Our Staff

Alicia Garcia
Alicia Garcia | Director
Alicia N. Garcia is the director of the Midwest Comprehensive Center and a principal policy analyst at the American Institutes for Research. She has more than 11 years’ experience in education law and policy. In her role as Midwest Comprehensive Center director, Garcia manages a core staff of 26 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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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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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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Jenni Fipaza
Jenni Fipaza | Project Manager
Jenni Fipaza is the project manager for the Midwest Comprehensive Center and a senior communications specialist at the American Institutes for Research. In her role as Midwest Comprehensive Center project manager, Fipaza developed a project management and communications system centered on direct, regular communication with project leads, ongoing consultation with state education agency clients, and close, transparent monitoring of project progress in meeting expectations for capacity building and impact, including outcomes at the regional, district, and school levels.
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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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Julia Marchand
Julia Marchand | Evaluator
Julia Marchand is a senior researcher at the American Institute for Research and oversees the evaluation of the Midwest Comprehensive Center and the Great Lakes Comprehensive Center. She also leads a collaborative of comprehensive center evaluators formed to share best practices and streamline evaluation efforts.
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Corrin Pitluck
Corrin Pitluck | Evaluator
Corrin Pitluck serves as the internal evaluator for the Midwest Comprehensive Center and Southeast Comprehensive Center and is a researcher at the American Institutes for Research. Dr. Pitluck evaluates progress on comprehensive center projects using a modified contribution analysis approach to identify center impact in a complex organizational field.
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