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.
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.
Mary Simon is an School Improvement Instructional Coach with the Technology Centers that Work program at SREB. She joined SREB’s school improvement program in 2018, working with the Alabama Career Tech Centers Simulated Workplace. Mary brings 19 years of experience with Perkins funding, CTE state funding, and contracts and grants, and CTE administrator professional development at the Alabama State Department of Education.
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.
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Kirsten Ewart Sundell is the division director of product development and communication at the Southern Regional Education Board. In this role, she contributes to the creation and dissemination of timely, impactful publications that empower educators, school administrators, district and state education agency personnel, and policymakers to solve pressing problems in education. She is the co-author of Bridging the Computer Science Education Gap, which offers states actions they can take to help more students learn computer science and explore computing careers.
Joseph Tadlock joined the Southern Regional Education Board in January 2017 as senior research associate. Prior to SREB, he worked for the South Carolina Department of Education, and as a special education teacher. He has experience in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, as well as conducting experimental, quasi experimental and correlational research designs.
Carita Venable is a senior school improvement leadership coach at SREB, where she manages the Birmingham City Schools project. She joined SREB in 2018, bringing 15 years of experience in the public education sector. Prior to SREB, Carita served as an English language arts teacher, instructional coach, district school improvement supervisor, assistant principal and principal in school districts throughout the Birmingham region.
Sandy Culotta is a senior school improvement leadership coach. She joined the Southern Regional Education Board in 2010 as a school improvement consultant. She brings more than 40 years of experience working on issues of education policy and practice in the public education sector. Sandy has provided consultant services to schools and districts in Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and New Jersey in the redesign of high schools based on the High Schools That Work’s (HSTW) framework. She previously served as the manager of project-based learning in career pathway courses.
Scott Warren is the division director for Making Schools Work. He joined the Southern Regional Education Board in 2000 to lead efforts with challenged schools as they implemented SREB’s High Schools That Work for comprehensive school reform. In that role, he directed state initiatives for High Schools That Work /Making Middle Grades Work with a team of leadership and content coaches who support school redesign. Scott has led over 500 school, district, state and national workshops in: creating effective counseling programs, leading quality instruction, redesigning the ninth grade, creating career-themed academies, and raising the rigor of classroom assessments and assignments. He has also contributed in the development of multiple SREB leadership modules.
Shanthia Washington is a school improvement leadership coach at SREB. She joined SREB as a consultant in 2018, bringing more than 25 years of experience in the public education sector. Prior to SREB, she served as a teacher, principal, and central office administrator at the district level before transitioning to the state level.
Gary Wrinkle is the director of state and district partnerships for school improvement. His role includes building the network of schools in Texas that utilize the HSTW School Improvement framework as well as direct consulting with school leadership and teachers to support their needs.