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Katherine Westerhold White No Longer with Relay Graduate School of Education, Now Works for a “Strategic” Mystery Entity.

October 24, 2019

According to her Linkedin bio, Katherine Westerhold White, wife of Lousiana state superintendent John White, has left her position as “national director of policy and government affairs” at the Relay Graduate School of Education, a position that raised ethics questions and for which John White sought formal guidance in October 2017.

Even though Westerhold’s Linkedin bio lists her current employment as simply “independent consultant,” Westerhold now appears as a “senior affiliate” with HCM Strategists, which appears to be consulting/advocacy business in the medical and education arenas. On its “who we are” page, HCM Strategists describes itself as follows:

We Are HCM

HCM works effectively on our clients’ behalf, providing support and strategic guidance to help form policy priorities that are impactful and meaningful in the channels of health and education.

We tackle the hard stuff, improving student achievement from kindergarten to 12th grade, reforming federal financial aid, increasing college attainment and completion rates, and ensuring that patient preferences and priorities are at the center of regulatory decision-making. We work hard because success is our priority.

How We Began

Terrell HalaskaKristin Hultquist (formerly Conklin) and Michael Manganiello share a passion for contributing to meaningful change for those populations who have been historically underserved by the system, making improvements in our communities and increasing the quality of life for all people. Joining forces in 2008, these three founding partners coalesced this passion, years of expertise and a solid network of similarly-minded colleagues to form HCM Strategists, a public policy and advocacy firm focused on improving education and health outcomes across the nation.

We firmly believe that achieving such outcomes takes a combination of high-level government experience, an understanding of people’s struggles, a network of strong relationships, a keen analytical ability and the skills to find fresh, creative approaches to addressing issues.

Below is Westerhold’s HCM Strategists bio:

Katherine Westerhold is an education consultant with expertise in both P-12 education and higher education policy and strategy. Her work has spanned both public and non-profit sectors, often at the intersection of the two. Over the past decade, she has supported and led the design, roll-out and implementation of new system-wide policy initiatives intended to support teachers and leaders and improve outcomes for students, and she has advised non-profit sector and higher education leaders on policy and entry into new geographic markets.

Katherine spent the last several years working with Relay Graduate School of Education, a multi-state institution of higher education, leading Relay’s policy, government affairs, and growth efforts. In her role, she researched the landscape in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., advising on where to pursue growth next, and led the launch of five new sites across the country. In doing so, she played a key role in everything from public and private fundraising to obtaining necessary regulatory approvals, partnership building, new site operations, and sustainable financial modeling for new campuses. In that role, she was focused on both brick and mortar growth and growth via distance education. Katherine also drove the institution’s advocacy strategy, identifying policy issues of importance for the institution and leading the institution’s advocacy and outreach at both the federal and local levels.

Prior to her time spent with Relay, Katherine worked with two separate state education agencies, the New Jersey Department of Education and the Louisiana Department of Education. In New Jersey, Katherine played a key role in the design and roll-out of the State’s teacher evaluation system. In Louisiana, Katherine served as Chief of Staff for the Talent Office, playing a key role in the state’s design and implementation of a variety of educator-focused initiatives, including the design of a new teacher compensation system and oversight of the teacher evaluation system. Katherine started her career with The New Teacher Project.

The page also has a link to “download bio”; however, the download leads to this bio for another HCM Strategists senior affiliate, Jocelyn Pickford. However, it seems that the downloadable bio includes the same info as does the website bio.

HCM Strategists advertises a main office in Washington, DC, as well as offices in Colorado (Englewood), Louisiana (Lafayette), and Texas (Austin). (See bottom of this web page.)

The “H” of HCM, Terrell Halaska (Dunn), lives in Austin, TX; the “C” of HCM, Kristin (Conklin) Hultquist, lives in Colorado (her husband, Brent, practices law in Englewood, CO), and the “M” of HCM, Michael Manganiello, lives in DC.

The key HCM Strategists Louisiana contact appears to be “senior director of state policy” Jimmy Clarke.

However, no LLC search in any of the four states listed on the HCM Strategists site (DC, CO, LA, and TX) produces a business on file under the name, “HCM Strategists” and no matches by address for a search of “HCM.” I also tried searching the last names of the founders, Halaska, Conklin, and Manganiello. Nothing.

So, either this business has not filed as a business entity in the states in which it operates, or (more likely) it has filed under an undisclosed name, or (possibly) under separate names.

At any rate, it seems that Katherine Westerhold White is now connected with the Louisiana arm of this mystery business… or she has relocated….


Katherine Westerhold White


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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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From → John White, LDOE

One Comment
  1. Karla Barham permalink

    Imagine that!

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