AACTE Welcomes New Staff to National Office

AACTE is happy to announce the newest additions to its staff: Jacqueline Cantow, program coordinator, programs and professional learning; Katrina Norfleet, content strategist; Nicole Dunn, assistant director, programs and professional learning; and Weade James, director of development and research.

Jacqueline CantowJacqueline Cantow
Jackie Cantow is an experienced program coordinator with a demonstrated history of working in education and fundraising. Prior to joining AACTE, she worked with The AnBryce Foundation and Brandeis University. She holds a degree in political science and sociology from the George Washington University.

Cantow’s vision for AACTE is to advance the core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She will assist the Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teachers Initiative Networked Improvement Community to increase the presence of these individuals within the field of education. One of her goals is to highlight the innovative work of this demographic and help promote best practices for recruiting and retaining these diverse teachers in the education community. She will also assist with the Special Education Networked Improvement Community to advance its research goals. Cantow joined AACTE in May 2020.

Katrina NorfleetKatrina Norfleet
Katrina Norfleet brings more than 20 years of experience as an association professional, effectively developing and implementing editorial and outreach strategies as communications director for organizations that include the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, and National Association of Black Journalists. In addition to her association background, Norfleet led the Center for Communications and Marketing at The MayaTech Corporation and was one of six fellows in the company’s inaugural Leadership Development Program. She holds a master’s in writing from The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in communications from Howard University.

Prior to joining AACTE, Norfleet contracted with the Association as its editor for a year and a half, during which time she was immersed in communicating on a wide range of topics about educator preparation. This experience, combined with being both the daughter and mother of special education teachers, motivated her to pivot her career path and embrace opportunities to produce content that elevates the voice of teacher educators. In her new role with AACTE’s member services and events team, she aspires to enhance member engagement by identifying content needs and creating concepts to advance AACTE’s strategic priorities, support its vision to revolutionize education, and spotlight the work of its members to wider audiences. Norfleet joined AACTE in March 2020.

Nicole DunnNicole Dunn
Nicole Dunn has served as a professional educator, community organizer, and advocate for the past 10 years. While working as a chemist for the Navy, Dunn decided she wanted to help other women enter the STEM field. She became an education volunteer in Peace Corps Uganda, where she taught math, science, and reproductive health in teens and young adults from 2010-13. Having discovered a passion for teaching, Dunn returned to the states to continue teaching in the fields of STEM and Adult Basic Education (ABE) with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in several schools and nonprofits throughout New York, Chicago, and Boston. After years of working to help dismantle systemic barriers of inequitable education on the individual student level, Dunn earned an M.B.A. in nonprofit management with a concentration in children, youth, and family services from the Heller School at Brandeis University. While at Heller, she continued researching and managing projects focused on DEI within youth education and nonprofits. Dunn is excited to merge her skills of equitable education practice and policy with her financial and project management expertise to advance AACTE’s mission.

“What drew me to AACTE most was its three-pronged strategy to focus on DEI, advocacy, and innovation. The intersection between the three fields is something I have been working toward as an individual professional for awhile now,” Dunn said. “It is an honor to join an organization that shares my values. I am excited to work with AACTE and its partner organizations to deliver professional resources that educator preparation programs need to prepare future teachers to serve every student in this country within an inclusive and equitable system.” Dunn joined AACTE in May 2020.

Weade JamesWeade James
Weade James brings to AACTE experience working in the education field as an accomplished nonprofit leader, scholar, and advocate. Prior to joining AACTE, James was regional director for a D.C.-based education nonprofit where she successfully launched, expanded and oversaw the implementation of an evidence-based PreK – grade 3 Response-to-Intervention (RtI) program across seven school districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is known for her expertise in special education and disability rights. As the former deputy and executive director of the Parent Training and Information Center for the District of Columbia, she advocated for the needs of children with disabilities by ensuring that local schools adhered to the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to provide free public education tailored to the needs of students identified with or suspected of having a disability. James is a former AACTE Holmes Scholar of Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned her Ph.D. in education with a concentration in special education and disability leadership. She is also an alumnae of Howard University and the University of Minnesota, earning her M.Ed. in educational administration and Policy, and B.A. in child psychology and African and African American studies, respectively.

James has as a proven track record of identifying and securing funding and managing millions of dollars in federal grants and contracts. Her vision is to advance AACTE’s mission in diversifying the Association’s funding portfolio by identifying and pursuing opportunities that align with the organization’s strategic priorities. In doing so, James intends to identify new projects and initiatives that will sustain the organization and position AACTE as a leader of innovation in educator preparation. James joined AACTE in January 2020.


Jerrica Thurman

Director of Marketing & Communications, AACTE