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Our Team

At LDC, we’re passionate about helping teachers enable their students to succeed. We are honored to partner with educators across the country, collaborating with them to create classroom resources that will help them in their important work: preparing students for success in school—and in life.

Chad Vignola

Executive Director

Chad maintains a deep, abiding interest in public education. Prior to joining LDC, he served as a vice president at New Visions for Public Schools, where he had responsibility for overseeing all instructional and operational supports including Common Core and teacher effectiveness implementations for 75 New York City public schools. Chad also served as a vice president at The Princeton Review, and as general counsel and executive director to the New York City Department of Education for many years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wharton School and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed coursework toward a doctorate in education leadership at New York University. When not working tirelessly to support educators, Chad is an avid bicyclist who leaves a lean, green footprint as he fearlessly navigates New York City streets.

Suzanne Simons

Chief Academic Officer

Suzanne is a longtime “book whisperer” and teacher and student advocate. She has taught literature, literacy, systems redesign, and leadership in a range of educational settings, including Head Start, ESL, ABE, elementary and high school, and the university level. Suzanne holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She sits on the Pepper Council and the Board of Trustees of the Free Library of Philadelphia, and on the Board of the Benjamin and Fredora K. Wolf Memorial Foundation. In her spare time, Suzanne reads avidly, travels the world, practices yoga, and sometimes teaches Pilates. She is also a writer and a big fan of the Transition to Writing step, knowing full well how messy writing really is. Suzanne believes that the LDC community is building a movement that will change the world—one module at a time!

Barb Smith

Director of Partnerships and Professional Learning

Barb has led continuous improvement efforts from first grade to college. Prior to joining LDC, she led LDC projects through Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, a Pennsylvania education service agency. Barb holds a B.A., an M.Ed., a Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility, and certificates in Reading, Curriculum, and Instruction. She earned a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies at Alvernia University and maintains an active research agenda focused on leadership in online contexts. Barb loves to cook, travel, read, spend time outdoors, and practice boxing and yoga.

Rob Kasher

Product Manager

Rob leverages the resources, knowledge, and best practices generated by LDC users to support and grow the national educator ecosystem of practice. Before joining LDC, Rob supported the implementation of the LDC framework while working for New Visions for Public Schools. A Teach for America alumnus, he is a former social studies teacher who holds a master's from George Washington University and a bachelor's from the University of Michigan. Currently living in San Francisco, Rob is a Metro Detroit native who enjoys traveling, reading, writing, running, and rooting for most of Detroit's sports teams.

Megan Jensen

i3 Grant Project Director, Los Angeles

Megan directs LDC's federal i3 grant-funded professional development work in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She has worked as a reading interventionist, reading teacher, and academic counselor for students in grades K-12. While on a Fulbright grant, she worked with a South African high school to develop its library and literacy programming. She holds a B.A. from UCLA, and an M.A. in International and Comparative Education with a specialization in Literacy and Language Development from Teachers College, Columbia University. Megan drinks egregious amounts of coffee, travels anywhere she can, and names all of her plants.

Danielle Brewer

Manager of Professional Learning

Danielle supports the development of innovative professional learning and surface examples from the Community of Practice. Prior to joining LDC, she was a former business education teacher and passionate early adopter of LDC in Arkansas. She also supported LDC teachers in a number of schools, districts, and states as a Literacy Consultant for Southern Regional Education Board. Danielle holds a master’s from the University of Arkansas in Educational Technology and a bachelor’s from College of the Ozarks. She loves to read, cook, workout, and spend time with her husband, Jonathan.

Nicole Renner

Manager of Core Content Development

Nicole Barrick Renner supports the ongoing development and improvement of LDC’s core content, including task templates, rubrics, curriculum resources, and student work. Prior to joining LDC, Nicole worked as a performance assessment and ELA content specialist at SCALE, focusing on building educators’ assessment literacy through professional development and technical support. Always an English teacher at heart, she started out teaching high school English with a focus on PBL and Paideia Seminar at East Nashville Magnet School in Tennessee. Nicole holds an M.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College; she also holds an M.A. and a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia. When not reading or otherwise geeking out about English language arts, Nicole also enjoys taming semi-feral cats, trying to cook the winning dishes from food competition shows, and cycling around Austin (during the few months of the year when it’s not blisteringly hot).  

Kimba Rael

Manager of Professional Learning Content

Kimba is a resource for coaches and teachers as a content specialist on the LDC team. She was part of the first LDC cohort in Colorado and has deepened her understanding of the LDC framework as a teacher, coach, trainer, adjunct professor, and facilitator. Kimba joins the team from a unique position because she is still the 9-12 English/Language Arts teacher and instructional coach half-time in her rural Colorado district in San Luis. She earned her B.A in English/Secondary Education from Adams State University and her M.A in single-subject English from the University of Southern California. Although she was born and raised in California, Kimba enjoys working the family ranch with her husband and daughter, riding horses, and breathing in the majesty of a rural night sky.

Nephi Wright

Software Developer

Nephi is a lifelong learner who is interested in code, math, and the ways people learn. A member of the LDC technology team, he started programming professionally in 2004, discovering his passion. He has been creating professional software ever since. Before joining LDC, Nephi helped lead teams of developers creating eLearning and business simulation software. He also helped to create and maintain a big data dashboard that allowed business analysts to explore how people navigate through multiple company services. Nephi enjoys road biking in and around his hometown of Denver, as well as hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time with his wife, Sarah, and extended family.

Jennifer Bowman

Marketing Manager

As LDC's Marketing Manager, Jennifer provides support for LDC's marketing and sales and is responsible for overseeing, planning, and executing all communications. She holds a B.S. from the University of Central Florida in Psychology and an M.A. from the University of Central Florida in Counselor Education and arrived at LDC with over three years of non-profit management experience. Jennifer is passionate about education, mental health advocacy, and community outreach. She loves baking, trivia, reading, and traveling, and is a proud dog-mom to a rescue named Max.

Dana Moloney

Finance and Operations Manager

Dana provides oversight of the back-end and day-to-day functions of LDC. Dana is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), with a background in coordinating population health research projects and holds a Master’s in Biology. She has always had a dedication to education and is excited to now be contributing to a mission such as LDC’s. In her spare time, Dana enjoys writing, sketching, pilates, and taking long walks with her husband and their dog Riley.

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