Managing Staff Members

Katie Brissette

Katie Brissette is the Deputy Director of Spark NH Early Childhood Advisory Council.  
She is also the Deputy Director of Early Learning NH.  

She began her career with Early Learning NH, a nonprofit organization committed to ensuring that all New Hampshire children have the opportunity to reach their full potential, in 2003 as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer.  She is responsible to providing support to the early childhood field, member services, public awareness and the annual conference which brings together over 500 early childhood professonals.  Through the years Mrs. Brissette has worked for the Every Child Matters Education Fund, the NH Women’s Policy Institute, and the State Early Learning Alliance.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hamphire and lives in Concord with her husband and three young daughters.

Jackie Cowell

Jackie Cowell is Executive Director of Early Learning NH, a statewide organization committed to ensuring that all New Hampshire children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.  She also serves as co-chair of the Seacoast Early Learning Alliance, a groundbreaking group of early childhood education programs working together in an innovative way to be “better together.”  Upon graduation from the University of Virginia, Jackie joined the Peace Corps and taught high school math in Mali, West Africa.  She worked for five years for Save the Children in Sudan, running an emergency relief, hand-dug wells, and community development program.  Jackie directed two New Hampshire early childhood education programs, both of which shared a mission to give priority of service to vulnerable families: White Birch Community Center in Henniker and the Seacoast Community School in Portsmouth.  In Greenland, she helped establish the Community School of SAU 50, the first, combined preschool and full-day early learning program housed in a Seacoast public school.  Jackie has served as adjunct faculty in the Early Childhood Education department of the NH Technical Institute, Director of Development and Early Childhood Policy for the Children’s Alliance of NH, Public Policy Chair of the New Hampshire Association for the Education of Young Children and Chair of the New Hampshire Child Care Advisory Council. Under her leadership, Early Learning NH received the prestigious Mary Stuart Gile Award in recognition for its “commitment to the development of the next generation of early childhood professionals.” Jackie is a recipient of the Exemplary Leadership and Community Partnership Award from the NH Division for Children, Youth and Families.

Jackie lives in Henniker with her husband, Dague.  Their daughter, Samantha, was an English Teacher in Peace Corps-Kazakhstan and currently works for Docent Health in Boston.  Their son, Ben, studied sustainable agriculture and bio-energy and is a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar.

Laura Milliken

Laura Milliken is the Director of Spark NH Early Childhood Advisory Council.  

Ms. Milliken is an attorney who has spent her career advocating for the rights of low income individuals and their families. She began her work at New Hampshire Legal Assistance in Berlin and Claremont.  Ms. Milliken served as Coordinator of the District Court Domestic Violence Coordinating Councils, bringing together interdisciplinary groups to aid victims of domestic violence and their families and served as a member of the Governor's Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence.   Most recently Ms. Milliken worked providing legal counsel to low income people and their families in family law matters at Legal Advice and Referral Center.  Ms. Milliken has trained as a Guardian ad Litem.   She received her undergraduate degree in political science from the Barnard College of Columbia University, and her Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law.  She lives in Concord with her husband and two sons.