Virtual Professional Development and Consulting

While school buildings may be closed indefinitely, we know that the professional development and strategic planning needs of schools and districts have only increased during this time. While we are unable to conduct traditional conferences and on-site development right now, that doesn’t mean that this work can’t continue effectively in the meantime.

AMLE has received requests to connect with experts from our COVID-19 webinar series on a range of topics, including equity, grading and assessment, social emotional needs of students, scheduling, and curriculum and instruction. Our virtual consulting cadre is standing by to assist. Please select each expert for a list of topics and complete the online form to inquire further.

Meet the Experts:

Rick Wormeli - Bio

Formats Available
  • Full day presentation on a single topic. Includes a morning and afternoon session with breaks. Can be continued over multiple days.
  • Full day presentation split into half-days on two different topics.
  • A series of four, 90-minute sessions filling the entire day.
  • A focused, shorter session (75-90 minutes) on a particular topic

Topics from Rick

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Rick Wormeli

One of the first Nationally Board Certified teachers in America, Rick brings innovation, energy, validity and high standards to both his presentations and his instructional practice, which include 41 years teaching math, science, English, physical education, health, and history, as well as coaching teachers and principals. Rick's work has been reported in numerous media, including ABC's Good Morning America, Hardball with Chris Matthews, National Geographic and Good Housekeeping magazines, What Matters Most: Teaching for the 21st Century, and the Washington Post. He is a columnist for AMLE Magazine and a frequent contributor to ASCD's Education Leadership magazine. He is the author of the award-winning book Meet Me in the Middle as well as the best-selling books Day One and Beyond, Fair Isn't Always Equal: Assessment and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom (Second Edition), Differentiation: From Planning to Practice and Metaphors & Analogies: Power Tools for Teaching any Subject, all five from Stenhouse Publishers, as well as Summarization in any Subject: 60 Innovative and Tech-Infused Strategies for Deeper Student Learning published by ASCD. His book, The Collected Writings (So Far) of Rick Wormeli: Crazy Good Stuff I Learned about Teaching Along the Way, is collection of his published articles, guest blogs and more through 2013. His classroom practice is a showcase for ASCD's best-selling series, At Work in the Differentiated Classroom.

With his substantive presentations, sense of humor and unconventional approaches, he has been asked to present to teachers and administrators in all 50 states, Canada, China, Europe, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Australia the Middle East, and at the White House. He is a seasoned veteran of many international webcasts, and he is Disney's American Teacher Awards 1996 Outstanding English Teacher of the Nation. He won the 2008 James P. Garvin award from the New England League of Middle Schools for Teaching Excellence, Service and Leadership, and he has been a consultant for National Public Radio, USA Today, Court TV and the Smithsonian Institution's Natural Partners Program and their search for the giant squid. Rick lives in Herndon, Virginia, with his wife, Kelly, and both are proud of recently launching the last of their children into adulthood. With the kids' college years now behind them, Rick and Kelly are now eagerly spending their children’s inheritance while Rick works on his first young adult fiction novel and a new book on changing the culture of a school for ethical grading practices.

Topics Available

  • Accurate, Ethical Grading Practices
  • Assessment and Grading in Distance Learning Situations
  • Summarization Techniques for Processing Information and Assessment in any Subject
  • 21st Century Homework Practices that Work
  • Redo’s and Retakes: Principles and Practicalities
  • Metaphors and Analogies in all Subjects: Deeply Effective Instruction and Assessment
  • Constructive Responses to Cheating and Plagiarizing
  • Reflective Coaching
  • Practical Descriptive Feedback Techniques
  • Building Tenacity, Self-Discipline, and Motivation in Students
  • Practical Cognitive Science Principles
  • Executive Function Skills
  • Tiering Lessons and Assessments
  • Practical and Engaging Sponge and Warm-up Activities
  • Physicalizing Learning: Incorporating Movement and Physical Experiences in Classroom Learning
  • Differentiated Instruction Lesson Design
  • Teaching Young Adolescents: Principles, Practicalities, and Busting Myths
  • Getting to Know our Students So We Can Be Effective Instructors
  • Shifting School Culture and Motivating Faculty
  • Rubric Design
  • Being Principled First, Practical Second
  • Cultivating Teacher Professionalism and Intellect
  • Cultivating Creativity in Students and Ourselves
  • Teaching Gifted and Advanced Students: What Works?

Jack Berckemeyer Bio

Formats Available
  • 60 minute sessions
  • 90 minute sessions
  • Half-day sessions

Topics from Jack

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Jack Berckemeyr
Humorist, Author and Educational Consultant

Jack Berckemeyer is the owner and director of Nuts and Bolts Symposiums located in Destin, Florida and Stillwater, Oklahoma. His presentations are known for their trademark energy, humor, and expertise on the topics including staff development, teaming and adolescent behavior. More information can be found at

Topics Available

  • Connecting Curriculum in a Virtual World
    Jack will share ideas and strategies on how to prepare for teaching students in a virtual (and live) classroom. This will include ways to integrate content. Grading practices will be shared.
  • 10 Facts about Young Adolescents
    In order to teach young adolescents you need to understand them. This webinar will cover the current trends and facts about young adolescents.
  • Teams - Consistency, Connections and Culture
    Creating great teams is a must in order to help increase student achievement and teacher morale. Teams need to be using their team time effectively. Jack will share ideas based on his book, Taming of the Team.
  • Working with Team Leaders
    Team leaders need training on how to deal with parents and team members. Discover innovative ways on how to hold team meetings as well as how to hold each other accountable.
  • Administration Support on Implementing Middle Level Concepts
    Discover ways to implement the middle level concept within your school. Work with Jack on how to create a middle level culture within your school.
  • Classroom Management - Managing the Madness
    Discover why young adolescents interrupt our classrooms and explore management ideas to help solve some of your classroom disruptions.
  • Student Led-Conferences in a Virtual Teaching World
    What a great time to involve parents in their students’ learning! Learn how student-led conferences can be done in a virtual way.
  • Parenting Young Adolescents
    It is not easy raising a young adolescent. Find out more about your middle school child. Jack will provide you with funny insights into the minds of 10-15 year olds.

  • Custom webinars based on middle level concepts and practices.

Jen Cort - Bio

Formats Available
  • Modules of 60-90 minutes of content, discussion, and reflection
  • Full-day with breaks built-in
  • Blocks of time over a couple of days on the same topic (taking a day-long workshop and breaking it into smaller pieces)
  • Blocks of time over a couple of days on the different topics (taking a day-long workshop and breaking it into smaller pieces
  • Personalized coaching sessions
  • All workshops come with an ePub and resources

Topics from Jen

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Jen Cort

Passionate about Middle Schooler's whom she describes as "the most authentic group of people out there!", Jen's career blends her experience as a clinical social worker and educator. Her educational administrative experiences are as an assistant head of lower school, head of a middle school and senior administrator. Jen's therapy background includes serving as a counselor in lower, middle and upper schools as well as private practice. She began consulting after seeing a need for supporting schools to live out their missions regarding diversity and inclusion such that students can be seen and heard while learning to be visible and use their voices in productive ways. Jen has been a keynote speaker, presented at national conferences (including AMLE) is on the board of PAMLE, a frequent contributor to blogs and journals, and is the host of an internationally syndicated podcast "Third Space With Jen Cort" bringing student, faculty, staff, and parents voices focusing on equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice.

Topics Available

  • Programming equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice
  • Revamping your advisory program, creating lessons to be used remotely
  • Finding the balance for parents, teachers, and students during COVID-19
  • Navigating challenging conversations with parents, colleagues, and students
  • Creating norms when nothing is normal
  • Planning for the unplanned summer
  • Scenario planning for your school, considering the social and emotional needs of different scenarios
  • Strengthening the parent-teacher relationship
  • Finding the rhythm, teacher self-care
  • Supporting kids needs to be connected
  • Closure when we are closed, thinking through end of the year activities
  • Discussing privilege with middle schoolers
  • Interrupting bias, putdowns, and passive aggression
  • Responding to microaggressions (the unintentional injuries against someone's social identifier such as race, gender, and more)

LeAnn Nickelsen - Bio

Formats Available
  • Webinars created around the amount of time that you need with consideration of how the brain learns best (90-120 minutes) (based on your needs)
  • Webinars customized for your district, school, teacher and student needs
  • Webinars delivered in engaging, brain-based manners to ensure buy-in and transfer of the strategies in the classroom
  • Webinars customized for your grade level needs (PreK-12)
  • Webinars designed based on your current learning platform (packets, virtual, or project-based)

Topics from LeAnn

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LeAnn Nickelsen

LeAnn Nickelsen, M.Ed., educator and Certified Jensen Trainer (brain-research) for over 25 years, has authored/co-authored 14 educational books. Two of which are: Teaching with the Instructional Cha-Chas: 4 Steps to Make Learning Stick (Solution Tree, 2019) (this book won the 2020 Teacher’s Choice Award) and Bringing the Common Core to Life (ELA Toolkit) (Co-Authored with Eric Jensen; Corwin Press). LeAnn currently trains and coaches educators to activate the highest impact tools, to close and prevent gaps, and to provide equity among the most vulnerable students: high poverty, struggling learners, ELs, special education, etc. She is an award-winning educator and author and is a nationally-trained expert on student learning, passionate about providing educators with strategies that can be used immediately to maximize learning in the classroom for ALL students.

Katie Powell - Bio

Formats Available
  • 60-90 minute workshop sessions
  • 30-45 minute mini-pd
  • half-day workshops

Topics from Katie

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Katie Powell

Katie Powell began teaching in 2005, first in special education and later in Title 1. This focus on providing interventions for struggling students led to the development of strategies that leverage curiosity and fun to engage students while driving learning deeper. Now also serving as an instructional coach, Katie has fine-tuned these strategies to be easily deployable in virtually any instructional setting without sacrificing teachers' already-limited time or money. In addition to presenting at local conferences in her home state of Indiana, Katie has presented her popular Worksheet Busters and Taming the Grading sessions for AMLE. Katie believes in respecting the expertise of teachers and shares her creative process so they can address engagement and depth in their classrooms within their own teaching styles and content. Let's reclaim the wonder of learning!

Topics Available

Worksheet Busters
Learn to turn ordinary worksheets into active, collaborative, memorable learning experiences that can be used over and over again for virtually any content with little to no preparation. Imagine the response when you dump 30 colorful balls in the middle of your room, tell students to turn their worksheets into paper airplanes, or unfurl a giant board game across your floor. Curious? They will be too. And they'll want to come back for more tomorrow.

Lecture Busters
Given that even most adults can pay attention to a lecture just minutes at a time, it’s no surprise our students “zone out" sometimes. Lecture Busters are engaging, challenging, thought-provoking checks for understanding we can use to break up our lectures, get students thinking about what we have taught, and provide useful feedback to guide our teaching. These Lecture Busters are easy to have on hand to use spur-of-the-moment or as a planned part of our teaching routine. Bust the lecture routine and get students engaged!

Homework Busters
Homework is a hot topic these days. Whether you give homework or not, you probably still find yourself needing to provide some kind of meaningful feedback on student work. But often students look only as far as their score and consider the assignment done. Consider ways to keep the learning going beyond the grade as students analyze their errors, evaluate their learning, and make connections to understand the content far beyond the bounds of the original assignment.

Teaching Beyond the Desk
Worksheet Busters are easy, effective activity frameworks that transform ordinary worksheets into engaging, meaningful learning experiences. Learn several of these easy-to-replicate activities and how to design your own Worksheet Busters to engage students within your own teaching style and content.

“No” (Probably) Won’t Kill You (Keynote presentation)
Have you ever considered presenting, writing, or taking on a new challenge? What holds you back? In this keynote presentation, Katie shares her journey as encouragement and inspiration to not fear “No” and to dare to do big things.

And more. Sessions can be combined or customized to meet your specific needs.

Cedrick Gray Bio

Formats Available
  • 60-75 minute sessions
  • 60-90 minute Virtual Coaching

Topics from Cedrick

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Dr. Cedrick Gray

A two-time, award winning school superintendent and executive instructional leadership coach, Cedrick brings practical experience and insight to his presentations. His 25 years of educational experience include classroom and district-level leadership. Cedrick’s written works include the highly acclaimed “5 Things Every Superintendent Wants Principals to Know!” Touted as an agent of educational reform, under his leadership as superintendent, he was recognized by the Tennessee Department of Education while at Fayette County Schools as a 2011-2012 Exemplary School District and later, by the National Association of School Superintendents, as Superintendent of the Year in 2016 as leader of Jackson (MS) Public Schools.

Cedrick’s career as a trailblazer in the middle school movement is marked by leadership in two middle schools where he was nominated for Principal of the Year in his second year as a school principal; signifying the success of a complete turnaround in climate and culture while improving student academic performance. Cedrick also served a two-time appointment as President of the Tennessee Association of Middle Schools, an AMLE affiliate, enjoying the highest attended summer conferences in the organization’s history. As an executive instructional coach, Dr. Cedrick Gray trained and coached school district leaders all across the nation by providing superintendents and school principals the needed tools and supports to improve instructional leadership practices to their respective schools.

Topics Available

  • Instructional coaching for principals
  • Instructional coaching for superintendents and district-level leaders
  • Transforming School Culture from Toxic to Topshelf
  • “Hold Us Accountable” Courageous Leadership for School Turnaround
  • “But I Didn’t Teach That” Effective classroom observations for ALL Principals
  • Middle School Advisory 101
  • “Put It In The Chat” Building Effective Virtual Presentations

Tara Maynard Bio

Formats Available
  • 1-2 hour sessions or workshops
  • Half-day workshops

Topics from Tara

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Tara Maynard

Tara Maynard is first a learner then a teacher who thrives on challenges. This is her 22nd year teaching 8th grade math at Creekside Middle School in Zeeland, MI. She started flipping her classroom in 2012 in an environment with iPads 1:1. Her passions are technology, math and mentoring student teachers. Tara is currently addicted to Flipped Classroom, Twitter, and Moomer’s Ice Cream.

Topics Available

  • Math + Technology = Engagement
    Technology and teaching mathematics should go hand-in-hand. See how technology can be integrated into a math classroom so that students can explore topics and practice various math concepts. We’ll look at how technology should be used so teachers can get instant data from students too. If used correctly, technology can enhance your math lessons and make your work flow smarter.
  • Setting up a Collaborative Classroom
    Getting students to collaborate and work together takes time, patience, modeling, and thought-out activities. We’ll explore activities that have been used to set up a collaborative, student-centered classroom that is focused on relationships. From how the first day of school looks to maintaining the atmosphere all year long, we will discuss different ways to keep the classroom focused on students.
  • Let’s Flip Out
    What are some musts and must-nots to include in a flipped classroom? What aspects should students have choice in? What structures need to be in place for a flipped classroom to work well so that students can achieve? We’ll talk about the nuts and bolts to get it working and all the realities too.
  • Practicing Content With and Without Technology
    Teachers need to be sure that investigation, communication, practice and reflection are all part of in-class (synchronous) time together. We’ll see how technology helps students explore different concepts but also allows teachers to gather data instantly to know what your students do and do not understand. Examples of various partner activities to help students communicate more as well as practice concepts in different ways will be explored as well.
  • Selecting Tools for Collaborative Lessons
    Teachers need to see student work, their thinking and be able to give feedback. Come learn about different web-based sites that allow teachers and students to collaborate as well as students to collaborate with each other. We’ll look at how to create activities as well as use templates and previously created materials. These sites will work for all subjects.

Nathan Maynard - Bio
Brad Weinstein - Bio

Formats Available
  • Full day virtual interactive sessions
    • Can be segmented over multiple days
  • Half day virtual interactive sessions
  • One hour or two hour interactive mini-sessions
  • Personalized Virtual Coaching with Leadership Team

Topics from Nathan and Brad

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Nathan Maynard

Nathan is a youth advocate, educational leader, and change maker. He is the co-author of Washington Post bestselling and award-winning Hacking School Discipline: 9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice. Nathan also is the co-founder of BehaviorFlip, the first restorative behavior management software. Nathan studied Behavioral Neuroscience at Purdue University and has been facilitating restorative practices for over ten years. He was awarded “Youth Worker of the Year” through dedicating his time with helping underserved and underprivileged youth involved with the juvenile justice system in Indiana. He was on the founding administration team that opened Purdue University's first high school in 2017, Purdue Polytechnic High School, serving youth in inner city Indianapolis, Indiana. Prior to his four years as a school administrator, he was a youth worker and program director in a youth residential treatment care center.

He is passionate about addressing the school-to-prison pipeline crisis and closing the achievement gap through implementing trauma-informed behavioral practices. Nathan has expertise in Dialectical Behavioral Coaching, Motivational Interviewing, Positive Youth Development, Restorative Justice, and Trauma-Informed building practices to assist with creating positive school climates.

Brad Weinstein

Brad is the Chief Innovation Officer and a co-founder of BehaviorFlip, the first software that utilizes restorative practices. He is a co-author of the Washington Post Bestseller Hacking School Discipline: 9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice and has been featured in numerous high-profile publications and podcasts. Brad is also the creator of TeacherGoals, a popular educational account on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Brad is passionate about student-led learning and student voice and choice in the classroom. It is his belief that students that feel like they have some control over their learning will go above and beyond what is expected in the traditional classroom. Brad is also passionate about proactive supports for students and using conflicts in the classroom as learning opportunities.

Brad worked as a Director of Curriculum and Learning in downtown Indianapolis. Prior to that, he served as principal on the eastside of Indianapolis. Brad is a former teacher of the year and taught for 11 years at the middle school and elementary school level. He holds a B.A. in Education from Purdue University, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana Wesleyan University, and completed a Principal Licensure Program from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Topics Available

  • Creating systems for Social-Emotional Supports
  • Thoughtfully applying SEL and Restorative Principles during and after COVID-19
  • Restorative Practices
    • Foundational
    • Deep dive around the principles of Hacking School Discipline
    • Restorative Circle Work
  • Virtual SEL and Restorative Practices (must already have foundational knowledge of topics)
  • Trauma-Informed Practices
  • MTSS with Restorative/SEL/Trauma Build (Personalized leadership team Virtual Coaching Sessions)

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