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Our Team

Enthusiastic Innovators & Problem Solvers

We are a small, tight-knit group with deep expertise and complementary skill sets. We believe the sum of our parts — our lived experience across state and federal agencies, school boards, foundation leadership, the White House, media, state legislatures and education agencies, and classroom teaching – adds up to a strategic whole.

Cindi Williams

Seattle, WA

Cindi is the CEO of Waypoint Education Partners and the co-founder of Learning Heroes. As one of the nation’s foremost communications and advocacy experts focused on education, she has partnered with leading nonprofits, government officials, and state education leaders committed to making our public education system more effective and equitable for all students.

Cindi’s insights are grounded in decades of experience in research, advocacy, and communications as a senior official in the White House, US Department of Education, US House of Representatives, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and as a veteran of three presidential campaigns.

Most recently, Cindi served as a Principal at HCM Strategists leading the K-12 portfolio. In this role, she and her team had the distinct privilege of partnering with a diverse set of leaders working to scale evidence-based solutions. These ranged from Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation to the National PTA to state education leaders in Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, New Mexico, South Dakota, California, and Massachusetts. She has focused on a wide range of impactful issues, including accelerating learning in the aftermath of the pandemic, increasing excellent educational options for underserved students, ensuring that every child has access to high-quality instructional materials, and making the case for educational data to inform decision making.

In her role as co-founder of Learning Heroes, she and her colleagues have amassed a comprehensive body of research on families’ hopes, fears and expectations about their children’s education. This research uncovered a shocking fact: that nine out of ten parents believe their children are at or above grade level. In order to address this misbelief and the unrealized potential of parent engagement it represents, Cindi and the team at Learning Heroes spearheaded the “Go Beyond Grades” campaign targeted to families of children in the public school system. Much of the work at HCM and now Waypoint and Learning Heroes is connected to the goal of equipping parents to be more informed advocates for their child’s learning.

Cindi has served on numerous boards and commissions, including Chair of the Washington State Charter School Commission, Technology Access Foundation, Northwest Center, Advisory Board of the Bush Institute, member of the US-Afghan Women’s Counsel, and U.S. Delegate to the Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai.

She lives in Bellevue, Washington with her husband and their two sons.

Duncan Robb

Boise, ID

Duncan specializes in state and federal education policy, implementation, strategy development, and organizational effectiveness. For 15 years, he has worked either in or alongside state education agencies and state and national nonprofits to develop and execute strategies to address chronic challenges in our public education system. More recently, he has worked to understand the degree to which education choice policies – both within and outside of the public system – can bring new options to students whom the system has failed for decades.

As a co-founding Partner at Waypoint, Duncan specializes in state and federal policy – both research and implementation. He works with the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation to develop and execute the Foundation’s national K-12 education strategy and to grow its network of chamber leaders as champions for education and workforce issues. He is also partnering with the Collaborative for Student Success to create and deliver high-quality training for elected school board members. On Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research’s Education Recovery Scorecard project, Duncan leads the advocacy strategy to ensure that post-pandemic learning outcomes are top of mind for state education leaders and nonprofit organizations. He is also working closely with First State Educate in Delaware to build and implement the organization’s 2024 organizing and advocacy strategy.

For over four years, Duncan worked at HCM Strategists as an Associate Principal, where he grew the K-12 policy and implementation portfolio. He worked with the Collaborative on multiple initiatives over those years, from Promise to Practice to EduRecoveryHub (now EduProgress). He partnered with current and former state education agency leaders in states across the country to facilitate strategic plan development (Arizona), improve school improvement implementation (Ohio), study pandemic-related learning loss and recovery strategies (Mississippi), and conduct parent research into COVID mitigation strategies (Massachusetts). He also worked with the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation to lead its 18-month Future of Data in K-12 Education initiative.

Prior to HCM, Duncan served as Chief Policy Advisor at the Idaho State Department of Education. In that role, he was instrumental in the development and implementation of Idaho’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan and advancing the department’s legislative agenda. Before moving to Idaho from Washington, DC, Duncan worked as an Engagement Manager at the US Education Delivery Institute, which partnered with dozens of state education leaders nationwide to build capacity in state agencies and higher education systems to implement reforms such as improved academic standards, assessments, and postsecondary success initiates. Duncan began his career in education as a 6th-grade math teacher at Holland Middle School in Houston, TX.

Outside of his day job, Duncan serves on the board of Gem Innovation Schools of Idaho, which oversees seven and counting brick and mortar charter schools and an online charter school. He holds a master’s in public policy from Johns Hopkins University and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oregon. He lives in Boise with his wife, son, and black lab who is a very good boy.

Jocelyn Pickford

Abington, PA

Jocelyn is an education policy and communications specialist with a career spanning three decades and all levels of the education system – from the classroom to state and federal agencies to leading foundations and advocacy organizations. As a 50CAN National Voices Fellow and expert blogger for the Collaborative for Student Success, Jocelyn raises her voice as a thought leader on topics ranging from parental engagement in education to high-quality curriculum and professional learning. She is proud to support the Collaborative’s efforts to advance strong instructional practices through the CurriculumHQ platform and the Curriculum Catalyst Fellowship in partnership with the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. She is currently partnering with Learning Heroes and SAS to support the Tennessee and Virginia Departments of Education to communicate complicated policies and data to families, educators, and the public.

For seven years, Jocelyn worked with HCM Strategists as a Senior Affiliate, where she supported higher education and K12 initiatives. At HCM, she led strategic research, analysis, project management, and communications initiatives for partners including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, College Board, George W. Bush Institute, JerseyCAN, New Jersey Department of Education, We Raise New Jersey, Strada Education Network, and the University of Mississippi.

Through the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jocelyn was a member of her local public school board, where she helped the district navigate a steady stream of crises and strategic decision-making that directly impacted the lives of thousands in her community.

Prior to HCM, Jocelyn supported the Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders and Margaret Spellings & Company and also served as the education director of Hope Street Group. Earlier in her career, Jocelyn worked for the U.S. Department of Education, where she led the design, launch, and implementation of a national fellowship to integrate teachers into the education policy dialogue; the program is now in its 16th year. In 2006, she was named a White House Fellow and spent a year studying government, policy, and leadership in the executive branch.

Jocelyn’s passion for her work was seeded during her own public school education and took root during her classroom teaching experience as a secondary English teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia. She seeks to engage families and practitioners in conversations about education policy at every level, knowing this work must be done with people and not to people.

Jocelyn earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Trinity College in Connecticut. She obtained her master’s in secondary education from the George Washington University and has served as the Chair of GW’s National Council for Education and Human Development. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and two school-aged children. She volunteers her time for her school district, church, and local hospital auxiliary, among other community roles.

Lydia Hollon

Atlanta, GA

As the Associate Director of Policy & Research, Lydia plays a pivotal role in supporting Waypoint’s partners. She delves into the voices of key education stakeholders, conducting research to uncover insights into policy and philanthropic solutions for the challenges in our education system. With nearly a decade of experience in K-12 and post-secondary education, including roles as a classroom teacher and college advisor, Lydia brings valuable firsthand knowledge of the education sector and insights into the experiences of educators in the post-pandemic era.

At Waypoint, Lydia conducts illustrative research to assess policy trends and gather sentiments from students, educators, parents, and policymakers. She works with partners such as SAS, the National PTA, and First State Educate, ensuring that our collective understanding of educational climate allows them to effectively support their constituents.

Before joining Waypoint, Lydia was instrumental at HCM Strategists, where led research and analysis projects for the yes. every kid. foundation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the University of Mississippi, CurriculumHQ, and Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Lydia earned her bachelor’s degree in politics with a minor in inequality and global & urban education from New York University. She also holds a master’s in teaching. While at NYU, her roles as a writing tutor and teaching assistant fueled her passion for education. She served as the student director of first-year programs at NYU and founded Pro BoKnow, an education startup aiding low-income and marginalized students in college admissions.

Based in Atlanta, GA, with her husband, daughter, and two black cats, Lydia enjoys reading, writing, cooking, running, and relaxing with reality TV.

Kate Poteet

Washington, DC

As Associate Director of Advocacy and Communications, Kate helps clients spread awareness about salient education issues and cutting-edge research that impact our education systems. Kate serves as an advisor to Learning Heroes, where she supports Go Beyond Grades, a public awareness campaign that aims to help parents understand whether their child is on grade level in reading and math. Kate has helped bring Go Beyond Grades to more than six cities nationwide. She also partners with Learning Heroes to support the Tennessee and Virginia Departments of Education in messaging key policies to families and the public. Additionally, Kate works with the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University to message data on learning loss to state and local policymakers and the public.

Kate is proud to help clients be strong advocates for high-quality resources, instruction, and outcomes for all students. She advises the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation on K-12 education topics, including assisting with the Business Leads Fellowship Program, which trains business leaders to be education champions in their communities. She also contributes to the Collaborative for Student Success’ work to advance high-quality instruction on CurriculumHQ and delivers training on how to engage with the curriculum adoption process.

Kate spent over a year on the K-12 team at HCM Strategists. At HCM, Kate investigated parent perceptions of school health and safety, transparency, and the influence of misinformation for the National PTA and the CDC Foundation. She also supported the Walton Family Foundation in sharing stories of innovation in education for NBC News. Additionally, she researched state and local policy contexts on issues of education flexibility with yes. every kid. foundation.

Prior to HCM, Kate held a range of education and policy roles, including at the Maryland Department of Labor’s correctional education team and the Brookings Institution’s Center for Universal Education. Kate holds a master’s degree in education and international development from the University of Cambridge. She earned a bachelor’s degree in global studies and political science from University of Maryland Baltimore County, where she was the Valedictorian of her graduating class.

Chris Mathias

Boise, ID

Dr. Chris Mathias specializes in qualitative research, interviewing and small group facilitation, state and federal policy analysis, legislating and administrative rulemaking, political strategy, and policy implementation. He serves as a Senior Advisor at Waypoint Education Partners and a founding partner at Brumback Associates LLC, a K16+ education consultancy.

Dr. Mathias serves as an elected member of the Idaho House of Representatives, where he champions sound policy, meaningful discourse and civility in a challenging political environment. He serves on the House Education Committee among others, and he’s a member of the state Criminal Justice Commission and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

Dr. Mathias was previously the chief academic officer for the Idaho State Board of Education, where he helped launch the nation’s first direct college admissions program for high school students. Prior, he managed the external engagement portfolio for Smarter Balanced-UC Santa Cruz, where he traveled the country helping innovative states and their public colleges and universities maximize their investment in the Smarter Balanced assessment system.

A qualitative researcher at his core, Dr. Mathias works closely with multiple partners at Waypoint, including the National PTA, to lead listening and learning sessions with families and educators around the country. He is adept at helping small groups navigate difficult conversations and topics.

Dr. Mathias is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. His experiences as a federal law enforcement agent and incident management researcher have led him to the forefront of helping education partners prevent, prepare for and recover from gun violence in school communities.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Boise State University, where he was a TRiO McNair Scholar. He holds a J.D. from Vermont Law and Graduate School, and a Ph.D. in law and public policy from Northeastern University.

While he is fulfilled in his work, it is his time away from work he is most proud of. He and his wife have two young children whom they spend healthy amounts of quality time with. He serves on multiple volunteer boards and is actively engaged in his community.

Jonathan Herrera

Philadelphia, PA

Jonathan specializes in policy research and analysis, and is particularly focused on learning loss and its impact on underserved communities. He currently works on issues and projects like Harvard’s Education Recovery Scorecard, qualitative research with the National PTA, and high-quality instructional materials with the Collaborative for Student Success.

Jonathan began his career in the nonprofit sector at Sunday Friends Foundation, implementing two COVID-19 Rental Assistance programs. He distributed over $650,000 to over 200 families and provided educational programming to low-income and undocumented families. He continued his career as a field director for Dulce Vasquez for Los Angeles City Council, District 9, campaign manager for both Cheslea Byers for West Hollywood City Council and Marco Santana for Los Angeles City Council, District 6 Special, and managing other issue-based campaigns in Los Angeles County. Most recently, he comes from Meta as a Business Analyst within the Vendor Engagements, Global Research Operations team, providing assistance to the Purchasing and Engagement program, counseling UX Researchers, and expanding data and reporting infrastructure to provide real-time insights on UXR Vendor Engagement quarterly, monthly, and weekly contract cycles and purchase order metrics.

Currently, Jonathan is a candidate for an M.S.Ed in education policy at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in professional writing from Santa Clara University. He is a first-generation undergraduate and graduate student, Latino, and son of immigrants, and is dedicated to creating social impact by driving change through public policy and civic engagement. He is passionate about education and immigration as it relates to creating more equitable opportunities for everyone.

Nadene Stauffer

Clyde Hill, WA

As the Operations Manager at Waypoint, Nadene is instrumental in steering the company through the multifaceted aspects of business operations. With over two decades of experience in executive roles across sales, marketing, and client services, she excels at driving strategic initiatives and optimizing operational success. Her proactive approach and results-driven mentality significantly boost strategic initiatives, fostering substantial growth and efficiency at Waypoint and for its clients.

Nadene serves as the Operations Manager at Waypoint, where she holds a pivotal role in overseeing all facets of business operations, ensuring productivity, efficiency, and impactful outcomes. With a background spanning over two decades in executive roles, her expertise is rooted in sales, marketing, and client services. Nadene has collaborated with Fortune 500 companies and represented renowned media platforms including Viacom, Paramount, Belo, and Cox, operating at both local and national levels. As a results-oriented communication professional, she leverages her extensive experience to implement cross-channel marketing initiatives, manage projects effectively, and optimize operations for success.

Nadene’s wealth of experience and growth mindset contribute significantly to providing strategic direction and efficiencies for Waypoint and our valued clients. Residing in Clyde Hill, Washington, with her husband and two boys, she is deeply committed to her community. Nadene dedicates her time to volunteering in leadership roles within her local community, with a particular focus on education and youth sports. Her blend of community involvement and professional experience brings invaluable perspective to our team.