Associates Team

Waters Foundation

Karen Abbott

Karen Karen has been working with general and special education students for more than twenty-five years.  She has served as a special education resource teacher, school-based Title I resource teacher, inclusive education teacher in a multi-age classroom, and a district resource teacher for low-performing schools.  In these roles, she has worked with economically and culturally diverse populations.  Karen is currently a special education resource teacher, grades K-5, for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

Karen is an advocate for the use of systems thinking habits and tools, especially with students facing learning challenges.  She believes that when students have trouble expressing their ideas through conventional means, the systems thinking tools and habits provide structures that enable the students to clearly express and refine their thinking.

Suzanne Arnold

Suzanne Suzanne’s introduction to systems thinking was the Waters Foundation’s “Level 1” workshop that she chose to attend in her Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools district.  Eager to learn more, she attended Camp Snowball to attend a “Level 2” module.  Although Suzanne has earned a master’s degree as a reading specialist, National Board Certification, and Academic/Intellectually Gifted certification, she believes systems thinking has made the greatest impact on her teaching skills and instruction as a whole because it applies to every area of the curriculum and life.

Suzanne is currently in her fifteenth year of teaching and is using systems thinking to instruct her fourth grade students in Winston-Salem, where she has also taught first and second graders. Suzanne enjoys sharing her knowledge of and enthusiasm for systems thinking with her teammates and colleagues. She looks forward to years of working with fellow educators to help students develop the habits of a systems thinker, resulting in critical thinkers with problem-solving skills.

Brian Bindschadler

BrianBBrian has been working in education for over twenty-five years and is currently an English teacher and the Gifted Coordinator at Orange Grove Middle School in the Catalina Foothills School District.  He has a masters degree in gifted education and received his National Board Certification in 2007.

He was first introduced to systems thinking when he started working at Orange Grove in 1993.  Almost immediately, he recognized the potential for increasing students’ critical thinking capacity through the use of various tools.  Over the years, he has focused his efforts on using systems thinking tools to surface key concepts and make them more accessible to students. He also facilitates systems thinking workshops so that he can support colleagues as they learn to implement systems thinking tools and concepts in their classrooms and schools.  One of the things he finds the most powerful for students, colleagues and himself is the impact of using systems tools to slow down, step back, and examine a system in order to understand what’s really happening.

Caryl Crowell

CarylCrowellCaryl is currently the Magnet Site/Curriculum Facilitator at Borton Magnet School, in the Tucson Unified School District, where she supports teachers and students in developing capacity for project-based learning and systems thinking, the dual-magnet foci of the school. Since 1979, Caryl has taught bilingual 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and multi-age classes. She also spent three years supervising student teachers and teaching undergraduate social studies, reading, and language arts methods classes as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the University of Arizona College of Education.

Caryl began her journey in systems thinking in 2006 in a Level 1 workshop. She immediately saw connections to her classroom teaching, especially in the areas of literacy and science. Over the ensuing years, she found many applications across the curriculum and introduced the ST tools and habits to her students through such uses as story analysis, supports for student writing, and the creation of simulation games in the science and social studies curriculum.  Caryl co-facilitates systems thinking workshops and presents about her classroom work with systems thinking at national and international conferences.

Anna Geras

Anna has spent approximately ten years as an elementary classroom teacher, teaching first through fourth grades.  Currently a third grade teacher for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in North Carolina, Anna has been involved with systems thinking since 2011.  She was initially fascinated with the systems thinking (ST) mindset as a participant at Camp Snowball, and she gradually integrated the ST tools and habits in her lessons.

Anna has served as a systems thinking model teacher and coach at the campus and district levels and has also presented at national systems thinking conferences.  In her classroom, Anna has seen tremendous gains in the complexity of student thinking since she has employed the ST tools and habits.  She believes the systems thinking approach naturally cultivates critical thinking and connection making, which leads to lifelong applications beyond the classroom.  Her favorite ST tool is the behavior-over-time graph because its uses are so versatile, and the students feel empowered when they can “tell the story” of their graphs.

Julie Guerrero

JulieJulie is an educator and graphic artist whose artwork is being used to illustrate the habits of a systems thinker and other Waters Foundation resources. She has 30 years of experience in education working with students from pre-school age through community college.  During her career as a Spanish teacher, Julie took an active role in curriculum development and assessment, as well as action research and collegial coaching in best practices.

Julie’s journey with systems thinking began when she used it with her students in her Spanish classes and continued when she served for seven years as an elementary school systems thinking (ST) mentor.  As a systems mentor, Julie coached teachers as they applied ST with their students, co-created systems thinking instructional resources, assisted administrators with organizational learning goals, and co-facilitated ST workshops. Currently, she is co-facilitating systems thinking workshops and creating ST resources in both English and Spanish.

Amber Jones

Amber

Amber Jones has a decade and a half of experience working in education and more than seven years working on integrating systems thinking into early childhood settings.  She began her professional career as an early childhood classroom teacher and has expertise in infant and toddler development, early childhood quality improvement, non-profit management, organizational development, facilitation, and coaching. In 2015, she served as the lead content developer for systems thinking in early childhood with WestEd’s PD2GO Professional Development Project, published by First Five California.  She has served on the Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children board, the Southern Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children board, and has been a Regional Partnership Council member with First Things First since 2009.  Her dynamic facilitation skills and passion around using systems thinking to improve decision-making have led her to become a well-known local expert and national speaker.

Holly Knutson

Holly

Holly has been working in education for ten years and is currently an English language arts and math teacher for intermediate elementary students. She has a master’s degree in Reading Instruction from the University of Arizona.

She was first introduced to systems thinking in 2011 at Camp Snowball. As many do, she fell in love with the tools and habits as they seemed to serve perfectly in explaining the complexities of systems found in life. Similarly, she immediately saw the application in her work with elementary students. Students in her class use systems thinking to better access their ability to solve problems and think critically and creatively.

Anne LaVigne
Anne-I10

Anne LaVigne, M.Ed. has over 25 years experience working within a variety of PK-12 educational settings. For most of this time, she has focused on building the capacity of educators and students to use systems thinking and dynamic modeling. Anne facilitates professional learning experiences, nationally and internationally, working to empower adults and students as they implement systems thinking skills in the classroom and beyond. She helps design and facilitate in-person and virtual learning environments, including group mapping processes, online learning modules and simulations that integrate a variety of modalities to engage individuals with diverse learning styles.

Anne serves on the school board for a local charter school. In addition, she works with the Creative Learning Exchange to design and co-author curriculum resources, including several books. The most recent book, Model Mysteries – An Exploration of Vampires, Zombies, and Other Fantastic Scenarios to Make the World a Better Place, is designed to help students and their teachers build simple and fun system dynamics models at their own pace.

Daniel Murphy-Cairns

danielDaniel is an elementary school teacher who has taught 1st and 4th grade students in Tucson, AZ.  Prior to working as a classroom teacher, Daniel was an environmental educator in the Pacific northwest. As an instructor with that program, Daniel enjoyed teaching elementary, middle, and high school students from schools across the Portland, OR metropolitan area.

In a fairly unique position among the educators now working with systems thinking (ST), Daniel actually began working with ST when he was a student.  Daniel’s experiences with systems thinking during his K-12 education gave him first-hand knowledge of and appreciation for the power of using ST tools, habits, and simulations in a classroom setting.  As a classroom teacher, Daniel uses systems thinking to help his students develop the critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills they need in order to be successful during both school and career.

Kelly Nichols

KellyNicholsWith over twenty years experience in elementary school classrooms, Kelly Nichols is currently a third grade teacher for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. In addition to teaching grades 1-5, Kelly has served as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University and provided staff development across the state of North Carolina.

Kelly believes that supporting educators as they apply systems thinking habits and tools can revolutionize the way classrooms, schools, and districts function.  Critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to analyze a situation are gifts to pass on to the next generation.

 

Lynn Pence

LynnPence Lynn started her career in education in 2006. She is currently a Curriculum Technology Integrator (CTI) for two elementary schools in Tucson, Arizona. Prior to becoming a CTI, she taught social studies at the middle school level where she and her students often applied systems thinking tools to student learning. Lynn’s journey with systems thinking has been one with many foci: educator, student, coach, school improvement planner, writer, facilitator, wife and mother. Using a toolbox she’s stocked with systems thinking habits and visual tools, Lynn has a passion for collaborating with others as they use systems thinking to build knowledge in school and life.

Tony Robinson

LynnPenceTony has been in education for over 20 years. He has served as a history teacher, assistant principal, and director. Currently he is Deputy Superintendent of Secondary Education in the Cape Girardeau School District where he is responsible for all secondary education aspects and district technology and instructional technology.

Tony was introduced to systems thinking by former Director of Waters Foundation projects, Mary Sheetz, and they have co-facilitated several sessions on leadership and systems thinking. As a site leader, Tony has implemented systems thinking practices in classrooms and in all school improvement areas, building leadership team practices and student voice initiatives. He also participated in group model building at Washington University’s Brown School Social Systems Design Lab where students from Tony’s district came together with students from neighboring districts to work as interns and lead summits on race and violence. Tony then employed group model building as a school improvement tool with staff members. Tony continues to practice systems thinking personally and teaches building and district leaders the benefit of using systems thinking for evaluation and improvement purposes.

Denise Ryan

DRyanDenise is currently a Program Director for the Office of the Pima County School Superintendent in Tucson, Arizona. She serves as a facilitator and manager for AZ Standards awareness and instructional strategies workshops, as well as offering mentoring and strategic coaching to teachers throughout southern Arizona. Mrs. Ryan’s 40 years in education encompass classroom experience in mathematics and technology plus various administrative positions, including district superintendent.

Denise has designed and implemented a grant highlighting systems thinking concepts and tools in all areas of classroom curriculum. Through this work, Denise has shared the tenets of systems thinking with all levels of professional educators.

Kathleen Scheppe

KathyScheppe1 Kathleen is presently a Director of K-8/Elementary Schools for the Tucson Unified School District in Tucson, Arizona.  In her current role, she supports schools in the areas of curriculum and best practices, school improvement, and implementing systems thinking to enhance school effectiveness. Before moving to a central leadership position, Mrs. Scheppe’s 33 years in education included elementary and bilingual classroom experience in rural and urban areas. Kathy has mentored principals for the University of Arizona and written professional development modules for Arizona State University. Her greatest joy was investing 24 years as a middle school administrator – where the action is.

Kathy became involved with the Waters Foundation’s Systems Thinking in Schools work over 20 years ago and as the principal at Gridley Middle School guided that school to become a systems thinking demonstration site.  Mrs. Scheppe has co-facilitated leadership training for middle school administrators utilizing ST habits and tools.  Kathy looks forward to assisting colleagues build their capacity to see the big picture and anticipate consequences of actions within the complex educational systems in which we all work.

Maria Simpson

MariaMaria has spent more than twelve years as a classroom teacher in the elementary grades.  Currently she is a third grade teacher in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools district.  Since her introduction to systems thinking in 2011, Maria has put the tools and habits into practice in her classroom and has seen an increase in her students’ critical thinking, engagement, and excitement for learning.

After seeing the impact in her own classroom, Maria has shared systems thinking with fellow educators at her school and colleagues throughout the district.  Maria also facilitated Camp Sunshine, in conjunction with Camp Snowball, for two summers.  She believes systems thinking provides valuable and fun tools that can be used across the curriculum for increasing critical thinking skills, making connections, and problem solving.

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