National Presenters

directors cover

Directors Institute

Working Together, Achieving Results

September 29, 30, and October 1, 2015

Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa

Overview Registration Schedule
Vendors Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
Conference information 1    History  


Doug Fisher headshotDr. Douglas Fisher is Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College having been an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association Celebrate Literacy Award, the Farmer Award for Excellence in Writing from the National Council of Teachers of English, as well as a Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education. He has published numerous articles on reading and literacy, differentiated instruction, and curriculum design as well as books, such as Better Learning Through Structured Teaching, Rigorous Reading, and Text Complexity: Raising Rigor in Reading. He can be reached at





Paula KluthDr. Paula Kluth is a consultant, teacher, author, advocate, and independent scholar who works with teachers and families to provide inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities and to create more responsive and engaging schooling experiences for all learners. Paula is a former special educator who has served as a classroom teacher and inclusion facilitator. Her professional interests include differentiating instruction, active learning, and inclusive schooling. 

She is the author or co-author of more than fifteen books and products including Don’t We Already Do Inclusion?, From Text Maps to Memory Caps: 100 More Ways to Differentiate Instruction in K-12 Inclusive Classrooms, and You’re Going to Love This Kid!.  Paula is also the director of a documentary film titled “We Thought You’d Never Ask: Voices of People with Autism”.






Patrick Graham

A longtime advocate of equity and excellence in Deaf Education, Dr. Patrick Graham obtained his Master’s degree in Deaf Education with a concentration in History from the Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf in May 2005. He went on to teach elementary school at Phoenix Day School for the Deaf for six years. Dr. Graham obtained his doctorate in Educational Theory and Practice with a concentration in Early Childhood Education, as well as his Qualitative Research Certificate from the University of Georgia. 

In the last three years, Dr. Graham worked with Dr. Joseph Tobin at the University of Georgia and his colleagues on a Spencer funded research project, studying deaf preschools in Japan, France, and the United States. This study is a double ethnographic study, studying how deaf children become enculturated in the deaf culture, as well their national cultures while attending preschools. Dr. Graham is also interested in equity in education, disability studies, multicultural education, and culturally sustaining pedagogy. Currently, Dr. Graham is the coordinator of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education Program at Western Oregon University, and teaches in both Deaf Education and Early Childhood Education programs.


Laura Riffel

Dr. Laura Riffel provides training and educational materials to help professionals, educators, and family members communicate more effectively with people of differing ability levels.

With more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Riffel has trained thousands of teachers, parents, counselors, psychologists, administrators, and bus drivers how to make data based decisions as a way to change behavior. Her trainings are filled with humor and make data collection easy to understand and use in any setting.









Dr. Sydney Pettygrove earned her doctoral degree in Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.  She is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, at the University of Arizona. The primary focus of her work is public health monitoring of autism spectrum disorders, muscular dystrophy, and fetal alcohol syndrome.  Dr. Pettygrove is the Co-Principal Investigator of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, a monitoring program for autism in Maricopa County, Arizona.








A CernosiaArt Cernosia is a licensed attorney and an education consultant from Williston, Vermont. Art previously worked as a teacher, an Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Vermont Department of Education, a practicing attorney, and consultant with a national special education technical assistance center. He was associated with the University of Vermont’s Education Law Institute for over 30 years where he taught and provided legal workshops. He also volunteered as a surrogate parent for students with disabilities who were placed in juvenile detention facilities. He provides training, consultation and other technical assistance services to state and local education agencies and advocacy organizations throughout the nation pertaining to special education legal issues.



Marilyn Friend headshotDr. Marilyn Friend has spent her career as a general education teacher, special education teacher, researcher, professor, administrator, teacher educator, and staff developer. She is Professor Emerita of Education in the Department of Specialized Education Services at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and she is Past President of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. 

Dr. Friend has consulted with school professionals nationally and internationally (more than 3000 presentations and projects in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia) as they collaborate to educate their students, assisting them to create classroom partnerships through co-teaching, to form productive and efficient work teams, and to foster inclusive practices.  She is the author or co-author of three widely used college textbooks on special education; a variety of co-teaching materials for teachers and administrators; more than 50 articles about collaboration, inclusive practices, and co-teaching; and a highly popular video series on co-teaching and other inclusive practices.  




Kendra Carpenter headshot

Kendra Carpenter comes to Fierce, Inc. with over a decade of experience as an international corporate trainer, coach, and learning and development professional. Her work has focused on training multinational teams and international leaders in the US, India and Argentina to work and communicate effectively to build relationship and increase productivity in diverse teams and organizations. Kendra has also worked with universities and schools in the US and India to increase their interpersonal communication and leadership skills.  At Fierce, Kendra’s primary role includes regularly delivering high caliber training to clients, supporting learning for and certifying Fierce facilitators, providing support for new program development, and monitoring training activities and program effectiveness.

Prior to Fierce, Kendra facilitated training for more than 3,000 individuals across Asia and the Americas, at several Fortune 500 companies. For a diverse range of clients, she piloted new training programs, coached executives on working with their international stakeholders and developed and certified new trainers.  Kendra holds an M.A. in Intercultural Relations with a Training and Consulting Specialization from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Currently she is based in Seattle, Washington and enjoys travel and yoga in her free time.


Carol Ann headshotDr. Carol Ann Tomlinson is a William Clay Parrish, Jr. Professor and Chair of Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Policy at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education where she is also Co-Director of the university’s Institutes on Academic Diversity.  Prior to joining the faculty at U.Va., she was a teacher for 21 years.  During that time, she taught students in high school, preschool, and middle school and also administered programs for struggling and advanced learners.  She was Virginia’s Teacher of the Year in 1974. 

Carol is author of over 250 books, book chapters, articles, and other educational materials including: How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms, The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom, (with Jay McTighe) Differentiating Instruction and Understanding by Design, (with Kay Brimijoin and Lane Narvaez) The Differentiated School, (with Marcia Imbeau) Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom, (with David Sousa) Differentiation and the Brain: How Neuroscience Supports the Learner-Friendly Classroom, and (with Tonya Moon) Assessment in a Differentiated Classroom: A Guide to Learner Success.  Her books on differentiation are available in thirteen languages. 

Carol was named Outstanding Professor at Curry in 2004 and received an All-University Teaching Award in 2008.  In 2013 she was twentieth in the Education Week Edu-Scholar Public Presence rankings of university-based academics who are contributing most substantially to public debates about schools and schooling.  In that same list, she was ranked in the top five most influential voices in Psychology. Carol works throughout the United States and internationally with educators who seek to create classrooms that are more effective with academically diverse student populations.