Founding CEO, New Voice Strategies
Elizabeth brings 25 years of professional experience in strategic communications, law, and policy to New Voice Strategies. She is a nationally recognized leader who builds unconventional alliances and develops innovative approaches to solving difficult policy problems. She has focused on education policy for the last 12 years.
Elizabeth has assembled nationally recognized innovators in social media, communications, community engagement and strategy to offer the most rigorous, cutting edge and cost-effective community outreach.
Before establishing New Voice Strategies, Elizabeth served as Executive Director of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) for five years. She developed core programs and was the chief architect of the first of a wave of comprehensive charter school law reforms passed in Illinois. Before joining INCS, Elizabeth spent five years at the Illinois Facilities Fund (IFF) where her responsibilities focused on public policy, government relations, communications and advocacy. Elizabeth worked at the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago and was a political organizer working in Washington, D.C., and in Michigan.
She is a lawyer by training who tried cases for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement Division and was a staff attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Elizabeth is a member of the Gotham Schools Advisory Board, the Christopher House Board, and The Mikvah Challenge Advisory Board. Previously, she was an Ella Baker Fellow of Antioch Northeastern University and a member of the Children’s Defense Fund National Leadership Network. She received her law degree from Northwestern University.
Paul Toner recently concluded 8 years as Vice President and President of the 113,000-member Massachusetts Teachers Association, where he worked with his members and state and national education leaders to put educators at the center of efforts to shape education policy, as the state developed its Race to the Top application, educator evaluation, new assessments, and rolled out its Common Core standards. Toner was on numerous education committees and task forces and helped create the Massachusetts Education Partnership, an innovative labor management community relations organization focused on improving student achievement.
Tara Sherry-Torres has been working in community-based organizations for over 10 years. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in Community Organizing. She is the founder and operator of a Latin art-food cultural initiative, Cafe con Leche, which hosts pop-art events around Pittsburgh. Tara is a 2014 Pittsburgh Magazine “40 Under 40” recipient and one the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “2015 People to Meet”.
Adam is an author and writing professor from North Carolina. He comes from a family of teachers and has always been passionate about the intersection of education, nonprofits, and the written word. He completed a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Roosevelt University in Chicago, where he was selected as one of three distinguished graduates by Poets & Writers magazine. After graduate school, he spearheaded the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s first policy initiative by writing, editing, and developing over 100 new policies in nonprofit management.
He currently teaches undergraduate writing courses at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, but has also taught English, literature, and composition at Montreat College and in afterschool programs at Chicago Public Schools.
His next book, Wild Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Heart of North Carolina, will be published in the summer of 2015 by The Natural History Press. He sold a TV script to Fox in 2011, and has also written for the Chicago Tribune Company, the American Library Association, and Publishers Weekly.
He’s also an avid hiker, a voracious reader, and a lover of dogs.
Engagement Program Manager
Jamie O’Leary comes to New Voice Strategies with more than five years experience in classroom teaching. While working in the schools Jamie took on many roles in addition to being a Visual Arts Teacher, including; Computer Based Assessment Coordinator, Educator Evaluation Training Team Member, Volleyball Coach, Curriculum Committee Member, and more. She’s spent her summers working as a Residential Life Coordinator and Group Leader with Duke University’s Talent Identification Program in both the US and India. Her passion is changing the focus in education toward 21st century skills such as developing interpersonal relationships, critical thinking, and effective use of technology.
When she is not working for New Voice Strategies, Jamie is renovating her house or trying out a new recipe. She is originally from New York and completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at The University of Florida, Go Gators!
Digital Media Manager
Casey is delighted to be a part of the New Voice Strategies team. Her skills as a communicator coupled with social media savvy bring a fresh and creative perspective to online engagement.
She is a recent Summa Cum Laude graduate from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Theatre Arts. Her passion for pedagogical excellence and community involvement are demonstrated through directing youth programs for community theatre, as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Pittsburgh, and co-creating a new course, “Business of Theatre,” for the University as a Directed Study. Her artistic talents include performance as well as graphic and web design.
Casey is an ardent activist and has worked with many organizations on a number of campaigns including Healthy Artists, Ellis Island: The Dream of America, and WQED Pittsburgh.