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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.

Caryn Moon

Program Assistant

Caryn graduated from Smith College with a BA in Printmaking and has always envisioned herself in the line of work to bring art and reading together. Caryn’s love for art and literacy sparked in high school where she co-founded Read for Charity and illustrated “What Sammy Learned Today”; all proceedings went to raising literacy for students from low income communities. Caryn’s specialty evolved towards administrative support while working at a children’s book museum and non-profit organizations focused on youth education. She is so ecstatic to join LDC to bring support as a program assistant and to go back to her roots in bringing importance to reading and writing.

Chad Vignola

Executive Director

Chad has worked in public education and public service for over 30 years, spinning LDC off from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s primary common core implementation grant-making strategy into a national edtech hub for innovation and school transformation in effectively delivering—and measuring—rigorous instructional classroom practice. Prior to joining LDC, he served as a Vice President at New Visions for Public Schools, where he was responsible for overseeing 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 J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and completed coursework toward a doctorate in education leadership at New York University. Chad remains passionate about using user-centered technology and measurement as tools that inspire a teaching profession to continuously improve their skills and all students access to rigorous curricular content and lifelong success.

Dr. Barrie Olson

Director, Academic and Professional Learning

Barrie ensures that the design, delivery, and quality of LDC's resources support LDC's vision for equity for all students and support for all educators. Operating from a system's approach, Barrie's work at LDC connects each level of the educational system to enact change. Prior to joining LDC, Barrie was a writing and communication consultant for K-12 schools, educational foundations, and private corporations. In addition, she has taught writing, communication, and literacy at the University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Louisville, and the University of Cincinnati, Blue Ash College. She has also worked as a Writing Program Administrator, helping to support university writing centers, composition programs, and business communication labs.

Her research focuses on how to teach the explicit and implicit features of discipline-specific writing. Barrie frequently hosts educational workshops on empowering students to be disciplinary thinkers and writers and, more importantly, to understand the metacognitive connection between the thinking in a discipline and the writing of that discipline. In addition, she works with educators to implement the tenets of meaningful gamification and simulation pedagogy, both of which aim to reduce the detachment between theory and practice in the classroom. Barrie is also involved in extensive research on writing transfer from secondary to post-secondary education and has been published in journals such as Composition Studies, Writing Across the Curriculum, and the Journal of College Writing. She earned her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Louisville, where she was the recipient of the Barbara Plattus Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Suzanne Simons

Chief Academic Officer

Suzanne’s leadership work has focused on building sustainable equity across public educational systems in order to ensure parity of access for all teachers and students. Suzanne sets the vision and oversees the design, delivery, and quality of LDC’s resources, tools, and professional supports. She also works with the LDC Academic Advisory Board to establish and ensure LDC’s partnership in the most current and pressing issues facing the field today. Previously, Suzanne ran turnaround partnerships for American Reading Company and worked in both higher education and PK-12 systems.

She holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Suzanne sits on the Board of Trustees and the Pepper Council of the Free Library of Philadelphia, on Philadelphia’s Read by 4th Leadership Council, and on the boards of Scholar’s Promise and the Benjamin and Fredora K. Wolf Memorial Foundation. She is committed to the vision that all means all, and that every student can and should be well served through a commitment to equity.

Heather Sampselle

Implementation Manager

Heather is a passionate and forward-thinking lover of education. She taught at the elementary level in Florida and Maryland and brings a variety of experiences to the table, which includes developing and leading professional learning sessions with teachers, leaders, and coaches at the district, state, and national levels. Her early adoption of LDC now helps her support implementation and ensure customer success. Heather holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida and has a M.A. in Teaching and Learning Administration.

Maria Derivan-George

Facilitation Manager

Maria Derivan-George is a strong advocate and believer in the power of positive educational experiences to facilitate change in the lives of all students. She taught high school English in North Carolina for several years before moving into direct support of teachers as a school improvement coach in Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

Maria's previous experiences with LDC help her to support the facilitation and continued learning of education professionals through both on-site and virtual workshops and supports.  Maria is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), holds a B.S in Political Science and a B.A. in English Literature from SUNY Plattsburgh, and an MSA from Western Carolina University. 

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.

Nephi Wright

Software Developer

Nephi Wright began his career in 2004 building eLearning and business simulation software for many different clients. He used his ability to learn quickly and work with teams to convert instructional designers concepts and content into educational web applications. Later, Nephi used his engineering experience to create and maintain a big data dashboard. He now helps build LDC CoreTools and provides customer support. Nephi spends much of his free time contributing to his community as a member of a special district board and creating events for his neighborhood.

Nicole Renner

Curriculum Quality Manager

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 the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE), focusing on building educators’ assessment literacy through professional development and technical support.

Always an English teacher at heart, she began her career 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.