Amanda Kruger Hill,

Executive Director

Amanda Kruger HillAmanda Kruger Hill, the Cowen Institute’s Executive Director, is a former principal and award-winning educational leader with a deep commitment to the success of the young people of New Orleans.  She holds a master’s of educational leadership and principal licensure from the University of California, Berkeley.  Amanda co-founded the first youth-initiated high school in the United States and a teacher development institute in California. Prior to leading the Cowen Institute, she was Director of School Reviews with New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) and served on the faculty of Relay Graduate School of Education. Amanda continues to serve on the faculty of Columbia University as a coach for its Principals Academy, which trains aspiring school leaders.

Amanda lives in New Orleans with her husband, Graham, and sons, Benjamin and Louis.

Email Amanda | Phone: (504) 274-3688

Matt Bailey,

Chief Operating Officer

Matt Bailey headshot

Matt Bailey was hired as Chief Operating Officer of the Cowen Institute in September 2014 and served as Interim Executive Director from December 2014 to July 2015. Previously, he worked at Centenary College in Shreveport as Acting Dean of Enrollment and Communication and Senior Director for External Relations. His background also includes work in policy, legislation, and outreach. Following his graduation from the George Washington University Law School, Matt served both on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant focusing on appropriations and defense issues and as the state military liaison for Senator Mary Landrieu. Following that, he worked in economic development and community outreach in the office of Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover. He served and was honorably discharged from the Louisiana Army National Guard in 2004.

Matt is active in the community, serving as chair of the Louisiana Budget Project having co-founded the Louisiana chapter of New Leaders Council, a leadership development organization. Matt is a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project and a member of the 2014 class of Leadership Louisiana. He attended Northwestern State University where he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

A native of Jena, Louisiana, Matt is proud to call New Orleans home along with his wife Kristen and son Jack.

Email Matt | Phone: (504) 274-3693

Amy Barad,

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Since joining the Cowen Institute in 2011, Amy has launched and now directs the Reconnecting Opportunity Youth initiative, which aims to create systemic solutions to New Orleans’ disconnected youth crisis. Over the past six years she has worked in the for- and non-profit sectors in business development, policy analysis, and systems and operational management. Most recently, she was an analyst for Urban Conservancy, a New Orleans non-profit organization, dedicated to research, education, and advocacy that promote the wise stewardship of the urban built environment and local economies. She has also held managerial positions in systems design, finance, and operations at McMaster-Carr and consulted on development projects in Johannesburg, South Africa with Urban, Inc. Currently, she serves on the advisory board for Bard Early College in New Orleans and the design team for the Youth Master Plan for New Orleans. Amy graduated with an A.B. in Urban Studies from Brown University in 2007.

Email Amy | Phone: (504) 274-3682

Vincent Rossmeier,

Director of Policy 


Vincent’s work focuses on the areas of post-secondary education, workforce development, and economic development. Vincent most recently worked as chief of staff to District “C” Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer of the New Orleans City Council. Prior to his work with the city, Vincent worked for the Bureau of Government Research and Partnership for Youth Development. He holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from New York University and has worked both at the New Yorker and

Email Vincent | Phone: (504) 274-3624

Patrick Sims,

Senior Policy Analyst 

PatrickSimsPatrick conducts applied research on public education while continuing the Institute’s work of chronicling the K-12 reform in New Orleans, primarily through the annual State of Public Education in New Orleans and NOLA by the Numbers reports. Patrick received his Master’s Degree of Public Policy at Georgetown University and was recently an analyst for the National Council on Teacher Quality in Washington, D.C. He has also worked for the U.S. Department of Education, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Wake County Public Schools in North Carolina. Additionally, Patrick taught for two years in Poland and has written extensively on PISA, the international student achievement benchmark.

Email Patrick | Phone: (504) 274-3634

April Rice,

Senior Manager, College & Career Readiness

CI- Staff Photo- AprilApril Rice has spent the past 10 years in education as a teacher, curriculum specialist, and coach. Her experience and passion lies with teaching disadvantaged students in extenuating circumstances. With a background in curriculum and instruction, April has implemented and developed programs and courses to help students transition between high school and college at the high school level. She has developed dropout prevention and credit recovery courses for her district. She has also trained new teachers for the Department of Education at the state level and presented at regional and national conferences on 21st century learning, Career Pathways, and STEM Initiatives. Although she enjoys training teachers, April’s passion is inside the classroom  with her students. April received the Teacher of the Year Award in 2008 and 2009 from Rankin County, Mississippi. She received her bachelor’s degree in Health Science from Brigham Young University-Idaho and her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at Mississippi College.

Email April | Phone: (504) 865-5870 office, (813) 454-6140 cell

Latisha Robertson,

Administrative Program Coordinator

CI- Staff Photo- LatishapngLatisha has been with Upward Bound since February 2006 as it began to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Latisha is very instrumental in developing administrative procedures, maintaining student records, and supporting staff and faculty in programming initiatives. Additionally, Latisha handles finances, budgets, reports, communications, field trips/college tours, and recruitment for Upward Bound. Latisha and her husband are proud parents of 5 children. In her spare time she enjoys coordinating weddings and events. Latisha looks forward to finishing her business degree in the near future.

Email Latisha

Matthew Feigenbaum,

Manager, Reconnecting Opportunity Youth – Earn & Learn 

Feigenbaum-page-001M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. B.S. in Finance from Tulane University. Matthew Feigenbaum found his passion for education when he joined City Year, via Americorps, and dedicated one year to serving in underperforming schools across Louisiana. Matthew then went on to be a high school mathematics teacher at an alternative charter high school (Renew Accelerated High School or RAHS) serving over-age and under-credited students. For the 2013-2014 academic year, Matthew held the Dean of Culture and Community Partnerships position, where his responsibilities included creating, evaluating and implementing all school-wide systems, providing classroom management support and professional development opportunities for all staff, and working with outside organizations and partners to provide college and career options for students.  Outside of the classroom, Matthew has worked with TeachNOLA as a Recruiter and Selector, where he interviewed a multitude of candidates in order to identify the most promising teachers for the students of New Orleans. Matthew was also selected to be a Stand for Children Educator All-Star, which includes him in a statewide network of educators that consult on education policy.  Matthew just earned his degree in Organizational Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University as a member of the 2013 Summer Principals Academy NOLA Cohort. Recently, Matthew has joined the Cowen Institute as a program manager on the Reconnecting Opportunity Youth initiative, which aims to create systemic solutions to New Orleans’ disconnected youth crisis.

Email Matthew | Phone: (504) 281-0480