New York - Nicole Brisbane, DFER New York State Director
Nicole Brisbane is originally from Miami, FL, born to immigrant parents. After graduating from Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Florida State University, she taught middle school intensive reading and language arts to students who were 4 or more years behind their peers.
Brisbane attended law school at Emory University, during which she had a fellowship with Education Pioneers at DC Public Schools, a Florida Bar Fellowship at the Florida Justice Institute (a civil rights law firm) and served as a public defender in the Juvenile Court of Dekalb County in Georgia.
Connecticut – Amy Dowell, DFER Connecticut State Director
In over a decade working in Democratic politics, Amy Selib Dowell has served campaigns in New York City and State, in Connecticut, and on the National level, as well as non-profit organizations.
During 2012 and ‘13, Amy was the Development Director for StudentsFirst in New York and Connecticut, the national education reform advocacy organization.
Amy served as Finance Director for the successful Andrew Cuomo 2010 gubernatorial campaign from 2007 thru 2009, and remained an advisor to the campaign and the Governor.
Louisiana – Eva Kemp, DFER Louisiana State Director
Eva Kemp joins the DFER team after working as an education policy advisor to former United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA). A native of Hammond, LA, Eva graduated from Louisiana State University in 2007 and began teaching fourth grade in Baton Rouge. She also worked as a literacy coach in East Feliciana Parish and ran for school board in Baton Rogue. Later, she served at the Louisiana Department of Education and the Recovery School District working on school turnaround policy, enrollment, desegregation policy and portfolio planning. After earning a Master’s degree in Public Administration in 2013, Eva moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a legislative assistant in Senator Landrieu’s office.
Liam Kerr started his career as an AmeriCorps volunteer with California Library Literacy Services, where he helped expand a library-based adult literacy program. He has advised nonprofits in Massachusetts, an NGO consultancy in the Czech Republic, a charter school incubator, and a charter school network. He has worked on statewide political campaigns in Massachusetts and Vermont.
Prior to DFER, Liam worked for the management consultancy The Parthenon Group and the national venture philanthropy fund New Profit Inc.
Colorado – Jennifer Walmer, DFER Colorado State Director
Jennifer Walmer is the state director of DFER Colorado (DFER-CO). Prior to joining DFER-CO, Walmer was the Chief of Staff for the Superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, Tom Boasberg, where she helped pass a $500 million bond and mill initiative in November 2012. Walmer also was the Superintendent’s primary strategic liaison with a divided Board of Education; managed government affairs for the district; and led strategic partnership efforts with community organizations. She has deep political ties in Colorado’s Democratic circles, having served as Chief of Staff for State House Speaker Terrance Carroll prior to joining Denver Public Schools. In this role, Walmer was instrumental in the passage of landmark reform legislation surrounding teacher effectiveness.
Washington - Shirline Wilson, DFER Washington State Director
Shirline has lived in Seattle since 1999. After spending the first part of her career working for public, private and start up enterprises, Shirline joined the state leadership team at Democrats for Education Reform to chart the next chapter of the organization’s work that prioritizes improving education outcomes for underserved communities across Washington state.