Presenters & Facilitators
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Stephanie Benedict currently serves as the Indistar Client Relations Director for Academic Development Institute (ADI) and has been a part of the ADI team since 2007. Mrs. Benedict is the direct Indistar support contact for Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Carolina. She works with the client services team to provide support to 26 state education agencies and their users. Additional duties include working with web-development teams on system projects, testing, and coordinating client services.
Shirley Carraway, EdD, is a Consultant with SEDL’s Education Systems Support program. Dr. Carraway works with the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) as the North Carolina liaison to build the capacity of the state education agency as it assists schools and districts. In this work, she is responsible for leading efforts in need sensing, planning and coordinating the delivery of technical assistance and professional development services, ensuring that work is carried out as defined, and making modifications to achieve intended outcomes. Dr. Carraway holds a BS in Speech, Language and Auditory Pathology, an MA in educational administration and supervision, an MS in administration, and an EdD in educational leadership all from East Carolina University. Dr. Carraway has been an elementary and high school principal, an associate superintendent and superintendent, and an executive coach for district leadership.
Glenda Copeland is a Program Associate with SEDL’s Education Systems Support program. Ms. Copeland works with the Southeast Comprehensive Center to build the capacity of state and regional education agencies to assist schools and districts in need of improvement. In this work, she oversees the planning and delivery of technical assistance and professional development in Georgia, and assists in providing similar services to other states served through the SECC. Ms. Copeland holds a BS in secondary education with a major in social sciences composite from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She also received MA degrees in special education and gifted education from the University of Alabama.
Laura Costello, PhD, is a Research Specialist with SEDL’s Research and Evaluation (R&E) program. In this role, Dr. Costello evaluates services provided by the Southeast and Texas Comprehensive Centers as well as the programs of external clients. Dr. Costello holds a BS in applied learning and development with a specialization in early childhood education, an MA in program evaluation, and a PhD in educational psychology with a specialization in learning, cognition, motivation, and instruction from The University of Texas at Austin.
Don Doggett is a Program Associate with SEDL’s Education Systems Support program. Mr. Doggett works with the Southeast Comprehensive Center to build the capacity of state education agencies as they assist schools and districts. In this work, he leads efforts in needs-sensing, planning, and coordinating the delivery of technical assistance and professional development in South Carolina and assists in providing similar services to other states served through the SECC. Mr. Doggett holds a BA in elementary education and an MEd in counseling and guidance from Howard University. He is currently working on a doctorate in educational administration at South Carolina State University. In addition, he is a certified K–8 teacher and a SAFE-T/TEAM/ADEPT/TAP evaluator and holds an endorsement for elementary principal and elementary supervisor in South Carolina.
Heidi Goertzen is a Program Associate with SEDL’s Education Systems Support program. Mrs. Goertzen’s current work involves the planning and delivery of technical assistance and professional development in Alabama as well as assisting in providing these same services to other states served by the Southeast Comprehensive Center. Mrs. Goertzen specializes in the development of evidence-based tools and support systems needed for school improvement practices associated with serving English language learners. Mrs. Goertzen also supports districts and states with the implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Beth Howard-Brown, EdD, is a Project Director with SEDL’s Education Systems Support program. Dr. Howard-Brown serves as director of the Southeast Comprehensive Center, which works to build the capacity of state education agencies as they assist schools and districts. The SECC addresses state and local capacity building in school improvement and key content areas, including reading/literacy, math, science, the use of scientifically based research, professional development and teacher quality, and instructional strategies for specific populations (e.g., English language learners, children with disabilities, and children living in poverty). Dr. Howard-Brown holds a BS in mathematics and an MEd in counselor education from South Carolina State University. In addition, she received an MEd and EdS in educational leadership and an EdD in curriculum and instruction from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. She also has earned endorsements in South Carolina as a math teacher, a school counselor, an elementary and secondary principal, and a superintendent.
Robin Jarvis, PhD, is Program Director of SEDL’s Education Systems Support program. She oversees the work of the SEDL office in Metairie, Louisiana; the Center for High-Performing Schools; and the Southeast Comprehensive Center and Texas Comprehensive Center. The SECC and TXCC address state and local capacity building in key content areas and school improvement, including reading/literacy, math, science, the use of scientifically based research, professional development and teacher quality, and instructional strategies for specific populations (e.g., English language learners, children with disabilities, and children living in poverty). Dr. Jarvis also oversees several other initiatives in the southeastern states and Texas, including SEDL’s involvement in a local Early Reading First project and SEDL’s school improvement and turnaround work in school districts in Louisiana and South Carolina. Dr. Jarvis received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education; a master’s degree in elementary education, with a focus on early childhood; and a PhD in educational leadership and research, with a focus on school effectiveness and school improvement, from Louisiana State University.
Dale Lewis, PhD, is a Project Director with SEDL’s Education Systems Support program. Dr. Lewis serves as director of the Texas Comprehensive Center where he works to support projects in college and career readiness, school turnaround, educator effectiveness, and the scaling up of innovative approaches. Under fee-for-service contracts, he also has worked with local education agencies (LEAs) providing professional development and technical assistance in RtI implementation, collaborative teaching, differentiated instruction, special education, and the Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle. A certified Levels of Use interviewer, Dr. Lewis additionally has assisted both LEA and state education agency staff in applying the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) to support implementation of improvement initiatives and guide the change process. Dr. Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Washington University–St. Louis and a master’s degree in special education from Southwest Texas State University. He received his PhD in education-school improvement with a research emphasis in special education and academic achievement outcomes of students with disabilities in 2008 from Texas State University-San Marcos. He is also a certified educational diagnostician.
Jack Lumbley is a Consultant to both the Southeast and Texas Comprehensive Centers. In this position, he collaborates with a team of staff from SEDL’s Research and Evaluation program to conduct formative and summative evaluations of these two centers. Over his 38 years of experience at SEDL, Mr. Lumbley worked on a great range of education- and disability-focused research, development, and dissemination projects. He designed, developed, implemented, and reported on evaluations of multiple SEDL educational interventions in school districts, intermediate education agencies, state departments of education, and institutions of higher education. He also collected, analyzed, and reported a wide range of SEDL performance indicator data as well as developed reports for presentation and delivery to a variety of funding agents and clients, for the purpose of disseminating evaluation findings to interested stakeholders. Mr. Lumbley has a BA in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin (UT) and over 120 hours of graduate studies in Human Experimental Psychology at UT.
Robyn Madison-Harris, EdD, is a Program Associate with SEDL’s Education Systems Support program. Dr. Madison-Harris works with SEDL’s Southeast Comprehensive Center. She plans and delivers technical assistance and professional development to the states served by the SECC as well as assisting them with school improvement and turnaround efforts. Dr. Madison-Harris also serves as the SECC liaison to the College and Career Readiness and Success Center. Her other responsibilities include assisting clients with educational leadership development, statewide system of support work, college and career preparedness, and Common Core State Standards alignment studies and pedagogical tutorial videos. Dr. Madison-Harris holds a BS in secondary education and an MEd in administration and supervision from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a doctorate of education in organizational leadership with an educational leadership specialization from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida.
Erin McCann is a Project Director with SEDL’s Research and Evaluation program. Through the Southeast and Texas Comprehensive Centers, Dr. McCann leads a team that consults with state education agency staff in designing and conducting evaluations on a range of district and school improvement programs. She assists state staff in developing logic models and evaluation plans, creating tools and timelines for data collection, and analyzing, interpreting, and reporting evaluation results. Dr. McCann holds a BA in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin, an MEd in counseling psychology from Texas State University, and a PhD in educational psychology from UT.
Carlas McCauley, EdD, serves as the Group Leader at the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). Dr. McCauley is tasked with directing and providing oversight of the administration of the School Improvement Grants program in the Office of School Turnaround. Since 2007, he has helped to administer approximately $5 billion toward improving schools. Before joining the department, Dr. McCauley was a project director for the National Association of State Boards of Education, where he worked with state policymakers in an effort to transform secondary education through policy development. He holds a masters and doctorate of education from the Rossier School of Education at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. He is also a graduate of Saint Louis University located in St. Louis, Missouri.
Debra Meibaum is a Program Associate with SEDL’s Education Systems Support program. Ms. Meibaum’s current work involves the planning and delivery of technical assistance and professional development in Mississippi as well as assisting in providing these same services to other states served by the Southeast Comprehensive Center. Ms. Meibaum also works with SEDL’s Center for High-Performing Schools. Her specialty areas are implementation of the ESEA, school improvement, and the provision of professional development and technical assistance. Ms. Meibaum holds a BA in elementary education and speech correction from Southeastern Louisiana University and an MAT in speech pathology from Tulane University. She also is certified in Mississippi as an elementary administration and special subject supervisor.
Coby Meyers, PhD, is a Senior Researcher at American Institutes for Research. He is co-principal investigator of the $2.5 million evaluation of the i3 eMINTS Validation Study, in which high-poverty rural schools in Missouri receive 240 hours of teacher professional development and technology infrastructure supports. He also leads the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest Beating the Odds Alliance, working to identify schools achieving at levels higher than expected and analyzing organizational factors that might be related to those achievement levels. Dr. Meyers also plays integral roles in various school turnaround initiatives—an area in which he has presented and published, including coauthoring the book Turning Around Failing Schools: Lessons from the Organizational Sciences and multiple journal articles. He was recently recognized by the AERA special interest group “School Turnaround and Reform” with the Emerging Scholar Award.
Laura Middleton is a State Director for Tennessee and a Senior Director for School and District Support at the National Center on Time and Learning (NCTL), where she works to increase the knowledge of, access to and footprint of Expanded Learning Time (ELT) opportunities in the state, as well as provide direct support to districts working to implement ELT. Prior to joining NCTL, Ms. Middleton served as a state literacy liaison for the University of Texas at Austin. Before working at the University of Texas at Austin, Ms. Middleton lead successful turnaround efforts as the executive director/chief academic officer at three different high-need public schools in the state of Texas, significantly improving student outcomes, taking schools from low performing to achieving the state’s highest school rating. During her 12 years of leading schools, she has served on state panels, regional advisory councils, Southern Association of College and Schools Accreditation teams, and other civic and social organizations.
Anthony Muhammad, PhD, is an Educational Consultant with New Frontier 21. As a practitioner of nearly 20 years, Dr. Muhammad has served as a middle school teacher, assistant principal, middle school principal, and high school principal. His tenure as a practitioner has earned him several awards as both a teacher and a principal. His most notable accomplishment came as principal at Levey Middle School in Southfield, Michigan, a National School of Excellence, where student proficiency on state assessments was more than doubled in 5 years and he was named the Michigan Middle School Principal of the Year in 2005. Dr. Muhammad and the staff at Levey used the Professional Learning Communities at Work (PLC) model of school improvement, and they have been recognized in several videos and articles as a model, high-performing PLC. As a researcher, he has published articles in several publications in both the United States and Canada. Dr. Muhammad is a best-selling author who has written the following books: The Will to Lead and the Skill to Teach Transforming Schools at Every Level (2011); Transforming School Culture: How to Overcome Staff Division (2009); and is a contributing author to the book The Collaborative Administrator: Working Together as a Professional Learning Community (2008).
William Robinson is the Executive Director of the Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education. He is responsible for overseeing program development, strategy, and thought leadership for the organization. Mr. Robinson has contributed significantly in these areas and has provided oversight for district support as deputy director of the PLE. Prior to joining the Darden/Curry Partnership, he completed consulting work for various education organizations, including the DC Public Education Fund, the Center for Better Schools, and Stand for Children. Mr. Robinson began his career at McMaster-Carr Supply Company, where he helped manage its supply chain operations in Atlanta. He earned his BA in Economics from Princeton University. He also is a graduate of Harvard Business School and an Education Pioneers alumnus.
Barbara Sims is Co-Director of the National SISEP Center in the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ms. Sims has 30 years’ experience in education as a teacher, administrator, and consultant. She has worked in private, public, and state education agency settings. Her current focus is the application of implementation research to the education field.
Jayne Sowers, EdD, Senior Consultant at the American Institutes for Research, has extensive experience in developing and conducting professional learning, technical assistance, research summaries, and qualitative evaluations. Her areas of expertise include English language learners, child development, and early childhood education. Dr. Sowers works closely with multiple divisions at state departments of education and school districts in supporting their focus and priority schools. As an educator for over 30 years, Dr. Sowers has written several books, and she has taught in the United States and internationally at the early childhood, kindergarten, and university levels.
Sheryl Turner is a Senior Research Associate at RMC Research Corporation and currently works with the SECC as well as the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast. Previously, she was a literacy expert with the Center on Instruction and a technical assistance provider for the National Reading Technical Assistance Center. She has extensive experience in organizing and providing consultative assistance to states and districts in their planning and implementation of literacy programs. Ms. Turner serves as a high quality resource in literacy and teacher quality, providing evidence-based tools and resources, product development, and collaboration on professional development to support professional capacity building at the state and district levels. She also supports states and districts with the transition and implementation of standards, use of data and assessments to improve instruction, provision of effective instructional support for teachers, principal leadership, turning around the lowest-achieving schools, and statewide capacity to implement and sustain programs.
Heidi Wagner is a Program Associate with SEDL’s Education Systems Support program. Ms. Wagner works with the Texas Comprehensive Center to build the capacity of state and regional education service centers to assist schools and districts in the state of Texas. In this work, she oversees the planning and delivery of technical assistance and professional development in the areas of school/district turnaround efforts and professional learning communities. Ms. Wagner holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Midwestern State University. She also has her EC-12 Principal Certification for Texas.
Winsome Waite, PhD, is a Senior Consultant at the American Institutes for Research where she works in research and development and technical assistance projects. Dr. Waite manages large scale training projects and plays a significant role in providing leadership and expertise on projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education, state, and local agencies. She facilitates and leads projects in such areas as policy and program development, implementation efforts, training, and evaluation. Dr. Waite has extensive teaching and leadership experience at all levels of K–12 education and at the graduate school level, and has authored and coauthored several briefs and practical guides on school improvement.
Robin Zuniga, PhD, is a Research Associate with SEDL’s Research and Evaluation program. Dr. Zuniga provides evaluation support for the Southeast and Texas Comprehensive Centers. Prior to joining SEDL, she was a senior program evaluator with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Dr. Zuniga has a BA in political science from the University of Colorado-Denver, an MA from the University of Massachusetts, and a PhD from The University of Texas at Austin.