Staff Directory

In alphabetical order

Cathy BattlesCathy Battles
Cathy Battles, who joined the RPDC in 2008, has over 30 years’ experience as a high school math teacher.  In addition to classroom instruction, Cathy served as the lead math teacher in her high school and as the secondary math specialist for the district.  Cathy also has served as a member of the Missouri GLE/CLE writing team, president of the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and MCTM contest chair. Cathy has her Master’s in mathematics education. In her time as an RPDC consultant, Cathy has been a MAP Regional Instructional Facilitator, math consultant, PLC/data team facilitator, Mathematics Common Core certified trainer, and has presented and facilitated numerous professional development events at the regional, state, and national levels.  Cathy has worked closely to customize training and support for numerous districts in our area including Lee’s Summit, Independence, North Kansas City, Smithville, Raytown, and Kansas City Public Schools.


Susan BorgmeyerSusan Borgmeyer
Susan Borgmeyer has worked with students with disabilities in a variety of capacities throughout her career.  Susan received her post-secondary education at Lincoln University in Jefferson City and the University of Missouri-Columbia.   Susan began her career in education as a speech and language therapist in central Missouri, and has taught special education in all grades from preschool through 12thgrade, including a position in functional education with one of the Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled. Susan has been the director of special education at the district level, and compliance supervisor and assistant director of compliance for the Office of Special Education with Missouri DESE.  Currently Susan serves as the special education compliance consultant for the Kansas City area and surrounding regions, and has received commendations for her work in many school districts including Liberty, Tarkio, Orearville, Clinton County, Allen Village Charter Schools, and Hope Leadership Academy. Susan enjoys living in Kansas City to be near her children and grandchildren.


Phyllis BudesheimPhyllis Budesheim
Dr. Phyllis Budesheim’s formal training includes a B.A. from William Jewell College, an M.A. and Education Specialist from Central Missouri State University, and a Doctorate from the University of Kansas. Phyllis’s work experience includes teaching at the elementary, junior high, high school and college levels. As an administrator, Phyllis has served as principal of elementary and middle schools and as Executive Director for School Leadership supervising secondary schools. Phyllis has a deep commitment to students, particularly in our area’s urban districts, and has worked closely with Kansas City Public Schools and Hickman Mill as a program consultant for school-wide positive behavior support, collaborative data teams, and as a principal coach for turnaround schools.


Julie CollinsJulie Collins
Dr. Julie Collins has had a variety of experiences in education as a middle school English Language Arts teacher, teacher leader, middle school assistant principal, and central office administrator in the areas of federal programs, curriculum, assessment, strategic planning and school improvement. Julie spent the majority of her career in North Kansas City, and had the privilege to provide leadership for assessment, school improvement, and strategic planning for the Parkway School District (St. Louis) in 2010 and 2011. In 2012 Julie returned to the Kansas City area with her husband Bret, twin teenagers Jared and Lauren, two cute but contrary cats (Dottie and Kate), and a very ornery dog, Charlie,  who demands and receives a disproportionate amount of household attention. Julie earned her Bachelor’s from MU, her Master’s in Educational Research & Psychology from UMKC, and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from KU (yet is a Tiger through and through).  With a passion for school improvement and a results-driven mindset, Julie is thrilled to serve as director for the RPDC.


Joy FairleyJoy Fairley
Dr. Joy Pedego Fairley has spent over thirty years as a teacher, Special Education Assistant Director, and Director of Special Services in both Missouri and Kansas. Joy earned her B.S. in Elementary Education, M.S. Ed. in Learning Disabilities from the University of Central Missouri, and her Ph.D. in Special Education at the University of Kansas in 1991. Joy has served as a visiting and adjunct professor at the University of Missouri –Kansas City. Her most recent publication is Aitken, J. E., Fairley, J. P., & Carlson, J. K. (2011). Communication Technology for Students in Special Education Programs. IGI. Joy currently serves a school improvement consultant with expertise and providing training for MAP-A , RtI, co-teaching, and collaborative data teams, and provides on-site, customized support to area schools and districts including Fort Osage, Grandview, and Kansas City Public Schools. Joy is a lifelong learner and a committed advocate for all students.


Gessen_KindraKindra Gassen

Kindra Gassen received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Master’s in Elementary Administration from the University of Central Missouri. Prior to joining the Kansas City RPDC in June 2015, Kindra taught fifth grade at Mill Creek Upper Elementary in Belton and later served as a district literacy leader with extensive work and training in Professional Learning Communities. From there, Kindra served as an assistant principal in the Raytown School District. Working as an administrator in a district implementing SW-PBS, Kindra obtained hands-on experiences that sparked a desire to work as a regional SW-PBS consultant.


KnollSarahSarah Knoll
Sarah Knoll recently joined the UMKC RPDC team as a MELL Instructional Specialist. After serving as an airborne Farsi linguist in the Air Force and subsequently working as a multimedia developer, Sarah began her educational career teaching Title I Math and 1st grade in University City, a suburb of St. Louis. After returning to her hometown of Kansas City in 2005, Sarah taught English as a Second Language for Blue Springs School District. Sarah recently returned from teaching English in Korea and is excited about this new opportunity to provide support for area ELL teachers. Sarah has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from University of MO – St. Louis and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Webster University with an ESOL Certificate. Her son, Justin, is currently attending Amherst College in Massachusetts. She enjoys traveling, learning new languages and working with people from all backgrounds.


Mary McConnellMary McConnell
Dr. Mary E. McConnell has spent more than three decades as an educator and continues to be a lifelong learner. Mary is a recognized expert in Response to Intervention (RtI), co-teaching, academic and behavior self-monitoring strategies for students, functional behavioral assessments, effective teaching practices for diverse learners, and effective classroom management strategies. Mary has received numerous recognitions and awards and has published several articles that address ways to work effectively with diverse groups of learners. During her time at the RPDC, Mary has worked closely to support teachers and administrators in many area districts including Hickman Mills, Grandview, Kansas City Public Schools, University Academy, and Frontier Schools. Mary is the author of three books including Functional Assessment: A Systematic Process for Assessment and Intervention in General and Special Education Classrooms. Mary earned her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Kansas in 1996. Mary is a mother and grandmother with a deep compassion and commitment to improving the learning outcomes for all students, especially for diverse learners.


Diane MoraDiane Mora
Born in Kansas City, proper, as an adult, Diane Mora has lived in several cities in the U.S. and in China in pursuit of her own education and in the process of educating others. While completing her Master’s at Creighton University in Omaha, Diane made her first trip to China to teach middle school EFL. Falling in love with the art of teaching the English language, Diane completed another Master’s in Education – TESOL, from Avila University. Between Master’s degrees, Diane hopped a fast flight (as opposed to a slow boat) back to China to teach Senior, Chinese English Education majors at a University in Zhiangmen. Since returning to the U.S. Diane taught fifth grade in Tulsa, Oklahoma and spent six years as an ESL Instructor in the ABE/GED/ESL program at Johnson County Community College. With a true passion for immersing herself in the lives of those she serves, Diane has also completed service learning projects with the Lakota Nation on the reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and with No Mas Muertes which provides humanitarian aid to migrants trapped in the desert along the Mexico/Arizona border. Diane’s experience and expertise are well-suited for her position in our center serving area schools and districts as an ELL Instructional Specialist.


Kelly Vines NashKelly Vines Nash
Kelly Vines Nash recently joined the RPDC as a curriculum and instruction consultant working with data teams. Kelly grew up in the Kansas City area and has spent 16 years in both the Raytown and Raymore-Peculiar School districts.  After nine years thoroughly enjoying her third and fourth grade students, Kelly joined the administrative staff at Raymore-Peculiar as an assistant principal and then principal. Bringing to the RPDC a passion for curriculum, instruction, assessment, and intervention, she is thrilled to work in collaboration with districts including Belton, Independence, and DeLaSalle Charter School. Kelly completed both her B.S.E.-Elementary Education and M.S.E-Elementary Administration at the University of Central Missouri and is currently working on her Ed.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership at the University of Kansas. Kelly is married to Dave, enjoys cooking and reading, and gets tremendous enjoyment in being entertained by Dave’s four grown children and the six grandkids who call her GiGi.


PrichardStephanieStephanie Prichard
Stephanie Prichard joins the RPDC with extensive educational experience. Stephanie began her career as a first and fifth grade teacher and moved into administration after five years in the classroom. Stephanie has served as elementary principal in both the North Kansas City School District and Olathe Public Schools. After sixteen years in the principal role, Stephanie branched out to pursue work in the field of character education and opened the CharacterPLUS office in Kansas City. Stephanie received both her BA and MS degrees from Kansas State University. As a consultant with the RPDC, Stephanie partners with schools to advance their work through Professional Learning Communities and the Data Teams Process.


Roberts_PaigePaige Roberts
Paige Roberts is a native of Kansas City, having grown up in the Park Hill School District.  Paige has had a variety of experiences in education as an elementary school teacher, reading interventionist, high school assistant principal, and instructional technology and teaching methods coach with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction.  Paige has specialized experience implementing 1:1 initiatives using student laptops to enhance learning, as well as utilizing Response to Intervention strategies to support student achievement. Paige spent the majority of her career in the Clay County School District located in Jacksonville, Florida; however, she has taught in other school districts around Missouri throughout her career in education—Hallsville, North Kansas City Schools and Kansas City Public Schools. In 2012 Paige returned to the Kansas City area with her husband Matt, and two Basset Hounds—Merle and Myrtle. Paige earned her Bachelor’s from MU and her Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida.  In 2014, Paige became a fellow of the Leading Educators National Organization, where she was provided in-depth training on how to serve as a middle leader in her school.  Paige is driven and motivated by success.  She sets the bar high for all schools to succeed and continue to grow—her passion for education is very evident. Paige is humbled to serve alongside the other fabulous consultants for the RPDC.  She loves learning new things and growing and expanding her knowledge each and every day.


Linda SmothersLinda Smothers
Administrative Assistant




Shauna StephanchickShauna Stephanchick
Shauna Stephanchick has recently joined the UMKC RPDC team as a PLC (professional learning communities) and data team consultant. Shauna began her educational career as a classroom teacher where she taught 1st and 2nd grade students. Following her teaching experiences, Shauna became an instructional coach, district instructional coach, and elementary principal for the Grandview School District. Shauna’s educational background includes a B.A. from Drury University, an M.S. in Teacher Leadership from Mid-America Nazarene, and a Specialist’s Degree in Administration. Shauna is passionate about partnering with educators to build collaborative environments that result in maximizing student learning and achievement, and has quickly entered into partnerships with school teams in Smithville, Independence, Hickman Mills, and Platte County.  Shauna and her husband reside in Lee’s Summit, MO.


StevensonJulieJulie Stevenson
Julie Stevenson brings more than 25 years of experience in education to her consultant role at the RPDC, with 18 of those years as an exceptional classroom teacher. In her administrative career Julie has served as an assistant principal, federal programs director, curriculum director, and assistant superintendent. Julie has expertise in many areas of curriculum and instruction including PLCs, data teams, literacy, and ELA standards implementation. Currently, Julie is working on her doctorate through William Woods University. Education has been a tradition in Julie’s family throughout several generations, and she is proud to contribute to the growth of each learner.


TulipanaTeresaTeresa Tulipana
Teresa Tulipana, Ed.D. joined the RPDC in September 2014 as a consultant with expertise in School-wide Positive Behavior Support, leadership, and curriculum and instruction.   Prior to joining the KC-RPDC, Teresa served 27 years in public education as a 3rd grade teacher, director of community outreach, and an elementary school principal. Teresa’s career began in the Turner Unified School District where she developed a passion for ensuring all students, despite economic inequalities, receive a quality educational experience.   While in Turner, Teresa was recognized as a Point of Light for her work providing a quality educational experience for all children. After ten years in Turner, Teresa relocated to the Park Hill School District where she served as principal.   In 2004, Teresa was named a National Distinguished Principal for her contributions to the field of education at both the Missouri and National level. In her free time, Teresa is an active volunteer for her church; enjoys reading and attending theater; and values time with family and friends.


Anita ValdovinoAnita Valdovino
Administrative Assistant