About

2022 NAESPA Leadership


ESEA Timeline

PRESIDENT - Dean Zajic (KS)

Dean Zajic is the State and Federal Program Coordinator for the Special Education and Title Services team of the Kansas State Department of Education, where he oversees the agency’s ESEA and IDEA fiscal coordination and monitoring, supports results-driven accountability through the implementation of the Kansas Integrated Accountability System, and provides training and technical assistance to Kansas school districts on IDEA and ESEA requirements, MTSS implementation, blending and braiding of programs, disproportionality analysis, and best practices to achieve results for all students. 

Dean serves on the Kansas Council for Developmental Disabilities and is a recipient of the Kansas Association of Special Education Administrators Kids First Award.  He supports local, early education by serving on the board of directors for Topeka TDC Early Learning Centers, a non-profit early-learning organization dedicated to serving children from all backgrounds, aged birth through five years old.


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PRESIDENT-ELECT - Tara Rodriguez (KY)

Tara Rodriguez taught high school chemistry and Spanish for 17 years. She came to the Kentucky Department of Education in 2011 as the teacher liaison for the Kentucky Virtual High School and has since acted as a manager working with school improvement and a manager of Title I, Part A, and other federal programs. She currently serves as a director over Title I parts A, C, and D, McKinney-Vento, Rural Low-Income Schools, and 21st Century programs. Since joining the Association, she has served as Region 3 Alternate and is a member of the technology subcommittee. Tara earned master’s degrees in science education, Spanish, and instructional leadership. She received her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in 2016 from Eastern Kentucky University.


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VICE PRESIDENT - Ken Banter (GA)

Dr. Ken Banter – Ken is the Senior Title I Program Manager with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and has served with GaDOE since 2015.  Before, moving into this position, he served as a Title I Area Specialist for GaDOE and worked with 14 school districts implementing their Title I initiatives.  Prior to joining GaDOE, Ken was an educator for 31 years in the Peach County School system in Middle Georgia where he held numerous positions (Teacher, Assistant Principal, Dean of Students, Principal, and Federal Programs Director).  He also served as the Finance Manager for Cardinal Manufacturing Inc. which was a subsidiary of the Blue Bird Body Company.


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SECRETARY - Beth Wooster (NE)

Beth has 30 years of experience in Education and is the ESEA Federal Program Administrator for the State of Nebraska.  She is over all of the ESEA Title Programs as well as the ESSER Grants for the state and feels fortunate to work with an amazing team that has stepped in to help absorb the extra load brought on by the Emergency Relief Grants. 

Beth has been an active member of the Association for the past 10 years, currently serving on the Board as the Alternate for Region 4.  Other roles she has served for the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA) are; Secretary for two years and the Co-Chair of the Early Childhood Committee.  She has also been a member of the National Conference Planning Committee all 10 years, the Communications Committee, the Membership Committee the Ad HOC Revenue Committee and has been Nebraska’s Distinguished Schools State Coordinator since 2012. 

The positive relationships and rapport built with other members of the Association & NAESPA staff are extremely important to Beth.  She takes her responsibilities seriously and makes the Association and its members a priority.


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TREASURER - Jewell Stanley (SC)

My name is Jewell Stanley and I am the Assistant Director for the Office of Federal and State Accountability at the South Carolina Department of Education.  As the Assistant Director, I am responsible for the oversight of all federal education grants under ESSA ensuring fiscal and programmatic compliance. Prior to becoming the Assistant Director, my roles included serving as the Title I, Title II, and Title IV State Coordinator. Throughout my 28 years in education, I have worked with and advocated for Title I students.  I was a teacher and principal of a Title I school for 16 years before beginning my work with the South Carolina Department of Education.

As a part of NAESPA, I have served in various capacities to include the Conference Planning Committee and the Government Relations Committee. I am honored to have been nominated for the position of Treasurer.  I believe that my experience at the school level, state level, and my work thus far with NAESPA would be beneficial in helping our organization grow and providing support to all federal program coordinators.  I have been instrumental in managing administrative budgets and reviewing district allocations and budgets for my state. As the NAESPA Treasurer, I will be dedicated to ensuring accuracy, transparency, and upholding all the duties and responsibilities asked of me.  In addition to my work at the South Carolina Department of Education, I have served as treasurer of my church and my local sorority chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha. My husband, Derrick, and I have two children – a son who is a rising sophomore at South Carolina State University and a daughter who is a rising 9th grader in Kershaw County Public Schools. 


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