LVP Practitioner Advisory Board
K.D. Meucci has 14 years of teaching experience in grades 3-6 in and is currently teaching fourth grade in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. She has also taught in North Carolina and Virginia. K.D. was selected as a finalist for the Pennsylvania State Teacher of the Year in 2017 and was chosen as Elementary Teacher of the Year in Prince William County, VA, in 2013. K.D. is Google 2 certified, holds a principal license, and currently sits on the NSTOY-PA Executive Board. Throughout her career, she has coached volleyball, soccer, cheerleading, and track. She believes every child has strengths and can excel in and out of the classroom. K.D. is passionate about growing preservice teachers and works closely with her state’s TEACH Mentor program and hosts a student-teacher from Pittsburgh-area universities each year. She has been known to sing, dance, and play random games of Simon Says and Bear, Salmon, and Mosquito to keep her students engaged. She earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Edinboro University, her master’s degree in Sport Management from Georgia Southern University, and her Educational Leadership Specialist degree from Virginia Tech.
Vidula Plante is a National Board Certified teacher with 22 years of experience teaching and learning from her middle school students. After teaching English Language Arts for 18 years, Vidula developed Middle School Academy, the sixth-grade literacy class she now teaches. Middle School Academy focuses on building academic, digital, and social literacy skills through project-based learning. Vidula has worked at the state and national level on assessment development committees for students and teachers. A Folger Teaching Shakespeare Institute fellow, Vidula is currently working on a Folger teacher’s guide to A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Simon and Schuster, anticipated publication 2022). This year, as a fellow with the NEA Teacher Leadership Institute, Vidula seeks to innovate with stakeholders to create a school schedule that is responsive to working conditions and provides systemic support for student and teacher growth. She has an M.A. in English from Jadavpur University and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University. Vidula received the VFW Massachusetts Teacher of the Year award in 2015 and the Sontag Prize in Education in 2020.
Ebony Jones has 17 years of experience in education. She began her career as an elementary teacher in rural Mississippi. During her first years of teaching, she was named District Teacher of the Year and received the Principal’s Appreciation award. After receiving her Master’s in Education from Delta State University, she relocated to Memphis and worked as an elementary teacher in both Shelby County Schools and Memphis City School District. During her tenure as a teacher in Memphis, she served as grade chair and mentor teacher. After seven years of teaching and receiving a Specialist in Administration and Supervision certification from Union University, Ebony went on to work as a national literacy consultant for the Success For All Foundation. In this role she supported school leaders and teachers across the country in the implementation of a school improvement model with an emphasis on reading intervention. Additionally, she has experience as a district literary coach and consultant for a digital platform with McGraw Hill. Currently, Ebony works as Dean of Instruction for a neighborhood charter school in Memphis. In this role, she coaches English Language Arts teachers, supports culture, and designs and presents professional development.
Justine Alberts has been in education for 10 years and currently serves as an Elementary Instructional Coach for the Helena Public School District in Montana. She started her career as a multi-age educator for grades 5-8, transitioned into a fourth-grade classroom, and now works to serve educators and improve instruction. Justine received her BA in elementary education from Carroll College, her Master’s degree in Learning and Technology from Western Governors University, and a K-12 principal endorsement from the University of Montana, and is currently completing coursework for an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Montana. Additionally, Justine is actively seeking National Board Certification and successfully completed the TLI program. Justine is passionate about leadership and actively seeks to improve her learning and knowledge. She enjoys pursuing her dreams of stepping into leadership, but knows solid foundations of knowledge and practice must be laid first.
Rachael Wilcox is a first-grade teacher at Independence Elementary School in the Francis Howell School District (FHSD) in Missouri, where she works to cultivate a culture committed to educating the whole child. On the speaking trail, she weaves character education and social emotional learning across the nation while presenting at conferences, including: National Forum of Character; National Council for Social Studies; Missouri Restorative Conference; Powerful Learning Conference; and, Wisconsin’s Celebrate Character Conference. She also twice led the charge of applying and receiving the recognition of National School of Character. Additionally, she recently partnered with Character Strong as an implementation consultant. Rachael enjoys inspiring educators, but her most significant impacts has been in the hearts of her students. She believes in educating the whole child by creating little moments where students are inspired to act with empathy—thus, creating a generation that changes the world. She received her Bachelor of Education from McKendree University and Master of Special Education (4-12) from Arkansas State University. Rachael was named FHSD Special Education Teacher of the Year (2012), Independence’s Teacher of the Year (2018), FHSD Teacher of the Year (2019), Missouri Regional Teacher of the Year (2019), and Missouri Teacher of the Year Finalist (2020).
Katie Allen advocates for better teaching and learning conditions for students and educators. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Wichita State University, her Master’s in Gifted and Talented Curriculum and Instruction from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and is preparing to start her Education Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Equity from University of Colorado at Denver. She is a building level representative and board member for the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, an NEA Virtual Coach,and an NEA micro-credential writer, assessor, and reviser.
Johari Mitchell is a National Board Certified teacher currently serving in her 19th year with Columbus City Schools. She taught at several grade levels in elementary through middle school for 10 years before training as a literacy specialist with Reading Recovery and as a Literacy Collaborative coach. The majority of her career has been spent in low-income schools with the goal of school turnaround. She is proud to have been on a school team most recently that moved from an F to a C on the state report card. Johari is passionate about early literacy, teacher leadership, quality urban education, intentional school culture and teacher wellness. She has served as an instructional coach in her district and has coached with the national NEA Teacher Leadership Institute, building teachers’ capacity to lead. She is looking to enhance her current studies of educational technology with new experiential learning through the LVP. Johari holds a Bachelor’s degree in marketing from The University of Arizona and a Master’s of Education degree from The Ohio State University.
Kimberly Freeman is a second-grade teacher at Guilford County Schools in North Carolina. She has nine years of teaching experience. Kim has a passion for equity and inclusion for all students, using innovation through curriculum design, educational technology, STEM, and global education. She has a Master’s in Education degree in Elementary Education. She had received training and mentoring for leading professional development and developing instructional content for teachers through various educational organizations serving public education, students, and teachers. These skills include adult learning theory, active learning, creating professional learning networks using social media platforms like Slack, and developing presentation materials. She has experience and specialization in designing and implementing an integrated literacy and science curriculum to introduce students to the infinite possibilities in STEM to address the inequity of STEM enrichment activities for underrepresented student populations. She has presented at the College Career Ready Working Group (CCWRG) at the NEA National Convening on Identifying Digital and Instructional Content for Math in grades 3-8. She was an Equity Leadership Trainer at Guilford County Schools. She is a member of North Carolina Association of Educators Instructional Leadership Institute, North Carolina Association of Educators Instructional Professional Development Cadre, and North Carolina Core Advocates. She is a European Union 2020 Inaugural Fellow.
Katy Wright is a National Board Certified teacher, holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Theatre and Soviet Area Studies (now known as Russian and East European Studies) from Middlebury College, has a Master’s in Montessori Education from St. Catherine University, and holds NEA micro-credentials in Communication and Group Processes. Katy taught second grade for 10 years and has been in a public lower elementary (ages six-nine) Montessori classroom within a traditional school for the past eight years in Montana.
Sky Kong has 13 years of teaching experience. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from The University of Southern Mississippi in Business Technology Education. Her degrees in business technology serve her well in her current position as a Special Education teacher. She has received a number of recognitions and awards. Currently she is part of the Mississippi Association of Educators 2019-2020 Teacher Leadership Institute cohort, and she is part of the Mississippi Teacher Council sponsored by Mississippi’s state superintendent. Additionally, she was awarded the Hosemann Scholarship to earn a certification as a Registered Behavior Technician. On her school campus she serves as a member of the Teacher Advisory Council, Special Education Chair, and Mississippi Professional Educators school representative. Sky continues to strive for greatness as she is always looking for ways to help her students, colleagues, and herself. Sky takes personal and professional ownership of each student’s success inside and outside of the classroom.
Kenyetta Swanigan began her teaching career in 2002. From 2002 to 2013, she spent time as a Pre-K, second grade, and Reading Recovery teacher in her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. During that time, she served as the Building Representative for four years for the Little Rock Education Association. She earned a Master’s in Reading and an Educational Specialist in Reading from University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In 2009, she obtained her National Board Certification in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy and recertified in 2018. From this accomplishment, she has received training to support future NBPTS, participated in standard studies with Pearson, and attended NBPTS conferences in Washington, D.C. In 2013, Kenyetta and her family moved to Northern Virginia, where she began her career as a Reading Specialist. During this time, she began honing her skills as a coach by supporting teachers with assessments, data analysis, planning, and creating authentic learning centers. Alongside her coaching, she also participated as a Capstone reviewer (2015/2016) in addition to scoring micro-credentials with the NEA. Currently, she is serving in her second year as a third-grade teacher with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Japan, while completing her Educational Doctorate in Organizational Leadership K-12.
Louis Henderson II is a veteran teacher with over 13 years of teaching experience. He received his undergraduate degree in English from Rust College and his graduate degrees in Secondary Education and Educational Leadership from William Carey University. Currently, Louis serves as an English Language Arts co-teacher at Gulfport Central Middle School in Mississippi. Louis is conducting research on the best pedagogical and mentoring practices to address the needs of ESL and special education students. An advocate for professional development, Louis presented at the Mississippi Mid-Level Education Conference and the Mississippi Literacy Association Conference on pedagogical approaches to best reach poverty-stricken students in late 2019. Recently, Louis was chosen to speak at the Innovative Schools Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, in June 2020. Utilizing innovative technology in his instructional approaches, Louis was featured on several media outlets along the Mississippi Gulf Coast for implementing Zoom sessions with a university professor to discuss literary works with middle school students. Louis is a consummate professional and is passionate about working with socially marginalized students, and he is working to publish a scholarly work on the best instructional practices to utilize while working with economically marginalized students.