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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.