Meet Our Presenters!
Our presenters are some of the top MTSS implementers in the country.
Learn about their background and experiences below.
Ms. Nicole Coleman
Nicole R. S. Coleman, M. A., is a Professional Learning Content Specialist for Michigan’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports Technical Assistance Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University. Nicole's joyful journey includes teaching in both the middle school and high school settings for nearly ten years. In addition, she served as a curriculum writer of new courses intended to support literacy in all content areas. Most recently, Nicole served as a Literacy Consultant and Instructional Coach for Kalamazoo RESA, where she supported secondary school teachers and support staff throughout southwest Michigan in the implementation of high-yielding instructional best practices in literacy instruction.
Ms. Lori Hensold
Lori Hensold has been part of the Illinois MTSS Network over its iterations beginning with Illinois ASPIRE and Illinois RtI Network. She now serves as the Associate Director of Professional Learning. Lori has a B.S. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from the University of Illinois and a M.Ed in Instructional Design. She has experience as a classroom teacher, an educational diagnostician, a MTSS Regional Coach and an Area-Wide Instructional Leader. She has developed and facilitated professional learning in face to face, virtual, and blended formats and has presented at regional, state and national level conferences. Lori also serves on the Board of Directors of the Learning Forward Illinois Affiliate and is a Doctoral student in Learning Design and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dr. Amber Humm Patnode
Dr. Amber Humm Patnode is the Associate Director for Proving Ground at Harvard University's Center for Education Policy Research, where she supports districts in implementing evidence based continuous improvement processes. Prior to joining the Center for Education Policy Research, Amber worked at the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement and the Florida Problem Solving and Response to Intervention Project at the University of South Florida where she conducted program evaluation, facilitated professional learning and provided technical assistance to school districts and schools related to MTSS implementation, early warning systems, data-based problem-solving and chronic absenteeism. She co-developed tools to identify reasons for chronic absenteeism among secondary students and parents of chronically absent PreK-12 students. She has also worked as a school psychologist within school districts in MI, LA, AZ and SC. Amber received a Ph.D. in school psychology with an emphasis in organizational consultation and systems change from the University of South Florida.
Dr. Amy Murdoch
Dr. Murdoch is the Reading Science Program Director, Graduate Education Chair in the School of Education, and an Associate Professor at Mount St. Joseph University. Under Dr. Murdoch’s leadership the Reading Science graduate program became one of the first programs in the nation to receive accreditation from the International Dyslexia Association. Dr. Murdoch holds a Ph.D. in School Psychology with a focus on Early Literacy. Prior to joining the Mount St. Joseph faculty, she worked as a reading consultant at the Special Education Regional Resource Center providing training and consultation to school districts around reading instruction, assessment, and supporting children with disabilities. Dr. Murdoch also worked in Cincinnati Public Schools as the director of a number of large reading grants, including the Reading First grant. Her research and service work has focused on helping schools and families implement research-based practices in reading instruction, intervention, family involvement, and assessment. Her current research work includes projects focusing on the early identification and support of children with Dyslexia, and a project devoted to the creation of a free comprehensive early literacy program that successfully closes the achievement gap between children living in poverty and their more advantaged peers.
Ms. Ruth Poage-Gaines
Ruth Poage-Gaines has served the IL MTSS network for 11 years as a regional coordinator, lead coach, area wide instructional leader, coaching services coordinator, and network capacity coach in the Northern Region of Illinois. Ruth received her Masters in School Psychology from Loyola University (1994), then continued her education with General Administration (Principal) endorsement (2007), and most recently Director of Special Education endorsement (2013) from Aurora University. Ruth has worked as a systems coach with urban and rural districts and schools in Illinois. She brings lessons learned throughout the cycles of the State Personnel Development Grant work in Illinois.
Dr. Pamela Radford
Pamela M. Radford, Ph.D. has over 20 years of school based experience as a school psychologist and school administrator in providing ongoing training, coaching and technical assistance to districts in the development of system wide practices to promote academic and behavioral growth. Dr. Radford earned her doctoral degree from Western Michigan University in School Psychology. Previously, she served as the Statewide Administrator for the Illinois RtI Network, formally known as I-ASPIRE, developing a coaching of coaches model to support implementation of MTSS across the state of IL. Dr. Radford has extensive experience as a coach and professional development trainer in the implementation of MTSS practices across Illinois and has provided leadership in MTSS implementation at the state level. Within a continuous improvement model, her focus has been on using a data based decision making framework to build sustainable evidence based practices at both the building and district levels.
Mr. Kevin Schaefer
Kevin Schaefer is currently the Director of Equity and Inclusive Practices for the Supporting Inclusive Practices project through the El Dorado County Office of Education. In this role, Mr. Schaefer works to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities through providing high quality leadership and support to the California Department of Education and LEAs throughout the state. Additionally, he provides organizational support through his work in promoting continuous improvement processes and alignment of initiatives that focus on creating enabling least restrictive environments that honor the diversity of learners across general and special education settings. His varied background as a special education teacher, administrator and national/state technical assistance provider has led to expertise in the areas of systems change and inclusive practices that result in educational benefit for all students.
Dr. Kimberly St. Martin
Dr. Kimberly St. Martin currently serves as the Assistant Director of Michigan’s Multi-Tiered System of Support (MiMTSS) Technical Assistance Center and Co-Principal Investigator for a Low-Cost Evaluation Trial, Integrated Tier 2 Institute of Education Sciences (IES) grant. She is also serving on an IES Practice Guide Panel focused on assisting students struggling with reading in grades 4-9. Previously, Kim was the Co-Director of the federally-funded adolescent reading model demonstration project. She currently supports various state departments and technical assistance centers in their efforts to improve literacy outcomes within an integrated MTSS framework. Kim is the lead author of the Reading Tiered Fidelity Inventory (R-TFI) Elementary and Secondary Editions; measures designed to assist elementary and secondary school teams in the installation and on-going use of the reading components of an MTSS model. Kim also collaborates with the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) in the development and refinements of implementation capacity assessments at the regional and local district levels that are available for national use.
Mr. Brad Thorud
Brad Thorud is a Systems Implementation Coach for the Oregon Response to Instruction and Intervention Project - a technical assistance team that supports districts throughout the state of Oregon to implement MTSS structures and processes to support foundational reading development for all students. Brad is a Trauma-informed educator with 20 years of classroom, school, and community leadership experience. As a K-6 elementary principal, Brad led teams to develop a culture of care rooted in trauma-informed approaches within a PBIS framework to support improved access and outcomes for all students.
Dr. Caryn Ward
Caryn Ward, PhD, is the Director of the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) and Implementation Division Lead at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute within The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Ward provides intensive, informed implementation supports to state and local education systems nationally through her work as the Director of the State Implementation and Scaling-up of Evidence-based Practices Center and leader within the Region 7 Comprehensive Center. In addition, she co-leads the development of several implementation capacity measures and fidelity measures for use within state and local education systems. Previously, she provided direct and indirect services as a school psychologist, a Response to Intervention (RTI) district coordinator, and the project director for the North Carolina RTI Consortium.