Reem Labib, M.Ed. is the Founder and President of EDspired, a global education consultancy. Reem’s work is currently focused on school improvement and school reform efforts primarily in the United States and the Middle East. Reem has participated as a team member in school quality reviews for eight years evaluating schools serving students in grades PreK-12. She has served as head of schools supervising multiple principals, principal of an inclusive arts-infused elementary school and also as deputy director of professional development for a school district. Reem has a master’s in education with a specialization in curriculum and instruction with a focus on multicultural education.
Specialties: School Transformation, Leadership Development, Charter Schools, Special Education
Hanaa Helmy is a social entrepreneur and Ashoka fellow, Ms. Helmy has devoted the last fifteen years to working with disabled children in the Arab world in their efforts to become productive members of society. She is the founder and president of the MOVE Foundation for Children with Cerebral Palsy, a non-profit organization that provides children with multiple disabilities, new opportunities for fuller participation and inclusion in the educational system. Ms. Helmy is a certified international trainer for the American-developed MOVE program, which helps integrate disabled children into the public and private school system.
In recognition of her entrepreneurial efforts in starting and running projects having social impact, she was selected as an Ashoka fellow in early 2005. This was followed, in 2006, by her appointment to the position of CEO of the then newly established EFG-Hermes Foundation. The Foundation aims at helping its beneficiaries address financial, educational and health challenges facing society
Kimberly C. Morton, M.Ed., has over twenty-five years of experience as a special needs educator in the field of art, supervision, and administration of a school program for children with developmental disabilities. Kimberly was the founding principal at SAIL PCS, where she created and implemented a successful inclusive special education program within the general curriculum.
Prior to her work at SAIL, Ms. Morton was a Project ACT Teacher for the Epilepsy Association of Maryland where she worked individually with parents of children with special needs and childcare providers to identify appropriate child care placements. For ten years before relocating to Maryland, Ms. Morton worked as a program coordinator for a private school for children with multiple disabilities in New Jersey. She has co-published two articles on arts and special education, and has also co-published a book on inclusionary practices in urban school settings.
Yahya Labib has 40 years experience as a CFO of leading companies, a member of various Boards of Directors, and a trusted financial advisor. He has worked in Fortune 500 companies (Westinghouse and Boeing) as well as privately held and government-owned companies. His diversified experiences are in a wide range of sectors and countries and allowed him to meet and collaborate with global business leaders. Mr. Labib’s industry experience includes food, defense broadcasting, repair and engineering services, agencies, and natural gas. Mr. Labib has worked and lived in New York, Dammam, Riyadh, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Cairo.
Ilene Zeitzer is an internationally recognized expert on comparative disability policy. In 2002, she founded Disability Policy Solutions (DPS), a unique consulting firm specializing in innovative public policy solutions and best practices that help ensure equality and opportunity for people with disabilities. DPS’s work deals with the development and implementation of policies that promote full integration of people with disabilities into the workforce and society. DPS has provided advice and counsel to national and international governmental agencies; non-governmental organizations (NGOs); donor and aid agencies; and non-profit organizations around the globe that are looking to advance and improve disability programs and policies.
Ms. Zeitzer has worked in more than 50 countries on various disability-related issues including: eligibility criteria for benefits; problems of pension adequacy; employment promotion and workforce integration; efficacy and program integrity; human rights and social inclusion; poverty reduction strategies; and specific issue related to women and children with disabilities. Her DPS clients include: the World Bank; the International Labor Organization; the International Social Security Association; the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID); the National Council on Disability and the governments of more than 20 countries and several academic institutions. She is the author of numerous articles on comparative disability policies and practices that have been published in US and international journals.
Nesma Farahat is the manager of the CIB Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing health and nutrition services for underprivileged children across Egypt, and has extensive experience in the field of sustainable development. Ms. Farahat has worked in both private sector development companies as well as non-profit organizations. Through her work, Ms. Farahat has worked with children with special needs in Egypt, a community of internally displaced Sudanese in northern Sudan, unemployed youth in Jordan, and Iraqi refugees in Syria. In addition to managing the Foundation, Ms. Farahat is a member of the Business Advisory Council of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Egypt. Ms. Farahat obtained her Bachelor’s degree from the American University in Cairo (AUC) and holds a Master’s of Science in Violence, Conflict and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) – University of London.
Kevin Simpson is a Global Education Collaborator with KDSL. He has taught and consulted in parochial, public, and international schools located in Washington, D.C., Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Laos, Qatar, Dubai, Lebanon, Egypt, China, Venezuela, Dominica, Bahrain and Thailand. Mr. Simpson has also served as a countywide elementary social studies curriculum teacher, preschool to twelfth grade curriculum coordinator, and school-based elementary math specialist. He was a National Consultant with the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative, which provided effective, research-based practices to educators across the country. Mr. Simpson specializes in school development, school improvement, teacher education, curriculum development, and data-driven instruction. He believes that providing teachers with high quality, collaborative professional learning is essential to student achievement.
Lee Yarborough has over ten years of experience in the education field. She has worked with independent schools, public charter schools, as well as with higher level education institutions. Ms. Yarborough earned her Master’s Degree in School Counseling at Long Island University; and has taught young adults in Washington D.C., and Southern California. Currently, she provides career counseling services to at-risk adults at a college in Santa Barbara, CA and teaches an online professional resource development course. Her passion is helping students discover and achieve their educational and professional goals.
Michele Stanback-Hooper is an artist and educator of 9 years, specializing in Arts-Integration. Her journey began with Art Therapy where she created her undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland in “Art Reflections on the Human Condition”. She refined her studies with a Master’s in Art Therapy and Creativity Development at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. While attending Pratt, she infused Art Therapy techniques in her teaching and enjoyed the growth and creative expression of her students. More recently, her arts-based approach led her to investigate philosophies where children are offered choices and hands on learning. This research sparked her interest in Montessori. Consolidating her experiences using Arts-Integration, Montessori and Expeditionary learning, she looks forward to collaborating with her peers exchanging tools and best practices.
Caroline Mwendwa-Baker has over a decade of experience in the field of urban education as an inclusive educator, mentor teacher, literacy coach, and education consultant. She specializes in teacher training and development. Mrs. Mwendwa-Baker earned her master’s of arts in special education and a master’s in curriculum and instruction. She currently works as an independent consultant and serves as an instructional coach in a charter school in Washington D.C. Mrs. Mwendwa-Baker is working on developing a blog exploring her unique experiences providing insight and solutions for teachers and parents.
Gargi Thakurta is an experienced educator based in Washington, D.C. She has been involved in multiple areas of elementary education for more than a decade, from curriculum/instruction development to mentoring and training of teachers. In the classroom, she uses a battery of diagnostic and progress monitoring approaches and data driven instructional techniques to improve the reading and writing skills of struggling students. Gargi earned her master’s in special education from Lesley University, MA, and has served as an educator in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Washington D.C.
Dr. Anika Spratley Burtin is a former high school English teacher and administrator. Her professional experience has always been situated in urban schools. Most recently she served as an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education. In addition, she has worked as an educational consultant, curriculum writer, and professional development facilitator for schools in Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Chicago and as a national trainer for the College Board. Dr. Spratley Burtin’s research primarily focuses on issues of expert practice in literacy education, literary reasoning, and struggling adolescent readers. Her work on understanding and teaching symbolism has been included in the book Culture, Literacy, and Learning: Taking Bloom in the Midst of the Whirlwind (Lee, 2007). Her current research focuses on teacher knowledge and specifically how teachers’ content knowledge and beliefs about students impact learning situations.
Dr. Shanika Hope possesses over 20 years of experience in education. Shanika is a former elementary school teacher, principal and high school turnaround specialist. She has managed and/or supported more than three dozen DC public schools and public charter schools in various capacities. Prior to her current role as Senior Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Discovery – Shanika served as the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary and Secondary Education for the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education.
Dr. Hope earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Education Leadership and Masters in math and science education from Old Dominion University, where she was selected as a Holmes Scholar.
Ann Ledo-Lane is an experienced and artful educator. Throughout her tenure in Washington, D.C and New York City charter schools, Ann institutionalized the process of arts integration across grade levels, led the professional development of faculty around arts integration, developed a comprehensive arts curriculum, and assisted in development efforts by connecting the arts program to the outside community. In New York, she organized the NYC Charter School Artist Collective to provide professional development, resources, and support to local teacher and artists working within charter and public schools as well as leading conferences around arts integration and studio practices.
Currently, Ann is the Director of Arts Programming and Resource Development at an arts based charter school in San Francisco where she collaborates with teachers around project based learning and making the learning process visible. With her background in Special Education and in differentiating instruction, Ann believes that the Arts are an essential component of a child’s experience, a key mechanism for transforming schools and in creating inclusive practices that integrate students of all abilities. As an artist, Ann illustrates and creates books and delights in teaching students how to think and approach life creatively.