Stephanie M. Johnson, NBCT

Stephanie M. Johnson (she/her) is a certified administrator and National Board Certified Teacher currently teaching second grade in Columbia, SC. A native of Sumter, SC, she obtained an undergraduate degree in English, a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree from the University of South Carolina, and a Masters in Executive Leadership from Gardner-Webb University.

Stephanie has earned national recognition as an educator, including as a 2018 Lowell Milken Educator Fellow for Unsung Heroes and as one of five educators across the country to receive the 2017 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence. She has served in a range of professional leadership roles beyond the classroom. Currently, she acts as chairperson of the National Education Association’s Women’s Issues Committee and a member of the Teaching and Learning Committee, on the Executive Board of the South Carolina Education Association, and is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Kevin Gilbert

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Howard County Public School System (Howard County, MD)

Dr. Kevin F. Gilbert (he/him), has been in education for 24 years and currently serves as the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) in Howard County, Maryland. Prior to his arrival in HCPSS, he served as the coordinator for teacher leadership and special projects with the Clinton Public School District in Clinton, Mississippi.

As the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dr. Gilbert is tasked with coordinating HCPSS’s efforts to be more diverse, promote equity, and ensure inclusion throughout the district. As the first person to serve in this capacity for HCPSS, he also oversees the operation of the newly created Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI). After just three years, ODEI is one of the bedrocks of the HCPSS’s equity work. The Howard County Public School System is located in Ellicott City, MD and serves over 59,000 students and over 8,000 staff members.

Dr. Gilbert has worked as a social studies teacher, coach, bus driver, and an administrator with the Clinton Public School District, Rankin County School District (Flowood, MS), and the Hinds County School District (Raymond, MS). Other professional experience includes serving on the National Education Association’s (NEA) Executive Committee from 2013-2019, and president of the Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE) from 2007-2013. Other leadership positions include serving as vice president for governance for the National Council of State Education Associations, chair of the NEA Committee on Human and Civil Rights, and co-chair of the NEA task force on Discipline and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a doctorate in education leadership from Mississippi College.

Jessica Cuthbertson, NBCT


Jessica (she/hers) has over 15 years of teaching experience in Colorado K-12 schools. While most of her teaching focuses on middle school ELA, she enjoys supporting students of all ages and abilities. Jessica believes literacy is a powerful tool for social justice, equity, and advocacy. She recently has taken a break from the classroom to homeschool her son, an English language learning originally from Ethiopia. Jessica earned her M.Ed from University of Colorado at Denver and was a magna cum laude graduate in communication and sociology from Regis University.

Lauren Hill, NBCT


Lauren (she/hers) is a veteran middle school ELA teacher in Lexington, KY. She has also taught high school and in a correctional setting, served as an instructional coach, and worked as the Teacher Leadership Coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Education. Lauren served for several years as program director of Classroom Teachers Enacting Positive Solutions (CTEPS), providing coaching and project-based learning to emerging teacher leaders in Kentucky. Lauren is a graduate of Barnard College and Vanderbilt University.

Sherrill Knezel


Sherrill (she/hers) is a graphic recorder, illustrator, and art educator in Wauwatosa, WI. She uses her expertise in visual literacy, visual expression, and graphic recording to help students, educators, and organizations tell the heart of their story through images and text. Sherrill leads visual literacy workshops empowering people to use visuals to increase connection, clarity, and collaboration and has contributed articles, blogs, and award-winning visuals to EdWeek, the Milwaukee Independent, and other outlets. She is also founder of Meaningful Marks LLC, focused on using visuals and graphic recording to support nonprofits, educators, and corporate clients in conversations on racism, inclusion, and creating generative change in their communities.

Kristoffer Kohl, NBCT


Kris (he/his) is a sixth grade teacher and PBIS and MTSS coach in Southern California. He previously led a variety of initiatives at CTQ designed to elevate and spread the expertise of accomplished teachers in districts and states across the country. As part of CTQ’s global endeavors, Kristoffer worked with educators from several high-achieving nations to develop a series of recommendations for how public education might evolve in the US to meet the demands of the 21st century. He runs a household circus in Irvine, CA with his wife Meredith and two children, Holden and Evelyn.

LaKeytria (Tria) Grant

Lead Consultant

Tria co-leads implementation efforts with our K12 and higher education partners, assisting with development of personalized learning systems that support competency-based learning for educators throughout their careers. In addition to her consulting work, Tria directs CarolinaCAP, an alternative certification pathway addressing diverse teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention in SC public school systems. Previously, Tria has served as a classroom teacher and interventionist, as well as supporting induction, mentoring, and other educator effectiveness initiatives at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) and South Carolina Department of Education. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.Ed in Educational Leadership from Winthrop University, and an M.Ed in Instructional Design from Western Governors University.

Jon Eckert

Lead Consultant, Research

Jon is the Copple Professor of Educational Leadership at Baylor University. His research includes teaching effectiveness, teacher compensation, and collective leadership development. His publications include Capitol Hill white papers, peer-reviewed journal articles, pieces for Education Week and the Kappan, and Leading together: Teachers and administrators improving student outcomes and The novice advantage: Fearless practice for every teacher. He served as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education in both the Bush and Obama administrations, was a teacher outside of Chicago and Nashville for 12 years, and earned a doctorate in educational leadership, policy, and organizations from Vanderbilt University, Peabody College.

Alesha Daughtrey


Alesha (she/her) sees complex challenges as opportunities for collective learning and leadership and for rethinking how schools and systems can serve each learner equitably and effectively. Her work at Mira Education accelerates the organization’s impact as a design and implementation partner to teams and organizations throughout P20 education. Originally trained as a high school ELA teacher, Alesha’s passion for systems led to a decade of work in community organizing and engagement, policy, and philanthropy, all of which inform her approach to engaging diverse leadership teams in innovation efforts. Since joining Mira Education in 2009, she has co-developed professional learning and support models for teachers and administrators, researched conditions and practices for effective school leadership and educator retention, and co-led partnerships with more than 100 teams leading sustainable change in their schools, districts, and other organizations. Alesha holds a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from Duke University and a B.A. in English and secondary education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Lori Nazareno, NBCT

Design Lead

Lori (she/her) leads efforts that include designing and implementing collective leadership structures, rethinking how students engage in their learning, and redesigning how time in school is structured. She has 25 years of teaching experience and is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence (EA) Science. Prior to joining Mira Education, she designed and helped bring into form the Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy, a collaboratively led school where she served as co-lead teacher for three years.