Directors Institute
Opening the Door to the Common Core
August 26-28, 2013

Lisa Aaroe has been an educator and teacher trainer for 23 years and has a PhD from Arizona State University in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in special education. She is also a parent of a child with special needs. She currently serves as the Director of Retention and Recruitment at the Arizona Department of Education.

Sara Ackley, Business Administrator, Freedom Academy, Inc.

Audra Ahumada is the Director of Alternate Assessment at ADE.  She has been extensively involved with national center and state collaborative consortia. Audra has taught students with significant cognitive disabilities and supported teachers as an inclusion and assistive technology (AT) specialist. She is very passionate about how we at the Department of Education can support Arizona educators and administrators.

Amanda Allen has worked with public education agencies for 20 years focusing on positive outcomes for students with disabilities receiving services in early intervention programs through the high school years. She currently provides support to public schools and private agencies that serve students in residential treatment centers and to state institutions that also serve Arizona’s children.

Anita Archer

Anita Archer serves as an educational consultant to state departments, county agencies, and school districts on explicit instruction and literacy instruction. Dr. Archer has served on the faculties of San Diego State University, the University of Washington, and the University of Oregon. She is nationally known for her presentations and publications on instructional procedures and literacy instruction and has coauthored numerous intervention programs.








Nicole Armstrong is a data management specialist with Exceptional Student Services. She has extensive experience providing Student Accountability Information System (SAIS) training and has been with the Arizona Department of Education for more than seven years.

Janelle Bauerle is employed by the Institute for Human Development at Northern Arizona University as the manager for the Arizona Department of Education’s Assistive Technology Loan Library. Janelle’s encyclopedic knowledge of assistive technology devices, her willingness to help school personnel, and her prowess at troubleshooting make her an invaluable resource for Arizona schools.

Crystal Brooks is an education program specialist with the Arizona Department of Education. She received her bachelor of science degree in elementary/special education and her master of arts degree in communication disorders from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has worked as a speech-language pathologist for 16 years. She has practiced and presented on the importance of collaboration in the school-based environment for the last eight years.

Kimlee Buttacavoli Grant is the Director of K-12 English Language Arts in the K-12 Academic Standards Section at the Arizona Department of Education.  Ms. Buttacavoli Grant helps to support the standards implementation efforts in schools around the state of Arizona.

John Carruth, Assistant Superintendent, Vail Unified School District, has served many roles in Vail schools, including teacher, Assistant Principal, and Director of Special Education. Through these roles, John has gained extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of special education, response to intervention, federal title programs, and many others.

Jan Cawthorne, Executive Director of Special Education, Mesa Public Schools

Art Cernosia

Art Cernosia is an attorney and an education consultant from Williston, Vermont. Art previously worked as a teacher, a practicing attorney, and a consultant with an IDEA technical assistance program and also served as an assistant attorney general in the Vermont Department of Education. He has also volunteered as a surrogate parent for students with disabilities who were placed in juvenile detention facilities in Vermont. He provides training, consultation, and other technical assistance services to parent/advocacy organizations and to state and local education agencies throughout the nation pertaining to special education legal issues.



Gerry Corcoran has 17 years’ experience as a teacher and coach, as well as 13 years’ experience as a school administrator—evaluating and supervising teachers, developing programs, organizing staff development, and overseeing career and technology (CTE) programs. He has developed mentorship programs for high schools and written curriculum for life skills enhancement for elementary and high school–aged students. He formed LeaderQuest in 2003 and developed leadership and team-building curriculum for high school and college students, which included developing “Leadership Power Days,” in which students were empowered to change school climate and use their leadership skills to make positive changes in their organizations and communities. He was hired in 2005 by the Arizona Department of Education to develop a student organization for education and early childhood professions programs; thus, the Arizona Future Educators Association was formed. He has developed resources and training for high school students to better prepare them to become quality teachers. Through his experience as the State Director for FEA, Gerry has developed a model program for the country and has a vision to assist other states in creating the same model program and to assist state directors and teachers/advisors for career and technical student organizations (CTSO). Gerry has put together a team of facilitators with exceptional experience and resources to provide the essentials for effective programs at the state and local school chapter levels.

Amy Corriveau, M. Ed, is the Deputy Associate Superintendent for Early Childhood Education and Director for the Head Start State Collaboration Office at the Arizona Department of Education. While employed with ADE she has been a Program Specialist for both Full Day Kindergarten and Early Childhood Special Education. She was previously an executive board member for the Valley of the Sun Association for the Education of Young Children. She is currently a member of the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in the State Department of Education and previously a member of the Early Childhood Development and Health Board as part of the First Things First Initiative.  Ms. Corriveau works closely with the Head Start Association.  Ms. Corriveau previously served as adjunct faculty for ASU and varied Maricopa County Community Colleges. Ms. Corriveau was formerly a first grade teacher, special education teacher, and high school ECE Program Coordinator.

Cindy Daniels has been in education 34 years, most recently as the Principal of Echo Mountain Primary, a K–3 school in the Paradise Valley Unified School District. She has been in early childhood education for 25 of those years. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in Literacy/Reading and Language. She is currently the Director of K–3 Reading for the Arizona State Board of Education.

Bryan Davey is the Director of Behavioral Services for the Arizona Centers for Comprehensive Education and Life Skills (ACCEL) in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a consultant to schools and businesses nationwide and has established two agencies in which applied behavior analysis (ABA) services are delivered to families and within school districts.

Angela M. Denning, M.Ed., is the Deputy Associate Superintendent of Exceptional Student Services (ESS) for the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), Highly Effective Schools division. She coordinates support and assistance to school districts and charter schools in the full implementation of IDEA. In addition, Angela oversees the implementation of the Integrated General Supervision System to Improve Outcomes for Students with Disabilities, guides the ongoing refinement of the system of support for Arizona special educators, provides leadership to the ESS team, and collaborates with staff from other ADE divisions in an effort to coordinate services to schools. Previously, Angela was the Deputy Associate Superintendent of School Improvement and Intervention, director of K-12 Literacy Assessments for Reading First, a literacy coach, and special education teacher. She has been in education for 23 years. Angela has a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction in Language and Literacy from Arizona State University.

Melissa De Vries is the Director of State Initiatives at ADE. Melissa is a former special education director and has spoken at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference and the National Association of Gifted and Talented Conference, as well as at various state conferences.

Shelli Elledge is a business analyst in School Finance at the Department of Education who can offer assistance with special education reporting and school calendar questions. Before coming to ADE, she was a special education teacher for one of the Phoenix inner city elementary schools.

Gail Farren, Senior Exceptional Education Compliance Technician, Tucson Unified School District

Sarah Galetti is the Deputy Associate Superintendent for the K-12 Academic Standards Section at the Arizona Department of Education.  Ms. Galetti helps to support the standards implementation efforts in schools around the state of Arizona.

Kent Gerlach

Kent Gerlach is a professor in the Department of Instructional Development and Leadership, Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. He is recognized nationally for contributions to, research in, and publications and workshops on paraeducator issues including supervision, employment, and training. He has authored several texts, including Supervising Paraeducators in Educational Settings, (Pro-ED Inc., Austin, Texas). He serves as a consultant to several state educational agencies on legal issues involving paraeducators and their supervisors.








Annie Gilbert directs the Innovative Learning Division of the Arizona Department of Education.  This division was created by John Huppenthal, Arizona State Superintendent since January 2011.  The Innovative Learning Division is responsible for evaluating digital educational programs for Kindergarten through 12th grade students, investigating blended learning models, partnering with innovative districts and schools in Arizona to pilot innovative digital programs, evaluating results and sharing results with others.  Annie was previously the Chief Financial Officer for a charter school group in Arizona and is a Certified Public Accountant.  She has worked in public accounting and owned her own business and is the proud mother of four boys!

Debbie Gordon is a retired elementary teacher with 24 years classroom experience, as well as nine years of experience as a site math coach. She currently works part-time for the Arizona Department of Education K–12 Standards unit supporting educators through various professional development opportunities. Debbie is the 2003 recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics.

Ann Gortarez was thrown into the world of assistive technology (AT) first as an instructional assistant for students with moderate to severe disabilities, then as a special education teacher, where she worked with many different types of AT and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices from low to high tech, both in and out of the classroom. Her experience with students’ use of AT showed her how barriers for students with disabilities could be removed or minimized and how students could achieve greater autonomy through the use of AT. She joined the Arizona Department of Education, Assistive Technology team, in the spring of 2012.

Kathy Gray-Mangerson is a resource in southern Arizona for families who have children in special education. She provides parents, agencies, and school staff with trainings, information, community connections, and the technical assistance that is essential to improving special education services for students.

Connie Hill has worked for the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) for 24 years and currently serves as the Finance Director of Exceptional Student Services, where her duties include allocating and distributing federal IDEA funding to PEAs through the ADE online grants management system, as well as auditing and reconciliation of these funds. Duties also include internal budget and contract management. Ms. Hill has been a member of the ADE Grants Management Task Force since its inception in 1994 and has been involved in the creation of all areas of the department’s automated grants management system.

Jennifer J. Huber is an educational program specialist with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) in program support and monitoring.   She taught as an NBCT and mentor teacher for over 20 years before earning her doctoral degree from Clemson University.

Mary Keeney’s background is in speech-language pathology. She earned her undergraduate and her MA degrees in communication sciences and disorders. Prior to joining the Arizona Department of Education as an assistive technology specialist, she worked in the public schools as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) for 18 years.  She has worked with students with both low- and high-incidence disabilities, including students who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), in all kinds of educational settings.

Bruce Kennedy has advocated for individual rights and inclusive policies in his more than 30 years of work with people with disabilities—in the classroom, in the community, and in developing residential programs and employment opportunities. Bruce joined the Arizona Department of Education, Assistive Technology team, in July 2007. He has completed degrees in special education, psychology, and public administration from Arizona State and Northern Arizona Universities, as well as post-graduate work in counseling and rehabilitation at the University of Arizona.

Carol Kosnitsky

Carol Kosnitsky provides professional development to school districts across the country.  Her work focuses on improving outcomes for students with disabilities through increased access to the general education curriculum. She is the author of IEP Goals That Make a Difference: An Administrator’s Guide to Improving the Process and several training manuals.





Rick Lavoie

Rick Lavoie served as an administrator at residential schools for children with special needs for30 years. He holds four degrees in special education and has written two popular books on motivation and social skill development. He has delivered workshops in 49 states, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Hong Kong.









Steve Leinwand

Steve Leinwand is a principal research analyst at the American Institutes for Research in Washington, DC, where he oversees a diverse program of mathematics initiatives including instructional improvement, assessment, and school turn-around. Leinwand was previously state math director in the Connecticut Department of Education.







Suzi Mast is the K–12 Mathematics Director for the Arizona Department of Education. Suzi currently works with Arizona’s Mathematics and Science Partnership grants and supports educators throughout the state through professional development experiences and key standards communications with teachers and leaders across Arizona.

Diane McCormick, is an Education Program Specialist in Program Support and Monitoring for the Arizona Department of Education.   She is a former school psychometrist and program compliance administrator with over thirty years of special education experience in Arizona.  Prior to joining Program Support and Monitoring she served as the Autism and Low Incidence Specialist for Exceptional Student Services.

Lorrane McPherson, Special Education Director, Tucson Unified School District

William McQueary is part of the Secondary Transition team in Exceptional Student Services at the Arizona Department of Education. Bill has served individuals with disabilities for 33 years. The core of Bill’s experience has been as a transition services coordinator and as a special education administrator.

Suzanne Perry has worked in public and private educational settings for the past 20 years with students whose disabilities include emotional and behavioral disorders, autism, learning disabilities, vision impairment, multiple disabilities, and intellectual disabilities. One of the first teachers achieving National Board Certification in Exceptional Needs in Arizona, she has served in a leadership capacity for the Madison School District Teacher Advancement Program, data driven instruction and school district compliance teams. With ASU, she has developed coursework to build collaboration skills between special and general education teachers. She most recently served in the capacity of compliance monitoring for the Arizona Department of Education’s Exceptional Student Services and is currently the Autism and Low Incidence Disability Specialist.

Becky Raabe has worked with public education agencies for more than 20 years to build and maintain family/school partnerships that focus on postive outcomes for students with disabilities.

Nora Ramirez

Nora G. Ramirez is a nationally recognized mathematics education consultant. Her work focuses on implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Mathematics and on promoting conceptual understanding and effective instruction for English language learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities. She recently coedited Good Teaching: Advancing Mathematics Education for ELLs.







Stephanie Rowe, Special Education Director, Humboldt Unified District

Vicky Rozich presents the family perspective on raising a child with disabilities to college students. Her daughter had cerebral palsy, seizures, feeding, and orthopedic issues. Vicky has five years’ experience attending IEP meetings and conducting workshops for parents and professionals and is a team member of Raising Special Kids.

Kay Schreiber has worked at the Arizona Department of Education since 2007. She currently works with Arizona educators to prepare Arizona students for college and careers and in implementing the Education and Career Action Plan (ECAP) process. Prior to coming to ADE, Kay worked in a local school district as the Curriculum and Gifted Education Director. During that time, Kay was responsible for district compliance with the K-12 Arizona Academic Standards, curriculum, and all subject textbooks’ adoptions.

Terry Scott

Terry Scott is a professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville. He received his PhD in Special Education at the University of Oregon in 1994 (with an emphasis on emotional disorders and behavior), and he has previously been a faculty member at the Universities of Kentucky, Florida, and Oregon. As a former counselor and teacher of students with seriously challenging behaviors, he focuses his research interests on schoolwide prevention systems, the role of instructional variables in managing student behavior, functional behavioral assessments/interventions, and other scientific research in education.






Lorrie Sheehy, Education Program Specialist, Post School Outcomes Initiatives, ADE/ESS,

Darleen Sithole, Assistant Director of Exceptional Education, Tucson Unified School District

Peggy Staples is the Lead Data Management Specialist for Exceptional Student Services, responsible for state and federal reporting. She has worked for the Department of Education for 21 years in Information Technology, School Finance, Career and Technical Education, and Exceptional Student Services.

Donald Stenhoff is the Director of The BISTÅ Center (Behavioral Interventions, Support, Treatment and Assessment), a nonprofit organization providing treatment services in Arizona. He consults with schools and families across the United States conducting functional behavioral assessments (FBAs) and designing behavioral intervention plans (BIPs). Don is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and was a certified special education teacher.

Christopher Tiffany is the Director of Family Support and Education at Raising Special Kids, Arizona’s Parent Training and Information Center, and is a parent of a child with autism. With an MA in special education, he taught in central Phoenix before joining Raising Special Kids.

Sandi Thompson, PhD, has worked as a school psychologist and districtwide facilitator for Vail Unified’s response to intervention program. Additionally, she assists and consults on a wide variety of district initiatives and projects that involve assessment and data based decision-making.

Mark Vite, Special Education Director, Freedom Academy, Inc.

Susan Voirol is currently part of the secondary transition team in Exceptional Student Services. Susan has enjoyed the teaching profession in serving families and individuals with disabilities for the past 13 years in several different capacities, including: job developer, vocational rehabilitation counselor, and transition coordinator for a local school district.

Sheila Wells-Moreaux is the Alternate Assessment Coordinator at ADE and has been involved with the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortia.  Sheila has taught special education students at the elementary level, as well as teaching undergraduate- and master’s-level courses in special education at the college level.

Mary Wennersten, MEd, is the Director of K-3 Literacy for the Arizona Department of Education in the High Academic Standards for Students Division/K-12 Standards. She is also on the national board for the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). Mary has spent the last nine years providing both technical assistance and professional development to administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals in the areas of assessment, reading instruction and intervention, data analysis, coaching, and instructional leadership. Mary has over 26 years’ experience in public education as a general education teacher, a cross-categorical resource teacher (K–12), an inclusion specialist, an academic language therapist, and a professional development trainer.

Sue Wolf

Sue Wolf is a master’s-prepared school psychologist and doctorally-prepared educational psychologist. She has more than 30 years of experience conducting research in public health and education, providing professional development with an emphasis on health promotion for children and youth, particularly those with disabilities.