Principal, Grantswood Community School
Frances R. Finney has been in education for 27 years as a kindergarten and first grade teacher, assistant principal and currently Principal of Grantswood Community School, a Pre-K-Fifth grade school with approximately 500 students. She has received over $200,00 in grants given to her schools for technology, materials & supplies for her students, community help, playgrounds, fruit & vegetable grants, as well as, for safety and security measures. Her favorite quote is “When a Collection of Brilliant Minds, Hearts and Talents Come TOGETHER expect a Masterpiece”…one of her proudest accomplishments is creating a community within the four walls of her school where there was no community outside. It was in 2014, that she received the great honor to represent the state of Alabama as the National Distinguished Principal. During this time, parents, teachers, staff and students worked diligently to create a home environment for all. Working with her current community leaders has been a lifeline to assisting students and her school accomplish focused needs for Grantswood and the school system. Being a part of WEF-USA is vital to ensure all students have the opportunity to learn and strive for a better life.
Executive Director, Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals
Vista-Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana 1967.
Concord College, Athens, West Virginia, BS-Social Studies 1970.
Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia, Masters-Reading Education 1972.
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, 1980 + post graduate work-Alaska Certificate.
Taught/Principal 1971-1980 in West Virginia (Monroe and Clay County).
Taught/Principal 1980 2005 in Fairbanks North Star Borough, Fairbanks, Alaska.
Driver/Guide, Princess Tours, Summer 2006-2007.
Ran for State of Alaska House of Delegates 2006 (Lost).
Executive Director of Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals 2007-2018.
Math Instructional Coach, Globe, AZ
Formal schooling took me from a pre-school to a Roman Catholic school, both in Gambia, West Africa, followed by a Protestant boarding school in England, Great Britain. Since then, I have received training and attended colleges and universities in person or online in England, Nigeria, and USA. My experiences include Correctional Officer in the Arizona State Prison Complex, Ordained Minister, and Fisheries and Aquaculture Officer. My qualifications include Science Teaching Certificate for 6th through 12th grade, with over 15 years of teaching and coaching experience, and Arizona Principal License since August 2017, with my first administrative assignment being Math Instructional Coach in Globe, Arizona.
One of the most cherished awards I have won from the workplace is my Professionalism Award, determined by peer vote, at Correctional Officer Training Academy in September 2013. Another highlight and honor was when the administration and high school students pled with me in the winter of 2011 to return to teach at their school after I had left and had started working in another high school.
Retired Executive Director, Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators
Dr. Richard Abernathy is currently the Executive Director of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators (AAEA), a position he has held since July 2010. Prior to that he served as the Superintendent of the Bryant School District in Bryant, Arkansas for seven years. At that time Bryant had a student population of over 7,600 students and continues to be one of the fastest growing districts in Arkansas.
Dr. Abernathy began his career in education as a math teacher and coach at Alma. He then moved into administration serving as principal at Lavaca and Clarksville and assistant superintendent and athletic director at Ozark before becoming superintendent at Paris.
Dr. Abernathy serves on several state committees including the Board of Trustees for the Arkansas Teacher Retirements System.
Retired Assistant Superintendent of Schools
County Assistant Superintendent of Schools, CA, Retired.
Lecturer in Education at the University of CA, Riverside.
Adjunct Professor at the California State University, San Bernardino.
Adjunct Professor at the University of Redlands.
President of the ASCD, 1999-2000.
Retired Superintendent, Educational Consultant
Caughey retired as the executive director of CASE in July, 2016 after more than a decade of service. He remains involved in consulting and public speaking, including a recently released (11/2017) series of Issue Briefs ‘about and against’ education vouchers for CASE that is being distributed to school leaders across Colorado. CASE represents more than 2500 public education leaders across Colorado, including school superintendents, principals and other administrators. As the elected president of CASE in 2004-2005, Caughey focused on the needs of the seven CASE departments and served as the chair of the CASE Legislative Committee. During his tenure, he served on many state level councils, including Governor Hickenlooper’s Education Leadership Council, and remains on the board of the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC). Prior to joining CASE, Bruce spent 16 years in Douglas County School District, serving as director of communications and legislative liaison as the district grew from 13,000 to 50,000 students. Caughey is the author of bestselling guidebooks, including: Crete: Off the Beaten Track, The Colorado Guide (five editions) and Colorado’s Best (two editions) and many periodicals about education and current events.
Superintendent, Mesa County Valley School District 51, Colorado
Diana has served as the Deputy Commissioner of Colorado Department of Education, several superintendent positions including Roaring Fork School District and Aspen School District, elementary principal in Douglas County Schools and district level administrative positions. She is equally highly recognized for her skillful trainings in multiple instructional strategies to ensure higher student performance. Diana is highly regarded in Colorado for her continued dedication for the children and youth to become successful adults. Her many honors include: President, Colorado Association of School Executives, 2014-15; Colorado CASE Colbert Cushing Award for Outstanding Contributions in Education, 2005; Honorable Mention, Colorado Teacher of the Year, 1987; Three-time nominee, Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Education, 1984-87; Nominee, Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1986; Nominee, Colorado Principal of Year, 1994; Nominee, Colorado Superintendent of Year, 2006.
Retired Principal and Director of Curriculum and Instruction, New York State
Retired Elementary Teacher
Sharlene McCormick has taught elementary school students for 24 years. She attained both her Bachelors of Education and Masters of Special Education degrees from the University of Hawaii, in 1984 and 1987, respectively. She achieved National Board of Professional Standards certification in 2000. Sharlene has taught in the Hawaii’s Public schools, Calvert County schools, Maryland, and Mesa Public Schools, Arizona. She has focused her career teaching in Title I schools and has served as a mentor and host for student teachers. Sharlene has retired to her home state of Hawaii and resides on the island of Kaua’i, with her husband. Although retired, she has a vision that includes identifying unenrolled children and helping them to overcome obstacles that are preventing them from attending school.
Elementary Principal, I.F. School District #91
N. Jeanne Johnson Prfessional Biography. EDUCATION: B. S. Elementary Education, Brigham Young University, 1975; M. Ed. Educational Administration, Idaho State University, 2002. CERTIFICATES: National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, 1999; North Carolina State K-8 Teacher, 1991; Idaho State K-8 Teacher, 1996. EMPLOYMENT: 2003-Present, Elementary Principal, I. F. School District #91; 1996-2003, Teacher & Curriculum Writer, I. F. School District #91; 1991-1996, Teacher, Wake County North Carolina Public Schools. ORGANIZATIONS AND AWARDS: PHI KAPPA PHI; DELTA KAPPA GAMMA; Wake County Public Schools Teacher of the Year 1995; IFEA Lou Gourley Excellence in Administration Award 2006; Idaho State University Outstanding Educator of the Year 2010; IAESP Region 6 Representative, Vice President 2012-2013, President 2013-2014, Past President 2014-2015, Federal Relations Coordinator 2017-Present
Retired Principal, IN
A veteran principal, Nancy Phenis-Bourke uses her experience and expertise as a consultant/facilitator/coach with NAESP. Principal mentor program accreditation, program sustainability, professional development, life-long learning and organizational leadership are embedded in Nancy’s passion for working with principals, students, and staff nationally. She continues to be a global traveler, culinary arts trainee, certified Level II Ikebono designer, avid golfer, and yoga guru. All which sustain Nancy’s everyday life of learning and living while maintaining families in Colorado, Illinois, and Oregon. Nancy and her husband serve on several local community non-profit boards in Indiana and Florida. Dr. Bourke recently helped developed a 2018 Summer Leadership Academy and Expo for 25 non-profit agencies. Nancy serves as a board member with The Center for Educational Improvement and is President/CEO of the International Mentoring Association.
Director, Special Services-Turner School District, Kansas City, KS
Deb Ayers-Geist is currently the Director of Special Services for the Turner School District in Kansas City, Kansas. She has served in this role for the past nine years. Prior to this position she was an elementary principal for 19 years and taught both elementary and middle school for 11 years. Deb has always been active in KAESP, Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals, serving as both the President and State Representative. She also served as the Zone 8 Director for the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
Executive Director, Kentucky Assn. of Elementary School Principals
Rosie Young, Ed.D., serves as the Chair of Advanced Graduate Education Programs at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY. She worked in the Jefferson County Public Schools for 38 years, 28 years as an elementary principal before coming to Bellarmine in 2013 as the Field Placement Coordinator. She also served as the chair of the Ed.S. Program before assuming the chair of Graduate Programs. Certifications include elementary education, school guidance counselor, principalship, ECE supervisor, and superintendency. Rosie served on the Kentucky Read to Achieve Advisory Council (2017 -2020). She serves as a lead and site team member for CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation). In 2011, she was named Kentucky’s National Distinguished Principal (2012). She was named the Bellarmine Gallery of Distinguished Graduates recipient (2006) and received the Caritas Medal from Spalding University (2011). She serve on a national committee that developed the NELP (National Educational Leadership Preparation). She co-chaired the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) committee that developed the Accomplished Principal Standards. Rosie also served on the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Board of Directors (2000-2006), serving as President 2004-2005. Currently, Rosie also serves as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Elementary School Principals. She volunteers her time in support of this association’s mission to lead and serve all elementary and middle level principals in Kentucky. She earned her B.A. from Bellarmine University, her M.Ed from the University of Louisville, and her Ed.D. from Spalding University.
Jillayne Torrey Flanders is a 27 year Elementary School Principal, who was honored to be selected the Thomas C. Passios Massachusetts Principal of the Year and National Distinguished Principal in 2010. She served as President, Executive Director and Associate Director of the Massachusetts Elementary School Principals’ Association, and on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Elementary School Principals from 2011-2014. Since her retirement, she is consulting with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Early Learning Team and its network for early education principals. She serves on the Social Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts, the Advisory Board for Boston College’s InterconnectED Initiative, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Zaentz Early Education Initiative. She is also the very proud grandmother of Becca-Anne, Noah and Alina.
Lynn Babcock, EdD, is a retired elementary school teacher and principal. The majority of her experience has been in Michigan with additional years teaching in the Philippines and Germany on U.S. military bases. Also, she taught educational leadership courses as an adjunct professor at Central and Eastern Michigan Universities and for one year served as an adviser to two primary school principals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of the country’s educational reform. Lynn was the president of the Michigan Elementary Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA), National Association Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Board of Directors member representing Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin from 1995-1998 and president of NAESP in 1999-2000. Lynn is involved in local organizations and enjoys traveling, bicycling and downhill skiing.
Retired Executive Director, Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association
I received my BS and MA degrees from the University of Minnesota with additional work through the National Science Foundation in mathematics at Rutger’s and Columbia Universities. I was an elementary school teacher and principal, also math consultant and curriculum director during a 30 year career in the Minneapolis Public Schools. Upon retirement from there I was the administrator of a private school for 3 years. In 1991 I assumed the position of Executive Director for the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA), and was active at the national association level of state directors as well. After 11 years in this very rewarding experience with MESPA, I retired again to assume a part-time adjunct college teaching position (teacher prep course, elementary school math methods) for 3 more years. Since finally retired from a formal job in 2006, I have served on several boards related to education: I am Vice President for the South High School Foundation (my alma mater) and run our scholarship program–managing about $70,000 in grants to students each year; served on the board of ACHIEVE Mpls (the District’s foundation); helped establish and continue to advise a group of retired principals–functioning as a quasi-division of MESPA; served on the board of the Minneapolis Retired Teachers having an advisory role for the group; and now pleased to serve as Minnesota Ambassador for WEF-US.
Chair, Montana Council for Administrators of Special Education Region 3
I have been in education since 1999 first as a preschool teacher and daycare manager for one year. I spent two years as a education specialist at Youth Partial Hospitalization Program. I was a teacher’s assistant in a self-contained classroom for one year and a resource teacher for five years. Since January 2011 I have served as the Coordinator of Special Education for Billings Public Schools. In that role I oversee all of the special education programs for the school district. I work with outside agencies for specialized placement for students with Autism and Severe Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. I also supervise a specialized program for students unable to attend public school due to criminal offenses.
I currently serve as the Montana Council for Administrators of Special Education Region 3 chair. I am also the Legislative Network representative for this area. I serve as the chair of the Steering Committee for the Legislative Assembly and I am the Montana representative to the National Council for Exceptional Children Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. Lastly, I have been trained by the Office of Public Instruction as an Individual Education Program team meeting facilitator.
Retired Principal and Educational Consultant
Patricia M. Casarez is a retired Principal and teacher with over 30 years of educational experience in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Texas, and Nevada. She most recently has worked as an International Educational Project Consultant in China and the United Arab Emirates.
During her tenure in Nevada, Patricia served as the Zone IX State Representative to the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).
Her passion for kids has led her to this position as the Nevada Ambassador where she hopes to carry the message of the World Education Forum- USA (WEF-USA) to local school boards, school districts, and associations in her state.
Interim Executive Director, New Hampshire Association of School Principals
Ken completed his 45th year in education with all but two years in Central Vermont. He has been a middle and high school teacher for 15 years, an elementary principal for nine years, and a middle school principal for 12 years, and eight years as Executive Director of the Vermont Principals Association. When he retired from VPA, he became the very part-time Vermont Coordinator of the Margaret Waddington Leadership Initiative with the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC. Following this, Ken and his wife moved to Dublin, NH to be closer to their grandkids in Providence, RI. Inquiring about principals to mentor in New Hampshire, Ken received word of the one-year Interim Executive Director position at the New Hampshire Association of School Principals.
His work at the Vermont Principals Association involved professional development for principals, mentoring and supporting them through thorny issues, running the 500+ member nonprofit organization and its staff of five, and advocating for his organization and the principalship in the Vermont General Assembly. In 2011, a new principal mentoring bill passed. Ken continued to ‘walk the talk’ by serving as a principal mentor for two Central Vermont school leaders who were new to middle school and to early adolescents.
Principal, Neptune Middle School
Dr. Arlene M. Rogo, Ed.D., is beginning her 37th year as a New Jersey Educator and currently serves as NAESP Zone II Director. She is currently Principal of Neptune Middle School. During her 25 years in Neptune, she also served as principal of Summerfield Elementary School for 16 years and Principal of Midtown Community Elementary School for 6 years. In 2012, MCES, a Platinum LEED School became one of the first Green Ribbon Schools designated by the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Rogo began her career in Bergen County as a teacher in middle school and high school, and then gained administrative experience as a high school grade administrator, a middle school department chairperson and K-8 curriculum supervisor, and as a K-8 vice principal. Dr. Rogo is also President of the Neptune Township Administrator’s Association and the Monmouth County Elementary/Middle School Administrators Association.
Executive Director of Special Education, East Islip School District.
Lisa M. Belz has served as an educator for 30 years. Currently she is the Executive Director for Special Education/PPS 6-12 in the East Islip School District located on the south shore of Long Island. Prior to this position, Lisa served as Director of Special Education K-12 for one year and as an Elementary Principal for 11 years in the same school district. Lisa started her administrative career as an elementary assistant principal after teaching at the elementary level for 11 years. During her tenure as principal, her school was recognized as a New York State Reward school for three consecutive years and in 2012 named a National Blue Ribbon School. Lisa has rounded out her educational career, having served as a Board of Education Trustee for three years in her home district. An avid learner, she earned her Doctorate in Education from St. John’s University in 2008, focusing her area of study on at-risk learners. Lisa serves on many district committees and has been named Educator Advocate for 2018.
Principal, Keeseville Elementary School, AuSable Valley Central School District
Kevin F. Hulbert is the principal of Keeseville Elementary School in the AuSable Valley Central School District in upstate NY. In 2016, Kevin received the Adirondack STAR Award ‘for the support Mr. Hulbert has shown to the families of the Adirondacks.’ In 2011, Kevin was chosen as the New York State Elementary School Principal of the Year. Kevin has served as an educator for 28 years and has been an elementary level administrator in his current position for fourteen years. Kevin previously served as an elementary teacher, a middle school social studies teacher, a high school social studies teacher, an Education Specialist via the New York State Regional School Support Center, a Dean of Students, and an Athletic Director. In addition, Kevin led Keeseville as it was recognized in 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 with the College for Every Student ‘School of Distinction’ Award for promoting college awareness throughout the school and Kevin also served and played an instrumental role in the fight against bullying in upstate New York as the Co-Chairperson for the North Country Task-force Against Bullying committee from 2010-2014. Finally, he has also served and important role as the New York State Region 7 Government Relations Representatives for his Administrative group and as a Board of Director’s member for the same group. Kevin’s dedication to the students and educators of New York has been evident throughout his career.
Assistant Principal, Davie County
Brittany Holland is an Assistant Principal in Davie County, North Carolina. She was recently named the NC National Assistant Principal of the Year. She lives in Statesville, NC with her husband, Dan, and her 2 cats. She is passionate about making sure every child is educated and is very excited about being the NC ambassador for WEF-USA!
Special Education Professional Development Coordinator, ESC Learning Alliance.
Ken Bernacki has spent the past 31 years in the field of education. He has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and director of pupil personnel during those years. He has served as President for the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators and as a State Representative to the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Since retirement, Ken is the special education professional development coordinator for the ESC Learning Alliance. He is also a part-time instructor at Cleveland State University.
Principal, Sandy Grade School-Oregon Trail School District
Rachael George is is currently the principal of Sandy Grade School in the Oregon Trail School District. Prior to serving as an elementary school principal, George was a middle school principal of an “outstanding” and two-time “Level 5: Model School,” as recognized by the Oregon Department of Education. She specializes in curriculum development, instructional improvement, working with at-risk students, and closing the achievement gap.
Principal, Upper Providence Elementary and Spring City Elementary, Spring-Ford Area School District
Melissa (Missie) Patschke has served public education for the past 32 years. She believes strongly in the power of positive relationships, the need for whole child education, and in the lasting impact of using social/emotional tools in schools. Missie supports research-based best practices and the belief that “ALL” children can learn. Missie is currently a principal for two sister schools, Upper Providence Elementary and Spring City Elementary, located in the Spring-Ford Area School District.
Missie has taken her talents into adult learning forums, public speaking venues, coaching and mentoring programs, as well as consultation services. Missie prioritizes federal and state congressional visits to advocate on behalf of ‘what’s right for children and schools.’ She has a strong interest in providing children diverse cultural experiences, global civic awareness as well as encouraging service learning opportunities in communities.
Over the past decade, Missie has dedicated her commitment and passion to the work of a variety of educational organizations including the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and state affiliate, Pennsylvania Principals Association as well as stakeholder work for the IDEA Partnership, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Missie is proud of her involvement with the Leadership Immersion Training and Mentor Certification process as well as her role on the board of directors for the Center of Educational Improvement. In addition, Missie serves as an adjunct faculty member for several Universities.
Superintendent, Dell Rapids School District
Dr. Summer Schultz is currently in her 6th year as the Superintendent at Dell Rapids Public School. She also works for Augustana University’s Education Department as an adjunct professor in the MAE program. Summer received her Ed.D. in Educational Administration from the University of South Dakota, her Administrative Licensure was obtained from Saint Mary’s University of MN and both her MS in Computer Education/Technology and BS in Elementary Education/Special Education were earned from Dakota State University.
Prior to working in the Dell Rapids School District, Summer spent five years as an administrator in Minnesota. Summer and her family live in Dell Rapids. If she isn’t at school, you can usually find Summer attending one of her children’s events, on the golf course, or out for a run.
Dr. Yvonne Griggs Allen is currently an Education Consultant. She is the past Regional Director of the Memphis/Shelby Field Service Center for the Tennessee Department of Education. She served 24 ½ years as an elementary and middle school principal and as an adjunct professor at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee. She is the Past President of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and Past President of the Tennessee Association of Elementary School Principals.
Dr. Allen served on several statewide education commissions and advisory committees and served on the Board of Directors for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). She presented at international conferences (EARCOS, AISA) in Singapore, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe during 1993-1999.
Her professional honors include: 101st United States Congressional Record for Outstanding Achievements in Education in 1989, selected by the U.S. Department of Education and NAESP, Tennessee’s ‘National Distinguished Principal’ in 1987, National School Safety Center as a ‘Principal of Leadership’ in 1988, ‘American Hero in Education’ by Reader’s Digest in 1989, ‘Executive Educator 100’ list by the National School Boards Association in 1993, Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award in 1996, inducted into the Freed-Hardeman University School of Education Hall of Fame, and University of Memphis (Department of Leadership) Outstanding Doctoral Candidate Award in 2009.
During Allen’s tenure as Principal of Whiteville Elementary, the school earned recognition as a ‘Blue Ribbon School’ by the U.S. Department of Education in 1993 and was cited by Redbook Magazine among top-notch schools nationwide in 1993 and 1995.
Executive Director, Vermont Principals Association
Jay Nichols is the Executive Director of the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA). Prior to being selected to lead the VPA, Jay was the Superintendent of Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union. He was selected as Vermont’s Superintendent of the Year for 2018. Mr. Nichols was an officer in the Vermont Superintendents Association serving as Treasurer. Mr. Nichols is the lead of his own consulting firm Nichols Educational & Leadership Consulting. In his consulting work he supports school districts, school leaders, superintendents, and school boards in developing and supporting effective leadership. He serves on the Governing Board of the Regional Education Lab and previously has served on Vermont’s Licensing Hearing Panel and the Champlain Valley Educator Development Center. He currently teachers two graduate courses one for current school leaders: Leading Vermont Schools through Saint Michael’s College and one for aspiring school leaders: School Operations and Ethics through Southern New Hampshire University.
Retired Principal and Adjunct Professor, Hood College
Dean M. Warrenfeltz retired after a 34 year career with Berkeley County Schools (WV). During that time he served as a middle school Choral/General Music teacher, a high school Asst. Principal/Principal, and 16 years as an elementary school principal. He also served in every office with WVAEMSP including two terms as president. Dean was the Zone 3 Director on the NAESP Board of Directors from 2010-2013. Dean was honored to be recognized as National Distinguished Principal (WV) 2009.
Dean currently serves as an Adjunct Professor for Hood College located in Frederick, MD. He teaches Educational Supervision to cohorts of teachers who are working toward a degree or certification in education administration.
‘I look forward to the opportunity to work with outstanding leaders in the field of education to address the important goal of ensuring that all children in the USA are receiving an appropriate education.’
Executive Director, Association of Wisconsin School Administrators
Jim Lynch serves as the Executive Director of the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators. He received his BA in Public Communication and Address and his MA in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Former President, National Association of Elementary School Principals
Retired school principal in Pennsylvania.
Retired Executive Director, Montana Association of Elementary School Principals
Former President, National Association of Elementary School Principals
Retired school principal in Montana.
Mary Kay Sommers
Former President, National Association of Elementary School Principals
Retired school principal in Colorado and Indiana.