Elizabeth Evans

Elizabeth Evans

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.



Xian Barrett

Vice President of Engagement

Xian has a deep passion for social justice pedagogy to support student activism and working with students of highest need. He believes strongly that only by hearing and acting upon the voices of educators, parents and students can we improve our educational system and world. Prior to joining New Voice Strategies, Xian taught Law, History and Japanese Language and Cultures in the Chicago Public Schools. He has received numerous teaching awards, including being selected as a 2009-2010 U.S. Department of Education Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellow.  He is a founding member of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators and the former political director of the Chicago Teachers Union. His favorite 13 nouns are ice cream, empathy, Karaoke, Community, manga, football, decarceration, Facebook, Japanese fashion, textured hair, aspiration, anti-aversive racism and nothorses.

Xian was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Champaign, Ill. He completed high school at age 15, and graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.



Tina Nolan Ed.D.

National Leadership Development Director

Tina has over 18 years experience as an educator working in cultural institutions and higher education. In 1999, she helped to open the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, where she served as director of education. She joined National Louis University (NLU) in 2006, as associate director of partnerships and was later named interim director of partnerships for NLU’s National College of Education. Tina holds a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, an M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from National Louis University, and an Ed.D in Educational Leadership from National Louis University.

Tina has published several articles, and is a past board member for the Museum Education Roundtable, chair of its Publications Committee, and currently editor-in-chief of a peer-reviewed, professional periodical called the Journal of Museum Education.



Bart Kocha

Opportunity Strategist

Bart is a strategy and organization expert with more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, including more than 10 years as a senior partner with A.T. Kearney, where he was responsible for the Organization & Transformation Global Service practice. Before joining New Voice Strategies, his clients spanned several industries, with a recent focus on financial services and healthcare. In North America, they included 3M, CIBC, Cardinal Health, The Hartford, Prudential, Tyson Foods and Walgreens. He has also served clients in Europe, Asia and Africa. Bart holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, and works with the Walton Family Foundation on school reform within the charter school sector.


Jennifer Reinhardt

Engagement Program Manager

Jennifer Reinhardt comes to New Voice Strategies with more than five years experience with coalition building, civic engagement, and cross-cultural education. Throughout her work, Jennifer shows a fierce dedication to amplifying community voice through data and technology and connecting individuals to decision-making processes. She’s been involved with issues ranging from advocating for an elected school board and online voter registration to producing an international theatre festival and film screenings in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Cairo.

When she is not working for New Voice Strategies, Jennifer is currently pursuing a graduate degree in sustainable urban development at DePaul University and developing a mobile game app called Build It! Bronzeville. She hails from North Carolina and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago.


Casey Lazor

Communications Assistant

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.


Jeremiah Ray

Executive Assistant

Jeremiah was born and raised on the North Side of Chicago. As a teen, he moved to the far South Side, where he studied the arts and Japanese language at Julian High School. He has been active with social justice and human rights campaigns throughout Chicago with many different organizations, including the Japanese Consulate, Osaka-Chicago Sister City program, Chicago Youth Initiating Change, and Jaguars for Justice.

He has envisioned social justice by using his artistic skills to support activist projects by engaging his audience with justice-minded banners, boards and posters. In addition to his work in Chicago, Jeremiah has led youth trips to New Orleans to provide emergency relief. Jeremiah loves wisdom, cooking, studying weaponry , his sensei and his momma.