The HILL Team

Our Experts in the field

Facilitators

 
Shira M. Cohen-Goldberg , Ed.M.

Shira M. Cohen-Goldberg , Ed.M.

Director of Client Services

Shira M. Cohen-Goldberg, Ed.M. is currently the Director of Product Development at the HILL for Literacy, Inc. She received a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University in English and Education, a certificate in Program Planning, Management, Monitoring and Evaluation from Boston University and an Ed.M. in Language and Literacy from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to working at the HILL, she was a Literacy Coach in Chelsea, MA. She also served as a Reading First Implementation Facilitator for the Massachusetts Department of Education, and a classroom teacher in New York City and California. Ms. Cohen-Goldberg’s interests include facilitating vocabulary development, working with English Language Learners, and the whole-school change process.

Publications
Cynthia Curtis, M.A., C.A.S.

Cynthia Curtis, M.A., C.A.S.

SOR Trainer of Trainers Coordinator

Cynthia Curtis, M.A., C.A.S. is currently the SOR Trainer of Trainers Coordinator at HILL for Literacy. She is a reading specialist and special educator with over 25 years of experience teaching (K-5, bilingual) and consulting. She received her master’s degree in education from Simmons College and a certificate of advanced studies in reading from the MGH Institute of Health Professions. During the Early Grades Literacy Grant and the Reading First Initiative, Cynthia worked in collaboration with DESE to provide professional development across Massachusetts. She has also spent over 10 years as a K-3 reading interventionist and data manager, developing efficient and effective systems and structures for literacy instruction and assessment. She is passionate about the science of reading and transforming education nationally so that all children can become proficient readers. When not immersed in education, Cynthia enjoys an active lifestyle living on the coast: open water swimming, kayaking, ultimate frisbee, and escaping to the mountains for hiking and skiing.

Cara Dellaterra

Cara Dellaterra

Director of Content Development

Cara Dellaterra is currently a facilitator at HILL for Literacy, Inc. She received a BA from Merrimack College in Elementary Education and Psychology. Currently she is serving as the Boston-based Data Collection Manager for a Goal 3 IES Grant-Enhancing Core Reading Instruction (ECRI) for the University of Oregon. Prior to working at the HILL, she was a second grade teacher in a school system with diverse needs. She has also held positions incorporating technology into education and working with high needs students.  Cara’s research interests include facilitating effective literacy instruction, working with English Language Learners, and the whole-school change process.

Diana Malkin, M.Ed., CAGS

Diana Malkin, M.Ed., CAGS

Director of Content Development

Diana Malkin, M.Ed., CAGS has worked in public education for over 20 years, with experience at all levels, from Kindergarten through Post-secondary settings. She earned a BA in Visual Arts from UC San Diego, an M.Ed. in Bilingual Special Education with a concentration in Learning Disabilities from the University of Texas at Austin, and an M.Ed./CAGS in School Psychology from Worcester State University. She has been a general educator, special educator, school leader, and school psychologist at various grade levels. Diana has taught graduate level courses in Literacy and Assessment. For many years, Diana led a team of educators that designed implementation models, provided PD to teachers and administrators, and monitored the implementation of schoolwide programs in special education and student support for urban, suburban, and rural school change projects across the country and in the UK. She also worked with school systems in MA, CT, and NY to design, execute, and sustain research-based models of continuous literacy improvement through a multi-tiered system of support. She is also a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. 

Cynthia Pirani-McGurl, Ph.D., NCSP

Cynthia Pirani-McGurl, Ph.D., NCSP

Director of Research & Development

Cynthia Pirani-McGurl, Ph.D., NCSP is a Facilitator at HILL for Literacy and Adjunct Professor in the Special Education and Reading Specialist Programs at Fitchburg State University. Cynthia received her MA/CAGS from Assumption College and her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Prior to, and during this time, Cynthia worked as an interventionist and school psychologist with Pre-K-8 students. For over a decade, Cynthia has served as a consultant and coach on state, district, and school initiated projects including implementing whole district/school literacy change models, using data to drive instruction, adopting instructional practices that support diverse learners, and program evaluation.

Eleni Steadman, M.S., CCC-SLP

Eleni Steadman, M.S., CCC-SLP

Director of Training & Outreach

Eleni Steadman, M.S., CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Certified Reading Specialist, and currently the Director of Training at the HILL. She earned a B.S. in Communication Disorders from Boston University and an M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the Institute of Health Professions, an academic affiliate of the Massachusetts General Hospital. She also earned Certification in Reading from the IHP. Eleni worked in the North Andover Public Schools for five years, where she serviced a variety of students with oral and written language disabilities. She co-taught during literacy blocks, providing explicit instruction to students and modeling reading lessons for teachers. Eleni has been trained in several multi-sensory reading programs including LiPS, Project Read, RAVE-O, Fundations, and ECRI. She has also received training in all 12 LETRS modules, the Key Comprehension Routine, and is a DIBELS Mentor. Eleni has been a facilitator for the HILL for ten years and has worked on a variety of school change projects. Eleni stays involved with children’s diverse learning needs with her own children and her many nieces and nephews.
Kelly Ally, M.Ed.

Kelly Ally, M.Ed.

HILL Facilitator

Kelly Ally received her M.Ed. from Notre Dame College. Prior to working for the HILL, she worked as a Literacy Coach and Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Momenta, a non-profit literacy partner. As a consultant, she provided ongoing professional development and support for schools across New England and New York using evidence-based instruction and data-driven decision making. She has developed and led workshops for the Department of Education in both the Reading First and Bay State Readers initiatives, as well as for the Reading Trainer’s Network. She has been trained in RTI using Core programs and Guided Reading, and has extensive experience with many supplemental and intervention programs. Her background also includes working as a middle school and elementary classroom teacher in a high needs district, a reading coach, and an adjunct professor at Middlesex Community College. At heart a classroom teacher, Kelly considers herself very fortunate to have her passion become her career.

Tera B. Dunn, M.Ed., CAGS

Tera B. Dunn, M.Ed., CAGS

HILL Facilitator

Tera B. Dunn, M.Ed., CAGS is a HILL facilitator who works primarily with our Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative. She has a B.A. in Communication Sciences from the University of Connecticut, an M.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Hartford, and a Sixth Year Degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University. Previously she’s worked as a Teacher, Literacy Interventionist, Paraeducator, and Director of Curriculum Development. She’s also the co-author of three children’s books and the accompanying interdisciplinary lessons.

Jennifer Fleischmann, CAGS

Jennifer Fleischmann, CAGS

HILL Facilitator

Jennifer Borden Fleischmann, CAGS  is currently a Facilitator at HILL for Literacy, Inc. She received her undergraduate degree from Stonehill College and her Master’s Degree from Tufts University where she had the opportunity to work at the Center for Reading and Language Research.  She went on to earn an advanced degree in Educational Leadership.  Early in her career as an educator, she developed a passion for early intervention and prevention of reading disabilities.  She has worked as a Reading Specialist, Literacy Coordinator and Educational Consultant.  She has led teams, schools and districts in initiatives that focus on effective utilization of data, implementation of high quality reading instruction and multi-tiered systems of support.  She has worked at the state level in Massachusetts, providing professional development to teachers through BayState Readers and Reading First as well as serving on the team supporting the development of the recent Mass Literacy initiative.

Jenna Gampel

Jenna Gampel

HILL Facilitator

Jenna Gampel received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern University, and her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Literacy from Lesley University in 2010. She worked as a Master Teacher in 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade at Conservatory Lab Charter School in Boston for seven years, as well as the Teacher Induction Coach and Director of Professional Development for Conservatory Lab and the Transformational Literacy Project. Jenna is passionate about the power of creating high quality work with students. Her work and classroom are featured in an Expeditionary Learning professional development video series entitled: “Inspiring Excellence: A Culture of Quality in Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, in the Arts, and in Science.” Her work is also featured in the book, “Transformational Literacy.” Jenna is a frequent presenter at Expeditionary Learning conferences and Harvard’s Arts and Passion Driven Learning Conferences. In 2013 and 2015, Jenna was a finalist for Expeditionary Learning’s Klingenstein Teacher award. She was also 1 of 5 finalists for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year in 2014.

Cherie Kent, Ed.M.

Cherie Kent, Ed.M.

HILL Facilitator

Cherie Kent, Ed.M is a facilitator at the HILL for Literacy, Inc. She comes to the HILL with more than twenty-five years of experience as an educator. The sixteen years she spent as a classroom teacher, primarily in Worcester Public Schools, enabled her to develop a deep understanding of teaching and learning, data driven instruction within an RTI model, as well as school and classroom culture. These experiences, along with her love of teaching and learning, has translated into her ability to develop strong, working relationships with teachers and administrators that allow for them to work collaboratively in order to facilitate positive change within the organizations in which she worked. For ten years, she worked in a few suburban communities as literacy coach, curriculum and instruction leader, data coach, and reading specialist. Beyond that, Cherie spent a year as a consultant for the Early Grades Literacy Grant through DESE, and most recently as the Director of Literacy and Title I for the Wachusett Regional School District. Through her work, Cherie has planned and presented professional development, lead team meetings and data meetings, modeled best practices in classrooms and participated in opportunities to support teachers with individualized coaching as needed. Her hope is that, through her work, she will continue to support teachers and administrators in a way that empowers them to become the leaders in literacy and instruction within their organizations. Cherie lives in Central Massachusetts with her husband, two youngest children, and her two dogs.

Joanne Leach, Ed.M.

HILL Facilitator

Joanne Leach, Ed.M. is a facilitator at HILL for Literacy. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Ed. and Masters of Reading at Salem State College. Joanne comes with over 37 years of experience as an educator. Her teaching career began in Everett, MA where she taught first grade for 6 years. For the next 31 years, Joanne served as a Reading Specialist, Lead Reading Teacher, building-based coach and District-wide Lead Mentor primarily in Chelsea, MA and Saugus, MA as well as a couple years in Brookfield, MA. She also served as an Adjunct Professor at American International College for 10 years, teaching Foundations of Reading as well as Reading and Language Arts. Joanne came to the HILL on the heels of retirement and is excited to share her passion and love of teaching with others as a coach and facilitator.

Kaitlin M. Leonard, PhD

Kaitlin M. Leonard, PhD

Research Project Coordinator, Facilitator

Kaitlin M. Leonard, Ph.D. received a BA in elementary education and special education from Providence College. She also received a Masters of Education from Fitchburg State University. Currently, she is serving as an external literacy coach for Connecticut Kindergarten through grade 3 Literacy Initiative (CK3LI). The initiative is part of the CT Education Reform that supports schools in implementing research-grounded practices to improve the reading abilities of children in kindergarten through third grade. In addition, Kaitlin served as an expert literacy coach for an IES Grant, Enhancing Core Reading Instruction, for the University of Oregon. She is presently one of the HILL trainers for the Enhanced Core Reading Instruction Workshop. Previously, Kaitlin worked as a special education teacher and classroom teacher in a school district that served as a model for RTI and the Scott Foresman Reading Street Program. She was also involved in the HILL school-wide literacy change first-hand as a teacher and witnessed the benefits. Her interests include aiding schools to implement effective core literacy programs and instruction, and facilitating a school-wide literacy change.

Diane MacKinnon

Diane MacKinnon

HILL Facilitator

Diane MacKinnon is a Facilitator at the HILL for Literacy, Inc. She received her 6th year degree in Educational Leadership from Sacred Heart University, an M.A. in Reading and Language Arts from St. Joseph University, and a B.S. in Business Management from Bentley University. She served as an Elementary School Principal in East Haven Public Schools and as a 1st and 2nd grade teacher in Regional School District #13. While a School Principal, Diane had the privilege of working closely with Facilitators at the HILL for Literacy and was witness to the powerful results of the implementation of evidence-based literacy structures and routines. Prior to her career in education, Diane worked for both large and small businesses in a variety of capacities. Her many years of experience in both business and education helped to create a deep understanding of the necessary procedures, policies, and routines to drive organizational improvement. Her areas of expertise are in creating and maintaining a positive school climate, developing methods for ongoing professional learning and growth, implementing multi-tiered systems of support, providing effective feedback for learning, and creating the necessary structures and routines for data-informed school-wide decision making.

Nancy McDonald, M.Ed., CAGS

Nancy McDonald, M.Ed., CAGS

HILL Facilitator

Nancy McDonald, M.Ed., CAGS is excited to be re-joining HILL for Literacy as a facilitator working on the I-MTSS project. Nancy has worked in education for over 30 years in a variety of capacities including classroom teacher, school reading specialist, and literacy facilitator. Nancy has a master’s in elementary education and a sixth-year degree in remedial reading and language arts from Southern CT State University.

Michelle O'Neil, M.Ed.

HILL Facilitator

Michelle O’Neil received her M.Ed in Elementary Education from Rivier University and her B.S in Business Administration from Lynn University. She has worked in various sectors of education – public, private and informal. During her years in education, she has been a Title One tutor and ED/ABA specialized paraprofessional along being 1st, 2nd,4th and 5th grade classroom teacher. Having a passion to support others during their reading journey, Michelle enjoys researching best practices of reading instruction.

Jacqueline Rapisardi, M.Ed.

Jacqueline Rapisardi, M.Ed.

HILL Facilitator

Jacqueline Rapisardi received her M.Ed. in Administration from Salem State University. Prior to working for the HILL, she worked as a Principal Coach for Momenta, a non-profit literacy partner. As a consultant, she provided ongoing support for the leadership personnel in schools across Massachusetts using evidence-based instruction and data-driven decision making as the driving force of successful leadership. She has previously developed and led leadership workshops for Momenta. Her background also includes working as a middle school and elementary classroom teacher in a high needs district, Principal in two cities, and an adjunct professor at American International College and Endicott College in Beverly. “Once a teacher, always a teacher” proves true with Jackie since she has been passionate about education for her entire professional career spanning 50 years.

Andrea Reade, Ed.D.

Andrea Reade, Ed.D.

HILL Facilitator

Andrea Reade is a Facilitator at HILL for Literacy, Inc. She attended Keene State College and earned a BS in Management with a minor in English, an M.A.T. in English, as well as an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. Andrea also did her doctoral work in Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a focus on literacy leadership in secondary schools. Andrea’s career has spanned over 30 years working for and with public schools, state departments of education and federally funded national education centers. Andrea’s work has included developing state level literacy plans for the U.S. Virgin Islands and numerous state departments of education. Her expertise in adolescent literacy was used by the Center on Instruction as a content specialist as well as by the New England and Northeast Comprehensive Centers to plan and facilitate professional learning experiences in secondary literacy for state departments of education and their stakeholders in New England and NY. Andrea has also done extensive work in program evaluation working in schools and districts in NH, Colorado, and Tennessee as well as for Scholastic, Inc. Andrea supports school leaders and their staffs in developing robust systems based on data and evidence-based practices that are uniquely designed to the school and district context.

Lindsay Rodriguez, Ed.M.

Lindsay Rodriguez, Ed.M.

HILL Facilitator

Lindsay Rodriguez, Ed.M. is currently a facilitator at HILL for Literacy, Inc. She received a Bachelor’s in psychology and Master’s in Education from Sacred Heart University as well as her Master’s in Education Administration from Endicott College. Along with working at the HILL, she is a Director of Curriculum in Western MA.  Previously, she was a principal for 4 years for a PK-6th grade school. She started her career in education as a special education paraprofessional and classroom teacher teaching both single grade classes and combined classrooms of K and 1. She is dedicated to bringing the science of reading knowledge to early grades teachers and supporting them in making sure they are using best practices. 

Emily Russin

Emily Russin

HILL Facilitator

Emily Russin, Ed.M. is a Facilitator at HILL for Literacy, Inc. She received a BA from Gettysburg College in English and Elementary Education as well as an Ed.M. in Language and Literacy from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Emily is devoted to equity in education and has worked in public education for 25 years.  Early in her career, she taught and coached in high-poverty communities in Maryland and Washington state. For six years, Emily was part of Reading First consulting teams that developed and provided professional development at the state and national levels to state, district, and school leaders, reading coaches, and teachers. Emily served as a district literacy coordinator and Title I Director in Massachusetts for 11 years. Throughout her work, Emily has led educators by translating research to practice in such topics as the science of reading, data utilization, multi-tiered systems of support, adolescent literacy, and leadership for literacy.

Benjamin Scherz, M.Ed

Benjamin Scherz, M.Ed

HILL Facilitator

Since Benjamin Scherz received his M.Ed from the Harvard Graduate School of Education he has worked on the forefront of change in education as a classroom teacher for elementary age students, high school age Special Education teacher and as a literacy consultant in schools across America from Alaska to Florida. In addition Mr. Scherz has taught Masters level coursework at Merrimack College and Arizona State University as an adjunct faculty. In the role of Facilitator at The HILL Mr. Scherz specializes in literacy development in the elementary grades and supporting teachers to identify and implement highly effective instructional strategies for all students.

Kelly Soule, MA, CAGS

Kelly Soule, MA, CAGS

HILL Facilitator

Kelly Soule MA, CAGS is a HILL Facilitator who works primarily with our Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative. She received her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut and also holds a C.A.G.S. in Reading and Language Development from Fairfield University. She has teaching experience in both the US and the UK, and is trained in Orton-Gillingham, Enhanced Core Reading Instruction, Journeys, and Reading Street programs.

Alexandra Stout, M.S.

Alexandra Stout, M.S.

HILL Facilitator

Alexandra (Alex) Klove Stout, MS is a facilitator at the HILL for Literacy, Inc. She received a BA from Simmons University in Psychology and Early Education and a Masters of Arts in Teaching also, from Simmons University. Prior to working at the HILL, Alex was a Literacy Coach for the Kelly Elementary School in Chelsea, MA. She began her career teaching grades 3 and 5 at the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Boston, MA grade 1 in Chelsea, MA. Alex has developed a passion for early literacy, high-quality instruction, and authentic teaching and learning. She strives to develop a love for learning in herself and those around her.  

Lisa Ziobron, M.A.

Lisa Ziobron, M.A.

HILL Facilitator

Lisa Ziobron, M.A., is a HILL Facilitator who works primarily with our Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Central Connecticut State University and her Master of Arts Degree in Reading and Language: Elementary from University of Saint Joseph. Lisa has worked as a special educator, classroom teacher, paraprofessional, and reading interventionist. Her interests include applied behavioral analysis training with autistic children and learning new teaching strategies.

Operations

Darci Burns, Ph.D.

Darci Burns, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Darci Burns, Ph.D., is the executive director of HILL for Literacy. The HILL partners with schools and districts to shape and guide the process of deploying evidence-based whole school change through leadership development and teacher training. Darci has a PhD from the University of Oregon with a specialization in instructional design, research methodology, and English-Language learners. Darci has consulted with national, state and local agencies on effective reading instruction, leadership practices, and assessment. Darci also served as a Regional Professional Development Provider in six urban school systems for the Massachusetts Reading First Program.  She is the author of the Intergenerational Literacy Tutoring Program (ILTP) manual and co-author of Leading Literacy Change.
Publications
Chris Moore

Chris Moore

Chief Operating Officer and Director of Emerging Markets

Chris Moore has spent most of his career helping fortune 100 companies leverage marketing technology to create personalized, long-term relationships with their customers. His focus has always been to ensure that business outcomes are well defined and quantified, and that operations are executed to meet expectations. Chris has held leadership roles in client services for both start up and large corporations.  In 2017, Chris joined the HILL to repurpose digital marketing tools and tactics into a HILL solution that can help transform early literacy education. He is an advocate for public education and wholly supports the notion that education is the great equalizer.

Laurie LaVallee

Laurie LaVallee

Operations Director

Laurie LaVallee manages the day-to-day operations of the HILL including accounts payable, accounts receivable, financial reporting, customer service, and a variety of office-related tasks. She comes from a small business management background with extensive experience working with school administrators, having spent 15 years in the school picture business.
MarcyKate Connolly

MarcyKate Connolly

Marketing Director

MarcyKate Connolly is the Marketing Director at HILL for Literacy. She has a B.A. from Hampshire College in Music & Literature, and a M.S. in Arts Administration from Boston University. Her past experience includes marketing roles at the Phoenix Symphony, ArtsEmerson, and the Palace Theatre, and as executive director of Opera NH. MarcyKate is also a New York Times bestselling childrens’ book author of middle grade and young adult fantasy novels. You can learn more on her website, MarcyKate.com.

Jen McAlpine

Jen McAlpine

Development Director

Jen McAlpine is the Director of Development at HILL for Literacy and provides coordination and program management around the organization’s fundraising and grant process including identifying and cultivating new philanthropic relationships. She holds an B.A. from Boston College and an M.S. from Suffolk University as well as certifications in SAS programming and Raiser’s Edge. Prior to joining HILL for Literacy, she spent time in data analysis and Advancement and Development program management in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors.
Megan Lanoue

Megan Lanoue

Tech Support Specialist & Research Coordinator

Megan Lanoue is the Tech Support Specialist & Research Coordinator at the HILL and manages research project logistics and provides support to state, district, and school projects. She has BA in Social Communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Prior to coming to the HILL, she worked in the for-profit sector in the areas of logistics and operations management and customer support.

Consultants

 
Carol Dissen, M.S.

Carol Dissen, M.S.

Consultant

Carol Dissen works for the Center on Teaching and Learning at the University of Oregon coordinating the delivery and implementation of federally funded literacy and math grants. She works directly with elementary schools providing professional development and in-building coaching to support evidence-based practices. Ms. Dissen works as part of the Enhanced Core Reading Intervention team that developed a Tier 2 small group reading curriculum that is directly aligned with Tier 1 curriculum. Prior to joining the team at the Center on Teaching and Learning, she worked in elementary schools as a literacy coach, Title 1 reading teacher, and a classroom teacher. Additionally, for the past seventeen years she has developed and delivered school, regional, state, national and international professional development classes on various literacy topics.
Devin Kearns, Ph.D.

Devin Kearns, Ph.D.

Consultant

Devin Kearns, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Special Education, Department of Educational Psychology, Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. He researches reading disabilities in children, with emphasis on developing and implementing programs to prevent and remediate reading problems. Prior to the University of Connecticut, he was an assistant professor of Special Education at Boston University. His current work includes developing a multi-tiered approach to improving content area literacy instruction in middle schools. Dr. Kearns has years of classroom experience as a general-education teacher, literacy coach, and reading specialist.
Ashley Oldham, Ph.D.

Ashley Oldham, Ph.D.

Consultant

Dr. Ashley Oldham received her Ph.D. in special education from the University of Connecticut in 2013. While at UConn, Dr. Oldham’s research examined early vocabulary instruction and assessment within a multi-tier system of supports. She has worked on multiple IES funded grants, evaluating beginning reading practices for students with diverse learning needs. She currently serves as a Research Associate with the Center for Behavioral Education and Research (CBER) in the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut where she is a project coordinator for the Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative (CK-3LI) project. CK-3LI supports the implementation of scientifically based reading instruction within a multitier system of support. Dr. Oldham has expertise in effective instructional practices for at-risk learners, beginning reading and early vocabulary intervention. Dr. Oldham is a former elementary and middle school special educator.

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