New Directors Join AERA
New Directors Join AERA
New Directors Join AERA

February 2013

AERA has hired two new directors to join the professional team working to advance the Association’s goals in light of its mission as a research organization.

“After an extensive search, I could not be more pleased to land John Neikirk and Tony Pals, two experienced pros with depth of experience in publishing and communications, respectively,” noted Felice Levine, AERA executive director. “As we continue to innovate in these areas, it is just the right time to bring on two savvy directors who will work quite closely with each other.”

 John Neikirk

Neikirk comes from the world of scholarly and scientific publishing. Pals has also been working with scholars and scientists for years in communications posts in higher education associations.

Neikirk, already on staff as of January 22, has 20 years of experience in scholarly publishing. His background spans journal, book, and other publishing and knowledge dissemination. From 2000 until joining AERA, Neikirk served as manager of publications at the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), where his responsibilities included journals, a magazine, a book series, web-based dissemination, and other press- and publishing-related functions. Prior to joining SAA, he was senior production editor at the American Anthropological Association for four years and managing editor at Heldref Publications for four years. He received his B.A. in English from James Madison University.

Tony Pals

Pals will join AERA as director of communications bringing considerable experience in communications, including with the press and social media. Since 2010, he has served as the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities’ (NAICU) director of communications, overseeing the association's communications and marketing programs to increase public awareness of the value and importance of nonprofit independent higher education, and awareness of NAICU’s policy priorities. Pals has been NAICU’s primary contact with the news media, serves as a spokesperson for the association, and oversees its website and social and electronic communication tools. 

Prior to joining NAICU in 1997, Pals was senior media relations coordinator at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in Washington, D.C. Pals holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Drake University and a master’s degree in communication from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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