Dr. Linda Henke 
Areas of Expertise
  • Curriculum and Instructional Design
  • Organizational Learning
  • System and Infrastructure Development
  • Community Engagement and Planning
  • Executive Coaching
  • Writing Project Facilitator
  • Meeting Facilitation
  • Professional Learning Communities
Linda Henke recently retired as an award-winning superintendent of Maplewood Richmond Heights, a St. Louis inner-ring suburban district that for years had been plagued with the same problems found in many urban environments.  In the twelve years Linda led the district, it moved from being labeled one of the worst schools in Missouri and on the watch list for state take-over, to one of the most dynamic and innovative districts in Missouri. Prior to this position, Linda served for ten years as the assistant superintendent in one of the top tier districts in the state, the School District of Clayton, immersing the district in the study of systems thinking and building a continuous improvement curriculum and professional development infrastructure that received national attention. Linda’s academic preparation includes a master’s degree in public relations from Iowa State University and a Ph.D in educational leadership from the University of Iowa.  She has studied Peter Senge’s work  with systems thinking for over twenty years and was an executive board member in SOL Ed, Peter’s organization that focuses on sustainability and systems thinking education. She is a certified coach through the Center for Cognitive Coaching. During her career, she was a secondary English teacher, desegregation director, curriculum coordinator, principal, director of curriculum, assistant superintendent, college professor, and superintendent. Linda is the author of numerous articles and book chapters about topics ranging from school change, to literacy education, parent involvement, and school culture. She has been a frequent presenter at state and national conferences and is a sought-after mentor for new superintendents and principals.  In recent years she has served on over ten executive and advisory boards including emints National Advisory Board, Webster University’s and Maryville University’s Department of Education Advisory Boards, and the Executive Board of the Kaufman Foundation’s Superintendents’ Forum. She chaired the committee to redesign the University of Missouri at St. Louis’ Ph.D program in Educational Leadership and served on the Executive Board of HomeWorks, a not-for-profit promoting home visits by teachers and leaders. In the year following her retirement from MRH Linda served as a full-time professor at St. Louis University, teaching classes in the superintendency, the principalship, and supervision of instruction. Linda’s leadership work has been featured in The Heinemann Reader; the Field Book for Educators: Building Learning Organizations, edited by Peter Senge, and AASA’s Panasonic Foundation publication for outstanding work with systems thinking. Linda’s most recent work includes creating an early childhood literacy program and corresponding teacher training program to be used in after-school programs in developing countries. Currently it is in pilot status in Guatemala. She has also become a popular executive coach for principals and top-level school administrators as well as a consultant with schools in year-long programs of school improvement.
davidDr. David Bristol
Areas of Expertise
  • Grant writing
David Bristol serves as the Center’s Assistant Director and handles its administrative functions; however, clients seeking assistance with grant writing will find him a valuable resource.  He is also the primary researcher on the team and supports other team members in the preparation of workshops and with the details necessary in providing high quality service to our clients. Prior to retiring as the Director of Education at the Missouri Historical Society, David was the Director of the St. Louis Regional Professional Development Center, one of seven centers across Missouri operated by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  His public school experience includes serving as Superintendent of Schools in two Connecticut districts and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in an 8,000-student Connecticut urban district. David has extensive grant writing experience.  As director of the St. Louis Professional Development Center, he successfully obtained grant funding totaling over $2 million including a three-year $950,000 Federal Department of Education grant on teaching American history, three state grants totaling over $240,000 to fund a Performance Assessment Institute, an African American Achievement Initiative and an Urban Mentor project.  At the Missouri Historical Society as the Director of Education, David brought to his department nearly $600,000 in grants including a $200,000 subcontract of a Federal Teaching American History grant and a large three-year Federal Institute for Museum and Library Services grant in collaboration with the Anti Defamation League to create a national curriculum addressing the deepening of historical understanding using material culture, reducing bias. and improving student literacy. David also has experience in grant review having served for many years as a grant reviewer for the Federal Department of Education reviewing Teaching American History (TAH) and Investing in Innovation (i3). David started his teaching career as a high school history teacher in Westport, Connecticut, and taught at the college level in a school administration program. His education background includes a BA from Cornell College, a master’s from The Johns Hopkins University, and a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst.
ashley portrait croppedDr. Ashley Cadwell
Areas of Expertise
  • Curriculum and Instructional Development (special focus: Integrated, Multidisciplinary Curriculum)
  • Building Leadership Capacity in Schools
  • Parent Engagement
  • Renovation and Design of Learning Spaces
Ashley Cadwell, M.A. Literature, M. Ed. Administration Ashley Cadwell is cofounder of Cadwell Collaborative. For three decades, Ashley and his colleagues in Vermont and St. Louis have pioneered best practices that lead toward vital new ways of learning and living in schools. Ashley has worked with schools throughout North America as well as internationally. Much of his work derives from his connections with progressive education and the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Innovative school building design that supports curricula, organization and community has been a recurring theme in his work. Ashley spent the 1991-1992 school year with his family in Reggio Emilia, Italy where he observed the internationally renowned municipal early childhood program. From 1992-2008 Ashley served as Headmaster of The St. Michael School in Clayton, Missouri, a preprimary through sixth grade independent school that has achieved acclaim for their adaptation of The Reggio Emilia Approach, pioneering its extension into the elementary grades. He is a contributing author to In the Spirit of the Studio: Learning from the Atelier of Reggio Emilia. Ashley earned a Masters in Literature from Middlebury College in 1980 and a Masters in Education Administration from the University of Vermont in 1982. In 1973 he co-founded The Green Mountain Valley School, a college preparatory school for ski racers training for the U.S. Olympic Team, where he served as Humanities teacher, Academic Director and Headmaster. From 1984 through1986 he was a Capital Gifts Officer for Middlebury College. In 1986 Ashley incorporated Villages of Vermont, where he specialized in village planning and single-family home design and construction. – See more at: http://cadwellcollaborative.com
LouiseDr. Louise Cadwell
Areas of Expertise
  • Child development
  • Curriculum and professional development
  • Integrated arts education
  • Environmental education
  • Organizational learning
Louise Boyd Cadwell is co-founder of Cadwell Collaborative. Louise is an education consultant whose work is informed and animated by thirty years of experience in early childhood through higher education. As a teacher, researcher, and consultant, Louise works with schools throughout North America, as well as internationally. From 2002-2008, Louise was the Coordinator of Curriculum and Professional Development at The College School in St. Louis. During this time she worked with the administrative team and faculty to successfully implement shared and focused professional development, curriculum mapping, formative and authentic assessment, faculty research groups, and a school wide parent partnership. After a year as a fellow in the acclaimed schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy in 1991-1992, Louise served as the lead consultant for a Danforth Foundation funded program to study and adapt the Reggio Approach in St. Louis schools from 1992-1995. She worked as studio teacher at The College School and consultant with The St. Michael School and Clayton Schools’ Family Center from 1992-2002. As members of The St. Louis Reggio Collaborative, these three schools have hosted conferences and institutes for national and international visitors since 1994. All three schools are recognized internationally as exemplary schools for the interpretation of The Reggio Approach in a North American context. While working on her Masters degree, Louise lived for a year in Great Britain studying the British Integrated Day. As a third grade teacher and art teacher in Maryland and Vermont, Louise developed dynamic, integrated and experiential curricula. Louise’s recent work focuses on Education for Sustainability as it leads children and teachers to imagine and create a healthy and hopeful future. In the last decade, Systems Thinking and Appreciative Inquiry have transformed her way of working with teachers and children. Louise earned a M. Ed. In 1976 from Lesley University and received her Ph. D. from Union Institute and University in 1996. Louise is the author of: • Bringing Reggio Emilia Home: An Innovative Approach to Early Childhood Education • Bringing Learning to Life: The Reggio Approach to Early Childhood Education Louise is co-editor with Lella Gandini, Lynn Hill and Charles Schwall of: • In the Spirit of the Studio:Learning from the Atelier of Reggio Emilia LouiseCadwell serves on the Advisory Council for The Center for Children’s Learning of the Portland Children’s Museum in Portland, Oregon. See more at: :http://cadwellcollaborative.com
4Web-Bonnie-Red-Jacket-HeadshotDr. Bonnie Davis
Areas of Expertise
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Writing Project Facilitator
  • Writing Coach
Bonnie M. Davis, PhD, is a veteran teacher of more than forty years who is passionate about education. She taught in middle schools, high schools, universities, homeless shelters, and a men’s prison. She received her bachelor’s degree in education, her master’s in English, her MAI in communica tions, and her doctorate in English. Dr. Davis is the recipient of numerous awards, including Teacher of the Year in two public school districts, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Anti-Defamation League’s World of Difference Community Service Award. She has presented at numerous national conferences, such as Learning Forward, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Council of Teachers of English, National Association of Multicultural Education, and others. Dr. Davis’s publications include the Corwin Press best selling How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You: Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies, 2nd Edition(2012); How to Coach Teachers Who Don’t Think Like You: Using Literacy Strategies to Coach Across Content Areas (Corwin, 2007); The Biracial and Multiracial Student Experience: A Journey to Racial Literacy(Corwin, 2009); Creating Culturally Considerate Schools: Educating Without Bias (Corwin, 2012) with coauthor Kim L. Anderson; Culture (Corwin, 2013) and Practice (Corwin, 2014) from the Equity 101 series with coauthor Curtis Linton; Cultural Literacy for the Common Core: Six Steps to Powerful, Practical Instruction for All Learners (Solution Tree, 2014); and numerous articles on diver­sity and literacy instruction. Dr. Davis offers professional development services to districts across the country, providing keynotes, workshops, and coaching in the areas of culturally responsive instruction and equity.
bob's pictureDr. Robert Dillon
Areas of Expertise
  • Building the infrastructure for technology integration
  • Evaluating technology integration
  • Cultivating classroom engagement
  • Structuring Professional Development in a Technology-rich Environment
  • Design of learning spaces
  • Elevating Achievement through Personalized Learning with Technology
Dr. Robert Dillon serves the students and community of the Affton School District as Director of Technology and Innovation. Prior to this position, he served as a teacher and administrator in public schools throughout the Saint Louis area. Dr. Dillon has a passion to change the educational landscape by building excellent engaging schools for all students. He looks for ways to ignite positive risk-taking in teachers and students and release trapped wisdom into the system by growing networks of inspired educators. Dr. Dillon serves as a fellow for the Martin Institute based in Memphis, and as the Secretary of Innovation for Connected Learning, a Saint Louis- based organization designed to reshape professional development to meet today’s needs. Dr. Dillon has had the opportunity to speak throughout the country at local, state, and national conferences as well as share his thoughts and ideas in a variety of publications. His first book, Leading Engaging Schools, is set for publication in the fall. He is supported by his wife and two daughters, and spends the remainder of his time running and cycling.   http://gettingsmart.com/2014/04/10-principles-sustainable-edtech-implementation/
barbs-photoBarbara Kohm
Areas Of Expertise
  • Organizational Learning
  • Building Leadership Capacity in Schools
  • Executive Coaching (for principals)
Barbara has served as a teacher, early childhood program director, elementary school principal, consultant, mentor, and author. She is the co-founder of the Clayton Family Center that offers parenting classes and other child development services for parents and children ages birth to 5 years old. As the principal of Captain Elementary School she worked with Linda Henke to transform the curriculum and build a collaborative culture in which all teachers were expected to grow and all students thrived. The application of systems thinking ideas and tools to the everyday life teachers, students, and parents was an important component of that transformation and became the basis of her writing, and consulting. As a mentor and coach she works with principals and other school leaders to avoid easy recipes and develop the deeper thinking skills that outstanding leadership requires. A principal’s job often seems so busy there is no time to think. Barbara believes the most effective leaders learn to reverse this equation. They spend as much time thinking as doing. Structured conversations with coaches and colleagues are essential components of their thinking process. Barbara Kohm is the co-author of Principals Who Learn (ASCD, 2007) and Educational Leadership article “Creating Collaborative Cultures” (2009). She also authored Educational Leadership article “Improving Faculty Conversations” (2001) and co-authored the chapter “Choosing Your Own Adventure” in Peter Senge’s Schools That Learn” (2000).  Barbara enjoys hiking, biking, reading, writing, and traveling.
susie morice's pctureSusie Morice
Areas of Expertise
  • Writing Coach
  • Writing Project Facilitator
  • Building Powerful Literacy Programs in the Secondary Schools
  • Building Leadership Capacity
  • Fostering Student Conversation in the Classroom
Susie has served as a school district leader in English language literacy, gifted education, and teaming.  After retiring from the full-time public school classroom, she continues to teach for the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supervise student teachers for St. Louis University, and consult for school districts in need of strengthening their literacy programs. From its inception, Susie has worked with the Gateway Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project, as the Program Director and then as a Teacher Consultant.  Developing educators as writers and thinkers who use writing and civil discourse to clarify their ideas, perspectives, and goals, Susie is at the heart a writer and a teacher. Susie earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and studied gifted education at the University of Connecticut and at Maryville University.  She is a frequent contributor to the professional journal, Talking Points, as a professional resource reviewer.  Recently, she earned a first place for one of her poems entered in the Missouri State Poetry Society Winter Contest.  Poetry is her writing passion.  Yet, academic writing is always on Susie’s desk; formerly, she was Editor of the Missouri Association of Teachers of English FYI newsletter, and has written and edited articles and segments for academic publications throughout her career.  She was the first-tier editor and writing coach for authors Barb Kohm and Dr. Bev Nance as they wrote Principals Who Learn: Asking the Right Questions, Seeking the Best Solutions (ASCD). When she’s not immersed in writing and teaching, Susie is on her bicycle or writing music. Or she’s around the campfire, playing guitar and singing.
charles portraitDr. Charles Pearson
Areas of Expertise
  • Parent Engagement
  • Creating Culturally Responsive Schools
  • Principal Development
Charles Pearson’s passion is to equip others to serve—principals to lead and inspire teachers; teachers to serve diverse families and communities through effective instructional practice; and parents to serve their children by creating viable home environments to support learning. Charles has an educational career that spans 35 years of engagement in urban education. His experience includes being a classroom teacher, a curriculum coordinator, an assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent. During his career, Charles’ commitment to issues of educational equity led to his work with African American Academic Achievement initiatives in the State of Missouri. This focus led him to collaboratively develop a social justice professional development model for educators in an urban school district. The model focused on developing culturally responsive instructional practices for the classroom, assessing cultural proficiency for the district itself, and deepening relationships with parents of color in the district. Since his retirement in 2008, Charles began Innovative Education Solutions, LLC. IES offers personalized solutions to educational challenges for school districts and other organizations that work with children and families. Through IES, Charles has implemented a three-pronged approach to working with schools and school leadership.   Leadership Charles is a facilitator for the National Institute for School Leadership where he works with principals and administrative teams of schools in turnaround status. His training presents a curriculum that equips principals to lead school reform by increasing principal efficacy. The objective is American schools that are competitive in an international arena. NISL focuses on preparing principals to be strategic thinkers and leaders who implement research-based teaching and curriculum standards.   Teachers / Leadership Charles has established a series of professional development opportunities for teachers through EducationPLus, a regional consortium of school districts. The sessions equip teachers and leaders to implement culturally responsive practices in the classroom. The modules deepen understanding of essential concepts of cultural responsiveness, effective culturally responsive classroom practices and systemic approaches to implementing cultural responsiveness and cultural proficiency in the organization itself   Parents / Parental Engagement Charles serves as the Director of Professional Development for HOME WORKS! The Teacher Home Visit Program. The training equips teachers to complete home visits that focus on linking learning at school with learning at home. Modules include equipping teachers to equip parents to implement “Learning at Home” strategies that impact student academic achievement; effective communication strategies; and intercultural communication strategies that enable teachers to successfully interact with a culturally diverse community. This model has now expanded to provide training directly to parents to develop their capacity to support “learning at home.” This training has now extended to a variety of other agencies that interact with families of school age children. Charles academic preparation includes a master’s degree in secondary education from Southern Illinois University and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from St. Louis University.
Catherine pictureDr. Catherine Von Hatten
Areas of Expertise
  • Building Leadership Capacity in Schools
  • Meeting Facilitation Skills
  • Conducting After-Action Reviews
  • Using dialogues and discussions to enhance learning and decision-making
  • Consensus-building and Conflict Resolution
  • Strategic planning
Catherine retired several years ago as the Assistant Superintendent of Maplewood Richmond Heights School District. She and Linda began the district’s turnaround in 2000, taking it from a struggling district about to be taken over by the state, to one that came through its state review with flying colors the year Catherine retired. The District’s professional development program was cited by the Missouri Department of Education as a model for others to emulate. Since retiring, Catherine has worked as a consultant, supporting teachers in curriculum and professional development, mentoring, and developing grants. She served as an interim Assistant Superintendent in University City School District for one year supervising the Curriculum and Instruction staff, supporting grant development, and leading a study of the gifted and talented program. Prior to her position in MRH, Catherine worked in the School District of Clayton where she was the Director of Professional Development and Planning, an elementary principal, classroom teacher, and parent educator. She was instrumental in developing a model for curriculum and professional development that focused on continuous improvement. Catherine received a master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Washington University in St. Louis and a doctorate from St. Louis University in Educational Administration. Her doctoral project focused on supporting teacher leaders in learning organizations. Catherine has been a frequent speaker on leading effective groups and facilitator for district- and school-wide strategic planning sessions. She has authored and co-authored articles and book chapters and taught college-level courses. Catherine and her daughter have a small business that promotes wellness, writing a blog and newsletter to support their work. Most recently, Catherine co-leads an organization involved in supporting volunteer wildland fire fighters in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. This  organization provides education and information to the community, provisions fire fighters during incidents, and raises funds for much needed equipment. She also writes and edits a community newsletter. She is an avid watercolor painter who enjoys spending time building her skills and creativity as an artist.
Moore pictureDr. Angelia Sanderson Moore
Areas of Expertise
  • Building Student Leadership Capacities
  • Designing and Implementing Student Leadership Curriculum and Programs
  • Instructional Coaching
  • Social Studies/History Curriculum and Instruction
Dr.  Moore is a passionate award-winning educator as well as a local, state, and national history and literacy consultant. She has 17 years of teaching experience in grades 6-12. She began her career as a middle school social studies teacher-leader for St. Louis Public School District, working with a large population of at-risk and ELL/ESL students and moved on to the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District (MRH), where she served as middle school teacher on a team that designed and implemented the school-as-expedition learning model. Angelia held several leadership roles at MRH as Professional Development President, Mentor Program Director, Cognitive Coach, Critical Thinking Pedagogy Specialist, and Understanding by Design District trainer and curriculum evaluator for social studies units, grades 6-12. For the last decade she has been consulting, teaching, and developing a range of high school courses and programs to include Advanced Placement U.S. History and an innovative student leadership program and curriculum.

Angelia has served as consultant for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and their Teaching American History Grant, working with school districts in Texas, Indiana, Idaho, Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. In this capacity, Angelia has worked with groups of ELA and social studies teachers as well as National Park Service staff from across the country as they spend a week studying a topic in U.S. History at various universities. She has consistently received the highest feedback and praise for the quality of instruction, strategies, and depth of content she has delivered.

Additionally, Angelia has been involved with the Missouri Historical Society and Anti-Defamation League on the “Reading Bias and Writing Tolerance” project, and wrote model curriculum common core units for the Missouri Department of Education.

Angelia’s academic background includes master’s degrees in educational administration and history, both from the University of Missouri- St. Louis. She holds an  Ed.D.  degree in educational leadership from Maryville University and is a certified coach through the Center for Cognitive Coaching and a certified trainer in critical thinking from the Center for Critical Thinking in Boston. She has also received advanced training in Understanding by Design. Her awards include 2010 Missouri History Teacher of the Year and the 2007 U.S. Congressional James Madison Fellowship for the state of Missouri.

Angelia’s greatest passion lies in cultivating a climate of student leadership through purposeful teaching of leadership theory and systems-thinking experiential learning. For the past five years she has designed, developed, and implemented an award winning student leadership program that has been successful in developing students as school and community leaders.

Katie pictureDr. Katie Belisle-Iffrig
Areas of Expertise
  • Green Schools
  • Environmental Education and Sustainability
  • Outdoor Learning Spaces and Youth Gardening
  • Partner and Stakeholder Development
  • Grant Writing
Dr. Katie Belisle-Iffrig is a tireless advocate for environmental literacy and sustainable practices. As the founder of Code Green Collaborative, she has worked with corporations, for-profit, and nonprofit organizations on a wide variety of sustainability, conservation science, and environmental education projects. Through her work, she has demonstrated her skill at strategic planning; co-sponsor and partner development; grant writing; project conceptualization and management; environmental interpretation; and curriculum development.

Dr. Belisle-Iffrig holds a master’s degree in botany from Southern Illinois University (SIU) and a doctorate in outdoor recreation with an emphasis in environmental education from Indiana University (IU). While at IU, Katie got a taste of the educational power of youth gardening when she served as the graduate assistant to Hilltop Youth Garden and Nature Center. Smitten, she spent 14 years working at the world-famous Missouri Botanical Garden feeding her passion for educating youth and the general public about the critical role plants play in solving our most urgent health and environmental issues.

As a consultant, Katie thrives on building exemplary education programs from the ground up. Throughout the years, Katie has been involved in creating outdoor learning spaces and organic youth gardening programs in a number of St. Louis-area elementary and middle schools. She and Code Green co-founder, Kerry Smith, were key players in the conceptualization and development of RiverWorks Discovery®, a youth and family river-based education program. Katie’s expertise proved invaluable in creating a sustainable business plan based on an integrated marketing/funding matrix that garnered broad-based community and stakeholder support. As a result, RiverWorks has over 80 co-sponsors in 18 states and was honored in 2012 with a White House Champion of Change Award for Innovation.

In addition to outdoor learning spaces, Katie also believes that the built environment where kids learn matters. She is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Associate and chairs the Green Schools Committee of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Missouri Gateway Chapter. She is currently a Green Schools Mentor at Tillman Elementary School working collaboratively to provide teachers with the initiative and experience needed to make use of the school’s outdoor learning environments.

Currently, Katie serves on the advisory board of the Missouri Environmental Education Association and The Green House Venture. The Green House Venture is in the initial funding stage for a living classroom that will serve three diverse area schools – a charter, a public magnet, and a parochial school. Katie is also a strong supporter of Makerspace at her daughter’s performing arts school. Makerspace is a STEAM initiative that uses high-tech and low-tech tools to help students develop design-thinking skills.

Katie’s first book, Going Green For The GENIUS, was published in February 2015. Going Green employs an engaging conversational tone to provide a whole systems thinking approach to sustainability. The goal of the book is to help both novice and expert connect the dots between ecological principles, environmental literacy, and sustainable actions. She is also busy launching a new website aimed at children and families called Growing Green Kids: Sowing the Seeds of a Sustainable Future. Watch for it at www.growinggreenkids.org.

Katie pictureDr. Natalie Thomas
Areas of Expertise
  • Differentiated learning
  • Use of student work as diagnostic tools for creating specific interventions
  • Use of student performance data and work samples to develop tiers of intervention
  • Use of student outcomes to track resiliency outcomes and success for students with special education needs
  • Using student observations, and student coaching to implement positive supports for student emotional and behavioral needs
  • Developing resiliency in classrooms, schools and within school districts

Natalie Thomas believes that addressing the behavioral and emotional needs of students is essential to academic success. She collaborates with teachers and administrators nationally and internationally to integrate attention to these critical elements with the development of curriculum and instruction. She also provides much needed support to districts in reviewing related policy and providing appropriate professional development to insure differentiation is part of classroom practice. Dr. Thomas’background in educational administration, school psychology, and special education provides her with a broad range of knowledge and school experiences to draw upon.

Combining both personalized instructional processes and tiers of intervention for student groups, Dr. Thomas assists faculties in bringing their efforts to scale for observable and measurable student success. Faculties with whom she has worked have produced innovative programs for students demonstrating autism spectrum characteristics, social, emotional and behavioral needs, and learning challenges. She was instrumental in developing the St Louis Keeping Every Youth Successful (KEYS) Program, a strength based, ecological model for building on student strengths and providing environmental support for students with severe emotional and behavioral needs.

Dr. Thomas continues to teach graduate courses including: Resiliency and Self Concept, Assessment Methods for Linguistically Diverse Learners, Organizational Development, Diversity in the Workplace, and Methods of Assessment and Curriculum Anchors for Differentiated Learning. Her students have come from over 15 countries, and include both traditional and non-traditional graduate students through Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri.

She has been the superintendent for urban, rural and suburban school districts that have all struggled to find effective and efficient ways to meet the needs of diverse learners. Each district saw significant improvements in student outcomes.

Natalie earned a B.S.W. in Social Work from St. Louis University, an M.S. W. in Social Work and an M.A.Ed. in Education from Washington University. She continued her education and received an M.A. in Political Science and a Ph.D. in Public Policy with an emphasis on Education Systems from the University of Missouri- St. Louis.

Lee Ann Lyons
Areas of Expertise
  • Instructional Coach
  • Executive Coach (Principal)
  • Reading and Writing instruction (elementary and middle school)
  • Early Intervention Reading Support Development
  • Designing and Implementing Quality Professional Development in schools
Lee Ann serves as Senior Professional Coach for University of Missouri St. Louis, where she and her Learning Partnership Design colleagues developed CoachED, a course for practicing teachers and administrators who participate in customized coaching to advance learning through on-site collaboration as well as through videotaped sessions with ongoing feedback. Lee Ann also works as an adjunct professor at Webster University where she teaches graduate courses in the MAT Reading Program and supervises graduate students doing their reading practicum required for reading specialist certification.

At the time of Lee Ann’s retirement in 2011, she was Director of Literacy and Professional Development for the School District of Clayton, one of the highest performing districts in the state. During her tenure in this position, Lee Ann created the Lab Classroom Program, a professional development structure that opened the doors of teachers as they shared through collaborative problem solving and lesson study.  As Director of Literacy, Lee Ann was responsible for the Pre K through grade 12 literacy curriculum and instruction. Through collaboration and study with a committee of teachers, Lee Ann worked to develop a new writing curriculum using Lucy Calkins Units of Study.

Prior to her role at Central Office, she was a building principal, a reading specialist and an elementary teacher.  Lee Ann has spent her entire career working to ensure that literacy is taught using methods and curriculum that unlocks the potential for all students.

Lee Ann is co-founder of Learning Partnership Design, an educational design company based in St Louis.  As a team, they work with various schools in the St Louis region with a goal of making systemic change.

Kris Krause
Areas of Expertise
  • Building Professional Learning Communities
  • Building Leadership Capacity in Schools
  • Aligning Curriculum, Pedagogy, Assessment, and Professional Development
  • Building a Culture of Compassion and Caring
  • Instructional Coach
  • Executive Coaching (for principals)
Kris has served as a teacher, principal, special education director, curriculum director, professional development director, coordinator of student assessment, workshop presenter, educational consultant, university lecturer, evaluator of school programs, and a coach of educational leaders. He taught in Palo Alto, CA for 13 years at Ohlone Elementary School, which transformed from a neighborhood school to a progressive alternative school. One summer he worked with Hupa tribal leaders to develop a program to engage children in learning about Hupa culture, language, and history. During a sabbatical leave he was a volunteer teacher in England, learning effective practices to engage students in producing creative, high quality work. He served for 19 years as principal and programs director in the Piner-Olivet School District in Santa Rosa, CA. There he was part of a leadership team which guided the district towards improved teaching practices and significant gains in student achievement. As a grant writer he was successful in winning awards totaling over a million dollars to improve schools.  He taught educational leadership courses at St. Mary’s College in California and at California State University East Bay. He evaluated school programs and coached school leaders in Dubai and Sri Lanka and trained school leaders in Lebanon. In his leadership work he aims to have all members of school communities pulling together to realize a shared vision of exemplary teaching based on best practices resulting in high levels of student achievement. He is passionate about equity in teaching and learning. He is dedicated to developing school cultures of caring and collaboration.

Dr. Kevin Grawer
Areas of Expertise

  • Improving high poverty, high minority schools
  • Implementing successful literacy initiatives at HS level
  • Changing organizational culture based on teamwork
  • Creating a culture of “calm and supportive urgency”
  • Creating an academic focus
  • Facilitating meetings that maximize staff engagement and build a collaborative  culture
Kevin Grawer is in his sixth year as principal at Maplewood Richmond Heights High School a close-in suburb of St. Louis. Kevin has worked in eight different schools in three different nations and is a strong proponent of creating an academic culture built on positive relationships and a “work like” atmosphere. Always promoting a positive growth mindset, he says it’s important to love your students and coworkers—meaning you have a “genuine concern for their well-being and have their best interest at heart.” Kevin wholeheartedly believes that a “positive attitude influences outcomes” and that U.S. schools and educators are the best, hardest working, and most student-invested schools in the world.

Kevin states, “Students need to be deeply involved in many aspects of the school’s programs–they run our tech repair department, help prepare our healthy lunches, are actively involved with school leadership decisions that help facilitate our choices. Our students are our most prized assets and that’s why we have them out in our community so much. Along with this, each of our students is required to make ‘career connections’ before they graduate and perform service hours.”

Mr. Grawer has led MRH High School to become a 2012 National Model High School and a 2014 Met Life National Breakthrough High School via the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). In 2015, the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) awarded MRH HS its top honor as a “Gold Level National Urban School of Excellence.” A school once about to be taken over by Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has now experienced a renaissance of growth measured by seven years of continuous improvement as reflected in state test scores , ACT scores, major drops in student discipline, and increased community involvement. Mr. Grawer addressed a United States Senate briefing on “Personalized Service in Education–Leading Urban Schools to Greatness” in 2014 and was a member of the “Great Leaders Summit” of educational leaders from the United States and China in July of 2014 in Washington, DC.

He is a former AP Spanish teacher and varsity basketball coach with 20 years experience as an educator.   Mr. Grawer was a Fulbright grantee in 2000-2001 in Madrid, Spain. He has a Bachelor’s in Spanish/Latin American History and Education from the University of Tulsa, a Master’s in Teaching from Webster University, A Master’s in Educational Leadership from The University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a Doctorate in Education from Maryville University in St. Louis.

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