2021 Academy Speaker Bios


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Dr. Luvelle Brown is an experienced educator who has held positions as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, school CIO, and Superintendent of Schools. Currently, Dr. Brown is serving as the Superintendent of the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) in Ithaca, New York. During his tenure in Ithaca, the Ithaca City School District has experienced unprecedented levels of success. Dr. Brown has received various awards and recognitions. The 2017 New York State Superintendent of the Year has been listed by TrustED as one of the nation’s top educators and thought leaders. Dr. Brown has been recognized by the National School Boards Association as a “20-to-Watch” and “Difference Maker”, received the Center for Digital Education Top 30 Award, and received the 2014 eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award. He was selected by the US Department of Education as one of the nation’s top 100 Innovative Superintendents. Dr. Brown is a highly regarded speaker and workshop facilitator addressing a range of topics for local, regional, and national audiences. Recently Dr. Brown has facilitated Discovery Education’s Equity Talks, a live webinar series that has attracted thousands of global educators seeking to cultivate equity and excellence. He also served as a Commissioner and co-producer of a groundbreaking report from the Learning 2025: National Commission on Student-Centered, Equity-Focused Education.  He has published numerous articles, the author of Culture of Love: Cultivating a Transformative and Positive Organizational Culture and the co-author of ThinkTweets: 100 Transformative Tweets for Educators.  

 

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.

 

 

 

Heather Ann O’Dell, Ed.D., is a PK-12 leader, and educational psychologist with over twenty years of experience in public and private schools in Massachusetts, Florida, and Vermont.  Heather has taught French at the high school and college levels, served as a high school assistant principal, a district Curriculum Director, and has spent a decade as a principal in Title I PK-8 schools.  Her life experience as a transgender woman has shaped her passion in creating welcoming school environments for the LGBTQIA+ community. As a member of VPA’s Equity Practitioners Network, her main equity focus has been on achieving equitable outcomes for students with disabilities.

 

 

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

 

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.

 

Lynn Fairbrother Kosinski, (Franklin Covey) As an education coach and consultant heavily involved in product development, Lynn Fairbrother Kosinski is a 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) thought leader for FranklinCovey’s Education Division. Lynn is co-author of the book The 4 Disciplines of Execution for Educators. She is the lead architect for many of the 4DX solutions and has facilitated 4DX content to clients worldwide.

Lynn has over three decades of teaching, leadership, and consulting experience. Prior to joining FranklinCovey, Lynn spent over twenty-five years in K-12 education, starting in the elementary classroom. Lynn was named an elementary principal at age 25, launching a long administrative career. Thereafter she gained valuable additional experience as a middle school principal, eventually moving to central office roles as Director of Elementary Education, Director of Secondary Education and ultimately, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum of Instruction. Lynn holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from Oakland University in Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership. She is a doctoral student at Central Michigan University concentrating in educational technology.