Our Team

Deborah Hicks, PAGE Project Director and Author

Deborah Hicks-Rogoff

Executive Director

PAGE’s founder and executive director, Deborah Hicks-Rogoff was raised in a small town in the North Carolina mountains. Educated in public schools, she earned a doctorate in Education and Human Development from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Deborah is a social entrepreneur, teacher, researcher, and writer who over three decades has worked to create educational opportunity for children in rural and working-class America. A well-known voice in the education field for her writings about literacy, Deborah is the author of two earlier books and numerous journal and magazine articles. Her most recent book tells the story of her teaching experiences in one of Cincinnati’s most distressed Appalachian neighborhoods: The Road Out: A Teacher’s Odyssey in Poor America.

Deborah is a Research Scholar in the Social Science Research Institute at Duke University.

Listen to Deborah talk about The Road Out on The Diane Rehm Show

Nancy Allen, Program Director

Nancy Allen

Program Director

Nancy is a Madison County native who has devoted a distinguished career in education to service in her home county. She has served as principal of four elementary s chools and Madison Middle School and is a beloved member of the Marshall-Walnut community. Nancy brings a rich array of skills to PAGE: advanced degrees in educational administration, extensive teaching and leadership experience, and a deep understanding of Madison County communities and family life. She holds an Education Specialist Degree from Western Carolina University and a Bachelor of Arts from Mars Hill College. Nancy provides leadership with on the ground organization and i nstruction, across the school year and in our intensive summer program. She brings to PAGE a leadership style that focuses on building authentic engagement, trust, respect, and strong professionalism.

Amanda Berardi Tennant, 2017 PAGE Fellow

Amanda Berardi Tennant

2017 PAGE Fellow

Having grown up in a small town in West Virginia, Amanda comes to PAGE with a deep sense of pride in her Appalachian background and a dedication to empowering the region’s young people. While earning her undergraduate degree at West Virginia University, Amanda volunteered in public elementary schools and taught in after-school programs. Her interest in literacy education in rural communities led Amanda to pursue a Ph.D. in Rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon University. She has devoted her graduate studies to understanding how Appalachian students navigate their transition from home to college with the goal of helping more students from the region gain access to higher education. In addition to her research, Amanda teaches writing courses at Carnegie Mellon and works for the university’s first-year writing program as a mentor to new instructors. She is eager to draw on her expertise to support the PAGE summer program and to coordinate the college and high school intern teams.

Deborah Chandler, Bus Driver and Instructional Assistant

Deborah Chandler

Instructional Assistant

Deborah (Debbie) Chandler comes to PAGE from the community of Revere, located in Laurel. Debbie has deep ties to the musical traditions for which Laurel is known. She is the granddaughter of Dellie Chandler Norton, who in 1990 received a North Carolina Heritage Award for her singing of traditional mountain ballads. Debbie continues to share this cultural heritage with PAGE students and interns, along with her dancing. In her youth, Debbie was an award-winning clogger. During the school year, Debbie serves as an instructional assistant at Hot Springs Elementary School and school bus driver for students from Laurel. Over the summer, Debbie serves as a bus driver for PAGE students in Laurel and an instructional assistant for activities such as digital storytelling and reading. From time to time, Debbie delights PAGE students and staff with her musical storytelling, singing haunting mountain ballads in the tradition she has inherited from her grandmother.

Listen to one of Debbie's ballads

Listen to one of Debbie's ballads

Jessica Sperling, Director of Program Evaluation

Jessica Sperling

Director of Program Evaluation

Jessica joined Duke University’s Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) in 2015 to manage evaluation programming in the Education and Human Development incubator (EHDi). She is dedicated to developing community-engaged and applied research, improving programs through responsive and collaborative evaluation, and developing educational programming with hands-on learning opportunities. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she focused on immigration, race/ethnicity, and inequality. As a sociologist, Jessica brings a focus on institutions and social structure to her work, and she appreciates being actively engaged in solutions to social problems. Prior to joining Duke University’s SSRI, Jessica worked in research and evaluation in higher education and non-profits in New York. Having moved to North Carolina after a decade in New York City, Jessica has been busy exploring our local food and culture and is happily acclimating to a southern pace of life. Jessica heads a PAGE evaluation team that includes Caroline Davis, AIG Coordinator at Madison County Schools.

Caroline Davis, AIG Coordinator at Madison County Schools

Caroline Davis

AIG Coordinator at Madison County Schools

Caroline provides support with data collection and research in Madison County and serves as a liaison between our university and public school system partners. With support from Caroline Davis and, on a rotating basis, graduate students from Duke University’s Department of Psychology and Sanford School of Public Policy, Jessica is helping us understand PAGE’s impact on girls’ lives and educational outcomes.