Speakers Summer 2018

Learn from nationally-recognized experts in math, English Language Arts, and school and district leadership.

Keynote Speakers

Christopher Emdin

Christopher Emdin is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he also serves as Associate Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education. The creator of the #HipHopEd social media movement and Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S., author of the award-winning book Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation and the New York Times Best Seller,  For White Folks Who Teach In The Hood and the Rest of Ya’ll Too. Emdin was named the 2015 Multicultural Educator of the Year by the National Association of Multicultural Educators and has been honored as a STEM Access Champion of Change by the White House under President Obama. In addition to teaching, he served as a Minorities in Energy Ambassador for the US Department of Energy.

Kate Gerson

Kate Gerson—a former high school teacher and principal—has driven the design and development of curriculum implementation and professional learning, and worked to train transformational school leaders. As Managing Partner of Programs for UnboundEd, Kate sets the vision and oversees the design, delivery and quality of all programs. Kate was the Senior Fellow for Educator Engagement at the Regents Research Fund, where she oversaw the design and development of New York State’s groundbreaking curriculum, training and professional development resources related to higher educational standards on EngageNY.org. Previously, she was executive director with the national nonprofit New Leaders and trained aspiring school leaders, and served as a principal at a turnaround high school for overaged, under-credited students in South Brooklyn, New York.

Lacey Robinson

President and CEO, UnboundEd

Lacey Robinson has more than 20 years in education as an educator, teacher, principal, and staff development specialist with a focus on literacy, equity and school leadership. As chief executive officer, Lacey sets the vision and oversees the design, delivery and quality of all of UnboundEd’s work, while also ensuring its overall health and sustainability. In her previous role as chief of program and engagement, Lacey was responsible for engaging with external partners to support standards-aligned, content-focused adult learning and professional development. She supported vital design and execution elements for primary external UnboundEd service offerings, the Standards Institute and the national programs. Her life’s work focuses on eradicating the student achievement gap, predictable by race, in addition to creating adult learning experiences that honor us as professionals in school system leadership, teaching, and learning.

Tim Shanahan

Timothy Shanahan is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chi­cago, and former director of reading for the Chicago Public Schools. He is author/editor of more than 200 publications, and served on the author team of the Common Core State Standards. Professor Shanahan is past president of the International Literacy Association. He was inducted to the Reading Hall of Fame in 2007, and is a former first-grade teacher. For more information, visit his blog: www.shanahanonliteracy.com

Jeff Zwiers

Jeff Zwiers is a senior researcher at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. He has taught in secondary and elementary settings. His research consists of collaborating and co-teaching with teachers to learn what works best in real classrooms for diverse students. In his spare time, he writes books and articles on literacy, thinking, and language development, along with bilingual curriculum materials for oral language development in rural schools in Guatemala.


Tracy Anderson

Dr. Tracy Anderson serves as a Director for New Leaders. Her past proven record of experience includes several years as a Principal and as an Assistant Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Anderson was named National Distinguished School Administrator and completed four years of sustained Exceptional Rankings, where student scores remained at greater than 95%, regardless of high-poverty and diversification barriers. Dr. Anderson has been awarded the US Department of Education’s Outstanding Educator Award for her gains in closing the achievement gap. 

Karen Azani

Karen Azani is the Math Achievement Director for grades K-4 at KIPP New Jersey, serving schools in Newark and Camden. Karen coaches assistant principals around math content and leadership. She also creates and facilitates math content professional development for teachers and leaders, and oversees math curriculum and assessments for the region. Previously, Karen taught in public and charter schools in New York City, serving grades 3-5. Karen graduated from Princeton University and received her Master’s in Special Education from Hunter College.

Rolanda Baldwin

Rolanda Baldwin has worked in mathematics education for the last 13 years as a middle and high school math teacher, a math coach, and a math curriculum coordinator in Guilford County Schools in North Carolina. As a Resident Mathematics Content Specialist, Rolanda uses this experience to select, sequence, and adapt open educational resources. Rolanda has extensive experience in evaluating curriculum for standards alignment, providing instructional coaching, planning and delivering professional development, and analyzing school data effectively. She is passionate about student achievement for all students and is committed to developing tools to support educators striving for equity.

Elicia Bennett

Elicia  Bennett is an intuitive instructional leader with more than 15 years of experience serving diverse organizations. Former roles include teaching English and Humanities, RtI  Specialist, Associate Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Consultant. Currently,  she serves the students, teachers, teacher leaders and administrators in the sixth largest district in the nation, Broward County Public Schools, as a Supervisor in the Department of Teacher Professional Learning and Growth.  Elicia is most passionate about leading professional development that supports student achievement at the intersection of equity, standards and shifts, and pedagogy within the district’s most critical needs schools.  

Kathy Black

Dr. Kathleen Black comes to this work with over 15 years of educational experience. She began her career as a youth counselor in Buffalo, New York. In that work, she recognized that her passion was grounded in providing quality opportunities for students. She’s served as a teacher and administrator within the District of Columbia Public Schools. She holds a Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in Elementary Teaching from American University, a Masters in Educational Leadership from Trinity University and a Bachelors in Communications and Urban Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Jonathan Bolding

Jonathan Bolding is a former middle school and compliance facilitator who taught students with disabilities and those identified as gifted and talented for seven years within the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools System (MNPS). As director, program administration, Jonathan guides cross-functional and strategic work across teams. Prior, Jonathan coordinated federal programs and revised policies, practices, and procedures for the Tennessee Department of Education. He was in the first cohort of educator fellows with the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (TN-SCORE). Jonathan was selected by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) to receive the 2015-16 Javits-Frasier Scholar Award.

Diana Bowles

Diana Bowles provides support for the implementation of the Nevada Academic Content Standards, the Core Knowledge curriculum, creation of instructional resources, delivery of professional learning opportunities and support of the Read by Grade Three legislation for the Washoe County School District through the Curriculum and Instruction department. Previously Diana taught kindergarten for twelve years and pre-K for four years. Diana obtained her Masters in Literacy and Early Childhood Endorsement from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Justin Boyd

Justin Boyd is currently an Educator Trainer and Coach serving educators from pre-k through 12th grade in over 80 districts with Education Service Center – Region 20, in south-central Texas. Justin’s educational career spans 18 years, as both a teacher and administrator in both public and charter schools in San Antonio and Harlem. Justin received his B.A. in Middle-Level Education from Illinois State University and his M.A. in Literacy from Alfred University.

Brian Dean

Brian is a member of the Instruction Partners family where he works relentlessly to ensure each student learns mathematics at a high level. He is the former Senior Instructional Specialist for Pasco County Schools where he led the teaching and learning of 6-12 mathematics. He has taught at the middle and high school level and served as an instructional coach. You can find him on Twitter @FLMathNinja


Cheryl Dobbertin

Cheryl Dobbertin is a consultant and the Director of School Improvement at the Monroe 1 BOCES in New York State. Prior to that, Cheryl was a director for EL Education, where she served as the lead designer of the Grades 3-8 ELA EngageNY curriculum and also lead the team that provided professional learning about new standards, the shifts, and the curriculum itself across the country. Cheryl is an author (Common Core, Unit by Unit and Transformational Literacy), and has served as a coach for innovative, project-based learning schools; a literacy specialist; a building administrator; and secondary English teacher. 

Jason Epting

Jason Epting has been the principal/instructional leader of Harlem Village Academy West Middle School for the past 6 years. Over the course of his tenure, he has led many workshops in how to get students to love to read as well as how to create programs to support high gains in student reading comprehension. Mr. Epting prides himself on intentional and purposeful PD that his teachers can build on their already vast amount of expertise.

Marc Etienne

Marc Etienne has over 20 years of experience working to ensure all children maximize their potential regardless of their circumstance or context, by developing the capacity of teachers and leaders to improve their students’ academic performance. He currently serves as an Instructional Leadership Executive Director (ILED) for Baltimore City Public Schools. He has served as a K-8 principal and a non-profit executive. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University at Buffalo, and a Master’s Degree from the City University New York (CUNY) Baruch College. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., and is happily married and with his wife Rachel raise three children in Howard County, Maryland.

Megan Fehr

Megan has served the students and families in Lawrence, MA during the last 15 years, most recently as a Master Teacher and Math Coach at the Guilmette Elementary School. She works with teachers to unpack ENY Math modules and lessons to ensure that their pedagogy highlights and attends to the appropriate aspect(s) of rigor as called for by the CCSS. Megan received her Bachelor’s from Union College and her Masters in Urban Education from Wheelock College.  Megan credits her two years of service with City Year Boston with inspiring her to enter the teaching profession.

Christina Gonzalez

Christina Gonzalez is a professional development facilitator for the Standards Institute focusing on English Language Arts. Working in public education for almost twenty years, Christina's roles have included reading specialist, teacher, department lead, and currently, instructional specialist for English Language Arts. Christina also works a a curriculum writer, editor, and professional development facilitator for a curriculum publishing company. She has worked for the College of William & Mary, Amplify, and Insight Education Group. Christina is a National Board Certified Teacher who holds a Master of Science degree with a focus on curriculum and instruction from Old Dominion University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University at Buffalo. 

Eric Green

Eric’s love affair with math began in the second grade and followed him through his career as a middle school math teacher, principal, and regional math leader at Uncommon Schools. He is now a Math Achievement Director at the KIPP Foundation, where he provides professional development and support for teachers and leaders. He is a proud graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (H2P!), the loudest member of #SteelerNation, and could school anybody on Golden Girls, Mean Girls, or Britney trivia. Eric and his husband are enthusiastic bikers, unremarkable CrossFitters, and constantly put in their place by their husky, FrankieLynn. 

Jody Guarino

Jody Guarino is a Mathematics Coordinator at Orange County Department of Education in Orange County, CA where she supports teacher and student learning of mathematics in elementary grades.  A former National Board Certified teacher, she has published several peer-reviewed papers on mathematics teaching and learning and designed and facilitated professional learning for educators across the country.  Jody is a Lecturer at University of California, Irvine. You can find her on twitter @jody_guarino.

Bri Gzik-Wright

Bri Gzik-Wright teaches Precalculus and Algebra 2 at Horace Mann School, Bronx NY and is an Adjunct Secondary Math Professor at Relay Graduate School of Education. Before her current teaching role, she was the Math Department Chair and Dean of Instruction and Support at Newark Collegiate Academy, KIPP NJ.  Bri is a TFA alumna who earned her BA in Mathematics from Bucknell University and her MA in Mathematics Education from Columbia University Teachers College.

Tiffany Hardrick

Dr. Tiffany Hardrick serves as Superintendent of the Forrest City School District in Forrest City, Arkansas. Prior to returning to her Alma mater, she worked as Assistant Superintendent at Newark Public Schools in New Jersey, launched an all boys charter school, taught high school mathematics, and served as Director of Distance Education at a community college. Tiffany’s formal education includes a BS in Mathematics, MBA, and PhD.

Emilee Harris

Emilee Harris has been a mathematics educator for 22 years, and has worked with K – 12 mathematics teachers and leaders. She was a classroom teacher for 18 years, and now works as the Director of Middle School Mathematics for KIPP NYC. She is also a Fellow for Eureka Math. Emilee holds a Secondary Mathematics Education degree from Clemson University, as well as a M.Ed. in Elementary Education. John Van de Walle’s quote, “Math makes sense. This is the fundamental idea…a teacher must believe and act on,” frames the heart and action of her work. The Standards Institute’s work to bring this idea to life is what keeps bringing her back.

Okera Hawkins

Okera Hawkins is a native Washingtonian who has worked in charter, public and private schools in Washington, DC for the last 15 years. Okera has held various titles in education ranging from a math teacher to assistant principal. He is currently the Mathematics Instructional Coach at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. Okera holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Morehouse College and a M.S. in Management from the Catholic University of America.

Chris Hayes

Chris Hayes is a second grade teacher and Learning Strategist in Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada. She has taught in K-3 for 22 years and has served as an Implementation Specialist for several schools. She has her Master’s Degree in Literacy and just recertified her National Boards this year. 

Zipporah Hightower

Dr. Zipporah Hightower is currently Executive Director of Principal Quality at Chicago Public Schools (CPS).  In this role, Zipporah is responsible for identifying, developing, supporting, and retaining principals and aspiring principals.  She is an experienced educator having served as a teacher, principal, mentor principal, and program development for aspiring principals.  She also serves as an adjunct professor at National Louis University in Chicago.

Michelle Hunsberger

Michelle Hunsberger is an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher at Gaithersburg MIddle School in Gaithersburg, Maryland. She teaches students who have recently arrived in the United States with interrupted education to students at a nearly proficient level of the English language. She also has 12 years of experience in elementary schools teaching ESOL for four years as well as general education students for 8 years. She participated in a pilot program in Montgomery County Public Schools, introducing standards-based curriculum to ESOL students, producing increased achievement in multiple areas of measure.

Glynis Jordan

Glynis Jordan is the Program Executive Director at New Leaders, Inc. where she has served for nearly four years.  Throughout her journey, she has been an English teacher, curriculum writer, program coordinator, high school principal, and cluster principal.  As a New Leader (Cohort 7), some of Glynis’ transformational school leadership work is chronicled in the ASCD publication, The Sights and Sounds of Equitable Practices (2011) and the book, Breakthrough Principals (2016).  Additionally, Glynis is the CEO of EMI Consulting Network.  She also holds the International John Maxwell Certification as a Speaker, Coach, and Facilitator and is a licensed trainer for Restorative Practices.

Sharmaine Lewis

Sharmaine Lewis is the Math Department Leader at Newark Collegiate Academy – KIPP NJ’s High School and an Adjunct Secondary Math Professor at Relay Graduate School of Education. She founded MATHerapy, which focuses on helping middle and high school students repair math roots and develop algebraic foundations. Sharmaine is a TFA alumna who earned her BA in Statistics & Mathematics from Rutgers University and her MAT from Montclair State University.

Karen McPherson

Karen McPherson is a high school math coach for Buncombe County Schools located in Asheville, NC. She provides professional development experiences aimed at increasing teacher content knowledge, supports teachers in implementing effective instructional practices, and identifies and develops quality resources. She is a member of the Math Leadership Team for NC Core Advocates and has facilitated numerous workshops and sessions on CCSS Math, the Instructional Shifts, and aligned instruction. Karen is a National Board Certified Teacher and is a graduate from UNC Chapel Hill and Western Carolina University.

Audra McPhillips

Audra McPhillips is the Mathematics Instructional Coach PreK-12 for the West Warwick Public School District in Rhode Island.  She is a National Thinking Mathematics Trainer for the American Federation of Teachers' Educational Research and Dissemination Program.  Audra was a member of the AFT national review team for the Common Core Mathematics Standards and served on the Educator Leader Cadre and Item Review Teams for PARCC.  She is an adjunct professor in the School of Education at Johnson and Wales University and proudly serves on the Board of Directors for EdReports.  

Alyson Mike

Alyson Mike, Ed.D., is the co-founder of Iridium Learning, an educational consulting firm. Recently she served as VP, Program Strategy and Development for New Teacher Center leading internal learning on CCSS curriculum and alignment and delivering professional development across the US and internationally.  Before NTC, Alyson was a NBC science teacher with 22 years teaching in high poverty rural areas. She served as Montana's Teacher of the Year in 2004 . She was also the recipient of the Milken Educator Award (2003) and the Presidential Award for Excellent in Science Teaching (2001).

Angie Miller

Angie Miller is a first grade teacher. She has 20 years teaching experience in public schools. Angie has a certificate in Teacher Leadership from the University of Washington and is a National Board Certified teacher. She has facilitated numerous courses and seminars for teachers in math CCSS shifts and aligned instruction. She is the state captain for Student Achievement Partners’ Washington Core Advocate Network and she works as a math content designer for Leading Educators in their partnership with the DCPS LEAP program.

Brandy Nelson

Brandy Nelson holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mathematics from Salem College, a Masters in School Administration from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a Doctorate of Education from North Carolina State University.  Dr. Nelson has devoted 18 years of service to education.  Dr. Nelson began career as a middle school and high school mathematics teacher in New York City and North Carolina.  She has served as a comprehensive public high school principal in Charlotte, NC for five years.  She is currently the founding principal of Harper Middle College High School, a dual-enrollment program where high school students can earn their high school diploma and an associate’s degree or two-years of college credit while still in high school.  Prior to this role, she served as a Managing Director of Program for Teach For America and New Leaders.  In these roles, she developed, managed, and executed coaching and support for over 160 teachers, 5 instructional coaches and almost 20 principals and assistant principals in Charlotte, NC.  Since 2015, Dr. Nelson has served as a Leadership Facilitator for UnboundEd.

Joshua Parker

Joshua Parker is the 2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year. He serves the students and teachers of Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School (Washington, D.C. Public Schools) as an Instructional Coach. Mr. Parker is a career changer, having started off as a sports producer for Fox 45 of Baltimore before beginning his career in education. In the decade that followed, Mr. Parker has held various leadership positions from K-12 and higher education. Most recently, he was named a 2017 Lowell Milken Center Fellow. Mr. Parker is the first African-American male educator from Baltimore County to win the state award.

Patricia Pond

Patricia Pond is the Director of School Support for Achievement Network, where she supports school and district leadership teams in their understanding of CCSS and how to deliver data driven instruction alongside various curricula. She has worked in the field of education across 7 states—serving as a Literacy Specialist and Literacy Coach, Elementary and ELL Teacher, Special Education Teacher, and Adjunct Instructor. At the heart of all Patti’s work in education is a commitment to creating quality educational experiences that improve outcomes and opportunities for all students.

Jody Popple

Jody Popple is a Staff and Curriculum Development Mathematics Specialist at the Madison-Oneida BOCES in Verona, NY. She is a part of the Student Achievement Partners Core Advocate math leadership team for New York State, and has been invited to be a part of the final revision team for the NYS math standards. Prior to her current position, Jody taught for 15 years in the elementary buildings at the Canastota Central School District.  

Shanita Rapatalo

Shanita Rapatalo is an Instructional Borough Coach (Manhattan) for District 79’s Pathways to Graduation program in the NYC Dept of Education.  For the last 6 years she has facilitated borough and citywide professional learning sessions on research based instructional practices, CCSS shifts, Danielson Teaching Framework, Summer Literacy Intensive trainings, and SEL practices that best supports a transient, High School Equivalence population. Through her work, the district has experienced immediate changes such as an increase of .9 grade level in reading through 4 weeks of summer literacy instruction for ELL students, average age 20, reading below a 5th grade level to long term growth such as increased percentages of student movement between leveled groupings (i.e. up to 11% increase of students reading below 5.9 moving to pre-HSE (grades 6-8)  level). She received her BS in Biology from Trinity College, her MSE in Curriculum and Instruction and a graduate certificate for School District Administration at Fordham University.


Tanji Reed Marshall

Tanji Reed Marshall is a 20-year veteran currently pursuing her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where she works in the Office of Academic Programs (OAP) in the School of Education. In addition to her work at Virginia Tech, Ms. Marshall works as a program evaluator for CAEP and session evaluator for AERA. Ms. Marshall consults with schools throughout the country to improve teacher practice and student literacy achievement. She has presented at state and national conferences on topics related to literacy, critical literacy, and teacher development.

Ms. Marshall’s prior experience includes over a decade of classroom instruction in English/language arts at the elementary and secondary levels. She has also served as a Literacy Coach and Specialist for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, North Carolina where she worked to develop curriculum and train teachers.


Karin Ryan

Karin Ryan is a turnaround principal in a large urban elementary school in Pennsylvania. Previously, Karin has served as a Special Education teacher, English as a Second Language teacher, Kindergarten teacher, Instructional Coach, and Assistant Principal. She is a Common Core Advocate trained by Student Achievement Partners, and has facilitated sessions on Instructional Leadership, School Improvement, and Common Core Mathematics. 

Dionne Aminata Samb

Dionne Aminata Samb, MBA, MSEd is a Math Content Specialist for grades K-8 at Aspire Public Schools, providing curriculum, instruction and assessment support to principals across 11 schools in Los Angeles, CA. Proudly serving inner-city youth throughout her 13-year career, Dionne previously taught elementary and middle school in South Central LA and Brooklyn, NY. She also helped others develop successful classrooms in inner-cities as an instructional coach with both NYC Teaching Fellows and Aspire. Dionne studied Sociology and Business at UCLA, has her MBA from Babson College, and her Masters in Math Education from CUNY Brooklyn College.

Julianne Scherker

Julianne Scherker writes curriculum, coaches teachers, and leads professional development as a Dean of Curriculum and Instruction with Uncommon Schools in Brooklyn, New York.  With a passion for educational equity, Julianne began her career as a Teach for America Corps Member in the Bronx, and continued her work in Brownsville, Brooklyn as a Founding Grade 4 Lead Teacher.  She holds a BA and MA in elementary education with a specialization in literacy from the University of Florida.

Alex Sczesnak

Alex Sczesnak teaches Algebra 1, Special Education, and Yoga at Lower East Side Prep HS, a transfer high school for international students. He is also a Math for America Master Teacher and facilitates MfA's "Math and Equity" Book Club. Previously, he was a co-writer for EngageNY’s Algebra 1 modules and he has also collaborated with Student Achievement Partners on Common Core implementation. Alex is passionate about educational equity and believes deeply in helping all students to reach their fullest potential.

Mariama Sesay-St. Paul

Mariama Sesay-St. Paul is a Vice-Principal of Curriculum & Instruction at Science Park HS in the Newark Public School district. She began her career as an educator in 2000 as a Teach For America corps member. Over the past 17 years, Mariama has assumed the roles of high school English teacher, Teacher Coach, Department Chairperson and Supervisor of Language Arts Literacy in the district Curriculum office. Originally from Park Forest, Il, Mariama now resides in New Jersey. She is a graduate of Florida A& M University, Rutgers University-Newark and William Paterson University.

Jalinda Soto

Jalinda Soto has over 12 years of experience as a public-school educator.  She is a former Elementary Education and Special Education Teacher.  She has served as an Elementary Principal of a school in transformation and currently serves as the Principal for Special Education programs for middle school students in Upstate New York.     

She received her Bachelor’s Degree in English and Dual Masters from the University at Albany, State University of New York.  She is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership Program at The Sage Colleges.


Stephanie Stephens

Stephanie Stephens is an Associate Director of Education for PACE Center for Girls, a nonprofit that has garnered recognition nationally as one of the most effective programs in the country for keeping girls from entering the juvenile justice system. Mrs. Stephens is a content review specialist and report writer for EdReports and serves on the FL ELA Leadership Team for Student Achievement Partners. In previous positions, Mrs. Stephens was a PreK-8 Instructional Coach for one of Duval county’s transformation schools and a Montessori educator. Mrs. Stephens has served Duval county twice as teacher of the year and also as Instructional Coach of the year.

Lori Taliaferro Riddick

Lori Taliaferro Riddick is executive director of leadership development for Cleveland Metropolitan School District. In her role she coaches principal supervisors and assesses their effectiveness. Prior to her work with CMSD, Lori was executive director of policy and practice services at New Leaders and co-authored their first two books. Lori developed and supported the implementation of leadership standards and evaluation systems for several states and districts. She received her BA and MS from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Hannah Turner

Hannah Turner is the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and World Languages Content Specialist at Argyle Middle School in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she has taught English Language Learners for four years. Throughout the 2017-18 school year, she worked to align Montgomery County Public School ESOL curricula with the CCSS. This has lead to increased performance for students across multiple measures of achievement.

Ebony Wallace

Ebony Wallace has served in education for the last fifteen years, currently as a Staff Developer for the Teacher Professional Learning & Growth Department of Broward County Public Schools. She is state certified in Mathematics, Business Education, Integrated Subjects and Education Leadership. Ms. Wallace received her Bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University and Master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University and is currently enrolled in Doctoral Studies at Lynn University.

As a mathematician and educator, this philosophy is at her core, all students can achieve success in mathematics given an equitable environment to prove themselves capable. Alongside the student are teachers and positive adults helping to guide and build the student’s confidence which allows them to take risks for new learning in mathematics. Once this confidence is established, the student replicates this effect and carries math into the “Real World” through problem-solving which is the embodiment of a true mathematician.

“I am excited to be a part of Standards Institute and this great work that addresses closing the opportunity gap through aligned materials, standards and equitable instructional practices.”

Anita Walls

Anita Walls is responsible for the direct coaching and development of LEAP (Learning Together to Advance our Practice) Leaders at multiple DC Public Schools as part of Leading Educators/DCPS LEAP Program. Prior to becoming a Leadership Coach, Anita spent 5 years as Principal and 10 years as a Reading Specialist, Testing Coordinator, Instructional Lead Teacher, and Teacher with Prince George’s County Public Schools. She is a product of Prince George’s County Schools and graduated from Hampton University where she received a BA in Psychology and an MA in Elementary Education. She received a second MS in Reading Education from Coppin State University and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Maryland College Park.

Anita is an advocate for all students and works tirelessly to ensure that students gain exponential academic growth and are productive members of society. She is excited to continue supporting leaders and teachers in the District of Columbia and believes through hard work all students can succeed!

Natara Warren

Tara Warren is a teacher in the Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District in Southern California.  She received her BS in Biology and MA in Early Childhood Education. She has experience as a teacher, instructional coach, intervention specialist, Kagan district coach, as well as a district math PLC leader.  Currently, she is a classroom teacher, school-wide math coach, school professional development leader, and serves on the math curriculum team. Tara has been engaged in the work of the standards and how to raise student achievement for over 6 years. She has had the pleasure to work with students, teachers, principals, district leads, and state representatives. She is extremely excited to share what she has learned and how she implements the standards to raise achievement in her class, school, and district.

Amy Weber-Salgo

Dr. Amy Weber-Salgo currently consults with teachers and districts as they work to improve their mathematics instruction. She was the founding Director of Mathematics Reviews for EdReports.org. Prior to that Amy was a regional PD provider and enjoyed 18 years as a K-8 classroom teacher. For her Educational Doctorate, her research focused on differentiating professional learning for teachers of mathematics in order to meet the needs of the teachers she serves.

Brandon White

Brandon White is a former middle school ELA teacher and Restorative Practices educator for the Rochester City School District. As a student, Brandon found that he could connect with the instruction through the language and culture of hip-hop; as an educator he in this work by providing cultural relevance and responsiveness through pedagogy and content. As an ELA Specialist, Brandon selects, adapts, and sequences open educational resources and supports the creation of professional development materials and resources. In addition to providing these elements via traditional school settings, he has worked for seven years as a Servant Leader Intern and Site Coordinator for Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Summer Literacy Programs located in Rochester. He has also advocated for these practices through his participation in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Teacher Advisory council and through providing professional development at BMGF-sponsored Elevate and Celebrate Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) Conferences.

Marietta Williams

Marietta Williams is the Lead Teacher for the Teacher Leader Career Continuum Program at the Broward County School Board. She is a professional development facilitator for the District’s Standards Task Force; she was selected for this position because she demonstrated success in implementing standards-based lesson planning and standards-based instruction with rigor. Marietta is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University’s School Leaders Program in the Department of Educational Leadership. She is currently enrolled in Lynn University’s, Ross College of Education’s graduate degree program for the Scholarly Practitioner Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.).


Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams is a Leadership Coach with the Special Education Leader Fellowship Program in New Orleans, where she supports Special Education Leaders and Teachers throughout Orleans Parish.  Over the past eight years, Nicole has committed herself to developing and supporting leaders - teachers, teacher leaders, aspiring principals, sitting principals, and leadership coaches in the New Orleans metropolitan and across the United States.  Nicole received her Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola University of New Orleans and her Master’s Degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is an avid reader and self-proclaimed Ed Tech Diva!


Dani Willis-Frye

Dr. Dani Willis-Frye’s career combines 27 years of educational experiences and 19 years of brain-based research. Currently, she is the 6-12 Math Content Specialist for Lake County Public Schools, Florida, where she provides curriculum, instruction, and assessment support for 18 schools. She has been a teacher, adjunct professor, RtI Coordinator, ESE Advocate, Administrator, Regional Education Director, and Chief Academic Officer. She also assisted in the creation of a foundation for inner city at-promise youth, in Toledo, Ohio. This foundation’s accomplishments catapulted her in helping to create Ohio’s first K-12 year-round charter school. Nina is a national presenter and author who shares insights regarding brain research as well as learning strategies to close the achievement gap. She is passionate about assisting students with unfinished learning and educational equity.

Andrea Zayas

Andrea Zayas provides consulting to school systems through her firm Upstream Education on the toughest problems to solve: turnaround, academic systems implementation, change management, startup, building equitable spaces and executive coaching. Previously, Andrea founded La Cima, a successful K-5 charter school in Brooklyn, NY. She also worked as a turnaround superintendent in Camden, NJ and for the NYCDOE as a charter authorizer. Andrea earned her BA at Rutgers University, Ed.M. at Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and is pursuing her Ed.D in Educational Leadership at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans where she resides.