Staff

  • Nicole D. Cole, Esq.

    President & CEO cole@njcharters.org 609-989-9700, ext. 4412

    Nicole D. Cole, Esq. is the President & CEO of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, a 501(c)(3) membership association representing the state’s charter schools and the children they serve. NJCSA is committed to advancing quality public education for New Jersey’s children through quality public charter schools, with the vision that every child should have the opportunity to attend a high-quality public school that best meets his or her needs.

    Nicole is a seasoned government affairs professional, rooted in Trenton for much of the last decade, most recently with Princeton Public Affairs Group (PPAG), one of Trenton’s most prolific government affairs firms. At PPAG, Nicole represented clients in the energy, education, housing, and business arenas before the NJ Legislature, the Governor’s Office, and departments within the State.

    Prior to her time at PPAG, Nicole practiced various areas of law including complex commercial litigation and labor and employment law. In her law practice, she served as general counsel to various public entities. Her legal career began with the New Jersey State Legislature, where she staffed several committees in the Senate Republican office. Nicole is active in Union County politics and serves on the executive committee of the Union County Republican Committee. Nicole also serves on the board for the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey and is active with the WPC-NJ PAC Committee.

    Nicole holds a bachelor of arts in English from the University of Nebraska, and a juris doctor from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.

  • Brian Diamante

    Director of Data Systems and Senior State Budget Analyst
    bdiamante@njcharters.org 609-989-9700, ext. 4419

    As Director of Data Systems, Brian provides data support to members and maintains the internal data system at the Association. Brian will be developing and enhancing the Association’s current data capabilities by building a database of education data which will be used both as a backend for new website data visualizations, as well as a resource for data requests, advocacy, and future reports and studies performed by the Association.

    Before joining NJCSA, Brian was a SAS programmer and data analyst with the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, part of the SUNY Research Foundation. His responsibilities there included cleaning, formatting and manipulating large amounts of data to produce timely and useful reports for stakeholders. He has experience working with a multitude of enterprise level, state-run databases and served on a taskforce focused on redesigning New York’s traffic safety data system. Brian has a bachelor’s degree in public policy from SUNY University at Albany. A native of Troy, NY, Brian and his wife reside in Colorado.

  • Rick Pressler

    Director of School Services rpressler@njcharters.org 609-989-9700, ext. 4411

    Rick is a founder of the Greater Brunswick Charter School (established 1998) where he served as chairman of the Board of Trustees and then as executive director until 2008. He has also consulted with numerous charter schools throughout the state and helped establish the Gaining Ground charter school facilities initiative in partnership with Build With Purpose (formerly Real Estate Advisory & Development Services, Inc.), the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, and Greater Brunswick Charter School.

    Prior to working in the charter school movement, Rick worked in book publishing, software development, project management, and business process analysis, primarily in the telecommunications and internet industries. He serves on the board of the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education South Africa Initiative, the Greater Brunswick Charter School Advisory Board, and the New Jersey Arts Education Steering Committee.

    Rick has a bachelor’s in music composition and theory from Haverford College and a master’s in public affairs and politics from Rutgers University.

  • Donna Siminski

    Director of Policy and Advocacy dsiminski@njcharters.org 609-989-9700, ext. 4414

    As director of policy and advocacy, Donna focuses on the policy issues impacting the charter schools in New Jersey, and works with members, charter families, and charter school professionals to advocate for high-quality charter schools and the children they serve.

    Prior to joining NJCSA, Donna worked on social justice policy issues for Volunteers of America Delaware Valley. She has deep knowledge of the public sector, having worked for the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency as the Director of External Affairs; the Governor’s Office of Constituent Relations; and for NJ Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts as Chief of Staff.

    Donna attended Rutgers University, Camden, where she earned a bachelor’s of science in political science and a master’s in public administration.

  • Amanda Vega-Malinowski

    Director of Communications and Marketing avega@njcharters.org 609-989-9700, ext. 4413

    Amanda joined NJCSA in August 2014 and is responsible for the organization’s strategy and execution of communications and marketing. Before joining NJCSA, Amanda taught high school Spanish at one of Newark’s public charter schools through Teach for America. Prior to teaching, she was a publicist at Scholastic Children’s Books in New York City where she was responsible for the planning and promotion of publicity for children’s book authors, including Tony-award winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes and supporting publicity for Suzanne Collins’ highly-acclaimed young adult trilogy, The Hunger Games. Working in both publishing and academic settings provided Amanda with opportunities to work with children, the media, and educational organizations, where she was able to blend her passion for strong communications with her strong belief in an equitable and excellent education for all students.

    In May 2011, Amanda completed a master’s degree in communications at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She graduated from Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus in 2008 with a dual-degree in communications media theory and Spanish literature where she was first exposed to communications developed for children.

  • Carrie Wetherby, CEM

    Manager of Membership and Events cwetherby@njcharters.org 609-989-9700, ext. 4410

    As the Manager of Membership and Events, Carrie is primarily responsible for creating and producing the annual New Jersey Charter Schools Conference and managing the membership program. She also manages special projects and oversees the daily operations of the NJCSA office.

    Prior to joining NJCSA in 2006, Carrie was owner/operator of Wetherby Productions, LLC, a small event production company, where she managed the logistics for private trade shows and community festivals for several clients. Prior to that, Carrie was an exhibits project manager at Jack Morton Worldwide; an associate editor at MMS Education; and an account manager at Sparks Exhibits and Environments in its Philadelphia headquarters. She has extensive experience in print, web and e-mail communications, event logistics, and program management.

    She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature with an art history minor from the University of Delaware, and holds a Certificate in Exhibition Management from IAEE. Carrie is originally from the Finger Lakes area in New York and resides in Newtown, Bucks County, PA, where she is on the board of the Newtown Historic Association. She enjoys genealogy research and is an avid fan of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Click here for high-resolution headshots of NJCSA staff members.