Jodi Grove

A kindergarten teacher for six years, Jodi Grove now serves as a behavior specialist for Edison Elementary School in Walla Walla, Washington. A “calm room” is one of several strategies Jodi has implemented at the school that have made a profound difference for struggling students learning to self-regulate in a safe and loving environment. Jodi credits Heather Forbes’ book, Help for Billy, for giving her a completely new perspective on working with students who have experienced trauma. She also has been influenced by the work of her father, Jim Sporleder, former principal of a Walla Walla high school featured in the movie Paper Tigers.


Jim Sporleder, “Paper Tigers” principal

When Paper Tigers principal Jim Sporleder first learned about the effects of stress on the developing brain, he knew that he had stumbled on the key to helping his students step out of their highly destructive behavior patterns. Jim introduced the trauma-oriented approach to staff working with students at the troubled Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA and the dramatic beneficial effects on rates of graduation and post-secondary studies and on suspension rates are the focus of the widely acclaimed 2015 documentary, Paper Tigers.

Since retiring as principal of Lincoln High School in 2013,  Jim has been working with school districts and schools across the country, teaching them the steps to becoming a trauma-informed school. Jim is actively involved as a keynote speaker, consultant, and has developed an outreach program to support his Lincoln High School alumni students.  He previously served as principal, assistant principal and special education teacher at Garrison Middle School in Walla Walla for 22 years.


Wendy Messarina Volosin

Wendy Messarina Volosin is a parent/community liaison at the Marysville School District, a 22-school district in Washington State,  connecting English Language Learner (ELL) students and multicultural families with school and community resources. She has been in this position for more than 8 years.  She also is a Natural Leader District Lead (Grades K-12) for a collaborative of 11 school districts that leverages resources, talent and intellectual capital to help more than 250,000 students graduate career- and college-ready. The program is run by the Washington Alliance for Better Schools

A native of Lima, Peru, Wendy is a certified translator and interpreter in Spanish, working for private investigation businesses, law enforcement, and medical organizations. She volunteers as a translator and interpreter for a wide range of community events and private organizations and helps families navigate the education system.

Wendy has been an ambassador for United Way, a  board member of the YMCA, the District Advisory Committee for the Marysville City Council, and the Graffiti Task Force for the Marysville Police Department. She also has served as a parent/community advisor for Spanish-speaking families for the Washington State PTA.


Risa Wolfson

Risa Wolfson is an independent education consultant and a mathematics specialist at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. She has taught in public and private high schools and worked with a wide range of students including at-risk/dropout prevention, special needs, English language learners and gifted and talented. In addition to classroom experience in Florida and California, she has conducted professional development workshops for K-12 teachers in the San Francisco Bay Area and in New York City. Risa also is an experienced mentor and coach to middle and high school teachers, with a focus on strategies for engaging all learners.


Grace Dávila Coates

Grace Dávila Coates is the former director of FAMILY MATH at the University of California-Berkeley, an international program that brings families together to investigate mathematical ideas, raise awareness of the role of mathematics in education, and increase mathematics understanding and appreciation.

Grace is the primary author of Family Math for Young Children and Family Math II: Achieving Success in Mathematics.  She is also a co-author of the best-selling book English Language Learners in the Mathematics Classroom.  She has designed many professional development models used statewide, nationally, and internationally, focusing on the needs of English learners in mathematics.

Grace has presented at local, state, and international conferences and has published numerous articles on mathematics education, English learners, family involvement, and language development.  Grace has been a bilingual classroom teacher in grades pre-K- 8 and a mathematics educator for 24 years.


MaryEllen Vogt

MaryEllen Vogt, Ed.D. is Distinguished Professor Emerita of Education at California State University, Long Beach. MaryEllen has served as a reading and special education specialist, district reading resource teacher, and university teacher. She is the co-author of 17 books,co-creator of the acclaimed SIOP model for teaching English Language-Arts to English Learners and past president of the International Literacy Association.

MaryEllen received her Doctorate in Language and Literacy from the University of California, Berkeley and has worked as a consultant in reading/language arts for school districts and reading associations in the US and internationally.


Thomas Aberli

Thomas Aberli, Ed.D, principal of J. M. Atherton High School, Louisville, KY, has become a leading voice of support and guidance for administrators on the issue of gender identity in schools. The U.S. Department of Education cited Atherton’s policy on school space as a national model of a transgender-inclusive policy in Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students (May 2016).

Tom has appeared on numerous national news programs, presented at Kentucky’s Education Law Institute and authored an article, The Reality of Gender Identity in Schools,” for Kentucky School Leader magazine. Tom serves on the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, the Principal’s Advisory Committee to the Commissioner of Education and was selected by the governor as a member of the Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force and the state’s School Curriculum, Assessment and Accountability Council. Tom began his career as a high school math and physics teacher.



Jennifer Segal

Jennifer Segal is an attorney specializing in education law at the Washington, DC office of Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC. Jennifer assists clients with fiscal and programmatic compliance under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.

Jennifer represents clients in adverse audit and program review determinations and in civil rights complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. She also participates in individualized education program team meetings on behalf of charter schools throughout the DC area and represents local educational agencies in IDEA due process hearings.

Prior to joining the firm in 2012, Ms. Segal clerked in the abuse and neglect division at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and worked as an associate at a special education law firm in Baltimore.


Susan Kruger

Susan Kruger is the author of the international best-selling study skills book, SOAR® Study Skills. Her curriculum materials are used by more than 3,600 schools across the U.S. and  in 30 countries worldwide. She is a certified learning specialist and former struggling student who taught herself a few simple study skills in college that allowed her to graduate with honors.

Susan is married to a fellow educator and is mom to two children with “learning disabilities” who have used Susan’s techniques to succeed in school. She is a contributor for ADDitude Magazine,  a Premier Instructor for The Learning Annex, and developer of The Brain Circuit™model.  In 2014, she was named the 1st-place winner of the Oakland County (Michigan) Executive’s “Elite 40 Under 40” competition. Microsoft Partners in Learning University calls her a “global expert in education innovation.”


Sherry Parrish

Sherry Parrish is the author of the AEP Distinguished Achievement award-winning book, NumberTalks: Whole Number Computation, Grades K-5, and the upcoming sequel, Number Talks: Fractions, Decimals, and Percentages. Her 35-years of experience in education include classroom teacher, assistant professor and education consultant with a focus on teaching and learning mathematics through inquiry. Sherry holds a Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Sanford University and is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching.