• Pedro Noguera, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Education, UCLA

    Pedro Noguera is the Distinguished Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. His research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions, as well as by demographic trends in local, regional and global contexts.  He is the author of twelve books and over 250 articles and reports. He serves on the boards of numerous national and local organizations and appears as a regular commentator on educational issues in major national and local media outlets. His editorials have appeared in the NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and the Dallas Morning News. Prior to joining the faculty at UCLA he served as a professor and holder of endowed chairs at New York University (2003 – 2015) Harvard University (2000 – 2003) and the University of California, Berkeley (1990 – 2000). From 2009 -2012 he served as a Trustee for the State University of New York (SUNY) as an appointee of the Governor. In 2014 he was elected to the National Academy of Education.


    Rebecca Holcombe, Secretary, Vermont Agency of Education


    Rebecca Holcombe joined the Agency of Education in January 2014. Prior to joining the Agency, Rebecca taught at the middle school, high school and university levels. She taught social studies and science before becoming the principal at the Fairlee School. While at Fairlee, she helped lead the district through the formation of the Rivendell Interstate School District.


    After a decade away from Vermont, Rebecca was thrilled to move back and place her two children in Vermont schools a few years ago. She appreciates the high levels of public involvement and debate about how to improve education for our children that characterize Vermont schools.


    Kathleen Kryza, MA, International Educational Consultant/Coach and Chief Inspirational Officer

    Kathleen Kryza is passionate, informed and committed to bringing the best educational practices to schools and teachers, so that they can help ALL students succeed. She has taught general education, special education, and gifted and talented students. Kathleen has also worked with students of varying socio-economic and multi-cultural backgrounds. She has taught and co-taught a variety of content areas at both secondary and elementary levels. Workshops with Kathleen are highly practical, brain-based and inspirational. When Kathleen coaches and consults in districts, she differentiates instruction to meet needs though modeling lessons and by observing and guiding teachers as they grow their skills.

    Kathleen is an international trainer/coach/consultant and co-author of the new book, Transformative Teaching: Changing Classroom Culturally, Emotionally and Academically. (Solution Tree Press, Oct. 2015). She is also the co-author of Developing Growth Mindsets in the Inspiring Classroom, Inspiring Learners Press (2011) and the Corwin Press books, Inspiring Secondary Learners (2007), Inspiring Elementary Learners, (2008,) Differentiating in the Real Classroom (2009), Winning Strategies for Test Taking (2009). Kathleen is featured in the video, Differentiating Instruction in the Intermediate Grades, Bureau of Education and Research (BER), 2008. She has presented for school districts locally, nationally, and internationally for over 24 years on various educational and motivational topics.

    Kathleen has a Masters Degree in Special Education, and a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. Kathleen is a National Writing Project graduate. She has also done extensive training over the years with giants in the fields of differentiated instruction, brain-based learning, cooperative learning, co-teaching, coaching and content literacy.



    Dave Melnick, LICSW, Program Director, NFI Vermont

    Dave Melnick, LICSW is the Director of Outpatient Services at NFI, Vermont, a statewide mental health agency primarily serving children, adolescents and families. For the past 30 years, Dave has worked in a variety of settings including: outpatient, residential treatment, and in public and day treatment schools. During his 20 year tenure at NFI, Vermont, Dave has held multiple positions, serving as the Director of Residential Treatment before becoming the Director of Outpatient Services (The Family Center). He started The Family Center in 2004, and with the help of a gifted clinical staff, has built the program into statewide and regional recognition. The work at the Family Center focuses on family therapy and trauma-recovery work, and people of all ages are served. In addition to direct clinical work, the staff also provides in-service training, and evaluative and consultative services around the state. The staff works closely with multiple systems including child welfare, education, mental health, law enforcement, courts and medical.

    Along with his focus on Developmental Trauma, Dave has expertise in family therapy, adolescence and attachment. He is trained in EMDR, DDP (Dr. Hughes’ attachment model), and a variety of family systems models. In 2015, the Child Trauma Academy (CTA) acknowledged that Dave had completed NMT Training Certification through the Phase II level, and in April 2017 he was selected as a Fellow at the CTA.

    At this time, most of his work focuses on providing trauma evaluations for individual youth, in-service trainings, and consulting with child welfare, mental health and educational professionals.

    Dave and the Family Center staff are currently refining their Trauma-informed Schools Program; over the past seven years over 75 public and day treatment schools have participated in some form of training to improve educational practices for youth exposed to trauma. Dave received his master’s in social welfare from UC Berkeley in 1988, and he has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Vermont. Dave is licensed in both the state of Vermont and New York as a clinical social worker. Dave teaches graduate classes for the Vermont Higher Education Collaboration, and is a much in-demand presenter and consultant in Vermont and New York.


    Jonathan Miller-Lane, Associate Professor and Director of the Education Studies Program at Middlebury College

    Jonathan Miller-Lane, Ph.D. is Associate Professor and Director of the Education Studies Program at Middlebury College.  A child of a Foreign Service Officer he grew up in the Middle East and North Africa and spent two, pivotal years attending the Waterford School in Mbabane, Swaziland from 1974-76 when the battle over apartheid in neighboring South Africa was particularly intense. That experience, ultimately, led him into a career in teaching in which he has focused on how we live together, justly. Currently, his focus is on understanding the particular meaning and role of Whiteness in United States society. How do people who think of themselves as White understand the meaning and place of that Whiteness in a multicultural democracy?  How do we talk about this question in a dynamic, inclusive, compassionate manner?"


    Matt Brooks, K-12 Development Executive, Apple, Inc


    Matt is part of Apple’s Education team, working with school leaders to leverage technology to transform learning. Prior to Apple, Matt served for 13 years as a teacher, grant supervisor, coordinator of instructional technology, and adjunct professor.


    Greg Cameron, Senior Faculty, Societal Advancement, Center for Creative Leadership


    Greg Cameron is a senior faculty member for CCL’s Societal Advancement team. In his current role his focus is on designing, facilitating, and supporting leadership development efforts for education and nonprofit leaders. Specifically, he leads statewide leadership development initiatives and designs leadership development programs in partnership with school districts, professional organizations, universities, and nonprofit organizations across North America.


    Before joining CCL Greg was an executive director for two different international non-profits with an educational leadership focus. In these roles he spent 14 years facilitating leadership development opportunities across North America, Australia, and the Pacific region. He is the co-author of several articles, books, and education evaluation systems that are in wide publication. A Colorado native, Greg began his career as a K-12 educator in his home state where he served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. His academic background includes degrees from the University of Colorado and the University of Denver.


    David S. Wolk, former President of Castleton University and Vermont Commissioner of Education

    Dave Wolk came to the presidency of Castleton in December 2001 after intertwined careers in education and government. He had been a guidance counselor and teacher, principal of Barstow Memorial School in Chittenden, principal of Rutland High School, superintendent of schools in Rutland City, and Vermont's Commissioner of Education. He was a Vermont state senator and Governor Howard Dean's chief of policy.

    He departed Castleton in 2017 as the longest serving President since 1787, having overseen a 50% increase in enrollment and over $80 million in infrastructure investments during his tenure.

    At Castleton he led an increased involvement by the college in the local community and an expanded commitment to civic engagement and service learning. New construction during his tenure included residence halls, fitness centers, athletic facilities, and the purchase and renovation of the Spartan Arena in Rutland Town, offering recreational and cultural opportunities to the broader region. Additional and more recent improvements included new lighted tennis courts, a facilities barn, the renovation of the Campus Center and Huden Dining Hall, the construction of Hoff Hall, a LEED Gold certified residence hall with room for more than 160 students, and the impressive Castleton Pavilion, the largest indoor-outdoor venue of its kind in the state of Vermont.  Every existing building on campus was renovated during his tenure, with several newly constructed ones as part of the complete campus overhaul and facilities improvement plan.

    He inaugurated a new master plan that focused on international enrollment and increased opportunities for students in Rutland through entrepreneurial ventures such as the Castleton Downtown Gallery, the Castleton Polling Institute, a new first of its kind partnership with the Rutland Economic Development Corporation, and the Castleton Center for Entrepreneurship. 

    President Wolk was born and grew up in Rutland. He graduated from Rutland High School and then Middlebury College with a degree in political science. He earned a master's degree in educational administration and planning at UVM and a certificate of advanced graduate study at Harvard University. During his professional career he has served on more than 40 boards and commissions and currently serves as a member of the board of Green Mountain Power.  He splits his time with his wife Lyn between Vermont and Florida.