Nicole D. Cole, Esq.

President & CEO
609-989-9700, ext. 4412

Nicole D. Cole, Esq. is the President & CEO of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, a 501(c)(3) membership association representing the state’s charter schools and the children they serve. NJCSA is committed to advancing quality public education for New Jersey’s children through quality public charter schools, with the vision that every child should have the opportunity to attend a high-quality public school that best meets his or her needs.

Nicole is a seasoned government affairs professional, rooted in Trenton for much of the last decade, most recently with Princeton Public Affairs Group (PPAG), one of Trenton’s most prolific government affairs firms. At PPAG, Nicole represented clients in the energy, education, housing, and business arenas before the NJ Legislature, the Governor’s Office, and departments within the State.

Prior to her time at PPAG, Nicole practiced various areas of law including complex commercial litigation and labor and employment law. In her law practice, she served as general counsel to various public entities. Her legal career began with the New Jersey State Legislature, where she staffed several committees in the Senate Republican office. Nicole is active in Union County politics and serves on the executive committee of the Union County Republican Committee. Nicole also serves on the board for the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey and is active with the WPC-NJ PAC Committee.

Nicole holds a bachelor of arts in English from the University of Nebraska, and a juris doctor from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.

Brian Diamante
Director of Data Systems and Senior State Budget Analyst
609-989-9700, ext. 4419

As Director of Data Systems, Brian provides data support to members and maintains the internal data system at the Association. Brian will be developing and enhancing the Association’s current data capabilities by building a database of education data which will be used both as a backend for new website data visualizations, as well as a resource for data requests, advocacy, and future reports and studies performed by the Association.

Before joining NJCSA, Brian was a SAS programmer and data analyst with the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, part of the SUNY Research Foundation. His responsibilities there included cleaning, formatting and manipulating large amounts of data to produce timely and useful reports for stakeholders. He has experience working with a multitude of enterprise level, state-run databases and served on a taskforce focused on redesigning New York’s traffic safety data system. Brian has a bachelor’s degree in public policy from SUNY University at Albany. A native of Troy, NY, Brian and his wife reside in Colorado.

Harry Lee
Director of Strategy and Special Projects

Harry is a former charter school authorizer, CMO executive, and independent consultant. He has deep experience in charter school authorization, new school development, school oversight/evaluation, renewal services, and board training / capacity building and has worked with authorizers and districts across the country in New Orleans, Texas, Georgia, and Philadelphia. In 2016, Harry worked as the Chief Strategy Officer at iLearn Schools, a nonprofit charter management organization based in New Jersey. From 2011-2016, he worked at the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Charter Schools, serving as the School Performance and Accountability Manager and the Director. In 2014, Harry completed the NACSA Leaders Program, the nation’s only professional development opportunity for current and upcoming leaders in charter school authorizing offices. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.P.A. from Rutgers University-Newark.

Rick Pressler

Director of School Services
609-989-9700, ext. 4411

Rick is a founder of the Greater Brunswick Charter School (established 1998) where he served as chairman of the Board of Trustees and then as executive director until 2008. He has also consulted with numerous charter schools throughout the state and helped establish the Gaining Ground charter school facilities initiative in partnership with Build With Purpose (formerly Real Estate Advisory & Development Services, Inc.), the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, and Greater Brunswick Charter School.

Prior to working in the charter school movement, Rick worked in book publishing, software development, project management, and business process analysis, primarily in the telecommunications and internet industries. He serves on the board of the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education South Africa Initiative, the Greater Brunswick Charter School Advisory Board, and the New Jersey Arts Education Steering Committee.

Rick has a bachelor’s in music composition and theory from Haverford College and a master’s in public affairs and politics from Rutgers University.

Donna Siminski

Director of Policy and Advocacy
609-989-9700, ext. 4414

As director of policy and advocacy, Donna focuses on the policy issues impacting the charter schools in New Jersey, and works with members, charter families, and charter school professionals to advocate for high-quality charter schools and the children they serve.

Prior to joining NJCSA, Donna worked on social justice policy issues for Volunteers of America Delaware Valley. She has deep knowledge of the public sector, having worked for the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency as the Director of External Affairs; the Governor’s Office of Constituent Relations; and for NJ Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts as Chief of Staff.

Donna attended Rutgers University, Camden, where she earned a bachelor’s of science in political science and a master’s in public administration.

Click here for high-resolution headshots of NJCSA staff members.