Our Staff

Alicia Garcia
Alicia Garcia | Director
Alicia N. Garcia is the director of the Midwest Comprehensive Center and a principal policy analyst on the education team at the American Institutes for Research. She has more than 10 years’ experience in education law and policy. In her role as Midwest Comprehensive Center director, Garcia manages a core staff of 12 to build the capacity of state education agencies in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to design, sustain, and implement reforms that support student success.
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Lisa Shimmel
Lisa Shimmel | Co-Deputy Director
Lisa Shimmel is the co-deputy director of the Midwest Comprehensive Center and a senior policy analyst at the American Institutes for Research. As co-deputy director of the Midwest Comprehensive Center, she focuses on managing technical assistance for the state education agencies in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
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Taishya Adams
Taishya Adams | Co-Deputy Director and Strategic Partnership Lead
Taishya Adams is the co-deputy director and strategic partnership lead for the Midwest Comprehensive Center and a senior technical consultant at the American Institutes for Research. In these roles, she works with the director to provide direction and support to the center team, oversee all center activities, and ensure a coordinated strategy to leverage federal technical assistance network and Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) resources to enhance that work.
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Jenni Fipaza
Jenni Fipaza | Project Manager
Jenni Fipaza is the project manager for the Midwest Comprehensive Center and a senior communications specialist on the education team at the American Institutes for Research. In her role as Midwest Comprehensive Center project manager, Fipaza assists the center’s leadership team in tracking and supporting progress across each technical assistance project, including monthly reporting for the U.S. Department of Education.
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Meredith Lukow
Meredith Lukow | Communications Lead
Meredith Lukow is the communications lead for the Midwest Comprehensive Center and a communications associate at the American Institutes for Research. Her role at the Midwest Comprehensive Center includes guiding the center’s overall communications strategy and coordinating the efforts of a four-person team that produces videos, blog articles, website content, handouts, posters, social media updates, email newsletters, and more.
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