Welcome Jessica (Jessi) Maddox to Advance CTE!

March 7th, 2024

Hello! My name is Jessica (Jessi) Maddox, and I am ecstatic to be a part of the Advance CTE team as a senior policy associate. In this role I will be working directly with the upcoming cohorts of the Opportunity Gap Analysis providing customized technical assistance and peer learning opportunities to participating states. I will also collaborate with team members to enhance Advance CTE’s state policy, equity, and data and research strategies by supporting state and local sites in designing and advancing high-quality and equitable career pathways.

A lifelong learner, I was born and raised in Florida, and my family and I recently relocated to Richmond, VA for a change of pace. I began my career in the classroom as a middle school social studies teacher. Part of my position included career exploration with my eighth graders and this is where some of my first interactions with Career Technical Education (CTE) began. After six years in the classroom, I wanted to expand my horizons into educational research and returned to school to obtain a master’s degree in Information. In 2017, I joined the Florida office of the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant working as a grant manager. In this position I got to interact with a variety of organizations, from school districts to non-profits, working to provide academic and skills-based after-school experiences to students across Florida’s PreK-12 system. I had the opportunity to further explore CTE as part of a college and career readiness initiative and became interested in furthering my knowledge and experiences in this field.

After completing my master’s degree, I was offered a role as an educational policy analyst with the Division of Career and Adult Education within the Florida Department of Education. In this position I was immersed in all things career and adult education full time. From the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), to apprenticeship, credentials of value and integrated education and training (IET), I worked closely with each coordinating unit to ensure required data and policy provisions were followed. I helped to build out the business rules or data collection processes for outcomes reporting and program improvement.

In 2023, I began a new position as a work-based learning analyst at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) working directly with the Virginia Talent + Opportunity Partnership (V-TOP). In this position I created data collection processes and survey instruments to expand the view of the landscape of credit-bearing and paid work-based learning and internship opportunities across the Commonwealth. Outside of work I can be found spending time with my husband and two sons, playing roller derby, or exploring my new surroundings.

Welcome Marie Falcone to Advance CTE!

November 21st, 2023

My name is Marie Falcone and I am incredibly excited to join the Advance CTE team as a Policy Associate. In my role on the Data and Research team, I will support and contribute to Advance CTE’s data quality and initiatives to promote data-driven decision-making among state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders and within the organization.

I completed my undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and participated in a public policy minor program in collaboration with the Washington, DC-based Brookings Institution. Through the program, I worked on policy advocacy and research relevant to the Mountain West region at my university’s think-tank, specifically in education policy. After interning at the Brown Center on Education Policy, I was confident that educational research and its impact on learner outcomes was the space I wanted to be in for years to come.

Emboldened and excited by the work, I moved to Washington, D.C. to complete a master’s in education policy studies at The George Washington University. Throughout this experience, I worked on a research evaluation team for a federal grant and in Fairfax County Public School’s Office of Research and Strategic Improvement, helping to produce the district’s annual Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III data report. I am thrilled to continue my journey in educational research at Advance CTE to support learners in career and growth opportunities through CTE!

I was born and raised in Las Vegas, home to some of my favorite hikes and the best hockey team. I am a big reader, love running and always look for new places to eat in DC!

Welcome Velie Sando to Advance CTE!

November 17th, 2023

I am super excited to join Advance CTE as a Policy Associate. I will be supporting the state policy team in a multitude of projects including the New Skills ready network and the state policy Year in Review. I have a keen interest in the intersection of policy and advocacy, and my experience serving marginalized populations in the fields of education and transportation drives my interest in Advance CTE’s mission.

Having understood that industry-recognized credentials are seldom enough to secure well-paying job opportunities in my home country, Cameroon, my parents migrated to the United States in 2005 to secure a brighter future for their children. This brave decision shaped my perspective from a young age, and has influenced my desire to support individuals in manifesting a stable and optimal quality of life.

I was immersed into the world of policy in 2017 as a Policy and Advocacy Fellow in San Antonio, Texas, where I researched methods to reduce recidivism in the region. I interviewed many Previously Incarcerated Individuals (PIIs) and created a framework to facilitate their access to reliable transportation and stable job opportunities. This experience exposed me to the varied components necessary for any individual to successfully engage in a society, and sparked my interest in education and transportation policy.

Upon the completion of my master’s degree, I began working as a Project & Policy Leader for Mobilify Southwestern Pennsylvania, a non-profit that promotes multi-modal transportation choices through advocacy, education, coalition-building and technical assistance services. I learned just how important it is to have the right people in the right positions who will do the right thing. Since then, my approach to policy and advocacy has been centered on utilizing innovative methods to encourage people in positions of power to promote policies that directly impact underserved populations. The membership lens through which Advance CTE advocates for equitable access to Career Technical Education speaks directly to my approach to this work, and I am thrilled to be part of the team!

Beyond my professional career, I wear many hats. I am a professional Afrobeats dancer, a self-proclaimed singer, a loving sister and a dear friend. My superpower is my adaptability, I thrive in fast-paced environments and a fun fact about me is that “je parle francais!”

I look forward to working with the Advance CTE staff, contributing to the work and soaking up the wealth of knowledge in the organization. 

Velie Sando, Policy Associate