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Our Team


Sophia Thwaites – Implementation Manager

Sophia Thwaites – Implementation Manager


Sophia has over fifteen years of experience in K-12 education. She started her career as a middle school teacher and most recently has been managing online and blended professional learning programs for districts and state education agencies throughout the US. She is dedicated to student success, especially ensuring students from diverse ethnic, linguistic, racial and socio-economic backgrounds receive equitable access to quality educational experiences. She received a BA in History from the University of Florida, a postgraduate diploma in History Education from the University of the West Indies and a MA in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a certified teacher in New York and Florida in social studies and biology. Sophia divides her time between New York and South Florida and lives with her husband, three sons, and two dogs. Sophia enjoys pilates, yoga, skiing, the beach, classical music and binge-watching Netflix.


Alexis Upshaw – Online Coach


Alexis is originally from Silver Spring, Maryland and moved to Georgia in 2000 to pursue a degree in economics from Spelman College. At this time, she began mentoring and teaching elementary and middle school students in an afterschool program, which she fell in love with. Alexis graduated from Spelman College in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in economics and an acceptance into the Teach for America program where she trained with hundreds of new educators in Houston, Texas. She began her teaching career in 2004 as first grade teacher and spent 13 years teaching fourth and fifth grade and mentoring novice teachers. Throughout her time as an educator, Alexis received her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Central Michigan University and is currently working on her Doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction. In addition to being a classroom teacher, Alexis has worked as a curriculum writer/director and regional consultant two of the top early childhood franchises in the country. Alexis has concurrently trained and coached hundreds of educators and leaders over her 20-year tenure in the education industry. Alexis lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and three beautiful children. She enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with family.


Joanna Smith – Lead Online Coach


Joanna earned a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from Saint Joseph’s University and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from The Pennsylvania State University. For the past 16 years she has had the opportunity to work in the field of education in both the traditional classroom and remote setting, instructing both students and teachers. She is thrilled to be able to continue to support teachers and other educators as they pursue professional development that will have a positive impact on both their instruction and student learning. Joanna resides outside of Philadelphia, PA with her husband and four children. In her free time, she loves cheering on her children at their sporting events. She also loves to watch movies and home remodeling shows.


Janice Armstrong – Online Coach


Janice’s areas of expertise include language and literature, writing, school and classroom culture, assessment, Common Core State Standards, and differentiating instruction to meet students' unique needs. Janice earned her undergraduate degree in secondary education with a specialization in English from Arizona State University. She also has a teaching minor in Anthropology, an MA in Educational Leadership, and an MFA in creative writing. She has been teaching at both the high school and college level for 19 years. She lives in the Phoenix area with her husband, 11-year-old daughter, and 5 cats (Holstein, Onyx, Loki, Thor, Nobs). In her spare time, Janice enjoys reading, writing, crafting, cooking, and spending time with her family.


Allison Atkins – Lead Online Coach


Allison has worked in education for over 15 years as a middle school language arts and third grade teacher, a district administrator and now works with first year college students. She is an enthusiastic ASU Sun Devil with a BA in Elementary Education, MA in Curriculum and Instruction, and doctorate in Leadership and Innovation. In her spare time Allison enjoys reading, yoga and getting to the beach as much as possible.


Rana Boone – Online Coach


Rana has more than nineteen years of experience as a teacher, instructional coach, national education consultant, and school administrator. She began her career as a first-grade teacher and has most re-cently led a K-12 school as Principal. She is most passionate about empowering educators across the country with new instructional and leadership skills in order to move their schools forward. Rana is a proud graduate of Howard University, where she earned a BA in Political Science. She received her teacher certification and pursued her Master of Education Administration at the University of St. Thomas-Houston. She is a certified teacher in Texas and Hawai’i. Rana lives on Maui with her husband and two daughters. In her spare time, she enjoys running, pilates, reading, singing, and beach days with her large extended family.


Jessica Chislett – Online Coach


Jessica earned a BA in English and Women’s Studies from the University of Toronto, and a master’s degree in English and Gender Studies from the University of Rochester. Jessica has worked in higher ed and K-12 education for the past 10 years in a variety of roles including as a humanities adjunct, instructional designer, classroom teacher, and professional development coordinator. Jessica lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, toddler son and two dogs. When she gets spare time, Jessica enjoys reading, crafting, and writing.


Emerald Ochonogor – Online Coach


Emerald has worked in the field of education for the past 10 years. She has served as a special education teacher, instructional coach and college access counselor. She is a proud graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (BA), the Arizona State University (M.Ed.), and is currently completing a doctorate in Education Leadership and Innovation. Emerald resides in Peoria, AZ where she enjoys dining out, spending time with family, reading fiction books, and the great outdoors.


Shermonica Simon – Online Coach


Shermonica has worked in education over the past 18 years as a teacher, instructional coach, mentor, and department chair. She has taught both adolescent and adult learners in traditional and online settings. Shermonica is certified to teach English Language Arts, Business Education, and Computer Science. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of North Florida in Computer Information Science with a minor in English and her master's degree in Education and Human Development from George Washington University. Currently she is pursuing an additional degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. In her free time Shermonica enjoys gardening and volunteering at her children's elementary school where she assists with the school's garden club.

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