Volume 2023 | February

Focus on NAEA: Hearing our Voices!

Newsletter Editor: Dr. Amy Schlessman-Frost

High School Graduation Rate

Position Statement to the US DoE

The United States Department of Education expectations for traditional 4th or 5th year cohort high school graduation rates are unrealistic for many alternative education campuses, who serve former dropouts or over-aged/under-credited students.

Read NAEA's proposed solution!

Interested in signing on to this position?

or future advocacy on High School Graduation Rate measures?

Please contact:

your NAEA regional representative


the NAEA Executive Director


2023 NAEA National Alternative Education Conference


for the

2023 National Conference on Alternative Education!

NAEA is returning to beautiful, sunny Tampa, FL. This conference is a unique professional development opportunity with every single session by alternative educators for alternative/nontraditional educators!

You have something to share with your colleagues.

Please submit a session proposal.

New Leadership Faces at NAEA

NAEA members elected 3 New Board members at the Oct. 2022 conference. NAEA also hired a new Executive Director. This is your introduction to see and hear from them.

Brian Tetreault, Region 1

I feel that this opportunity will be a great resource as I lead my staff and school - The Chariho Alternative Learning Academy - through our school improvement journey. Our school is focused on improving our graduation rate, raising ELA and math achievement scores and making our students feel valued, connected and respected. Last year we took a team to El Segundo, CA to observe and learn from an exemplary alternative education environment. As we implemented some of these strategies we have earned recognition and distinction from both our school district and state department of education and have set ourselves apart from other alternative education programs in our area. Also, The Academy is unique because it houses two different programs - an Alternative Learning Program and a Clinical Day Program.

Juan Gatica, Region 6

As I began working with alternative high schools, I have done extensive research on the brain. I have

researched educational neuroscience as it applies to students of poverty. My understanding of how the

brain functions has allowed me to be proactive in implementing systems that work for a specific sub-

population. In addition, my extensive knowledge of Carol Dweck and her text Mindset has provided me

a foundation of how certain students work.

In addition, my work with AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) provided me a platform for

presenting to audiences across the United States. The training I provided was specific, but it allowed me

to hone my presentation skills to wide and diverse audiences in both English and Spanish. Moreover, my

participation in the Oxford Round Table at Oxford, England was an experience that provided me that my ability to communicate to national and global leaders. In 2010, I was selected by Raise Your Hand Texas

to attend Harvard University for leadership training on redesigning public schools.

Finally, as an elected official fundraising becomes a vital part of your success. I understand the dynamics

of speaking to national leaders about educational hot topics. My ability to sit down with national leaders

and advocate for specific concerns is an area in which I am comfortable.

Natalie Stromberg, Region 9

I have been an alternative educator for 11 years. I have recently started a new position where our alternative setting provides real world projects to students as a way to immerse them in industry. I would love to share my experience and ideas with NAEA as well as continue to learn from the expertise on the board.

I have been a member of NAEA since 2016. I have presented at 4 different NAEA conferences. I love

networking with members of UAEA and NAEA. I utilize these connections to empower my teaching and

professional development.

Dr. Mary Cullen Frazier, Executive Director

My name is Dr. Mary Cullen Frazier, and I have the honor of being hired as the Executive Director for the NAEA. I wanted to take time to introduce myself, as well as share my heart and vision for the organization and the population of educators/leaders we support. 

I have worked in public K-12 education for the last 10+ years, in both traditional and alternative settings, as well as across both instructional and administrative positions. I have experience centered around district level Diversity, equity, and Inclusion practices, trauma informed principles and led 2 program turn-around projects during my administrative career. I am passionate about addressing and removing systemic barriers to student learning, and bringing trauma-responsive learning to alternative education settings. 

I earned my BA in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, my MEd and EdDin Leadership from the University of Central Florida. I conducted my research utilizing the NAEA’s Exemplary Practices and am excited to continue to help alternative schools across the country utilize the framework to build successful programs for marginalized populations of students. 

My leadership style is centered around transparency, rigorously reflecting, servantry, generosity, curiosity and integrity. I plan to lead the NAEA and our initiatives with these core values, and by intentionally inviting dissenting views and amplifying quiet voices.