Office of School Improvement
SREB’s Office of School Improvement has spent decades investigating what works to build and sustain lasting capacity for change in schools nationwide.
Our staff have deep expertise as classroom teachers, school, district and state education leaders, research and evaluation specialists, and policy analysts.
Amanda Merritt is a school improvement instructional coach. She joined the Southern Regional Education Board in 2012 as a mathematics consultant to the organization’s school improvement team. While at SREB, she has worked with teachers across the nation on the strategies of the Mathematics Design Collaborative and SREB’s Powerful Mathematics Practices. Prior to joining SREB, Amanda was a high school mathematics teacher in Georgia.
Dan Mollette is the director of school improvement programs and resources. He joined SREB in 2010 as the director of training and lead math consultant for the school improvement team. He leads the roll out of literacy and mathematics in six SREB states. Prior to SREB, he was a math teacher and math specialist for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Allyson Morgan is the Director of State and District Partnerships for Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi. She joined the Southern Regional Education Board in 2014 as a school improvement consultant to the High Schools That Work team. In that role, she led efforts in Alabama, Georgia and Florida districts and schools to effectively prepare all students for college and career. She brings to SREB more than 25 years of experience in change leadership as it relates to improving teaching and learning practice in public education.
Rebecca Purser develops, administers and reports results of SREB’s biennial student and teacher surveys. She also assists with quantitative and qualitative data collection and analyses for internal and external research and evaluation projects. Purser joined SREB’s Research and Accountability team in 2016, bringing practical experience with research methods and statistical analyses. She formerly served as a graduate teaching assistant at the Georgia Institute of Technology and as an intern at Georgia Foreign Trade. Purser holds a bachelor’s in international affairs from the University of Georgia and a master’s in the science of international affairs from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Zach Riffell joined the Southern Regional Education Board in 2013 as a project manager for Advanced Career, where he brings more than 10 years of experience in secondary education and training for careers. While at SREB, Zach has led curriculum development and promoted the Advanced Career program across the country – securing business, government and postsecondary partners for the program. Prior to SREB, he was the head of a construction academy at a high school in Florida.
Debbie Robertson is a school improvement instructional coach. She joined SREB in 2016 as a Mathematics Design Collaborative consultant. Prior to SREB, Debbie served as a middle school math teacher in Escambia County, Florida, followed by two years as a district-wide instructional coach. During that time, she also taught Geometry at the high school level.
Debbie holds a bachelor’s of science in information systems from Mississippi State University and a master’s in secondary mathematics from the University of West Florida.
Jon Schmidt-Davis, program director of the Learning-Centered Leadership Program, provides overall direction for the work of the LCLP and coordinates leadership training and professional development to meet the needs of state and district clients. Jon has investigated and written on school leadership topics, including turnaround leadership, succession planning for school-level leaders, state and district supports for school leaders, and state policies supporting effective school leadership.
Tim Shaughnessy joined the Southern Regional Education Board in 2015. He brings years of experience as a past community college leader, state legislator and healthcare executive. In his role at SREB, Tim works with the school improvement team to develop and strengthen career and technical education pathway programs of study. He also helps identify the critical success factors necessary for states’ successful implementation of effective, efficient and sustainable pathway models.
James Thomas (Tom) Siler is the director of state & district partnerships for the school improvement team. He joined the Southern Regional Education Board in 2015 as director of statewide initiatives. He brings more than 35 years of experience as a former school leader and district superintendent. While at SREB, Tom has developed partnerships with districts and schools in several states and works toward improving student outcomes. Tom holds a master’s, education specialist degree and Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of South Carolina.
Gail Snider is a school improvement instructional coach. She joined the Southern Regional Education Board in 2011 when Arkansas piloted the Literacy and Mathematics Design Collaboratives statewide. She has a master’s in education with a teacher-leader focus from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. After teaching math in middle and high school for 15 years, Gail worked as a math specialist for the Arkansas Department of Education.
Shannon Stanley joined SREB in August 2019 as a school improvement leadership coach. She brings over 25 years of experience in public education, serving as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent of K-8 Instruction, deputy superintendent of teaching and learning, and superintendent. She also serves as an adjunct professor in teacher leadership for Jacksonville State University, and works with Alabama’s aspiring and new superintendents as a facilitator for the University of Alabama Superintendent’s Academy.
James (Jim) R. Stone III joined the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education at the Southern Regional Education Board in 2014 as director. In this capacity, he has worked with project-based learning, Teaching to Lead, and other career and technical education initiatives. Prior to SREB, Jim held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota and most recently as a distinguished scholar at the University of Louisville.