Meet our team of Educators

We are a team of K12 educators, curriculum designers and strategists working to inspire and engage educators around the world.

Our Educators

Amber Villa-Zang

Amber Villa-Zang

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.

Documenting the Curriculum Through Diary Mapping

Common Unit Pitfalls and How to Fix Them

Angela Sherman

Angela Sherman

Angela is a veteran World Language Instructor with 12 years of experience teaching Spanish for beginning, intermediate, and advanced learners at the elementary, middle, high school, and collegiate levels. She is also a trained instructor for the International Baccalaureate Program. She has taught in various school contexts including charter, public, and private schools and has been a part of building World Language programs from the ground up. She holds a BA in Spanish Education with a minor in English as a Second Language. Spanish from Michigan State University, two Master’s degrees from Wayne State University (MA in Curriculum and Instruction and MA Romance Languages), and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Wayne State University. In addition to facilitating professional development at her current school, Angela has been a featured writer in ASCD’s Educational Express Newsletter, and has been invited on multiple occasions to present her work to graduate students at Wayne State University. She has an overall passion and enthusiasm for learning and seeks to nurture that passion for the students and teachers with whom she comes into contact.

Brenda Carpenter

Brenda Carpenter

Brenda brings a world of excitement to both the formal and informal education realms, having been a formal STEM educator for 15 years and an informal STEM educator for longer. She has taught as a National Board Certified Teacher in fifth though twelfth grades, and served for 16 years as program manager for an informal weekend science workshop in central Pennsylvania.

After completing her Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship at the National Science Foundation, Brenda is excited to finish her doctoral degree in STEM education and begin her next adventure teaching at Lower Columbia College. She is a passionate STEM educator who believes that mastery and inquiry can save the world (of education at least), and she looks forward to sharing these pedagogies with both her students at LCC and educators she meets around the world.

Brenda lives in Vancouver, Washington with her husband and children. When not working on graduate studies, she enjoys the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and leading professional development with her husband Dan Carpenter.

Catherine Cohen

Catherine Cohen

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.

Christina Botbyl

Christina Botbyl

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.

Her work in centralizing school resources and elevating the work of PLC’s in her school is featured here.

Christine Zimmermann

Christine Zimmermann

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.

Daniel Carpenter

Daniel Carpenter

Daniel served as a middle and secondary science teacher for about twenty years. He served as a rural science teacher as the entire science department and in urban settings as part of a team of science teachers. He taught high school biology, chemistry and physics then moved into administration where he served as the school improvement administrator and data team captain. When professional learning communities were a new thing in education, he helped institutionalize them in urban schools. His work with professional learning communities and school improvement led to his dissertation and current research.

Since completing his doctorate, Daniel served as STEM Education Program Chair at Texas Tech University, and as Teacher Education Chair at the University of Findlay. Currently he is the STEAM Education Coordinating Faculty at Concordia University in Portland Oregon. In each of these positions he has taught courses in teaching methods, student teaching supervision, program evaluation, assessment systems, inquiry-based teaching, project-based learning and several research courses.

Daniel currently lives with his wife Brenda and their children in Vancouver Washington. They enjoy time with family, everything soccer and love spending time outdoors.

Elizabeth Clarkson

Elizabeth Clarkson

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.

Erica Chiotti

Erica Chiotti

Erica has served in education for over 20 years, including work as a classroom teacher, university professor and instructional mentor and coach. She is involved in many facets of education and collaboratively plans, instructs, assesses and reflects on teaching and learning across multiple grade levels and content areas. Additionally, Erica is passionate about facilitating engaging professional development and supporting educators as they implement new ideas and strategies with their learners.

Erica earned her master’s degree in education from George Fox University and holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Idaho. Through her vast experience with teaching and learning, she loves to make connections with others in order to provide high quality experiences for students.

Jennifer Parker

Jennifer Parker

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.

Joshua Ruland

Joshua Ruland

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.

Aligned Curriculum and Assessment Support Student Success

Kelby Zenor

Kelby Zenor

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.

Begin Your Curriculum Process By Setting Curriculum Goals

Make Your School Meetings Transparent

Kristy Beam

Kristy Beam

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.

Marie Mugabe

Marie Mugabe

Through her diverse experience with education in the United States and abroad, Marie has seen how quality education can unlock the doors of opportunity. Her educational career stemmed from a passion for international development which led to her many roles in education, including: classroom teacher, ELD specialist, program director, curriculum developer and university professor. In her current role, as a Professional Development Facilitator, Marie consults with schools internationally and domestically supporting teachers and administrators in curriculum development and educational practice. Her lens of diversity allows her to find new ways to leverage students’ assets in the classroom, and ensure that all students have access to authentic and rigorous curriculum. Marie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology from Loyola University in Chicago and her Educational Master’s degree from George Fox University in Portland, where she is now an adjunct professor for the School of Education.

Megan Davenport

Megan Davenport

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.

Lead Your School’s Curriculum Process with a Strategic Plan

Where to Start: Mapping Elementary ELA with Standards and a Textbook

Sarah Plews

Sarah Plews

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.

Shifting focus from the 4Cs to the 6Cs: Why, what and how for meaningful competencies development

Shauna Hobbs

Shauna Hobbs

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.

Sofía Amador

Sofía Amador

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 has served in El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

Currently, Sofia works at Schools of Excellence, a system of private schools in Costa Rica. She holds the position of Curriculum and Accreditation Director.

Here work on Strategic Planning, written in Spanish, is featured here.

Tricia Halonen

Tricia Halonen

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.

Her work in using data to support student interventions in her school is featured here.

Kate Owen

Kate Owen

Kate Owen has a talent for creating fun and positive learning environments, supporting participants both 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.

Schedule onsite or online professional development for your school.