Alden S. Blodget is a mostly retired high school teacher and administrator, currently volunteering as a writing tutor at LEAP for Education (Salem, MA). He has a background in theater and was co-founder of The Gloucester Stage Company (MA). For eight years after retiring from teaching, he volunteered as a guardian ad litem, working with abused and delinquent children and adults declared incompetent to stand trial in the Rutland County (VT) family and criminal courts.
Alison Nikitopolous teaches English, Music, Theater, and a Senior Thesis course at Midland School in Los Olivos, California. Her favorite classroom moments involve observing students make discoveries on their own. When not working, she can be found working in the garden, feeding horses, reading, singing, or hiking.
Amanda Love has been teaching PE for over 20 years and was an Athletic Director in New York City and Cleveland. She played soccer at Georgetown and in Rome while teaching at St. Stephens School. Having worked extensively with Project Adventure, Amanda enjoys sprinkling "challenge by choice" into her classes at Laurel School.
Dan Sturdevant is Head of School at The Oaks, an innovative Christ-centered independent school in Charlotte, NC. Raised on a boarding school campus, Dan has spent his life and career in independent schools and is passionate about student and faculty development, experiential education, and creating space for innovative learning opportunities in and out of the classroom.
Derrick Willard is the Head of Augusta Preparatory Day School which serves students from the Augusta, Georgia area. He is a career educator passionate about creating optimal learning environments within our brick and mortar school as well as creating productive virtual learning environments online.
Gabriel Lucas is a search, staffing, and strategic consultant for schools, associations, nonprofits, and other mission-aligned organizations across the country, overseeing two search services: Ed Tech Recruiting and 12M Recruiting. Lucas worked for many years as an educator and later administrator in both K-12 and higher ed. He is the co-founder of ATLIS (Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools) and continues to serve on its board. Lucas regularly presents and writes on topics including organizational structure and management, leadership development, and diversity and hiring.
Ida Beth Malloy is currently the Coordinator of Civic Engagement at The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Her personal and professional lives revolve around civic engagement and community activism. She believes that people define their lives by what they do and their willingness to make sustainable change. Ida is a proud resident of the City of Trenton, NJ. She enjoys traveling, meeting new people, listening to music, and reading.
Jessica Flaxman is the Dean of Faculty and Employees at Rye Country Day School in Rye, New York. She is a graduate of the Klingenstein Center and earned her doctorate in educational leadership from Penn GSE. A lifelong English teacher, Jessica knows the true power of words and stories to enlighten minds and build communities.
Jill Maza is the Director of Libraries and Research and Upper School Librarian at Montclair Kimberley Academy, a PK-12 independent school in Montclair, NJ. She has served as a school librarian in both elementary and high schools in CT and NC, taught summer reading and project-based learning workshops to middle schoolers in New York City, and worked in bookselling, publishing, and public libraries. She loves exploring the intersection of creativity, curiosity, and inquiry both in school with her students and colleagues and outside with her husband and two boys.
Kawai Lai is a designer and facilitator partnering with K-12 leaders in planning for the future with an equity lens. She is a co-author of The New Team Habits © 2020, which provides practices for leaders to build better habits for team learning, meetings, and projects. She started VizLit to unleash the visual mind of every learner, formerly served as Vice President of Innovation at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and helped launch and grow Education Elements. Prior to her career in education, Kawai was at Deloitte Consulting. She has an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Methodist University.
Kelly is a Guide at Khan World School teaching English and Art. She has also taught at the university and community college level, as well as creative writing at GrubStreet, a Boston-based nonprofit writing center. She received her MFA at the University of New Hampshire and has work published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Litro, and in New Hampshire Emerging Writers Anthology. She lives near the New Hampshire seacoast.
Dr. Kristen Ring serves as President and Head of Hutchison School, a private all-girls' school founded in Memphis in 1902. She currently serves on the boards of the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools and the English-Speaking Union Secondary School Exchange.
Laura Vantine is a lifelong learner and educator who has supported students, families and teachers in independent schools for more than 25 years. She is passionate about bringing people together across cultures and continents, and believes wholeheartedly in the power of people to serve the greater good.
Laurie Gruhn is Head of Lower School and the Assistant Head of School at the Browning School, a school for boys in New York City. She has worked there for the past 22 years. Next year, she will join the Gateway School, a K-8 School in New York City, as Head of School. She lives with her 14-year-old daughter and their rescue dog, Marcie. Both mother and daughter can often be found obsessing over jigsaw puzzles.
Marina Palomino-Bach is a woman business owner, urban educator, literacy specialist and mother in Garfield Heights, Ohio, where she is the founder and lead consultant of Bright Side Educational Partners, a start-up dedicated to creating lasting systemic change in urban education and teacher retention.
Maurice "Mo" Hill, Jr. currently works at his alma mater, Cranbrook Schools, as Dean of Upper School Enrollment. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Mo graduated from Wesleyan University (CT) and is a Master's candidate at the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Michael is a veteran drama teacher with more than 30 years of teaching experience highlights of which include publishing his adaptation of Shakespeare on a Shoestring: Cymbeline!, winning the 2017 Connecticut Halo Award for Best Classical Musical with his production of Godspell, and taking over forty students to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Scotland. He currently teaches at Hopkins School in New Haven, CT.
Monserrat “Monsie” Muñoz is an educator, lifelong learner, and passionate advocate for equity in education. As a queer, first-generation, Latina, she lives at the intersection of many beautiful and complex identifiers, which help inform her practice as an educator and equity and inclusion practitioner. Monsie is the Associate Director of Equity and Inclusion at her alma mater, Greenhill School, in Dallas, TX.
Najee Warner originates from Harlem, NY, and has worked in public education since completing the Teach for America program in 2016. Najee currently works in the Bronx at Urban Assembly School for Computer Science and recently earned his Masters in Educational Leadership from the Klingenstein Program at Columbia University's Teachers College.
Natasha Chadha is a Middle School English teacher at Avenues, The World School, in New York City. Natasha is passionate about social justice and believes reading and writing are powerful forms of catharsis for all. Natasha is currently pursuing a Ed.M. in Private School Leadership from the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College.
Dr. Nicole Brittingham Furlonge is professor and director of the Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership at Teachers College Columbia University. A 20-year veteran of Independent Schools, she enjoys reading and writing, cooking for family and friends, watching a good movie or broadway show, listening to music, and hiking rural and urban terrains with her partner, Nigel (also an educator), and their three children.
Pankti Sevak, currently the Head of Middle School at Friends Seminary in New York, has devoted her professional life to fostering the magic of school. In all she does, Pankti strives to balance evolutionary transformation with staying true to history and mission.
Paris McLean is the Head of Lower School at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart. An independent school educator for 16 years, Paris has led student centered initiatives, faculty development and sponsorship, along with institutional advancement. Paris is also an associate of 120 Education Consultancy.
Peter Hatala is the Director of Curriculum and Innovation at Emma Willard School in Troy, NY, and a visiting instructor in the Bard College Master of Arts in Teaching Program. A perennial student, he is an Ed.M. candidate at the Klingenstein Center at Columbia Teachers College.
Sally Taylor is a musician and the founder of Consenses, a multidisciplinary, artistic collaboration that brings artists together from around the world by asking them to interpret one another’s artwork, in the vein of a game of 'Telephone,' and express it in their own mediums. Sally, in collaboration with Harvard School of Education graduate students, has created a multidisciplinary, SEL curriculum that enables students to find empathy and tolerance for others' perspectives by "listening" to one another, not through words, but through various art forms.
Santiago Morgan is a father, husband, engineer, educator and entrepreneur. And an eternal learner, of course. He recently earned his Masters in Educational Leadership from the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College and joined the Phillips Academy faculty as a Mathematics Instructor.
Sarah Barton Thomas is Upper Elementary Division Head at Trinity School in Atlanta, Georgia. Her career pursuits have taken her from the elementary music classroom, to the computer lab, the opera world, to the principal’s desk. She was inspired to be a teacher and principal by Mr. Bruce (her elementary principal) and Mrs. Sobel (her middle school history teacher). She enjoys running; singing; reading multiple books at a time; and snuggling with Atticus and Toby, her rescue pups. Her most prolific writing comes in the form of 280 characters at @teach2connect.
Sarah Cooper is the Associate Head at Flintridge Preparatory School in La Canada, California. She is the author of Creating Citizens: Teaching Civics and Current Events in the History Classroom (Routledge 2017), and all of her recent writing can be found at sarahjcooper.com
Sarah Neidhoefer is the Director of The Plumb Line Institute, focused on mission alignment, spirituality and personal student growth programming. A mother of four teens, she is currently co-teaching 4th and 7th grades at Stone Bridge School, a Waldorf-inspired public charter in Napa, CA.
Susanna A. Jones is the Head of School for the Holton-Arms School, a girls’ day school for grades 3-12 in Bethesda, MD. She also currently serves as Vice-President of the Board of One Schoolhouse and is a member of the Board of the Association of Independent Maryland and D.C. Schools.
Dr. Tekakwitha Pernambuco-Wise is the Head of The Wyndcroft School (PA). She is also an executive coach and consultant with The Jane Group. and a faculty member of The Heads Network's Women In Leadership Seminar. She holds a third-degree black belt in Judo and was an international competitor and national champion for Guyana. During her years in Hawai`i, she danced hula, including competing in the highly selective Merrie Monarch Festival.
Varghese is a math teacher at heart who finds joy in searching for efficiency. In addition to seventeen years wearing multiple hats on boarding school campuses, he is a Co-Director of the Klingenstein Summer Institute for Early Career Teachers.
Wendy L. Hill, Ph.D. is Head of School at The Agnes Irwin School, an all girls’ independent school in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. www.agnesirwin.org. She is the Rappolt Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience at Lafayette College, and member of The Forum of Executive Women, Philadelphia.
Wendy Lichtman is the Math Intervention Specialist at MetWest High School in Oakland, California. She’s also a writer and has published both personal essays and young adult fiction. Her most recent book is Secrets, Lies and Algebra.
Will Abney has been teaching at the post-secondary level since 2007, and high schoolers in the dual-enrollment program with Athens Technical College in Athens, GA. Will is currently working on an MFA in creative nonfiction at Bay Path University and an M.Ed in Adult and Lifelong Learning at the University of Arkansas.
Zaineb Hussain is Assistant Director of Schools at Cranbrook Schools in Michigan. She spent 14 years serving in schools in New York and New Jersey and recently earned her Masters in Educational Leadership from the Klingenstein Program at Columbia University's Teachers College.