits, recruitment, and retention policies. She is a renowned social marketer who has presented at industry events hosted by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Public Health Association.

Ms. Herzog’s campaigns have reached millions of Americans and won more than 50 national awards. Prior to joining Synergy, she served for 8 years as a principal with Booz Allen Hamilton, where she was responsible for more than $85 million in contracts and 120 full-time employees. While at Booz Allen, Ms. Herzog directed numerous high-profile campaigns and projects for clients, including CDC, the U.S. Department of Defense, Food and Drug Administration, HHS, National Institutes of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Public Health Service, and the Veterans Health Administration. Ms. Herzog is a former Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins University Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts & Sciences as well as an Executive Vice President of Sensis, where she developed internal policies, standard operating procedures, and strategic business plans in addition to significantly expanding the company’s communications, social marketing, creative, and video production services.

She is actively committed to several community organizations, including serving as the Board President of Young Artists at Strathmore and as a volunteer for Adoptions Together, a nonprofit organization that supports children and families formed through foster care.

Christine Hartley

Vice President

Christine Hartley

Christine Hartley has more than 30 years of federal contract management experience. At Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy), she leads a staff of meeting professionals and grant review specialists that support more than 100 meetings annually. During the past 23 years, she has served as project director or corporate monitor for public health projects with a combined value of more than $50 million for federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Ms. Hartley developed and implemented cost-saving international grant review programs within the U.S. Department of State and has streamlined activities and increased cost efficiency on all of Synergy’s conference and grant review contracts.

Ms. Hartley is well-versed in both the technical and financial administration of contracts. She has managed multiyear, multimillion-dollar contracts covering a broad range of services, including technical assistance, training, evaluation, publications, and conference management. She has managed high-profile, Cabinet-level activities in the United States and internationally. These projects include conferences related to the NIH Roadmap, Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Initiative meetings in Jordan and Morocco, and the 2012 G8-BMENA Initiative 9th Forum for the Future in Tunisia. Ms. Hartley has received numerous commendations for her expertise in contracts and fiscal management from project officers, contract officers, and task leaders.

Rob Levenberry

Information Technology Strategy Director

Rob Levenberry

Rob Levenberry, M.S., PMP, leads a technically diverse team of information technology (IT) professionals. As the IT Strategy Director at Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy), he is responsible for aligning technology development and corporate strategy so that Synergy can provide tailored technical solutions for each client. He supports the development of strategic partnerships and incorporates new and emerging technologies. Mr. Levenberry has served as an advisor to numerous senior executives and has successfully managed over $60 million in IT projects across the federal sector. During his 15 years of experience in government contracting and consulting, Mr. Levenberry has led major IT initiatives for federal clients such as the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Justice, and Treasury.

Additionally, Mr. Levenberry is responsible for staffing and budget projections for both IT projects and the company overall. He advises project directors on IT requirements for each contract, including timelines and necessary technology. He develops and maintains policies, guidelines, standards, and procedures for IT operations—from system security to disaster recovery, risk mitigation, security test plans, quality assurance, and configuration management. As a consultant, he designed the proprietary Project Management and Application Development Solutions (Enhanced PMO Delivery System) and the Rapid Assessment and Application Development Solutions, which were leveraged to increase application development and deployment velocity. Mr. Levenberry is an active member of the , and is actively engaged in community and family activities.

Jill Herzog

Jill Herzog brings more than 25 years of public health experience to Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy). As Chief Operating Officer, she manages a national staff across five divisions, while providing counsel to the President/CEO on building strategic partnerships, spearheading new business development efforts, and managing brand reputation. Ms. Herzog is responsible for overseeing the full spectrum of Synergy’s corporate operations, including process and information technology system optimization, staff development, talent acquisition, benefits, recruitment, and retention policies. She is a renowned social marketer who has presented at industry events hosted by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Public Health Association.

Ms. Herzog’s campaigns have reached millions of Americans and won more than 50 national awards. Prior to joining Synergy, she served for 8 years as a principal with Booz Allen Hamilton, where she was responsible for more than $85 million in contracts and 120 full-time employees. While at Booz Allen, Ms. Herzog directed numerous high-profile campaigns and projects for clients, including CDC, the U.S. Department of Defense, Food and Drug Administration, HHS, National Institutes of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Public Health Service, and the Veterans Health Administration. Ms. Herzog is a former Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins University Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts & Sciences as well as an Executive Vice President of Sensis, where she developed internal policies, standard operating procedures, and strategic business plans in addition to significantly expanding the company’s communications, social marketing, creative, and video production services.

She is actively committed to several community organizations, including serving as the Board President of Young Artists at Strathmore and as a volunteer for Adoptions Together, a nonprofit organization that supports children and families formed through foster care.

Christine Hartley

Christine Hartley has more than 30 years of federal contract management experience. At Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy), she leads a staff of meeting professionals and grant review specialists that support more than 100 meetings annually. During the past 23 years, she has served as project director or corporate monitor for public health projects with a combined value of more than $50 million for federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Ms. Hartley developed and implemented cost-saving international grant review programs within the U.S. Department of State and has streamlined activities and increased cost efficiency on all of Synergy’s conference and grant review contracts.

Ms. Hartley is well-versed in both the technical and financial administration of contracts. She has managed multiyear, multimillion-dollar contracts covering a broad range of services, including technical assistance, training, evaluation, publications, and conference management. She has managed high-profile, Cabinet-level activities in the United States and internationally. These projects include conferences related to the NIH Roadmap, Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Initiative meetings in Jordan and Morocco, and the 2012 G8-BMENA Initiative 9th Forum for the Future in Tunisia. Ms. Hartley has received numerous commendations for her expertise in contracts and fiscal management from project officers, contract officers, and task leaders.

Rob Levenberry

Rob Levenberry, M.S., PMP, leads a technically diverse team of information technology (IT) professionals. As the IT Strategy Director at Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy), he is responsible for aligning technology development and corporate strategy so that Synergy can provide tailored technical solutions for each client. He supports the development of strategic partnerships and incorporates new and emerging technologies. Mr. Levenberry has served as an advisor to numerous senior executives and has successfully managed over $60 million in IT projects across the federal sector. During his 15 years of experience in government contracting and consulting, Mr. Levenberry has led major IT initiatives for federal clients such as the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Justice, and Treasury.

Additionally, Mr. Levenberry is responsible for staffing and budget projections for both IT projects and the company overall. He advises project directors on IT requirements for each contract, including timelines and necessary technology. He develops and maintains policies, guidelines, standards, and procedures for IT operations—from system security to disaster recovery, risk mitigation, security test plans, quality assurance, and configuration management. As a consultant, he designed the proprietary Project Management and Application Development Solutions (Enhanced PMO Delivery System) and the Rapid Assessment and Application Development Solutions, which were leveraged to increase application development and deployment velocity. Mr. Levenberry is an active member of the , and is actively engaged in community and family activities.

Elaine Rahbar

Communications Director

Elaine Rahbar

Elaine Rahbar is the Communications Division Director at Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy). She is a seasoned communications strategist with more than 20 years of experience managing federal projects that enhance public health for federal agencies. Ms. Rahbar’s managerial experience includes work for multiple Institutes and Offices within the National Institutes of Health (Office of Research on Women’s Health, National Eye Institute, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development); the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention; Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start; the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, Real Warriors Campaign; and a range of programs within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She manages a team of graphic designers, Web designers, producers, writers, editors, communications specialists, researchers, consultants, and vendors to meet the needs of public health projects. Ms. Rahbar provides strategic guidance, resource needs and allocation, problem solving, and budget management for complex, multimillion-dollar projects and for diverse teams of employees located around the country. Her areas of subject matter expertise include child health and development, substance misuse prevention, mental health, tobacco and smoking cessation, vaccination programs, and safe schools.

Roy Walker

Assessment and Evaluation Services Director

Roy Walker

Roy Walker serves as the Director of Synergy Enterprises, Inc.’s (Synergy) Division of Assessment and Evaluation Services, providing management oversight to multiple federal projects with combined, cumulative revenue of more than $25 million. For the last 10 years, Mr. Walker has overseen Synergy’s technical assistance/training (TA/T) staff members, who have successfully developed and implemented TA/T and developed culturally relevant materials for diverse audiences. He has overseen research and evaluation staff who have successfully analyzed complex data and created substantive reports for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the U.S. Department of Education. With more than 35 years of working in the substance misuse prevention and treatment fields, Mr. Walker has been instrumental in guiding Synergy’s staff to create useful products and services for constituents and consumers alike.

He has managed and provided technical support for public health and behavioral health contracts for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Center for Mental Health Services, NIDA, Health Resources and Services Administration, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Mr. Walker has also worked in similar capacities on projects for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Over the span of his career, he has developed hundreds of TA plans, materials, and tools to increase TA users’ implementation of substance misuse and HIV prevention and treatment strategies. He has presented on numerous health and education topics, including effective models for cultural approaches to prevent substance misuse and HIV at national conferences.

Mr. Walker’s expertise in education is grounded in his experience as a high school science teacher, and encompasses early childhood; students with disabilities; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; afterschool and education of homeless children; and emergency management planning and response.

Zac Zimmerman

Finance and Business Strategy Director

Zac Zimmerman

With 10 years of experience in government contracting, Mr. Zimmerman has a diverse background in contracts administration, pricing strategy, and operations. He has advised senior executives on complex, high-visibility procurements from $50M to over $1B in value. Mr. Zimmerman has led the successful submission of more than 500 cost/price proposals for the U.S. Department of Defense, civil agencies, commercial organizations, international organizations, and international government agencies.

At Synergy Enterprises, Inc., he oversees the financial and contract operations of the firm. He provides strategic guidance on all contractual matters and proposal activities involving a variety of contract types and vehicles. This includes the full contract life cycle management of over 50 public sector contracts including pre-solicitation, solicitation, contract execution, and contract close-out. As a financial leader, Mr. Zimmerman interprets operating results to identify areas of risk or efficiency and implements action. He performs monthly and yearly financial close-out activities, direct and indirect budgeting, billing review and posting, revenue recognition and adjustments, cost pool maintenance, and three-statement financial analysis and projections. He also leads the development of competitive cost/price proposals and partners with senior management and project directors to develop organization and project-level budgets.

Elaine Rahbar

Elaine Rahbar is the Communications Division Director at Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy). She is a seasoned communications strategist with more than 20 years of experience managing federal projects that enhance public health for federal agencies. Ms. Rahbar’s managerial experience includes work for multiple Institutes and Offices within the National Institutes of Health (Office of Research on Women’s Health, National Eye Institute, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development); the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention; Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start; the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, Real Warriors Campaign; and a range of programs within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She manages a team of graphic designers, Web designers, producers, writers, editors, communications specialists, researchers, consultants, and vendors to meet the needs of public health projects. Ms. Rahbar provides strategic guidance, resource needs and allocation, problem solving, and budget management for complex, multimillion-dollar projects and for diverse teams of employees located around the country. Her areas of subject matter expertise include child health and development, substance misuse prevention, mental health, tobacco and smoking cessation, vaccination programs, and safe schools.

Roy Walker

Roy Walker serves as the Director of Synergy Enterprises, Inc.’s (Synergy) Division of Assessment and Evaluation Services, providing management oversight to multiple federal projects with combined, cumulative revenue of more than $25 million. For the last 10 years, Mr. Walker has overseen Synergy’s technical assistance/training (TA/T) staff members, who have successfully developed and implemented TA/T and developed culturally relevant materials for diverse audiences. He has overseen research and evaluation staff who have successfully analyzed complex data and created substantive reports for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the U.S. Department of Education. With more than 35 years of working in the substance misuse prevention and treatment fields, Mr. Walker has been instrumental in guiding Synergy’s staff to create useful products and services for constituents and consumers alike.

He has managed and provided technical support for public health and behavioral health contracts for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Center for Mental Health Services, NIDA, Health Resources and Services Administration, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Mr. Walker has also worked in similar capacities on projects for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Over the span of his career, he has developed hundreds of TA plans, materials, and tools to increase TA users’ implementation of substance misuse and HIV prevention and treatment strategies. He has presented on numerous health and education topics, including effective models for cultural approaches to prevent substance misuse and HIV at national conferences.

Mr. Walker’s expertise in education is grounded in his experience as a high school science teacher, and encompasses early childhood; students with disabilities; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; afterschool and education of homeless children; and emergency management planning and response.

Zac Zimmerman

With 10 years of experience in government contracting, Mr. Zimmerman has a diverse background in contracts administration, pricing strategy, and operations. He has advised senior executives on complex, high-visibility procurements from $50M to over $1B in value. Mr. Zimmerman has led the successful submission of more than 500 cost/price proposals for the U.S. Department of Defense, civil agencies, commercial organizations, international organizations, and international government agencies.

At Synergy Enterprises, Inc., he oversees the financial and contract operations of the firm. He provides strategic guidance on all contractual matters and proposal activities involving a variety of contract types and vehicles. This includes the full contract life cycle management of over 50 public sector contracts including pre-solicitation, solicitation, contract execution, and contract close-out. As a financial leader, Mr. Zimmerman interprets operating results to identify areas of risk or efficiency and implements action. He performs monthly and yearly financial close-out activities, direct and indirect budgeting, billing review and posting, revenue recognition and adjustments, cost pool maintenance, and three-statement financial analysis and projections. He also leads the development of competitive cost/price proposals and partners with senior management and project directors to develop organization and project-level budgets.

Senior Staff

DeLicia Ballard

DeLicia Ballard

DeLicia Ballard has 20 years of experience writing, editing, and managing publications development for diverse audiences. At Synergy, she coordinates document development, quality assurance, and final production services for the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). As Project Director for the Education Statistics Support Institute Network contract, she manages the development of three major NCES annual reports (The Condition of Education, Digest of Education Statistics, and Projections of Education Statistics), the annual reports’ mobile sites, The Condition of Education video series, and the Indicators of School Crime and Safety report. Ms. Ballard also oversees a strategic communications effort to expand the NCES presence as the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing education-related data.

Kathleen Bethke

Kathleen Bethke

Kathleen Bethke has over 22 years of experience managing projects large scale state and federal programs. She currently serves as the Project Director for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education NAL@ED technical assistance program. She oversees on-site and virtual technical assistance, as well as coaching for Native Indian/Native Alaskan language immersion programs. In addition to her management expertise, she also has expertise in designing and facilitating technical assistance. Her experience designing and leading grant-funded programs lends itself well to her ability to instructionally design comprehensive onsite, virtual and online courses that are relevant to practitioners. Ms. Bethke has led the writing and development of 15 International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) standard e-learning courses and hundreds of online tools, guidebooks, and templates. Her instructional design leadership is also being utilized with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, where she oversees the development of online courses and on-site training workbooks. 

Maggie Bray

Maggie Bray

Maggie Bray has more than 20 years of design experience creating print, Web, and multimedia products for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She was the lead designer for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) flagship periodical, NIDA Notes; NIDA’s peer-reviewed research journal, Addiction Science & Clinical Practice; and the Institute’s Research Report Series. Ms. Bray’s work received the 2011 NIH Plain Language and Clear Communication Award. Under her direction, Synergy’s design group won three American Graphic Design Awards in 2015; one American Package Design Award in 2017; two Communicator Awards from the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts in 2014; 13 Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards from the National Association of Government Communicators in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017; and three AVA Digital Awards in 2014.

DeLicia Ballard

DeLicia Ballard

DeLicia Ballard has 20 years of experience writing, editing, and managing publications development for diverse audiences. At Synergy, she coordinates document development, quality assurance, and final production services for the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). As Project Director for the Education Statistics Support Institute Network contract, she manages the development of three major NCES annual reports (The Condition of Education, Digest of Education Statistics, and Projections of Education Statistics), the annual reports’ mobile sites, The Condition of Education video series, and the Indicators of School Crime and Safety report. Ms. Ballard also oversees a strategic communications effort to expand the NCES presence as the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing education-related data.

Kathleen Bethke

Kathleen Bethke

Kathleen Bethke has over 22 years of experience managing projects large scale state and federal programs. She currently serves as the Project Director for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education NAL@ED technical assistance program. She oversees on-site and virtual technical assistance, as well as coaching for Native Indian/Native Alaskan language immersion programs. In addition to her management expertise, she also has expertise in designing and facilitating technical assistance. Her experience designing and leading grant-funded programs lends itself well to her ability to instructionally design comprehensive onsite, virtual and online courses that are relevant to practitioners. Ms. Bethke has led the writing and development of 15 International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) standard e-learning courses and hundreds of online tools, guidebooks, and templates. Her instructional design leadership is also being utilized with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, where she oversees the development of online courses and on-site training workbooks. 

Maggie Bray

Maggie Bray

Maggie Bray has more than 20 years of design experience creating print, Web, and multimedia products for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She was the lead designer for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) flagship periodical, NIDA Notes; NIDA’s peer-reviewed research journal, Addiction Science & Clinical Practice; and the Institute’s Research Report Series. Ms. Bray’s work received the 2011 NIH Plain Language and Clear Communication Award. Under her direction, Synergy’s design group won three American Graphic Design Awards in 2015; one American Package Design Award in 2017; two Communicator Awards from the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts in 2014; 13 Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards from the National Association of Government Communicators in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017; and three AVA Digital Awards in 2014.

Erin Burns, Ph.D.

Erin Burns, Ph.D.

Erin E. Burns, Ph.D., has 10 years of professional experience in the research and treatment of trauma and substance use disorders. As a clinical researcher, Dr. Burns has published in peer-reviewed journals, presented at national conferences, and supervised students and residents in both research and clinical arenas. She has also participated in program development and evaluation to improve services at a domestic violence shelter and at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Burns received her doctoral degree from the University of Georgia, where her research focused on identifying mediators to better understand the relationship between childhood trauma and adult psychopathology. Prior to joining Synergy, she worked as a staff psychologist in a residential program serving veterans with co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders, as well as myriad psychosocial stressors including homelessness, legal issues, domestic violence, and chronic suicidality. More recently, Dr. Burns has expanded her work to program evaluation. She currently serves as the Project Manager for a data management and TA task for the National Center for Homeless Education.

Jessica Freer

Jessica Freer

Jessica Freer is a project management professional with extensive experience planning and managing all activities for multiyear, multitask order, multimillion-dollar contracts for various federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Treasury, and the Administration for Community Living. She has project management expertise in meeting contractual requirements, developing and reconciling budgets, executing contracts with vendors and consultants, and ensuring high-quality deliverables that are on time and within budget. Ms. Freer is adept at planning scientific meetings of various sizes and levels of complexity. Her international meeting experience includes planning meetings in Beijing, China; Toronto, Canada; and Mumbai, India. She is the recipient of Synergy’s Glen Fischer Achievement Award.

Michelle Gaugh

Michelle Gaugh

Michelle Gaugh has more than 16 years of professional experience in research project management, presentation and public speaking, scientific and technical report and grant writing, project planning, team building and project evaluation. Her background includes 7 years’ experience in the design and implementation of both industry-sponsored and investigator-initiated HIV clinical trials at the University of Rochester, and 9 years as a Senior Research Associate in Synergy’s Research and Evaluation Division. Ms. Gaugh served as the Deputy Project Director for the Department of Education (ED) study titled Identification and Evaluation of Best Practices for Early Childhood Learning, 21st CCLC, and has been the project director of the Education Technical Assistance and Support Services (EDTASS) Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) and Technical Assistance (TA) Initiative, since September of 2016. As project director, Ms. Gaugh has been responsible for providing thorough review and assessment of all FSCS grantee APR and ad-hoc data submissions. Ms. Gaugh has worked closely with ED to develop a process to review and analyze all quantitative and qualitative data contained in annual performance and ad hoc reports submitted by multiple grantee cohorts and identify grantee challenges in fulfilling program requirements. In addition to this process, Ms. Gaugh has developed methods for aggregating disparate grantee data measures to provide comprehensive summary cohort and individual grantee progress reports to ED each year. Based on identified grantee challenges, Ms. Gaugh developed and continually revises and optimizes a new data reporting structure and guidance for current and newly awarded FSCS program grantees to facilitate the collection and submission of data that the U.S. Department of Education requires under GPRA and on program level measures that are required during program performance reporting.

Since September of 2011, Ms. Gaugh has served as task lead for technical, scientific, and data management activities on the Research Support Services for NIDA AIDS Research Program (ARP) project. In this role, Ms. Gaugh developed an AIDS Research Projects Portfolio Database to organize all aspects of NIDA AIDS-funded research and provide rapid responses to requests for summary data and graphical representations previously unavailable to NIDA ARP staff. In addition to providing a unique organization of ARP-managed research projects, Ms. Gaugh developed methodology to allow the database to incorporate data from the NIH RePORTER system, linking NIDA project information extracted from NEPS with project abstract and search term data and providing search by topic and term functionality unavailable in existing NIDA/ NIH systems. Using the portfolio database and NIH data sources including QVR, SPIRES, iTools and RePORTER, Ms. Gaugh designed and implemented a portfolio analysis process to evaluate the impact of NIDA ARP–managed research, and to identify trends in funding and ensure that all new ARP-issued Funding Opportunity Announcements invite project applications that meet the new high-priority areas for National Institutes of Health HIV research and avoid unspent funding at the end of each fiscal year. 

Erin Burns, Ph.D.

Erin Burns, Ph.D.

Erin E. Burns, Ph.D., has 10 years of professional experience in the research and treatment of trauma and substance use disorders. As a clinical researcher, Dr. Burns has published in peer-reviewed journals, presented at national conferences, and supervised students and residents in both research and clinical arenas. She has also participated in program development and evaluation to improve services at a domestic violence shelter and at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Burns received her doctoral degree from the University of Georgia, where her research focused on identifying mediators to better understand the relationship between childhood trauma and adult psychopathology. Prior to joining Synergy, she worked as a staff psychologist in a residential program serving veterans with co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders, as well as myriad psychosocial stressors including homelessness, legal issues, domestic violence, and chronic suicidality. More recently, Dr. Burns has expanded her work to program evaluation. She currently serves as the Project Manager for a data management and TA task for the National Center for Homeless Education.

Jessica Freer

Jessica Freer

Jessica Freer is a project management professional with extensive experience planning and managing all activities for multiyear, multitask order, multimillion-dollar contracts for various federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Treasury, and the Administration for Community Living. She has project management expertise in meeting contractual requirements, developing and reconciling budgets, executing contracts with vendors and consultants, and ensuring high-quality deliverables that are on time and within budget. Ms. Freer is adept at planning scientific meetings of various sizes and levels of complexity. Her international meeting experience includes planning meetings in Beijing, China; Toronto, Canada; and Mumbai, India. She is the recipient of Synergy’s Glen Fischer Achievement Award.

Michelle Gaugh

Michelle Gaugh

Michelle Gaugh has more than 16 years of professional experience in research project management, presentation and public speaking, scientific and technical report and grant writing, project planning, team building and project evaluation. Her background includes 7 years’ experience in the design and implementation of both industry-sponsored and investigator-initiated HIV clinical trials at the University of Rochester, and 9 years as a Senior Research Associate in Synergy’s Research and Evaluation Division. Ms. Gaugh served as the Deputy Project Director for the Department of Education (ED) study titled Identification and Evaluation of Best Practices for Early Childhood Learning, 21st CCLC, and has been the project director of the Education Technical Assistance and Support Services (EDTASS) Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) and Technical Assistance (TA) Initiative, since September of 2016. As project director, Ms. Gaugh has been responsible for providing thorough review and assessment of all FSCS grantee APR and ad-hoc data submissions. Ms. Gaugh has worked closely with ED to develop a process to review and analyze all quantitative and qualitative data contained in annual performance and ad hoc reports submitted by multiple grantee cohorts and identify grantee challenges in fulfilling program requirements. In addition to this process, Ms. Gaugh has developed methods for aggregating disparate grantee data measures to provide comprehensive summary cohort and individual grantee progress reports to ED each year. Based on identified grantee challenges, Ms. Gaugh developed and continually revises and optimizes a new data reporting structure and guidance for current and newly awarded FSCS program grantees to facilitate the collection and submission of data that the U.S. Department of Education requires under GPRA and on program level measures that are required during program performance reporting.

Since September of 2011, Ms. Gaugh has served as task lead for technical, scientific, and data management activities on the Research Support Services for NIDA AIDS Research Program (ARP) project. In this role, Ms. Gaugh developed an AIDS Research Projects Portfolio Database to organize all aspects of NIDA AIDS-funded research and provide rapid responses to requests for summary data and graphical representations previously unavailable to NIDA ARP staff. In addition to providing a unique organization of ARP-managed research projects, Ms. Gaugh developed methodology to allow the database to incorporate data from the NIH RePORTER system, linking NIDA project information extracted from NEPS with project abstract and search term data and providing search by topic and term functionality unavailable in existing NIDA/ NIH systems. Using the portfolio database and NIH data sources including QVR, SPIRES, iTools and RePORTER, Ms. Gaugh designed and implemented a portfolio analysis process to evaluate the impact of NIDA ARP–managed research, and to identify trends in funding and ensure that all new ARP-issued Funding Opportunity Announcements invite project applications that meet the new high-priority areas for National Institutes of Health HIV research and avoid unspent funding at the end of each fiscal year. 

Jesse Goodman

Jesse Goodman

Jesse Goodman is the Assistant Director for Editorial Services in the Communications Division of Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy). Mr. Goodman is charged with managing Synergy personnel, including copyeditors, graphic design specialists, writers, and Section 508 compliance experts. He maintains employees’ workload schedules, monitors professional performance, and oversees day-to-day editorial operations. Mr. Goodman also conducts substantive copyediting across all Synergy contracts, including the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additionally, Mr. Goodman updates and copyedits monthly reports and other project progress reports, performs substantive edits and grammar/style edits across all contracts, and proofreads for typographical errors and style issues using myriad contract-specific style guides. He also edits and prepares proposals, corporate marketing materials, and business development materials; updates and edits materials to be used in proposals and presentations; and edits press releases, project descriptions, and other copy needed for posting on Synergy’s intranet. Additionally, Mr. Goodman formats documents and presentations in MS Word and PowerPoint. Mr. Goodman possesses more than 18 years’ experience editing federal contract work.

Sean Grobe

Sean Grobe

Sean Grobe has extensive experience managing and coordinating work with multiple federal agencies. As the Project Director for the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Next Generation Professional Learning Portal, Content Integration, and Technical Assistance project, he works closely with representatives from ED, the National Park Service, NASA, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project supports interagency agreements among these organizations to provide science, technology, engineering, and mathematics–rich learning experiences to 21st Century Community Learning Centers program grantees. He previously served as Project Director for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Logistical Support contract, for which he coordinated meeting activities between ED, the U.S. Department of Labor, and education departments and ministries from 21 APEC member countries.

Janelle Hughes

Janelle Hughes

Mrs. Janelle Williams Hughes serves as Deputy Project Director for the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center. She joined the Synergy team in 2007, and has since supported the work of multiple Federal agencies contracts, including more than six U.S. Department of Education centers, offices, and programs; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Administration for Children and Families, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and several institutes within the National Institutes of Health; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and U.S. Department of Transportation. In her current role, she directs the creation and implementation of a multi-tiered project management plan that aims to enhance the federal government’s mission to provide technical assistance and training to state, territorial, local, and tribal education and emergency management agencies on key safety and security topics. She oversees content development for and management of various resource types; plans and hosts live and virtual meetings; and leads the development of print, HTML and mobile tools. During her time in this role, the REMS TA Center has been featured in various news outlets and various state-based media sources, sites, blogs. Mrs. Hughes also represents ED and REMS TA Center as a speaker at both virtual and live public-facing events focused on a variety of topics—natural hazards, biological hazards, technological hazards, and adversarial- and human-caused threats—and hosted in collaboration with federal and national partner

Jesse Goodman

Jesse Goodman

Jesse Goodman is the Assistant Director for Editorial Services in the Communications Division of Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy). Mr. Goodman is charged with managing Synergy personnel, including copyeditors, graphic design specialists, writers, and Section 508 compliance experts. He maintains employees’ workload schedules, monitors professional performance, and oversees day-to-day editorial operations. Mr. Goodman also conducts substantive copyediting across all Synergy contracts, including the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additionally, Mr. Goodman updates and copyedits monthly reports and other project progress reports, performs substantive edits and grammar/style edits across all contracts, and proofreads for typographical errors and style issues using myriad contract-specific style guides. He also edits and prepares proposals, corporate marketing materials, and business development materials; updates and edits materials to be used in proposals and presentations; and edits press releases, project descriptions, and other copy needed for posting on Synergy’s intranet. Additionally, Mr. Goodman formats documents and presentations in MS Word and PowerPoint. Mr. Goodman possesses more than 18 years’ experience editing federal contract work.

Sean Grobe

Sean Grobe

Sean Grobe has extensive experience managing and coordinating work with multiple federal agencies. As the Project Director for the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Next Generation Professional Learning Portal, Content Integration, and Technical Assistance project, he works closely with representatives from ED, the National Park Service, NASA, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project supports interagency agreements among these organizations to provide science, technology, engineering, and mathematics–rich learning experiences to 21st Century Community Learning Centers program grantees. He previously served as Project Director for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Logistical Support contract, for which he coordinated meeting activities between ED, the U.S. Department of Labor, and education departments and ministries from 21 APEC member countries.

Janelle Hughes

Janelle Hughes

Mrs. Janelle Williams Hughes serves as Deputy Project Director for the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center. She joined the Synergy team in 2007, and has since supported the work of multiple Federal agencies contracts, including more than six U.S. Department of Education centers, offices, and programs; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Administration for Children and Families, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and several institutes within the National Institutes of Health; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and U.S. Department of Transportation. In her current role, she directs the creation and implementation of a multi-tiered project management plan that aims to enhance the federal government’s mission to provide technical assistance and training to state, territorial, local, and tribal education and emergency management agencies on key safety and security topics. She oversees content development for and management of various resource types; plans and hosts live and virtual meetings; and leads the development of print, HTML and mobile tools. During her time in this role, the REMS TA Center has been featured in various news outlets and various state-based media sources, sites, blogs. Mrs. Hughes also represents ED and REMS TA Center as a speaker at both virtual and live public-facing events focused on a variety of topics—natural hazards, biological hazards, technological hazards, and adversarial- and human-caused threats—and hosted in collaboration with federal and national partner

Bridget Humphries, Ed.D.

Bridget Humphries, Ed.D.

Dr. Bridget Humphries (née Belknap) has more than 15 years of experience in education evaluation, research, and technical assistance, working with policymakers and practitioners at the national, state, district, and school levels. She has extensive knowledge of education and education policy issues, specifically as they relate to underserved populations.  

Dr. Humphries currently serves as the Project Director and technical assistance (TA) liaison for the Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) contract with the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The CLSD program supports state literacy efforts through a competitive grant program. Major activities for the contract include organizing and delivering comprehensive TA support; maintaining and enhancing a dynamic website that includes a curated resource library and data management system; facilitating multiple in-person and virtual community of practice (CoP) events each year; and collecting and analyzing state GPRA data and project-specific performance measures. 

First as a Senior Research Associate with Synergy and then as a Project Director with LMCi, Dr. Humphries directed the Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center (ETAC) with the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). The DoDEA ETAC involved running an annual competitive grant competition; providing extensive TA to local education agencies regarding their grant program evaluation plans; hosting a dynamic website including a virtual CoP; conducting and disseminating research on grantee outcomes; and facilitating multiple annual opportunities for in-person grantee collaboration. 

With Synergy, Dr. Humphries also worked as a TA provider on the Teacher Incentive Fund contract and as a researcher and TA provider on a contract dedicated to Language Instruction Educational Programs with ED. She contributed to projects in other Offices with ED, including the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition with the Office of English Language Acquisition, and the International Affairs Office. She also provided education and research-based TA on contracts with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the U.S. Department of Labor. 

At the university level, Dr. Humphries worked for 9 years as an adjunct professor for master’s-level teacher preparation programs at George Washington University. She taught in-person, blended, and online classes. She designed and implemented teacher preparation curriculum, from early childhood through the secondary level in both general and special education. Her courses included Curriculum in Secondary Special Education and Transition, Accessing the General Education Curriculum for Special Education, Issues in Educating Individuals with Learning Disabilities, and a host of weekly seminars affiliated with teaching practicum.  

For District of Columbia Public Schools, Dr. Humphries oversaw all self-contained special education classrooms as well as the Extended School Year Program, the Home and Hospital Instruction Programming, and districtwide paraprofessional supports. In support of these programs, she managed an extensive team of expert coaches who provided ongoing TA to teachers, administrators, staff members, and other stakeholders throughout the district. These TA providers shared research and best practices; developed and delivered professional development opportunities tailored to unique school needs; and gathered and reported on aggregated student-level data.

Sippy Joseph

Sippy Joseph

As the chief systems architect for Synergy since 2007, Sippy Joseph offers decades of expertise in diverse operating systems, programming languages, and database applications. With his team of programmers and Web developers, he designs customized information technology for staff members and clients. He helped Synergy win an Authorization to Operate “.Gov” websites for agencies such as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. His broad expertise allows him to conduct requirements analysis, system and application design, interface development and implementation, cloud architecture development, and migration in AWS and Azure, database development, and design. He has expertise in implementing geospatial mapping technologies and GIS solutions on the web. He also architects and develops mobile applications for iOS and Android devices. 

Sherri Lauver, Ph.D.

Sherri Lauver, Ph.D.

Dr. Sherri Lauver is a senior researcher and project director with 18 years of experience designing, directing and monitoring educational research, evaluation, technical assistance (TA) and strategic planning projects for government and nonprofit organizations. A skilled communicator, she can synthesize and deliver complex information to research, policy, practitioner, family and community audiences. She directs high-quality research and TA to assist state and local education agencies in making decisions about which policies and practices are most effective in their communities. As an experienced program evaluator, she advises teams on designing surveys and interview protocols for needs assessments, descriptive research studies, and experimental evaluations, and has developed strategic recruitment, implementation and sustainability plans for clients. Previously Dr. Lauver was an assistant professor of educational evaluation at the University of Rochester, where she taught doctoral-level courses in educational evaluation methods and supported several local and national initiatives to support children and youth. She has served as a research associate and Contracting Officer’s Representative at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), where she directed randomized controlled trials for the Institute of Education Sciences. Dr. Lauver is a strategic thinker who leverages research, analytical and creative skills to ensure that project teams provide on-time, high-quality deliverables that meet client needs and improve learning for adults and K-12 students.  

Bridget Humphries, Ed.D.

Bridget Humphries, Ed.D.

Dr. Bridget Humphries (née Belknap) has more than 15 years of experience in education evaluation, research, and technical assistance, working with policymakers and practitioners at the national, state, district, and school levels. She has extensive knowledge of education and education policy issues, specifically as they relate to underserved populations.  

Dr. Humphries currently serves as the Project Director and technical assistance (TA) liaison for the Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) contract with the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The CLSD program supports state literacy efforts through a competitive grant program. Major activities for the contract include organizing and delivering comprehensive TA support; maintaining and enhancing a dynamic website that includes a curated resource library and data management system; facilitating multiple in-person and virtual community of practice (CoP) events each year; and collecting and analyzing state GPRA data and project-specific performance measures. 

First as a Senior Research Associate with Synergy and then as a Project Director with LMCi, Dr. Humphries directed the Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center (ETAC) with the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). The DoDEA ETAC involved running an annual competitive grant competition; providing extensive TA to local education agencies regarding their grant program evaluation plans; hosting a dynamic website including a virtual CoP; conducting and disseminating research on grantee outcomes; and facilitating multiple annual opportunities for in-person grantee collaboration. 

With Synergy, Dr. Humphries also worked as a TA provider on the Teacher Incentive Fund contract and as a researcher and TA provider on a contract dedicated to Language Instruction Educational Programs with ED. She contributed to projects in other Offices with ED, including the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition with the Office of English Language Acquisition, and the International Affairs Office. She also provided education and research-based TA on contracts with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the U.S. Department of Labor. 

At the university level, Dr. Humphries worked for 9 years as an adjunct professor for master’s-level teacher preparation programs at George Washington University. She taught in-person, blended, and online classes. She designed and implemented teacher preparation curriculum, from early childhood through the secondary level in both general and special education. Her courses included Curriculum in Secondary Special Education and Transition, Accessing the General Education Curriculum for Special Education, Issues in Educating Individuals with Learning Disabilities, and a host of weekly seminars affiliated with teaching practicum.  

For District of Columbia Public Schools, Dr. Humphries oversaw all self-contained special education classrooms as well as the Extended School Year Program, the Home and Hospital Instruction Programming, and districtwide paraprofessional supports. In support of these programs, she managed an extensive team of expert coaches who provided ongoing TA to teachers, administrators, staff members, and other stakeholders throughout the district. These TA providers shared research and best practices; developed and delivered professional development opportunities tailored to unique school needs; and gathered and reported on aggregated student-level data.

Sippy Joseph

Sippy Joseph

As the chief systems architect for Synergy since 2007, Sippy Joseph offers decades of expertise in diverse operating systems, programming languages, and database applications. With his team of programmers and Web developers, he designs customized information technology for staff members and clients. He helped Synergy win an Authorization to Operate “.Gov” websites for agencies such as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. His broad expertise allows him to conduct requirements analysis, system and application design, interface development and implementation, cloud architecture development, and migration in AWS and Azure, database development, and design. He has expertise in implementing geospatial mapping technologies and GIS solutions on the web. He also architects and develops mobile applications for iOS and Android devices. 

Sherri Lauver, Ph.D.

Sherri Lauver, Ph.D.

Dr. Sherri Lauver is a senior researcher and project director with 18 years of experience designing, directing and monitoring educational research, evaluation, technical assistance (TA) and strategic planning projects for government and nonprofit organizations. A skilled communicator, she can synthesize and deliver complex information to research, policy, practitioner, family and community audiences. She directs high-quality research and TA to assist state and local education agencies in making decisions about which policies and practices are most effective in their communities. As an experienced program evaluator, she advises teams on designing surveys and interview protocols for needs assessments, descriptive research studies, and experimental evaluations, and has developed strategic recruitment, implementation and sustainability plans for clients. Previously Dr. Lauver was an assistant professor of educational evaluation at the University of Rochester, where she taught doctoral-level courses in educational evaluation methods and supported several local and national initiatives to support children and youth. She has served as a research associate and Contracting Officer’s Representative at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), where she directed randomized controlled trials for the Institute of Education Sciences. Dr. Lauver is a strategic thinker who leverages research, analytical and creative skills to ensure that project teams provide on-time, high-quality deliverables that meet client needs and improve learning for adults and K-12 students.  

Jobi Lawrence, Ed.D.

Jobi Lawrence, Ed.D.

Dr. Jobi Lawrence has over 25 years of experience working across all levels in the field of education. From her early career at the local level as a classroom teacher, to serving as the Title III Director at a state education agency, to her role at the national level as a senior researcher for the National Clearinghouse of English Language Acquisition (NCELA). She is a recognized leader in the field of English learner education and has a wealth of experience providing technical assistance to State Educational Agencies (SEAs) and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs). Dr. Lawrence serves as a subject matter expert in the areas of language acquisition, special education, literacy, research and assessment, and school improvement. She has experience as a program evaluator and has served as a tenured faculty member in higher education. Dr. Lawrence has written and produced professional development, publications, guidance documents, and toolkits for use with a variety of education stakeholders.  

Todd Makino

Todd Makino

Todd Makino brings more than 20 years of experience in program management and Project Management Offices (PMOs) for both the federal and non-federal sectors. As Synergy’s PMO Technical Director, he leads and manages initiatives to develop and improve the use of technology. He is a primary resource for project management processes and tools that provide efficiencies and actionable information. In addition to directing projects, Mr. Makino advises and works with managers and project directors to develop project plans and track performance. In earlier roles, he established PMOs and managed portfolio reporting on consulting engagements and projects. He also developed and improved custom dashboards, and reports to track budgets, periods of performance, resource hours, and progress against contracts.

Cindy Olivarez

Cindy Olivarez

Ms. Olivarez has more than 14 years’ experience developing communications strategies for federal and private sector clients with a focus on health and STEM education. At Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy), she serves as Communications Deputy Project Director for the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health. In this role, she leads stakeholder engagement and oversees a team providing media relations, social media, and Web development support. Before joining Synergyshe managed communications projects for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and NASA. At HHS, she led stakeholder engagement and outreach for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, where she managed English and Spanish-language outreach campaigns to ensure underserved communities had access to educational information and health resources. At NASA, she supported the Office of STEM Engagement to engage educators, students, and institutions with the agency’s unique STEM education programs. This included developing traditional and digital communications products for educators and students, and bringing attention to special events such as conferences and exhibits, presentations by U.S. astronauts for the public, and live Q&A sessions for students with astronauts from the International Space Station. Ms. Olivarez previously worked extensively with nonprofit organizations and in the private sector representing brands such as Wachovia, Best Buy’s Geek Squad, and 7UP. She is fluent in Spanish. 

Jobi Lawrence, Ed.D.

Jobi Lawrence, Ed.D.

Dr. Jobi Lawrence has over 25 years of experience working across all levels in the field of education. From her early career at the local level as a classroom teacher, to serving as the Title III Director at a state education agency, to her role at the national level as a senior researcher for the National Clearinghouse of English Language Acquisition (NCELA). She is a recognized leader in the field of English learner education and has a wealth of experience providing technical assistance to State Educational Agencies (SEAs) and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs). Dr. Lawrence serves as a subject matter expert in the areas of language acquisition, special education, literacy, research and assessment, and school improvement. She has experience as a program evaluator and has served as a tenured faculty member in higher education. Dr. Lawrence has written and produced professional development, publications, guidance documents, and toolkits for use with a variety of education stakeholders.  

Todd Makino

Todd Makino

Todd Makino brings more than 20 years of experience in program management and Project Management Offices (PMOs) for both the federal and non-federal sectors. As Synergy’s PMO Technical Director, he leads and manages initiatives to develop and improve the use of technology. He is a primary resource for project management processes and tools that provide efficiencies and actionable information. In addition to directing projects, Mr. Makino advises and works with managers and project directors to develop project plans and track performance. In earlier roles, he established PMOs and managed portfolio reporting on consulting engagements and projects. He also developed and improved custom dashboards, and reports to track budgets, periods of performance, resource hours, and progress against contracts.

Cindy Olivarez

Cindy Olivarez

Ms. Olivarez has more than 14 years’ experience developing communications strategies for federal and private sector clients with a focus on health and STEM education. At Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy), she serves as Communications Deputy Project Director for the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health. In this role, she leads stakeholder engagement and oversees a team providing media relations, social media, and Web development support. Before joining Synergyshe managed communications projects for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and NASA. At HHS, she led stakeholder engagement and outreach for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, where she managed English and Spanish-language outreach campaigns to ensure underserved communities had access to educational information and health resources. At NASA, she supported the Office of STEM Engagement to engage educators, students, and institutions with the agency’s unique STEM education programs. This included developing traditional and digital communications products for educators and students, and bringing attention to special events such as conferences and exhibits, presentations by U.S. astronauts for the public, and live Q&A sessions for students with astronauts from the International Space Station. Ms. Olivarez previously worked extensively with nonprofit organizations and in the private sector representing brands such as Wachovia, Best Buy’s Geek Squad, and 7UP. She is fluent in Spanish. 

Ryan Parks

Ryan Parks

Ryan Parks is a public relations professional with more than 19 years of experience working with government agencies, associations, and nonprofit organizations in project management, strategic communications planning and implementation, traditional and social media outreach, partnership development, event planning and management, audiovisual production, and materials development. This includes leading and supporting communications teams for national public health campaigns and initiatives, such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) underage drinking prevention media campaign, “Talk.  They Hear You.”®, Voice Awards, and National Recovery Month. Mr. Parks currently serves as the project director for Synergy’s “Talk.  They Hear You.”® contract with SAMHSA, where he oversees all strategic planning, materials development and dissemination, research and evaluation, and outreach and community engagement efforts for the client. His management expertise has contributed to the success of a variety of programs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Bronwyn Roberts, Esq.

Bronwyn Roberts, Esq.

Bronwyn Roberts serves as Project Director for the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center (REMS TA Center) and the Title IV, Part A Technical Assistance Center (T4PA Center). Overseeing both national centers on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education, Ms. Roberts ensures seamless administration of services to client constituencies, including local education agencies, schools, institutions of higher education, state education agencies, community partners, and the larger education community. Since 2004, Ms. Roberts has been working in the fields of education and public health policy, facilitating training, product development, and systems improvement across a breadth of subject matter, including emergency management for schools, health and mental health service provision, school safety and violence prevention (including threat assessment), alcohol and drug use prevention, well-rounded educational services, effective uses of technology, and the provision of mentoring and other youth-development strategies for populations ranging in age from birth to adult. She leads the development of a wide portfolio of technical assistance tools and resources, including virtual and live training programs, desktop and mobile applications, comprehensive websites, resource libraries, and written publications. Ms. Roberts facilitates the integration of subject matter expertise with practical application that promotes collaboration among state, local, and federal practitioners and the development of critical resources for the field. Ms. Roberts has written and produced numerous training manuals, publications, issue briefs, toolkits, and guidance documents for use nationwide on all aspects of school preparedness, alcohol and drug prevention, technology, community strategic planning, and more.  

Melissa Seldin, Ph.D.

Melissa Seldin, Ph.D.

Dr. Seldin has over 15 years’ experience in multifaceted research design and execution, and leading teams of analytics professionals in a variety of subject matter areas. Her particular areas of focus include evaluations with multiple modalities; the analysis of large longitudinal data sets, including EdFacts, the Common Core Data Set, and U.S. Census data; survey and focus group design and administration; and the analysis of educational and health data, including longitudinal student surveys using SPSS, SAS, and Stata. She currently serves as the evaluation lead on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)–funded “Talk.  They Hear You.”® program to prevent underage drinking, tobacco use, and other substance use. She is conducting a case study on the impact of the program on students and parents, as well as evaluating the mobile app designed to help parents navigate conversations with their teens about underage drinking. Dr. Seldin also was the task lead for a program evaluation of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant program, a portfolio analysis of NCI grant funding on quality of cancer care, and for research on the intersection of interpersonal violence and maternal health for the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Seldin also serves as the Data and Reporting task lead for the Title IV, Part A Technical Assistance Center under the auspices of the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). She also leads an annual grantee needs assessment survey and follow-up focus group series, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) package creations, and grantee data analysis. 

Prior to her role at Synergy, Dr. Seldin worked as the Data Manager (Task Lead) for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), Evaluation Technical Assistance Center (ETAC). She managed a team of educational researchers in tasks related to the collection, analysis, and reporting on the mandated grantee data including measures of success, demographic data, and other evaluation data providing evaluation planning, reporting, and implementation technical assistance to local educational agencies receiving grants through the program.  

Ryan Parks

Ryan Parks

Ryan Parks is a public relations professional with more than 19 years of experience working with government agencies, associations, and nonprofit organizations in project management, strategic communications planning and implementation, traditional and social media outreach, partnership development, event planning and management, audiovisual production, and materials development. This includes leading and supporting communications teams for national public health campaigns and initiatives, such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) underage drinking prevention media campaign, “Talk.  They Hear You.”®, Voice Awards, and National Recovery Month. Mr. Parks currently serves as the project director for Synergy’s “Talk.  They Hear You.”® contract with SAMHSA, where he oversees all strategic planning, materials development and dissemination, research and evaluation, and outreach and community engagement efforts for the client. His management expertise has contributed to the success of a variety of programs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Bronwyn Roberts, Esq.

Bronwyn Roberts, Esq.

Bronwyn Roberts serves as Project Director for the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center (REMS TA Center) and the Title IV, Part A Technical Assistance Center (T4PA Center). Overseeing both national centers on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education, Ms. Roberts ensures seamless administration of services to client constituencies, including local education agencies, schools, institutions of higher education, state education agencies, community partners, and the larger education community. Since 2004, Ms. Roberts has been working in the fields of education and public health policy, facilitating training, product development, and systems improvement across a breadth of subject matter, including emergency management for schools, health and mental health service provision, school safety and violence prevention (including threat assessment), alcohol and drug use prevention, well-rounded educational services, effective uses of technology, and the provision of mentoring and other youth-development strategies for populations ranging in age from birth to adult. She leads the development of a wide portfolio of technical assistance tools and resources, including virtual and live training programs, desktop and mobile applications, comprehensive websites, resource libraries, and written publications. Ms. Roberts facilitates the integration of subject matter expertise with practical application that promotes collaboration among state, local, and federal practitioners and the development of critical resources for the field. Ms. Roberts has written and produced numerous training manuals, publications, issue briefs, toolkits, and guidance documents for use nationwide on all aspects of school preparedness, alcohol and drug prevention, technology, community strategic planning, and more.  

Melissa Seldin, Ph.D.

Melissa Seldin, Ph.D.

Dr. Seldin has over 15 years’ experience in multifaceted research design and execution, and leading teams of analytics professionals in a variety of subject matter areas. Her particular areas of focus include evaluations with multiple modalities; the analysis of large longitudinal data sets, including EdFacts, the Common Core Data Set, and U.S. Census data; survey and focus group design and administration; and the analysis of educational and health data, including longitudinal student surveys using SPSS, SAS, and Stata. She currently serves as the evaluation lead on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)–funded “Talk.  They Hear You.”® program to prevent underage drinking, tobacco use, and other substance use. She is conducting a case study on the impact of the program on students and parents, as well as evaluating the mobile app designed to help parents navigate conversations with their teens about underage drinking. Dr. Seldin also was the task lead for a program evaluation of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant program, a portfolio analysis of NCI grant funding on quality of cancer care, and for research on the intersection of interpersonal violence and maternal health for the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Seldin also serves as the Data and Reporting task lead for the Title IV, Part A Technical Assistance Center under the auspices of the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). She also leads an annual grantee needs assessment survey and follow-up focus group series, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) package creations, and grantee data analysis. 

Prior to her role at Synergy, Dr. Seldin worked as the Data Manager (Task Lead) for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), Evaluation Technical Assistance Center (ETAC). She managed a team of educational researchers in tasks related to the collection, analysis, and reporting on the mandated grantee data including measures of success, demographic data, and other evaluation data providing evaluation planning, reporting, and implementation technical assistance to local educational agencies receiving grants through the program.  

Lori Whitten, Ph.D.

Lori Whitten, Ph.D.

Dr. Lori Whitten is an award-winning writer with 20 years of experience reviewing and summarizing biomedical science and health-related research. Dr. Whitten works primarily with federal contracts that address the health of women, behavioral health and wellness, and substance misuse. She currently supports the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH). As a medical writer, she works closely with Dr. Janine Austin Clayton and other senior staff members on publications and presentations. Dr. Clayton invited Dr. Whitten to be second author on a manuscript, “Sex As a Biological Variable (SABV): A Five-Year Progress Report and Call to Action,” published in The Journal of Women’s Health. She also served as an acknowledged medical writer of a manuscript summarizing the literature on the intersection of maternal morbidity and mortality and intimate partner violence in press at Current Women's Health Reviews and a manuscript on black-white disparities in maternal mortality submitted to the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Demonstrating her plain language skills, Dr. Whitten served as the writer on the award-winning (Gold MarCom and Communications Award of Excellence) ORWH booklet Maternal Morbidity and Mortality: What Do We Know? How Are We Addressing It? She also penned the Guest Blog Intimate Partner Violence: Raising Awareness, Taking Action. Previously, Dr. Whitten wrote content and developed materials for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), garnering praise with a Silver NIH Plain Language/Clear Communication Award. Her work at NIDA contributed to other prestigious awards, including an AVA Digital Award and a National Association of Government Communicators Award. Previously, Dr. Whitten wrote content and developed materials for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), garnering praise with a Silver NIH Plain Language/Clear Communication Award. Her work at NIDA contributed to other prestigious awards, including an AVA Digital Award and a National Association of Government Communicators Award. 

Kathy Zantal-Weiner, Ph.D.

Kathy Zantal-Weiner, Ph.D.

Dr. Zantal-Wiener has more than 35 years of experience with literacy programs for students with disabilities, English learners, and students at risk of academic failure. She works with stakeholders—teachers, school leaders and decision makers at the federal, state and local levels, and undergraduate and graduate students—to develop clear instructional goals and expectations for all students. She currently manages the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) project funded by the U.S. Department of Education. As Director of the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA), she developed an overall needs assessment and technical assistance (TA) plan to address the TA and training needs of practitioners and leaders at state education agencies and local education agencies, with a focus on increasing English language literacy and academic outcomes for English learners. In her various professional roles, Dr. Zantal-Wiener supports practices that measure students’ content knowledge, academic language, and literacy.

Lori Whitten, Ph.D.

Lori Whitten, Ph.D.

Dr. Lori Whitten is an award-winning writer with 20 years of experience reviewing and summarizing biomedical science and health-related research. Dr. Whitten works primarily with federal contracts that address the health of women, behavioral health and wellness, and substance misuse. She currently supports the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH). As a medical writer, she works closely with Dr. Janine Austin Clayton and other senior staff members on publications and presentations. Dr. Clayton invited Dr. Whitten to be second author on a manuscript, “Sex As a Biological Variable (SABV): A Five-Year Progress Report and Call to Action,” published in The Journal of Women’s Health. She also served as an acknowledged medical writer of a manuscript summarizing the literature on the intersection of maternal morbidity and mortality and intimate partner violence in press at Current Women's Health Reviews and a manuscript on black-white disparities in maternal mortality submitted to the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Demonstrating her plain language skills, Dr. Whitten served as the writer on the award-winning (Gold MarCom and Communications Award of Excellence) ORWH booklet Maternal Morbidity and Mortality: What Do We Know? How Are We Addressing It? She also penned the Guest Blog Intimate Partner Violence: Raising Awareness, Taking Action. Previously, Dr. Whitten wrote content and developed materials for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), garnering praise with a Silver NIH Plain Language/Clear Communication Award. Her work at NIDA contributed to other prestigious awards, including an AVA Digital Award and a National Association of Government Communicators Award. Previously, Dr. Whitten wrote content and developed materials for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), garnering praise with a Silver NIH Plain Language/Clear Communication Award. Her work at NIDA contributed to other prestigious awards, including an AVA Digital Award and a National Association of Government Communicators Award. 

Kathy Zantal-Weiner, Ph.D.

Kathy Zantal-Weiner, Ph.D.

Dr. Zantal-Wiener has more than 35 years of experience with literacy programs for students with disabilities, English learners, and students at risk of academic failure. She works with stakeholders—teachers, school leaders and decision makers at the federal, state and local levels, and undergraduate and graduate students—to develop clear instructional goals and expectations for all students. She currently manages the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) project funded by the U.S. Department of Education. As Director of the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA), she developed an overall needs assessment and technical assistance (TA) plan to address the TA and training needs of practitioners and leaders at state education agencies and local education agencies, with a focus on increasing English language literacy and academic outcomes for English learners. In her various professional roles, Dr. Zantal-Wiener supports practices that measure students’ content knowledge, academic language, and literacy.

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