Meet Our Team

Nicole Heimarck, Executive Director

Nicole has extensive experience as a leader in educational policy and a track record of implementing large-scale education transformations through national, state and local collaborations. She also has practical experience in public education ranging from Pre-K through post-secondary learning. Her previous roles include Director of Government Relations with the NH School Boards Association, Bureau Administrator in Education Preparation for the NH Department of Education, and Director of Curriculum and Professional Development for SAU 39: Amherst, Mont Vernon and Souhegan school districts. In 2019, she joined Reaching Higher NH to serve as Director of the NH Alliance for College and Career Readiness. In 2020, she moved into the role of Executive Director for Reaching Higher.

Nicole received her Bachelor of Arts in History and Education from Stonehill College in North Easton, MA, a Master of Arts in Education Leadership from the University of New Hampshire, Durham, and has her Certification as a Critical Friends Group Coach by the School Reform Initiative.  She is a resident of Amherst.

Christina Pretorius, Director of Policy

As Policy Director, Christina leads Reaching Higher NH’s policy efforts and strategy. She has an extensive background in education policy and moved to the policy team in 2020 after six years in communications. She has a deep understanding of state and local politics and the education policy landscape, and will bring her experience in translating complex policy into accessible, engaging content and analysis.

Christina grew up in New Hampshire and attended UNH-Durham for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Before joining Reaching Higher NH, Christina worked in workforce development, where she managed training programs for medical professionals, with a focus on rural communities and diverse populations.

Christina resides in Deerfield with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. She is an active member of her community, where she serves as a Supervisor of the Checklist.

Matt Gerding, Policy Analyst

As Policy Analyst, Matt works in close collaboration with the Director of Policy as a lead researcher to help develop accurate and innovative content for Reaching Higher NH. He brings with him a keen awareness of how New Hampshire’s current education policies directly impact communities, schools, and students.

Matt was born and raised in New Hampshire and attended the University of New Hampshire for his undergraduate degree. He later attended the Carsey School at the University of New Hampshire and received his Masters of Public Policy. During his time at the Carsey School he worked as a research assistant for the New Hampshire Commission to Study School Funding, which concluded its work in 2020.

Matt is a life-long public servant, having worked as a science educator for eight years prior to joining Reaching Higher NH. He is a fan of the outdoors and the creative arts, and often shared these passions with his students through creative lessons and projects. Beyond his experience in the classroom, Matt is also a City Councilor in Somersworth, where he lives with his husband, dog, and cat. When not nerding out on municipal, tax, and education policy, he loves to garden, hike, and paint.

Kayla Provencher, Public Policy Researcher

As Public Policy Researcher, Kayla assists the Policy Director and Policy Analyst and works on other policy-related projects. She began her career as RHNH’s graduate student Policy Intern before advancing to the position of Public Policy Researcher in 2022.

Kayla is a graduate of Stonehill College’s Class of 2020. She earned her undergraduate degrees in Elementary Education and American Studies and has her Massachusetts Elementary Education (grade 1-6) license in teaching. In Spring 2022 she completed her Master’s in Education Policy and Leadership through Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and has a certificate in Educational Policy Development.

Kayla is a NH native and currently lives in Manchester, NH. She grew up in New Hampshire’s public school system and became very passionate about education policy and funding after reflecting on her own public schooling experiences. In her free time, she loves teaching dance, trivia, art, and history.

Photos by Charlene Graham.