People on the Move

Leadership Appointments Include Martinez, Dierkes, Mills, and ParentSquare Advisory Council

Editor’s Note: THE Journal welcomes submissions about new hires and promotions among ed tech industry executives and K–12 public school administrators in the United States. Contributed news items will be published regularly on; the archives can be accessed at any time at

To submit news about new leadership and management changes at K–12 ed tech companies and at nonprofits in the K–12 ed tech space, complete the form at To submit news about new hires and promotions among K–12 public schools administration, complete the form at News releases should be emailed to [email protected].

Chicago Public Schools CEO Martinez Named to ALAS Board

The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents has announced that Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez is joining the nonprofit’s board of directors and will serve as ALAS Director-Region 5: Midwest.

With over two decades of experience in education, Martinez has served as chief of Chicago schools since 2021 — the first Latino in the city’s history to hold the school district’s top position.

Martinez, the oldest of 12 children, immigrated from Aguascalientes, Mexico, to Chicago with his family at age 5. He often credits his schooling and experiences attending Chicago Public Schools with changing the trajectory of his life, ALAS said in a news release.

Martinez graduated from Chicago’s Benito Juarez High School, then went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois and an MBA from DePaul University in Chicago. He is also a graduate of the Broad Superintendent Academy.

Prior to joining Chicago Public Schools, Martinez served as superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District. He has also held superintendent roles at the Nevada Department of Education and the Washoe County School District in Reno.

Learn more about ALAS at

ParentSquare Names 2023-24 Advisory Council Members

Community engagement software provider ParentSquare has announced the members of its 2023-24 ParentSquare Advisory Council, which helps inform the company’s development of its platform and serves as a peer-to-peer forum for discussing best practices and pressing issues in school communications, according to a news release.

The invitation-only council includes K–12 communications, technology, and administrative leaders whose organizations use ParentSquare.

New and returning members include:

  • Jason Borgen, Chief Technology Officer for Santa Cruz County Office of Education (Calif.)
  • Brian C. Burke, Executive Director of Communications, Community Partnerships, and Strategic Planning (Conn.)
  • Joanne Chan, Education Services Coordinator for Hacienda la Puente (Calif.)
  • Ron Cone, Executive Director of Information Technology for Kennewick School District (Wash.)
  • Leah Davis, Executive Director of the Exceptional Children’s Department for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (N.C.)
  • Kirsten Fitterer, Chief Communications Officer for Yakima School District #7 (Wash.)
  • Michael Garcia, Director of Family and Community Engagement for Fontana Unified School District (Calif.)
  • Kris Hagel, Executive Director of Digital Learning for Peninsula School District (Wash.)
  • Katie Harmon, Director of Educational Technology for Westhill Central School District (N.Y.)
  • Dr. Christine Jordan, Assistant to the Superintendent for Wyandanch Union Free School District (N.Y.)
  • Steven Langford, Chief Information Officer for Beaverton School District (Ore.)
  • Erin Lindsey, Director of Communication for Cupertino Union (Calif.)
  • Emily Mejia, Associate Director of Student Data for Achievement First (N.Y.)
  • Noelle Newton, Executive Director of Communications & Community Relations for Hutto Independent School District (Texas)
  • Brad Orth, Executive Director of District Data Management, Business Information Systems, and Data Reporting for Cherokee County School District (Ga.)
  • Rod Russeau, Director of Technology & Information Services for Community High School District 99 (Ill.)
  • Steve Smith, Chief Information Officer for Cambridge Public Schools (Mass.)
  • Krista Stockman, Director of Communication & Marketing for Fort Wayne Community Schools (Ind.)

The ParentSquare Advisory Council, formed in 2020, is led by ParentSquare Chief Strategy Officer Chad Stevens, Ed.D., a former school administrator and district chief technology officer.

“We are very grateful that these council members have committed their time to helping us identify and address key communication needs and priorities in K-12 districts,” Stevens said. “Our council members’ diverse expertise and advice have been of immeasurable value to our mission of enhancing school-home communication, and I am looking forward to seeing what we’ll achieve in the new school year.”

Learn more at

Jan Dierkes Named VP of Sales at EmpowerU

EmpowerU, a provider of programs that aim to improve student motivation, behaviors, and mental health, has announced that Jan Dierkes is the company’s new vice president of sales.

“With extensive experience in multi-tiered system of supports, Dierkes will play a crucial role in helping EmpowerU continue to meet the urgent need for student-centered resilience programs and interventions in K-12 districts across the United States,” the company said in a news release.

Learn more at

United Educators Names Richard G. Mills President and CEO

United Educators Insurance, a reciprocal risk retention group serving K–12 schools, colleges, and universities, has named Richard G. Mills Jr. its new president and CEO, effective Sept. 1, 2023, according to a news release.

Mills comes from Dartmouth College, where he has served as Executive Vice President for Administration since 2013. Mills oversaw all aspects of the university's financial, administrative, human resources, and campus services functions, UE said.

Prior to his decade at Dartmouth, Mills was Executive Dean for Administration at Harvard University’s Medical School, where he also served on the committee on risk management, the boards of Harvard University Library and Harvard Clinical Research Institute, and the underwriting subcommittee of the board for CRICO, the university's captive malpractice insurance company, which insures most Harvard-affiliated practicing physicians.

Mills began his career as a litigation attorney, a principal in strategic consulting, and senior staff counsel for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Hamilton College and a law degree from Boston University.

Outgoing President and CEO Janice M. Abraham has retired, UE said.