2019 Academy Faculty

While the people who teach for the Academy may change somewhat from year to year, these are the outstanding individuals who comprised the faculty for the most recent Academy held in 2019. 

These individuals are among the most experienced, sought-after and knowledgeable campaign managers, consultants and team leaders to be found in Virginia’s Fifth and Seventh Congressional Districts and beyond. Their portfolios include work for multiple Federal, State and Local campaigns. 

We appreciate the contributions of our faculty to the mission of the Academy, and the knowledge and inspiration they provide to the aspiring candidates, campaign staff workers and political activists who attend our classes.    

Jennifer Brown

Jennifer was Charlottesville City Treasurer from 1993-2009 and was named Virginia’s Treasurer of the Year in 2005 by her colleagues in the Virginia Treasurers Association. Since the late ‘80’s she has been Treasurer for more than one hundred State Senate, House of Delegates, Congressional, Constitutional Office, and City Council campaigns. She currently is treasurer for Delegate David Toscano, Senator Creigh Deeds and Virginia First PAC.

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Taikein Cooper

Since running for Prince Edward County Treasurer at age 24, Taikein has been speaking at universities and colleges, community rallies and other institutions across the nation about the importance and power of young adults in today’s political environment. Taikein himself has been active in political campaigns and social justice causes since he was 11 years old. As Executive Director of Virginia Excels, he focuses on achieving educational equity by amplifying the voices of students and families. He also co-hosts the socio-political podcast, Ain’t No Free Lunch.  

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Stephen Davis

Stephen has managed successful primary and general election campaigns for House of Delegates and Congressional candidates, earning a reputation for his aggressive and effective grassroots strategies for elections, fundraising, friend raising and advocacy. As President of the Community Investment Collaborative, Stephen assists under-resourced entrepreneurs to start and grow small businesses. He is Vice-Chair of the Albemarle County Democratic Committee.

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Stephen Davis

Erin Monaghan

An attorney formerly with the Federal Election Commission, Erin works on the political and communications staff for Delegate David Toscano, overseeing local and statewide fundraising and communications. She contributes her legal and organizational skills as a member of the Fifth Congressional District Democratic Committee and the Democratic Party of Virginia’s Central Committee and Voter Protection Council. Erin is a former Co-Chair of the Charlottesville Democratic Committee. She was Director of the Jefferson Scholars Program at UVA before joining Delegate Toscano’s legislative staff.  

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Jim Nix

As a member of the Charlottesville Electoral Board, Jim is an invaluable resource on the legal requirements and deadlines for registering as a candidate, submitting the necessary petitions and paperwork, filing reports, and operating electoral campaigns. He was a Regional Organizer for Obama for America 2008 and 2012, Co-Chair of the Charlottesville Democratic Committee, and has consulted with dozens of candidates on voter outreach. Jim is as expert advisor on using the Virginia Democratic Party’s Votebuilder database as an indispensable tool for winning campaigns at every level of office.

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Joshua Norris

Joshua is a seasoned veteran of Democratic politics and progressive issue advocacy. His experience includes eleven years of leadership in pivotal races, including the election and reelection of President Barack Obama and Senator Tim Kaine's impressive victory in Virginia. He has worked on over 20 Federal, State and Local races. In addition to his work in electoral organizing he has worked in the labor movement and fought fiercely for environmental and social issues. Josh also served as a Regional Field Director for the Democratic National Committee and is currently Principal Consultant for Organize Virginia LLC.

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Joshua Norris

Nicholas Rogers

Nicholas got his bearings in the campaign world working as a research associate and press assistant during the 2014 campaign cycle. He later served as Vice President for Media Analysis at a DC consulting firm, where he tracked media narratives and studied effective messaging. Nicholas is Vice Chair of Communications for the Albemarle County Democratic Committee. He is enrolled as both a Doctor of Law and Master of Public Policy candidate at the University of Virginia.  

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Maggie Thornton

Maggie was a sought-after manager and scheduler for Federal, State and Local Democratic candidates before leaving Virginia to join her new husband in Philadelphia. An English teacher at Charlottesville High School, Maggie was also faculty advisor to the Young Liberals extracurricular club, which served as a safe space for students to test their ideas by engaging in political debates, political campaigns and progressive advocacy. Maggie’s Doctoral Dissertation at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education exposed the historical roots in segregation behind public school Gifted Programs and led to the ongoing reform of several such programs in area schools. 

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Learn about Maggie Thornton