Vice President, Policy and Strategy, Teachstone
Bio: Amy started out her career in early childhood education as a teacher after completing her undergraduate degree from Brown University. She went on to get her JD at Northeastern University School of Law and an MS in Leadership and Policy in Early Care and Education from Wheelock College. Amy worked as a National Head Start Fellow for the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF), after which she consulted with early childhood education agencies on a range of topics. She served as adjunct faculty at both Wheelock College and Eastern Connecticut State University and co- authored a chapter with Joan Lombardi on Head Start’s legislative history in The Head Start Debates. Throughout Amy’s career, she has been an active member of affiliates of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). She was first introduced to the CLASS tool as an MTP Coach with the National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE)’s Professional Development Study. Since joining Teachstone in 2010, Amy has served as an MTP Specialist and MTP Coaching Program Manager. An avid runner and mother of three, when she’s not coaching teachers, Amy can be found coaching kids on the soccer field. Or eating chocolate.
Educational Facilitator, Buffett Early Childhood Institute
Bio: Amy Schmidtke has over 20 years of experience as an educator in elementary, preschool, and childcare settings. In addition to a master’s degree focusing on elementary education she also holds
endorsements in early childhood and English as a second language. Amy has worked as an instructional coach for the early childhood program in the Omaha Public schools and is currently an Educational Facilitator for the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska.
Consultant, Erikson Institute/Simple Solutions Educational Services
Bio: Dr. Angela Searcy, is an Adjunct Online Faculty and Continuing Education Instructor at Erikson Institute, the owner and founder of Simple Solutions Educational Services, a professional development company, and author of the study Excluded From The Dream: An Investigation Of Brain-Based Learning and Behavior in Illinois Head Start Classrooms.
Child Development Consultant , Louisiana Department of Education
Bio: Bridget Rey, Child Development Consultant for the Louisiana Department of Education, spent 13 years as a school psychologist serving families and students of all ages throughout New Orleans’ public schools. However, Bridget’s desire has always been to focus on the education of children birth to 5 years old and the importance of family engagement practices in early childhood education. In 2012, Bridget began working with Agenda for Children (Resource & Referral agency) to fulfill this interest by interacting daily with educators and parents of young children emphasizing the importance of laying a strong educational foundation for early learners. Bridget holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Xavier University, an M.A. and specialist degree in education from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in special education from Southern University and A & M College.
Content Asset Manager, Teachstone
Bio: Campbell joined Teachstone in 2014. She is enjoying learning the nuances of the CLASS tool and contributing to the efforts of the Video team. Campbell holds an MA from the University of Virginia and a BA from New College of Florida, both in Sociology. Her previous forays into the world of Education include working as a Teaching Assistant for undergraduate Sociology courses, tutoring UVA student-athletes, and writing an undergraduate thesis exploring the role of educational philosophy in parent school choice. Outside the office, you can find Campbell exploring the natural beauty of Central Virginia, listening to live music at one of Charlottesville’s many venues, or reading in the hammock in her backyard.
Assistant Professor, California State University Channel Islands
Bio: Carola Matera, is an Assistant Professor, in the Early Childhood Studies Program at California State University Channel Islands. Her work focuses on preparing early care and education teachers to effectively work with children and their families from birth to age eight. Her research centers on developmentally, culturally and linguistically responsive teaching practices in the context of families, community, and schools. She leads national and state efforts for Head Start, Migrant Head Start, state-funded preschool programs, California’s transitional kindergarten, and early grades in Ohio, New Mexico, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and California programs. Dr. Matera has been a consultant for the National Center for Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness, a Scholar at the Center for Equity of English Learners, and a member of the California Commission for Teacher Credential Advisory Board for Early Childhood Teacher Preparation. Dr. Matera was awarded the Foundation for Child Development’s Young Scholars award (2016). She is a former preschool, first and second grade teacher, coach and language intervention specialist
CLASS Specialist, Teachstone
Bio: Daniel came to Teachstone from Los Angeles in 2010 after graduating from Loyola Marymount University with an M.A. in education. Prior to that he received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arkansas.
Daniel changes residences frequently while traveling full time as a staff trainer, and is currently living in Salt Lake City, Utah. He spends free time in the mountains and deserts of Utah, rock climbing and snowboarding.
Evaluation Coordinator and Instructional Coach, Southern Methodist University Center on Research and Evaluation
Bio: Dawn Manaster Levy is an Evaluation Coordinator for Southern Methodist University’s Center on Research and Evaluation (CORE). Dawn has coordinated and participated in several research and evaluation projects in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development since 2005. Throughout her career, Dawn’s primary focus has been reading research. Since joining CORE in 2016 she has focused her work on evaluation projects in educational environments. These projects include assessing the environmental quality of prekindergarten classrooms, evaluating a parental engagement program which aims to connect schools and parents, and to assess the educational growth of high-needs students. While working on earning her Master’s in Education at SMU, Dawn worked on the Project Maximize research team which examined methods for teaching reading to students with severe reading difficulties including students with intellectual disabilities and autism. After graduating, Dawn served in multiple roles on a variety of research projects including Project Coordinator on Project Scale Up which investigated the processes involved with implementing research-validated first-grade reading interventions on a wide scale. For several years Dawn has been the Instructional Coach on the IES development grant Project Intensity which is developing a supplemental literacy program for students with Intellectual Disabilities. Dawn was Lead Interventionist on the IES efficacy study, Passport to Literacy which is examining the effectiveness of the Voyager Passport Intervention for fourth-grade students who have, or are at high risk, for reading disabilities. Dawn’s principal interests include early childhood education specifically early literacy interventions and reading interventions for children with intellectual disabilities. After earning her undergraduate degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, Dawn taught elementary education for nine years in Texas public and private schools. She is motivated to explore and create optimum educational situations for students and educators.
Vice President, Translational Research & Improvement, Ounce of Prevention
Bio: Debra Pacchiano is an educational psychologist and applied researcher who conceptualizes, implements, and evaluates models of practice and professional learning that generate higher quality implementation and continuous improvement of practice and outcomes in early education settings. She is Co-Principal Investigator on a measurement development project to create teacher and parent surveys to assess organizational supports essential to continuous improvement and children’s learning. She recently completed an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education to design an organizational intervention that develops instructional leadership and systems of job-embedded professional learning that enable early education programs to internally-generate practice excellence and improvement. Her design and development work through the i3 grant is now the foundation of a scaling effort, Lead Learn Excel, to provide quality improvement support services across Illinois, in both school- and community-based early education settings, and in several additional states. Debra has held positions as a research analyst and special education administrator in a large, public school system; has co-directed multiple local, state and federal capacity-building initiatives; and has developed and refined training curricula and implementation protocols and tools that enable educators to improve performance and impact. Debra achieved her Ph.D. from Indiana University in Educational Psychology with emphasis in School Psychology and Early Childhood Special Education.
Ed. Admin. I, First 5 California
Bio: Dr. Silverman i is F5CA’s Education Administrator overseeing its Training and Continuous Quality Improvement Unit. She directs California’s QRIS Assessor Management activities, statewide quality improvement and early childhood workforce opportunities. Previously, she was Program Officer at First 5 Contra Costa for 11 years, managing countywide QRIS and school readiness programs. Debi’s doctorate is in Educational Leadership and Innovation from the University of Colorado. Over the last 35 years, she has worked as a CLASS trainer, university faculty, preschool director, educational researcher, and elementary school teacher.
Assistant Superintendent, Early Learning, Dallas ISD
Bio: Derek Little serves as the assistant superintendent for early learning with the Dallas Independent School District. In that role, Derek leads the district's efforts from birth to 2nd grade, working to ensure every kindergartner is ready for school and every 2nd grader is reading on grade level. Prior to this, Derek served as the deputy director of early childhood at the Louisiana Department of Education, where he led policy planning for funding, accountability, enrollment, workforce and governance of early childhood programs. Previously, Derek was the director of finance and operations for the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, where he was able to increase funding for the school at a time of budget cuts to education statewide. Derek started his career teaching high school math. He earned a bachelor's degree in molecular biology and a master's degree in finance from Tulane University. He has also earned master's degrees in educational leadership from Northwestern State University and the Broad Center for Urban Education.
Technical Assistance Manager, Child Care Services Association
Bio: Diana Lloyd lives in Raleigh, NC and has a BA Degree in Psychology and MS Degree in Child Development with a concentration in Adult Education from East Carolina University. For the past 9 years, Diana has served as Manager with the Technical Assistance Department with Child Care Services Association. Prior to assuming her current position, Diana worked in various roles with early education organizations in North Carolina including the NC Institute for Early Childhood Professionals, NCaeyc, Martin-Pitt Partnership for Children, and Lenoir Community College.
In 2011, Diana became a certified CLASS™ Observer and has since completed hundreds of observations using the Infant, Toddler and PreK CLASS™ measures. Diana is also a certified and experienced affiliate CLASS™ Trainer for the Infant, Toddler and PreK CLASS™ meaures as well as a provisional trainer for Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI). During the past 5 years, she has trained over 150 students in local and state-wide CLASS™ Observer Trainings and has given several Introductory CLASS™ Courses. Diana proudly supports an outstanding team of CLASS™ certified Technical Assistance Professionals serving the central region of North Carolina. In 2015, she designed and implemented a .5 CEU credit baring course for Technical Assistance Professionals entitled “Using CLASS™ in Technical Assistance”.
Research and Evaluation Project Manager, Southern Methodist University Center on Research and Evaluation
Bio: Dylan Farmer is a research and evaluation project manager at the Center on Research and Evaluation
(CORE) within the Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist
University. Prior to joining CORE in 2013, she served as a research associate in the Institute for
Evidence-Based Education at SMU for 4 years, with an emphasis on item response theory and criterion
validity. At CORE, Ms. Farmer oversees the planning and facilitation of a variety of evaluation and
research projects at CORE, with an emphasis in projects focusing on systems-level change related to
pre-kindergarten programming, community coalitions, effective and secure data-sharing with education
agencies and community stakeholders, and afterschool and summer learning. Her responsibilities include
developing and executing feasible project plans, collection, management and analysis of large multi-level
datasets, coordinating project staff, and preparing and sharing evaluation findings.
Since earning a M.Ed. in 2011, Dylan has developed a strong interest in leveraging information collection
and management processes for informed decision-making and helping students in underserved
communities gain access to quality education and program services. In addition to being a certified EC-6
classroom teacher in Texas, she is skilled in instrument design and data collection, data management,
logic modeling, and programming language for statistical data analysis.
Dylan received both her master’s degree in Education and her undergraduate degree in Sociology and
Markets and Culture from SMU.
Early Childhood Assessment Coordinator, State of Vermont
Bio: I am the PreK Assessment Coordinator for the Vermont Agency of Education, and one of my roles is expanding the use of the CLASS in Vermont. I am also a recent Teachstone Affiliate Trainer for PreK and K-3, and a former elementary school teacher, but have been out of the world of Education for many years. I am very excited to be back supporting teachers’ professional development for the state of Vermont and helping improve outcomes for children.
Strategic Community Manager, Teachstone
Bio: In 2010, Emily joined Teachstone as an office assistant; over the years, she has worn many hats, including content designer and product manager. In her current role as Strategic Community Manager, Emily loves putting her creative problem-solving skills to work. A true people-person, she loves interacting with educators and finding out what makes them tick.
Outside of the office, you can find Emily hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and doggy, painting those same mountains in her basement “art studio,” or visiting local vineyards … also in the mountains.
Director of Field Operations, Bright From the Start
Bio: Faith Duncan is the Director of Field Operations for Georgia’s Pre-K Program at the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). In this capacity, she works with Pre-K Consultants and Regional Managers to support Georgia’s Pre-K programs. Faith has worked in the field of education for 37 years. She has been an early childhood classroom teacher, School District Level Area Instruction Support Specialist, and an elementary school principal. She has been with DECAL since 2009 and was appointed to her current position in 2016. Faith earned her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University, a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Supervision from West Georgia College. In her spare time, Faith loves reading and spending time with her six year old grandson.
GA's Pre-K Consultant, DECAL State of Georgia
Bio: Gwen Kahn is a Georgia’s Pre-K Consultant with seventeen years of early childhood experience. She has taught preschool through second grade. In her current role as Pre-K consultant, she supports the programs in her territory to enhance the quality of education in their classrooms. She is passionate about CLASS and its impact on the children in Georgia. For the past several years, Gwen has trained new Pre-K consultants in the CLASS, as well as served as a coach to teachers using Georgia’s CLASS professional development model. Gwen is the mother of three children ages ten to fourteen. She enjoys camping with her family, reading, and cooking.
Senior Early Childhood Education Specialist, ICF
Bio: Jackie Taylor is Senior Early Childhood Education Specialist with ICF, a consulting firm based in Fairfax, Va. She has been working in early education for 24 years as a trainer, consultant, researcher and mentor. She specializes in preschool social and emotional development, classroom assessments and program evaluations. Joseph Shields is Co-Director of Research and Evaluation at Gibson Consulting, a research firm based in Austin. Joseph has over 20 years of experience in research and program evaluation delivering results based on rigorous methodological designs. His areas of work includes prekindergarten research, assessments of afterschool program quality, and studies of pedagogical change at the higher education level.
Senior Marketing Manager, Teachstone
Bio: Teachstone‘s magic happens in the classroom, but it’s on the web that customers learn what makes us—and the CLASS system—truly magical. Jessica‘s job is to help Teachstone connect with our online audience, whether they’re reading our blog, visiting our website, shopping our online store, or staying up to date with our monthly newsletter. She spends her workdays tinkering with words, images, and the occasional HTML tag and her after hours attempting yoga poses, hanging with friends, and voraciously reading e-book samples.
Growing up surrounded by farms, and not much else, in rural Pennsylvania instilled in Jessica an appreciation for simplicity—aesthetic and otherwise. It also made her eager for culture and stimulation, which she finds just the right amount of in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Jessica holds an MA in English from the University of Virginia and a BS in Philosophy from Mary Baldwin College.
Director, Research and Evaluation, Gibson Consulting Group
Bio: Joseph Shields serves as Director of Evaluation at Gibson Consulting Group, and has over 20 years of experience in research and program evaluation delivering results based on rigorous
methodological designs. He is currently involved in a wide array of research studies, including
prekindergarten research, assessments of afterschool program quality, and studies of pedagogical
change at the higher education level. Recent work has included an impact study of online math and
reading program usage in Texas, an evaluation of University of Virginia School Turnaround
Specialist Program which was selected as the intervention for the Texas District Turnaround
Leadership Initiative, and of a multi-year college completion study for the national AVID Center. He
is also leading two studies in New Mexico as part of the Southwest Regional Education Laboratory –
The New Mexico Prekindergarten participation study and the Kindergarten Readiness Study.
Previously, Mr. Shields served as Deputy Associate Commissioner for Grants and Evaluation at the
Texas Education Agency, where he was responsible for directing statewide evaluation activities and overseeing the administration of approximately $4 billion in annual state and federal grant funds to school districts.
Director of Research & Evaluation, Momentous Institute
Bio: Karen Thierry is the Director of Research and Evaluation with Momentous Institute in Dallas, TX. She has worked in the field of psychology and education research for over 15 years. Momentous Institute, owned and operated by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, is a large Dallas nonprofit with a 96 year history of building and repairing social emotional health with children and their families so they can achieve their full potential.
Assistant Director of the Training Department, Program Manager Quality First Assessment, Southwest Human Development
Bio: Katie Romero has worked in the field of early care and education for 15 years. She has served as a developmental specialist working with children with disabilities and their families within the AzEIP and DDD systems in the state of Arizona. Her training experience comes from being an affiliate trainer for Teachstone and extensively training on the Reflective Supervisory model for a variety of nonprofit organizations. Currently, Katie oversees the implementation of the Quality First Assessment program and the Quality First Coaching program at Southwest Human Development.
National Early Childhood Specialist, Kaplan Early Learning Company
Bio: Keith L. Pentz, National Early Childhood Specialist for Kaplan Early Learning Company, has been in the field of education for more than 35 years. Keith began his career by working in childcare with infants and toddlers. Later, he taught elementary students as well as Kindergarten. Keith spent the remainder of his classroom time teaching PreKindergarten and working specifically with low socio-economic and diverse families as well as inclusion students. Following his experiences in the classroom, Keith moved on to teach at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, and he also was an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts.
Keith has served on numerous committees and program implementation groups as well as written articles for publication. Keith has helped author several district-level (Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, Florida) curriculum guides including: social studies in the lower elementary grades along with math curriculum benchmarks and practices for preschool and Kindergarten children. A nationally recognized literacy- and resiliency-based conflict resolution and violence prevention curriculum entitled Peace by Piece was a major endeavor that Keith helped write and has personally trained over a thousand teachers, administrators, and parents to use the curriculum.
Along with his classroom experience and writing, Keith has been involved in a variety of research and hands-on programs—specifically regarding play therapy and play as a strategy for the development of cognitive processes. Keith was a founding member of Project Play, a developmental, play therapy-based, and behavior intervention program that worked with young children who may have difficulties developmentally, cognitively, or socially and emotionally.
Keith has degrees from Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania (BA in Music), the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida (MA in Elementary Education), and post-graduate/doctoral studies in early childhood education curriculum and instruction from the University of Central Florida.
Director of Community, Teachstone
Bio: Lisa earned a dual master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and McDonough School of Business and a BA in Philosophy from Colgate University. Before joining Teachstone, she worked for various nonprofit organizations and government agencies across the education, international development, and conflict resolution fields. At Teachstone, Lisa has merged passion for improving educational outcomes for all children with effective and sustainable business practices. When she’s at work, Lisa plans all our marketing efforts to the last detail, but in her spare time, she loves to travel to weird, random places with zero plans in place. She loves to run, cook, and backpack, and spend quality time with her husband and (mostly) well-behaved dog.
Doctoral Student, University of Miami
Bio: Lisa is currently a doctoral student at the University of Miami in the Applied Developmental Psychology program. Broadly, she is interested in applying knowledge of child development to inform best practices in early education. More specifically, Lisa’s research examines language and cognitive development of young Latino Dual Language Learners and classroom practices that optimally support their learning and development. She is the first recipient of the Teachstone Emerging Scholar Research Grant, from which she received funding to collect the CLASS for her dissertation study.
Instructional Designer, Teachstone
Bio: Liz supports the Regional and Client Relations Directors in their outreach efforts at Teachstone. Liz received a BA in English and Studio Art from the University of Virginia. Before coming to Teachstone, Liz worked on various research projects at The Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, using the CLASS tool to observe Preschool classrooms. She then went on to earn her Secondary teaching license in English and help write Language Arts curriculum for a nonprofit.
When she is not in the office, Liz enjoys growing vegetables, cooking, playing with her mutt, making art, and going to local concerts.
CLASS Specialist, Teachstone
Bio: In 2013 Mamie joined Teachstone as a MyTeachingPartner (MTP) coach and now enjoys her role as a Professional Development Specialist. She loves using the CLASS system to help teachers increase and enrich classroom interactions. Her diverse background as an early childhood and elementary teacher in schools around the world helps her to form meaningful connections with educators. Having worked with children in New Mexico, Germany, Guam, Alaska, Japan, Washington DC and Florida, she appreciates the powerful impact effective interactions have on children. Mamie lives in Florida with her husband and two young daughters.
instructional Coach, Brevard Public Schools Head Start
Bio: Marlene Winsten has worked in the field of ECE for 30 years as a teacher, director, trainer, presenter, and coach. She has a B.S. in ECE and Exceptional Young Children from Lesley University as well as an M.S. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
Barbara McCreedy has more than 25 years’ experience in the oversight, development, administration, and review of early childhood, school age programs and facilities, and co-authored Staying on Course: The Early Childhood Board’s Guide to Success. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education from the College of William and Mary and an M.S. in Early Childhood from Pacific Oaks College.
CLASS Specialist, Special Projects, Teachstone
Bio: Mary-Margaret Gardiner works for Training and Professional Development. Her work includes master coding, observer support, MMCI Support and training. Mary-Margaret has been involved in the early childhood community for over 35 years, driven by her passion to support the teachers who work with our most valuable asset, our children. She joined Teachstone in 2010 and has been a CLASS convert since the early days before Teachstone was even started!
Infant, Toddler, Pre K, K-3 and UE, ISS, MMCI , conference presentations and keynotes
Mary-Margaret loves to play in her rock band and spend time with her family and horse!
Director of Content and Courseware Innovation , Teachstone Training
Bio: Matt studied Literature and Philosophy at Assumption College in Worcester Massachusetts. While in school he was a teaching assistant for Philosophy 101 and a literature course on critical theory. He also worked as a tutor for the school’s academic support center. His interest in cultivating critical dispositions lead him to join Teach for America, and his five years teaching secondary English in Memphis solidified his passion for education.
Matt wishes he could time travel to observe his fourth and fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Conners. He remembers collaboratively designing, creating and testing a board game set during the era of westward expansion. He also got to plan and produce a model of a space station that could feasibly sustain human life for extended periods of time. Both projects required research, teamwork, and creativity. And both projects lead to feelings of belonging, challenge, and joy that Matt might never forget. Matt believes students everywhere deserve to have teachers like Mrs. Conners.