Syntiro's Board of Directors
Kathryn Markovchick brings more than 30 years of experience conducting and overseeing systemic change activities. She has worked as a special education teacher, administrator and university faculty member and now, as the President of Syntiro. The scope of her work is extensive, from designing and delivering statewide professional development to managing myriad state and federal contracts. Kathryn earned her doctoral and masters degrees in learning and behavior disorders and experiential education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Currently, she serves as director of the Maine State GEAR UP Program under contract from the Maine Department of Education. As President of Syntiro, Kathryn oversees more than $2 million dollars in grants, contracts and fee-for-service activities in professional development, college access projects, technical assistance and organizational development activities. She is credited, with colleague Corda Ladd Kinzie, with developing the research-based Celebratory Learning model of engaged teaching and learning. Her mission is to facilitate the change process with care, thought and purpose. Kathryn is a vibrant leader, facilitator, educator and mentor who uses a balance of "hands-on/heads-on" experience and theory in all of her work.
Debbie Gilmer is the Executive Director of Syntiro where she directs the Center for Self-Determination, Health & Policy, the Maine High School Equivalency Program (HEP) funded by the US Department of Education's Office of Migrant Education; and the Employment for ME Workforce Development System funded by the Maine Departments of HHS and Labor. She is active on Employment First ME, and is President of the Maine APSE chapter. Debbie is a board member of the Disability Rights Center. She previously co-directed the Maine State GEAR UP program, the Healthy & Ready to Work National Resource Center and was the Associate Director of UMaine's Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies where, among many programs, she worked statewide to build the capacity of schools to support all students in inclusive classrooms. She has directed numerous state and federally funded projects in the areas of employment, transition, health care, inclusive education and positive behavior supports and is a well-regarded presenter and teacher. Previously she was a high school special education teacher and regional transition coordinator.
Shelley Reed is the current Chair of the Maine Charter School Commission. MCSC is charged through legislation with the authorizing and oversight of up to 10 public charter schools including any virtual charter schools in Maine. She is also affiliated with the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine developing trainings to support the work of communities initiating restorative practices. Working in the career of education for 38 years Shelley retired from the Department of Education in 2011 as the consultant for Truancy, Dropout, Alternative Education, and Homeless Youth. This work with students-at-risk led to membership on Keeping Maine’s Children Connected, Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, Shared Youth Vision Council, multiple task forces, and preparation of legislation on behalf of Maine's youth. Previous to DOE experience Shelley taught first and second grade in Auburn and was an elementary school counselor in Lewiston. She enjoys kayaking, gardening, the beach, and diving into a good book. Wayne is home to her and husband David. Her three grown children reside in Vermont, Uganda, and Taiwan.
Since 1991, Judy has been an independent education professional serving clients primarily in AL, CA, CT, IA, ME, MA, NC, OR, TX, and WA. Her scope includes schools, school leaders, school systems, and other education related organizations. Judy's focus in on helping educational leaders effectively manage change in complex systems. Her passions are organization development, leadership team development, planning processes, coaching, and effective facilitation.
Rick Wilson joined Syntiro in 2010 as Operations Coordinator after 33 years in public education as both a teacher and administrator. Rick was Principal at Manchester Elementary School from 1992-2010. Rick was also an active member of the Maine Principals' Association and served as chair of the association's Professional Development Committee from 2005-2009. Prior to his years in administration, Rick was a K-8 music specialist in Union 42 (Manchester, Mt. Vernon, Readfield and Wayne). He holds a Mus. B from Boston University and an M.ED. from the University of Maine. Currently, Rick works as a Regional Facilitator for MaineHEP, one of the many diverse projects administered by Syntiro. Previously, Rick worked as a facilitator for the Maine State GEAR UP program. Rick's interests and expertise include teacher training and development, educational leadership, team building and school climate.
Gaylord Weston resides in Belgrade and is retired from the Maine Department of Education where she served for more than 20 years as David Stockford's administrative assistant. She is a member of the Journeys for Women Advisory Council. She has a long history of working with Syntiro and its staff and provided a great deal of support to the GEAR UP program when she was at MDOE.
Jennifer Lanphear works for the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), Maine’s leading authority on providing innovative financial solutions to help Maine citizens reach their business and higher education goals. She has nearly twenty years of experience analyzing outcomes and advising Maine families on their educational options. As one of FAME’s College Access Counselors, Jennifer provides program information and guidance to help parents and students save and pay for college, with a special focus on the adult learner. Jennifer serves as a board member of Literacy for ME, KV Poverty Action Coalition and the Maine Development Foundation Maine Employers’ Initiative. She is an Augusta native, Cony graduate, and earned her BA in Mathematics with a minor in psychology from the University of Maine. Jennifer is a passionate and active volunteer in her community who served as a scout leader for eight years, actively supports the Kennebec Valley YMCA, sits on FAME’s staff volunteer philanthropy committee, and has been a representative on the Awesome Bear Society co-curricular committee of Maranacook High School for the past six years. She lives with her husband and two college bound sons in Manchester.
Emma Irish is presently serving as a College Counselor at Lee Academy. She has been employed in the education field since 1998, working first in Special Education then finding her niche as Gear Up Liaison assisting students with postsecondary awareness and college readiness. It is her ultimate goal to see that all students have the utmost chance for postsecondary success regardless of financial, or cultural barriers. Residing in Topsfield with her family, Emma loves spending time in the out of doors hiking, and fly fishing.