Staff Directory

In alphabetical order


Jody BakerJody Baker
Jody Baker serves as a consultant for Tier 1 Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support and Curriculum and Instruction. Over the past 32 years, Jody has devoted her professional life to serving students, families, and educators all throughout the state of Kansas. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS and enjoyed 16 years as a classroom teacher in Quinter and McPherson, Kansas. In 2000, Jody earned her Master’s degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Wichita State University in Wichita, KS and subsequently served as the building principal for Meadowlark Elementary in Andover, KS. During her tenure as a principal, Jody was recognized as a National Distinguished Principal for her contributions to the field of education. Jody passionately believes that every student can and will be successful when provided with the appropriate structures and systems that focus on prevention, relationship building, and encouragement. Outside of work, Jody enjoys spending time with her family, her friends, and her dog and is looking forward to exploring all that Kansas City has to offer.


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.


Renée Black

Renée Black joined the RPDC team as a SW-PBS consultant. Prior to joining the RPDC, Renée worked in Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming as a School Social Worker and School Counselor. Some of her responsibilities included providing social skills lessons, administering social/emotional assessments, conducting Functional Behavioral Assessments, and writing behavior plans. Renée has also served as an external and internal PBIS coach at several elementary schools. Renée has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Kansas State University and her Master’s in Clinical Social Work from the University of Kansas. She is certified in Animal-Assisted Therapy from the University of Denver. Outside of work, Renée enjoys spending time with her husband, Ryan, their son Beckham, and their Newfoundland, Nova.


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.


FairleyJoyJoy 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.


Jeff Freeland
Jeff Freeland joined the RPDC team as a SW-PBS and Data Teams/C & I consultant. Prior to joining the KCRPDC, Jeff served 17 years in public education where he taught vocal music, elementary computers, 4th-6th grade math and science, as well as serving five years as an elementary principal. Jeff has extensive background in SW-PBS, data teams, and instructional best practices both as an administrator and as a teacher, and has led and implemented these important initiatives to create positive student outcomes. Jeff grew up south of Kansas City, graduating from Sherwood Cass R-VIII High School before completing his Bachelor of Music and Master of Educational Administration degrees from Southwest Baptist University and his Educational Specialist degree from Arkansas State University. Jeff’s career has been based in Southwest Missouri; however, he is excited to return to the Kansas City area with, his wife, Terri, and their two daughters, Lauren and Kristen. Outside of work, Jeff loves to spend time with family and friends, traveling, fishing and just enjoying the outdoors.


Kathleen Growney
Kathy Growney serves as a consultant for School Wide Positive Behavior Supports. Prior to joining the RPDC, Kathy worked in a variety of experiences in education including classroom teacher, behavior specialist, special education coordinator, and building administrator for a special day school. Kathy has spent her career working with students with disabilities in both the Shawnee Mission School District and the Kansas City Kansas School district. As a native of the Kansas City area Kathy received her Bachelor’s degree from UMKC, a Master’s degree in Special Education from KU, and returned to UMKC to earn an Educational Specialist in School Leadership. Outside of work Kathy enjoys running, biking, spending time at the lake with family and walking her dog Murphy.


Guadalupe Magaña
Guadalupe Magaña is originally from Michoacán, Mexico. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with an English as a Second Language Endorsement from Kansas State University in 2008 and a Master’s degree in Counseling from Mid-America Nazarene University in 2013. Guadalupe has taught ESL, Spanish Literature and English as a Foreign Language, both at the high school and University levels. Guadalupe has fervor for those who do not speak the language and yet want to continue with their education. Her passion for education has even fueled her mission internationally. Guadalupe enjoys cooking, dancing, hiking, and enjoying nature.


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.


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.


Heidi Newlon
Heidi Newlon has recently joined the UMKC RPDC team as a CW (Collaborative Works) and Curriculum and Instruction Specialist. Heidi began her educational career as a classroom teacher where she taught kindergarten – 3rd grade. Following her classroom experience she became an ELL instructor, instructional coach, district instructional coach and district high needs coach. Heidi’s educational background include a B.S. from Bemidji State University, an M.S. from the University of Kansas and a Specialist’s Degree in Administration from UMKC. In 2010, Heidi became a fellow with Leading Educators National Organization which provided extensive training to serve as a middle level leaders within the school setting. Heidi is passionate about building collaborative relationships with educators. She is motivated by student and educator success. Heidi, along with her husband and daughter live in Blue Springs, MO.


Gwen Poss
Career Advisor
Dr. Gwen Poss reserves as the KC Regional Career Advisor. Prior to joining the RPDC, Gwen served in various principal roles for the Olathe School District over the past 25 years, including the opening of Olathe Northwest High School in 2003. Gwen was also a teacher/coach (volleyball, basketball, track and cross country) and principal in two rural Kansas School districts. She was a collegiate athlete, running track at the University of Kansas.   Gwen holds graduate and advanced degrees in Curriculum and Administration from Kansas State University. Gwen has been in many leadership roles at the district, state and national levels. She served on the Executive Board for the Kansas State High School Activities Association and on the board of directors for several professional organizations. Additionally, Gwen was selected as the Area 1 Principal of the Year in 2001.   Gwen is passionate about college and career readiness for all students and trains principals in AVID’S (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Leadership for College Readiness across the country.  In her free time, Gwen loves spending time with her husband Gary.


PrichardStephanieStephanie Prichard
Interim Director
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.

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 leadership; School-wide Positive Behavior Support; and curriculum and instruction. As of July 2017, Teresa serves as a full-time Leadership Development Specialist in the KC region as part of the statewide system for leadership development.  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





Julie Willyard
Office Manager