Reaching Higher NH begins 2019 by expanding public education policy team


CONCORD, NH— February 5, 2019  Reaching Higher NH is proud to announce and welcome new hires, Greg Bird and Laura Gates. Bird will serve as Reaching Higher’s Senior Data Analyst, where he will play a leading role in informing statewide conversations around public education through analysis and data modeling. Gates will serve as the Director of Research and Implementation, where she will lead the organization’s research initiatives as well as the implementation of Reaching Higher’s community engagement work.

Reaching Higher has also announced the transition of one of its core team members, Liz Canada. Canada will now fill the role of Director of Policy and Practice to lead the policy work for Reaching Higher. She will collaborate with the Reaching Higher team, board, and partners to develop policy priorities and work with NH stakeholders to improve public understanding of and support for innovative, best practices that promote high-quality public education opportunities for each and every child.

“We work to make policy accessible, informing and engaging communities across NH in the decision-making that impacts their students and schools. When our students are thriving, our communities are too. As Reaching Higher grows and our work takes off – we’ve been able to attract exceptional talent. I am thrilled to welcome our newest team members, and Liz in her new role, and am excited for all the work important ahead,” said Evelyn Aissa, Executive Director for Reaching Higher.

Greg Bird, Senior Data Analyst

Greg Bird will lead data analyses on a broad range of topics, with a specific focus on K-12 education funding, painting a clear and engaging picture of what the numbers mean. In addition, he will monitor various pieces of education-related legislation, conduct research, and author policy briefs and other content to help inform public debate.

Previously, Bird worked in the NH public policy realm, both at the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute and the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies. At each, he was responsible for producing analyses on various aspects of New Hampshire, such as the economy, the state budget, and education funding.

Greg began his professional career in the Philadelphia suburbs. After graduating from Muhlenberg College in 2004, he worked for 5 years at Vanguard, an investment management company based in Malvern, Pennsylvania. After earning a Master’s degree in Economics, he then worked for the Economics division of Moody’s Analytics (West Chester, PA), where he was responsible for research and forecasting of U.S. state and metropolitan economies.

Laura Gates, Director of Research & Implementation

Laura Gates will conduct research and analysis on current education legislation and other issues related to public education in New Hampshire. Gates will prepare policy-related materials for a wide range of audiences – from students and families, to educators, lawmakers, and members of the media.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Politics and Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, Laura became a Teach For America corps member in the Arkansas Delta. Her time in Arkansas sparked an interest in educational equity, social policy, and the economics of rural America. Gates went on to complete a Master’s degree in Public Policy degree at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Liz Canada, Director of Policy and Practice

Liz has worked in various education settings around the country, and she is eager and excited about her new role at Reaching Higher NH as the Director of Policy and Practice.

Most recently, Liz served as Reaching Higher’s Director of Community Engagement, helping to lead the community engagement work for Manchester Proud, which has included community canvassing, listening sessions, town halls – and more.

Prior to her move to New Hampshire, Canada was the Director of Coaching at 1647, a Boston-based organization focused on reimagining family engagement in Massachusetts schools. She coached and supported school leaders and teachers in building positive relationships with their students’ families. For the past two years, she has also been on the teaching team of Dr. Karen Mapp’s graduate course, “The Why, What, and How of School, Family, and Community Partnerships” at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Liz holds a Bachelor of Science in Education in Secondary Education English from Bloomsburg University, a Master of Arts in English at Seton Hall University, and a Master of Education in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

About Reaching Higher NH
Reaching Higher NH’s mission is to foster support for high-quality public education, giving each and every child in New Hampshire the opportunity to succeed in college, careers, and the challenges and opportunities of life in the 21st Century. We serve as a nonpartisan 501c3 public education policy and community engagement resource for New Hampshire families, students, educators, and elected officials. Learn more at


For more information:
Robin deAlmeida, Sr. Communications Consultant