Masters Degree: Meet the Faculty

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.

Maureen Cloonan-Greenawalt

Mrs. Maureen Cloonan-Greenawalt, MEd, cert in MFT

Maureen’s educational experience is rich with over 20 years in secondary school counseling. She started her career with 7 years at the High School Level working with 9th – 12th grade students and families.

In 1999, she was hired by Quakertown Community School District as the district's first Middle Schools' Crisis Counselor and worked in this role for nine years. Currently, she works full time at Strayer Middle School in Quakertown primarily as the 6th grade counselor.

Maureen’s knowledge, passion, and commitment to students, parents and educators can be easily felt in her engaging teaching style. Maureen likes to keep her classes experiential while challenging the participants to go inward. This inside out approach allows for rich personal discovery and transformation. Maureen brings humor to her work and wants her students to truly enjoy her classes, learn a lot, and apply the content to meet their individual goals.

Maureen’s education background includes a Post-Masters certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Chestnut Hill College; M.Ed. - Secondary School Counseling from Kutztown University; and B.S. - Business Administration, Minor in Psychology, Minor in Theater Dance from The University of New Hampshire.

Karen Davies

Karen Davies is an educator employed at Phoenixville Area School District and has a M.S. in Chemistry. Karen has been teaching in the classroom for 14 years, while fulfilling such roles as PSSA coordinator and held such positions as club advisor to the academic team and Green Club. For the last few years, she has been co-teaching chemistry and is a strong advocate of the co-teaching environment. Her current passion is establishing and setting the framework of the mentorship program at her high school. She prides herself on setting a respectful tone in her classroom and in the school community, integrating 21st century skills into her daily lessons, and helping all students achieve their highest potential through a structured, challenging, and caring environment. Karen’s engaging and interactive teaching style provides relevant, meaningful instruction in a dynamic setting to students.

Karen is an active learner, and enjoys taking courses as much as she leads them. Her specialization is in the multiple intelligences of each child and helping teachers use 21st century skills in their classroom. Some other topics of interest to her are differentiated instruction, teaching students of an ESL background, and inquiry instruction. Her years of teaching include educating children with varying levels of autism, emotional disturbances, learning disabilities, physical limitations and English as a second language. Karen enjoys discussions of diversity issues and what is necessary to close achievement gaps. She actively celebrates the unique and special differences within each of us with the community at large.

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.

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.”

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.”

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.  

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. Erik Orndorff

Erik has been employed by the Pequea Valley School District since 2000. He taught 6th grade Communication Arts at Pequea Valley Intermediate School for four years, was Assistant Principal at Pequea Valley Intermediate School for two years, was Principal of Pequea Valley Intermediate School for three years, was Director of Curriculum and Instruction for two years and began his tenure as Superintendent in 2012. Before coming to Pequea Valley, he taught for two years in the Warwick School District and five years in the Eastern York School District. Erik received his Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Lebanon Valley College, his Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Shippensburg University, and his Principalship and Doctorate degree in education from Immaculata University. Erik is married to Melissa and has two daughters, Olivia and Brooke.

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. 

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.”

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 Nuemann 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. 

Matthew Walsh

Matt Walsh has spent almost 25 years in public education. He taught 4th and 5th grades for ten years in the North Penn School District then was as an elementary school principal for eight years in both the North Penn and Neshaminy School Districts. In his current role, Matt is the Wissahickon School District’s Director of Elementary Education and works closely with teachers and administrators on elementary curriculum and instruction, professional development offerings for staff, as well as coordinating and planning the development and evaluation of the elementary program.

Matt is currently enrolled in a Doctoral program through Gwynedd Mercy University with a concentration in Educational Leadership. In addition, Matt holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida, and holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Arcadia University. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Matt has also taught graduate courses through the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit and Gwynedd Mercy University. His passion is the education of the whole child through social-emotional learning, and the philosophy that all students can learn and it is a shared responsibility to educate our children. Matt lives in Montgomeryville, PA with his wife and two elementary-aged girls.