When you visit our offices in downtown Portland, it’s likely you’ll hear lively discussion and debate around hot topics in education and the culture of learning emerging from one corner of our floor. Wait a few minutes, and peppy laughter and snappy storytelling will follow. That’s when you’ll know our team of PD Specialists are back in town.
A group of former teachers with a deep-seated passion for teaching and learning, this team travels the globe, leading workshops for schools and districts on topics that range from curriculum development and design to differentiated instruction and personalized learning. This same group facilitates our collaborative multi-day Leadership Institutes held at our Portland headquarters throughout the year. Read on and meet the team!
Passionate about pedagogy and the role school leaders and teachers play in creating and providing dynamic, high quality curriculum and instruction, Amber leads professional development sessions for domestic and international school districts. She supports districts in developing standards-aligned curriculum and guides teachers through the process of developing integrated units of instruction. She also collaborates with district curriculum planning teams and leads professional development sessions for differentiated instruction.
Amber graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Secondary Language Arts. She spent seven years in a public high school teaching a wide range of Language Arts courses, including Senior IB. She also coached volleyball and was active in the school community.
Catherine Cohen is a passionate, lifelong learner and an internationally-minded educator with leadership, pedagogical management, and trainer experience. Catherine completed a master’s degree in teaching while studying in France and has since worked as an educator for 25 years in France, Louisiana, and Oregon, possessing more than 20 years in language immersion settings.
In addition to classroom teaching, Catherine served as a Student Support Specialist and program/ IB coordinator leading curriculum changes in a French immersion school. She now serves as the Lower School Division Head in a French American International School in Portland, Oregon as well as a workshop leader and site visitor for the International Baccalaureate, completing verification/authorization and evaluation visits.
With over 25 years of service to public, parochial, and private schools in both suburban and urban settings, Christine Zimmermann brings her deep and diverse experience as a PreK-12 district curriculum director, PreK-8 principal, and teacher of every grade from preschool through eighth to her professional development work.
Chris has presented at national and regional conferences, such as NCTE, on a variety of topics, including literacy leadership, curriculum development, and social-emotional learning. By supporting and empowering both teachers and school leaders as agents of meaningful change, she helps to facilitate complex district-wide curricular updates leading to improved teaching practices and student learning outcomes.
Chris earned her BA in Psychology and Education from Rutgers University, MA in Computing and Education from Teachers College, Columbia, and MEd in Educational Leadership from William Paterson University.
An educator since 1989, Christina’s roles in the classroom as a French and English teacher have spanned the entire K – 12 continuum and included experiences teaching adults, university students, and supervising student teachers. She thrives in collaborative relationships and environments. Over the course of several years, her experiences coaching and training educators to become better collaborators, listeners, and thinkers continue to impact her on both a personal and a professional level.
Christina is currently the PK – 12 Curriculum Director at the American International School Kuwait. She is also a member of the Near East South Asia (NESA) Schools’ Coaching Collaborative and Wider Circle.
Christina earned her BA in French and English from Alma College and her MS in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
Dr. Elizabeth Clarkson began her career in North Carolina public schools. After living in several other countries, she now considers North Carolina her home again. She has worked as a teacher, literacy coach, and principal in public and private schools in the United States, Ecuador, and Brazil. She combines her experiences in schools and nonprofit education to view all education conversations within the larger context of community, its values, and influences.
Elizabeth earned her Bachelor’s degree in Birth-Kindergarten Education at Appalachian State University. With a deep appreciation for the learning process and a passion for international perspective, she completed a short study program in Reggio Emilia, Italy and her Master’s in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado. Drawn to coaching and committed to providing supportive leadership in school settings, she completed her Ed.D in Educational Leadership from the University of Georgia with a dissertation focusing on effective professional development. She continues to draw from her experiences in academic coaching and international living to support schools in developing strong curriculum processes that support their unique values and identities.
Dr. Gail Grigg has worked as an educator for over 40 years, delivering special educational services across all grade levels (K-12), focusing on science, and serving as an administrator, both building and district wide, as well as an Assistant Professor in Teacher Education at Nazareth College. Beyond her formal schooling, she received special training in Science Inquiry (Texas Center for Inquiry) and the consultant model of special education delivery.
Dr. Grigg brought her special educational perspective to the development and testing of curriculum for the JASON Project as well as First Hand Learning, a unique discovery curriculum utilizing real world artifacts. She is a GLOBE trainer and maintained a biological study site with her elementary students for 13 years at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Over 30 years ago, she co-developed the TIE (Totally Integrated Education) in which students, with and without disabilities, spent two years in a co-teaching environment with curriculum that had no discernable lines between subject areas. Dr. Grigg is also a founding member of Prove Your World, a not-for-profit that provides entertaining science programming for 8- to 13-year-old student across both web-based and traditional media.
Dr. Grigg brings expertise in the areas of Special Education, curriculum development and lesson plan writing, and science education to her professional development work.
With over 18 years in education spanning four different continents, Jennifer Parker brings her diverse experiences with curriculum to support International schools in maximizing their backwards design and use of Atlas. She has worked as a Curriculum Coordinator in the Middle East for four years, supporting her school and its teachers in shifting from McRel to Virginia to AERO to CCSS/NGSS standards, becoming IBDP (and blending American and IB curriculum), adherence to local Ministry of Education expectations, three MoE inspections, and two accreditation visits each of CIS, IB, and NEASC. Her most recent honor was her participation in bringing an International American Secondary School to implementing standards-based learning (standards-based assessments, grading, instruction). Part of this process involved her collaboration and lead with rigorous curriculum review, delivering (re-)training on UbD, ongoing redesign of unit plan templates, and assistance in establishing “reportable standards”.
Jennifer Parker has presented at various global conferences in areas of project-based learning, place-based education, and curriculum design. Having been in-house Atlas trainer at her previous school, she enjoys helping teachers find ways to make unit plan templates work for them. With curriculum consulting and PD, she is zealous with different approaches to unpacking standards, developing and using essential questions to inspire classroom learning, creating standards-based assessments, and unit plan template design.
Dr. Ruland is a recovering English teacher, educational system trouble maker, and an amateur barista. He has experience teaching at both the middle and high school levels and as a district administrator for elementary, high school, and unit districts. As a district administrator, he has worked with curriculum and instruction in pre-k through high school organizations from small rural to large suburban and urban settings. As a district leader for curriculum, instruction, and assessment, Joshua has led a variety of organizations through the creation of their own curriculum development process.
Joshua earned a BA in Psychology and English, an MA in Teaching from the University of St. Francis, and his Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Loyola University Chicago. Currently an assistant superintendent for a pre-k-8 district outside of Chicago, he has presented his experience and research about the power of formative assessment at numerous national conferences.
Joshua values the strengths of a diverse team and the unique voices team members bring to the process. His easy going nature and calm demeanor may hide his fiery passion for empowering educators to move the world. Joshua brings experience to districts for designing a systemic curriculum process, empowering teachers to become developers, designing balanced assessment systems, and creating a culture of student ownership of learning.
Kelby Zenor guides the coordination, development, and facilitation of Professional Development programs both nationally and internationally. She has presented at international conferences — ECIS, NESA, EARCOS — and many others on curriculum review, analysis, and process. One of her great passions is bringing diverse groups together to facilitate deep conversations around meaningful curriculum reform.
Over the years, she’s been noted for her ingenuity and enthusiasm when leading events. (That, and the famous Portland donuts she totes to teachers on cross-country flights). Kelby is a graduate of St. Mary’s College in California and her former work as a director of an environmental education program and classroom teacher in New York City provides a strong foundation for consulting with schools on a range of topics.
Working as an educator the last 10 years, Kim has come to embrace that teaching is perhaps the most fulfilling and challenging profession in modern society. She’s risen to the challenges and relished in the successes fulfilled by not only her students but also in her practice. She was honored in 2015 as an Outstanding Educator of the Year for providing exceptional service to young people by the Rotary Club of McMinnville. She’s taught English Language Development, Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts in both English and Spanish at the secondary level.
Amongst Kim’s professional passions are restorative practices, trauma informed practices, second language acquisition program design, advocacy for students and families, and support for teachers and staff. In addition, Kim has worked successfully with administrators in collaborating for more equitable and culturally-responsive practices.
After earning her B of A in Environmental Studies from University of Oregon, Kim spent time in the Caribbean, Thailand, Turkey, Malta, Italy, Panama, Mexico and Spain. Experiencing and working within these cultures has taught Kim many different ways of life and given her a unique perspective on social dynamics. She then returned to Oregon to complete a MEd in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Portland State University.
Dr. Kristy Beam has a diverse background in education as a teacher and administrator. In her 20 years in education, she has achieved measurable success as a teacher in grades 3-12 before moving to school administration. Understanding highly effective teaching strategies, how to use data to identify targeted areas of improvement and monitor progress, and how to lead organizational change, she has successfully developed and led school improvement efforts in a variety of settings from a large public school system to a private, international school in Europe.
Megan Davenport’s passion for education is at the forefront of her work. Megan earned her master’s degree in education from Arizona State University and bachelor’s degrees in sociology and business management from the University of Montana. Thanks to her academic background, Megan takes a well-rounded approach to working with schools and benefits from knowledge of organizational structure as well as change management paired with classroom experience and a love of helping children learn.
Megan consults with public and independent schools both domestically and internationally and enjoys synthesizing knowledge gained from working with a wide variety of schools to provide training and professional development for educators.
Sarah Plews has over two decades of experience in the UK, Europe and Asia, in both business and education sectors. An experienced instructional coach, senior leader and teacher, she currently heads up the PK-12 Professional Development for Learning at The Oporto International School, Portugal.
Driving cultures for coaching and collaborative professionalism, she has worked with schools, universities and adult educational institutions to lead and support change for strategic improvement. She is a speaker at international conferences, CIS, ECIS, AIE amongst others, and regularly facilitates training on leadership, curriculum, pedagogy and professional development.
Graduated with an MA from The University of Edinburgh and Post Graduate Certificate in Education from The University of Newcastle, she is certified in International Educational Senior Leadership and Management and as a Council of International Schools Accreditation Evaluator.
Shauna has been the Director of Teaching and Learning at Graded, The American School of Sao Paulo, in Sao Paulo Brazil since 2016, previously working as a school administrator across the US and internationally for the past 20 years.
Prior to her position as Director of Teaching and Learning, she served as Executive Director of Curriculum, Assessment & Instruction for Seattle Public Schools from 2013-2016. She also led preschool and elementary principals and staff in their professional work as PK-5 Instructional Services Director for City Schools of Decatur, Georgia, from 2007 to 2010. Shauna also worked as a principal in Washington, Georgia, and Tennessee.
Shauna received her Ed.S. from Walden University and an M.I.T. and B.A. from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
Dr. Sofía Amador, a citizen of Costa Rica, has been involved in education for over 30 years as a teacher, administrator, and consultant. She worked in several top schools in Costa Rica, both local and international, where she performed various roles.
Sofía graduated with honors from the University of Costa Rica with a bachelor’s degree in English and in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. She also earned a master’s degree in General Education and in Educational Leadership from Framingham State University. Sofía received a Doctorate in Education from La Salle University at Costa Rica.
Dr. Sofía Amador is the founder and Director of EducArte International, an educational consulting business, leafding her to work on on several curriculum development and strategic planning projects throughout Central America and the Caribbean.
As part of the AdvancED Review Teams, Sofía serves in El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.
Currently, Sofia works at the Marian Baker School in Costa Rica as the IB and Curriculum Coordinator.
Tricia Halonen has worked in many sectors of education from private schools, public schools, and charter schools. She has worn the hats of a middle school science teacher, an instructional coach, a STEM coordinator, a Dean of Students, and an Assistant Principal. Through these varied experiences she has been able to craft her philosophy around education and support student growth.
Tricia graduated from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota with a Bachelors of Science in Sports Medicine. She later went on to earn a master’s degree in Education from Fordham University in New York and then her Initial Administrator License from Portland State University in Oregon.
Over the past year, Tricia has been on several AdvancED Review Teams providing feedback to high schools in the Portland metro area.
Currently, Tricia is creating, developing and implementing a middle school engineering program with an emphasis in engaging students to become problem solvers.
Kate Owen has a talent for creating fun and positive learning environments, supportinng participants both in in the office and in the field. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education & Learning with a focus on Special Education from Pacific University, Oregon. Early in her career, she created and launched an innovative language arts program in a 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade split classroom at a newly founded school in Forest Grove, Oregon. She also wrote and designed lesson plans for kindergarten students.
Her career path then shifted and led her to business management in which she utilized her problem solving, customer service, and leadership skills with adult learners. Kate finds joy in executing an event that allows participants to focus solely on content and learning. She zestfully has every detail covered.
The event in Kuala Lumpur was great, and your team was fantastic. While this was an event sponsored by Rubicon – it was such a delight for it to be about curriculum and the importance of coherent mapping and not a sales pitch for the product! It was really worth while, and I look forward to the next one.
Gary Bradshaw | Assistant Head of Primary & International Primary Curriculum Coordinator | Keystone Academy
“I was amazed at how intimate that conference was. I just didn’t know that it would be so collaborative, so well thought out. I liked that it broke up curriculum coordinators from educators, from heads of school. The time and preparation that the presenters took to get information and then that time for socializing, to cross-pollinate ideas. I mean it was really just a well-run conference.”
Trish Rigg, Curriculum Coordinator | Portledge School
Thank you both once again. Your product is amazing but you match that with the best education service support of any company I know and as an administrator who deals with many companies I cannot tell you how refreshing this is.
Ryan Silverthorne, Vice Principal, British Columbia International School of Bangkok
Thank you for all you and your team did to organize the Western Catholic Curriculum Summit! Those not in attendance missed a wonderful learning and collaboration opportunity. Hopefully this will grow into a west coast “must attend” annual event!
Lorin Hebling, Blessed Sacrament Parish School
Thank you for organizing and supporting an extremely successful first western Summit for Catholic educators. Your attention to every detail made the experience enjoyable and exceeded all expectations. I look forward to next year.
Anne Egan, Principal at Blessed Sacrament Parish School
Thanks so much for allowing me to be a part of this awesome summit! There was a wealth of pertinent, valuable information provided. I left armed and ready to help my team move ahead!!!
I had a great time, and it was one of the best PD events I have been at. The workshops were all great, and I have taken a lot away from it! Wonderful organisation, food, location and all presentations were spot on and relevant to today’s educators!
Jennifer Mills | Yew Chung International School Beijing | Curriculum Summit Kuala Lumpur