Workshop Facilitators



Mary Quinnan

Executive Director, Leadership & School Improvement

Waters Foundation

Mary Quinnan, M.Ed. builds on her experience as former Director of Elementary/K-8 Leadership for Tucson Unified School District to facilitate and coach district and school leaders, including teachers, in the tools and strategies of systems thinking and deeper learning.  Mary has an extensive administrative background working with schools in improvement in high minority, high poverty communities to ensure equity and access to quality, research-based best practices.  She believes that building professional capacity in the application of systems thinking with educational leaders, and addressing the cultural impact of our work, allows the education system to foster an engaging, effective, student-centered learning environment for every child.


Joan Yates

Vice President

Waters Foundation

Joan Yates spent the first 15 years of her educational career teaching middle level English and mathematics and serving as a middle school administrator. Since then, Joan has been devoted to bringing the concepts and strategies of systems thinking to young people by building the capacity of the adults who work with them. For 17 years, she did that by serving as Director of the Systems Thinking Project in Tucson, Arizona’s Catalina Foothills School District. Now she facilitates professional development and follow-up coaching sessions nationally and internationally, believing that systems thinking provides powerful Habits and visual tools that can enhance everyone’s critical thinking and questioning skills.
Joan also derives great pleasure from working closely with many of the Waters Foundation Associates, assisting them throughout their certification process and continuing as a resource to them once they become facilitators.

Pete Reynolds


Learn Deep Milwaukee

Pete Reynolds has spent much of the past 25 years managing cross-functional teams in the development and implementation of new technologies for new andrapidly growing companies. That brought with it a need for immersion in the methodologies of Design Thinking,

Agile Software Development, User Experience Design, and the Lean Business Canvas — tools and processes designed to foster the rapid understanding of a problem from the customer’s perspective and iterate quickly to arrive at a sustainable solution.

Pete holds master’s degrees in Architecture and Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a B.S. in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University.

Joost Allard


Learn Deep Milwaukee

For the past several years, Joost Allard has chosen to apply his 25+ years of experience to the intersection of technology, innovation and education. His breadth of experience includes starting and advising startups, designing and coaching growing companies on how to develop partnerships successfully, as well as managing IT development projects at a variety of companies. Joost has served in leadership roles in charitable and professional associations throughout his career in the Netherlands, Germany and the US.

Joost has a graduate degree in Business from the University of St. Thomas (MN), a combined business and technology management degree from the City College of Frankfurt and a B.A. education (TOEFL and Dutch) degree from teacher training college in the Netherlands.

Beth Heller

Senior Director of Education and Strategic Planning

Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee

Beth Fetterley Heller, Senior Director of Education and Strategic Planning at the Urban Ecology Center, has dedicated the past 17 of her 22 years in education to the growth of urban environmental education programs in Milwaukee, WI. Starting from a single classroom in a double-wide trailer, hosting 6000 nature-based field trips annually, she now directs education and activities at the Urban Ecology Center’s three branches and two state-of-the-art green buildings that provide morethan 200,000 learning opportunities for people of all ages each year. Programs created and run by Beth include the Neighborhood Environmental Education Project for 63 urban schools, a job training program for high school students, and an intergenerational research program where adults and children participate in undergraduate and graduate field research projects led by over 20 colleges, universities and institutions. Immediately after achieving her bachelor degree in biology and education, she taught high school biology. She then went on to lead Elderhostel environmental education programs in New York, rehabilitate wildlife and open a day care center in New Mexico, all before returning to her hometown of Milwaukee. While at the Urban Ecology Center, Beth received her MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was awarded the 2009 Business Journal 40 under 40 Award for community leadership in Milwaukee, the 2008 Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History Award, the Blanch Hornbeck Award for Nature Education and the 2004 Educator of the Year Award from Wisconsin’s Conservation Congress.

Ellen Grasley

First Grade Teacher

Humboldt Park School, Milwaukee Public Schools

Ellen Grasley is an early childhood educator with 30+ years in Milwaukee Public Schools. She has a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from UW Milwaukee and has used systems thinking Habits, tools and strategies with students and staff at Humboldt Park School for over four years. This is Ellen’s second year involved in the Milwaukee Systems Thinking Institute.

Betsy Markwardt

Middle School Teacher

Humboldt Park School, Milwaukee Public Schools

After 20 years as an accountant, Betsy Markwardt shifted gears. For the past 18 years, she has been a middle school teacher, and loving it, with Milwaukee Public Schools. Betsy has a master’s degree in Curriculum Design and finds that systems thinking has made learning and teaching more of an inquiry of the subject at hand. She is gratified to see middle school students truly grappling over an issue as systems thinking guides her students to look deeper. This is Betsy’s second year involved in the Milwaukee Systems Thinking Institute.