Anglia Wittmus, TrueSchool State Lead for Missouri
Anglia Wittmus is a National Board Certified Teacher and Gifted Education Specialist that is personable and heartfelt about developing dynamic educators. She believes educator support and empowerment are essential to meet the diverse needs of all learners. Experience, creativity, and a sincere love of teaching drive her design and facilitation in adult learning and professional development.
A champion of educator retention, she provides support through meaningful workshop experiences and clear communication for the cultivation of tomorrow’s explorers. She brings over 20 years of classroom experience at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary level. Anglia holds a Master of Science in Classroom Instruction and is currently a doctoral candidate in educational technology and e-learning.
Elizabeth Colbert, TrueSchool Coach
Elizabeth Colbert has always dreamed of being an educator and making a difference in the lives of future generations. She currently functions as the Training and Curriculum Coordinator for the children’s department at her church along with her full-time job as an educator. She has been presented with the Teacher of the Year award in both 2017 and 2018 by local and state VFW for her classroom accomplishments.
Elizabeth holds an Associates Degree in Criminology, Bachelors and Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO, and has dedicated the last 14 years in the classroom teaching. Her educational experience ranges from K-6th grade which includes both gifted education and remediation. Over the course of the years, she has taught at varying school sizes and student diversity.
She has participated in the development and implementation of the writing curriculum at the elementary level and went on to assist another school in the daunting but worthwhile accreditation process. Since having
taught within both the public and private sector she has gained a variety of perspectives that help her remain open-minded. Her genuine desire to help not only students, parents but also fellow educators boldly reach beyond what is seen to take risks and achieve what they didn’t think possible has made her an excellent mentor to many.
Shelley Eickhoff, TrueSchool Coach, 2018-2019 TrueSchool Fellow Coach
Shelley serves as the Instructional Coach of Newell Elementary in Grand Island, NE. She earned her BS in Education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and a MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane College. Shelley has been in education for fifteen years, the first seven years teaching in a fourth-grade classroom before switching to her current role of instructional coach.
She is trained in LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling). Shelley has a passion for professional development of educators and developed and led many presentations to equip and inspire teachers to be the biggest positive influence in their students’ learning their classrooms. Shelley has also worked at the regional level as a Nebraska Partnership TEAMS (Teaching to Enhance Achievement in Math and Science) leader.
During the 2018-2019 school year, Shelley was a TrueSchool team member for her school. She is excited to work as a TrueSchool coach to support other schools as they create their own big, bold vision and create a plan of action to improve student learning.
Jamie Frey, TrueSchool Coach, 2018-2019 TrueSchool Fellow
Jamie grew up in Humboldt, Nebraska and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and an Early Childhood Endorsement from Doane University. She has taught preschool through third grade in Lincoln Public Schools, Bennett Elementary, Prairie Hill Learning Center, Lewiston Public Schools, and HTRS Public Schools. Jamie has also taught preschool at Wee Wisdom, Dimensions Early Learning Center, and was the owner of Outback Adventures Preschool, a certified Nature Explore Foundations through Arbor Day Foundation. Additionally, Jamie served as the assistant director of SENCA Head Start and is currently a first-grade teacher at HTRS in Humboldt, Nebraska.
Having been Early Learning Guidelines trainer for the past 12 years, Jamie has developed writing curriculum for Lincoln Public Schools. She is also a leader by serving on her school TrueSchool team, MTSS team, PBIS team (team leader), STEAM team, and mentors new teachers at our school.
As a previous TrueSchool Fellow, Jamie is passionate about creating a safe, caring, and comfortable environment where students are excited about learning. She believes in building relationships with students, parents and families, and community members in order to provide the best experience for students.
Dr. Susan Brenner Kassab, TrueSchool Coach
Dr. Kassab earned her Ed.D in K-12 School Leadership from Jones International University in 2011. Her doctoral research into utilizing student voice as a key component of educational decision-making processes continues to serve as the north star of her educational practice over a wide variety of geographic and cultural contexts.
Since 2018 Dr. Kassab has served as the Service Trades Team Manager with Job Corps. She is challenged with data-driven oversight of high school completions, vocational education, job trade matches, and soft skills coaching to young adults aged 16-24. Prior to her position with Job Corps she served as a PreK-12 building principal in rural Kansas schools then took her practice to an international context serving as a principal in private international schools in Kuwait City, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Her classroom teaching career as an instrumental music teacher in public schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels spanned 24 years.
Originally from Topeka, Kansas, Dr. Kassab is a product of the historic Topeka High School in Topeka, KS. She loves travel and learning about other cultures but is a true homebody that, in her spare time, you will find in all kinds of DIY pursuits including sewing, knitting, reading, cooking, and gardening. She shares her home in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Hassan, her son Zachary, and a spoiled chihuahua mix named Taz. Her daughter Emily and son-in-law Garet are parents to the amazing Charlotte Olivia, born in 2018, who is already demonstrating a love of books and reads aloud via the babble method.
Dr. Lisa St. Clair, TrueSchool State Lead for Nebraska
Dr. St. Clair is a Partner/Senior Evaluator with a private practice program evaluation center, Omaha Program Evaluation Services. She is formerly an Assistant Professor in the Interdisciplinary Center for Program Evaluation at the Munroe Meyer Institute of the University of Nebraska Medical Center; Graduate Faculty for the University of Nebraska; Affiliate Faculty with the University of Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools; and past president of the Evaluation Network for the Missouri River Basin, a seven state regional affiliate of the American Evaluation Association. She earned her Doctorate of Education in Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska.
Her primary areas of responsibility are program evaluation and coaching for local, statewide and national programs. Evaluation contracts have included Nelson Mandela Elementary School and five Omaha Public Schools, the Phoenix Academy, String Sprouts, Common Fund, Methodist Community Counseling Program, Educare of Omaha and Winnebago, Early Childhood Services Network, Nebraska 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Instructional Coaching and other programs with the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties and 11 area school districts, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Summer of Innovation, and many others. She has also taught graduate courses at the University of Nebraska Omaha, including Program Evaluation, Introduction to Research, and School Community Relationships.
She has published numerous articles on families, schools, early childhood education, and coaching. She was selected as the University of Nebraska at Omaha, College of Education Distinguished Alumni in 2008.
Kelli Berke, TrueSchool Coach, 2018-2019 TrueSchool Fellow
As the current Principal of Two Springs Elementary in Bellevue, NE, Kelli has been a teacher and administrator for students from ages 2 to 19, including a special education classroom teacher, an early childhood special
education teacher, a literacy consultant, a regional administrator collaborating with teachers, school administrators, special education staff to include PT, OT, SLPs. Additionally, she has been a central office administrator overseeing the district programming for special education K-12 and has been responsible for the curriculum, instruction and assessment process for the Glenwood district to include curriculum writing, planning, purchasing of resources and school improvement initiatives.
Kelli hold certifications from Nebraska Department of Education: Principal K-6, K-6 Elementary Education, PreK Handicapped, Iowa BOEE: PreK-8 Principal / Evaluator (New) / Evaluator Approval, Iowa BOEE: K-6 Elementary Education/PreK-K Early Childhood Special Education, and a MA in School Administration, BA in Elementary Education. She has served as a regional administrator providing school improvement and special education services in multiple school districts across rural Iowa. Kelli was also the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Special Education in a rural Iowa district of 2000 students.
As a past TrueSchool Fellow, Kelli is excited about the action research model and the opportunity to collaborate, lead and expand my professional learning and work with school teams.
Jeff Ellsworth, TrueSchool Coach, 2018-2019 TrueSchool Fellow
Jeff Ellsworth is currently the principal of Chapman School, a small PK-5 school in Chapman, NE, part of the Grand Island Northwest school district. With 26 years of experience in education, he is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Middle School Education, and a Master’s in Educational Administration.
Jeff is also a proud husband and father of four girls ranging from a senior at University of Northern Iowa to a 4th grader, who are actively engaged in sports, cheerleading and dance.
Jeff and a team of five of his staff members, joined the TrueSchool Team in 2018. Their successful mission was to build strong family connections by engaging the whole family in activities hosted at school centering around literacy. He is very excited to now be part of the core TrueSchool Team and looks forward to helping schools to find their mission and help them to impact students more deeply and meaningfully.
Dr. Carrie Rath, TrueSchool Coach
Dr. Carrie Rath has worked for the Omaha Public School District for 28 years in Omaha, Nebraska. Recently appointed as the new Principal of King Science Technology Magnet middle school for OPS. Prior to that, she has been the Principal at Miller Park Elementary School, Assistant Principal/Data Processor at Nathan Hale Magnet Middle School, Instructional Facilitator at Buffett Magnet Middle School and a science teacher at various magnet middle schools for OPS for 15 years.
Science is her true passion in education. She received teacher of the year at the Omaha Metropolitan and Engineering Science Fair. She currently serves on human resource district interview teams for new teachers and future principals. Carrie has district and national experience in presenting for her school and district on various topics from grading to magnet school success. She has been a Key Leader of Science for her district and has been a district trainer on Strategic Tutoring, and served on the Advanced Ed evaluation team for her district. Dr. Rath’s strengths as a principal are instructional leadership, building teacher leader capacity and creating a strong, positive school culture. She is a true believer that every experience one encounters in education, positive or uncomfortable, allows one to reflect and grow as an educator.
She holds a BS of Science Education from the University of Nebraska, a MS of Educational Administration and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Lori Grant, TrueSchool State Lead for North Carolina
Lori is an academic program leader with over 20 years of accomplishment developing and leading effective strategies in educational growth, staff development, and student success for diverse K-12 and college prep academic programs. Her previous roles have spanned roles as an elementary school principal, college professor, K-12 curriculum and instruction specialist and education consultant. She has a recognized and respected for track record of success an unyielding passion for influencing positive direction, continuous improvement and commitment to fostering health academic environments for youth and adult learners. Lori is a supportive and interactive leader who encourages cohesion, trust, and engagement among colleagues, students, parents, and community.
She is currently finishing her Doctorate in Education and holds an Advanced Study Certificate in School Administration, an MS in Reading (K-12), and a BA in English & Elementary Education. Lori has also been a co-founder of the town of Ramapo after school Mini-Camp at Lime Kiln Elementary School, an advisor for Harmony Christian School in South Africa, and served medical and educational missions in the Dominican Republic.
Benita Knight, TrueSchool Coach, 2018-2019 TrueSchool Fellow
Benita Knight is an Assistant Principal with Edgecombe County Public Schools in North Carolina, where she serves over 300 scholars and 25 educators in a PreK – 5th grade setting. Mrs. Knight began her career as a high school Spanish teacher before being selected as a North Carolina Principal Fellow and moving into administration. Throughout her years in education, Mrs. Knight has been committed to exposing scholars to the world. To coincide with this effort, she was selected as a Rural Trust Global Teacher Fellow in 2015 and traveled to Singapore to explore the educational system.
A commitment to investing in the needs of the whole child while focusing on academic achievement has also led Mrs. Knight to study restorative practices and aid in implementing them within her school building. Dedication to innovation led Mrs. Knight and her school team to TrueSchool Studios where the team was able to focus on doing school differently in order to meet the needs of their scholars. A native of suburban Philadelphia, Mrs. Knight currently resides in Rocky Mount, NC. She is a wife and mother of two who loves to travel and experience new things. As a TrueSchool Fellowship alum, Mrs. Knight is excited to share her professional experience and passion for educational innovation with newly selected TrueSchool design teams.
Kimberly Lassiter, TrueSchool Coach, 2018-2019 TrueSchool Fellow
Kimberly just completed her 9th year as a Special Education Teacher and paraprofessional and is currently at A.H. Bangert Elementary in New Bern, North Carolina, where she serves on the MTSS Team and School Improvement Team.
While getting her BA from University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Kimberly worked with Habitat for Humanity, Bright Beginnings as an organizer and The Robbie Page Memorial. She received her teaching credentials from East Carolina University through the NCTEACH Cohort while working full time in the classroom.
She is passionate about Special Education and advocating for those who can’t speak for themselves, giving all students a voice in their education; her educational philosophy is “Different not Less”. Serving on the executive board for the NCAE in her county, Kimberly values advocacy for students and teachers. She enjoys leading groups toward a common goal and through empowering individuals and fostering creativity can lead to great outcomes and personal growth. As a former TrueSchool Fellow, Kimberly is excited to help other schools pursue the design process and grow as leaders.
Sonja McKay, TrueSchool Coach
Sonja McKay is an award-winning educator, STEM leader, and design thinker. She is passionate about connecting students with their local and global community through project-based learning and design experiences. Sonja’s interest in design was sparked in 2008 when as a Kenan Fellow she partnered with a local business to engage students in sustainable packaging design. Sonja also develops and leads professional development for issues-based project-based learning. In 2016, she helped to create and lead the PBL Fellows program at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.
Sonja currently teaches third at The Exploris School, an innovative model STEM charter school located in downtown Raleigh where she has taught since 2004. Prior to this role, Sonja taught in Guilford County. Sonja is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence Mathematics. She earned a MEd in Middle Grades Mathematics Education and BS in Middle Grades Mathematics and Science Education as a Teaching Fellow. She has been also been awarded the 2018-2019 L+D Fellow with Leadership+Design Fellowship, the Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Outstanding K-8 Educator Award in Science, Mathematics, Technology Education from North Carolina SMT Education Center, and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership. Additional, Sonja is also a member of Teacher Advisory GroupNC State University’s Design Lab for K-12 Education.
Kathy Rackley, TrueSchool Coach, 2018-2019 TrueSchool Fellow
Kathy began her career as an educator in 1990 in Fuquay-Varina, NC. In her 22 years there, she served as a kindergarten teacher, instructor in the primary grades, media specialist, and Assistant Principal. Kathy holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and served as a media specialist for seven years.
In 2016 she became a part of the Walnut Creek Elementary school family as an Assistant Principal. She believes, “Most educators will agree that relationships with students are not the only relationships that bring fulfillment. We must feel a sense of belonging, a part of something greater than ourselves, in order to be our best selves.” While growing and changing professionally, she was also learning about the joys and demands of parenting. Her and her husband have two daughters who both went through the Wake County school system.
As a previous TrueSchool fellow, she has a vision is to continue serving where she can promote student achievement, through teacher empowerment.
Crystal Scillitani, TrueSchool Coach
Crystal has dedicated 25 years to working in education and leadership. Her work has primarily been in North Carolina public schools and universities. She began her career as an elementary teacher working in Title I schools and magnet programs in Wake County. She attended graduate school as a North Carolina Principal Fellow and went on to serve as an assistant principal and principal in elementary, middle, and high school settings. As a proud alumna of North Carolina State University, Crystal was honored to return to her alma mater to spend time developing and launching the Elementary Education Program. While working in the Department of Elementary Education she focused on writing and teaching courses as well as designing and overseeing the field work component of the program. Having grown up in Appalachian Ohio Crystal was the first in her family to graduate high school and go on to pursue a college degree. She is passionate about leadership and learning and strongly believes in the power of education to break cycles of poverty.
Crystal is the founder of LeadingUp Consulting, a consulting firm based in North Carolina focused on advancing student achievement by strengthening teachers and school leaders. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities, fitness, reading, and traveling with her family. She and her husband Al are both proud US Air Force Veterans and currently reside in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Amy Cole Vreeland, Founder + Executive Director
Amy has focused her career on the intersection of education and social entrepreneurship. As the first person in her family to graduate from college, Amy wanted to pay it forward. She joined a non-profit startup focused on improving retention and graduation rates for underrepresented college students across the United States. Amy then jumped headfirst into the unprecedented shifts in the New Orleans education system post-Hurricane Katrina, helping to launch the city’s first international high school and serving as a founding math teacher. Next, moving to rural South Africa, Amy collaborated with community leaders on the design and launch of locally-led small businesses to drive job creation and economic development. Through all of this, Amy realized the power, potential, and necessity of engaging the people on the ground to drive and lead change. In 2012, Amy left graduate school at Princeton University and, with $300 of venture capital investment from her piggy bank, founded TrueSchool. She quickly found her jam in tiny, mighty teams with big dreams and hasn’t looked back since. In addition to working in the U.S, Amy has engaged in education-related development work in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, and Liberia. Amy is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in anthropology and international affairs. She is an Unreasonable Fellow and, in 2015, was recognized as a Global Fellow and “one of the world’s best emerging social innovators” by Echoing Green.
James Bailey, TrueSchool Coach
James Bailey is a lifetime K-12 educator who has had experience as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent, and turn around leader in schools in Colorado, Wyoming and Texas. He currently runs his own consulting firm called the Leading Learners Institute focused on new school design, capacity development in schools and leadership coaching for educational leaders. He is a strong advocate for equity in schools and the emerging focus on social emotional learning and uses design thinking and improvement science to help schools become more student centered in their approaches.
Sade Jackson, Senior TrueSchool Coach
A graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics, Sade is a Louisville, Kentucky native who has dedicated the past 7+ years to educating students. She was a 2012 TeachNOLA fellow, 2015 TNTP (The New Teacher Project) Good2Great Educator, 2016 Education Pioneers national talent pool member and 2018-2019 IGNITE Teacher Leader Fellow.
In addition to education, Sade is very passionate about civic engagement and volunteering. She is a 2011 AmeriCorps alum, 2013 Emerging Philanthropist of New Orleans and Junior League of New Orleans 2015-2016 program evaluation committee member. In 2017, Sade was selected by the New Politics Academy as a national virtual and local program facilitator. Sade is currently pursuing a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and resides in New Orleans, LA with her 1-year-old son, Jackson.
Tronn Moller, Senior TrueSchool Coach
Tronn is a leadership coach, facilitator, speaker, and trainer. He currently teaches history at Delgado Community College in New Orleans. He is passionate about working with leaders to solve challenges, and developing their capacity to lead change. He loves using simple and innovative visual thinking tools that help individuals discover, plan, and move forward.
Tronn holds a Master’s degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and a B.A degree from Xavier University in Louisiana.
Sandy Phillips, Senior TrueSchool Coach
Sandy serves as the Principal of Green Park Elementary School in Metairie, Louisiana. She began her career in the Jefferson Parish Public School System in 1988. She was a classroom teacher, a Dean, and Assistant Principal, and a Hearing Officer. She received her undergraduate degree from Southern University, as well as two Master’s Degrees from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership. Sandy has served on the Jefferson Association of Principals and School Administrators as the Elementary School Representative.
While at Green Park, she led the staff in developing new strategies to improve student achievement, and her school was noted as a School of Top Gains within the parish. She is passionate about delivering TrueSchool’s message of social equity and innovation through education.
Omar Mendez, Board Member
Omar is a dedicated educator and current teacher leader at Grace King High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was among the very first group of educators to participate in a TrueSchool learning experience in 2013. Since then, he’s been involved as an advisor and continues to bring direct educator perspective to the board.
Over his 10 years of teaching, Omar has taught Geometry, AP Computer Science, Algebra I, Algebra II and Art to over 500 students at Grace King High School, New Orleans Science and Mathematics High School, and New Orleans International High School.
He is currently in his 3rd year of the IGNITE Teacher Leader Fellowship, through which he facilitates staff-wide professional development, discovery walks, and continuous improvement observation cycles. Omar holds a BA from Williams College and a Louisiana State Teaching Certificate in Secondary Mathematics.
Sylvie Tran, Board Member
Sylvie holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University. She has been working in the oil and gas industry for nearly 20 years. She recently transitioned to a new role as Vice President of Engineering for Sucor in Calagary, Canada. Prior to this position, she worked at Shell Oil Company as a Delivery and Integration Manager, focusing on offshore activities in the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil. Before going to business school and transitioning into senior management, Sylvie worked on the rigs as a drilling engineer and rig supervisor with various oil and gas companies worldwide, including in Canada, Australia, France, and Algeria.
Sylvie has served on several Boards, including Marine Board Member for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Vice Chairman of the Board for Metropolitan Human Services District; Board Member for Arc of Greater New Orleans; and Board Member for the Urban League of Louisiana.