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Our Team

Our Team
Nina Kumar
Nina Kumar

Co-Founder and CEO

Nina works closely with all schools to ensure success. She also leads strategy, outreach, and partnerships.

Suniya Luthar
Dr. Suniya Luthar

Co-Founder Emerita

All AC’s surveys are built on Dr. Suniya Luthar’s 30+ years of research and consultation with schools. For details, see SuniyaLuthar.org

Lisa Pao
Dr. Lisa Pao

Director of Research

Dr. Pao leads our research efforts and derives recommendations for schools and communities.

Harrison Tool
Harrison Tool

VP of Engagement

Harrison leads our expansion and outreach efforts to grow our work with new schools and partners.

Stephanie Ramsey
Dr. Stephanie Ramsey

Scientific Researcher

Dr. Ramsey works to analyze data and write research publications.

Renee
Renee Benoit

Project Coordinator

Renee helps to coordinate our collaborations with schools.

Nicole Zillmer
Dr. Nicole Zillmer

Scientific Researcher

Dr. Zillmer works to analyze data and write research publications.

Steve Lee
Dr. Steve Lee

Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Lee works closely with AC to publish research and integrate topical factors into school surveys.



Authentic Connections Advisory Board

Melanie Bauman
The Webb Schools Logo

Melanie Bauman is Director of Counseling at the Webb Schools in Claremont, CA. Before moving to the West, she worked in Boston, MA, as counselor at Boston Latin School and at Chelsea Public Schools. Melanie received her BS in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. Melanie has developed and led diverse programs to foster well-being in schools including curricula for school-wide interventions, Peer Advisory initiatives, and clubs for LGBTQ+ and Allies.
Johanna Callard
Northfield Mount Hermon Logo

Johanna Callard is the Director of Counseling at Northfield Mt. Hermon, MA. For over 20 years she has worked in a variety of settings with children, adolescents, and families. Prior to joining Northfield Mount Hermon in 2014, Johanna worked in community mental health with children and families as an outpatient clinician and a supervisor. During that time, she created "Wise Girls", a community arts group program for adolescent girls. Johanna received her BA from Prescott College and her Master’s in clinical social work from Smith College. She is passionate about supporting individuals, groups, and communities in working towards healing and change, and frequently integrates contemplative practices into her work.
Tracie Catlett
Greensboro Day School Logo

Tracie Catlett is the Head of School at Greensboro Day School, in North Carolina. Prior to her appointment in 2019 as the school’s first female Head of School, she spent 13 years at Louisville Collegiate School serving many roles including Assistant Head of School for Academics and Associate Head of School. Her career in education also includes over a decade as a public school teacher. Tracie holds a B.S. in Finance from Florida State University and an M.A.T. from the University of Louisville. She is currently pursuing a Ed.D at Johns Hopkins University, where she is conducting research on the rise of stress and anxiety among female adolescents in high-achieving, affluent communities.
Nicole Hager
Kent Place School Logo

Nicole Hager is Director of Upper School at Kent Place School, NJ. Prior to this, she served as Dean of Students at Northfield Mt. Hermon, MA for 17 years, following nine years at Deerfield Academy, MA, as an English teacher, college advisor, coordinator of multicultural education, and associate dean of admissions. Nicole earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Dartmouth College and is a member of its Athletic Hall of Fame. She also earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Baypath University. She is well known for her expertise in initiatives to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools, including those on antiracism and gender inclusiveness.
Eric Lombardi
Fort Worth Country Day School Logo

Eric Lombardi is Head of School at Fort Worth Country Day School, Texas. Before joining St. John’s, Lombardi had Upper School leadership, admission, teaching, college counseling and coaching positions at Casady School in Oklahoma City and Head-Royce School in Oakland, Calif. Eric graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College with a degree in history. He earned a master’s degree in liberal studies from Duke University and a master’s in education from Columbia University.
Mark McKee
Viewpoint Logo

Mark McKee is Head of School and President at Viewpoint School, Los Angeles, CA. He was previously Head of School at St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School, San Francisco, CA and prior to that, was Upper School Head at Chase Collegiate School, Waterbury, CT. Mark holds a Bachelor’s degree in Classics and English from Harvard University, studied medieval English literature at UC Irvine, and is a doctoral candidate in education leadership at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Mark is passionate about developing leadership capacity and building inclusive communities through strategy, ethics, and adult learning.
Anna Moore
The Westminster Schools Logo

Anna Moore is Director of Student Support at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA, where she previously held positions as Director of Summer School, Grade Level Dean, Academic Lead of Concussion team, and Science teacher. She also served on the faculty of the Emory University School of Medicine. Anna holds a BA in Psychology and Human Development from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Neuropsychology from the University of California, San Diego. She is committed to a holistic approach to students and community well-being, guided by rigorous data and evidence-based practices.
Amada Torres
National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Logo

Amada Torres is the Vice President of Studies, Insights, and Research at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Before joining NAIS, Amada was a Senior Manager at the Corporate Executive Board, a membership-based provider of best practices research and analyses. Prior to this, she was an economic consultant with the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Peru. Amada holds a BA in economics from the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru. With the prestigious Chevening Scholarship, she earned an MA (Honors) in Finance and Business Economics at the University of Essex in the UK. Amada is a permanent contributor to the NAIS TrendBook, and regularly speaks on critical issues in independent schools including mental health and well-being, financial sustainability, admissions and marketing, and advocacy.
Quinton Walker
University School of Nashville Logo

Quinton Walker is Head of High School at University School of Nashville, TN. He is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Education at Vanderbilt University. Quinton earned his BA in political science at Duke University, a Masters in Higher Education Administration at the University of Michigan, and an Ed.D. at Vanderbilt University. His areas of expertise include education leadership, community mental health for students as well as school adults, and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives addressing groups based on race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Debra Wilson
Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) Logo

Debra Wilson is President, Southern Association of Independent Schools. She previously served as general counsel for NAIS for 19 years. Debra received her B.A. in English from Sewanee, The University of the South, and her J.D. from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. Debra regularly presents to school leaders around the country and abroad about governance, leadership, and legal issues. She is widely recognized for her leadership in forging productive collaborations across stakeholders in the world of independent schools.