Professional Development Courses:
Meet our Instructors

Thom Stecher

Thom Stecher is a nationally-recognized motivational speaker and educational consultant.  He specializes in self-esteem, wellness, and student assistance programs.  Raised in a family of educators, Thom believes that education is a life-long process and that we all teach best what we most need to learn.  It is therefore imperative that we teach each other.

Thom has spent over 40 years educating and mentoring students, teachers, administrators and board members.  He is one of the original developers of the nationally-recognized and acclaimed Masonic Model Student Assistance Program and has expanded the model to developmentally appropriate programs at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  The program is in use in over 30 states, and in Canada.

Thom's current passion is providing school board and administrative retreats and professional learning opportunities for K-12 staff.  The primary focus of this work is the integration of social emotional learning with academic achievement and helping school districts transform into Whole Child centered environments.  Thom believes that budgets and test scores must be subordinate to people.  Caring for students and staff must be our highest priority.  Connection, compassion, and courage are the future of education.

Francesca Andricola Alexander

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Francesca is the oldest of four children from a large Italian family. She graduated from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA with a B.S. in Sports Marketing in 2008. After working in the corporate world for two years, she went back to her natural calling – teaching. Francesca earned her M.Ed in English Education 7-12 and ESL K-12 certification from SJU.

After becoming a fulltime 9th and 10th grades English teacher at Owen J. Roberts High School in 2012, Francesca continued her education at SJU in their Masters as a Reading Specialist program. She became certified as a reading specialist in the summer of 2013. Francesca then completed various graduate courses through Thom Stecher and became interested in becoming a part of this wonderful and energetic program for educators.

Francesca is still teaching at Owen J. Roberts High School. She is also the head coach for fall high school and middle school cheerleading, winter middle school cheerleading, and the spring boys and girls track and field team. She is finishing her Administrative K-12 certification from California University of PA in August of 2015.

Dr. John Bearoff

Dr. John Bearoff, who has a PhD in Counseling Psychology, is both a Licensed Psychologist in private practice, and a Certified School Psychologist.  John was a Science teacher and a School Psychologist for the North Penn School District, where he spent 25 years.  He has been conducting workshops and seminars for many PA school districts, and also teaching Graduate Courses for both West Chester University and Neumann University.  Dr. Bearoff began co-teaching Graduate Courses with Thom Stecher on Wellness for Educators more than 15 years ago.  His school seminars, in-service programs and graduate courses have focused primarily on stress management for educators, wellness, grief and loss, substance abuse prevention, poverty issues in education, intervening with at-risk youth, and classroom management.  He has received Montgomery County's "Outstanding Service to Youth" Award.  John is also the Senior Lead Trainer and facilitates Masonic Student Assistance Team training in over 20 states around the country.

Joe Brancoccio

Joe Brancoccio is an educational consultant with Thom Stecher and Associates. He trains educators nationwide in comprehensive at risk programming.

Joe's extensive background brings a fresh perspective to academia.  His negotiation, communication, and conflict resolution skills help educators be more effective.

Schools and businesses enlist Joe to assist with group process.  He trains groups ranging in size from five to four thousand.  His work regarding anthropomorphic personality types, and neurolinguistic programming provide the skills needed to easily gain cooperation of students and parents.

 The professional development and graduate courses provided by Thom Stecher and Associates are the best available.  Joe is proud to be part of a program that proves invaluable to the educators and children it serves.

Aiden Brett

Born in Limerick, Ireland and raised in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Aidan Brett graduated from the University of Notre Dame where he earned his B.A. in English. He spent four years working for the University Writing Center and supporting its mission to create more effective communicators and thus more productive citizens. His subsequent experiences working with writers of all abilities ranging from high school students through those publishing doctoral dissertations cemented his desire to teach English. After graduating, Aidan taught English and English as a Second Language courses at Montgomery County Community College and completed Villanova University’s Master’s in Education with Teacher Certification program.

Currently, Aidan is in his sixth year of teaching 12th grade English and AP Literature and Composition at Springfield High School in Delaware County. He has benefitted from studying current literacy strategies through the University of Pennsylvania’s Literacy Network. His extensive literacy strategy training, experiences in co-teaching diverse learners, and work writing curriculum have made him well-versed in the current realities shaping education. He partners with Thom Stecher to teach a course titled “Fostering Resilience and Building Assets in our At-Risk Students.” It is Aidan’s belief that educators have the great privilege and responsibility of fostering resilience in their students.

Whether in writing or through discussion, Aidan teaches his students to become strong and effective communicators. He works to create a discussion atmosphere that is both serious and emotionally safe. It is his sincere hope that the energy he devotes to teaching students will result in positive progress in their ability to engage in thinking that is critical as well as empathetic. He views fostering resilient, effective, and truthful communicators as synonymous with creating students who are productive citizens in their communities. Hopefully, the evolving clarity in the thought, speech, and writing of his students will translate tangibly into decisiveness and empathy in their future actions. Aidan looks forward to exploring the teaching philosophies of current and future teachers as they navigate through the Master’s in Education with Emphasis on Social Emotional Learning program.

Ling Chang

Ling Chang, Ph.D. is a licensed physical therapist with Pinnacle ENT Associates.  She has been in practice for 15 years.  Her areas of specialty include vestibular disorders, concussion, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. She champions personalized medical plans for her patients. 

Ling received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in physical therapy from Thomas Jefferson University. She holds additional degrees in sociology (BA) and in educational psychology (MSEd) from the University of Pennsylvania.  Her Ph.D. dissertation from Temple University focused on individualized treatment plans and quality of life for patients with Parkinson's disease.

Ling began her teaching career at the age of 11 when she became a certified Suzuki music teacher.  She has taught martial arts in the community for a decade and has been a practicum advisor for 13 years.  She began teaching for Thom Stecher and Associates in 2014.  When not teaching students or treating patients, Ling can be found in the gym.  She also enjoys music and baking.

Jim Duey

Singing. Bouncing on yoga balls. Building rapport. All of these things are present in Jim Duey's classroom. A sixth grade composition and grammar teacher at the Phoenixville Area Middle School, Jim strives to engage his students in a class that most find unappealing. "If I can get the kids to want to come to my class, then 80% of the battle is won," he often tells parents. He has rewritten many popular songs to reinforce concepts, received grants to purchase yoga balls (that replace chairs)to help the students' attentionality, and often jokes with the kids to make class an enjoyable experience. He brings these gifts to his graduate classes as well. A veteran of some 30 years, Jim brings a wealth of knowledge and structure to all of his teaching. Interests away from the classroom include relaxing with a book at the beach, enjoying a game of bridge, watching many sports, and playing around in the kitchen.

Mark Eisenhuth

Mark Eisenhuth believes strongly in educating the whole child and helping teachers to work collaboratively for the greater good of their students and their own well-being. Mark believes balance is the key to being successful in life. He strives to achieve balance between his personal and professional life on a daily basis.

Mark brings a variety of experiences including twelve years teaching in the primary grades and over twelve years as an Instructional Support Facilitator and Head Teacher at East Vincent Elementary School in the Owen J. Roberts School District. During his time teaching first and second grade students, he was fortunate to pilot multi-age and looping programs which allowed him to gain a firm understanding of differentiating in a classroom full of diverse learners.

Mark originally graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Business Administration. He went on to graduate with a B.S. in Elementary Education from Clarion University and a M.Ed. from Cabrini College. Mark has continued his education by working toward his Principal’s Certificate at Penn State-Great Valley and taking a multitude of classes through Immaculata University, St. Joseph’s University and Thom Stecher and Associates.

Craig Erb

D. Craig Erb has been in the field of public/private school education, behavior management, special education, and coaching for over 30 years. Craig is a national lead trainer for the Masonic Model Student Assistance Program, training teachers to observe, document and intervene with youth at risk. Since 1989, he has been an Experiential Adventure-Based Facilitator receiving training from Project Adventure in Massachusetts, The Outward Bound School of North Carolina and medical training from S.O.L.O. in New Hampshire. Since1997, he has been the President and owner of Experiential Dynamics, Inc., specializing in Experiential Adventure-Based Education with private / public schools, universities, camps, and corporations.

Craig teaches graduate level courses through Saint Joseph's University and the Chester County Intermediate Unit, and under graduate level course at Ursinus College. Experiential Dynamics, Inc. provides adventure programming, training, and facilitators to many summer camps and in conjunction with Stecher & Assoc. establishes and runs "life skills" adventure camps in several states. Craig works with youth and adults experientially in initiative programs, low/high ropes challenge courses, and outdoor adventure experiences. Another aspect of Experiential Dynamics, Inc. is assisting schools to incorporate experiential and adventure-based activities into their curriculums and in-service programming. Craig provides construction of low / high ropes challenge courses, climbing / traverse walls, and training in safety, class management, facilitation, and use of all equipment.

Alex Fizz

S. Alex Fizz is an educator immersed in social emotional and service learning. Alex leads adventure-based and experiential learning opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. His work with students addresses issues such as racism, sexism, bullying, harassment, violence and hazing while creating a safe space for solution-based problem solving. Additionally, Alex provides professional development to administrators, faculty and staff centered around wellness, resilience, diversity, classroom community, school-wide behavioral models, and district-wide social, emotional and academic change initiatives.

Raised in a family focused on service and the principle of passing on intergenerational wisdom, he brings perspective and scope to the impact positive mentors and role models can have in the lives of children and adolescents. To him it is essential to make clear, in the words of Mr. Rogers, "Anything that's human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone."

April Forgeng

April received her B.A. in English and a certificate in Women's Studies from Dickinson College, went on to earn her M.Ed. in Elementary Education from St. Joseph's University, and later her Master's Plus 30.  She has also earned her teaching certificates in Literature (K-12) and Mathematics (7-9). April's experiences range from volunteering for Philadelphia Reads to interning at NBC Channel 10 and working for TV Guide magazine. After several years in public relations, April taught for the School District of Philadelphia in both elementary and middle school. She is currently a member of Haverford High School's English Department. When she's not busy teaching and tutoring April enjoys reading, writing, and running.

Kimberly Garns

Kimberly Garns is a graduate from West Chester University with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Liberal Studies and Master's Degree in Education from Cabrini College. I have been a special education teacher for the past 10 years working with diverse groups of students with varying disabilities from ADD/ADHD, autism, Asperger's Syndrome, learning disabilities, speech impairments, and noncompliant behavior. I have mastered differentiated instruction, use of assistive technology in the classroom, and multi-sensory lesson planning to meet the needs of every student.  My years of experience have taught me the value of patience and encouragement in the special education classroom. I have a true passion for reaching every student in my classroom and I am a true believer that fair is not always equal, fair is getting what you need. In addition, for the past 5 years I have been teaching graduate school to future special education teachers.  In my free time you can find me enjoying family time with my husband, Matt and two daughters, Olivia and Lillian.

Jacqueline D. Garcia, Ed.D.

With over fifteen years of classroom educational experience and several years as a graduate adjunct professor in special education, Jacqueline D. Garcia, notably converges pragmatic knowledge with the most current research to allow her coursework to be both inspiring and highly interactive for K-12 educators of the 21st century. Jacqueline holds a doctorate of special education degree, educational principal leadership certification, and a masters degree as an Instructional Technology Specialist. Her emphasis in reaching the whole child through social emotional learning opportunities drives her passion to reach all learners through an inclusive paradigm.

As a visionary leader, Jacqueline continues to lead invigorating learning experiences in the deliverance of highly organized and meaningful professional development opportunities. She has presented nationally at the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD) conferences.

Jacqueline plays a vital leadership role within her school and district. She serves as a Curriculum Leadership Team member for Staff Development. She coordinates her Character Counts School Wide Positive Behavior Support program. Beyond these formal responsibilities, she is a thoughtful and open collaborator. "Walk into Jacqueline's classroom, and you immediately feel as if you are visiting the laboratory school from a prestigious teacher education program. With her gift for unifying theory and practice, it comes as no surprise that Jacqueline is a successful instructor in higher education."

Application of principles gained through direct experiences along the continuum of special education, and scholarly work focusing on the role of student support teams and the Response to Intervention Framework (RTI), graduate students leave with a strong sense of how to infuse multiple instructional strategies to transform and empower their educational practice.

Dr. Meg Givnish

Dr. Meg Givnish is nationally known as a clinician, teacher, trainer and motivational speaker. She has been an honored faculty member in the Graduate School of Health Education at St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia since 1986. Currently, she is a member of the faculty in the Communications Program at Delaware County Community College.

Meg was among the first professionals in the US to be Certified as a Trainer, Educator, Practitioner by The American Board of Examiners in Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama. She created "The Problem Solving Theatre" troupe in 1980. This synthesis of therapeutic drama, therapy, humor and spontaneity educated and entertained thousands of people in performances all over the United States.

Dr. Givnish was awarded an Emmy in 1987 for her writing, directing and narrating the one time special "What Will We Do About Momma?" She was also featured in an award winning documentary on Teen Suicide "When Hope Becomes Despair". During the 1980's The Problem Solving Theatre was a key component in the training program for the establishment of Student Assistance Programs Pennsylvania.

Meg has been a presenter at National Conferences on topics ranging from Stress Management, Societal Stress Syndrome, Addictions, Relationship Skills and Personal Empowerment.

She is known for her humorous and energizing seminars and training sessions.

Mark Good

Mark Good is and educational consultant, teacher, author and the founder of Viewpoint Unlimited, an educational consulting firm that provides training, professional development, and accredited online courses that focus on the topics of diversity in education, effective interpersonal communication, social justice and social emotional learning.

For many years, Mark worked as a school counselor in the k-12 public school system. During that time, he had the opportunity to work as an elementary school counselor, a middle school counselor and a high school counselor too.

Additionally, Mark has taught undergraduate and graduate courses, within his specialization, at the university level. These courses have included Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling, Multicultural Psychology and Psychological Research Methods, among others.

Always at the core of Mark's work, is a strong desire to make positive social change for each and everyone of us through compassion and understanding.

Pam Gregg

If you were to ask Pamela Gregg what she would like more of in the classroom, she would say time—to provide her students with "everything they need to know" through engaging lessons, and to solidify the skills needed to be empowered as problem solvers and critical thinkers. Time to get to everything.

A secondary language arts teacher for the Rose Tree Media School District for the past 18 years and post-graduate course developer/instructor for the past eight, Pamela Gregg seems to "bend time" much like Hermione Granger from Harry Potter with her Time Turner in order to get everything done.

But Pamela Gregg doesn't have a Time Turner—she has a huge heart and an incredible sense of dedication to colleagues and students. She spends her time crafting her lessons to make them innovative and real-world based.  She teaches academics, but also what it means to be a positive influence in our world.  In the words of her colleagues from Springton Lake Middle School, she is an "extraordinary educator" and a "dynamic teacher."

Stacia Hang

Stacia Hang was born in Coatesville, PA and currently resides in the Upper Perkiomen Valley with her husband and two school-aged children.  Stacia is an elementary school counselor who holds a Master's Degree in Counseling from Arcadia University and a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from West Chester University.  Prior to making the switch to counseling, Stacia was a classroom teacher for 10 years in both elementary and middle schools.  Stacia is a nationally certified Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor as well as a Non-Violent Crisis Prevention Intervention instructor.  As a counselor, Stacia serves on various teams such as SAP, IST, and Community Connect. 

Stacia is passionate about supporting the social-emotional development and well-being of our youth.  Strengthening student resiliency and educating staff about risk factors is a strong focus for Stacia.  Additionally, Stacia takes pride in driving down the stigma associated with mental health concerns.   Working alongside students and staff to build a strong school community is a daily focus and point of pride for Stacia. 

Scott A. Heydt

Born and raised in Boyertown, PA, Scott A. Heydt graduated from Moravian College in 2002 with degrees in Psychology and Elementary Education. Upon graduation, he traveled for two years as a leadership consultant for Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, working with undergraduate men on organizational and personal effectiveness. Eventually he settled down in Bucks County, PA with his wife Monika and his two cats Hilo & Kona.

Scott spent six years working for Central Bucks School District as a second and fifth grade teacher respectively. During that time, he coordinated Groveland Elementary's Green Team environmental club, served on District curriculum development committees, and developed a nationally award-winning "6 Pillars of Leadership" program for his fifth grade students. In 2009, he graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in Leadership and Liberal Studies. He currently teaches graduate and undergraduate methods courses in the Education department of Holy Family University.

"Live, learn, teach" is Scott's personal motto. Whether through his works as a published author for young adults or through his continued involvement as International Director of Academic Affairs for Delta Tau Delta, Scott strives to deeply connect with life experiences and lead others to do the same.

Philip Hochman

Phillip Hochman is an educator employed in Central Bucks School District and has a M.A. in Education. Phil has also taught in the School District of Philadelphia at Olney High School. His passion for bringing movement and technology to the classroom drives his instruction.  He prides himself on creating a relationships first approach to teaching, and bringing fun and excitement to each course.  

Phil's background as a Health and Physical Education teacher, and having taught all grades K - Graduate School, help provide insights to teachers at all levels.  He personally enjoys bringing wellness life skills, 21st Century Technology Skills, and learning by doing activities to enhance each course.  

Phillip has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Cabrini College and Delaware Valley University.  

Trish McGarry

Trish McGarry has spent over 35 years in public education.  Her experience includes 25 years as an elementary classroom teacher and 10 years as a math coach in the Phoenixville Area School District.  Trish graduated from Shippensburg University majoring in Elementary Education, specializing in Early Childhood and holds a Masters Equivalency with a concentration in elementary mathematics programs.  She has developed and presented numerous workshops and professional development programs focused on elementary mathematics for her district, CCIU and the PCTM and NCTM organizations.

Trish is an educational consultant, working with elementary schools' mathematics curriculum and implementation.  Her knowledge of best mathematical practices and enthusiasm for teaching, make for rich and energized sessions. Trish believes all students can learn to love mathematics when habits of mind are developed and nurtured and excellent instruction is present.  Her programs are based on sound research and the Universal Design for Learning. 

Dr. Edward Myers

Dr. Edward Myers has an extensive and diverse background in the education and behavioral health fields. Ed earned his doctorate from Temple University's College of Education, within the department of Psychological, Organizational, and Leadership Studies. Previously, he earned B.S. and M.Ed. degrees from East Stroudsburg University. Ed also completed a post-graduate certification program in Educational Administration at Alvernia University, and he completed post-graduate work in education, behavioral health/special education, and research at Saint Joseph's University. As an adjunct professor and lecturer at various institutions, Ed has developed courses in the areas of leadership theory, adolescent development, instructional coaching, educational administration, and education policy/law. Ed has served academia as the executive editor of the Journal of Education Policy, Planning and Administration (JEPPA); the executive editor of the Journal of Ethical Educational Leadership (JEEL); and as a peer reviewer for Current Issues In Education (CIE) and the Journal of Education & Research. For the past twenty years, Ed has gained valuable professional experience as a school administrator, adjunct professor, teacher, coach, and counselor in the public high school, college/university, and community agency settings. His areas of research and academic interest include: leadership & organizational behavior, philosophy & policy of secondary schools, adolescent learning & development, and qualitative research methods.

Lenore O’Donnell

Lenore O'Donnell has over 20 years' experience as an elementary school teacher in the Centennial School District. She graduated from West Chester University, majoring in Elementary Ed., voice and piano. She received a M.Ed. from Arcadia University, and continued her education at St. Joseph's University. As a proud alumnus of Thom Stecher and Associates, her teaching philosophy is grounded in educating the "whole child." She approaches differentiation instruction with "respectful" tasks in her classroom; learning experiences matched to the diverse needs of today's students.

Lenore is a curriculum resource teacher, and has been a frontrunner on professional development in her school district and the Bucks County Intermediate Unit. Her passion is to help novice and veteran teachers better understand differentiation in reading and mathematics, and the many exciting possibilities for breakthrough instruction. Lenore prides herself on providing high quality programs based on sound research, with an emphasis on practical strategies. Lenore's expertise, organization, and enthusiasm keep her seminars fast moving and filled with ideas you can implement in your classroom. From charts to posters, individual work folders and centers, her claim to fame is to "make and take," materials of your choice. You will leave her courses with effective and efficient instructional techniques and countless materials to utilize in your classroom immediately.

Lenore grew up in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and currently resides in Bucks County with her husband Michael, and two children.

Dr. Arlene O'Hara

Dr. Arlene O'Hara holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing as well as psychology. Arlene specializes in counseling children and adolescents. Her primary office is in New Britain, Bucks County, PA (near Doylestown). She has worked in the public health field for over 25 years, and has earned experience through her work in hospice care, home health care, and psychiatric nursing. She is experienced in play therapy and in the special needs of adolescents. Arlene recognizes that the family is most important in a child's life. She often does family counseling to benefit the client.

After years of working as a nurse and nursing supervisor, Arlene completed an additional Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, and received a Doctorate Degree in Counseling Psychology from Southern Cal University. She is a member of the Energy Psychology Association and the National Counselors Association. Arlene often includes these modalities into her practice to assist clients to gain inner strength to reach their full potential. She believes that only when we are truly heard and seen can we reach our goals.

Christopher Palochak

Christopher Palochak has taught in the Owen J. Roberts School District for 23 years.  During this time he has served as the Head Teacher at East Vincent Elementary for seven years, the drama director for 19 years, and the district's Odyssey of the Mind coordinator for 23 years.

Mr. Palochak earned his undergraduate degree at Slippery Rock University.  Christopher completed his Master's Degree and earned a Reading Specialist Certificate at West Chester University.  Additional graduate studies were completed at the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State, and at Neumann College via Thom Stecher with a focus on Social and Emotional Learning.

In addition to his studies and teaching experience, Chris has worked extensively with students helping them develop their creative personas.  Chris has trained students to perform on stage and in academic/creativity competitions at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  As an Odyssey of the Mind coach, Mr. Palochak's teams have been some of the most successful in Pennsylvania and have earned multiple state and world championships. 

Melissa D. Patschke

Melissa D. Patschke, Ed. D. (Missie) is a twenty-eight year veteran of public education. Missie has taught in a variety of special and regular education programs, worked at the middle and elementary levels, as well as served students from both urban and suburban areas.  Missie is the principal  of Upper Providence Elementary School in the Spring-Ford Area School District, Royersford, PA.  Missie is passionate about whole child philosophies, culturally responsive teaching, service learning projects, global educator connections, teacher leadership, principal mentoring, and collaborative school cultures.  In addition, Missie has hosted national webinars, trained national mentors, and published articles featuring best practices for schools.  Missie has shared her messages on the international platform through exchanges and collaborative projects. She presently serves her profession on the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principal and for the National Association of Elementary School Principals.  Through these respected networks, Missie partners with leaders across the nation to advocate on behalf of what's right for children and schools.

Krista Leh Rundell

Krista Leh Rundell is a graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Secondary Social Studies Education and a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Kutztown University. Krista is currently pursuing her doctorate in Education Leadership at Lehigh University while working as a graduate assistant for Lehigh's Center for Developing Urban Educational Leaders (CDUEL) and the University School Study Council (LUSSC).

She spent the first ten years of her career in education as a high school social studies teacher in the Pottsgrove School District. For the last five years, she served as a Curriculum and Instructional Technology Coach supporting KL12 teachers across the district in Rigorous Curriculum Design. In this role she assisted data teams with writing units of study around standards, creating common formative assessments, analyzing student achievement data, selecting effective, research-based instructional strategies, and designing Authentic Performance Tasks.

As an educational consultant with Thom Stecher and Associates, Krista works nation-wide with school staff and students on topics such as social emotional learning, diversity, anti-bullying, building a community, and freshmen transition programs. She also teaches graduate and master's level courses addressing educational research, curriculum, diversity, closing the achievement gap, and 21st century skills.

Most recently, Krista was one of twenty-six educators nation-wide selected for ASCD's 2012 class of Emerging Leaders. She is participating in a two-year program that "prepares young, promising educators to influence education programs, policy, and practice on both the local and national levels."

Anne Schober

Born in Birmingham, Alabama and having moved around the south and Midwest for most of my elementary years, Anne moved to Lancaster, PA when she was thirteen years old. She graduated from Gannon University in 1983 with an Associate's degree in Medical Assisting and from Millersville University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in English Education.

She has worked for fifteen years in both public education and private educational facilities and served as English Department Chairperson for eight years. In July of 2007, she was picked to work with Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers Foundation and is currently one of 400 educators worldwide certified as a Freedom Writer teacher. She has written two books, Teaching Hope and Heartprints. She is currently traveling and speaking to teachers, administrators and school boards about the importance of making connections and forming relationships through her business called Connections Count. She has been married to her husband, Mike, for 30 years and they have three children:  Michelle, 28; JoAnne, 26; and Stephen, 21. 

Christian Stecher

Christian's passion is bringing experiential education to life.  His natural ability to problem solve combined with his engineering background have enabled him to design and implement activities for all aged students.  He co-authored the book Real Genius at Play: Life Skills and Multiple Intelligences and designed many of the activities listed in the book. 

Christian has spent 10 years facilitating Adventures in Education programs for teachers and students including high and low ropes challenge courses.  He is also the designer of educational games utilized at the LifeSkills Conference, where he also mentors a group of Counselors in Training.

Christian designs and builds high and low ropes courses for schools and communities throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.  He also is a adjunct faculty member for Neumann University where he co-teaches Adventure Education and Experiential Education and Facilitation Skills.

Christian believes that all students are able to learn in their own way only if every educator is willing to take the time to figure out how.  

Pete Thompson

Pete has worked in the sport psychology and human development fields with Fortune 500 companies, collegiate athletes, as well as high school and middle school staff and students. He has co-developed Developmental Guidance curricula for two school districts, and taught both Graduate and Undergraduate courses for five colleges and universities. As a 30 year elite level swimming coach, Pete led his teams to a combined 23 league championships while developing numerous All-Americans and two future Olympians. He currently runs a private life coaching and sport psychology practice for adolescents ( while also serving as Director of Academic Excellence and Student Success at NYCC. Pete also presents for USA Swimming regarding positive psychology applications for student-athletes. He is completing his doctorate in Human Development at the University of Rochester.

Lisa Roth Walter

Lisa Roth Walter has accrued a wide variety of experiences in education. As a child in East Africa, she was home-schooled in Somalia and attended boarding school in Kenya. She experienced rural elementary school in Oregon, then urban junior high and private high school in Indiana. Through Goshen College, Lisa spent semesters teaching in Belize, Central America and England. After graduating with a BA in Elementary Education, she earned a Master's degree from Pennsylvania State University, specializing in Curriculum and Instruction. She has taught in Indiana, Washington DC area, and Pennsylvania. During her 25 plus years in education, she has taught 4th, 5th, 6th, and combined-grade classrooms. She has also spent five years as an instructional support teacher and intervention-based reading instructor.

Lisa is known for her strength in creating curriculum for a specified purpose and her presentation skills. Through an American Immigration Law Foundation grant, she has created literature-based curriculum for examining bias against Muslim Immigrants. Lisa has presented on a variety of education topics for Barnes and Nobel Company and Millersville University, as well as at the local, state and international level. At Penn Manor School District, she has lead or served on curriculum committees in all subjects. In addition, she has involved her students with volunteering for the Meals on Wheels Program.

Based on the Seven Habits of Successful People, Lisa is active in implementing the international Leader in Me Process. Through Franklin Covey she has received Seven Habits and Vision Training. In addition, she has focused on specialized leadership graduate studies.
An advocate for interactive education with all ages, Lisa believes active learning is just as important for adult learners as it is for young children. As a writing facilitator, she works with teachers to design lessons and help them find "what needs to be written" on a personal level. She sees writing as a powerful tool for healing.