Syntiro Staff Bios

Leigh Alley, GEAR UP Regional Facilitator

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Leigh Alley serves as a GEAR UP Maine regional facilitator for Washington and Hancock counties. The former Executive Director of the Washington County Consortium for School Improvement, and a longtime instructional strategist, Leigh understands the challenges and needs unique to rural Maine's educators and students. Today, whether serving on the Board of Directors for Maine ASCD, the Board of Editors for the Journal of Maine Education, traveling the Downeast region working as a "teacher teacher," or offering professional development opportunities at workshops and conferences statewide, Leigh keeps the people of this place she loves—and feels privileged to serve—at the heart of her efforts. A servant leader and proponent of Celebratory Learning, Leigh’s heart feels at home with Syntiro.

Sally Beaulieu, M.Ed., GEAR UP Regional Facilitator

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Sally Beaulieu is a Regional Facilitator for the Maine State GEAR UP Program. She works primarily with schools in central and western Maine. Sally had been a middle school teacher for over 23 years. She started her career at Solon Elementary School. Her last 18+ years in the classroom were spent at Maranacook Community Middle School where her focus was on students who needed an alternative pathway. Sally also works as an adjunct associate professor at UMF and Thomas College teaching graduate courses on organizational behavior and change.

Beth Bordowitz, Vice President and General Counsel, Forman S. Acton Education Foundation

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Beth Bordowitz has over 20 years of experience in business finance and higher education finance and access.  A native of New Jersey, Beth earned  a Bachelors degree from Rutgers College, a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the Eagleton Institute of Politics of Rutgers University and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law-Camden.  After a short time in private legal practice representing small businesses in Portland, Maine, Beth joined the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), an independent agency of the State of Maine providing innovative financial solutions to assist businesses in accessing capital and in assisting students and families in accessing and financing higher education.  After serving six years as Assistant Counsel and Deputy General Counsel, Beth became the General Counsel.  In 2007 Governor Baldacci appointed Beth as the Acting Chief Executive Officer and in 2009 as the Chief Executive  Officer of the Finance Authority of Maine.  While at FAME, Beth was instrumental in the development and implementation of numerous programs, including the State of Maine’s venture capital fund and the state’s Section 529 College Savings Program, the NextGen College Investing Plan.  Under her leadership, FAME developed an array of matching grants to assist individuals in saving for college and partnered with the Harold Alfond Foundation to provide a college savings account for all babies living in Maine.  Beth is thrilled to bring her commitment to putting in place resources for individuals, especially individuals from low income backgrounds, to access and achieve success in education. 

Mary Callan, EdD, M.Ed GEAR UP Program Director

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Mary was born, raised and has lived in Maine all of her life. She has a deep appreciation for the natural beauty and uniqueness of this grand state. Mary received her EdD in educational leadership and change from Fielding Graduate University and her M.Ed in supervision evaluation of teaching from the University of Maine Orono. She has been an educator (teacher and principal) in several Maine districts including schools in Athens, Bingham, Solon and Readfield. She has most recently worked as a professional development specialist with Apple for the MLTI project, where she learned a lot about Washington County communities and schools. Mary has been an adjunct professor for the University of Maine and Thomas College for several years. Her educational and life experiences continue to offer her the opportunities to learn about Maine and the people that live here. Mary truly has a love for learning and all things Maine!

Judy Enright, M.ED., CAS, GEAR UP Director of Leadership

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Judy received her Masters in professional teaching from the University of Southern Maine, and her CAS in educational leadership from the University of Maine Orono. After 15 years as an independent education professional serving clients in AL, CA, IA, MO, NC, OR, TX, and WA, Judy came back to work in Maine in 2013. Her current work world includes school systems, school leaders, leadership teams, school boards, and other education related organizations. Her work world encompasses team development, organizational development, and planning. Judy's passion is helping school leaders and their leadership teams navigate the white waters of change in their very complex systems. These are the gifts she now brings to GEAR UP ME.

Pam Flood, Vice President, Forman S. Acton Education Foundation

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Pam received her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Maine Orono. Pam has served as a leader in a variety of capacities: teacher leader, school administrator, and assistant director/ research faculty for several non-profit organizations. In her tenure as an educator, Pam has worked with schools throughout the state of Maine, as well as nationally and internationally to improve academic and social outcomes for all students. As a member of the Syntiro staff she directed projects such as GEAR UP ME, Open Educational Resource initiatives, Positive Behavior and Intervention Support initiatives, and many long and short term school and organizational improvement initiatives. Pam served as faculty at Florida State University where along with teaching and advising graduate level students she was the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on research projects examining the efficacy of the State of Florida’s alternative teacher certification program. While serving as faculty at the University of Maine Orono she also taught courses and studied the conditions that facilitated student aspirations. In her tenure at the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies at the University of Maine she supported schools throughout the state in ensuring all students had access to rich and rigorous learning opportunities.  Pam currently serves as adjunct faculty at the University of New England in Maine where she facilitates courses on transformative leadership in the Online Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and advises students through the dissertation process. Pam has guided teams, schools, and organizations in processes to identify and achieve goals of learning, collaboration, and creative problem-solving through the recognition and leveraging of resources, talents, and passions.

Debbie Gilmer, Executive Director

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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.

Kayla Hopkins, GEAR UP Communications Specialist

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Kayla Hopkins is the Communications Specialist for Gear Up Maine. She designs, develops and maintains promotional materials, websites and social media platforms for Gear Up and Syntiro. Prior to coming to Syntiro, Kayla was the public relations specialist for Tri-County Mental Health Services in Lewiston. Kayla has a gift and a passion for photography and singing--key attributes for the creative and innovative work of Syntiro. Kayla earned her B.A in public relations from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts. She lives in Minot and enjoys spending as much time outside as she can, taking advantage of the beauty Maine has to offer.

Curtis Jack, GEAR UP Regional Facilitator

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Curtis Jack has been an educator for 35 years. Spending 25 years in the classroom, he then moved on to building level administration. Working first as a K-8 assistant principal in Litchfield, he then helped develop and implement a new middle school for RSU 4. During these years, Curt developed an interest and a passion for moving education in Maine forward. Consulting with over twenty districts in the state on the new evaluation system has allowed him to continue to be a part of the education community. Curt is very excited to be part of the Gear-Up Maine initiative and to be able to further serve the students and districts of Maine. Curt lives in Lewiston with his wife, Sonia, and spends as much time as possible with his grand-children.

Corda Ladd Kinzie, GEAR UP Parent/Student Services Facilitator

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Corda Ladd Kinzie is an educational consultant/coach who is fun to work with, and passionate about learning and teaching. She has worked with individuals, teams, teachers, schools, school committees, districts, health care, and businesses. Her mission is to facilitate the change process with care, thought, and purpose. She is a master teacher/coach who has conducted many professional development activities designed to enhance teaching and student learning by differentiating instruction using Celebratory Learning attributes and strategies. Corda’s areas of expertise include: wellness coaching, using current brain research to inform learning, understanding the change process, generating strategies for teaching ALL learners, social skills and team development. She has a systems view of the change process which allows her to create transformative learning environments. At Syntiro, Corda has worked on Positive Behavior Supports and Interventions, Content Area Teaching, Cooperative Learning, Celebratory Learning and Life Coaching programs. Corda raised 3 sons, Brooks, Spencer, and Arthur. She is proudly grand-parenting 4 grandsons, MacKenzie, Roland, Nathan and Matthew. She loves "camp" in Oakland where she watches eagles and osprey and listens to loons with all the boys!

Joyce Lang, Office Assistant

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Joyce Lang has been with Syntiro since 1994. She is an Office Assistant for Syntiro and plays a critical role as the Administrative Assistant for the Maine HEP program. For Maine HEP, Joyce schedules project activities, coordinates travel and works directly with the Project Director and project staff to assure all project timelines and reporting requirements are met. She is also responsible for designing professional development flyers and registration sites for Syntiro and maintains the organizations calendars and address books. She assists with other Syntiro’s initiatives as needed.

Kate Leveille, Project Coordinator for MaineCAN

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Kate is joining the GEAR UP team as the Maine College Access Network’s Project Coordinator. As a lifelong Maine resident, Kate is passionate about helping to raise the aspirations of Maine students. Her primary role with MaineCAN will be to help bring together college access opportunities for Maine citizens. Previously Kate has worked to bring a college and career exploration program to students and families in Maine. She has an extensive college planning background having served as the Director of College Counseling at Bridgton Academy. Kate earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Southern Maine and her master’s in Leadership from Duquesne University. Currently she serves as the co-chair of the Jump$tart Coalition of Maine’s Board of Directors.

Kathryn Markovchick, President of Syntiro and Forman S. Acton Education Foundation

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Kathryn Markovchick brings more than 30 years of experience conducting and overseeing systemic change activities. Kathryn earned her doctoral and undergraduate degrees in learning and behavior disorders and experiential education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Over the years she has worked as a special education teacher, administrator, university faculty member. Additionally, she has served as the President of Syntiro for over 25 years. As President of Syntiro, Kathryn oversees grants, contracts and fee-for-service activities in professional development, college access projects, technical assistance and organizational development activities. The scope of Kathryn’s work is extensive, from designing and delivering statewide professional development to managing myriad state and federal contracts. Kathryn most recently launched a 30 million dollar private foundation established to support highly gifted students from impoverished circumstances in Salem New Jersey. In addition to this major initiative, she also serves as director of the Maine State GEAR UP Program under contract from the University of Maine Farmington. Kathryn is a creative educator. She is credited, with colleague Corda Ladd Kinzie, for developing the research-based Celebratory Learning model of engaged teaching and learning. Kathryn's mission is to facilitate the change process with care, thought and purpose. She 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.

Frank McElwain, MA, GEAR UP Regional Facilitator

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Frank McElwain is the Regional Facilitator for GEAR UP in Aroostook County. He recently retired as superintendent of RSU 39 (Caribou, Limestone and Stockholm) after 37 years in public education. Frank holds a BS in Agriculture, MA in Public Administration, and a CAS in Education Leadership.

Coleen Souza, Administrative Manager

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Coleen Souza is the Administrative Manager at Syntiro. She is responsible for maintaining the overall efficiency of all office operations and keeps staff on task and on schedule. She brings previous office management experience to Syntiro, including human resources, payroll, and administrative responsibilities. Coleen is an integral member of Syntiro. She offers clear directives, vision and superb people skills. Her energy keeps the momentum going on Syntiro initiatives. Coleen lives in Winthrop with her family. Coleen looks forward to working on her bachelor's degree in Business Management in the near future.

Sylvia Thistle, Syntiro Office Assistant

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Sylvia Thistle is a retired social studies teacher and team leader from Skowhegan Area Middle School. She received a M.ED from the University of Maine at Orono and has twenty seven years of teaching experience. For the last three years, she has worked in retail at Edgecomb Potters. She will bring energy, organization, and people skills to her part time office assistant's roll at Syntiro. Sylvia lives in Skowhegan and enjoy golf, fly fishing, and skiing -- her real passion, however, is interior decorating and working about her home.

Rick Wilson, M.ED., Operations Coordinator

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Rick Wilson joined Syntiro after 33 years in public education. Rick had been Principal at Manchester Elementary School for the last 18 years and 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. Currently, he is a Regional Facilitator for the Maine High School Equivalency Program (MaineHEP). Previous positions at Syntiro include regional facilitation for the Maine State GEAR UP program and Professional Development in Washington and Hancock County. Rick's interests and expertise include teacher training and development, educational leadership, team building and school climate.

 

Syntiro | 11 South Road Readfield, ME 04355 | p: 1.866.291.0004 or 207.685.3171 | f: 1.866.883.9271

Syntiro is an equal opportunity employer (EOE).

 
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