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. When she’s not scrolling on Twitter, she is playing outside with her kids, cooking a new dish, or partaking in her family’s pandemic tradition of #NewTrailFridays.
Sarah Earle, Director of Communications
As Communications Director for Reaching Higher NH, Sarah provides the public with timely and relevant information about the work we’re doing and about issues affecting New Hampshire schools through our newsletter, website, podcast, social media pages, and media outreach. She also brings policy to life by sharing the stories of educators, school leaders, and community members.
Sarah has written extensively about education as a journalist and freelance writer and has attended more than her fair share of town and school district meetings. She holds a Masters in Education from Southern New Hampshire University and has taught and tutored in a variety of settings.
A New Hampshire native, Sarah lives in East Kingston with her husband and a rotating cast of nearly grown children and stepchildren. She is an avid runner and loves hiking, skiing, and other outdoor pursuits that don’t involve spiders or subzero temperatures.
Matt Gerding, Policy Analyst
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 the Public Policy Researcher, Kayla assists the Policy Director and Policy Analyst and works on other policy-related projects.
Kayla is a graduate of Stonehill College’s Class of 2020. She graduated undergrad with 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.
Jana Holdcroft, Office Manager
As the Office Manager, Jana plays an integral role in supporting the Reaching Higher NH team. She coordinates the day to day operations of the organization and serves to move the team’s work forward though logistics and administrative management, while supporting her teammates’ workflow.
Jana received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from North Adams State College and a Graduate Certificate in Business from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Jana and her husband, Chris, moved to New Hampshire 18 years ago to raise their son Zachary. Zack benefited greatly from his public education, which included an IEP, culminating in his successfully graduating from Southern New Hampshire University.
Photos by Charlene Graham