Meet Our Team of Coaches

Our coaches have helped train staff all across the nation. They are our secret weapon and seasoned professionals who have been working in the area of cultural responsiveness from first hand experience, in the classroom, and have shaped the way many teachers teach CLR in their classrooms.  




Kimishawne davies

Kimishawne Davies has been teaching the underserved students of Los Angeles County for over 14 years. She graduated with her BA in Pan African Studies from Cal State Northridge, MA in education from National University and  MA in Educational Leadership from Cal State Fullerton. Her career started in Compton Unified in 2000 and led her to teach at Dr. Hollie's laboratory school CLAS for 10 years 2003-2013. In her professional journey of Culturally responsive teaching she became a consultant for The Center of Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (CCRTL) in 2006. As a result of her many roles over the years including lead teacher and onsite CLR instructional coach under the leadership of Dr. Hollie, her expertise is in training teachers to build relationships, increase engagement, and elevate learning levels of their students by implementing the CLR strategies in all subjects.   She also has a gift in the infusion of CLR into mathematics and leads a professional development workshop to help teachers with a practical approach in the subjects of math and science. 


Carrie Eicher

Carrie Eicher has been an educator and staff developer for the past 17 years, serving diverse communities of students and staff. She holds a K-6 teaching degree, a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in Arts Integration, as well as a K-12 principal license from Saint Mary's University. Carrie has taught all grade levels K-12 and worked extensively with adult learners. Carrie has served as an InstDean of Academics, and Instructional Coach and currently serves as the Assistant Principal at Skyview Middle school in the North Saint Paul school district, where she concentrates on building and developing district staff in Culturally and Linguistically Responsive teaching and learning. She is honored to co-facilitate the CLR Summer Institutes, and has successfully led multiple cadres through the Coach I and II process. Carrie's focus is on classroom implementation and consistent support and follow through as teachers dive deeper into the pool of responsiveness. Carrie is thrilled to be on this journey with The Center of Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning. 


Nicole Elliott

Nicole Lusiani Elliott serves as an instructional coach and professional development associate for the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning. Nicole also works as at the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching at Stanford University, primarily in areas of history education and instructional equity, in the Hollyhock Fellowship, AP Success Research Project, and as a pedagogy partner with Stanford Global Studies. She previously spent 19 years teaching at an East Bay public high school. 

She can be found at or on her website below.


Paula Fernanez



Lori Forkner

Lori Forkner has been in the education field for nearly 30 years.  She received her Master’s of Education degree from St. Scholastica.  Her most recent position has been as an Instructional Coach and Intervention Coordinator as well as a district curricular leader.  Her roles includes professional development and coordination of data and intervention systems.  However, what she most enjoys is partnering with teachers to facilitate academic growth and engagement for diverse learners.   In addition, Lori works for The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning.  She is honored to be part of this work as a coach, facilitator of cadres, and a learner in her own journey toward responsiveness.  She feels that it is a privilege to be part of this equity work and to help teachers increase their capacity to meet the needs of their students.


Dr. Jamila Gillenwaters



Patricia Greeley

Paddy has been on a journey to responsiveness for over twenty years as a teacher and a coach in education.  She is passionate about the validation and affirmation of students and families. After years as an elementary teacher, Paddy took on the role of instructional coach and now works as a coach for principals. She has a master’s degree in Education from the University of Minnesota and is currently seeking her Principal Licensure. She is grateful for all the leaders and mentors who supported her learning and growth over the years and appreciates being part of the creative group at CCRTL, working to make schools a better place for all.


Andrew Haaheim


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Patty Hand has been a passionate educator for over twenty years.  She received her BA at St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame in Indiana, her MA from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, and her K-12 Principal’s License from the University of Minnesota.  For the first half of her career, Patty worked as a Language Arts teacher and coach, before moving into administration.  She has worked for the last fourteen years in administration, as a head principal for the last seven.  

Additionally, Patty works for the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning, concentrating on supporting school districts, focusing on supporting district administrators, building administrators, and instructional leaders, on their journeys of implementation of CLR district wide.

Patty believes deeply in leading a culturally responsive community of learners, in which students, staff members, and families collaborate to support a climate to ensure it is a welcoming, caring, inclusive community for all.   


michelle heller



Felicia Homberger

Felicia received her Masters in Education from Harvard University, where she first developed her passion for equity and anti-racist education.  She has taught secondary Language Arts for over 20 years, and serves as a leader in the national AP English Language and Composition exam scoring.  As the staff development coordinator at Hopkins High School in Minnesota, she developed a CLR Sustainability Model (the CLR Swim Team) and inspired the creation of a CLR student group (HHS Responds). She is co-authoring a book with Dr. Hollie to help schools develop and sustain such models at their own sites  As a lead coach, consultant and trainer for the Center, she is passionate about supporting other teachers in their CLR infusion.  When she is not working for the Center, she is still in the classroom, infusing  CLR into her teaching of remedial, grade level, and AP level high school English. She brings her daily experience in the classroom to her work as a coach and trainer. She finds it a privilege to support other teachers who are committed to finding new ways to reach all students, especially the underserved.


Letitia Johnson-Davis 




Carolyn has been teaching, leading, coaching, and consulting within public, charter, and private schools in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, NYC, Newark, Houston, and CA for the past 22 years. Holder of a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree with honors from Simmons College in Special Needs education, Carolyn is an advocate for constructivist and collaborative teacher and leader growth, particularly in the areas of novice teacher training and cultural & community responsiveness. With over 15 years of experience in planning and leading school, district, and national teacher and leader professional development initiatives while coaching teachers and school/district administrators directly, Carolyn now serves as a consultant for Dr. Jeff Duncan Andrade’s Community Responsive Education, a consultant for Dr. Sharroky Hollie’s Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning, and adjunct professor and field supervisor for the Mills College Teachers for Tomorrow’s Schools program. Carolyn works to ensure that those who are interested in cultural and community responsiveness have the knowledge, infrastructure, and collegial support to engage and collect data toward that success. Carolyn leads workshops and provides direct coaching and general consultation for school, district, and parent leaders as a catalyst for those who seek to set context, take initial steps, and develop language around race, ethnicity, & culture. As a white ally, she guides individuals and organizations in how to unpack bias, validate & affirm, create dialogue, address institutional and systemic racism & oppression, and foster equity for children.

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Tim Leistikow

Tim has been teaching IB Language and Literature for all students and IB Theory of Knowledge at Fridley High School (right outside of Minneapolis, MN) for the past 13 years.  He received a BA in Literature from the University of MN and a MA in Teaching from the University of St. Thomas.  In addition to teaching, he has served as an instructional coach, both observing and coaching teachers as well as creating staff development.  He is passionate about infusing CLR strategies into his classroom and into all aspects of staff development. 

Tim is a TED Innovative Educator and is constantly seeking opportunities to validate and affirm students home language and culture through his use of TED Ed clubs.  In addition to finding opportunities for students to BEYOU, he is developing a community engagement program, The Barbershop of Ideas, that brings current students, alumni, and community members together to celebrate the diverse and talented people that makeup Fridley Public Schools.

Tim's continued journey to responsiveness deepens his commitment to empowering all learners by creating a classroom that values all voices, especially those that need outrageous love in order to be heard.  He is honored and humbled to work as a consultant with CCRTL and relishes the opportunity to coach educators as they build their skillset and deepen their mindset.


Lydia McClanahan

Lydia McClanahan has been an educator for 20 + years, and earned her MLIS at San Jose State University. She began her journey in cultural and linguistic responsiveness  in 1998 as a facilitator for LAUSD's Academic English Mastery Program, and went on to become one of the founding middle school teachers at the Culture and Language Academy of Success(CLAS). During her time at CLAS, Lydia began serving as an instructional coach for the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning. She has served as a lead instructional coach for the last 7 years, during which time she began to curate Responsive Reads, a newsletter, that illuminates diverse authors and  culturally authentic texts.  

You can find out more about Responsive Reads at her website. 


Dr. Tonikiaa Orange



Sonji Owens



Twitter: @_hoangpham

Instagram: @_hoangpham

Hoang Pham

Hoang Pham started his career in education as a 2011 Teach For America Corps Member placed at KIPP Empower Academy in South Los Angeles. While there, Hoang taught 1st and 4th grade, served as grade level chair, as an instructional coach, and school site council member. Early on in his teaching career, Dr. Letitia Davis (a former educator at CLAS) guided him and three other teachers to implement culturally responsive curriculum in kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms. Thereafter, Hoang began working closely with Dr. Sharroky Hollie who coached and sharpened his skills as a culturally responsive educator. He was selected for the Teacher Leader KIPP School Leadership Program in 2015, where his culminating research project focused on the impact of culturally and linguistically responsive teaching on his students holistic achievement. Hoang has facilitated multiple professional development sessions and sat on various discussion panels regarding culturally responsive teaching and education policy. He is a recipient of the Teach For America Sue Lehman Excellence in Teaching Award, KIPP Harriet Ball Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as the first recipient of the KIPP Empower Award for Unwavering Commitment and Dedication. Mr. Pham received his B.S. from the University of Oregon and his M.A.Ed. from Loyola Marymount University. He has an everlasting excitement to engage with talented educators regarding the powerful tool of CLR, and is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do so. In addition to his work as an instructional coach for The Center, he is currently pursuing his Juris Doctor degree at the University of California, Davis. Besides teaching, he loves dancing, auto racing, the Portland Trailblazers, and spending time with his wife Brooklynn.


Emily Portle


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Bethany Pottratz-Ocar

Bethany received her Master’s in Education from University of Wisconsin and has taught Language Arts for over 30 years in every grade level from sixth to college. She serves as a teacher and peer coach for the Hopkins school district in Minnesota and brings her continued CLR journey from her classroom to her coaching. She has seen CLR make a significant difference in the lives of kindergarten to college students, and she is passionate about the power of responsiveness. She is honored and grateful for the opportunity to validate, affirm, build, and bridge with colleagues who are dedicated to making education inclusive, equitable, and effective for all students.





Kiechelle Russell

Kiechelle Russell has been an educator in Los Angeles since 2000.  Upon graduating with a BA from California State University, Northridge, a MA in Special Education from California State University, Dominguez Hills and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from UCLA, Kiechelle immediately put her education to work as a special education teacher in LAUSD.  After learning about the Academic English Mastery Program (AEMP), research-based program designed to address the language needs of Standard English Learners, she reflected on her own K-12 experiences as an African American Language speaker.  As a result of being singled-out for her rich use of African-American Language as a teen, she became an AEMP facilitator to help prevent her students from experiencing some of the same challenges.  When the opportunity came to teach at the Culture and Language Academy of Success (CLAS), a charter school modeled after the AEMP philosophy, she joined the team.  At CLAS she honed her skills in culturally responsive pedagogy and was groomed to be a senior consultant for the CCRTL. She takes pride in training teachers to deepen their knowledge in culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy while implementing strategies that build on their own students’ culture and language.



Daniel Russell has been an educator for over 24 years. He entered into public school education as a 1994 Teach for America corps member where he was placed in the Los Angeles area. In Los Angeles, he taught 3rd – 5th grade for 9 years at 99th Street Elementary School in the Watts community. At 99th, he was introduced to culturally and linguistically responsive (CLR) teaching via the Language Development Program for African American Students (LDPAAS) which later became the Academic English Mastery Program (AEMP). He served as a facilitator for LDPAAS/AEMP for 8 years before passing on the role to another teacher and taking on the role of EL Coordinator. While at 99th, his 5th grade class was featured in a segment about linguistics on the PBS special entitled Do You Speak American?

In 2003, he left 99th and became a founding teacher at Dr. Hollie’s charter school – Culture and Language Academy of Success (CLAS). At CLAS, he served for 10 years, first as a 5th grade teacher then as a history teacher for 6th – 8th grade. While serving at CLAS, he also took on the role of instructional coach for the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (CCRTL). As an instructional coach for CCRTL he specializes in culturally responsive classroom management and culturally responsive standardized test preparation.

In 2014, he shifted to teaching 6th grade Humanities at Aspire Slauson Academy in the south LA area. After 2 years in this role, he left the classroom for the first time in his career and took on the role of Dean of Culture and Climate. As dean, part of his role was coaching and supporting teachers with CLR. He also worked on a culturally responsive approach to PBIS and MTSS.

Currently, he is pursuing his doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership at USC’s Rossier School of Education. He is particularly interested in exploring the connections between restorative justice and trauma informed practices, and culturally responsive pedagogy.





Javier San Román

Javier San Román has been an educator for 20 years serving the largely Latino and African American communities of South Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Javier’s expertise is in the area of culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy (CLR) with a particular emphasis on CLR for Chicano and Latino students. During his career as an educator, Javier has been an elementary and middle school teacher, a Bilingual Coordinator, a Program Specialist and a Coordinator with the Academic English Mastery Program (AEMP)- a national model program for Standard English Learners. Currently Javier serves as the Assistant Principal of Instruction at Bethune Middle School in LAUSD.



Maggie Schoon has been an educator since 2003 after receiving her teaching credential and Master of Arts in Education from UC Davis. She has served as an elementary school teacher and instructional coach for preschool-12th grade teachers (in Antioch USD and San Ramon Valley USD), a faculty member at University of Phoenix’s School of Education and an educational consultant for schools, teachers and families. She currently teaches at Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley where she is also the English Curriculum Coordinator and Instructional Coach for French and English faculty. She has been immersed in CLR teaching for her entire career and has not only helped educate underserved students, but coached teachers in how to utilize CLR strategies in their classrooms. She has been a Coach with CCRTL since 2015 and specializes in helping staff connect to the cultures of their students, second language acquisition and student engagement.


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Sandra Sklarsh




Gina Spoo earned her degree in Elementary Education from Augsburg University and a Masters in Literacy Education from Hamline University. She has worked in the education field for 19 years.  Currently, she serves as a Culturally Responsive Instructional Coach in the Hopkins School District and the Edina School District in Minnesota.  Through her coaching she can work with teachers k-12, administrators, and other educational staff.  She helps to support teachers and school sites with staff development, and creates sustainability plans that help enrich the lives of children, one classroom at a time.

In addition, Gina works for The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning as a lead coach and consultant. At the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning she authors the Skillset section of the monthly VABB Perspectives Newsletter along with authoring the monthly CLR-it emails.  Her expertise and passion for CLR work have most recently been demonstrated at the 2017 CLR Summer Institutes that The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning hosts annually. Because of her continuous devotion to the work, she has been selected for two consecutive years to be the presenter. She finds it an honor to be able to work with so many educators across the Midwest to ignite their own passion for this very important work. 



Jennifer Terry has worked in the education field for over twenty years.  She has taught students in grades Pre K-8th grade and has served as an instructional leader in staff development.   Currently Jennifer works as an instructional coach for Skyview Middle School in addition to supporting her districts work around cultural responsiveness.  During the school year she works as a coach for the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning and throughout the summer coordinates and leads the CLR Summer Institute.


Joel Weingart


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Deanna Wuotila earned her degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls and a Masters in Education from Hamline University. She has worked in the education field for 20 years.  She has both middle school and elementary classroom experience.  Currently, she teaches fifth grade in Oakdale, MN.  In addition to her role as a classroom teacher, she serves on the leadership team for the school district's staff development and also serves as a leader at the building level.  She is a site leader with the district equity team, and participates in the Educational Equity Alliance.  Deanna works for the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning as a consultant.  She also coaches teachers, administrators and other educational staff members at the CLR Summer Institutes.   


DR. GeNita Williams

Dr. GeNita Williams was born, raised, and educated in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Williams has been a teacher and school leader for 19 years, with five of those years being an urban middle school, turnaround principal. Dr. Williams earned her Bachelor’s degree from Harris-Stowe State University, her Master’s degree from the University of MO – St. Louis and her Doctorate degree from the University of Phoenix. Dr. Williams has been proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. for 22 years! Today, Dr. Williams is the General Education and Business Program Director for Vatterott College. Dr. Williams is also a practicing consultant in her own business, You+Me=WE Consulting Solutions, LLC and also with The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning, Los Angeles, CA, under the direction of Dr. Sharroky Hollie. Dr. Williams is passionate about providing educational opportunity and access to children of color and believes the goal of every educator should be to ensure students are learning about themselves as well as being educated in an environment that shows appreciation and respect for the diverse needs and capabilities of each student.



Yvette Williams has been in the educational field for over 20 years.  She is currently teaching 6th grade Language Arts in Fontana Unified School District and an adjunct Reading instructor at San Bernardino Valley College.  She earned her teaching credential at California State Los Angeles and her masters degree in Reading and Language Arts with a Reading Specialist credential.  Yvette has a passion for teaching reading, reaching inner city and underserved students and helping them to reach to their highest potential.  She became involved with the Center for Culturally Teaching working as a GSAT leader and being involved in the Academic English Mastery Program while teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Yvette has been a coach and helped to design Mainstream English Language Development lessons and workshops for CCRTL.