Leadership Staff


  • Tony Habit



    Tony Habit

    As founding president, Tony Habit developed NC New Schools to become one of the nation’s leading private-public ventures to transform public education. He is an experienced leader for the development of school reform and innovation strategies with government, higher education, and the private sector. Habit partnered with the Office of the Governor, the State Board of Education, colleges and universities and others to create the largest network of early college high schools in the nation. He also leveraged ties with business and industry to establish a statewide network of STEM-aligned schools linked to areas such as biotechnology, energy and sustainability, health and life sciences and aerospace and advanced manufacturing. Under Habit’s leadership, North Carolina’s early colleges were named by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as an “Innovation in American Government” award recipient.

    Habit regularly presents to governmental committees and commissions at the state and federal levels including presentations to the United States Senate HELP committee. He has traveled extensively to learn about school innovation in other countries. In 2000, he was named an Eisenhower Fellow to travel to Australia and New Zealand to study market competition and school quality and instructional technology. He serves as president of the North Carolina Eisenhower Fellows.

    Habit earned a doctorate in educational administration from Columbia University, Teachers College in New York. He began his career as a counselor for special needs students in middle and high schools.

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  • Angela Hinson Quick

    Senior Vice President


    Angela Hinson Quick

    Angela Hinson Quick joined NC New Schools in 2013 to lead the organization’s efforts to support innovative programming in schools, districts and regions that effectively advances Common Core standards and graduates all students ready for success in postsecondary education and careers. She focuses on approaches to teaching and learning marked by inquiry and authenticity in addition to collaborating with colleges and universities to focus on the preparation of future educators and partnering with leaders at all levels to advance STEM education.

    From 2008 to 2013, she served as deputy chief academic officer for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. In that position, she was responsible for the standards, assessments and accountability metrics for North Carolina’s K-12 academic programs, oversaw the design and development of the Instructional Improvement System (IIS), and worked with North Carolina’s successful Race to the Top (RttT) Grant program.

    Quick began her work in education as one of the first North Carolina Teaching Fellows and served as a high school biology teacher and principal, with experience in school districts in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. She was honored twice as a Teacher of the Year and as the Watauga County Schools’ Principal of the Year in 2007.

    Quick has served on numerous science, math, and engineering education advisory boards.  She holds a bachelor of science degree from Appalachian State University, a master of science degree from the University of South Carolina, and a doctorate in education from Cambridge College in Boston.

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  • Joe Edney

    Chief of Staff

    Joe Edney

    Joe Edney joined NC New Schools in 2012 as strategy analyst. In that role, he marshaled the Vision 2015 strategic and business plan in cooperation with the Board of Directors and the Executive Team. Under his leadership, NC New Schools has remained focused on planning and the management of performance and improvement data to provide a strong foundation for the organization’s commitment to continuous improvement.

    In his current role as chief of staff, Edney leads strategic planning, manages key projects and supports staff alignment and communications across the organization. He also assists the President with expanding a high-quality, sustainable business model to achieve the mission of NC New Schools.


    Prior to joining NC New Schools, Edney was a senior analyst with ScottMadden Management Consultants, where he specialized in business operations and strategic development within the US energy sector. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from North Carolina State University.

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  • Jodi Anderson

    Vice President, Institutional Advancement

    Jodi Anderson

    A staff member at NC New Schools since 2008, Jodi Anderson now leads the Institutional Advancement department. As a department, they are charged with the responsibility of raising visibility and credibility, cultivating supporters and securing diversified financial resources to reach the NCNS mission. In her specific role, Anderson works with superintendents and district staff to develop solutions and provide our services to develop high performing schools and districts. From 2008 to 2013, Anderson led the creation of NC New Schools’ North Carolina Center for Education Leadership to advance new approaches to enhance the knowledge and skills of school administrators as leaders for innovation.

    Anderson brings more than 28 years of experience as an educator and student advocate.  She began her teaching career in Virginia as a middle and high school science teacher, then went on to serve as an elementary, middle and high school principal in Granville County. Anderson also has worked at the district level as the testing and accountability director, elementary and middle school director, and most recently as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. In her doctoral dissertation on male dropouts in rural schools, Anderson identified new research that has fueled her passion to help all students succeed.

    Anderson holds a bachelor’s degree in botany from DePauw University, a master’s degree in educational leadership from UNC-Chapel Hill and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Phoenix.

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  • Wendi Knapke

    Vice President, Finance & Operations

    Wendi Knapke joined NC New Schools in 2007 as the sole member of the finance staff. Since then, she has presided over the establishment of a new department with six employees. Under her leadership, NC New Schools has had successive independent financial audits that determined that the agency operates fiscally sound and within accepted accounting procedures.

    Knapke brings more than 14 years experience in the field of accounting. The majority of her career was spent at Ernst & Young, LLP, in the audit and business advisory group, serving both the not-for-profit and healthcare industries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and is a certified public accountant in the state of North Carolina.

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  • Michelle Cole

    Senior Director, Institutional Advancement

    Michelle Cole

    With more than 15 years’ experience in program and grants development, Michelle Cole has worked with four-year liberal arts colleges, state colleges and universities, public school systems and community-based nonprofit organizations. As Senior Director of Institutional Advancement, Cole’s primary responsibilities are to develop and implement a comprehensive organizational development strategy and to expand and diversify NC New Schools’ partner base.

    Her expertise includes writing grant applications and proposals; developing, updating and improving internal policies, procedures and guidelines to enhance organizational infrastructure; and promoting an organizational climate supportive of grants and sponsored programs.

    Cole is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in applied communication and a master’s degree in special education.

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  • Joyce Loveless

    Senior Director, School Services

    Joyce Loveless

    Joyce Loveless is an experienced educator with a diverse background in teaching and learning, professional development and cultural competency. Loveless has worked extensively to advance new and more effective approaches to teaching and learning that engage and motivate students toward increasingly higher levels of achievement to prepare them for success beyond high school.

    Currently the senior director for school services for NC New Schools, Loveless provides leadership and vision to support continuous improvement in schools to sustain innovation and growth. Prior to her work at NC New Schools, she was the executive director for access and equity for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, directing its signature diversity and equity programs.

    Loveless has created partnerships and leveraged resources with national education organizations, school systems, foundations, and school-business community organizations. She has served as an advisory board member for NC State’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, Learning Forward’s Standards Revision Task Force and the Center for Teaching Quality’s Science and Math Initiative. As a reviewer for the US Department of Education, her input has helped select the recipients for the Teacher Incentive Funds, School Leadership, and Investing in Innovation grants. She has contributed to papers on national teaching standards and the recruitment and retention of accomplished teachers in underrepresented communities.

    Loveless began her career in Wake County, NC, as a middle school language arts teacher. Loveless holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in adult education and development from NC State University. She is an Education Policy Fellow for the Institute of Educational Leadership and is a National Board Certified Teacher.

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  • Robin Marcus

    Senior Director, Research & Development

    Robin Marcus

    Robin Marcus brings more than two decades of experience improving teaching and learning, particularly for students traditionally under-served in our educational system, to her work as head of the Research & Development department at NC New Schools.  This department serves as the organizational hub for innovation and research to accelerate the growth of NC New Schools as a learning organization to improve our current model while innovating to design future models. She previously led the Professional Learning team and helped lead the development, implementation, and monitoring of the NC New Schools strategic plan for advancing STEM education across our network and the state. Marcus has particular passion and expertise in the areas of mathematics teaching and learning, supportive assessment and grading.

    For three years prior to joining NC New Schools, Marcus served as a mathematics instructional coach and teacher in an innovation high school in Baltimore, where she collaborated on a proposal for a new STEM school for girls, which opened in the fall of 2009. She served on the development team for the second and third (Common Core) editions of Core-Plus Mathematics, an innovative high school math curriculum, and has provided professional development for teachers of mathematics in national, regional and local workshops. She also worked as an evaluator and consultant for the Math Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia.

    Currently ABD, Marcus completed coursework for a PhD in curriculum and instruction, specializing in mathematics education, at the University of Maryland. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Drake University and a master’s degree in mathematics from Michigan State University.

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  • Edna Wallace

    Senior Director, Policy & Partnerships

    Edna Wallace

    Edna Wallace joined NC New Schools in 2012 to lead the organization’s effort in public policy and advocacy. Under her leadership, NC New School’s has established funding from the General Assembly and removed policy barriers to allow education innovation initiatives to scale across the state. In addition to policy, Wallace leads the Communications and Marketing team with which seeks to position NC New Schools as a national leader in strategies that graduate students ready for college, career and life.

    Previously Wallace worked for four years special assistant to the vice chancellor for university relations at UNC Charlotte, serving as the university’s liaison to state and local government to inform policy makers and advance the university’s fiscal and policy agenda. She led government relations efforts to expand legislative appropriations from the NC General Assembly, including appropriations to complete one of UNC Charlotte’s largest academic initiative — the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC).

    Wallace has also served as director of development and assistant director of community affairs. In addition, she represented the university as a member of the Charlotte Chamber’s Workforce Development and Education Committee. Previously, she was the Harris Conference Center senior coordinator, an entrepreneurial venture for Central Piedmont Community College.

    A Goldsmith Scholar for Psychology, Wallace earned her bachelor’s degree at Elmhurst College in Illinois with a major in psychology and a minor in intercultural studies and sociology.

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  • Pauline Younts

    Senior Director, Coaching Services

    Pauline Younts

    Pauline Younts began her education career in Portsmouth, England, teaching in an urban fifth-grade classroom. She moved to the United States with the Visiting International Faculty in 1997 and taught core subjects with a seventh-grade middle school team in rural Pitt County, NC. For the next 10 years, Younts served students and families in Granville County as an elementary and middle school teacher, coach, mentor and director of instruction. She moved to high school as an assistant principal and later was appointed principal of South Granville High School of Health Sciences, a redesigned high school.

    In her role as Senior Director for Coaching Services, Younts supports the design, development and implementation of a quality coaching program, providing services to teachers, and school and district leaders.

    Younts earned a bachelor’s of education degree in math and technology at The University College of St. Mark and St. John in Plymouth, England, a master’s degree in school administration from North Carolina State University and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in education from George Washington University.

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