Meet Our Presenters!

Our presenters are some of the top MTSS implementers in the country.

Learn about their background and experiences below.

Ms. Debbie Boersma

Debbie A. Boersma, M.A., is a Literacy Consultant for the Kalamazoo RESA Instructional Center. She received her education training and Master’s Degree in Teaching and Learning from Western Michigan University. Before her work at Kalamazoo RESA, she spent over fifteen years in both the elementary and middle school settings. Debbie has also worked as a middle school reading interventionist and instructional coach, as well as, designed and implemented a successful Title 1 reading initiative. Currently, she spends the majority of her time as an instructional coach where she brings her expertise in the areas of data-based decision making and evidence-based best practices to support educators in adjusting instruction to impact student achievement. In addition to coaching at the classroom level, Debbie works to support the coaching system needed to support the district-level instructional coaches. Debbie is extremely passionate about education and enjoys sharing this experience with other educators.

Ms. Debbie Boersma

Debbie A. Boersma, M.A., is a Literacy Consultant for the Kalamazoo RESA Instructional Center. She received her education training and Master’s Degree in Teaching and Learning from Western Michigan University. Before her work at Kalamazoo RESA, she spent over fifteen years in both the elementary and middle school settings. Debbie has also worked as a middle school reading interventionist and instructional coach, as well as, designed and implemented a successful Title 1 reading initiative. Currently, she spends the majority of her time as an instructional coach where she brings her expertise in the areas of data-based decision making and evidence-based best practices to support educators in adjusting instruction to impact student achievement. In addition to coaching at the classroom level, Debbie works to support the coaching system needed to support the district-level instructional coaches. Debbie is extremely passionate about education and enjoys sharing this experience with other educators.

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.

Dr. Michelle Dunn

Dr. Michelle Dunn is a Leadership Development & Research Project Director at SWIFT Education Center. SWIFT is a national technical assistance center that focuses on state, region, district, and school transformation efforts supporting high-quality, equity-based, inclusive education utilizing a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework to promote positive outcomes for all students. Dr. Dunn has decades of experience serving students, teachers, and school staff in various educational settings as a school psychologist and district administrator. Michelle is passionate about equitable educational opportunities that lead to positive school and life outcomes, and promoting social-emotional learning for children and adults as an essential component of comprehensive K-12 education.

 

Michelle Dunn

Dr. Dunn is a Leadership Development & Research Project Director at SWIFT Education Center. SWIFT is a national technical assistance center that focuses on state, region, district, and school transformation efforts supporting high-quality, equity-based, inclusive education utilizing a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework to promote positive outcomes for all students. Dr. Dunn has decades of experience serving students, teachers, and school staff in various educational settings as a school psychologist and district administrator. Michelle is passionate about equitable educational opportunities that lead to positive school and life outcomes, and promoting social-emotional learning for children and adults as an essential component of comprehensive K-12 education.

 

 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. Matt Hoge

Matt currently serves as an implementation specialist for Michigan’s MTSS (MiMTSS) Technical Assistance Center. In his role, Matt supports districts and schools in developing infrastructures to support high-quality and sustained implementation of effective, data-driven practices within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports framework. Prior to his work with the MiMTSS TA Center, Matt was an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Western Michigan University, a school-based behavioral consultant in Arizona, and a classroom teacher in North Carolina. Matt received his doctoral degree from the University of Arizona in the area of emotional and behavioral disorders with a secondary focus on inclusive practices.

Matt Hoge

Matt currently serves as an implementation specialist for Michigan’s MTSS (MiMTSS) Technical Assistance Center. In his role, Matt supports districts and schools in developing infrastructures to support high-quality and sustained implementation of effective, data-driven practices within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports framework. Prior to his work with the MiMTSS TA Center, Matt was an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Western Michigan University, a school-based behavioral consultant in Arizona, and a classroom teacher in North Carolina. Matt received his doctoral degree from the University of Arizona in the area of emotional and behavioral disorders with a secondary focus on inclusive practices.

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. Dawn Miller

Dawn Miller, Ph.D. is Associate Director of Technical Assistance of SWIFT Education Center at the University of Kansas.  Her experience includes roles in statewide and district planning, professional learning, implementation, and evaluation of an integrated Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS). In addition she served on a committee that led state regulatory changes regarding Child Find and eligibility of children in the community for special education services and translated these changes into district procedures linked to MTSS. Dr. Miller is well known for her leadership in a national network of like-minded individuals and state agencies who share a vision for and systems approach to supporting student success. She has recently published a book on Leading Equity-Based MTSS for All Students, contributed to the literature in several Best Practices in School Psychology volumes, and had other publications related to MTSS. She strives daily to support the creation of a single system that demonstrates strong outcomes for each and every student.

Dr. Dawn Miller

Dawn Miller, Ph.D. is Associate Director of Technical Assistance of SWIFT Education Center at the University of Kansas.  Her experience includes roles in statewide and district planning, professional learning, implementation, and evaluation of an integrated Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS). In addition she served on a committee that led state regulatory changes regarding Child Find and eligibility of children in the community for special education services and translated these changes into district procedures linked to MTSS.  Dr. Miller is well known for her leadership in a national network of like-minded individuals and state agencies who share a vision for and systems approach to supporting student success.  She has recently published a book on Leading Equity-Based MTSS for All Students, contributed to the literature in several Best Practices in School Psychology volumes, and had other publications related to MTSS. She strives daily to support the notion of “all students – one system.

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.

Dr. Hollie Pettersson 

Dr. Hollie Pettersson dreams of a world where secondary students experience engaging instruction and exit high school with the skills necessary to be successful in life. Hollie has experience as an administrator at the state, district, and school levels. Hollie is a licensed school psychologist and classroom teacher with experience at the university level as well as elementary, middle, and high school settings. Currently serving as Director of Leadership Development and Research for the SWiFT Education Center at the University of Kansas and founder of Diligent Learning, a non-profit with 501(c) 3 status focused on mitigating opportunity gaps for marginalized students and communities. No doubt, her most rewarding and challenging role is mum to Reuben and Helen.

Hollie Petterson

 

Dr. Hollie Pettersson dreams of a world where secondary students experience engaging instruction and exit high school with the skills necessary to be successful in life. Hollie has experience as an administrator at the state, district, and school levels. Hollie is a licensed school psychologist and classroom teacher with experience at the university level as well as elementary, middle, and high school settings. Currently serving as Director of Leadership Development and Research for the SWiFT Education Center at the University of Kansas and founder of Diligent Learning, a non-profit with 501(c) 3 status focused on mitigating opportunity gaps for marginalized students and communities. No doubt, her most rewarding and challenging role is mum to Reuben and Helen.

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.

Ms. Keriann Poquette

Keriann currently serves as the Intensive Technical Assistance Administrator for Michigan’s MTSS Technical Assistance Center (MiMTSS). Over the last 16 years, Keriann has helped to develop a multi-tiered system of supports at the district and school levels.  In her role as a District Implementation Specialist, MTSS Coordinator, general education and special education teacher, she has worked with teams to ensure successful implementation of MTSS. Keriann received her B.A. from Central Michigan University and her M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Aquinas College.  She has additional certification as a K-12 administrator and in the areas of Learning Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Ms. Keriann Poquette

Keriann currently serves as the Intensive Technical Assistance Administrator for Michigan’s MTSS Technical Assistance Center (MiMTSS). Over the last 16 years, Keriann has helped to develop a multi-tiered system of supports at the district and school levels.  In her role as a District Implementation Specialist, MTSS Coordinator, general education and special education teacher, she has worked with teams to ensure successful implementation of MTSS. Keriann received her B.A. from Central Michigan University and her M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Aquinas College.  She has additional certification as a K-12 administrator and in the areas of Learning Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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.

Christine Russell

Dr. Christine Russell’s career has focused on providing technical assistance and evaluation supports to schools, districts, and regional education agencies implementing Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). She was on staff with the Michigan Department of Education's model for MTSS for ten years focused on increasing data-driven decision making in the areas of literacy, social-emotional learning, and student behavior. Prior to working with this grant, she served on faculty at Western Michigan University in the Special Education department and spent four years as a school psychologist supporting schools with their special education and data-based problem-solving systems. She currently serves as a K-12 MTSS Coordinator for a district in Michigan, along with supporting the MTSS work of one of the largest and longest operating virtual schools in Michigan.

Christine Russell

Dr. Christine Russell’s career has focused on providing technical assistance and evaluation supports to schools, districts, and regional education agencies implementing Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). She was on staff with the Michigan Department of Education's model for MTSS for ten years focused on increasing data-driven decision making in the areas of literacy, social-emotional learning, and student behavior. Prior to working with this grant, she served on faculty at Western Michigan University in the Special Education department and spent four years as a school psychologist supporting schools with their special education and data-based problem-solving systems. She currently serves as a K-12 MTSS Coordinator for a district in Michigan, along with supporting the MTSS work of one of the largest and longest operating virtual schools in Michigan.

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. Seena Skelton

Dr. Seena M. Skelton serves as Director of Operations for the Region III Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center at Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis, She has 25 years’ experience working in inclusive education, school improvement, and educational equity and holds a Ph.D. in School Psychology and M.Ed. and B.S. in Psychology. Seena has worked as a school psychologist, as a consultant for the Southwest Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center, and as co-director of the Equity Alliance at Arizona State University. Seena has taught as an adjunct instructor at Northern Kentucky University, University of Cincinnati, Mount Saint Joseph University, and currently teaches as an adjunct instructor at Indiana University, Purdue University  Indianapolis. She has authored journal articles and book chapters, and is co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Multiple Voices: Disability, Race, and Language Intersections in Special Education. Seena received the Leadership in Special Education Field Award from the University of Kansas in 2020.

Dr. Seena Skelton

Dr. Seena M. Skelton serves as Director of Operations for the Region III Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center at Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis, She has 25 years’ experience working in inclusive education, school improvement, and educational equity and holds a Ph.D. in School Psychology and M.Ed. and B.S. in Psychology. Seena has worked as a school psychologist, as a consultant for the Southwest Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center, and as co-director of the Equity Alliance at Arizona State University. Seena has taught as an adjunct instructor at Northern Kentucky University, University of Cincinnati, Mount Saint Joseph University, and currently teaches as an adjunct instructor at Indiana University, Purdue University  Indianapolis. She has authored journal articles and book chapters, and is co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Multiple Voices: Disability, Race, and Language Intersections in Special Education. Seena received the Leadership in Special Education Field Award from the University of Kansas in 2020.

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.

Dr. Stephanie Stollar 

Dr. Stephanie Stollar is a part-time assistant professor in the online Reading Science Program at Mount St. Joseph University, and the founder of the Reading Science Academy. She is a founding member of a national alliance for supporting reading science in higher education. Dr. Stollar is the former Vice President for Professional Learning at Acadience Learning Inc. She has worked as an educational consultant, school psychologist, and as an assistant professor in the school psychology program at The University of South Florida. She has provided professional development for teachers for the past 25 years. Dr. Stollar is a contributor to Acadience Reading K-6, Acadience Reading Survey, and Acadience Reading Diagnostic. She has conducted research in the areas of assessment, early intervention, and collaborative problem solving. Dr. Stollar recently formed her own company, Stephanie Stollar Consulting. 

Dr. Stephanie Stollar 

Dr. Stephanie Stollar is a part-time assistant professor in the online Reading Science Program at Mount St. Joseph University, and the founder of the Reading Science Academy. She is a founding member of a national alliance for supporting reading science in higher education. Dr. Stollar is the former Vice President for Professional Learning at Acadience Learning Inc. She has worked as an educational consultant, school psychologist, and as an assistant professor in the school psychology program at The University of South Florida. She has provided professional development for teachers for the past 25 years. Dr. Stollar is a contributor to Acadience Reading K-6, Acadience Reading Survey, and Acadience Reading Diagnostic. She has conducted research in the areas of assessment, early intervention, and collaborative problem solving. Dr. Stollar recently formed her own company, Stephanie Stollar Consulting. 

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. Nathaniel von der Embse

Nathaniel P. von der Embse, PhD, is an associate professor of school psychology at the University of South Florida. Dr. von der Embse serves as an associate editor for the Journal of School Psychology and is the chair of the NASP Government and Professional Relations Committee. His research interests include universal screening for behavioral and mental health, teacher stress and student test anxiety, and training educators in population-based mental health services. He received the 2018 Lightner Witmer Award for early career scholarship from Division 16 of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Nathaniel von der Embse

Nathaniel P. von der Embse, PhD, is an associate professor of school psychology at the University of South Florida. Dr. von der Embse serves as an associate editor for the Journal of School Psychology and is the chair of the NASP Government and Professional Relations Committee. His research interests include universal screening for behavioral and mental health, teacher stress and student test anxiety, and training educators in population-based mental health services. He received the 2018 Lightner Witmer Award for early career scholarship from Division 16 of the American Psychological Association.

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.

Mr. Correy Watkins

Correy Watkins is an Implementation Specialist at NIRN, he provides implementation science support to two State Departments of Education through the SISEP Center project.  Mr. Watkins has served as a PBIS and MTSS Consultant with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.  In this role he was a member of the state’s development and implementation of an MTSS framework.  Mr. Watkins provided regional support on classroom behavior management along with providing professional development on problem-solving models. Mr. Watkins also served as a State Implementation Specialist.  He has experience in the rollout of new initiatives from a district, regional, and state level. As an implementation specialist, his areas of expertise are implementation and scaling-up of the six critical components that are used to efficiently and effectively roll out new initiatives.  

Mr. Correy Watkins

Correy Watkins is an Implementation Specialist at NIRN, he provides implementation science support to two State Departments of Education through the SISEP Center project.  Mr. Watkins has served as a PBIS and MTSS Consultant with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.  In this role he was a member of the state’s development and implementation of an MTSS framework.  Mr. Watkins provided regional support on classroom behavior management along with providing professional development on problem-solving models. Mr. Watkins also served as a State Implementation Specialist.  He has experience in the rollout of new initiatives from a district, regional, and state level. As an implementation specialist, his areas of expertise are implementation and scaling-up of the six critical components that are used to efficiently and effectively roll out new initiatives.  

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