Charlotte began her career in education over 50 years ago as a teacher in a multi-age (1st and 2nd grade) classroom in Washington, D.C. From her first year in the classroom, she recognized the importance of encouraging students’ natural intellectual curiosity and creating the conditions that allow them to engage with important concepts and content. Twenty-five years later (and almost 25 years ago), after working as a teacher, curriculum director, staff development director, and assessment designer, she put pen to paper and wrote Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching.
The Danielson Framework, as it has come to be called, has become the most widely used instructional framework in the United States. She and her team have worked with educators using the framework in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, The U.S. Virgin Islands, and 12 other nations, including Canada, Colombia, Lebanon, Spain, Chile, and Thailand.
Charlotte is an internationally-recognized expert in the area of teacher effectiveness. She advises State Education Departments and National Ministries and Departments of Education. She is in demand as a keynote speaker at national and international conferences, and as a policy consultant to legislative and administrative bodies. She has published widely on the use of her framework and related aspects of the teaching professional and instructional practice. Among other things, she’s written about organizing schools for student success (Enhancing Student Achievement: a Framework for School Improvement, 2002), teacher leadership (Teacher Leadership that Strengthens the Profession, 2006), professional conversations (Talk about Teaching! Conducting Professional Conversations, 2009), and numerous practical instruments and training programs, both onsite and online, to assist practitioners in implementing important ideas about teaching.
She is a graduate of Cornell University (history), Oxford University (philosophy, politics, and economics) and Rutgers University (educational administration and supervision.) She has taught at all levels, kindergarten through university, has worked as a curriculum director and staff development director, and is the founder and board chair of The Danielson Group.
Dr. Jim Furman, Executive Director. Jim began his career as an English teacher at Fannie C. Williams Middle School in New Orleans. He later served as a faculty member in English Education at the University of Delaware and the University of New Orleans before returning to the classroom as a teacher and teacher leader at North High School in Denver.
He has coached future, novice, and veteran teachers from Kindergarten through 12th grade in literacy, social studies, math, and science; supported school leaders in urban schools to build and improve systems of teacher professional development; redesigned teacher preparation programs, field experiences, and assessments; and conducted research focused on teacher preparation and adolescent literacy.
He earned a Ph.D. in Teaching & Learning and M.Ed. in Reading Education from Vanderbilt University, and is a graduate of DePauw University (English Literature).
Shirley R. Hall
When asked to oversee the pilot of The Framework for Teaching for the School District of Philadelphia, Shirley leveraged her experience as an elementary teacher, teacher of the blind and visually impaired, elementary principal, and central office administrator. Up for the challenge, her work resulted in the training of more than 200 principals and peer observers.
Her understanding of and effective use of the Framework has continued as she trains educators in the United States and abroad, specializing in teacher practice, school leadership and formative assessment of student learning.
Shirley’s leadership extends through her family, with one of her four children also trained as a skilled facilitator of the Framework.
Shirley holds a BS in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Temple University; MA in Elementary Education from Antioch University; Masters of Education in Education of the Blind and Visually Impaired from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry; and a Certification in Elementary Educational Administration from Pennsylvania State University.
Lee’s career in education cuts across practice and policy at all levels of the education sector. In her 18 years as a classroom teacher, Lee lived out her belief that all students deserve highly-effective teachers. She went on to serve as a union president, staff developer, school leader, coach, and mentor, culminating in a position as a senior academic leader in an urban school district.
Not one to turn away from a complex problem, Lee facilitated a cross-grade level committee of teacher leaders and central office staff to redesign the district's assessment program for grades K-2 from a grade-based approach to a student-centered, artifact-based portfolio system.
In her time away from work, Lee enjoys long distance cycling, and spending time with her family.
Lee holds a BS in Elementary and Special Education from College Misericordia, MA in Educational Technology from Long Island University, Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, Management and Policy from Seton Hall University.
Partnerships & Programs
Dr. Maria Akinyele is a lifelong learner. Reader of philosophy, lover of museums, and author of a chapter in the forthcoming Teaching Black History in Schools, she continues to deepen and share her own knowledge.
Dr. Akinyele specializes in leadership development and literacy instruction within urban schools. For the past fifteen years, she has helped numerous school leaders envision and implement equitable literacy practices that empower youth with cultural competence and critical thinking tools. She continues to collaborate with school and district leaders, designing professional learning experiences that support both teacher and student growth.
Her teaching career began in The Bronx and her deep New York roots afford an understanding of the city’s education network.
Dr. Akinyele holds bachelors degrees in History and Women Studies with a concentration in African American Studies from Williams College; a Ph.D. in Urban Education from the CUNY Graduate Center; a certificate in Organizational Development and Change Leadership from Georgetown University.
A lifetime advocate for education, Brian brings his passion to work every day. His career began with 11 years as a teacher in New York City classrooms, and he continues to stay connected with past students and teachers to provide resources and support.
During his time teaching, he was selected for several prestigious teaching awards and accolades. Brian was a semi-finalist for the U.S. Department of Education Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellowship. He won the Sontag Prize in Urban Education where he studied pedagogy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and taught at-risk students in Boston.
Brian enjoys being active, participating in obstacle course races and practicing Bikram yoga.
Brian holds a BA in Marketing from University of Kentucky, MST in Adolescent Education from Pace University and an advanced certification in Special Education from St. Rose College.
When Teresa typed “how to talk about teaching” into an Internet search engine, she didn’t know it would be the start of her work with The Danielson Group. One simple search led her to tools and confidence in her conversations with teachers.
With thirty-five years of special education classroom experience, Teresa leverages her knowledge of the Framework as a Direct Instructional Facilitator and participant in the Teach to Lead conference. Her leadership earned Promising Program Awards from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for the Baraboo School District mentoring program and Professional Development Plan Support.
Teresa holds a BS in Elementary Education and Special Education from Winona State University and a Masters of Education - Professional Development from UW-La Crosse, Wisconsin.
An educator for more than 25 years, Karyn brings a wealth of experience to her work, including nation-wide consultation with school districts. Karyn’s continued work designing, delivering and scaling professional development tools in the Las Vegas earned her recognition in the Clark County School District Excellence in Education Hall of Fame. Through her tenure, she’s worked as a teacher, administrator and HR Director for the district, learning how to better develop educators at every level.
Karyn enjoys calling Las Vegas home, while also taking time to travel. She continues to grow her work with the Framework for Teaching and is the co-author of the Action Tool, “Implementing the Framework for Teaching."
Karyn holds a BS in Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University, MS School Counseling from Southern Illinois University, Administrative Endorsement - Educational Leadership and Organizational Development from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Margaret brings a thorough and continued knowledge of the Framework for Teaching, which began working closely with Charlotte Danielson as a developer in the Teaching and Learning Division. Her work included the design of workbooks for teachers focused on Framework for Teaching components. She is particularly interested in educational access, student engagement, childhood trauma, school culture and teacher's professional learning experiences, and global partnerships.
At home, Margaret is often found laughing with her two children. She especially enjoys live music, movies, day trips to New York City, travel abroad, appetizers, and being in and near water.
Margaret holds a BA from Rutgers College and an MLitt from Drew University. She has taught third through eight graders.
With management experience in small to mid-sized organizations, both private and non-profit, Dara Stigdon understands the kind of process-driven efficiency that defines the Danielson Group operation and underpins our organizational growth. A former small business owner, Dara brings an entrepreneurial spirit to the Danielson Group that is consistent with our culture and ethos.
After her early career in events marketing and production for the international aerospace and defense industry, Dara pursued her passion for education through service in Chicago’s non-profit community where she has worked to improve college persistence rates among urban public school students and promoted early childhood literacy.
Dara holds a MA in philosophy from Indiana University.
Catherine brings a unique perspective to the work of The Danielson Group. With a background in clinical mental health, a career in neonatal intensive care unit developmental follow up programs, and experience teaching infant development courses, Catherine's understanding of education goes far beyond the classroom.
A member of the administrative team since 2011, Catherine has worked to scale impact of and access to the Framework for Teaching through support and operations.
In addition to working for the Danielson Group, Catherine is a Coordinator with Princeton University’s New Jersey Families Study (NJFS) that is researching how families can build skills in their young, preschool children to help them get ready to learn.
Catherine holds a BA from Hamilton College, MS in Infant and Parent Development from Bank Street College of Education.
Framework Specialists & Professional Learning Advisors
Ron Anderson is a Framework Specialist at the Danielson Group who has served in Ohio as a classroom music teacher, curriculum director, director of professional development, and director of organizational development. He has taught numerous graduate level courses and is a seasoned workshop presenter. Ron specializes in K-12 fine arts, instructional improvement, mentor and assessor training, and program development. He is a graduate of Kent State University, Wright State University, and Miami University.
Dr. Shelly Arneson is a Framework Specialist whose experience ranges from teaching to counseling to administration to teaching administration courses at the university level.
Shelly’s first book, entitled Communication and Motivation: The School Leader’s Guide to Effective Communication focuses on effective communication techniques. Her expertise as a school principal has spurred her interests into helping schools and districts build collaborative communities of inquiry and trust. She presents keynotes and workshops on her latest book Building Trust in Teacher Evaluations. Shelly holds her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction and her dissertation focused on teacher trust in school administrators, specifically determining which factors impact trust in principals.
Darlene H. Axtell
Darlene H. Axtell is a Framework Specialist and Curriculum Designer for the Danielson Group. As a charter member, she has worked with the Framework for Teaching since 1997. She is co-author of the Action Tool, “Implementing the Framework for Teaching.” She has been a teacher and counselor at all levels. As an administrator she was director of counseling, curriculum coordinator, and middle level principal. Darlene has lived and worked in England and consulted in several European countries, in Japan, and on various Caribbean Islands. Darlene holds an undergraduate degree in education and a master’s degree and advanced certification in counseling. Areas of specialty include elevating educator effectiveness, establishing a school culture for learning, and improving the communication skills for all educators.
Ann Cummins Bogan
Ann began her teaching career in Minneapolis Public Schools at the elementary and middle school levels. With a diverse student population, she saw the need to implement differentiated instructional strategies, meeting the needs of each learner while engaging administration, fellow teachers, and families in the process.
This collaborative approach led Ann to a successful tenure of hiring and mentoring new teachers, designing curriculum including the integration of literacy across curricular areas, and serving as the teacher co-chair on a district committee to design and implement a teacher evaluation system.
She works to understand the intersection of many factors for teachers and students, and continues to build structures to improve teaching and learning through her knowledge of the Framework for Teaching.
Ann holds a BA in Psychology from Lake Forest College; Masters in the Art of Teaching from National Louis University and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership.
James Edler is a Framework Specialist at the Danielson Group. He worked as an elementary and a middle school teacher before taking on a leadership role with the Milwaukee Public Schools. Currently serving as the Educator Effectiveness Coordinator, his work focuses on the implementation of an Educator Effectiveness System aligned to both teaching and leadership practices to positively influence a culture of trust, and adult learning as a critical aspect of improving outcomes for all students. James is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with an emphasis on urban education
Jorie Ellis is a Framework Specialist and Curriculum Designer for the Danielson Group. Jorie taught regular and special education and retired as executive director supervising K-12 principals. She held directorships for special education, curriculum, and school improvement/staff development. She teaches graduate level courses and consults on: leadership, teacher evaluation; the Framework for Teaching; inter-rater reliability; and effective instructional strategies. Jorie holds her PhD in educational policy and leadership at the University of Oregon.
Naté Hall is a Framework Specialist and Curriculum Designer for the Danielson Group. Throughout her career she has held several positions such as Biology teacher, Teacher Development Liaison, Science Department Chair, Professional Learning Communities team leader, Secondary Science Resource Teacher, Teacher and Paraprofessional Development Facilitator, and currently serves as a Facilitator in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the central office level. Nate’ utilizes the Framework to build capacity with all teachers in her district and facilitate conversations around its connection to culturally responsive teaching. She also serves as an Instructional Mentor where she uses the Framework as a tool for assessing new teacher practice and as a guide for their continued professional growth. Nate’ holds a Bachelor's of Science in Biology from Delaware State University and a Masters of Science in Administration and Supervision from Johns Hopkins University.
Kathleen Hanson is a Framework Specialist at the Danielson Group. She has served as a classroom teacher, administrator and consultant. She led the development of a supervision and evaluation model in three districts as well as developing and implementing a mentoring program in her local district that led to writing a state-wide curriculum for mentoring. Her background includes Administrative Service Human Resources Administrator, Curriculum and Instruction Administrator, principal, and consultant, and supervisor of pre-service teachers. Her work as a building administrator afforded her the opportunity to work closely with the Special Education programs in her district, directly supervising the broad spectrum of classes at the elementary level as well as revamping the program for the Behavior Disorder district program.
Dr. Hassler has served as a superintendent, assistant superintendent, director of curriculum, principal and teacher during his public school tenure. Recently, he’s given up Pennsylvania weather for sunnier Arizona skies, but hasn’t given up his focus on bringing leadership and effectiveness to teachers and classrooms.
A career launched with thirteen years of classroom experience, Dr. Hassler’s resume includes student- and educator-focused success. He led eight consecutive years of district-wide improvement in math, co-authored the comprehensive school improvement book, Performance is Key: Connecting the Links to Leadership and Excellence, and continues to specialize in leadership and excellence for educators and students.
Dr. Hassler holds a BS in Economics and Accounting from Mulhlenberg College; Ed.D. and Masters of Education from Lehigh University.
Virginia R. Hill is a Framework Specialist at the Danielson Group who has 27 years of experience in Pennsylvania as a teacher, school administrator, science supervisor, as well as a curriculum and professional development executive director. She is a seasoned workshop presenter. Virginia specializes in school improvement efforts, student achievement, equity, and diversity. She is a graduate of Geneva College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Pittsburgh.
Margaret M. Leibfried is a Framework Specialist at the Danielson Group. During her career, Margaret served as a high school and middle school teacher and administrator. In her middle school principal role Margaret used the Framework for Teaching, both as an evaluative tool and as an instructional improvement tool with teachers. Margaret’s responsibilities included mentoring Principals and Instructional Leaders, specifically in evidence gathering for teacher evaluation. She is also certified as an International Baccalaureate workshop leader for Heads of Schools. Margaret is a graduate of St. Cloud State University and completed her graduate work for administration at the University of Minnesota.
Melissa Linton is a Framework Specialist at the Danielson Group and spent over 25 years serving as a teacher, school and district level administrator, principal, and instructional coach. She began using the Framework as an administrator in 2000 focusing on mentoring programs, teacher evaluation, observation and school improvement using data driven decision-making processes. Her current focus is using the Framework to support personalized learning and social/emotional initiatives in schools and districts. She teaches graduate level courses for teachers, focusing on strategies that support personalized and blended learning and provides teachers, schools and districts comprehensive school improvement support on the use of the Framework for Teaching for evaluation, observation calibration and effective instructional practices. Melissa is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Northwestern University.
Peggy Olcott is an internal Curriculum Designer for the Danielson Group. She has over 30 years experience ranging from elementary and middle school teaching to district level coordination of curriculum and instructional programs. In her role at the central office, she developed successful professional development programs to address the changing needs of staff due to educational reform efforts at the state level, including developing and implementing teaching standards based on Danielson’s Framework for Teaching. Currently, Peggy presents various seminars including facilitating data-driven dialogue and learning-focused conversations. Peggy holds a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and M.Ed. from City University.
Joanie Peterson is a Framework Specialist at the Danielson Group whose 30 year career span includes classroom teacher, counselor, central office Human Resources and Professional Development administrator, Board of Trustee in the K-12 education system and consultant; faculty member, counselor and administrator at the community college and university level. She has specialized in recruitment and the hiring process, mentor and induction programs and teacher evaluation based on the Danielson Framework for Teaching since 2002. Peterson provides support in facilitating professional growth on teacher effectiveness, data-driven decision- making processes, observation, calibration, and teacher evaluation design using the Framework for Teaching at the school, district and state level. Joanie is a graduate of the University of California at Davis and holds advanced degree from College of Idaho.
Pam uses her core values of faith, family, focus, and fellowship to guide her life and career. Her focus on educational impact began as a teacher in K-8 classrooms, building experience in urban and rural schools, early learning and literacy, Reading Recovery, and teacher leadership. Pam further developed these areas into twenty years of School, District, State, and non-profit Leadership with experience in principalship, mentoring, instructional coaching, curriculum and assessment, professional development, SMART School Improvement design and impact, and facilitation of learning partnerships between union, administration and board leaders.
Pam’s experience in Chicago Public Schools leading the long-term development and implementation of REACH, Framework for Teaching-based Teacher Evaluation Process, gives her a specialized understanding of large-scale network partnership.
Her love of family and fellowship with inspiring, passionate people keeps her committed to this lifelong career in education.
Pam holds a BS in Elementary Education from Illinois State University; MS in Educational Administration from Illinois State University; Doctorate of Education in Educational Organization and Leadership from University of Illinois.
Lynn Sawyer is a Framework Specialist at the Danielson Group. She has lead school districts in developing comprehensive systems for professional development and teacher evaluation based on the Framework for Teaching. Her publications include: “Revamping a Teacher Evaluation System,” Educational Leadership, Feb 2001 and “Integrating Cognitive Coaching with a Framework for Teaching,” in Cognitive Coaching: Weaving Threads of Learning and Change into the Culture of an Organization, 2003 (Christopher-Gordon).