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Our Leadership

Harry “Chip” Hurlburt, President and Chief Executive Officer

As president and CEO, Chip Hurlburt is charged with overseeing the capital growth and continued academic excellence of National Heritage Academies (NHA). This includes nearly 4,000 employees and more than 51,000 students at our charter schools.

Chip has a proven, two-decade track record of building new service businesses and helping reinvent mature ones in the consumer education and K12 learning industries. Prior to NHA, Chip spent 16 years in a number of key leadership and operating roles for Kaplan, Inc., the global educational services company and largest subsidiary of The Washington Post Company. These roles included president of graduate programs, a consumer-focused test preparation business, and chief operating officer and later president of Kaplan K12 Learning Services, providing supplemental and direct instructional services to K12 schools.

Much of Chip’s focus has been on identifying market opportunities and assembling industry-leading teams to drive innovation and growth. “I’ve always believed in developing talented teams and motivating people to achieve their best. NHA gives me a tremendous opportunity to do both.”

Equally important to Chip is the focus on the student. “I believe our goal at NHA is to help our students fully achieve their academic potential. It’s exciting to see how NHA develops talented educators and equips them with unprecedented levels of support and data from student assessments. This enables NHA teachers to respond individually to each student’s needs.”

Earlier in his career, Chip was director of marketing & communications for The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), the test-maker responsible for screening foreign nurses entering the country seeking to practice. At CGFNS, Chip headed up marketing and government relations and led efforts to build out a new business unit screening foreign-educated physical and occupational therapists.

In his free time, Chip enjoys coaching his daughter’s softball team and spending time hiking and skiing with his wife Terry and daughters Julia and Laura.

B.S., business administration, 1990, Drexel University

M.B.A., 1991, Drexel University


Steve Conley, CPA, MBA – Chief Financial Officer

As the CFO, Steve plays a critical role in supporting growth, improving operations, and creating sustainable value while ensuring regulatory compliance and managing risk. As a key member of NHA’s executive team, Steve oversees finance, accounting, financial planning and analysis, and critical elements of the new school development function, including land acquisition and construction.

Steve brings over 25 years of multi-industry experience working with international public and domestic private companies in various start-up, turnaround, stable, and high growth situations. Prior to NHA, Steve’s professional experience includes ten plus years in “Big 4” public accounting, ownership of a professional staffing firm, executive finance and operations positions with local and national home builders, and most recently, as VP Finance of a national vehicle logistics company.

Steve was appointed twice to the Michigan State Board of Accountancy by Governor John Engler.  He served as the vice chair of the Legislative Action Committee for the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants and was a candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives. At one time, Steve also held an adjunct faculty position at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, teaching undergraduate and graduate level finance courses.

Aside of his career pursuits, Steve was actively involved as an assistant coach of his son’s elementary and middle school football teams for four years.  Now seeing those boys grow into successful men and still being referred to as “coach”, that experience, he notes, made a lasting impression and reinforced his belief in the importance of participating and contributing to the well-being of future generations.

B.A., accounting, Michigan State University

M.B.A., executive management program, Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management


Todd McKee, Vice President of Student Services

Todd McKee is passionate about providing parents with high quality choices in education. As NHA’s vice president of student services, he makes sure that we deliver on that promise; creating and maintaining high standards of excellence among all of our schools across the country.

With eight years as a classroom teacher and six as a principal, Todd brings essential experience in both teaching and administration. He was the founding principal of the Albany Charter Academy in New York. He served as the principal of the International Community School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; an International Baccalaureate school serving hundreds of students from more than 60 countries. Additionally, he’s an alumnus of the Teach for America program, which recruits outstanding professionals to teach in low-income schools with the goal of eliminating inequity in education.

Todd’s work with NHA is squarely focused on creating a system that eliminates achievement gaps and ensures that all children have an opportunity to receive an excellent education.

B.S., biology and chemistry, George Fox University

M.A., educational administration policy and analysis, Stanford University


Tari Reinink, Chief Marketing Officer

Tari Reinink heads our marketing efforts, strategically guiding the NHA brand across a growing number of touch points. As such, she manages how our story is expressed and shared, both internally and with parents and community leaders. Serving as our lead brand architect, Tari is responsible for the enrollment of the students in all of our schools.

As our chief parent advocate, Tari works tirelessly to meet parent needs and ensure an excellent customer experience. “There is nothing more fulfilling than impacting the life of a child. NHA provides me that opportunity.”

With a background of more than 20 years of marketing leadership, Tari brings a wealth of integrated brand-building experience to her position. Prior to NHA, she served as vice president of global marketing for Alticor, where she gained deep knowledge of brand positioning, strategy, and creative execution— all while spearheading new methods for measuring results.

Tari is an expert in multi-cultural marketing, having successfully marketed billion dollar brands to consumers all over the world, including all of North America, Europe, China, and Japan. She applies her multi-cultural experience to NHA’s diverse consumer groups, methodically developing and delivering targeted messaging and a customized experience to all external stakeholders.

She is a member of the National Charter Schools Professional Networking group, the eMarketing Association Network, the American Marketing Association, the Direct Marketing Association, WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association), and the Academy of Marketing Science.

B.A., industrial marketing, Western Michigan University (WMU)

M.B.A., marketing and finance, WMU— Haworth College of Business


Nick Paradiso, Vice President of Government Relations and Partner Services

Nick Paradiso serves as the vice president of government relations and partner services for National Heritage Academies (NHA). In this role, Nick works with the partner services and government relations teams to lead and execute the company’s business development strategy as well as manages partner charter school board relations, the charter renewal process, and external affairs.

Nick has been with NHA since November 2000, and he has previously served in roles of regional director of business development, director of partner services, and senior director of government relations. Prior to joining NHA, Nick helped create and was the vice president of the New York Charter School Resource Center. In this role, he worked with community leaders and organizations to develop successful charter school applications.

Nick received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in public administration from the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs at the State University of New York at Albany.

Nick has the privilege of serving on a number of boards, including the Thornapple Valley Baseball League Board of Directors and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Buffalo, Inc., and he is chairman of the Kristen Paradiso-Ricci Scholarship Fund.

He and his wife Cindy live with their daughter Samantha, son Maxwell, and family dog Gunther in Grand Rapids, MI.

B.S., political science from Syracuse University

M.A., public administration from the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs at the State University of New York at Albany


Aric Dershem, Vice President of Administration

Like many of our best people, Aric Dershem got his start in the classroom—in his case, helping high school and college students explore the potential of technology. Today he continues to help people develop their potential by providing human resources and training support to NHA’s educators, administrators, and support staff.

Aric was drawn to NHA by its mission – challenging each child to achieve –and encouraged by the intentional culture that supports that mission. He has remained a core part of our team for the past 16 years because, as he puts it, he “likes working with committed and caring people who want to be their best and do their best every day to make a difference in the lives of families and children.” Clearly, he’s the right person to head up people development.

B.S., computer science with secondary education certification, Hope College

M.S., instructional systems technology, Indiana University


Louis C. Rabaut, J.D. – Vice President of People Services and Legal Counsel

As vice president of people services at NHA, Lou Rabaut oversees all matters relating to employee relations, compensation, and benefits, and ensures that all school leaders, teachers, and staff are licensed and certified. With a legal background that spans more than 30 years, he is listed among the Best Lawyers In America and was named a Michigan Super Lawyer.

Prior to NHA, Lou held posts at National Bank of Detroit and General Motors Corporation. Lou is also a partner at Warner, Norcross & Judd, LLP, one of the largest firms in West Michigan. Active in the community, he has served as a founding member and past president of the regional youth hockey foundation, past chair of the city parks and recreation advisory board, and hockey coach at two regional high schools. He was also an adjunct professor at Grand Rapids Community College.

When asked what he likes most about working with NHA, his answer is clear: “The opportunity to positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of children on a daily basis."

A specialist in employment and labor law, Lou is also a frequent speaker, educator, and author on workplace issues.

B.A., summa cum laude, Detroit Institute of Technology

J.D., magna cum laude, University of Detroit

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