Our Team


Jane Hulbert 

Jane is the founding partner at The Jane Group and has been the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) crisis communications consultant since 2000. She counsels independent, international, for profit, and charter schools on crisis and reputation management issues, crisis planning, messaging, media management, and media training. Jane and Jim conduct trainings across the US and internationally. Prior to consulting, Jane was a communications executive at McDonald’s Corporation responsible for the Crisis and Media Relations Department. She was the key spokesperson on high profile global crises including the “hot coffee” incident. Jane is a graduate of the Park Tudor School (IN) and a cum laude graduate of Boston University. Contact Jane.


JIM Hulbert, J.D. 

Jim is a partner and CEO at The Jane Group and a labor and employment lawyer by training. Jim manages the firm’s ongoing caseload, and he is the lead consultant on governance and board matters and complex legal matters in the US and throughout the world. In his role with boards, Jim works closely with chairs and executive committees and advises boards on complex issues involving leadership transitions, sexual misconduct investigations, and best practices in governance. Jim also oversees the firm’s international business. Since 2015, the firm has worked with schools in 38 countries and five continents. He has presented at numerous international education conferences. Jim works with international school leadership in all aspects of crisis management and is a member of the Child Protection Response Team for the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. Jim graduated from Culver Academies (IN). He was a Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with a degree in American studies. Jim earned his law degree at Boston College, cum laude. Contact Jim.


LIsa davis 

Lisa is a senior consultant and COO at The Jane Group and was most recently director of corporate development for a global finance firm where she managed communications, marketing, training and retention programs, and long-range organizational and strategic planning and development. In addition, Lisa has served on the Leadership Council of Boston College, as a board member of the DuPage Children's Museum, and on the Development Committee of the Board of Directors for the Avery Coonley School. Lisa's previous experience includes teaching middle school science at a Chicago Catholic school and as a consultant on an international cultural festival. Lisa attended ACS International School (Cobham, UK) and is a graduate of Visitation Academy (MO). She received a BS in education, minoring in special education from Indiana University. Contact Lisa.


 Dr. Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise 

Tekakwitha is a dynamic educator and administrator and is Head of The Wyndcroft School, PA. She was a faculty member of ISM's Summer Institute and through her work with NAIS' Aspiring Heads Institute and The Heads Network, she serves as as a mentor to many Aspiring Head mentees. Dr. Pernambuco-Wise was head of school at Sea Crest School in Half Moon Bay, CA for seven years where she led the school's cultural competence and inclusion initiatives. She was most recently Acting Head at The Helios School in Sunnyvale, CA. She presents at national and international conferences on a range of topics including online/blended learning, leadership, governance, boarding school life, #metoo, and school transformation. Dr. Pernambuco-Wise was born and raised in British Guiana (now Guyana) and graduated from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and mathematics. While a faculty member at the Agnes Irwin School, she studied at the graduate education department of the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her master's in education philosophy from The University of Toronto, Canada and her doctorate from St. Mary's College of California with her dissertation concentration on the experience of female heads of NAIS schools. In 2018, she earned a Klingenstein Fellowship for Heads of Schools at Columbia University and in 2019, became a member of the Country Day Headmasters Association.


Melanie Hightower 

 Before joining The Jane Group, Melanie Hightower served as an administrator at River Oaks Baptist School in Houston, Texas. During her 13 years at the school, her roles included director of communications, director of human resources, and director of diversity and community initiatives. With responsibilities such as strategic and executive communications, crisis communications, marketing and branding, publications, web and social media, media relations, Covid protocols, DEI initiatives, and a range of HR issues, Melanie is well-versed in the dynamics of independent schools. Previously, Melanie practiced law for ten years with JP Morgan Chase and Locke Lord. She also served as senior vice president and the first director of corporate diversity for JP Morgan Chase in Texas, where she spearheaded efforts to foster more equitable and inclusive business practices. Melanie graduated from Duke University magna cum laude with a BA in religion and Russian, followed by a JD with honors from The University of Texas at Austin.

Kim Newsome 

Before joining The Jane Group, Kim spent 19 years at The Madeira School, a girls’ boarding/day high school in McLean, Virginia.  While she held a variety of roles at Madeira, including Director of Summer & Auxiliary Programs and Director of Enrollment Management, for the past six years she was the Dean of Students, a member of the senior administrative team with responsibility for campus residents, residential life, health and wellness, the equestrian program and student leadership. She coordinated all student safety protocols as well as the Student Parent Handbook. Last year, as a senior member of the school’s COVID Response Team she managed the restructuring of the Health Center and the creation and implementation of COVID testing and mitigation protocols. Kim graduated from cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in religion and a certificate in African American studies. After graduation she joined the executive training program at Macy’s and went on to spend the next decade in executive positions there. Kim and her family recently returned to New Jersey, after her husband retired from a long career in the United States Secret Service to take on an opportunity in the private sector in New York City.

Phyllis Kanekuni 

Before joining TJG, Phyllis spent 17 years as director of marketing and communications at Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA), an independent coeducational K-12 boarding/day school on the island of Hawaii. As a member of HPA’s senior administrative team, Phyllis provided strategic communications counsel and support to all division heads and worked with school attorneys on legal issues. She directed all school communications and marketing initiatives. She launched and managed the school’s emergency notification system and directed communications and media relations for a range of issues and crises, including a 6.7 magnitude earthquake, sexual misconduct, leadership transitions, and numerous hurricanes and tropical storms. Prior to joining HPA, Phyllis was vice president and director of special services at Hill and Knowlton/Communications-Pacific, Inc. Phyllis is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America and currently chairs the Local Advisory Panel (LAP) for a Hawaii-based charter school. She also serves on the NASA@My Library Advisory Panel, which is exploring how NASA@My Library can better serve libraries across the U.S. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where she majored in journalism and telecommunications.


Maureen Irwin Maguire 

Maureen, Senior Consultant at The Jane Group, managed her own marketing and communications firm, where she provided a full range of communication services and results-driven marketing strategies. A long-standing and ardent supporter of education, Maureen has been a member of the boards of trustees of various independent schools for 25 years, serving students from pre-k to grade 12. Her many roles have included chair of the board, chair of the marketing and communications committee, and member of the strategic planning and institutional advancement committees. Maureen provides crisis management, strategy, and communications services to clients of The Jane Group. She holds a BA in Spanish from College of New Rochelle.



Based out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Samantha brings over 20 years of communications experience to TJG, 18 of which have been spent internationally. Samantha has worked in community development, marketing, admissions, advancement, and crisis communications for international schools in the Middle East, North America, and SE Asia, most recently at United World College Thailand. Prior to working in education, Samantha worked in communications agencies on leading international brands, before spending almost a decade in the UAE driving PR, branding, and communication strategy for IFA Hotels & Resorts, the largest foreign investor on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah. Samantha graduated with honors from Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto before studying marketing at Ryerson University. Most recently, she finished a certificate program in Digital Disruption from Oxford University’s Said Business School.



With over 20 years of academic and professional experience in response to violence against vulnerable populations, Katia is a leading expert in Child Protection in youth-serving organizations. Katia has worked for the International Centre for Missing and exploited Children, where she led global and regional efforts to prevent and respond to missing children’s issues including child abuse and online child abuse and exploitation. Katia has also acted as Executive Director for Program Monitoring and Evaluation and has worked as Program and Policy Director for Latin America and Caribbean, managing the articulation and implementation of ICMEC’s multi-disciplinary program across the region. Awarded a Rotary Peace Fellowship, Katia has extensive experience presenting at regional, national, and local events on missing children’s issues and online abuse and exploitation. Katia earned her Master of International Development Policy from Duke University.



Alison Bennie 

Alison has been of counsel for The Jane Group for many years, providing writing and consulting services on an as-needed basis. As associate vice president for communications at Bowdoin College, Alison is responsible for the leadership and supervision of the conceptual and creative processes. She maintains the College’s brand, works to ensure excellence and consistency across all platforms, and serves as executive editor of the alumni magazine. Her work has earned awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, including a Circle of Excellence Gold Award. Alison is also co-principal of Whitney MacDonald Communications Consultants, a consulting group specializing in marketing, crisis communications, writing of all types, and development of photographic resources. She earned her AB in English and American literature and languages at Harvard and is a graduate of the Radcliffe Publishing Course.



Contact us

Telephone: 630-325-2509
Aggie Hulbert,
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