“I loved how positive and supportive it was. I really got the sense of ‘we’re all in this together.’ That made it uplifting and inspiring. I loved the SEL information and the teaming sessions.” – Nichole Cooper

Meet Our Presenters

Consultant Faculty Coach, LSI

Bindu Sunil, Ed.S.

Bindu has been an educator for 17 years. She has served as a middle school teacher, content specialist, district content coach, and district content coordinator. Her teaching and learning effort focus on building instructional leadership in schools that empower principals, coaches, and teachers to implement curriculum, instruction, and assessment to improve student learning. Her work around student-centered coaching utilizes student work and action to enhance standards-based instruction aligned to equity and rigor by supporting its implementation through job-embedded professional learning.

Bindu has worked in public schools, the university system, and educational research organizations across three different states. Students from different demographics in urban schools interest her due to their resilience and unlimited learning capacity. She has skills in implementing UDL, PBL in instructional planning and values standards-based curriculum & grading, and data-driven instruction. While in Kentucky, she worked with schools to implement high-leverage instructional strategies to improve student achievement. She guides teachers and coaches through the backward planning model, facilitating open-ended tasks and utilizing student work and actions as formative assessments to improve student achievement.

Bindu has a MAT, middle grades math and science from Emory University. In addition, she holds an undergraduate degree in electronics engineering and an educational specialist degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is currently a doctoral student at Georgia State University. Her research interest is investigating the impact of principal trust in organizational learning to influence teacher motivation in high-poverty schools.

Senior Content Specialist for SEL, LSI

Camile Earle-Dennis

For over twenty years, Camile Earle-Dennis has served districts and schools as a teacher, literacy coach, district trainer, curriculum writer, national mentor, regional instructional coach, and leadership advisor. She is a nationally awarded Milken Educator and published author who uses a strength-based lens to build confidence and rebuild school and classroom communities to create a thriving culture of learning that maintains high expectations for all.

She is known best for her ability to develop teams that reverse underperforming schools, teachers, and students. She relies heavily on her cognitive sciences and instructional leadership backgrounds to empower leaders and their teams by aligning social-emotional learning and the power of foundational relationships to transform, transcend, and further drive learning and teaching. She believes that this essential work is a call to action to reverse underachievement, disrupt poverty, and ultimately and permanently shift trajectories for children, families, and school communities.


Conner Mowers

Conner Mowers is a first year fifth grade teacher at Muessel Elementary in South Bend, Indiana. He graduated from Ball State University in 2021 where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. He chose to major in elementary education after coaching fifth and sixth grade basketball and baseball while in high school. After graduation, he returned home to South Bend and began teaching at Muessel.
Senior Director of Academic Teaming

Deana Senn

Deana Senn, Senior Director of Academic Teaming at Learning Sciences International, calls upon her 20 years of experience in education to support leaders and teachers in increasing engagement, ensuring equity, and closing achievement gaps through student conversations and rigorous learning.

Ms. Senn is an award-winning author, national speaker and conducts research and development for Learning Sciences International. Having experience that spans the United States and Canada in rural and urban districts, Ms. Senn is passionate about creating innovative solutions for all students, teachers, and leaders.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Debra Friedman, M.Ed.

Following a rewarding 30-year career in public education, Debra Friedman is excited to be a staff developer with Learning Sciences. Debra holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and a master’s degree in leadership from Nova Southeastern University, Florida. She is privileged to have worked with a diverse variety of schools from all socio-economic ranges in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Debra has served as a teacher, reading specialist, assistant principal, principal, and director of program development and alignment for one of the nation’s largest school districts, where she was in charge of the district’s professional development center, a multi-million dollar training grant, and on-line professional development programs providing teacher enhancement and certification courses.

Under her leadership as an elementary principal and through the hard work of committed teachers who embraced Dr. Marzano’s teacher evaluation model, her school rose from one of the state’s 300 lowest-performing schools to scoring in the top 10% in reading. This experience combined with her love of children and learning is the foundation of her strong commitment to supporting schools in their quest to improve student achievement.

Principal of McLaughlin Middle and Fine Arts Academy

Debra Hudson

Dr. Debra Wright Hudson serves as the principal of McLaughlin Middle and Fine Arts Academy in Lake Wales, Florida, where she uses research and her experiences to develop instructional systems that increase the academic performance of students. She has served as an educator for over 10 years and is dedicated to the success of schools that have experienced academic challenges.

In the midst of the pandemic, she implemented innovative pedagogical and student-centered strategies to raise the school grade. As an instructional leader, Dr. Hudson has established and implemented professional learning and common planning communities that have resulted in an increase in student learning and staff retention. She leads by example and by authentically connecting with her staff, students, parents, and community.

As she continues to foster relationships and build capacity, Dr. Hudson will continue to expand the impact and success of McLaughlin Middle and Fine Arts Academy by ensuring an equivalent educational experience for all students.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Diane Stultz, M.Ed.

Diane Stultz, M.S. Ed. has more than 41 years of experience in education as a successful teacher, instructional coach, school change coach, facilitator of professional learning, and a senior Director of Learning and Leading for a not-for-profit organization. She has worked in rural, urban, and suburban schools (K-12) throughout the United States and with public schools in Hong Kong. Because she is a life-long learner, Diane earned her National Board Certification and other post-graduate courses and has been passionate about teacher and leader empowerment ever since. In order for schools to make needed systemic change, there must be strong, passionate leaders from the classroom through the central office. She has dedicated her career to making this happen to change the hearts and minds of students, teachers, and administrators.

Diane also has years of experience with formative instructional practices and assessment literacy as well as being an energetic staff developer and curriculum writer. Her strong point is to make the complex easy to understand and implement.

Ms. Stultz attended Bowling Green State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Education and a Master of Science degree in education with an emphasis on adult learning from The Ohio State University.

Consultant - School Leadership Coach in ARC-Schools for Rigor

Dodi Davenport, Ed. D.

As a Learning Sciences International Consultant, Dr. Dodi Davenport works with school leadership teams to ensure that teachers have exposure and experience with the newest evidence-based actions that have proven to change instructional outcomes for students. Her depth of knowledge of core instructional best practices, expertise in utilizing teacher and leader evaluation models as a tool to improve instructional effectiveness, and experiences as a professional coach to educators in many different roles have proven to be of great impact to the districts she has served.

Dr. Davenport’s 31 years in education include experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and in district-level leadership. In each of her roles, she was very active in ensuring teachers and leaders benefited from access to high-quality professional learning experiences to strengthen their instructional practice.

Dr. Davenport earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida State University. She went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and her Ed.D. in Educational Program Development, both from the University of South Florida.

Consultant - Faculty Coach in ARC-Schools for Rigor

Ericka Polanco

Ericka Polanco is a passionate and dedicated educator. With over 15 years of experience in both public and charter school settings, she has served as a teacher in all grades K-8th, an instructional coach, a Curriculum Resource Teacher, and a Lead Teacher (Assistant Principal) before joining as a Consultant-Faculty Coach.

Ericka has diverse experience with varying populations both in New York and in Florida. She believes that all students deserve a chance to succeed in education and will meet the challenge when expectations are set high. Through her dedication, she helped her students bridge the gap by helping them achieve the highest learning gains in the Mathematics State Exams in 2011, and once more in 2018. Due to her dedication, she has been awarded Teacher of the Year in 2011 (NY), 2016 (FL), and 2018 (FL). She has also been honored with the New American Hero Award in 2017 (FL).

Ericka has a Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education Grades K-8 and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, both from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She holds active Professional Teaching Certificates in Elementary Education in K-5th Grades in New York, and Elementary Education in K-6th Grades in Florida. As well as ESOL endorsement and Reading Endorsement.

She is passionate about supporting LSI's social mission as she describes herself as a product of it. She understands that through data-driven, rigorous standard-based core instruction all students can and will succeed.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Gary Hess

For more than 30 years, Gary Hess has been working in PreK-12 public and charter schools. This experience includes serving as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and 14 years as a building administrator in an urban school district. As a school principal and instructional leader, he led his team in continuous improvement, and has experience utilizing the “Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model” and “Essentials for Achieving Rigor”, and now delivers these school trainings to teachers and administrators.

Gary has also worked as a School Improvement Facilitator with the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a member of Pennsylvania’s Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) School Improvement Initiative “to engage school leaders and school-based teams in a continuous improvement process.” Now through his facilitation of LSI’s “Leadership Academy”, Gary also supports school and district-based teams to develop, implement, and monitor improvement plans that are based on evidence-based practices.

He is committed to the success of at-risk students and has served in schools with high populations of students of poverty and English language learners. Working now as an LSI Staff Developer, Gary delivers professional development in “Ignite Core Instruction” and “Academic Teaming” which has the power to improve academic achievement and social-emotional learning simultaneously, while also closing gaps between students of differing abilities, preparing students for college and the workplace, and promoting equity and access.”

Gary has a robust background in leading standards-based instruction, evidence-based pedagogy, decision-driven data collection, formative assessment, school systems improvement, and PLC facilitation. His diverse experiences give him a broad perspective as he supports systems in refinement and change for successful student achievement.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Gwen Bryant, M.Ed.

Gwendolyn Bryant, MSEd, has a passion for creating and supporting lifelong learners. This passion has guided her career for more than 38 years. She has taught students with learning disabilities, early childhood education, elementary school, middle school, and adult education. In addition, she has been a part-time professor at the University of Akron and Ashland University.

Before becoming a staff developer, Ms. Bryant served as a middle-school improvement and literacy coach and a district-level lead teacher for Akron Public Schools. This position encompassed training and facilitation, as well as providing support to principals, leadership teams, and K-12 teachers to create individual school improvement plans.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Jennifer Ward

Jennifer Ward is a Faculty Coach with Learning Sciences International. Jennifer has spent the last two decades in Texas public education advocating for all students to have access to a great education that includes standards-based, rigorous instruction through PLCs, professional development, classroom support juxtaposition with instructional coaching.

Jennifer has a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on math education. She has a passion for high-quality math instruction. Jennifer is passionate about collaborating with schools to increase student achievement, student agency and school improvement.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Jennifer Watson

As an LSI Consultant, Jennifer Watson supports schools in implementing evidence-based, proven methodologies for improving student outcomes. Jennifer’s primary role centers around providing embedded professional development and coaching within turnaround schools.

Before joining the LSI team, Jennifer worked as a public-school educator and instructional coach in schools with diverse populations. Her 14 years of experience include a range of settings from rural Missouri to urban schools in Hillsborough County, the seventh largest school district in the U.S.

Jennifer received her Bachelors in Elementary Education from Drury University in Springfield, MO. Although her experiences lie within all content areas, she has true passion for quality mathematics instruction and proving every child really can learn math concepts. She believes that through the use of strategic data-driven decision making and rigorous instruction for all students, the achievement gap will be eliminated.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Jody Honaker

Jody Honaker serves as Director of Academic Teaming at Learning Sciences International. Jody has extensive experience supporting teachers and leaders by implementing rigorous and engaging learning through PLCs, professional development, and classroom support. Jody has successfully devoted the last two decades to Educational Transformation, advocating her core belief that all children deserve a chance for a successful future. Jody has presented at international and national conferences, as well as hosted webinars to support educators with building their craft and love for teaching and leading.
Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives, Putnam County Schools

Jonathan Hinke

Jonathan Hinke is the Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives for Putnam County Schools. He oversees aspects of district and school improvement including strategic planning, turnaround schools, school improvement grants, and the district’s graduation initiative. Prior to joining Putnam County Schools in 2015, he worked for the Bureau of School Improvement with the Florida Department of Education.

As a district leader, Jonathan collaborates with department directors and supports school administrators to ensure improvement efforts are aligned with the district’s vision and mission. He is a passionate advocate for public education and spent most of his teaching career working in turnaround schools as a teacher and instructional coach.

Jonathan holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida and a Bachelor of Music in General Music Education from Lawrence University.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Kara Bentley

Kara Bentley is a Staff Developer with Learning Sciences International. Her educational career encompasses classroom experience in both primary- intermediate level education. While working at a School District, she served as a Lead Facilitator to help PLC groups learn to effectively write and use learning scales in the classroom and has worked extensively with pre-service teachers as an instructor to prepare them for real-world classroom experiences.

Kara is dedicated to empowering teachers to reach beyond their current vision of instruction and to deepen their understanding of effective instructional strategies that reap positive results for their students. Kara believes that students should not be told that they are important; rather, they should be shown that they are important.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Kathleen Marx, M.Ed.

Kathleen Marx, MSEd, is a leading expert in personal development across industries. Ms. Marx works very closely with Dr. Robert J. Marzano and the Learning Sciences International team in developing content and training new staff developers. Her background in classroom teaching, gifted education consulting, school counseling, life-success facilitation, and building administration give her unique insights into leading strategies in implementing research-based instructional and evaluation models. She earned her master's degrees in educational leadership and school counseling from the University of Dayton.
Principal, Washington High School, South Bend Indiana

Kenard Robinson M.Ed

Kenard Robinson is entering into his 10th year as an educator. In a short amount of time, Kenard has established himself as a leader who produces transformational change in the educational setting.  After serving as principal of Jackson Middle School in South Bend Indiana, Kenard has been recently promoted to principal of Washington High School for the 2022-2023 school year.

He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Health Science and a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership & Counseling. Kenard exemplifies positive, professional leadership that makes a difference in the lives of his students and the staff. This laser focus has led to the implementation of new programs and best practices for instructional delivery.  His educational experiences have afforded him the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of people to meet the common goal of increasing student achievement and well-being.

His educational philosophy is based on his uncompromising belief that all students can learn, given a positive learning environment, strong and knowledgeable leadership, a committed and focused educational team, an encouraging community, and a supportive family.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Kimberly Harris, M.Ed.

Accomplished in providing engaging professional development, Kimberly Harris, M.Ed., joined Learning Sciences International following 14 years of service in Cleveland City Schools. As a classroom teacher, curriculum administrator, and secondary school principal, she dedicated much of her time in the alternative education environment in her mission to expose students to enriched learning experiences. Ms. Harris attended Cleveland State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in adult learning and development.
Faculty Coach, LSI

Kirstie Lickliter

Kirstie Lickliter, M.Ed, is a staff developer for Learning Sciences International within the Standards-Driven Curriculum Practice Area. With almost 20 years of experience in an educational setting, her background includes work as a classroom teacher, literacy coach, and district-level curriculum support specialist. Kirstie graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.

After teaching for four years, she decided it was time to go back to school and earned her Master of Education degree in Reading Education from Florida Atlantic University. She is committed to supporting educators as they develop and implement rigorous standards-based instruction.


Laura Woolf

Laura Woolf has 23 years of experience as an educator and consultative professional. For the last 8 years she has worked with the Mississippi and Alabama departments of education on implementing pervasive science of reading professional development that has helped to transform the literacy landscape in these states. She also consults with institutions of higher learning on ways to implement the science of reading with preservice teachers.
Assistant Superintendent of Schools

Lela Majstorovic

Lela Majstorovic currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in School District U-46, located in Elgin, IL. In her role, Lela has demonstrated her visionary and problem-solving skills to bring a cohesive, student-centered leadership approach to the oversight of 58 schools organized into 7 networks. Lela works closely with her team of seven Executive Directors, who serve as Principal Supervisors and drive the work to improve all aspects of the School Instructional Maturity Model in their schools.

She has led the work to improve core instruction in School District U-46 through the implementation of Academic Teaming, Leadership Coaching, and Instructional Coaching. Lela believes that all students should have daily access to rigorous, standards-aligned and team-based instruction, and works to ensure coherence and alignment throughout the district to make that happen.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Leslie Frick

Leslie’s educational career spans nearly 30 years. Prior to accepting the position as Staff Developer for Learning Sciences International, she served students and families as a classroom teacher at both elementary and secondary levels, specializing in ELA, Reading, and Social Studies. In the last five years of her public education career, she supported teachers and building leaders as a Pre-K-12 Professional Development Specialist in her district. Leslie earned her degrees in Education and History from the State University of New York, College at Brockport.

While in the classroom, Leslie saw the benefit of designing and facilitating learning experiences using LSI’s research-based best practices. As a PLC facilitator, Department Chair, and New Teacher Mentor, she began assisting other teachers to implement and evaluate these practices in their classrooms.

Later in her career, Leslie partnered alongside district and building leaders as a Professional Development Specialist to successfully turn around several at-risk schools by coaching the implementation of standards-based instruction as well as high-impact strategies that positively influenced student achievement. In this ever-changing profession, she stays consistent with her passion for inspiring teachers and leaders to develop their craft. She strives to foster an environment of collaboration and growth with those she serves by validating the work that has been done, challenging stakeholders to reflect on their current practice through analysis of student outcomes, and ultimately to do better each and every day to prepare all of our students for a future we can’t yet imagine.


Leslie Miller

Leslie Miller has been first grade teacher for the past 19 years at Muessel Elementary in South Bend, IN.  She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Elementary Education, with a minor in mild disabilities, from Indiana University South Bend. She is a member of the Teacher Leadership Team and Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) Team. Leslie was the Muessel Teacher of the Year in 2019 and a top ten finalist for Teacher of the Year for the South Bend School Corporation. She is very involved with her two children’s sports activities as they participate in baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball.
Faculty Coach, LSI

Liz Buzzanca

Elizabeth Buzzanca is a faculty coach at Learning Sciences International. She has over 15 years of education experiences. Most of these years were spent in South Florida schools. She has served as a teacher, curriculum programs coordinator, instructional coach, and dean of students in public and charter schools.

She has a passion for project-based learning and deep experience in science and STEM education. Her commitment is to student achievement and strongly believes that every child can succeed. She is committed to helping educators perfect their professional practices and lead students into achieving excellence.

Elizabeth Buzzanca holds a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Barry University in Miami Gardens FL, and a B.S. degree in Education from Marian College of Fon du Lac, Wisconsin.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Lorah Neville, M.Ed.

Ms. Lorah Neville began teaching middle school with a degree in Elementary Education. In 1996, she earned her Masters in Educational Leadership then served as a K-5 assistant principal, K-6 principal. She went on to serve as a K-12 Director of Curriculum and K-8 Executive Director for curriculum, assessment, technology, special education as well as principals. Finally, Ms. Neville was chosen as a K-8 Superintendent.

Through her many roles, Ms. Neville delivered professional development and was responsible for school improvement planning and implementation, evaluation of support staff, teachers, instructional coaches, site and district administrators. She implemented and used the Marzano Focused Teacher Evaluation Model, School Leader Evaluation and District Leader Evaluation tools in both large and small district settings. Ms. Neville also planned and facilitated school and district-based change efforts K-12.

Ms. Neville has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses as well as supervised teaching practicum students in the field. Ms. Neville believes every student can and should learn and knows that takes great teachers and leaders. She remains committed to realizing that vision.

Today, Ms. Neville is an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University working with international visiting principals and pre-service teaching students. She also serves as a professional developer with Learning Sciences International. Additionally, Ms. Neville stays active in her community as a current member of the City of Chandler Cultural Foundation Board and vice president of the Kyrene Educational Foundation.


Mackenzie Casteel

Mackenzie Casteel is an educator with 20+ years experience at the K-12 level.  For the past 12 years, Mackenzie has successfully coached teachers and administrators in the Science of Reading.  She is an educational thought partner throughout the Carolinas.  Mackenzie resides in Greenville, SC with her husband and two children.  
Faculty Coach, LSI

Mario Andrade

Dr. Mario Andrade is an educational practitioner who has over 20 years of experience in private and public education. He is committed to providing equitable access to highly effective teaching and learning for all students.

Dr. Andrade has held a variety of administrative positions in urban and suburban public education settings. He has been an Assistant High School Principal, High School Principal, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, and Superintendent. Mario is passionate about collaborating with School Leaders to increase student achievement and teacher capacity. He is committed to his work with teachers, coaches, and school leaders as they focus on continuous school improvement.

He has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Johnson & Wales University, a Master of Science in Special Education from Simmons College, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Connecticut.

Consultant, School Leadership Coach in ARC-Schools for Rigor

Maura Hobson, Ed. D.

As a staff developer/school leadership coach/consultant within LSI, Dr. Maura Hobson has worked with school districts to ensure administrators and teachers keep current in best practices to support success for all students. Within the company, Maura’s work has centered around working with school improvement/turnaround schools, leadership development and coaching, and professional learning facilitation.

Maura is an instructional leader who has over 27 years of experience in public education. She is committed to providing exposure and experiences to teachers and school leaders to the newest evidence-based actions that have proven to change instructional outcomes for all students. Her educational expertise ranges from curriculum writing at the school and district level, developing professional development for teachers and school leaders at school, district, state, and national levels, and analyzing data to ensure that the needs of all students are met focusing on high expectations and rigorous instruction.

Dr. Hobson has held a variety of teaching and administrative positions in urban and suburban public education settings. She has been an Elementary and Middle School Teacher, Assistant High School and Middle School Principal, and High School Principal. Maura is passionate about collaborating and supporting principals and school leaders to increase student achievement for all learners, as well as teacher growth, through professional development and coaching. At her core, she believes in empowering and supporting others to reach their fullest potential.

Dr. Hobson has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration from the California University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from the University of Scranton, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Shippensburg University.

Vice President of Professional Services

Melissa Bloom, Ed. D.

Dr. Melissa Bloom is an Executive Director of Evaluation and Strategic Partnerships for Applied Research Center and the Vice President of Professional Services at the Learning Sciences International (LSI) Marzano Center. Her passion is to energize and inspire K-12 educators to improve effectiveness through research-based instructional and evaluation models. After spending her career as a teacher, regional school improvement coach, school principal, assistant superintendent for curriculum, and continuing teacher education coach at Quincy University, Dr. Bloom understands what it takes to encourage teachers and leaders in a way that ultimately results in increased student learning.

Dr. Bloom holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Arts in School Leadership from the Bradley University, a Specialist degree in School Leadership from Western Illinois University, and a Doctorate in Education from Aurora University.

Director, School Turnaround

Michelle Fitzgerald, Ed.D.

Dr. Michelle Fitzgerald has been an educator for 28 years. In that time, she has served as middle school teacher, building administrator, district curriculum coordinator, assistant superintendent, and area superintendent – principal supervisor. Dr. Fitzgerald has worked in three different states and has experience in different types and sizes of districts – from suburban Chicago school districts; to the 7th largest district in the country; and a district that is 100% urban. She has experience with standards-based curriculum development, best practices in instructional delivery, and assessment with a focus on data-driven instruction. Dr. Fitzgerald built instructional leadership in principals and assistant principals capitalizing on her extensive experience in curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

During her time in Florida, Dr. Fitzgerald worked with some of the most struggling schools. She worked with the instructional leadership team of the schools through school turn around. Due to the systems and structures put into place and an intentional focus on instruction, many of her schools saw great gains and were continuing to see improvements in student achievement.

Dr. Fitzgerald holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Illinois State University, a Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from Aurora University, and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Illinois University. Her dissertation is titled, Student Involvement in the Formative Assessment Process, drawing upon her belief that students could and should be active participants in their own learning and that all education should be data-driven.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Mindy Province, M.Ed.

Mindy Province is an LSI Faculty Coach and is part of the Florida based team. She has been working with students in a variety of areas for over twenty years and is passionate about supporting others to design and facilitate rigorous core instruction. Mindy earned a B.S in Elementary Education from West Virginia University and an M.Ed. in Technologies Enhanced Learning with a focus on Training and Development from Seton Hill University. While in the classroom, she was recognized as a high impact teacher by the State of Florida and worked at the state demonstration school for technology for several years.

She served as a clinical mentor and was part of various leadership initiatives within the school system. Mindy has diverse experience with varying populations and has experience with teaching multiple subjects throughout the years. She holds an active teaching certificate in Elementary Education, Middle and High School English along with other endorsements.

In addition to public education, she found many rewards while working with children on the Autism spectrum as she was as a Behavioral Specialist. With this role, she created and managed programs to support the special needs of students so they could positively integrate with peers in school and in their community.

In each placement, she thrived knowing that change and growth are possible for all, and this is just one reason she feels passionately about helping others through the coaching process. She believes all students deserve a chance to succeed in public education and knows they can through standards-based instruction and efficient practices. She is passionate about the LSI mission to support all students with rigorous core instruction while supporting their social and emotional needs and skills.

Consultant - School Leadership Coach in ARC - Schools for Rigor

Molly Watson, PhD

Dr. Molly Watson is a School Leadership Coach with Learning Sciences International. Drawing upon her roles as a deputy chief, principal, assistant principal, and classroom teacher, Dr. Watson encourages and guides educators as they navigate the challenges of continuous school improvement. She is passionate about supporting school leaders through differentiated coaching in order to provide a high-quality education for ALL students.

Dr. Watson brings 25 years of experience in education, including 9 years coaching school principals. Prior to leadership coaching, Dr. Watson led a K-8 school serving over 850 students. Under her leadership, a dynamic team of teachers was developed to increase reading and math scores over 20% on standardized assessments. As a result, she was one of only nine Arizona administrators awarded the Gold Medal Award and the title of a “Beat the Odds” school from the Beat the Odds Institute, Center for the Future of Arizona in 2012.

Dr. Watson received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Creighton University, a master’s degree in Education Administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha, and a doctorate degree from the University of Illinois Chicago.

Assistant Principal at Heronville Elementary School

Monserrat Randolph

Ms. Monserrat Randolph has been in the field of education for nine years. During the six years in the classroom, Ms. Randolph was a third and fourth grade teacher. She has a very strong background in EL education, which has helped her throughout her career.

This is her third year as an administrator, but her first year as the Assistant Principal at Heronville Elementary School in the Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS). Predominately, Ms. Randolph has worked in turnaround schools within her time at OKCPS. Her focus has been on supporting academic achievement for all students to ensure equity in learning.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Mtetwa Ramdoo

Mtetwa is a passionate teacher, coach, mentor, and leader in improving job skills, guiding professional development, and increasing productivity for adults and students. Her experience includes instructing the instructor and analyzing and evaluating performance in a variety of learning environments.

Prior to joining LSI, she worked for Hillsborough County Public Schools, one of the top 10 largest districts in the nation, as a Coordinator and Peer Evaluator. Her experience includes evaluating instruction and student learning and offering recommendations to teachers to improve core instruction pedagogy. She also taught 6th-grade science and high school ELL.

She also is an author and earned her Masters, Educational Leadership from the American College of Education and her Bachelors, English from the University of South Florida.

Executive Director, Leadership Development and Schools for Rigor and Equity

Penny Sell, M.Ed.

A three-time teacher of the year, Penny Sell has a career in education that spans four decades, excelling in the roles of teacher, school and district-level administrator, trainer, leadership coach, and consultant. She has dedicated the past 20 years to coaching and training school leaders, providing vital expertise in leadership development and high-quality instruction. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Exceptional Education from Central Michigan University and her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida.
Principal at Channing Memorial Elementary

Rebecca Lunak

Rebecca Lunak is the Principal at Channing Memorial Elementary which is in Elgin, IL, District U-46, the second largest district in the state of Illinois. She has been a public school educator for 30 years serving as a classroom teacher in grades kindergarten through 12th grade, Assistant Principal, and Principal. She brings a long-time commitment to building relationships with students, staff, and families. Rebecca has dedicated her career to increase students’ sense of belonging, behavior, and academic outcomes.

Ms. Lunak earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Illinois State University, a Master of Arts degree in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University, and another Master of Arts degree in educational leadership from Roosevelt University

Superintendent of the Putnam County School District

Rick Surrency

Dr. Surrency is the elected superintendent of the Putnam County School District serving in his 6th year. After serving as a school teacher, assistant principal, and principal for 38 years, he retired and ran for the office of superintendent in 2016.

Dr. Surrency has made significant improvements in his district by improving the district graduation rates from 54.9% in 2015 to 92.5% in 2021, the largest increase in the State of Florida during the same time period. In 2017, Putnam County had 11 of its 18 schools in state turnaround status due to poor academic progress. In 2020, through the building of community partnerships, parent engagement and the focus on core instruction, there were zero schools in state turnaround status.

One of the schools in turnaround, Moseley Elementary School worked with an external operator, Learning Sciences International (LSI) to make significant gains and earned a C school grade for the first time in over a decade. The school’s principal was named the Florida Principal of the Year for 2020.

Dr. Surrency has led an initiative to expand acceleration and career and technical opportunities across the district. He has also implemented a K-12 STEM initiative that provides a career path for students to prepare for jobs that do not yet exist.

Dr. Surrency and his wife Penny have 6 children and 10 grandchildren.

Teacher at Harriet Gifford Elementary in Elgin, IL

Rocio (Rosie) Torres

Rocio has been a teacher for 16 years at Harriet Gifford Elementary in Elgin, IL. Rocio is teaching at the same elementary school she went to as a child. She received her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education. She has a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction as well as a Reading Specialist master’s degree.

She is a member of the U-46 Rising team and a member of the School Improvement Plan Team (SIP). Rocio has been a Kindergarten state presenter and dual language presenter for several years in Illinois. She is a very dedicated mom of twins and always thriving to make everyone smile and stay positive.

Author and Educator

Ron Nash

Ron Nash has been in education since the dawn of man (well, since 1972 anyway). After escaping with his B.S in Ed. and M.A. in History from Clarion State College, Ron mastered the use of the overhead projector and colored chalk in classrooms in three school districts in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Ron retired from the Virginia Beach schools in 2007, vowing to get rid of all his suits and ties, and determined never to attend another meeting of any kind.

Since his retirement, Ron has presented all over the country in scores of schools and districts, and has presented at ASCD, Learning Forward, NBPTS, Eric Jensen’s Learning Brain Expo. He has written 16 books, including two bestsellers. Ron has written four books for LSI.

Ron, his wife Candy, and their kitty Gracie (just turned 18), live in Virginia Beach.

Principal, Oklahoma City School District

Ronda Hamilton

Ronda Hamilton began her educational career in the San Antonio Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas as a sixth-grade teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Ms. Hamilton spent twenty years teaching in Texas, Kansas, California and Oklahoma and four years as an Instructional Facilitator before accepting her first principal position in the Oklahoma City School District. Ms. Hamilton has served as an elementary building principal for fourteen years. In 2019, Mr. Hamilton became the building principal at Arthur Elementary School where she is implementing LSI strategies.

Her educational experiences have afforded her the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of people to meet the common goal of increasing student achievement and emotional and social well-being. Her educational passion is to create academically engaging learning experiences through an environment that fosters creativity, curiosity, and collaboration.

Ms. Hamilton earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Oklahoma in 1984. She earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration in 2006, from the University of Central Oklahoma. Ms. Hamilton has one son and is a proud “GiGi” to three beautiful grandchildren. She is an avid traveler of destination resorts and loves spending time with her family.

Author and Educator

Sarah Ottow

Sarah is a professional development specialist and change agent who is passionate about supporting and improving cultural understanding, communication, and collaboration. She enjoys working in public and private schools, universities, non-profit organizations, and corporations across the US and internationally. Since 2000, Sarah has designed & facilitated high impact learning experiences for K-12 students and adults from over 40 different language groups.

Sarah founded Confianza in 2015 and she is the author of The Language Lens for Content Classrooms: A Guide for K-12 Educators of English and Academic Language Learners published by Learning Sciences International.

Executive Director of Leadership Development for Putnam County School District

Sarajean McDaniel

Sarajean McDaniel is the Executive Director of Leadership Development for Putnam County School District where she works to grow current and aspiring school leaders. Before becoming a district level administrator, Sarajean served as an elementary school teacher, a curriculum coach, and a training specialist for North East Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC).

She also spent eleven years as a school administrator where she proved to be a successful turnaround principal. Sarajean was named the 2020 Florida Principal of the Year by the Florida Department of Education for her efforts in leading William D. Moseley Elementary School.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Shakira B. Fetherolf, M. Ed.

As a Learning Sciences International Consultant Faculty Coach, Mrs. Shakira Fetherolf supports rigorous and equitable education for scholars by delivering professional development, supporting PLCs, coaching implementation, modeling lessons, and using current formative and summative data to drive standards-based instruction. Holding herself and her team to the highest of standards with intellectual curiosity, grace and vulnerability is how she travels the path to success.

Before coaching, Mrs. Fetherolf taught in a wide range of environments, from the emotionally disturbed, autistic, and learning-disabled students of District 75 in the South Bronx, to private schools and university-level abroad, as well as public schools in Florida in a variety of neighborhoods. These diverse experiences have led to an informed and widened perspective.

Mrs. Fetherolf began her education at The State University of New York at Albany with a degree in Sociology and then earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Mercy College.

Instructional Coach and MTSS Coordinator at Moseley Elementary

Shelby Bellamy

Shelby Bellamy is the Instructional Coach and MTSS Coordinator at Moseley Elementary where she has worked since the beginning of her career as a classroom teacher, interventionist, and now supports the leadership team. Shelby was a pioneer teacher when Moseley implemented the Schools for Rigor program and served as a teacher leader during this process.

She has worked with the Putnam County School District to develop standards-aligned curriculum that facilitates student ownership. Her high-quality instructional practices have been used as a model for other teachers in the years since, and she continues to facilitate opportunities for professional development in the area of academic teaming.

Shelby holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Saint Leo University.

Region Superintendent in Hillsborough County Public Schools

Star Connor

Lindsey Star Connor has seventeen years of educational experience with a successful track record for improving schools with various complexities. Mrs. Connor began her career as elementary teacher and most recently served as an elementary principal in the Duval County Public School System. During her first principal assignment at Normandy Village Elementary School, she led the effort to improve the school grade from a D to C and exit turnaround status.

Prior to her leadership, the school had persistently remained a D rated school for five consecutive years. Mrs. Connor was given the opportunity to lead at another historically low performing school, Richard Lewis Brown Elementary, where the school’s leadership, faculty, staff, and community worked diligently to improving the school grade from a D to C in one year.

During her time there, she was the recipient of the Laurel Kaden Anderson Award for her commitment and promotion of excellent school counseling programs and earned her Gifted Endorsement. Mrs. Connor was then asked to lead another challenged school, Bayview Elementary, that resulted in the school gaining 50 points to earn a school grade of a B. Her last Principalship was at Joseph Finegan Elementary in Duval County where 90% of the enrollment were students of military families.

Mrs. Connor currently serves as the Region Superintendent of Transformation Schools in Hillsborough County Public Schools. 72% of her 14 transformation schools made significant gains on FSA during the 2020-2021 school year. Four of her schools improved by two letters grades (2 Ds to Bs and 2 Fs to Cs), six schools improved by one letter grade (D to C) and four schools remained the same grade. She is dedicated to school improvement and believes that all students can achieve!

Faculty Coach, LSI

Susan Schilsky, Ed. D.

Dr. Susan Schilsky’s love for educating children and adults spans more than 30 years as a teacher, school-based administrator, and district curriculum supervisor for 6-12 literacy. Sue has been recognized for her work with secondary literacy leaders and instructional coaches to improve English Language Arts instruction through a standards-based approach. As an adjunct instructor for Grand Canyon University, she continues this work with graduate students seeking their Reading Specialist degrees.
Faculty Coach/Consultant, LSI

Theresa Staley, M.Ed.

Theresa Staley’s work as a faculty coach and consultant with Learning Sciences International evokes and reflects her values and aspirations for greatness in education.  Her professional experiences embed mastery as a coach, teacher, research-based trainer, and district-level administrator.  Theresa’s extensive knowledge in core instruction and effectiveness with marginalized populations and school transformations characterizes her as an educational innovator and leader for school change.

An educator for over twenty years, Theresa’s authentic and empowering persona transcends throughout her work in schools across the country, as noted in her successes with Caroline County Schools in Denton, Maryland, in addition to the extraordinary transformation in the midwestern region of our nation, Grand Island, Nebraska, catapulting both as frontrunner turnaround schools.

Her passion and advocacy for teaching and education is transparent, inspirational, and contagious.

Consultant - School Leadership Coach in ARC-Schools for Rigor

Tracey Waters

Tracey Waters currently serves as a School Leadership Coach as part of the School Turnaround team at LSI. In this role, her support is focused on the key levers of leadership development and core instruction to usher in second order change and improve student outcomes. Tracey started her educational journey in 1999 as a HS English teacher in New Jersey. She then joined the Charleston County School District in South Carolina.

Tracey served as both a building and district administrator focused on curriculum and instruction in Title I schools. She then moved into the non-profit sector in which she led school and district projects focused on strategic planning around curriculum, assessment and professional development for large scale change and impact. Tracey received a BA from Lehigh University, an MAT from the College of New Jersey and an M.Ed. from The Citadel.

Faculty Coach, LSI

Tracy Bollinger

Tracy Bollinger’s 20 years in education as a knowledgeable instructional leader and dynamic classroom teacher led to her career as a Consultant with Learning Sciences International. Ms. Bollinger has been part of school improvement planning, curriculum writing, district-wide professional development, and instructional coaching in Pennsylvania districts.

Principal and Leadership Coaching to increase student achievement and teacher growth are her passion and areas of focus. Her guidance of administrators to become instructional leaders while working with Demonstration and Turn Around Schools across the country has been very successful in helping teachers and leaders develop strong pedagogical practices, leading to increased student achievement.

Superintendent, School District U-46

Tony Sanders

Superintendent Dr. Tony Sanders runs the day-to-day operations of School District U-46 in Elgin, Illinois, a place he has called home since 2007. Dr. Sanders oversees the implementation of all Board and District policies and procedures as well as the alignment of resources to all District initiatives and improvement plans for the state’s second-largest school district. He works in close collaboration with an administrative staff that manages a balanced District budget of $600 million, and he helped lead a successful state-wide effort to pass equitable state education funding.

In 2018, Dr. Sanders served as the Chair of the Large Countywide and Suburban Consortium, a network of some of the nation's most successful district leaders. Under Dr. Sanders' tenure, U-46 has implemented universal full-day kindergarten, expanded Dual Language and Gifted programming, provided additions to three elementary schools, implemented several new comprehensive curriculum resources in a district where every child now has a device. The District has also implemented a trauma-informed care approach to responding to behavioral issues and supporting students.

Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer in 2014, earning his Superintendent's endorsement in 2020, and most recently his Doctorate, Dr. Sanders served as the District's Chief of Staff. Dr. Sanders joined the District as Chief Communications Officer after holding the same title in St. Louis Public Schools. He brings more than two decades of leadership experience to his current post, having served as Acting Director for Governmental Relations and Public Information for the Illinois State Board of Education and other top posts at the Department of Professional Regulation and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Dr. Sanders earned his doctorate in education from Aurora University, his Master of Business Administration degree from New York Institute of Technology – Ellis College, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield. In 2020, he was awarded the honorary degree of doctor of laws from Judson University.

Chief Academic Officer, School District of Lawrence Township

Troy Knoderer

Mr. Troy Knoderer is the Chief Academic Officer for the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township. Over his 30 year career, he has served the Lawrence community at every level. As a teacher at Fall Creek Valley Middle School, he was named the runner-up for Indiana State Teacher of the Year in 2000. As a Lawrence Township principal from 2005 to 2015, Mr. Knoderer led Craig Middle School and then Belzer Middle School to consistent outstanding student achievement earning an “A” letter grade in the state accountability system for multiple years. In 2015, Belzer became one of the first middle schools to earn the Indiana STEM certification. In his current role as Chief Academic Officer, Mr. Knoderer leads all aspects of the district’s strategic plan related to student achievement.

Mr. Knoderer and his wife, Loreda, have been married for nearly 30 years. They have two children, Alexa, who has completed her first year of teaching 7th grade students in Lawrence Township, and Nathan, who has finished his freshman year at the University of Indianapolis.

Executive Director for Elementary Schools, U-46

Yvette Gonzalez-Collins

Yvette Gonzalez-Collins has been serving students and families from diverse backgrounds grades Pk -12 for over 25 years.  She is an Executive Director for Elementary Schools in School District U-46 in Elgin, IL.  In her current role, she centers her work in supporting principals and assistant principals developing their instructional leadership capacity.

Mrs. Gonzalez-Collins believes in the power of creating welcoming, safe and collaborative learning environments for students to be successful.  She began her career in education as a Bilingual and Special Education Teacher.  Since then, she has held a variety of administrative positions including Middle School Principal, Elementary School Assistant Principal, High School Department Chair and Dean of Students and ELL Special Education Administrator.  Yvette has valuable experiences that include developing and implementing school improvement plans, promoting inclusive programming, coordinating special education programs, and building collaborations with various stakeholders at the building and district level. The passion for her work in education comes from her own educational journey as an English Language Learner.  She is committed to ensure students from all backgrounds have equitable access to educational experiences that will expand their opportunities for personal and professional success.

Mrs. Gonzalez-Collins has earned her Master of Science degrees in Multi-Categorical Special Education and in Education Administration from Governors State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Texas.