2022-2023   Board Of Directors


Christiana Thornton


NH Higher Education Assistance Foundation Network
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Angela Baier


CollegeInvest | College Assist
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Scott D. Giles

Immediate Past Chair

Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority
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Wendy H. McAlister


College Foundation, Inc.
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James P. Bergeron


National Council of Higher Education Resources
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Directors At-Large (Term expires June 30, 2023)

Bryan Ashton

Director At-Large

Trellis Company
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Chad Tate

Director At-Large

ECMC Group
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Scott A. Giles

Director At-Large

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
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Nathan Hench

Director At-Large

Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
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Melissa Neal

Director At-Large

Oklahoma College Assistance Program
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Directors At-Large (Term expires June 30, 2024)

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Diana Barber

Director At-Large

Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority
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James T. Farha

Director At-Large

Oklahoma Student Loan Authority
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Ron Gambill

Director At-Large

Education Loan Finance Inc. (ELFI)
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Ray Jones

Director At-Large

SC Student Loan
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James B. (Jimmy) Parker

Director At-Large

Panhandle-Plains Higher Education Foundation
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Liaison Member

Robert Lavet

Private Lenders Liaison

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James P. Bergeron


James P. Bergeron currently serves as President of the National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER), which represents a nationwide network of lenders, secondary markets, guaranty agencies, loan servicers, private collection agencies, schools, and others that assist students, borrowers, parents, and families access, manage, and pay for the costs of postsecondary education. The membership includes education finance organizations that administer and service federal education loans and entities that underwrite, administer, and service private education loans.

Prior to joining NCHER, James worked as the Director of Education and Human Services Policy for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. In this capacity, he advised Chairman John Kline, members, and staff, and oversaw policy development on all areas of education and human services programs, including the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Head Start Act, and other federal laws governing elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education.

Before joining the Committee in 2006, James served as Legislative Director in California Rep. Buck McKeon’s personal office where he was responsible for developing and implementing the legislative agenda within the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness. He authored important legislative initiatives on college affordability and financial aid simplification. James began his Capitol Hill service almost 20 years ago as a Legislative Assistant to former Louisiana Rep. Bob Livingston, who chaired the House Appropriations Committee.

James also served as Vice President of MARC Associates (now part of Holland & Knight), a government relations firm where he consulted for a number of elementary and secondary education and higher education organizations.

He holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Stefanie Gramm, CMP

Director, Operations & Meetings

Stefanie Gramm is NCHER’s Director of Operations and Meetings, a position she has held since 2003, and is responsible for all logistical aspects for more than 10 meetings and an exhibition each year. She serves as liaison to the Board of Directors, coordinates meeting site research and selection, manages vendor contracts, performs in-house accounting, manages member dues, assists the CFO with budget preparation and auditing, and is the office manager.

Stefanie, who is a certified meeting professional and holds a legal assistant certification from Washington Business School, has more than 20 years of experience and expertise in the meetings and event management arena. Prior to joining NCHER, she was Director of Member Services at IMN Solutions for six years. Stefanie has also worked at GMG Solutions and Pfizer.

Shelly Repp

Senior Advisor & Council

Shelly Repp is a Senior Advisor and Counsel to the National Council of Higher Education Resources where he served as President from July 2011 until May 2014. NCHER represents a nationwide network of lenders, secondary markets, guaranty agencies, loan servicers, collectors, schools and other organizations involved in the administration of education loan programs. He joined the organization in 1999 as its General Counsel.

Shelly has an extensive background in education matters and student aid, having previously been employed in the Office of the General Counsel at the former U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Shelly served for two years as the senior assistant to the Inspector General at the Department of Labor. He joined the legal staff of Sallie Mae in 1981, with the concluding position as Vice President and Senior Deputy General Counsel. He was responsible for supervising all legal work relating to Sallie Mae’s asset and securities transactions and providing legal advice on new product development and legislative analysis.

Shelly received his A.B. in 1969 from Brown University and his J.D. degree in 1974 from the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he was Managing Editor of the Buffalo Law Review. He is a member of the New York and District of Columbia Bars. Shelly is active in community and educational affairs and in the arts. He served for over 15 years as a director of the DC Chamber of Commerce, where for five years he was Chairman of the Government Affairs Committee. He is a past President of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

Vicki Shipley

Senior Advisor

Vicki Shipley is Senior Advisor to the National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER). A 42-year veteran of higher education finance experience, Vicki is staff liaison to many of the NCHER committees and caucuses with a focus on policy development and implementation, compliance as well as regulatory and legislative activities. She held similar positions at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and Southwest Student Services.

Vicki has a graduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois in Springfield and an undergraduate degree in Accounting from Illinois State University.