Leadership Team Bios

Bruce Buterbaugh, Chief Financial Officer

Bruce Buterbaugh assumed his current role as Chief Financial Officer in 2002. He has worked for CCSSO since 1988, when he was hired as the Council's business manager. In 1994, Buterbaugh became director of administration and finance.

Prior to joining the Council, Buterbaugh was the audit manager for Ben A. Kendall, CPA, for four years. While there, he was responsible for auditing various organizations, including 501(c)(3) and (c)(6) not-for-profit organizations, a school district, and a manufacturing company. He first worked on the Council's annual audit with Kendall during a summer internship in 1983.

Buterbaugh is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Greater Washington Society of Accountants and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Buterbaugh holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Shippensburg University, and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1986. He lives in Virginia with his wife and son, and enjoys hunting and fishing. 

Melissa McGrath, Director of Communications

Melissa joined CCSSO in May of 2014 as the Director of Communications. In this role, she is responsible for developing and implementing the Council's strategic communications plan. She manages internal and external communications efforts for the Council. She also works closely with the communications directors in each state education agency to provide resources and support to them as they communicate throughout their states about education reform efforts.

Prior to joining CCSSO, Melissa spent more than seven years as the Communications Director for the Idaho State Department of Education, where she managed all strategic communications and public relations for Idaho's elected State Superintendent and the agency that oversees K-12 public schools in the state. Before joining the Department, Melissa worked as a newspaper reporter. Melissa holds bachelor's degrees in Journalism and Government and Politics from the University of Maryland.

Melissa Zack Johnston, Deputy Executive Director

Melissa Johnston joined the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2003 and assumed her current role as Deputy Executive Director in January 2013. Johnston oversees the implementation of the Council's strategic plan and the direction and leadership of the following programmatic initiative areas: Education Workforce; Education Data and Information Systems; the Innovation Lab Network; Standards, Assessment, and Accountability. Additionally, she manages the Council's Information Systems and Technology, Meeting Services, and Strategic Partnerships groups.

From March 2010-December 2012 Johnston served as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the implementation of the Council's strategic plan. Prior to that position, she served as the Council's Director of Strategy and Implementation. Melissa began her career with CCSSO assisting chiefs and other state policymakers to develop, augment, and implement policies and programs that effectively prepare, support, and sustain education leaders.

Johnston previously worked for Reading Is Fundamental and the Public Education Network in grants management, program development, and technical assistance capacities. She also worked directly with the national professional development program at the National Association of School Psychologists.

Johnston has a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies and Black World Studies from Miami University and a Masters in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, with a concentration in policy analysis and nonprofit management. She lives in Silver Spring, MD with her husband Mark and their two children, Chloe and Timothy.

Carissa Moffat Miller, Deputy Executive Director

Carissa Moffat Miller joined CCSSO as the Deputy Executive Director in February 2013. In this role, she ensures all CCSSO activities are aligned with chiefs' priorities, including overseeing the organizations' advocacy at the federal level, communications strategy and all membership meetings.

Miller previously served as the Deputy Superintendent of the 21st Century Classroom Division at the Idaho State Department of Education. Prior to that, she worked for the Idaho State Board of Education overseeing assessment and accountability, including the initial implementation and deployment of statewide online testing. Carissa has her doctorate in education with an emphasis in quantitative research.

Scott Norton, Strategic Initiative Director, Standards, Assessment, and Accountability

Scott Norton joined CCSSO as Strategic Initiative Director for Standards, Assessment, and Accountability in July of 2012. In this role, he works with states to implement the Common Core State Standards and assessments and to create and implement new student-focused accountability systems.  The team is also responsible for the State Collaboratives on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS), the National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA), and collaborative work with the assessment consortia.

Scott previously served as the Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Standards, Assessments, and Accountability at the Louisiana Department of Education. His responsibilities included the implementation of content standards and development of the Louisiana Comprehensive Curriculum as well as the state's transition to full implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Scott holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Supervision from Louisiana State University.

Stephen Bowen, Strategic Initiative Director for Innovation

Stephen grew up on the coast of Maine and taught social studies in middle and high schools for ten years. After serving two terms in the Maine Legislature, he joined a Maine-based public policy think tank, where he served as an education policy researcher and analyst. Bowen served for a short time as Gov. Paul LePage’s education policy advisor and was named Commissioner of Education in March of 2011. To advance the governor’s vision of a student-centered educational system, Bowen focused his efforts on key policy areas such as educator effectiveness, state accountability, digital learning, and competency-based instructional practices.

Bowen stepped down from the commissionership in September 2013 to join CCSSO as the Strategic Initiative Director for Innovation, where he oversees the Council’s Innovation Lab Network and its other work supporting innovation.

Mary-Dean Barringer, Strategic Initiative Director, Education Workforce

Mary-Dean Barringer has had a thirty plus career in education distinguished as a nationally recognized special education teacher, expert on a variety of teacher quality and reform issues and a leader in the emerging field of neurodevelopment and learning variation.  

Mary-Dean was named the Strategic Initiatives Director for Education Workforce at the Council of Chief State School Officers' (CCSSO) in April 2015. Prior to that, she has served as program director on CCSSO's Education Workforce team, overseeing a portfolio of initiatives that support the transformation of educator preparation, including the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP).

Before Mary-Dean joined CCSSO in December 2011, she was the Chief Executive Officer of All Kinds of Minds Institute in North Carolina. She is the author of Schools for All Kinds of Minds published in 2010 by Jossey-Bass. Throughout her path in education, Mary-Dean has been dedicated to keeping America focused on learning -- making schools effective learning environments for each child. Prior to joining All Kinds of Minds, Mary-Dean served as a founding board member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, then served as Vice President of Outreach and Mobilization for NBPTS for a decade. She was the first teacher to serve as an officer of the organization and led the introduction of National Board Certification process in 1993.

Mary-Dean started her career as teacher of exceptional needs students in Michigan. As a special education teacher for thirteen years, Mary Dean received numerous awards and recognition for her innovation in teaching and advocacy, including the 1985 Council for Exceptional Children's National Teacher of the Year award and induction into the Eastern Michigan University College of Education Hall of Fame in 2008.