PHOENIX – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced five staff appointments to leadership positions in the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE’s) Health and Nutrition and Government Relations divisions along with its Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program.
Superintendent Douglas first shared the promotion of Melissa Conner as ADE’s new Associate Superintendent of Health and Nutrition Services. Conner has been a director with the Health and Nutrition division for the past 15 years. Joining her as the new Deputy Associate Superintendent for Health and Nutrition is Nerissa Emers, who has as served ADE’s Director of Clinical School Health Services since returning to the agency last year.
“I am excited to see both Melissa and Nerissa show leadership of their important programs,” said Superintendent Douglas. “Their experience with a wide range of health and nutrition programs and their passion for serving the needs of Arizona children will no doubt benefit the Department.”
The Superintendent next announced that Alissa Trollinger has been named ADE’s new Deputy Associate Superintendent for Exceptional Student Services (special education). Trollinger has served as a director within the Exceptional Student Services division for the past eight years.
“Alissa has demonstrated great leadership ability in her many years here at ADE, and I am excited to have her lead our special education team,” said the Superintendent. “She shares my commitment to seeing that all students with special needs receive the excellent education they deserve, and I look forward to working with her to reach that goal.”
Superintendent Douglas went on to share that Charles Tack will be ADE’s new Associate Superintendent of Policy Development and Government Relations, a position vacated by Ashley Berg when she was chosen Monday to be the next Executive Director at the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. Tack has served as ADE’s Public Information Officer and Director of Communications for the past two years.
“While it is certainly difficult to say goodbye to someone as talented as Ashley, I have complete confidence in Charles as we approach a very important legislative session,” said the Superintendent. “He and the rest of our excellent policy team will work to ensure that both members and staff at the House and Senate have the information they need to make decisions that are in the best interest of our children.”
Sally Stewart will act as the primary contact for media inquiries until a new Public Information Officer is hired. She can be reached at the ADE press line, 602-542-5072.
Lastly, Superintendent Douglas announced the hiring of Victoria Bergen as the Department’s new ESA Director. Bergen has a background in both law and special education, and has been an educator for more than 20 years. She also brings with her experience as the parent of a child who has participated in the ESA program.
“I am very pleased to welcome Victoria to the team and am excited to work with her to streamline the ESA program for parents and students alike,” said Superintendent Douglas. “Her unique background and extensive experience make her the perfect fit for this position.”
Bergin will start at the Department on Jan. 3.