Executive Team

Deputy Superintendent for Student Achievement

Brett Barley

Prior to joining the Nevada Department of Education, Brett served as a Vice President with StudentsFirst, a non-profit organization focused on organizing parents, teachers, and other concerned community members to advocate for great schools for all children.  Through this work Brett supervised StudentsFirst's state teams across the county. He led his teams in the creation and implementation of strategic plans that utilized grassroots membership activities, traditional and social media engagement, electoral campaigns, and state and local advocacy efforts to pass high impact education legislation and regulation. 

From 2010 to 2012 Brett worked as Director of Education Policy for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG), a non-profit business organization representing the interests of more than 400 of Silicon Valley's largest and most influential tech companies.   While at SVLG, Brett was instrumental in the passage of key pieces of legislation, the building of a high quality early childhood and parent resource center, and the creation of a clearinghouse for local education related volunteer opportunities.

Before his transition to education policy Brett worked at the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office on juvenile justice and gang related issues.  Brett began his career with Teach For America as a fourth grade teacher in San Jose, California at a high need school where 100% of the students receive free or reduced-priced lunch and 70% are English-Language Learners. 

Brett earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from the University of San Diego.  Brett comes from a family of public school educators.  His mother was an elementary school teacher and literacy coach, his father was a school psychologist, his sister is a special education teacher, and his wife is an elementary school teacher.

Deputy Superintendent for Business and Support Services

Mindy Martini

Martini spent the last 16 years working in Nevada’s Legislative Counsel Bureau (LCB) in both the Research and Fiscal Analysis Divisions, where she has worked with education budgets and policy.  She developed the program to carry out the duties of the Legislative Bureau of Educational Accountability and Program Evaluation, and has staffed many education funding, governance, and oversight committees during her years with LCB. She has also worked for the State Division of Mental Health and in the private sector. A graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, Martini earned an M.A. in Program Evaluation from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Deputy Superintendent for Educator Effectiveness & Family Engagement

Dena Durish

Dena Durish is responsible for the operations of the Department’s offices and programs aligned with improving educator effectiveness and family engagement: Educator Licensure, the Nevada Educator Performance Framework, Parent Involvement & Family Engagement, Title II-A and Professional Development, and the Commission on Professional Standards. Durish has a long history with the Clark County School District, where she served as Coordinator of the Employee Onboarding and Development Department. She has also worked in higher education and was a teacher. A graduate of Indiana University, Durish earned her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Director of the Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment

Edward Ableser, Ph.D.

Edward Ableser, director of the Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment, has an extensive background in politics, education, and psychology. After growing up in Los Angeles, California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan (and living in China for one year in high school), Edward attended Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, where he earned two Bachelor's degrees (Political Science and Chinese), a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology, and a PhD in Justice and Social Inquiry. While working on his graduate degrees, Edward taught courses at ASU on multi-culturalism, justice theory, public policy, and statistics. Dr. Ableser was appointed to the Arizona State Senate at age 26, followed by a 10-year stint in the House of Representatives and the Senate, where he was a legislative champion for excellence in education, mental health policy, and extensive anti-bullying legislation.  

Edward has fifteen years of experience serving as a licensed professional counselor, coaching children, parents, and families through the effects of depression, anxiety, and many other mental-health disorders. His passion to create learning environments for all children that are safe, effective, and free of the insidious effects of bullying comes from years of experience of working with adults and children suffering long-term repercussions from childhood trauma. The Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment is dedicated to providing an education environment to all Nevada students that is free of bullying and cyberbullying. The office will establish programs and training to prevent, identify, and report incidents of bullying and cyberbullying and monitor compliance of school districts with the program. The office will also administer a new grant program that provides funding to place social workers or other licensed mental health care workers in schools.  

Dr. Ableser and his wife, Hilary, share a passion for their alma mater, outdoor activity, and their two children, Brielle (4) and Zachary (2). They reside in Reno, Nevada.

Public Information Officer

Gregory Bortolin

Greg Bortolin was appointed as the Public Information Officer in February of 2016. He is the Department of Education’s communications contact for media relations, social media and public records requests.

Greg is a Trustee for Sierra Nevada Journeys, a nonprofit that delivers innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship.

Greg spent the first 10 years of his career in journalism, principally as a sports writer at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In 2001, Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn appointed Greg as his Director of Communications and Press Secretary. Greg spent nearly 15 years in the Nevada System of Higher Education, first as the Manager of Media Relations at the University of Nevada, Reno and later as the Director of Communications and Government Affairs at the Desert Research Institute.

Greg is a product of the Carson City School District. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno.


Management Analyst III

Lauren Hulse

Lauren Hulse is responsible for providing assistance to the Superintendent in the conduct of studies, research, and analysis of the Department’s policies and programs. This includes coordinating legislative analysis, developing guidance memoranda, helping to collaborate across the Department’s offices to implement programs, and overseeing the development of the Department’s regulations. She previously was the Director of the Charter School Association of Nevada where she became well versed in Nevada’s education policies. A graduate of the University of Kansas, Hulse earned her juris doctorate from the Washburn University School of Law.