Who We Are
Executive Director, GCE-US
Jennifer Rigg (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US). GCE-US, a coalition of over 80 organizations, promotes access to quality education as a human right and mobilizes the public to create political will in the U.S. and internationally to ensure universal access to quality education worldwide. Jennifer brings over 20 years of experience, including international education and development, public policy, coalition building, strategic communications and public management. Previously, Jennifer was the Director of Policy & Partnerships and Interim Executive Director at the 1,000 Days Partnership. At Save the Children, Jennifer led policy and advocacy on education, early childhood development, nutrition and food security, livelihoods, microfinance, and aid effectiveness. Jennifer has also worked with CARE, United Way Worldwide, and the Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy at the University of Washington. She received an MPA and graduate certificate in International and Community Development Policy and Management from the University of Washington, a certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of Wisconsin/Learning Institute for Nonprofits, and a BA in International Studies/Political Science from Emory University.
Christa Gieseckeinclusive education policy officer, GCE-US
Christa Giesecke (she/her) serves as Inclusive Education Policy Officer for Global Campaign for Education-US, where she mobilizes advocacy efforts to promote inclusive quality education alongside coalition members and partners, including through the appropriations and budget process and Inclusive Education and Early Childhood Community of Practice. Previously, she coordinated community-led education and youth empowerment initiatives in Nicaragua, Senegal, Malawi, Haiti, and Nepal with buildOn and taught English in Araguaína, Tocantins, Brazil as a Fulbright Scholar; both experiences provided tremendous insight into the opportunities and challenges of promoting inclusive education in low-resource settings. Christa is especially passionate about the power of education to promote gender equality and women and girls' rights, and has expertise in adolescent girls' education programming, social norms change, school-related gender-based violence, and youth-focused research. She earned her MA in Education, Gender and International Development from University College London, and holds bachelor's degrees in International Affairs and World Languages (Spanish and German) from Lewis & Clark College.
Stephanie Peñainclusive education coordinator, GCE-US
Stephanie Peña (she/her) is an Inclusive Education Coordinator at the Global Campaign for Education-US and Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Previously, Stephanie was a Research Assistant for Inclusive Development Partners, working with USAID. Prior to beginning her doctoral program, Stephanie served as a US Peace Corps Response Volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean where she partnered with the Special Education sector within the Ministry of Education in Grenada. She spent the majority of her service with local special education schools providing literacy training for teachers, reading assessments for students, and creating parent support groups for families. Prior to her Peace Corps service, she worked as a Regional Inclusion Coordinator in New York City with community organizations dedicated to the inclusion of children with disabilities throughout Manhattan and the Bronx. Stephanie is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar from the University of Washington where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Gender, Women & Interdisciplinary Studies. She has since received her Master’s degree in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she was a Research Fellow for the YCAB Foundation in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Pierina Anton Lopez
Pierina Anton Lopez (she/her) is a Global Campaign for Education-US Fellow and a Master’s candidate in Global Human Development at the Georgetown Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she is a 2021 USAID Donald M. Payne Fellow. Prior to pursuing her graduate studies, Pierina worked with the United States Institute of Peace to help support the Institute’s peacebuilding initiatives in the Donbas region of Ukraine. She also interned with USAID’s Bureau for Africa, in the Education and Youth Division, and supported the agency’s work in education in crisis and conflict, social and emotional learning, and countering school-related gender-based violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. While completing her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations at Florida International University, Pierina served as a Youth Casework Aide with the International Rescue Committee in Miami, Florida. There, she connected unaccompanied youth migrants to essential social services, including healthcare, education, and pro-bono legal assistance. Her interest in international education development led her to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where she taught English at a local teacher training college and developed a report on the challenges facing the Cambodian education sector after interviewing staff from UNICEF Siem Reap.
Anny Lin (she/her) serves as a Fellow for the Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US), where she supports the organization’s advocacy, public policy, communications, and engagement work. She is a current student at The George Washington University, studying international affairs, with a focus in international development and economics. Anny has previously served as an intern at Inkululeko, a non-profit organization that promotes education access in the township communities of Makhanda, South Africa, where she assisted with the organization’s grant management, donor relations, and social media presence. As a Fellow at GCE-US, Anny is excited to support and engage with coalition members and other advocates to further improve equitable education access for all.
Mahpari Sotoudeh, Board Co-Chair, is a Program Officer at the National Democratic Institute, where she works on the Middle East/North Africa team. In her capacity at NDI, Mahpari has supported civic education programming and youth-focused projects in Morocco, Algeria, and the West Bank. Prior to joining NDI, Mahpari worked at a non-profit that provides online civic education resources to Iranian activists and at the U.S. Department of State, Middle East Institute, and Project on Middle East Democracy. In her spare time, Mahpari teaches ESL to adults in the Washington D.C. area and leads a weekly civics class for aspiring U.S. citizens.
Eric Harris, Board Co-Chair, is the Communications Director for U.S. Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) who serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. During his tenure on Capitol Hill, he published an array of opinion pieces for news outlets including the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. He has also led numerous professional development workshops for staff members in the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Democratic Communicators Network. Prior to his time in the U.S. Congress, Eric worked as a media and public affairs strategist for corporate clients, nonprofit organizations, political campaigns, and cause-oriented initiatives. He is an NBC News THINK contributor, a graduate of UCLA, and a native of Calabasas, CA.
Ngozi Lawal, Board Secretary, is the Project Director for CSSP’s Prenatal to 3 Initiative, aimed at increasing the number of children on track for kindergarten in EC-LINC communities. She convenes the prenatal to three communities and provides them with technical assistance on building effective early childhood systems. Prior to joining CSSP, Ngozi Lawal supported the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Education at the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human in implementing a national policy agenda to help states and communities help babies, toddlers and preschoolers get ready for school. She oversaw the federal State Advisory Councils and played a key role in the policy development and implementation of the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge and Preschool Development Grants. Previously, Ngozi managed the child care portfolio at the American Public Human Services Association, working alongside state child care administrators to develop policy proposals to improve implementation of the Child Care and Development Fund. She partnered with state child welfare directors to reduce the disproportionality of children of color in the child welfare system and improve the educational and social outcomes for youth who age out of foster care without permanent home placements. Ngozi began her career at Zero to Three where she tracked state and federal policies and initiatives on early childhood mental health. Ngozi has a Master of Arts Degree in Child Development from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Boston College.
Amanda Guarino, Board Treasurer, is the Policy Director for the First Five Years Fund (FFYF), and has over a decade of experience and policy expertise in early childhood education and management. Guarino joined FFYF after nearly twelve years with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where she played a crucial role in the Administration for Children & Families’ management of programs that support early childhood education and development. Beginning in 2010, Guarino served as Management and Program Analyst within the Office of Child Care at the Administration for Children & Families. In this role she provided strategic direction, leadership, and consultation regarding the coordination and delivery of Technical Assistance (TA) activities. This coordination included implementation of process quality improvement, budget monitoring considerations, Child Care/Head Start collaboration activities, and effective communication across federal programs and TA projects. Guarino also managed several TA projects including the State Capacity Building Center, the next iteration of the State Systems Specialist Network. In this role she worked tirelessly to ensure the delivery of TA is systematic, of high quality, responsive to grantee needs, and outcome driven. Guarino holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of the Holy Cross and earned a Masters of Arts Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Administration from Columbia University in the city of New York. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and lives on Capitol Hill.
Joanne Carter is the Executive Director of RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund (REF) and has been a part of RESULTS in a variety of capacities for over 20 years. Joanne became legislative director of RESULTS/REF in 1992 and associate executive director in 2007. As legislative director of RESULTS/REF, Joanne worked with key administration and congressional allies, partner organizations, and technical agencies orchestrating U.S. and international campaigns to tackle major diseases of poverty (particularly tuberculosis and major child killers), increase access to education, expand economic opportunity for the poorest, and reform World Bank and International Monetary Fund policies. An international expert and spokesperson on global poverty issues, Joanne regularly organizes media briefings on breaking legislative and technical news and works closely with the World Health Organization, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and other international organizations. She is also a founding board member of Global Action for Children.
Laura Giangiuli is the Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, where she is responsible for managing all aspects of Human Resources as well as payroll administration and corporate security for CALIBRE. In this role, Laura is also a member of the Corporate Leadership Team and advises the Board of Directors and Corporate Officers on matters concerning: Risk Management, Legal Issues, Federal & State Compliance, M&A, Compensation & Benefits, Employee Relations and Company Culture as well as Talent Acquisition, Performance Management, Employee Development and Executive Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Cost Control, and Training. Laura has over 20 years of experience in human capital management, with proven success developing programs to achieve corporate goals. She also has experience creating and managing HR programs and policies for a dispersed workforce to include international employees in and out of war zones. Laura holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), SHRM - Senior Certified Professional (SHRM – SCP) and a Strategic HR Business Partner (sHRBP) certifications. Laura holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Marymount University. Laura is currently enrolled at Cornell University in the Executive Masters Human Resources Program (EMHRM).