|MESPA Home > Professional Development > MESPA Institute > Institute 2013: Learning for All > Speaker Bios|
|Dr. Johnny Alvarado trains educators on classroom management, lesson planning, dealing with at-risk students, and teacher leader programs. Johnny has conducted training seminars throughout the U.S. and in Canada for schools and school districts desiring to change how they approach student discipline and garner back the hours of lost time dealing with misbehaving students. |
Johna Anderson has been in elementary education for 15 years. Her experience includes serving as a classroom teacher in grades 1 and 3, and as a reading and RtI specialist. Johna currently works with students, teachers, and administrators as a Reading Specialist with New Prague area Schools.
Gary Anger has been the principal at Red Pine Elementary School in Eagan, MN for the past 10 years. Before that he was a principal for 4 years in South Washington County, a school administrator in Bloomington and is a longtime MESPA member. Gary has been a leader for MESPA as former South Suburban Division President, receiving the Division Leadership Award and leading Red Pine to the Minnesota School of Excellence recognition. Gary has also been a local and national voice for children’s health and wellness issues including Safe Routes to School.
Roger Aronson, MESPA legal and legislative counsel, has practiced in the area of school law since 1981. A highly regarded school law expert, he co-chairs the Minnesota State Bar Association School Law Conference, and is on the executive committee of BELL (the education lobbyist group), and frequently speaks and lectures on school law topics. In addition to MESPA, Aronson represents the Minnesota State High School League and MASSP (secondary principals’ association).
Becky Bone is a National Literacy Consultant for the Scholastic Classroom & Library Group and works with school districts and administrators nationwide. As a former teacher and Curriculum Coordinator, Becky worked with struggling students in the Central Florida area and was voted Teacher of the Year in 1997. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses, and was a national presenter/facilitator for Janet Allen’s “It’s Never Too Late” Literacy Institutes. Becky has been published in NCTE’s Voices from the Middle and Scholastic’s Administrator, and can be found in schools and airports across the nation.
Bobbie Burnham is the Deputy Director of the Office of Early Learning and manages the Division of Early Learning Services at the Minnesota Department of Education. Bobbie’s work focuses on leveraging connections among the early education and K-3 parts of the statewide comprehensive early learning system, and in particular on the transition from pre-K to the primary grades.
Dr. Karen Cadigan is Director of the Office of Early Learning at the Minnesota Department of Education, a position created to align, coordinate, and improve the statewide system – across agencies - for birth to eight year olds and their families. Under her leadership the Office of Early Learning agency team together wrote, was awarded, and is implementing Minnesota’s $45 million Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge grant.
Dr. Brenda Cassellius was appointed Minnesota’s Education Commissioner in January 2011. A lifelong educator with experiences as a teacher, principal and superintendent, Commissioner Cassellius’ priority is to improve education outcomes for all students.
Rolf Carlsen is chair of the MESPA Negotiations Committee, and principal at Oxbow Creek Elementary, Anoka-Hennepin.
Ryan Christensen is in his third year teaching at Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School. He graduated from Kasson- Mantorville in 2001. Mr. Christensen attended Winona State University, graduating in 2007 with a Bachelors in Elementary Education and Middle School Social Studies. In 2010 he completed his Masters Program with a Masters in Education Leadership and Sports Management.
Dr. Wendy Claussen-Schoolmeester is celebrating over 25 years as an educator. Wendy was an elementary teacher, elementary principal, curriculum coordinator, and Parent/Student/Teacher Association coordinator. She is currently a Professor of Education at SMSU. A few of her strengths include sharing her enthusiasm for education, being an advocate for Elementary Ed majors, and enjoying face-to-face visits or social networking with all people!
Karen Coblentz is the principal at North Intermediate in Saint Peter, Minnesota. She has been there for six years and a principal for 13 years.
Rick Dahlgren has extensive experience at the elementary, middle, and high school levels including at-risk campuses. He is an inspiring trainer who has presented to over 400,000 teachers. He also has teaching experience at the university level and id one of the nation’s foremost experts on classroom management.
Daniel Gabriel is the Director of Arts Programming at COMPAS – a Minnesota-based, nationally-recognized provider of arts education programs. For over 20 years he has worked with teachers and artists, designing creative programs that enhance student learning in the arts and other academic areas. His educational background includes a B.S. in Secondary Education and an M.A. in Cross-Cultural Studies.
Laura Gores has been a school psychologist within the public school system for the past 11 years. During this time she has worked with 17 schools (Pre-K though HS) serving in a variety of roles including: school psychologist, RtI specialist, Early Childhood team lead, and on a variety of district level committees. She is currently in an elementary school in the Eastern Carver County School District.
Dr. Bonnie Houck has over twenty-five years of experience as a teacher, literacy coach, district leader, state reading specialist, university professor, and program director for a philanthropic foundation, bringing deep knowledge of the necessary elements of school reform and the field of literacy education.
Greg Keith works at the Minnesota Department of Education in the areas of principal and teacher evaluation. A former English teacher, assistant principal, and middle school principal in Memphis, Tennessee, Greg has also worked in the areas of teacher induction, school reform, professional development, and curriculum in Memphis, Charleston, and Minneapolis.
Emily Larsen, K-12 Math Specialist, South Washington County Schools. Larsen is a district level mathematics coordinator. She is a member of the MN Council of Teachers of Mathematics/MDE Leadership Task Force.
Wayne LePard, principal, Roseau Elementary School, Roseau, MN.
Sean Martinson, principal, Murphy Elementary School, Grand Rapids Schools, is a former Technology Integrationist, holds a Masters degree in Educational Leadership and Technology -- and he knows iPads!
Richard McLeod is the retirement services supervisor, Minnesota Teacher's Retirement Association.
Deborah Meyer, currently working at FirstTech as a Teaching and Learning Consultant, travels around Minnesota and Western Wisconsin providing educators with innovative methods on how to create an engaging student-centered classroom
and effectively assess students using Promethean technology.
Donna Montgomery has been a principal in Hopkins for 19 years. She is an adjunct professor at Concordia and St. Mary’s Universities. To highlight excellence for her school community, Donna’s schools have earned: Reward school designation from the MN Dept. of Ed.; two MESPA MN School of Excellence validations; and a NCLB Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Donna also has been recognized as State Art Education Principal of the Year.
Sandi Novak has over thirty years of experience as a teacher, principal, curriculum director, and assistant superintendent in suburban and rural school districts. Currently, she is an independent education consultant.
Laura Pierce, chair, MN School of Excellence Program, and principal, Akin Road Elementary, Farmington.
Barb Reinke currently holds the position of Central Regional Education Marketing Manager for Crayola, LLC. In this role for eleven years, Barb has been involved in advocating for arts-infused learning in K-12 education. She travels extensively throughout the Midwest, meeting with arts organizations, school district administrators and policy makers in order to further encourage learning with and through the arts and authentic assessment through creative experiences.
Mark Scharenbroich is about making connections that move people. His messages are designed to support educators in your efforts to work collaboratively in reaching and teaching every child. He is a native Minnesotan who has spoken to more than 3500 audiences, earned an Emmy award.
Dr. Ruby Takanishi is former president of The Foundation for Child Development <http://fcd-us.org/> . She currently chairs the Education and Learning National Advisory of The McKnight Foundation, and is a member of the Transatlantic Forum on Inclusive Early Learning. She advises states and districts regarding policies and implementation related to PreK-Grade 3 approaches.
JoAnne Torp has been teaching elementary students for 22 years. She has been a classroom teacher in the Eastern Carver County and New Prague Area school districts. JoAnne is currently a Math/RtI Specialist at Falcon Ridge Elementary in New Prague. She is an active teacher leader serving on district and school teams in staff development, RtI, Math and as a mentor coordinator for new teachers.
Sara Van Der Werf, K-12 Mathematics Lead, Minneapolis Public Schools. Van Der Werf is a district level mathematics coordinator. She is a member of the MN Council of Teachers of Mathematics/MDE Leadership Task Force.
Dr. Sonya Vierstraete was a middle school teacher for 12 years, a K-8 assistant principal for four years, a K-8 principal for one year, staff development and curriculum coordinator for two years, and an adjunct professor for five years. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Education at SMSU, has her K-12 Administrative License, K-12 Reading Specialist License, K-12 ESL License, and coach to her 3 boys. She is looking forward to her next adventure…do the math…she is nearly 100 years old!
Michelle Wang is an elementary principal and K-12 curriculum coordinator with the Glencoe-Silver Lake School District. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member with Bethel University. Mrs. Wang has an Educational Specialist Degree from the University of St. Thomas in the area of Educational Leadership.
Dave Weber is a national change agent, from corporations to schools. He engages us to consider how to make progress on purpose in both our professional and personal lives. “Leadership Redefined” is his second book, following in the footsteps of “Sticks & Stones Exposed: The Power of Our Words.”
Dr. Barbara R. Wilson has worked for more than twenty-five years in public education with over a dozen of those years as an elementary school administrator. She is now an associate professor in Educational Leadership for MSU Mankato.
TIES Education Technology Experts
An education technology collaborative, TIES
offers cutting-edge school administration software, hardware and
software, Internet services and professional development designed by
educators for education.
- Greg Bartley, Director, Learning & Technology. MA in Learning Technology.
- Malik Bush, Technology Education Specialist.
- Troy Cherry, Educational Technology Consultant.Masters in Education Technology, Lesley University.
- Marla Davenport, Director, Learning & Technology. EDD (ABD), Technology emphasis at St. Mary’s University, MN.
- Kari Gerhart
Little, Education Technology Specialist. Former elementary teacher,
technology coordinator, and middle school principal. Works with teachers
and school administrators to develop technology integration skills that
will impact student learning.
- Paul Muyskens, Ph.D., Manager, Data Services
- Ben Silberglitt, Ph.D., Director,
Software Applications (design, development, and implementation of
software to enhance data-based decision making). Ph.D. Educational
Psychology, University of MN.