President – Scott Steele
Scott Steele is the California Schools to Watch Director at California League of Schools. CLS produces multi-day professional development events for educators throughout California, guides the California Schools to Watch model schools program, and is involved in several federal grants. Scott is also involved in the California Middle-Grade Alliance and heads the CLS Educator of the Year program. Before joining CLS, Scott spent 33 years in the Clovis Unified School District as a middle school teacher, elementary principal, middle school principal (and former Schools to Watch principal) and Director of Educational Services. Scott is from Fresno, California and attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Past President – Ran Barnes
North Carolina Assoc. for Middle-Level Education
Ran Barnes has served for over fifteen years as a Board member for the North Carolina Association for Middle-Level Education. While on that Board, he has served as the Central Office Representative, Treasurer, and Past- President. In addition, Ran serves on the Board for the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. While serving on these Boards, Ran worked with the 2010 Investing in Innovation i3 grant for NC. This was a three-state collaboration with North Carolina, Illinois, and California. He is currently the state director for the SEED grant. This is a 4 state initiative with Michigan, California, North Carolina and Illinois. Ran is active in the Schools to Watch (STW) initiative in North Carolina. Each year he visits schools to help determine a school as a new STW or a redesignated STW.
Treasurer – David McDonald
Dr. David D. McDonald began his education career in 2001. He has served as a high school social studies teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal for 10 years prior to being named Assistant Superintendent for Middle Schools for the largest school district in South Carolina. In 2013, Dr. McDonald was named S.C. Middle-Level Principal of the Year and in 2017 was named the AMLE Educator of the Year. Well respected in numerous schools and states, Dr. McDonald works tirelessly to support middle-level education. His professional associations include serving as President of the South Carolina Association for Middle-Level Education, Schools to Watch State Co-Director, and as a board member for the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. Dr. McDonald earned a Bachelor’s degree from Winthrop University, a Master’s degree from Concordia University, and Educational Specialist and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of South Carolina.
Schools to Watch Fidelity Chair – Michelle Hayward
Michelle Hayward began her career as a teacher in 1989. She has served as teacher, and was principal at the elementary level as well as the middle level in a School to Watch middle school for 22 years before she became the Executive Director for Elementary and Middle Level Education for Fayetteville Public Schools in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech University, a Master’s degree from University of Central Arkansas and her Educational Specialist’s degree from Arkansas State University. In 2008 and in 2014, Michelle was named NAESP’s Middle School Principal of the Year for the State of Arkansas and she received AMLE Distinguished Educator of the Year in 2013. Among other honors, she was the recipient of the Charles A. Green Arkansas Administrator that Makes a Difference Award in 2014 and the Roderick McDavis Middle Level Leadership Award for Outstanding Contribution to Middle Level Education. Michelle has been a constant champion of the middle level and served in leadership roles, such as board member and officer in the Arkansas Association of Middle Level Administrators for 12 years as well as serving on the board of the Arkansas Association of Middle Level Educators as the state co-director for Arkansas Schools to Watch since 2014. Hayward served as a board member for the Association of Middle Level Educators from 2016-2019. She has been a member of the fidelity committee for the National Forum and is currently serving on the board as the Fidelity Committee Chair. She is married to Dr. Jacob Hayward, who is a middle school principal and they have 5 children and 7 grandchildren.
Superintendent Representative – Martinrex Kedziora
Dr. Martinrex Kedziora is the Superintendent for the Moreno Valley Unified School District. Originally, from Memphis, TN, Dr. Kedziora has been a middle school teacher, special education coordinator, K-8 Principal and Professional Development Director during his 30-year career. He serves as Chairman of the California League of Schools. As an Education Faculty member for National and Brandman Universities. He serves as a team member of CLS for the California Department of Education and the Middle Schools Alliance. He is a committee member of the Urban Education Committee for ACSA. He is the Chair of the Advocacy Committee for the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades, Vice President of the Moreno Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and on the advisory board for the Schools First Federal Credit Union.
Member at Large – Chris Cook
Dr. Chris Cook is a Professor of Middle Grades Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He earned his B.S. and M.A. from Appalachian State University and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. His current research and teaching interests focus on effective middle grades practices, current implementation of the “middle school concept”, and middle grades teacher preparation. Chris served as the former chair of the Middle Level Education Research Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association and currently serves as the state co-director of the North Carolina Schools to Watch program.
Middle Grades Principal Representative – Cathy Tomon
Cathy is principal of Bridges School, a 6-12 alternative school in Carteret County, North Carolina. She was the Executive Director of the North Carolina Association for Middle-Level Education and past President as well as the NC State Schools to Watch Director for 15 years. She is currently a board member of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Level Education. Cathy is a member of the Board of Directors for the Administration Division of NCAE (North Carolina Association of Educators) and is in her 7thyear as a member of the Penn State College of Education Board of Directors. In her community, she is a member of the Newport Planning Board and is Vice President of her homeowners' association. Dr. Tomon received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Penn State University, a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from East Carolina University and her Doctoral Degree in Administration and Supervision also from East Carolina University.
Advocacy Chair – Billy Pringle, Ed.D.
Billy Pringle serves as TASSP’s Associate Executive Director for Business Operations, Professional Development, Government Relations & High School-Level Services. TASSP is the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals and is located in Austin, Texas. Before TASSP, Billy spent 30 years in public education in Texas with 21 of those years as a principal at the middle-level. The last three years in public education were in Rockwall ISD in Rockwall, TX as Chief Administrative Officer for Secondary Schools. Billy and his wife Sheri currently reside in Georgetown, TX and have two children. Their son Brady is a graduate Biology student at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX . Their daughter Kayla is a recent graduate of the University of Texas-San Antonio.
Member At Large – Jessica Graham
Growing up in a family of educators, Jessica Graham knew that educating and nurturing students was her passion. After graduating in 2008 with her bachelors in 4-8 education, she first began teaching math and science in a 5th grade classroom. She quickly learned the importance of building relationships with her students, and how much support is needed during the crucial middle school years. Jessica began learning more about middle school initiatives when she was asked to be a writing team member for Schools to Watch at her middle school in Brookland, AR. Her team was designated as a School to Watch in 2011 and she was also part of the process when her middle school was redesignated in 2015. Her journey from a classroom teacher to an instructional facilitator began in 2016. In this position, she facilitates professional development for teachers, conducts co-teaching lessons with middle school best practices, oversees the building response to intervention programs, is a contributing member during professional learning communities, oversees curriculum, rigor, and pace. Jessica has been an active board member of the Arkansas Association of Middle Level Education since 2012. She has served roles such as Northeast Arkansas representative, secretary, president-elect, president, and is currently the associate executive director for the state of Arkansas. Through her work as an instructional facilitator and as the associate executive director of AAMLE, she has strived to improve academic and developmental outcomes for all students in the middle grades.
Member At Large - Sherry Shock
Dedicated to the core mission of ensuring students are prepared for success in college, work and life, Sherry leads a team of professionals focused on strengthening K-12 leadership and instruction, as Executive Director of the Institute for Excellence in Education since 2012. Recognizing that all schools must have effective leadership, ultimately inspiring teachers and engaging students, Sherry leads the way in offering innovative school improvement and professional development programs, impacting student and school success in Michigan and throughout the nation.
Sherry worked tirelessly to ensure an unwavering commitment to student achievement – going above and beyond to coach faculty and leadership to deliver excellence, and win for kids. Sherry’s talents were widely recognized as instrumental in growing and improving countless schools. Early on her journey, driven by a passionate belief that all children deserve a quality education, Sherry dedicated over 25 years to enriching the lives of students, where she made a difference, firsthand, while serving as a classroom teacher and school leader. Sherry remained committed to sharing best practices and overseeing the development and delivery of instructional programs for all students.
Maintaining a steadfast commitment to professional enrichment, Sherry completed the prestigious Gerstacker Fellowship Program in 2009, a selective program designed to expand and enhance the leadership skills of aspiring individuals. Prior to that, in 2007, recognized as an advocate for student success, she led White Pine Middle School to achieving Michigan’s Best and Excellence in Education Awards through a steadfast commitment to their service learning program. An emerging leader in the field, Sherry was recruited to serve on the Board of the Michigan Association of Middle School Educators from 2007 – 2010, where she advanced middle school beliefs and provided resources to educators, parents and communities designed to meet the unique needs of young adolescents in Michigan. Sherry’s recently published article, Failure is Not an Option highlights the success of one IEE school as they moved from the bottom 5% of schools in the state of Michigan to the top10%. Sherry’s influence spans the nation as she works collaboratively with the National Forum To Accelerate Middle-Grades reform as forum member and Michigan Project Director on their Investing in Innovation Grant (2013) and Supporting Effective Educator Grant (2015), awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. Sherry has attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Future of Learning (2010) program and Turnaround School Leaders (2015) program.
Sherry earned her Doctorate of Education from Walden University in 2021, Educational Specialist’s degree from Saginaw Valley State University in 2009, Master’s in Educational Administration, Master’s in Middle Level Education, and Bachelor’s in Education from Central Michigan University in 2003, 1999 and 1992, respectively. She is currently engaged in doctoral coursework at Walden University. Combined with her rich experience in public education, Sherry is widely recognized as an expert in the industry and has contributed much thought leadership through numerous professional development and presentation opportunities throughout the state and nation.