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About the Series
About the Hosts and Panelists
Mary Hibert Neuman directs the Math/Science project at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Brown University. Her responsibilities include designing and overseeing the professional development activities for secondary mathematics and science teachers as they examine restructuring efforts, update their content knowledge, develop integrated math/science investigations, and implement new teaching practices. Dr. Neuman has extensive experience teaching chemistry, biology, physical science, mathematics, and environmental science at the elementary, secondary, and university levels. She co-authored the book, Teaching the Gifted and Talented in the Science Classroom;wrote a monograph, Investigations: Integrating Curriculum and Changing Teaching Practice in Math and Science for the AISR's Writing Within School Reform Series; and helped to shape a documentary and write the facilitator's guide to accompany the video Learning Science and Math Together. Currently, Dr. Neuman is producing and directing television programs that focus on changing teaching practice and implementing the mathematics and science reform agenda.
Paula Howard has been an educator for more than 25 years, and was an elementary school principal for 14 years. She does consultant work in a number of cities throughout the United States. She is a facilitator for the Principals Institute for the New Beginnings Project at Bank Street College.
Patricia Averette [ photo ] is currently working with the Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitan Project (LAAMP) and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. Her primary foci are the Critical Friends Groups (CFG) and Principal Institutes. Prior to coming to LAAMP, she was one of the original faculty members of the UCLA Advanced Management Program where she worked with teachers, principals and parents to develop and implement school reform plans. She has been an educator for more than 20 years. Patricia is a nationally trained CFG coach.
Diana Dankowski [ photo ] is Principal of East Lake Academy of Fine Arts, a middle school in Chattanooga, TN. There she has been a leader in the development and implementation of middle school reform and of standards-based reform in the newly merged school system. Mrs. Dankowski devotes considerable time to the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation in New York, the Public Education Foundation in Chattanooga, and the Tennessee State Department of Education conducting professional development sessions concerning school improvement and leadership issues. She is also a member of the Urban Issues Committee for the National Middle School Association, and the Annenberg Institute's National Reform Faculty.
Mario Deif is a math teacher at Fenway High School. He has taught for four years and uses the Interactive Math Program. Before that he was in a civic volunteer corp where he served as a teacher assistant in a fifth grade classroom in Boston.
Paula Evans [ photo ] is Director of Professional Development at the Annenberg Institute and also chairs the Facilitation Committee for the Annenberg Senior Fellows program. She taught at the secondary levelprimarily in the Newton Public Schools in Massachusetts, with some experience in Boston as well, and has taught education courses to Brown University undergraduate and graduate students. Since 1984, she has been at Brown in several different capacitiesas founder and director of the Institute for Secondary Education, a collaboration between the University and local school districts; as director of Brown's teacher education programs; and as director of professional development, first for the Coalition of Essential Schools and now for the Annenberg Institute. She is currently responsible for developing, leading, and supporting the National School Reform Faculty.
Rose Merzon Feinberg [ photo ] is principal of the Mary Lee Burbank Elementary School in Belmont, Massachusetts. She earned her Ed.D. from Boston University and considers herself a lifelong learner. In addition to more than 25 years in public schools, she has been president of a small company, consulted for schools and businesses, and taught college courses. She is currently a facilitator of a study group at the Principals' Center at Harvard University and is past president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Northeast Coalition of Educational Leaders.
Gayle Griffin [ photo ] has been principal of Fort Pitt Elementary School, the Model Child Development Center, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for ten years. She completed her undergraduate degree at Chatham College, graduate degrees at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has done post-doctoral studies in educational administration and early childhood studies. She is now a member of the faculty of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Fort Pitt school has distinguished itself with a vision of high expectations for outstanding student achievement and is widely recognized for its academic progress, parent and community involvement, and unique school restructuring efforts.
Ted Hall [ photo ] is principal at Souhegan High School, a public high school serving approximately one thousand students in Amherst, New Hampshire. Ted was a high school science teacher for fifteen years before becoming a school administrator. He has worked in high schools in suburban Boston, Arizona, and New Hampshire. He has worked with the Coalition of Essential Schools and the Annenberg Institute in various professional development initiatives. Souhegan High School has been a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools since it opened in 1992.
Denise Jenkins [ photo ] has been head of School at School One in Providence, RI, since 1991. She graduated from Barrington College with a degree in psychology/social work, studied non-profit management at Bryant College, and spent a number of years in social work and teaching before going to School One. She has been an Annenberg Principal for three years and a member of many boards and committees in education nationally and in Rhode Island.
Jill Kaechele [ photo ] has been principal of Scarborough High School in Scarborough, Maine, since 1995. She has had an eclectic 32 years in many different assignments in education. Currently she is focusing energy on teacher leadership development, building positive school cultures, strategies for enhancing school/community partnerships, safety and crisis program planning, student-staff recognition, and personalizing professional development for teachers. Her advice to those aspiring to the principalship: "Stay healthy, be comfortable and willing to take BIG risks, and be sure you can live comfortably with a bruised psyche."
David Lehman [ photo ] is principal of the Alternative Community School, a public high school (and a member school of the Coalition of Essential Schools) in Ithaca, NY. His B.A. is from Ohio Weslyan University, his M.Ed. from the University of Virginia, and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas. He has extensive experience with alternative schools, has published widely and served on many boards, and is currently a consultant to the Annenberg Institute for School Reform.
John Lynn [ photo ] received his degree and teacher education at U.C. Irvine. He has been teaching integrated science, biology, and chemistry for the past 6 years at Pasadena High School in California. He underwent training in integrating curriculum and investigative inquiry as a Math Science Fellow. He has also been a member of a Critical Friends Group for the last three years, the last year as a coach.
Elizabeth Ophals [ photo ] is the principal of the Louis Armstrong Middle School in Queens, New York, a county-wide magnet school operated in collaboration with Queens College of City University of New York. She has been with the New York City Board of Education for 20 years as a paraprofessional, teacher, dean, debate coach, assistant principal, and now principal. A graduate of Queens College and the Principals Institute at Bank Street College, Ms. Ophals has taken an active leadership role in a variety of reform initiatives through the ASCD, the Carnegie Corporation's Middle Grade School State Policy Initiative, and the Annenberg Institute's National School Reform Faculty. She is a frequent presenter at local and national conferences offering workshops highlighting leadership, school reform and successful middle school practices.
Neil Schmidt,[ photo ] Ph.D., is superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Dr. Schmidt is dedicated to working with a diverse population and actively seeks to restructure the education system to address a broad spectrum of needs. A political science major, Neil Schmidt received his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in 1964, his M.A. in Secondary Education from San Jose State University in 1968 and his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1975 in Educational Administration and Curriculum.
Scott Schneider [ photo ] is in his sixth year of science teaching at Fairdale High school in Fairdale, Kentucky. His B.A. is from the University of Louisville and his M.A.T reflects a specialization in physical science. He has served as facilitator for two summers of the Integrated Curriculum Institute sponsored by the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) and AISR. He is involved in two Critical Friends Groups and participates locally in chemistry and technology alliance meetings which focus on classroom practice.
David B. Smith [ photo ] is the Director of Central Park East Secondary School and Acting Principal of the Jackie Robinson Educational Complex. He has worked as a consultant in educational reform for the Panasonic Foundation, the American Social History Project and the Lang College at the New School. He was a board member of Educators for Social Responsibility Metro and has been a staff developer in teaching conflict mediation and resolution. He is also a member of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for minority students. Mr. Smith is the 1998 recipient of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Award for academic service to the Harlem community.
Michelle Smith-Daniels [ photo ] is a graduate of Northern University in DeKalb, IL, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics Education. She received her Master of Education degree from National Louis University in Chicago, IL, in Educational Leadership. Ms. Smith has founded two schools: ComETS small school located inside a larger high school and the ACT Charter School, both in Chicago. She has served both as a consultant and speaker on the issues of small schools and charter schools.