May 10, 2023

Transcend Announces the Learner-Centered Leadership Lab Cohort 4

By Transcend

Transcend is thrilled to introduce the newest members of the Learner-Centered Leadership Lab (LCLL), a program specifically designed for the most forward-thinking and visionary systems leaders who are committed to putting learners first. Throughout their journey, they will work collaboratively and support each other to create conditions that will enable learners to thrive in a world that is constantly evolving. As part of this program, these innovative leaders will have access to a national network of like-minded individuals who are just as passionate about transforming education as they are. 

Learn more about them as we go on this exciting adventure to transform industrial-era school systems into 21st-century powerhouses that are focused on the needs of every learner!

Our new cohort members are:

Dr. Margaret Crespo
Superintendent, Laramie County School District 1 

Dr. Crespo began her education career 30 years ago in northern New Jersey. She holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and history and a master’s degree in counseling, both from Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. She also holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Arizona State University.

Dr. Monique Darrisaw-Akil
Superintendent, Uniondale UFSD

Dr. Darrisaw-Akil has had a distinguished career of over 25 years in the field of education. Prior to Uniondale, she was the assistant superintendent of secondary education, programs, and policy for the Brentwood Union Free School District. Monique holds a Doctor of Education in educational leadership, management and policy from Seton Hall University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Brooklyn College, CUNY.

Dr. Ivan Duran
Superintendent, Highline Public Schools

As the superintendent for Highline Public Schools in Burien, WA, Dr. Duran leads with a focus on racial equity and inclusion, creating systems to support academic, social-emotional, and behavior development for all students. He holds a doctorate in education leadership and policy study from the University of Denver, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Metropolitan State University of Denver. 

Dr. T. Lamar Goree
Superintendent, Caddo Parish Public Schools 

The longest-serving superintendent in more than 30 years, Dr. Goree brought innovation and stabilization to Caddo Parish Public Schools, a district of nearly 37,000 students with 58 schools including three charter agreements. He is a graduate of Huntington High School and holds a Bachelor of Arts in management from Morehouse College, a Master of Education in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Dr. Shawnterra Moore
Superintendent, South San Francisco Unified School District

An educator for 23 years, Dr. Moore has served as superintendent of schools for the last eight. Dr. Moore is passionate about her family, her faith, and her love for educating and engaging students in unique ways. She has a deep commitment to equity, inclusion, and social justice, and is dogmatic in her belief that all people, students and adults, are capable of excellence. She has been described as an equity-focused, compassionate leader, who leads with a heart of humility and is fierce about creating the conditions and systems for which all students, especially those who are disenfranchised, whereby they are seen, heard, and included such that they can access, receive support, and thrive both academically and social-emotionally. Dr. Moore earned a Bachelor of Arts from Santa Clara University. She holds a Master of Arts in educational leadership and a Doctorate of Educational Psychology, both from the University of the Pacific.

Dr. Cecilia J. Robinson‐Woods
Superintendent, Millwood Public Schools

Serving as superintendent of Millwood Public Schools in Oklahoma City, OK since 2013, Dr. Robinson-Woods has introduced innovative learning programs and worked to strengthen parent engagement, both toward a goal of 100% of Millwood students graduating college and career ready. She received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Oklahoma State University, a Master of Education in education administration and curriculum supervision from the University of Oklahoma, and a Doctor of Education from the University of Oklahoma.

Gina Sudaria
Superintendent, Ravenswood City School District

Gina Sudaria has dedicated her career to serving the students and families of Ravenswood City School District in California. As Superintendent for the last four years and with 25 years of experience in various roles, she is committed to ensuring the district’s progress and success while centering on students’ needs. Under her leadership, the district has implemented ground-breaking talent initiatives, anti-racist commitments, and six priorities to ensure that all school programs and team members meet every student’s day-to-day needs. Gina received a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University and a Master’s in Education from California State University of East Bay.

Dr. Christopher Timmis
Superintendent, Dexter Community Schools

Dr. Timmis has served in the role of superintendent of Dexter Community Schools since 2013, having served Michigan students throughout his career in a variety of roles: a superintendent in two different districts; a high school principal; a curriculum director; a middle school and high school teacher; a coach; and a paraprofessional. Dr. Timmis has spent his entire career leading innovation to provide a truly equitable education that helps every child develop to realize their individual potential. He holds a Doctor of Education from Eastern Michigan University, a Master of Education from Wayne State University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Adrian College.

Dr. Michael J. Thomas
Superintendent, Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools 

Dr. Thomas has spent more than 25 years in education and has experience spanning multiple industries including community-based mental health, hospitals, and corrections. Dr. Thomas believes that education is the gateway to success in life and adopts a holistic approach to supporting students’ academic, social, and emotional needs.

Dr. Kelly Withers
Superintendent, Rowan-Salisbury Schools 

Dr. Withers has spent more than two decades as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and district administrator at Rowan-Salisbury Schools. Dr. Withers has a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in school administration from Gardner-Webb University, and a doctorate in educational leadership and cultural foundations from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Dr. Jermall Wright
Superintendent, Little Rock School District

Since building makeshift blackboards and teaching neighborhood children in the backyard of his childhood home in Florida, Dr. Wright knew from an early age that teaching and education were his passion and calling. Wright earned a Bachelor of Arts in social science secondary education and a Master of Education in educational leadership from the University of North Florida; a specialist degree in special education from the University of Florida; and a Doctor of Education in leadership for educational equity with a specialization in early childhood special education from the University of Colorado Denver.

Dr. Stephen Zrike
Superintendent, Salem Public Schools

Dr. Zrike is in his third year as the superintendent of Salem Public Schools in Massachusetts. During his tenure as its leader, the district has focused on expanding access to early childhood programming, enhancing career technical pathways, growing early college opportunities, and strengthening mental health supports for Salem’s youth. He received his doctorate from the Urban Superintendents’ Program and his master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Zrike also holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth College.

Please join us in welcoming this inspiring group of leaders to the Learner-Centered Leadership Lab, and stay tuned for guideposts from their journey. Watch our video featuring alumni from the Learner-Centered Leadership Lab below.


Transcend supports communities to create and spread extraordinary, equitable learning environments.

Stay Connected

Transcend is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates nationally.