Introducing Our Personalized Learning Community Fellows

Topics: Building Capacity

This post was updated on September 29, 2020 to reflect changes since the initial announcement.

Thirteen educators from 10 states will convene virtually next week to kick off our new Personalized Learning Community fellowship. Originally planned to launch in March 2020, the kickoff of this fellowship was rescheduled due to COVID-19.

Throughout the last several months, each of these fellows continued to advocate for equitable, student-centered approaches to learning and tirelessly supported their peers through the myriad of new challenges and transitions brought on by COVID-19.

Now, through the Personalized Learning Community Fellowship, these leaders will work together with KnowledgeWorks to design a peer-to-peer learning community for instructional coaches, building leaders and educators working to scale personalized, competency-based learning.

Over the course of six months, Personalized Learning Community Fellows will collaborate to:

  • Grow a community of practice specifically focused on supporting educators’ shift to personalized, competency-based learning
  • Design and lead activities focused on connecting educators and sharing knowledge across multiple states
  • Contribute to the development of new resources and peer-to-peer learning opportunities
  • Advise on strategies to effectively engage, equip and connect a diverse and inclusive community of practice

We are thrilled that over 90 educators from 25 states and the District of Columbia applied for the fellowship and inspired by the amount of passion each applicant shared for supporting teachers and creating a more equitable, student-centered future of learning.

KnowledgeWorks’ 2020 Personalized Community Fellows are:

Karyn Anton-Webb

Karyn Anton-Webb, K-8 STEM Professional Development Academic Trainer
Tucson Unified School District
Tucson, AZ

Karyn is an instructional leader who empowers teachers to facilitate personalized learning experiences. After 15 years in the classroom, Karyn shifted her focus to drive systematic change in Title 1 districts in Illinois and Arizona and redefine traditional education. Prior to her new role with Tuscon Unified School District, Karyn served as an instructional coach for Amphitheater Public Schools. In this role, Karyn mentored teachers and facilitated job-embedded professional development in student-centered learning, literacy, data-based decision making and technology-enhanced instructional practices. Karyn earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and has master’s degrees in both Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership.

Christal Buckley

Christal Buckley, Teaching and Learning Coordinator / AVID District Director
Yuma High School, Yuma Union High School District 70
Yuma, AZ

Christal Buckley is the Teaching and Learning Coordinator for Yuma High School in Yuma, Arizona as well as the District AVID Coordinator for Yuma Union High School District. Christal’s work in the district is founded on the belief that building strong educators is the foundation for student success. Of her 15 years in education, 10 have been in mentoring or coaching capacities where she has created opportunities for educators to grow in their profession.

Diane Dugas

Diane Dugas, Director of Leading and Learning
Hampton, CT

Diane Dugas has served as superintendent, assistant superintendent, curriculum leader, turnaround principal and teacher. She has led schools to national recognition through sustainable transformation. In her recent role as Director of Leading and Learning with EASTCONN her focus is building educator and leader capacity to implement personalized, competency-based learning. Through a partnership with KnowledgeWorks, Diane is currently facilitating a regional consortium model to serve as a model for the State of Connecticut.

Lindsey Fraley

Lindsey Fraley, Teacher
Strom Thurmond High School, Edgefield County School District
Johnston, SC

As a seventh-year educator, Lindsay Fraley has learned that the “sit and get” form of learning just doesn’t work in today’s society. Her role is to help students find their passion and become successful lifelong learners. Currently, she teaches science at Strom Thurmond High School in Edgefield County, South Carolina. Her goal is to help pave the way for personalized learning in her district, her state and for her three sons.

Flashette Johnson

Flashette Johnson, Instructional Coach
Philip Simmons Middle School, Berkeley County School District
Wando, SC

Flashette S. Johnson is the Instructional Coach for Philip Simmons Middle School in Berkeley County School District. She taught sixth and seventh grade English & Language Arts for 10 years before accepting her new role. A life-long learner, Mrs. Johnson is a passionate, dedicated educator who is a champion for the student-centered learning environment. In her spare time, she likes reading and researching her family’s genealogy. She lives in Summerville, SC with her husband Bobby.

Mary Jones

Mary Jones, Curriculum Coordinator
Southside Elementary School, Hopkins County Schools
Madisonville, KY

Prior to joining her new role in Hopkins County Schools, Mary Jones served as the Next Generation Instructional Coach and Coordinator of Innovative Programs for Trigg County Public Schools in Kentucky. She earned her bachelor’s in elementary education and master’s in administration from Murray State University. Mary is passionate about transforming the learning environment to empower all students. Her experience as a second grade teacher with personalized learning inspired her desire to support other teachers as they work to build student agency and facilitate deeper learning.

Erin Lacina

Erin Lacina, Director of Professional Learning and Operations
Northeast Education Services Cooperative
Devils Lake, ND

Erin Lacina is the Director of Professional Learning and Operations for the Northeast Education Services Cooperative, a Regional Education Association in North Dakota. Erin and the NESC support individual educators, school systems and state collaboratives in continuous improvement through a wide array of programs and services including the building and implementing of structures for personalized learning.

Joe Lieberman

Joe Lieberman, English and Humanities Instructor, English Department Head
Flex Tech High School
Brighton, MI

Joe Lieberman teaches English and World History at FlexTech High School and is also part of the school’s Vanguard team. The Vanguard team is a group of teachers who have volunteered for additional professional development and to serve as a resource for their peers in supporting personalized learning practices. Joe has a bachelor’s in English & Language Arts and a master’s in Literature from Eastern Michigan University and has been teaching for 10 years, six of these at FlexTech. Joe is a dad of two girls, Victoria and Genevieve, and loves gardening.

image of Travis Lape, a man with short brown hair, wearing a white collared shirt and blue tie

Travis Lape, Innovative Programs Director
Harrisburg School District
Sioux Falls, SD

Travis is entering his fourth year as Innovative Programs Director for Harrisburg School District in Harrisburg, South Dakota. In this role Travis has helped shift the Harrisburg School District to a system of personalized learning. In 2015 Travis was recognized for his work with integrating technology into classrooms by being named TIE Technology Leader of the Year. Travis believes that by empowering learners to drive their learning we can start to create a new system that honors all learners and their cultures.

Ronni Moore

Ronni Moore, College and Career Readiness Coordinator
Purdue Polytechnic High School
Indianapolis, IN

Ronni Moore is the College and Career Readiness Coordinator for Purdue Polytechnic High School North in Indianapolis, IN. Ronni is a graduate of Indiana University where she studied Journalism, Spanish and History. After working as a photojournalist in Scranton, PN, Ronni began her career in education at the Excel Center-Meadows, a high school for adults run by Goodwill Education Initiatives. She is currently working on her PhD in Education Administration at Indiana State University.

Elizabeth Nordgren

Elizabeth Nordgren, Coordinator of Design Thinking, Innovation and Personalized Learning
Spring Lake Park Schools
Spring Lake Park, MN

Elizabeth Nordgren serves as a Coordinator of Learning supporting human-centered design thinking, innovation and personalized learning for Spring Lake Park Schools in Minnesota. She is passionate about providing personalized experiences for all learners and tapping the incredible expertise and creativity of teachers to help make that happen. In her spare time she enjoys beating her husband at cribbage and keeps herself busy by skating with Minnesota Roller Derby in Saint Paul, MN.

Bil Pfaffendorf

Bil Pfaffendorf, Principal, Pomona STEAM Lab
Mesa Valley School District 51
Grand Junction, CO

Bil first entered a competency-based learning model in 2009 as a teacher at Westminster Public Schools in Colorado. He served as a general education teacher, a specialized education teacher and then as an instructional coach. Bil also worked as the Blended Learning Specialist in Lindsay Unified School District where he supported the district’s move to a blended learning model incorporating technology. Currently, he is serving Mesa Valley School District as the principal of Pomona STEAM Lab.

Allison E. Walker

Allison E. Walker, Instructional Coach
Cane Bay Middle School, Berkeley County School District
Summerville, SC 

Allison Walker is in her eighth year as an instructional coach from South Carolina. Her passion for adult-learning, making connections and professional learning inspire her work in creating relevant, personalized learning opportunities that support and empower educators. Prior to becoming an instructional coach, Allison taught both middle and high school English and has never lost the love of the classroom. She earned a bachelor’s in English from the College of Charleston and a master’s in School Leadership from the Citadel.

The role peer-to-peer capacity building plays in personalized, competency-based learning systems transformation is instrumental. What does that look like South Carolina?