Leadership

Sara Martinez Tucker

Sara Martinez Tucker

CEO

Sara Martinez Tucker is the CEO of the National Math + Science Initiative. NMSI prepares students for success by building strong foundations in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). NMSI’s programs produce and retain content-rich STEM teachers, transform high schools into centers of college readiness, and engage students to develop strong interests in STEM fields. She serves on the Boards of Directors of American Electric Power, Sprint, and Xerox. Tucker also serves on the University of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees and Teach for America’s Board of Directors.

She most recently served as the under secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.  She was nominated to that post, the nation's top higher education official, by President George W. Bush on September 5, 2006, and confirmed by the Senate on December 9, 2006. As under secretary, she oversaw all policies, programs and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid. 

Tucker’s personal accomplishments included the development and implementation of two signature programs to increase access to college:  a joint initiative with the U.S. Treasury Department to make nearly $70 billion in 2008-09 federal student loans available during the nation’s financial crisis, an effort described by the Wall Street Journal as “one bright spot in a season of crises and bailouts,” and an innovative new website, college.gov, which helps students and families prepare for college.  College.gov received Computerworld’s Laureate Medal for exceptional use of technology to better society.

In addition to the successful oversight of over $32 billion in disbursed appropriations and almost 5,600 discretionary awards, Tucker provided expert testimony before Congressional committees and special hearings, led policy discussions within the Administration and with trade associations, and led or represented the United States in international delegations.

Prior to joining the Department, Tucker worked for nine years as the CEO and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), where she pursued an aggressive goal to double the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees. In her time at the helm of HSF, Tucker raised $280 million for scholarships, growing annual scholarships from $3 million to over $25 million, and to launch community outreach programs to raise college expectations in Latino families and communities.

Prior to joining HSF in 1997, Tucker spent 16 years at AT&T, becoming the first Latina to reach the company's executive level. In her last assignment at the company, she served as a regional vice president for AT&T's Global Business Communications Systems, where she led a $400 million division to its highest profit levels. She also served as vice president for Consumer Operations, a $370 million operation with 6,500 employees serving AT&T's 80 million consumers. Under her leadership, this group contributed to the division's receipt of the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award.

Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, she earned her bachelor's degree with honors in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She worked for two years as a reporter for the San Antonio Express before returning to the University of Texas to earn her master's in business administration with high honors.

Among her many awards and honors, in 2005, Time magazine named her one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States.  Tucker has been named an Outstanding Young Texas Ex and a Distinguished Alumna at The University of Texas at Austin and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Notre Dame, Boston College and the University of Maryland University College.

She and her husband, Greg, a management consultant, live in Dallas.

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Tammy Knapp

Tammy Knapp

CFO

Tammy Knapp, CPA, is the Chief Financial Officer of NMSI. Tammy joined the staff of NMSI in the fall of 2013, but has provided accounting, compliance and financial reporting assistance to NMSI since 2007, the year NMSI began operations. Her work for NMSI has allowed her to visit all the NMSI Comprehensive AP program partner states as well as most of the NMSI funded UTeach universities.

After graduating from Texas Tech University with a BBA in Finance, Tammy began her career as an internal auditor with First International Bancshares in Dallas, Texas, which later became Bank of America. During her 18-year tenure with Bank of America, Tammy held a variety of positions including Chief Financial Officer of a subsidiary bank, Vice President and Trust Officer, and Vice President and Private Bank Relationship Manager. 

Tammy left banking in 2000 to join Knapp and Company, PC, a public accounting firm founded by her husband, Rick. Tammy was an audit partner for 13 years, providing audit and consulting services for nonprofit and governmental entities.

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Gregg Fleischer

Gregg Fleisher

CAO

Gregg Fleisher is the Chief Academic Officer of NMSI. Gregg started his career as an auditor and actuary with Coopers & Lybrand but later decided to make a major career change to pursue his passion. In 1986, he began teaching math to high school students in the Dallas ISD. While teaching, he had one of the highest percentages of students pass the Advanced Placement Program calculus exam/per school enrollment of any public high school in the country. In 1993, Gregg was awarded the Advanced Placement Special Recognition Award by the Southwest Region of the College Board. In 1995, he became the lead math teacher in the new AP Incentive Program.

During his five years as the lead math teacher, he had a strong record in helping minority students excel in AP courses. As much as 3.3 percent of the country’s minorities who passed AP Math Exams were from Gregg’s schools. In 1996, he formed his own consulting company with the goal of improving the PSAT prep program and increasing the number of National Merit Scholars in Dallas ISD. After one year, the number of National Merit Scholars doubled, and after four years, the number of students participating in the program more than tripled. In 2000, Gregg was asked by Dallas philanthropist, Peter O’Donnell, to head up Advanced Placement Strategies (APS) that manages AP Incentive programs for districts in the state of Texas. In seven years, the fledgling company grew from four to 60 employees, and had programs in hundreds of schools in the state. AP results increased significantly in each and every incentive program managed by APS. This increase was especially significant for minority students. The success of APS gave ExxonMobil cause to commit their largest grant ever to NMSI, in part to replicate APS in other states.

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