Government Relations & Policy Development


   Sarah A. Flanagan
Vice President for Government Relations and
Policy Development

Sarah Flanagan heads the government relations staff of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). As vice president for government relations, Flanagan directs a comprehensive government relations effort, in coordination with related state associations, that focuses on issues of government regulation, student financial assistance, and tax policy.

During her tenure at NAICU, Flanagan has been instrumental in a number of successful policy efforts, including securing sustained bipartisan political and funding support for the core federal student aid programs; creating new tax incentives for families to save and pay for college; and helping to ensure an appropriate balance between federal support for students and oversight of colleges and universities. Flanagan has an extensive background in higher education policy, education, and the federal government.

Before joining NAICU, she was the professional staff member for higher education on the Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts and Humanities under Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island, and the Staff Director for the Senate Subcommittee on Children, Families, Drugs and Alcoholism under Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.

Flanagan received her B.A. degree from Providence College (RI) and her M.A.T. degree from Rhode Island College. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Mary Baldwin University (VA) and Beacon College (FL), and is a Trustee Emerita at Providence College (RI).
  Jody Feder
Director of Accountability and Regulatory Affairs

Jody Feder is responsible for topics related to accountability and regulatory issues, including accreditation, state authorization, Title IX, and educational privacy.
She joined the NAICU staff in March 2017 after more than 14 years as a legislative attorney with the Congressional Research Service. At CRS, she provided nonpartisan advice and analysis to Members of Congress and their staff on civil rights and education law. Prior to attending law school, she wrote about federal education issues as an editor for Thompson Publishing Group. Feder earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government from Brown University (RI) and a law degree from Yale University (CT).
  Stephanie Giesecke   
Director of Budget and Appropriations 

Stephanie Giesecke is responsible for representing NAICU on budget and appropriations issues with Congress, the administration, and the higher education community.

Before joining NAICU in 1999, Giesecke was legislative assistant for the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), where she coordinated the association's legislative advocacy network, and served as liaison to Congress on budget and appropriations matters. Prior to joining ACCT in 1992, Giesecke was a legislative assistant for Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). In addition, she has been an active member of the Committee for Education Funding and currently serves at its president. She earned a bachelor's degree from Washington University, and a master's degree from George Washington University.
  Emmanual A. Guillory
Director of Student and Institutional Aid Policy
Emmanual Guillory serves as NAICU's lead policy expert on Title IV federal student assistance programs and institutional aid programs found in Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act (HEA). He is responsible for developing NAICU’s policy positions on student and institutional aid along with the association’s membership.  Guillory also represents NAICU to Congress, the White House, the Department of Education, and other federal agencies.

Previously, Guillory served as the director for public policy and government affairs at UNCF (United Negro College Fund, Inc.) where he advocated on the behalf of low income, first generation college students and the needs of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  In addition, he served a decade in the House of Representatives most recently as a professional staff member for the Committee on Education and the Workforce working on higher education policy and HEA reauthorization. 

Originally from Lufkin, TX, Guillory earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a certification in leadership studies from Texas A&M University. He also earned a master's degree in College Student Personnel (Higher Education Administration) from Bowling Green State University (OH).
    Karin L. Johns
Director of Tax Policy 

Karin L. Johns was appointed NAICU’s director of tax policy in 1998. She is responsible for developing the Association's strategies on tax policy issues, and monitoring NAICU's interests in immigration, health care, and labor issues..  In addition, she serves as the association's liaison to the NAICU Secretariat.

Before joining NAICU, Johns was legislative director for Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.). She managed his legislative staff and was responsible for overseeing Ways and Means Committee issues, including tax policy, human resources, health care, Social Security, and trade. From 1990 to 1994, she worked for Rep. Fred Grandy (R-Iowa), including two years as a legislative assistant. Johns graduated from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, with a B.A. in Information Arts, and a concentration in political science. After graduation, Johns attended the Fund for American Studies Institute on Political Journalism at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
  Robert (Bo) Newsome   
Director of Outreach and State Relations

Robert "Bo" Newsome is responsible for coordinating projects to help NAICU members become more active in the public policy arena and to reinforce the NAICU agenda within the association's membership.  He also helped coordinate the National Campus Voter Registration Project, a nonpartisan effort sponsored by the national higher education associations to register college students and employees for the elections in 2000.  In addition, he serves as NAICU's liaison to the National Association of Independent College and University State Executives (NAICUSE).

Newsome graduated from Columbia University, and holds a master's degree in higher education policy from George Washington University. Before joining NAICU in 1999, he spent a decade working in admissions, counseling, and coaching at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C.
  Cynthia R. Moore
Staff Assistant 

Cynthia Moore provides staff assistance to the government relations staff. She attended Central State University.