2021 Academy Speaker Bios


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Dr. Anthony Muhammad is an author and international thought leader.  He currently serves as the CEO of New Frontier 21 Consulting, a company dedicated to providing cutting-edge professional development to schools all over the world.  He served as a practitioner for nearly twenty years.  Dr. Muhammad served as a middle school teacher, assistant principal, middle school principal, and high school principal.  His tenure as a practitioner has earned him several awards as both a teacher and a principal.  Dr. Muhammad is recognized as one of the field’s leading experts in the areas of school culture and Professional Learning Communities (PLC).  His work has allowed him to work with schools in all 50 U.S. states, 10 Canadian provinces, the Caribbean, Africa, South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

 

 

Dr. Roger D. Goddard, Ph.D. is the Novice G. Fawcett Chair in Educational Administration and a Professor at The Ohio State University in the Department of Educational Studies.  Professor Goddard’s research examines school leadership and its impact on instructional improvement and student learning. He also focuses on the meaning, measure and impact of school climate, especially collective efficacy beliefs and social trust in groups. His most recent funded project involved leading the development of a new staff opinion survey for the State of Victoria in Australia, which is now used to provide reports for use in ongoing school improvement efforts to over 1500 schools across Victoria.

 

 

Taylor Reese Harper, M.Ed., has worked as an Educational Change Agent in Reno, Nevada for more than two decades.  She has worked in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, and taught several grades at the Elementary Level. Her passionate dive into the world of small schools and Big Picture Learning began in 2008 when she became the principal of Washoe Inspire Academy. Having extensive experience with school transformation and Title 1 Schools, Taylor is currently the principal of the first Big Picture Learning School in Nevada, Innovations High School. Taylor has developed her own, unique style of consulting both adults and young people through her Light’s Grove business with a focus on self-discovery and creating/enhancing awesome teams through a Human Design approach. She is also a School Design Consultant for Big Picture Learning.

 

Dr. Wendi Williams is a celebrated psychologist and educator, who has committed her life’s work to educate clinicians, teachers, institutions, policymakers, advocates, and the general public. Her work threads the intersection of psychology and education with black women’s liberatory leadership practices by which to understand our everyday lived experiences. Utilizing a critical race feminism lens, Dr. Williams’ work responds to the following question: What lessons can be gleaned from the life experiences of Black women in life, love, and relationship to inform their liberation practices, particularly in education and leadership development? 

 

 

Dr. Joelle van Lent is a licensed psychologist with over 20 years of experience working with children, families, and child serving agencies.  Dr. van Lent has expertise as a therapist, clinician, evaluator, consultant, and trainer.  Her work focuses on child and adolescent mental health, family therapy, trauma, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Dr. van Lent’s approach is geared toward fostering resilience and creating communities that support healthy development.  She is currently in private practice based in the northwestern part of Vermont and works across the state with schools and agencies.

 

 

 

Dr. Antony Farag is a passionate educator with 15+ years working as a social studies teacher at Westfield Senior High School in Westfield, New Jersey. His doctoral dissertation involved a quantitative study describing social studies teachers in predominantly-white public high schools in New Jersey and their comprehension and usage of Critical Race Theory and has been published in Phi Delta Kappan: The Professional Journal for Educators. He has years of experience in teacher training with goals of equity in pedagogy and critical theory in predominately white settings. He is a first generation, Coptic Orthodox, Egyptian American who has had to navigate the complex social constructs of the United States in order to translate his own identity with that of American culture and society.

 

 

Aimee Arandia Østensen, Professional Learning Facilitator, Shelburne Farms, Aimee is a first generation Filipina-American educator committed to transforming the educational system towards justice and sustainability. She envisions a future in which all children have a deep sense of belonging and love for the places in which they dwell. Aimee’s pathway has been a spiral of experiences in art, community, nature, and teaching in urban, suburban and rural spaces. She has spent most of her teaching career at Manhattan Country School guiding diverse groups of students through adventures in interdisciplinary, place-based learning as an elementary level head teacher and specialist. Aimee has had the honor of supporting educators across the Northeast through the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, Manhattan Country School Farm and as an independent consultant. She weaves all of these experiences into her work today as a Professional Learning Facilitator in Education for Sustainability at Shelburne Farms and adjunct instructor at Antioch University New England. Shelburne Farms Professional Learning Programs

 

Jen Cirillo, Director of Professional Development, Shelburne Farms, Jen finds passion in connecting educators to place and exploring relationships grounded in love. She coordinates Shelburne Farm’s offerings designed for educators, and develops and conducts workshops, institutes and credit-bearing courses at the local, national and international levels. As director of the Farms’ Sustainable Schools Project, she works to further develop and evaluate the model, document promising practices, and conduct outreach to schools and communities. She is a board member of Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) and commission member of Ferrisburgh’s Conservation Commission.  Jen’s favorite part of the job is working with teachers and school leaders helping them to rekindle their passion and joy in learning. Jen holds a BS in Plant and Soil Science from the University of Vermont (UVM), a MS in Environmental Education from Lesley University’s Audubon Expedition Institute, and is currently a PhD candidate at UVM. Shelburne Farms Professional Learning Programs

 

Nicole Carter, Ed.D., LiCSW, Principal, Weybridge Elementary School, ACSD, Nicole is an educator, clinical social worker, and a special/general education administrator who fell in love with all of these mindsets through her work as a secondary classroom teacher, founding member of a wilderness school, K-12 school clinician, and K-12 School Principal. Nicole seeks to help support school communities in weaving ecological practices and connection into classrooms and school buildings to support resilience and improve learning engagement/performance.  As an educator, Nicole is most interested in the process and skills of system transformation, including the organizational psychology of innovation, the science of school-based implementation, and the design of holistic prek-12 holistic learning communities.   As a practicing psychotherapist, Nicole is equally passionate about supporting young people and their families with a wide-range of practices to help heal trauma, understand and address the symptomatology of ADHD/Depression/Anxiety and addiction.   Nicole is currently serving as the Principal of Weybridge Elementary School and maintains a small local private psychotherapy practice in Middlebury, Vt.

 

Susan Reinecke, Faculty Center for Creative Leadership-Societal Advancement, with over twenty-five years in the field of education, Susan has worked in and with private and public schools, colleges and universities and non-profit organizations across the US. She strongly believes that leadership is both a science and an art form; a continued process that requires creativity, curiosity, a sense of adventure, and a true appreciation of the diverse needs of learners. As a Societal Advancement faculty member, Susan designs and delivers custom designed leadership solutions for K-12, Higher Education, Non-profit and Population Health that include both short term experiences and systemic initiatives. She is committed to the continued development of herself and others in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Susan holds an EdM in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University, a MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College (focus on the intersection of social sciences and performative arts), and a MEd in Theatre Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received a BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Susan is the Co-Author of Social Emotional Leadership: A Guide for Youth Development.