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.
Richard A. Abramson (Rich) is the former Superintendent of Schools for Regional School Unit 38 in Readfield, Maine. He holds a master's degree and advanced coursework in education and special education administration from the University of Maine and a bachelor of arts from Colby College. Rich also is a Senior Director through the YMCA of the USA, a result of his work as Executive Director for the Kennebec Valley YMCA. He is also a member of the YMCA's Hall of Fame. During his tenure at the YMCA, Rich developed his pasion for wellness and healthy living strategies. Rich serves on the Schools Advisory Panel of the Dannon Institute representing superintendents nationwide. He works closely with the Panel to develop wellness policy strategies and tools for superintendents to implement healthy lifestyle policies, and wellness programs for students and staff. His work is published in the "School Administrator" magazine of the American Association of School Administrators. Rich is recognized by the International Association of School Business Officials for his work on wellness. He also serves on numerous boards and commissions within the State of Maine. He lives with his wife Paula of 39 years. His hobbies include snowshoing, golf, bicycling, Nordic walking, and relaxing on a remote lake in Maine.
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 after 33 years in public education. Rick had been Principal at Manchester Elementary School for the last 18 years and was chaired the Professional Development Committee at the Maine Principals' Association 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. In addition to being a HEP Regional Facilitator, Rick is RTAC for the Maine State GEAR UP program. He is the facilitator for Professional Development in Washington and Hancock County. 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.