Research & Development Team
Sean Gyll received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Utah, where he was trained in both classic and modern test theories. He holds a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He has worked, published, and presented in the education, health care, and computer certification industries.
A highly trained and experienced researcher, Sean’s expertise represents all aspects of scientific inquiry, including:
Peiyu Lin joined TeacherMatch with a strong belief that education is the key to a lifetime of success, and teachers matter greatly to reach the goal. She also came with many years of experience in developing and managing assessments for school improvement, databases and database applications for processing and reporting data, and processes for collecting and utilizing data.
Peiyu Lin received her master‘s degrees in Computer Science and in Curriculum and Instruction from Loyola University Chicago. Her career history includes 18 years as the Student Information Systems Supervisor at Township High School District 214, seven years as a technical consultant for GAINS Education Group, and four years of teaching in a teaching college in China.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s in Education from the College of William and Mary, Elisabeth Brantley began her teaching career. She has now spent 20 years as a Special Educator in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Over the years, Elisabeth has worked with students from kindergarten through college in a variety of settings along the continuum of Special Education services. She has served as Department Lead Teacher for seven years and has assumed various leadership roles. In addition, she has presented at many professional conferences including those of the Virginia Middle School Association, The College of William and Mary Annual Symposium on Professional Collaboration and Inclusive Education, and an NCLB Dissemination Conference: Building Learning Communities to Close the Achievement Gap in Middle Schools. These presentations, as well as several within the school divisions, have focused on effective teaching practices for reaching all students.
Drew Carson is an applied psychologist with expertise at the intersection of educational and vocational psychology, assessment, and information technology. He has completed bachelor’s degrees in History from Harvard University and Information Technology from Kaplan University, a master’s degree in Human Development from The University of Texas at Dallas, and a doctorate in Counseling/Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. He has taught at the elementary, undergraduate, and graduate levels — and he has published extensively in the areas of educational research and assessment. His research includes the first independent study of the characteristics of National Board certified teachers. Before joining TeacherMatch, he managed test development projects for the Ball Foundation, Riverside Publishing, and Kaplan University (where he served as Director of Institutional Research).
Mike Coulter earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and education specialist degrees from Northwest Missouri State University, and has been an elementary educator for nearly 35 years. His experience includes serving as a second and third grade teacher, a K-6 principal, founding principal of an urban charter school, and a program instructor in a Department of Defense youth program. He has a passion for mathematics education, and for nearly 20 years, he has written, published, and coordinated the Math & Logic Contests — a series of nationwide math contests for students in grades 2-6, in which nearly half a million students have participated.
Throughout his career, Mike has been an advocate for change in the way math and other curricula is taught and learned in our schools, facilitating numerous workshops for educators in mathematics, data interpretation, school change, and other topics. He is enthused about the work being done by TeacherMatch to improve the processes used by schools to employ and retain quality teaching staffs.
Connie Donovan, Ed.D., earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Loyola University in Chicago. She has held positions as a high school English teacher, Dean of Students, Department Chair, Assistant Principal, Assistant Superintendent, university professor, and consultant in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Arizona. This experience has provided her with the opportunity to observe and participate in a wide swath of the education landscape from multiple perspectives, to see what works and what does not, and to recognize the crucial national and global importance of the roles of schools and teachers in the 21st century. As a high school and district administrator, Connie co-created one of the first Illinois magnet school programs in Elgin District U-46 in partnership with area hospitals, businesses, and Elgin Community College. As a consultant, Connie works with school districts and other organizations in various areas of professional development and training — focusing primarily on leadership, curriculum, and assessment.
Lindsay Driscoll’s career in education began with an internship teaching algebra to gifted inner city students with the Breakthrough Collaborative. This nonprofit organization serves high potential, low-income students and consistently appears on Princeton Review’s Top Ten Internships ranking. At the end of Lindsay’s internship, her Breakthrough students recognized her as the “Teacher of the Summer.” Lindsay has since taught sixth grade mathematics for eight years. During her second year as a classroom teacher, the National Middle School Association honored Lindsay and three of her teammates as grand prize recipients of the Teams that Make a Difference Award. Since receiving national recognition, Lindsay and her teammates have presented at national, state, county, and school conferences on how to integrate service-learning into an already full curriculum. After her fourth year as a classroom teacher, Lindsay decided to further her education and earned her Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame, finishing first in her class and receiving Summa Cum Laude honors.
Christina H. Felix, Ph.D., is an educational consultant in assessment and curriculum in English Language Arts. Her areas of focus include curriculum alignment, interdisciplinary literacy, general and alternative education, and the integration of technology and literacy. Christina has worked as a K-12 literacy coach, college instructor, a school improvement coach for the New Hampshire Department of Education, and a content expert for numerous Common Core State Standards projects. Christina’s experience as a teacher and assessment specialist has focused on increasing the emphasis on interdisciplinary literacy and creating inclusive, accessible, and rigorous assessment materials. Foremost an educator and writer, Christina balances writing assessments with providing professional development workshops for teachers with the aim of improving student achievement in sustainable educational communities. It is this aim that has brought Christina to TeacherMatch.
Dean Gene is an experienced K-12 professional with degrees in biology and secondary education methods. He also has a broad range of expertise in the field of educational assessment. Currently, Dean is the owner/operator of DNG Consulting Inc. in St John’s NL, Canada, providing services to organizations in the United States, Canada and the Middle East. His diverse background includes roles as a science teacher/department head with the Eastern School Board, St. John’s NL; a Provincial Coordinator for national and international assessment programs such as SAIP, PISA, TIMSS and PCAP with the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) in Toronto, Ont. Canada; a Senior Assessment Specialist and Test Development Manager with Harcourt Assessment in San Antonio, TX, U.S; and a Senior Assessment Specialist and Content Lead for Riverside Publishers in Chicago, IL, U.S. Dean has worked closely with many other well-known organizations and test publishing companies, including Pearson, CTB-McGraw Hill, Curriculum Associates, and EducQuest.
Alexis Jones has worked in several educational arenas in Central Illinois. Her background is in elementary schools, where she taught for 12 years in high poverty districts. In 2001, she became one of her school district’s first National Board Certified Teachers, and recently renewed her Master’s Certificate. In 2006, she received her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, leaving the classroom to pursue a district position in staff development and curriculum writing. Since then, Alexis has been a co-collaborator on two successful Department of Education Teaching American History Grants and one statewide New Teacher Induction and Mentoring Grant. She has planned, implemented, and evaluated a number of in-services for her EC-12th grade district on topics including gifted education, differentiated instruction, and hands-on mathematics.
Molly M. Lim, Ed.D., is a multilingual educator with more than 20 years of experience in teaching, curriculum development, testing and evaluation, assessment and accreditation, teacher education, and research. Molly has taught in the U.S., Japan, China and Singapore in elementary, university and graduate level education, preparing students to become teachers and administrators in the U.S. public schools. She earned an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where her doctoral research focused on teacher empowerment, and holds a master’s degree in TESOL from the SIT Graduate Institute. Molly has worked very closely with standards, curriculum frameworks, and competencies in a variety of capacities — and has worked with testing companies in the U.S. and abroad, developing and editing high-stakes tests in various subject areas, as well as providing statistical analyses. Fluent in seven languages, Molly is a language consultant to many organizations around the world, and provides translation and interpretation trainings for the Department of Defense, as well as other organizations globally.
An Illinois Master Teacher, Ellen Jo Ljung, M.S., spent nearly 30 years teaching in public schools. For the last 24 of those years, she taught at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where she created the Learning Skills Center, which is designated as a National Council of Teachers of English National Center of Excellence. Author of two textbooks that integrate technology and process writing, Ellen pioneered the use of handhelds in the classroom. She founded the Glenbard West Tech Squad and WIMS, a mentoring program for young women in math and science. Committed to ensuring that all students are safe to learn, she helped students found the Glenbard Gay-Straight Alliances in 1998 and continues that commitment today through her work as a Board member of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance. Originally trained as an English teacher and Reading Consultant, Ellen has focused on teacher development and constructivist teaching and learning since her retirement from public school teaching.
Dave Pinkerton specializes in translating the most recent findings from educational research into effective and practical classroom practice. He bases his curriculum design, professional development delivery, and educational research implementation on decades of successful classroom teaching, curriculum innovation, and classroom-based research. He has helped design and write numerous curricula, including chemistry and physics lessons for project SCALE (a NSF funded systemic reform grant implemented in several U.S. urban centers), pedagogical content knowledge for ViSTA (a NSF professional development online, video-based course), and BSCS Science: An Integrated Approach (a NSF funded three-year sequence of textbooks, which Dave helped design and write). With a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, as well as dozens of publications to his credit, Dave has the experience to diagnose, analyze, and resolve new curriculum challenges in ways that promote increased performance for all students.
Sandy Richert holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction. For more than 30 years, she has been an educator in K-12 and at the post secondary undergraduate and graduate level. She has worked as a high school teacher, instructional services support teacher, and curriculum director in a Wisconsin school district. Currently, Sandy is teaching graduate courses at two Wisconsin universities and reviewing electronic portfolios for candidates seeking administrative licenses. She has extensive experience and skill in curriculum and assessment development, student learning and engagement, collaborative leadership, teacher development, continuous improvement, and system development. Her focus on “what is best for students and student learning” has been the foundation of her philosophy, collaborative discussions, and decisions. She has helped lead local and statewide initiatives impacting students PK-12 with numerous presentations and published articles.
Hilary Rosenthal received her undergraduate degree in Social Studies Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana, earning Phi Beta Kappa and Bronze Tablet status. She then attained her M.Ed. from National-Louis University and has spent 30 years teaching a range of social studies classes to middle and high school students. Administratively, Hilary served as Team Leader for the Social Sciences department at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and Director of the Glenbrook Academy of International Studies. She was chosen by the state of Illinois to serve on committees that drafted the standards and benchmarks for students in social studies as well as test development for certification of teachers in social studies core and psychology. Through the American Psychological Association, she was one of five members of a task force charged with updating the national Standards for High School Psychology, the version currently in use. Hilary has also held leadership positions in professional organizations, including the Illinois Council for the Social Studies and the American Psychological Association’s Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools.
Susan Smith is an experienced educator with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Her career has been largely devoted to studying and teaching personality assessment as a way to better understand and predict behavior. Her primary focus has been exploring the roles of “personality traits” and their many applications, including career satisfaction, relational dynamics, and interpersonal style. Additionally, Susan assesses and counsels students with learning differences, behavior problems, and social disorders — and has conducted psycho-educational evaluations for private, public, charter, and alternative schools. As an instructor, Susan has taught in classroom, individualized, and distance learning formats. She has evaluated children for alternative academic placements and has visited and consulted with schools and treatment centers around the country. Susan has a doctorate in clinical psychology and maintains a clinical practice.
Catherine Wilkinson earned her master’s degree in Instructional Technology from Appalachian State University. Following a teaching career that spanned 23 years, she began working in the educational corporate world, serving as a consultant for a variety of educational firms. Catherine helped design and deliver high-quality teacher trainings, addressing ways to implement the state standards and the common core. She has traveled around the United States, using her skills in technology and educational software, as well as her knowledge of standards, to assist teachers in making sound decisions in their classrooms. She has also contracted with many companies to create, write, edit, and revise curriculum. After 14 years in the corporate world, Catherine has decided to return to the classroom, bringing her passion for education and her ability to incorporate her years of knowledge in a real-world setting.
Sherry Booth is a Research Associate at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University. Sherry is interested in the application of qualitative research methods to study innovative and effective uses of technology to support teaching and learning. Currently, Sherry leads the design and implementation of research for the Connected Educators project funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Her current responsibilities also include the evaluation of North Carolina’s implementation of its federal Race to the Top grant. Before coming to the Friday Institute, Sherry served as Senior Curriculum Developer for online mathematics professional development courses for teachers. She has also developed, implemented, and evaluated numerous professional development programs for teachers, including programs supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, Ford Academy of Motor Sciences, IBM, and the Chicago Public Schools. Sherry holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Sweet Briar College; an Ed.M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education; and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from North Carolina State University.