March 12, 2024


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.

We officially kicked off the cohort with an in-person gathering at the end of February, where cohort members met each other for the first time, explored their identities, cried, laughed, and collectively dreamed of what equitable extraordinary learning experiences and outcomes could be for young people.

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 leaders who are just as passionate about transforming education as they are.

“Reimagining and redesigning how to educate young people so that all children can thrive in and transform the world is a special kind of challenge that calls for a special kind of leadership,” said Dr. Deborah A. Gist, Superintendent-in-Residence at Transcend and facilitator of the LCLL. “Each member of this year’s cohort is wildly impressive individually, and at our in-person kickoff, the group immediately came together to challenge one another, embrace curiosity, and lean into vulnerability. We are so excited to see the growth of these incredible leaders over the next 10 months.”

Our new cohort members represent small, mid-size, and large districts in urban, rural, and suburban areas. Meet our newest cohort:

Dr. Rubén Carmona
Superintendent, Somerville Public Schools

Dr. Rubén Carmona has more than 20 years of educational leadership experience in the field. Prior to coming to Somerville, Dr. Carmona was a school principal in Salem and Lowell, a Regional Academic Director in Boston Public Schools and, most recently, Executive Director of Employee Engagement of Salem Public Schools. Dr. Carmona received his ED. D. from Boston College, a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and a Masters of Educational Leadership from Salem State University, and a BA in Modern Languages and Linguistics from Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia.

Teresa Chaulk
Superintendent in Residence, Lincoln County School District #1

Teresa Chaulk has served 17 years in the superintendent role at Lincoln County School District #1 and is also the Superintendent in Residence at Voice4Equity. She has served many roles throughout her career, including Business Manager, Curriculum Director and Special Education Director. Teresa doesn’t just work within the education system; she advocates for it at the state level, fervently supporting policies and funding that bolster schools, teachers, students and families.

Alan Cheng
High School Superintendent, NYCPS

Alan Cheng is the proud superintendent for 49 NYC high schools. Prior to joining the district, he was the principal of City-As-School High School, a transfer school in Manhattan. Alan has a doctorate from Teachers College in adult development and education leadership. Before joining City-As-School, he was an Education Policy Fellow for the US Senate Health Education Labor and Pension Committee. He has also worked as a Curriculum Fellow at the Judge School of Management at Cambridge University and a Research Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

Karen Cheser
Superintendent, Durango School District

Karen Cheser, Ed.D., is the proud Superintendent of Durango School District and was previously Superintendent of the Fort Thomas Schools in Kentucky. Prior to working in education, Karen worked for Procter & Gamble Inc. in sales management.She has been instrumental in bringing innovation, student agency, and a focus on future workforce to schools and communities. Karen is a mom to two college-aged sons, wife to an entrepreneur/ woodworker, loves to travel, and coaches robotics in her spare time.

Dr. Toriano Holloway
Superintendent, Vicksburg-Warren School District

A native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Dr. Toriano Holloway has led a distinguished career in education for more than 20 years. Prior to joining Vicksburg Warren School District, Dr. Holloway was the Superintendent of Education for Simpson County and Quitman School Districts. Dr. Holloway holds a Bachelor of Science from Mississippi University for Women and a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in educational administration from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Robert Lamkin
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, McComb School District

Robert Lamkin serves as the McComb School District’s Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. During his tenure, the district moved from an overall “D” rating from 2014 to a “B” rating in 2023. Mr. Lamkin also served as the instructional lead learner of McComb High School. Mr. Lamkin has a bachelor’s of Music from Jackson State University, a master’s of Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Specialist in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Research, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment.

Dr. Dan A. Sims
Superintendent, Bibb County School District

Dr. Sims is a three-time graduate of Georgia State University and holds a bachelor’s in Mathematics, a master’s in Educational Leadership, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership. He also served as an Associate Superintendent of Schools in the Atlanta Public School (APS) System for six years and spent 21 years with the Fulton County School System. He has been married to his wife, Traci, who is also an educator, for more than 27 years. Their family was recognized in 2017 by “Ebony Magazine” as one of America’s “Coolest Black Families.”

Shawn Stover
Superintendent, Rockingham County Schools

John O. Stover III, Ed.D. (Shawn) started his education career in 1990 in Hertford County, NC, where he was named the district’s Teacher of the Year in 1993. Shawn has also served as a school-based administrator across multiple districts in North Carolina, a district-level administrator in D.C. Public Schools, and held leadership positions at Teach For America and Uplift Education. Shawn holds a B.A. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Economics, an M.S. in School Administration and Curriculum Supervision from East Carolina University, and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Organization Innovation from Marymount University.

Dr. Erika Willis
Assistant Superintendent, Central Dauphin School District

Dr. Erika Willis is a devoted educator with over two decades of experience advancing educational initiatives and fostering student achievement. Her extensive career includes roles as a teacher and a principal for more than 10 years. Dr. Willis brings a wealth of expertise in curriculum development, instructional leadership, data-driven methodologies, strategic planning, and inclusive practices for all students to her current position. Dr. Willis cherishes her role as a mother to two daughters and two adoptive nieces, and finds immense joy in spending time with her twin grandchildren.

Amy Wooliever
Superintendent, La Honda Pescadero USD

With 32 years of dedicated service in education, Amy Wooliever is a leader committed to fostering academic excellence and inclusivity. Starting her career as a first grade teacher, she served as principal of her district’s elementary, middle and high school before becoming the Superintendent of La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District in 2010. Wooliever champions a student-centered approach, prioritizing individualization and whole-child learning. Wooliever holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from San Jose State University and a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of California, Davis, exemplifying a commitment to lifelong learning.


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