Darlene Bassett, M.Ed in literacy, is a passionate and driven Educational Consultant credited with transforming educational institutions across multiple states and school districts - locally, nationally, and internationally. She has a strong expertise in student assessment of reading comprehension and literacy skills, is highly accomplished in curriculum development, facilitating faculty training, classroom instruction (ELA K-12), and improving educational program design. Darlene passionately believes that every child can learn to read and write and is resolute in her belief that all teachers can learn to teach every child, K-12.
Darlene joined the School Supports Team in the fall of 2017 as the ELA Consultant for the team providing ELA support for identified schools throughout the state based on their individual needs. Some examples of her work are: writing in the content area (6-8), supporting teachers as they implement reading programs, and faculty training around assessment tools; i.e. running records. In early 2018, Darlene worked closely with schools in Washington County to develop a pilot implementing Jan Richardson’s Guided Reading Model in 11 schools. This training was offered in Central Maine and Aroostook County in the fall of 2018.
Following the identification of schools in 2019, Darlene Bassett will be available to collaborate with identified schools. This may include (but is not limited to): coaching teachers, providing staff development, supporting the implementation of a reading program, targeting instructional needs in classrooms, reviewing data, writing and implementing a plan to improve student success for all students… whatever your literacy need is within the parameters of ESSA.
Marsha came to the School Improvement Team at MDOE in 2008 to work as a coach with the Continuous Improvement Priority Schools. Her background includes years as an elementary classroom teacher at various levels, a dozen years as an elementary school principal, and director of Title I programing, project director of the Content Literacy Grant at USM for over 60 Maine schools, and serving five years at MDOE as a Distinguished Educator working in local assessment. She earned both her undergraduate degree and her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership at the University of Maine at Orono. She is trained and certified in Cognitive Coaching by ASCD. (Garmston, Costa & Wellman)
She is a life-long learner, recently completing her Yoga Teacher Training with a concentration in Mindfulness-Based Meditation Practices. She is committed to both personal and professional growth and development and is excited to be a part of continuous school improvement in Maine.
Steve is a retired superintendent of schools who became a member of the School Improvement Team at DOE in 2011. He received his B.S. from Springfield College in 1972-his M ED. from Orono in 1973 and completed 27 hours towards his C.A.S.
Steve began his career in Education as a teaching/principal in Bradford, Maine and for the next 20+ years held various K-8 principal positions. Two of Steve's significant accomplishments as a principal-- in 1980 he was selected as one of 12 elementary principals to attend the first Maine Principal's Academy, and in 1984 was chosen as one of 10 Elementary-Middle school principals to attend the USM Assessment Center and became a trainer for perspective new principals.
In 1996-97 Steve became a Distinguished Educator for the DOE in Title I--doing site reviews and working with schools who wanted to implement the Schoolwide program. From 1998-2010 Steve was a superintendent of schools including 4 years in Monmouth, his hometown, which is a K-6, 7-8, 9-12 system and the K-6 school in the Henry L. Cottrell school, named for his father. Steve's strengths include leadership, decision making, team building, and the ability to make positive impacts.
He is a firm believer in Russ Quaglia's--retired UMO professor- motto "CHANGE IS A PROCESS--NOT AN EVENT"
Steve and Marsha have been married for 45 years and they enjoy traveling, especially visiting their daughter in Park City, Utah and taking cruises.
Ann Dooling is currently a leadership coach on the Maine Department of Education’s School Support Team. She joined MDOE’s consulting team in 2009, as a CIPS (Continuous Improvement Priority Status Schools) consultant, under NCLB (No Child Left Behind Act). MDOE’s school improvement titles may have changed since 2009, from ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) to ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), but the Maine Department of Education’s focus of working collaboratively to design and implement school improvement plans with the goal of improving student performance remains the same.
Ann has worked with many different schools in multiple regions of the state over the past nine years. Statewide she has discovered hard-working, dedicated, professional, educators who strive to provide a quality education for the young people in their buildings. Ann states the school improvement work is ever changing, but always remains rewarding!
Ann’s professional background includes eleven years as a classroom teacher, and twenty-three years as a school administrator. Ann earned a B.S. degree in Elementary Education from the University of Maine Farmington, and a M.Ed. in School Administration from the University of Maine.
Kathryn (Kathy) Elkins
With 30 years of leadership experience, a Masters degree in Educational Administration and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership, Kathy considers herself a “Big Picture Person” from both a school and district perspective. However, she also attends to details required in analyzing data, making improvement plans and evaluating progress. Kathy used these skills as she coordinated K-12 curriculum, assessment systems, professional development, instructional coaching staff, Title I School-wide programming, and serving as an interim principal.
Kathy came to education through a different pathway…she taught nutrition classes in hospital settings before becoming a Culinary Arts teacher at the tech center in Augusta. Kathy enjoyed seeing students achieve an understanding of culinary theory plus the applied cooking skills. Having high expectations and the belief in the capabilities of her struggling students became the foci of her educational leadership career. Advocating for all students’ academic, social and emotional success were the driving forces in her leadership positions in Augusta, Wells-Ogunquit, and MSAD #17 school districts.
There are many reflective practices that promote leadership growth. Using listening skills and clarifying questioning, a leadership coach is able to support administrators as they build on their strengths to best lead their staff in optimizing the teaching and learning process. Vera Wang, designer, once said, “Quite often, we are the last to know that we possess a reservoir of strength, an ability to persevere.” As a leadership coach, Kathy looks forward to helping administrators find their strengths and perseverance to succeed.
Frances Farr has been a School Leadership Coach these past ten years, working in concert with principals from schools across the state. Formerly, she served as a middle school principal, language arts teacher and independent consultant on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and aspects of middle school philosophy. Her experiences as an educational leader extended beyond the schoolhouse to roles as a mentor/coach, and then as facilitator of the Maine Principals’ Association Mentoring Program. Additionally, now in its fourth year, she continues to co-facilitate the Transformational Leaders’ Network (TLN), a program of leadership growth and development provided to priority school principals.
A career highlight is the comprehensive two-year plan Fran designed and implemented. Focused on developing school culture, climate, teambuilding and distributive leadership skills, she blended her middle school staff and student body with two elementary schools into a new sixth through eighth grade complex. This experience led to Fran working with five other schools and their new facility construction projects.
Using her skills as a competent communicator, visionary and collaborative team player, Fran follows the example set by Lao Tzu, “As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence…When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, “We did it ourselves.” She looks forward to continued participation in her role as a School Leadership Coach as she strives to enrich and expand the capacity of school leadership across the State of Maine.
After a twenty-three-year career in cabinet making and carpentry, Al found his way into education. During a break from carpentry he volunteered at a local school and, not only did he thoroughly enjoy working with the students, he also realized the exciting challenge teachers faced each day. Al began taking night courses and after several years graduated with a BS in Elementary Education. His first position was as the lead teacher in a behavioral program.
Working in the behavioral program required course work in Special Education and provided an experience that would later influence his classroom teaching and his role as an administrator. From the behavioral program Al went on to teach second grade for seven years and then he went back to Special Education as a teaching department head. During Al’s sixteen years in various teaching roles he also participated in many of the district-wide curriculum and assessment committees. If asked, Al would say there was no one defining moment or one person, rather there were multiple moments working with wonderful educators. He truly enjoys working with people and sees every collaborative moment as an opportunity to learn.
Al is a new member of the Maine Department of Education School Supports Team. He believes it is a privilege to enter into a school community and be a resource for school-wide teams. Al’s strength lies in his ability to listen, and he considers his role is to support people in their work. He believes if you provide teachers with the consistent time to meet, and the necessary resources, they will develop a positive environment through which they can set common goals that help them move toward their own potential and the potential of their students.
Steve has 42 years experience in education. His career started as a high school English teacher at Lewiston High School (1976-90), and then progressed to assistant principal (1990-93) and principal (1990-2008) at Hall-Dale High School. He retired as principal in 2008 and then connected with the Maine Department of Education as a school improvement coach.
During his time as coach, he has worked with elementary, middle, and high schools in both small rural and large urban areas. His passion rests with developing leadership capacity, not only with administrators but also with aspiring teacher leaders as well. He has provided assistance to schools in developing a mission and vision to guide their school improvement work. He has also helped leadership teams examine the current status of culture and climate within the school and to develop strategies to improve both. He co-facilitates the Transformational Leadership Network (TLN) – a program to provide support and professional development to principals of priority schools through the State of Maine.
Steve also has extensive experience with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Public Secondary Schools, chairing well over 20 reaccreditation visits throughout New England. He has also worked with NEASC and the Commission on International Education assisting schools with their reaccreditation in Europe, Asia, and Indonesia. Steve has a BS in English (UMPG), a M.S. Ed. in Secondary Reading (USM), and a C.A.S. in Educational Leadership (UMO).
Jeanne Malia started her career in public education in 1975. Her first position was as a special education teacher in the Portland Public Schools. In 1988, she transitioned to special education administration. She was the Assistant Director of Special Education in Portland followed by Director positions in South Portland and Falmouth.
In 1997, Jeanne traded in her L.L. Bean boots for flip flops when she moved to California. She continued as a special education administrator for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. In 2000, she transferred to the Los Angeles Unified School District and the field of literacy. She became a Coordinator for the District Reading Program in East Los Angeles and South Central Los Angeles. This assignment reinforced her skills in the implementation of effective teaching and learning strategies for English Language Learners and Standard English Learners. This position also gave her many opportunities to provide professional development for literacy coaches, teachers, administrators and parent groups.
In 2011, Jeanne traded her flip flops back to her L.L. Bean boots and returned to Maine. She was honored to be named the principal of Riverton Elementary in Portland. Riverton Elementary is one of the most diverse elementary schools in the state. It was also a School Improvement School. Jeanne supported her school in working through the change process, analyzing school-wide academic and social-emotional data, developing action plans, structuring systems for continuous improvement and celebrating successes!
Jeanne is looking forward to continuing this critical work as a School Support Leadership Coach. Jeanne’s mantra over her years of experience has been and will continue to be, “Yes, We Can and Yes, We Will!”
Teri joined the DOE, School Support Team in August 2018, after having worked summers for the previous two years. In her roll of PD Coordinator, Teri’s skills in written and verbal communication, organization, multi-tasking, and prioritizing makes keeping all persons involved in delivering quality professional development to our educators on task and target.
Teri received a BS in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UMO and took her first job with the federal agency of Agricultural and Stabilization & Conservation Service where she spent several years measuring set aside acreage and working directly with the farmers of Central Maine. She has over thirty years’ experience in tax preparation, over a decade as a Title I teacher supervising eight Educational Technicians in two schools. While in the field of education she was selected as the only teacher in Maine to be selected to attend a training in ground breaking technique in working with special needs at the University of the Ozarks. She was also the co-founder of the AChIEVE organizations offering PD for Title I Educational Technicians that continues still. From the education field Teri then went into owning and running a seasonal restaurant in Midcoast Maine. There she supervised twelve employees and was involved daily in every aspect of the business.
Teri has a strong work ethic and is a lifelong learner. Her attention to detail and love of the world of education make her very effective in her role as School Supports Professional Development Coordinator.
Alan W. Pfeiffer
Al Pfeiffer has been a School Leadership Coach on the MDOE School Supports Team and DirigoStar Supports Specialist for the past nine years. During this time he has worked with school leadership teams and central offices to listen, look and learn about their systems and make suggestions related to school improvement. Al has presented nationally focusing on his advocacy for schools and school reform in Maine.
Prior to working for MDOE, Al was a teacher, building principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent of schools. His history in schools and the different roles that he had provide him with a strong foundation of how schools can increase student achievement. Al’s attributes include being a collaborator, instructional leader, communicator, organizational manager, technology integrator and change agent. Al has been passionate about school improvement and cultivating teacher and system leaders. He has led his staff and administrators through school reform. He has been able to transfer these skills into all aspects of educational success for schools. One of Al’s school reform accomplishments was working with the Continuous Improvement Priority Schools. By working with school leadership and personnel, he led districts to increased student achievement and staff success. Some of those aspects were building capacity by coaching teacher leaders, designing data teams to support student assessment and achievement, leading professional development initiatives and implementing and aligning curriculum along with managing all ESEA Title programs and other grants. Al’s career has taken him throughout the State of Maine. He earned his B.S., M.ED. and C.A.S. from the University of Maine at Orono.
Al has the knowledge, insights and strong interpersonal skills to assist schools, leaders and communities to develop and maintain strong and sound educational foundations for sustainability and success. Strong communication skills, both verbal and written; the building of teams in a collaborative atmosphere; boundless enthusiasm and commitment to doing a job well by maintaining and sustaining interpersonal relationships are many of the strengths Al brings to the workplace. These experiences, along with the breadth and depth of knowledge as a preK-12 leader, have provided Al the skillset and capacity needed to support all endeavors in these challenging times in education.
Amy Peterson-Roper began her career working in education settings supporting Maine’s youngest learners. After working for 13 years as a Montessori educator, she taught Kindergarten at Downeast Elementary School in Bangor. In 2005, she was hired as the elementary principal in Ellsworth, Maine. Amy retired after 33 years in both private and public education in 2017.
As a school leader in Ellsworth, her vision led to constructive changes that created better outcomes for her school community. She worked with the school teaching staff to create and implement a Response to Intervention process that supported increased student achievement. She guided her district to create and implement a healthy PBIS program that led to a positive school environment and decreased negative student behavior. She also led an initiative to bring school staff together weekly to create a focused practice to analyze relevant data that, in return, improved both teaching and learning.
Amy was hired as a School Support Leadership Coach in 2017 and has enjoyed working with principals and school leadership teams. She believes that when teams collaboratively build upon their own competencies and focus on student progress, positive growth will be the outcome.
Kim Schroeter joined the Maine Department of Education, School Improvement Team, in the fall of 2018, as a mathematics school support coach. Her goal is to support educators to strengthen their practice and implement standards-based curriculum, instruction and assessment. Kim has extensive experience in mathematics education and implementation of standards-based curriculum, instruction and assessment.
Kim started her career as a mathematics and science teacher and a high school track coach. She received her M.S. Ed. degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Maine. While in graduate school, her academic focuses were on curriculum development and mathematics education. This background allowed her to pursue positions in the areas of mathematics, assessment and curriculum development for Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, Measured Progress and the Maine Department of Education. She finished her career as a director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for a Maine school department. Her major accomplishments were working with teacher leaders to design a comprehensive RTI system for literacy and start the redesign of the district’s preK-12 curriculum using the Understanding by Design framework.
In her free time, Kim fills her need of adventure by traveling, biking and hiking the road less traveled.
Shelly Simpson joined the Maine Department of Education School Supports Team in 2017. Prior to her retirement in 2014, she taught Grade 3 for 24 years, and was Principal of the Pittston School in MSAD#11 for nine years. After retirement she was hired as an Educator Effectiveness Coach/Consultant with the TIF/TEPG grant. In her position as Coach she provided Professional Development to both teachers and administrators in the areas of evaluation and observation, understanding how to use the National Board Professional Teaching Standards to improve teaching and learning, the use of Student Learning Objectives, and Professional Practice Goals.
During her tenure as Principal of the Pittston School, she and her staff worked diligently using data and targeted instruction to bring the once low performing school to a recognized High Performing School by the State of Maine. She is thrilled to be a part of the State Supports Team so she may continue to work with school leaders and teachers to support their work as they move toward achieving academic and instructional goals for all students.
Al Struck moved to Maine with his wife, daughter and soon to be delivered first son in 1972. He had just finished his MS in Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska and wanted to use the skills he had learned there in a classroom setting.
HIs first position was in Gardiner as a special ed teacher for children with mental retardation. That morphed into a resource room position in 74’. He applied for and was hired as the first Special Ed Director in SAD 17. In 82’ Al and his family (add one more son) moved to Bethel, Alaska where he was Special Ed Director of a school district that was the size of the state of Maine. He returned to Maine in 84’ and was hired as Special Ed Dir at SAD57. During the 10 years he worked there, he was named Special Director of the year and also School Administrator of the year by MASCD. It was at that point that Sweetser Children Services hired him to become their Director of Educational Services. In 96’ his wife was hired by the Department of Defense to be a physical therapist stationed in Germany. Al recalls this was one of the best gigs he ever had. He subbed pre-K through 8th grade and was hired as a 5th grade language arts teacher for the three years they stayed there. When he returned to the states he was hired as the principal at the Islesboro school on Islesboro, which was a K-12 school. There he learned that Elementary Education was where he wanted to work as a principal. After two years on the island he moved to VT where he was principal at the Dothan Brook elementary school, K-6. After 5 years in the Green Mountains his final position was as the principal at Oxford Elementary School, pre-k-6. He retired in 2010 after 38 years in public and private education. He was quickly hired by the MDOE to be a School Improvement Coach that fall and has been working there, happily, ever since.
You may have noticed a pattern in Al’s journey, that is always returning to Maine. It is here he grew as a teacher, Director and Principal. Now, as a coach, he has a deep well of skills developed over his career to reach into with which to assist other principals and school improvement teams. For instance-
- He listens and reflects on what the members of the team are saying and uses visioning techniques to develop statements of where they want to be within a certain timeframe. Then he works with them to create a plan to get there. He digs deeply into these plans to assist team members to look at what steps they need to take to reach that goal.
- As a Leadership Coach he has had extensive experience with the Indistar system that all of you will be using to monitor your plans.
- His special education background coupled with his Regular Ed teaching and principal experiences has given him a unique perspective on the RTI process development and use of resources to assist teachers in differentiating instruction.
George Tucker was a teacher for ten years and a school administrator for 22 years including ten years as principal of a Maine high school of 1000 students. Joining the Maine Department of Education as a Distinguished Educator in 2001, George worked onsite with five Maine districts in a two-year pilot to develop Maine’s Title1 school improvement process.
In the past 16 years, George has been the School Leadership Coach for 55 identified Title1 schools in Maine as well as for five high schools that were awarded School Improvement Grants. Along with his contractor position as a School Leadership Coach with the MDOE he established a private consulting practice that focused on building internal capacity in schools, responding to MEA and SAT data analysis and developing formative assessment practices and procedures. That private practice took him to 61 additional schools in six years. In total, he has worked in 65 elementary and middle schools and 51 high schools in Maine. During this time, George was a lecturer in the graduate program for formative assessment at the University of New England and has presented at nine national conferences on topics of formative assessment and school improvement.
He points to developing the Transformational Leadership Network for the MDOE as a significant, lasting accomplishment. The TLN offers principals of identified schools an opportunity to meet and engage in collaborative problem-solving seven times each year. George is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maine at Farmington working onsite with seven high schools to establish math coaching systems. He is most experienced in leadership team development, data analysis and formative assessment.