Speakers Winter 2019

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

Keynote Speakers

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.

Jeff Howard

Dr. Jeff Howard is the founder and President of The Efficacy Institute. Over the past two decades, the Efficacy Institute has developed a comprehensive set of field-tested training programs, consulting services and materials for adults and youth. The Institute’s mission is to promote the academic and social development of children by helping educators, parents and human service providers operate from a simple belief: all children can learn at very high levels if the process of education is effectively organized.= The Efficacy Institute has trained over 50,000 educators in more than 50 school districts throughout the United States. His work is based on the idea that intelligence can be developed, challenging the still prevalent notion that intelligence is fixed and immutable. Dr. Howard was appointed by the Governor to the Massachusetts State Board of Elementary & Secondary Education and served from 2008 2012. He is a regular presenter at The Principals’ Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Howard holds an A.B. from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Harvard University. His work has been published in the New Republic, Daedalus, Education Week, the National Urban League's The State of Black America and the Boston Globe.

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.

Aída Walqui

Aída Walqui is the Director of the Teacher Professional Development Program at WestEd, where she seeks to improve the learning opportunities of English language learners (ELLs) by supporting teachers and school leaders in building their expertise to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Dr. Walqui is a founding member of the Stanford University Understanding Language Initiative, and co-author of a nationally implemented CCSS unit for teachers of ELLs, Persuasion Across Time and Space. She has overseen several grant-funded projects, and is currently the principal investigator of an IES research project with the goal of investigating promising practices for the education of English Language Learners. To help support teachers in their work with ELLs, Dr. Walqui co-authored with Leo van Lier Scaffolding the Academic Success of Adolescent English Language Learners: A Pedagogy of Promise. She is also the author of numerous texts outlining the shifts called for by the CCSS and the implications for ELLs and their teachers., including English Language Learners and the New Standards: Developing Language Content Knowledge, and Analytic Practices in the Classroom, a book she co-authored with Margaret Heritage and Robert Linquanti (May 2015).

Prior to WestEd, Dr. Walqui spent six years teaching high school in Salinas, CA and served as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Education at the University of California, Santa Cruz and in the School of Education at Stanford University. A native of Perú, Dr. Walqui received her Licenciatura in Literature from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, and holds an MA in sociolinguistics from Georgetown University, and a PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture from Stanford University. 

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.


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.

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.  

Everton Blair

Everton Blair is a former AP Calculus teacher who has worked in local, state, and federal education policy. As director, program development, Everton leads the design and execution of program and supports for chief academic officers. Most recently, Everton served as assistant director of the Broad Academy, where he developed and executed the equity curriculum and personalized learning plans for district superintendents, charter network CEOs and state education agency leaders.

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.

Mitchell Brookins

Mitchell Brookins is National Board Certified in Literacy: Reading-Language Arts. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership, and is currently working on his PhD in Educational Administration at the University of New Orleans. Over the past thirteen years, he has fulfilled various roles in the Chicago Public School District and New Orleans as a literacy teacher, a RtI specialist, a literacy coordinator, and an assistant principal. His career endeavors have afforded him the opportunity to mentor teachers, participate in national panels about key educational topics, support the implementation of CCSS-aligned curriculum, and serve on the National Board Certification Council. Currently, Mr. Brookins serves as the Academy Principal of PK- 4 at Dwight Eisenhower School which is a part of InspireNOLA— one of the highest performing New Orleans based network of charter schools.


Sharone Brinkley-Parker

Dr. Sharone Brinkley-Parker is a native of Baltimore, Maryland.  She was educated in the Baltimore City Public School System and has earned degrees from Morgan State (BS-Health Education;  Ed.D- Urban Educational Leadership with a concentration in Social Policy) and Towson State (M.A.T) Universities. During her 19 years as an educator, she has served as teacher of middle school ELA, math and writing and high school algebra, grant writer, MESA coordinator, grade level chair, assistant principal, principal, and district level administrator with both Baltimore City and County Public Schools.  Presently, she serves as the Director for School Climate with Baltimore County Public Schools. For the past five years, she has facilitated equity sessions and presented at conferences through multiple forums, including Maryland Cultural Proficiency and Multicultural Coalition groups as well as the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity. She is one of six founding members of Greater Baltimore Health Improvement Initiative (GBHII), a community-based group seeking to empower communities within Baltimore City around health responsibility through education, advocacy, and action.  Additionally, she is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Her first passion is being the mother of two beautiful daughters which drives her work for all students when educating adults around much-needed equity work and conversations. She believes that educators have the obligation of making the invisible, visible and being advocates for the voiceless.


Miladys Cepero-Perez

Miladys Cepero-Perez is an educational consultant and a Staff Developer specialized in ELA working at

the Office of School Performance and Accountability, Teacher Professional Learning and Growth in

Broward County Public Schools, FL (the six largest school district in the nation), where she has taught,

coached and designed professional learning at the elementary school level. Miladys received her

Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Canyon University and became National

Board Certified Teacher which springboard her career as an instructional coach and curriculum

specialist. Under her curriculum designed ELA framework, her school made significant learning gains for

five consecutive years ranking on the top 10% performance statewide. Most recently, Miladys has been

supporting the Uncommon schools Broward initiative by serving the lowest 25% performing schools

with a mission of bringing equity and social justice to scholars through professional learning that

supports the implementation of a standards-based curriculum and instruction. Currently, Miladys is

working towards her Ph.D. in Philosophy in Educational Leadership. Her area of research concentration

is on the influence that professional learning has on fostering a school culture that perceives coaching

and learning through an equity lance to impacts student achievement.


Sonia Cintron

Sonia Cintron began her career as a third-grade teacher in Florida. She also taught 6-8 grade math and served as the math department chair and grade-level chair. As a Resident Mathematics Content Specialist, Sonia selects, adapts, and sequences open educational resources and supports the creation of professional development materials and resources. Previously, Sonia served as Lake County district's Middle School Math Program Specialist. In that role, she supported teachers in lesson development and implementation, created and facilitated professional development, and managed initiatives related to the implementation of higher educational standards in mathematics.

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.

Veronica Ernandes

Veronica Ernandes is a Secondary Math Content Specialist at Aspire Public Schools.  She provides curriculum, instruction, and assessment support to Aspire secondary schools.  She also has experience as a high school mathematics teacher, instructional coach, and math methods course instructor. Veronica has served scholars and families in South LA, Huntington Park, and Lynwood during the last 10 years.  She has planned and facilitated professional learning at various conferences (CMC North and South, NCTM, and NCSM) and at the site and district level. Veronica received her BS in Mathematics and BA in Multicultural Studies from UC Irvine. She received her MS in Mathematics from CSULB.

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.

Nubia Gerima-Rogers

Nubia Gerima-Rogers began her teaching career in South Korea as an ESL teacher.  Since then she has worked in charter and public schools in Washington, DC for the last 8 years.  She has held various titles in education ranging from an English Language Arts teacher to an Instructional Coach.  She currently writes exemplary lessons for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and is a member of the New Leaders program.  She is also an Instructional Coach at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Windsor and a M.Ed from George Mason University.  She looks forward to not only sharing how high expectations and rigorous, aligned instruction has increased student achievement, but also collaborating with and learning from others.

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. 

Marni Greenstein

Marni Greenstein is the K-2 Lead for Elementary Curriculum and Professional Learning at Illustrative Mathematics. Her work in education over the last 16 years has focused on K-8 mathematics curriculum and instruction.  She began her career as a 2nd grade teacher and has also taught middle school math, intervention and served as a K-8 coach. She led the transition to Common Core as the Math Director for a network of schools in Brooklyn, NY.  Most recently, she was a Senior Math Specialist for Professional Learning at Student Achievement Partners where she focused on high-quality, aligned instructional materials as a key lever for equity in schools. She is a graduate of Bank Street Graduate School’s Math Leadership Program.


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.

Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones is in her 9th year as a Literacy Academic Content Liaison in Baltimore City Public Schools. She has worked with at risk youth for over 20 years in various capacities. Kelly returned to Baltimore City Schools in August 2010 after 5 years in the non-profit sector, serving as a literacy coach, professional developer and mentor for new literacy coaches.  She received her Bachelor of Arts from Morgan State University and her Masters in Instructional Systems Management from UMBC. She has served as an adjunct professor of Reading and English at both BCCC and CCBC. As an educator and literacy coach, Kelly is constantly seeking creative ways to foster a dynamic learning environment and to promote high quality classroom instruction. She is excited to be serving as a facilitator and change agent for the UnboundEd Standards Institute.

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.

Kar-Hwee Koh

Kar-Hwee Koh, Ed.M. has extensive experience as a math coach to new teachers, providing support for schools and districts through TeachableMath.com. In 2014, Kar-Hwee started the Lexington Singapore School to teach math using an integrated Singapore math curriculum, leveraging her skills and experience from teaching the same curriculum in Singapore. Kar-Hwee is a graduate from Columbia University, Teachers College.

Jasmine Landry

Jasmine Landry is currently a Director of School Support for Achievement Network (ANet) where she supports school and system leadership teams in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York to strengthen standards-aligned and data-driven instruction. Jasmine previously served as a Director of ELA  where she supported 22 schools to increase rigor, engagement, and cultural relevance within and across classrooms. She is passionate about leveraging the standards to develop literacy and critical thinking from K-12.

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.

Christina Lippert

Christina Lippert is a Senior Director of School Support with The Achievement Network in Colorado where she has been supporting schools to improve educational outcomes for all students. She is an educator with 11 years of experience serving in traditionally underserved communities. Prior to joining the Achievement Network, she worked as both teacher and coach with Uncommon Schools in Brooklyn, NY and Houston Independent School District. Christina received her Bachelor’s Degree from McGill University and her Master’s from Hunter College School of Education.

Miriam Lubin

Miriam Swirski-Lubin learned English in preschool and Spanish at home as well as her family’s native Mexico. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Bilingual Elementary Education and from Columbia University, Teachers College with a Masters in Early Childhood and Teaching. She has served as a teacher, literacy coach, and consultant in six states across the nation for twenty years. Her passion lies in the vision of multi-lingual classrooms across the U.S., that recognize all learners as future leaders. She is currently working for Minnesota Reading Corps with four year old scholars. 

Jessica Martin

Jessica Martin has spent the last 12 years working to combat educational inequity.  She is currently a Director of School Support with the Achievement Network, where she empowers leaders to tear down systemic barriers and rethink approaches to instruction, in order to improve outcomes for all students.  Jessica previously worked as a Director of Curriculum and Instruction to support teachers in creating authentic learning experiences and she, herself, taught traditionally underserved populations for many years in the elementary school setting.

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.  

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.

Alex Moyer

Alex Moyer 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.


Vanna O'Conner

Vanna O'Conner serves as a Director of School Support (DSS) for ANet with the CA Network in Los Angeles and previously served as a DSS for the TN Network in Memphis. Before joining Achievement Network, Vanna taught HS Mathematics in Memphis area schools for six years, served as a state assessment item reviewer, TN CCSS coach, and an instructional coach with Shelby County Schools. Vanna studied Mathematics and Secondary Education at Vanderbilt University. 

Brendan O'Day

Brendan O’Day has been a teacher for over 30 years.  He began teaching Adaptive Leadership in 1996 as a member of Ronald Heifetz’s teaching team at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

His clients include City Year, Teach for America, New Leaders, Achievement Network, the United States Department of Education, regional philanthropies, large urban school districts, charter school networks and individual schools.  He has taught at Dartmouth College where he offered courses on adaptive leadership in education, and is currently working as an Adjunct Professor in a program for school leaders at Georgetown University. In five years, he has twice been awarded Professor of the Year by his Georgetown students.

Dr. O’Day earned his doctorate in 2006 from Harvard University, where he taught for three terms with Professor Heifetz.  Before that, Brendan taught in a small rural high school in Maine and won a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in a large urban middle school in Paris, France.  In 2018 Brendan was asked to present at the National Principals Leadership Institute at Lincoln Center, where the other panelists included a 3-star general and a world-renowned, best-selling historian.  If you are looking to take him off track during the Institute, feel free to ask him how that went!

Brendan lives in Massachusetts with his wife and four children, where he coaches 5th-grade girls’ soccer for his youngest and is training to participate in his 8th Pan-Mass Challenge.  


Norka Padilla

Norka Padilla is a Learning & Achievement Specialist with the Office of School Support and Improvement in Montgomery County, Maryland where she collaborates with school administrators ensuring equitable access to standards-aligned instruction and programming K-12.  Ms. Padilla has 30 years of experience as an instructional specialist and teacher, designing and facilitating professional development, and consulting for organizations on standards setting and policy across several states. Ms. Padilla is Nationally Board Certified as a specialist for English language learners K-12, has earned two master's degrees and administrative certification.


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.

Brynn Pendrak

Brynn Pendrak is the Director of Mathematics for KIPP: ENC. She has served as a District Math Specialist and STEM Coordinator for Granville County Public Schools, was Managing Director of Teacher Leadership Development for Teach for America Oklahoma, and started her trajectory in education teaching second and third-grade bilingual elementary school.  She has an M.Ed in Education Administration, Curriculum, Supervision and Instruction from the University of Oklahoma. She has a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish with distinction from The Ohio State University. She currently is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Brandi Phillips

Over the last 14 years, Brandi Phillips has instructionally supported leaders, teachers, and students of traditionally underserved populations.  She spent the majority of her teaching career serving students within Chicago and Denver Public Schools, empowering them to recognize and unleash their full potential.  Brandi currently works as a Senior Director of School Support with The Achievement Network, where she is dedicated to improving educational conditions and outcomes for all students.

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.

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.


Oksana Reznikova

Oksana Reznikova teaches Mathematics at Brooklyn Generation, a New York City Department of Education High School. She is a Math for America Early Career Fellow. Oksana graduated from State University in Ukraine with a Masters in Applied Mathematics and earned a Masters in Mathematics Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Karin Rinderknecht

Karin Rinderknecht is the Director of School Transformation, Literacy at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, an in-district turnaround non-profit that manages 18 LAUSD schools serving 14,000 students. Prior to joining the Partnership, Karin worked in Washington, D.C. at Achievement Network, an innovative national reform organization providing data-driven direct coaching to school leaders and instructional teams. Karin began her career in education in 2002 as a New York City Teaching Fellow. She taught high school English for several years in New York City and Los Angeles in both traditional and charter public schools. She earned her BA from Yale in Literature and her MA from City College of New York in Education.

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.

Lysa Scott

Lysa L. Scott is a Director of School Support for Achievement Network where she works alongside school leadership teams to take them to the next level by supporting and developing academic leadership teams on how to lead data driven instruction and develop teachers in their mastery of Common Core standards. Prior to joining Achievement Network, Ms. Scott served as a Resident Principal and Associate Principal in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and is a former ELA teacher. She holds a B.S. and J.D. from Florida A&M University. Ms. Scott strongly believes that every child deserves a high quality equitable education that is provided to them by educators who have strong content knowledge and pedagogy. She is passionate about building capacity in teachers and leaders to ensure that children are presented with an educational experience that allows for them to excel both academically and socially to reach their highest 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.

LeAndrea Taylor

LeAndrea Taylor currently serves as an iZone Instructional Facilitator in Shelby County Schools. The iZone is a nationally recognized school reform model celebrated for its approach to turning around the bottom 5% of schools in the metro Memphis area.  Prior to serving as an instructional coach, she taught elementary school. LeAndrea was at the forefront of the standards movement in the state of TN and worked as a trainer for the TN Department of Education to prepare teachers across the state to implement instruction aligned to CCRS standards.

Tammy Tuck

Tammy Tuck supports college and career-ready standards implementation with organizations like Student Achievement Partners, Learnzillion and SchoolKit. She has designed and delivered professional development for graduate schools of education, multi-district learning communities, and individual districts and schools. A National Board Certified Teacher, Tammy spent 14 years as an elementary teacher, instructional coach, and district leader in PK-12 urban schools and was a founding staff member at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.

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.

Sierah Tyson

Sierah Tyson is a former 10th grade English teacher at University Preparatory High School located in Detroit, Michigan. As an ELA Specialist, Sierah develops, reviews and revises content PD and curricular materials. After graduating from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She received her Master's in Education from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and served with the Teach for America program. Sierah has worked with Detroit City Council-District 4, organizing community outreach events and sitting in on the Planning and Economic Development Committee. She is also on the board of TUF Cookies, a non-profit geared toward building the voices of young feminists.

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 a 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.

Melanie Watkins

Melanie Watkins is a Literacy Academic Content Liaison (ACL) with Baltimore City Public Schools where she also taught and served as an Instructional Support Teacher for the past 14 years. As a Literacy ACL, Melanie provides differentiated supports to schools in the areas of planning, standards aligned instruction, data analysis and research based instructional strategies. She also facilitates professional development for school leaders, literacy leads and instructional leadership teams. Melanie received her Bachelor’s Degree from Kent State University and her Master’s Degree from Towson University.

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.

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.