Dr. John Heim, Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. John Heim is the Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer of the National School Boards Association (NSBA). Founded in 1940, NSBA is a federation of state associations and the U.S. territory of the Virgin Islands. Through its member state associations that represent locally elected school board officials serving approximately 51 million public school students, NSBA advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. To advance the association’s mission and serve its members, Heim leads a team of policy, member services, legal, communications, and business experts.
Prior to joining NSBA, Heim served as the Executive Director of the Kansas Association of School Boards where, for 11 years, he worked closely with local boards of education on professional development, goal setting, financial stewardship, policy, advocacy, and other strategic issues to advance public education. Over his four-decade career in public education, Heim has worked as a teacher, principal, and superintendent to improve outcomes and opportunities of Kansas students and position Kansas schools for success. 
Heim has a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Kansas State University and has served as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer and speaker. His passion for supporting the next generation of educational leaders has inspired many to pursue careers in educational leadership.
Heim has received multiple accolades for his work in public education, including the 2008 Kansas Superintendent of the Year by the Kansas Association of School Administrators; the 2006 Outstanding Service Award from the United School Administrators of Kansas; and the 2001 Communicator of the Year Award from the Kansas School Public Relations Association.


Verjeana McCotter-Jacobs, Chief Transformation Officer

Verjeana M. Jacobs, Esq., serves as the Chief Transformation Officer of NSBA where she takes a lead role in executing the organization’s transformation around member engagement, as well as building upon the progress in member services and equity. She sets the tone, spurs enthusiasm, and challenges conventional wisdom to drive transformational change. McCotter-Jacobs previously served for three years as NSBA’s Chief Equity & Member Services Officer where she took action toward equity, equality, and social justice. The equity program at NSBA is designed to identify discriminatory practices, prejudices, and beliefs in education policy. McCotter-Jacobs expands on NSBA work while overseeing staff development and improving upon the effectiveness of the organization’s mission. Prior to joining NSBA, Jacobs served as Chair of the Board of Education in one of the nation’s largest school districts. During her ten-year tenure as a school board member, she held several leadership roles as President of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, and as Chair of the National School Boards’ Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE). She retired as the Division Chief of the Office of Professional Responsibility and Legal Affairs in Prince George’s County government. She maintains her licensed attorney status in Maryland and the District of Columbia.


Francisco M. Negrón, Jr., Chief Legal Officer

Francisco M. Negrón, Jr. is the Chief Legal Officer of NSBA. A proud product of our public schools, Negrón is a leading national advocate for public schools, directing NSBA’s nationally recognized Legal Advocacy Program, which files more amicus briefs in the United States Supreme Court and in federal and state appellate courts across the country each year than all national education associations combined. Negrón also leads the 3,200-member Council of School Attorneys, the national network of lawyers representing K-12 public schools. He is also a member of the Bars of the United States Supreme Court, the District of Columbia, Florida, and all federal circuit courts of appeals. Negrón regularly appears in national media outlets as a spokesperson for public schools. He received his Juris Doctorate from the Florida State University College of Law and holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of West Florida.

Jane Mellow, Interim Chief Advocacy Officer

Jane Mellow is the Interim Chief Advocacy Officer for NSBA, where she leads the Federal Advocacy & Public Policy group, which represents state school board associations and their members before the U.S. Congress and the Administration. The team of government relations professionals she leads works on a range of financial, social, and technical issues important to K-12 education. She also heads the efforts of the National School Boards Action Center, NSBA’s national grassroots organization, and the Center for Public Education, NSBA’s research tank, which examines issues impacting public education.  Mellow joined NSBA Oct. 2019 as the Managing Director, Federal Advocacy and Public Policy. Prior to NSBA, Mellow worked on Capitol Hill for 15 years as Legislative Director first for Rep. Bob Wise and then for Senator Robert C. Byrd. After leaving Capitol Hill she served as the Director of the Washington office for the State of Illinois for two governors. Mellow served as an appointee in the Obama Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation where she was the Director of Public Affairs for the Federal Highway Administration. Mellow is a proud product of public schools and received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from West Virginia University.