About Us

Professional Development Associates

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John Almarode, Ph.D.

Professional Development Associate

Dr. John Almarode is a Professional Development Associate at The Leadership and Learning Center. In addition to his affiliation with The Center, he is an Assistant Professor of Education at James Madison University. At James Madison University, John works with pre-service teachers at the undergraduate and graduate levels and actively pursues his research interests including educational neuroscience, the design and measurement of classroom environments that promote student engagement, interest and engagement in STEM disciplines, specialized STEM high schools, and interventions for low socioeconomic populations.

Lisa Almeida

National Director of Professional Learning

Lisa Almeida is the National Director of Professional Learning for The Leadership and Learning Center.

Arthur Anderson

Professional Development Associate

Art Anderson is a Professional Development Associate for The Leadership and Learning Center. Art also serves as the Director of School Improvement for a regional education service district providing support for 20 school districts with a total enrollment of 115,000 students.

Tracy Bailey

Professional Development Associate

Tracy Swinton Bailey is a Professional Development Associate at The Leadership and Learning Center. Before joining The Center, she founded a non-profit organization, Freedom Readers, which works with youngsters in grades K-8 who live in low income communities. Tracy also previously worked as a Consultant for the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, designing and delivering seminars, workshops, and demonstration lessons for teachers in high-poverty schools in Birmingham, Albany, and Bridgeport.

Bonnie Bell, Ed.D.

Professional Development Associate

Dr. Bonnie Bell is an Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services with the Claremont Unified School District in Claremont, California. Dr. Bell’s professional experience in four school districts has spanned 26 years. She has served as a classroom teacher, district mentor, categorical coordinator, county consultant, and site administrator.

Laura Besser

Distinguished Professional Development Associate

Laura is a lifelong educator and truly believes that all students, teachers and leaders can succeed. She embraces results, holds high expectations, and engages educators to build on their strengths.

Melissa Biggerstaff

Professional Development Associate

Melissa Biggerstaff is a Professional Development Associate with The Leadership and Learning Center.

Bonnie Bishop

Professional Development Associate

Bonnie Bishop is a Professional Development Associate for The Leadership and Learning Center. Over the past several years, she has presented to teachers on regional as well as national levels. She is recognized for her expertise in balanced literacy, assessment, and bridging the academic achievement gap for English learners. Her professional focus is working with teachers and administrators to improve student achievement.

Paul Bloomberg, Ed.D.

Distinguished Professional Development Associate

Paul Bloomberg is a Professional Development Associate with The Leadership and Learning Center. Before joining The Center, he was the Director of TIDES (Transformative Inquiry Design for Effective Schools and Systems), a non-profit based in San Diego, California. During his 22 years in public education, he served as K-12 classroom teacher, a gifted and talented coordinator, a mathematics and literacy coach, a central office mathematics teacher, an assistant principal, a principal, a principal coach, and researcher.

Karen Branscombe

Professional Development Associate

Karen Branscombe is a Professional Development Associate with The Leadership and Learning Center. She is thrilled that each and every day, she is able to work with schools and school districts to impact learning.

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