The Tough Kid Trainers



Andrea Hanford

Andrea D. Hanford began her career in education 24 years ago as a teacher of middle and high school students with behavioral disorders identified as Emotionally or Severely Emotionally Handicapped. She later acquired elementary experience and served as a classroom teacher (of both exceptional education and regular education students), Crisis Intervention Teacher, Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Department Head, and ESE Coordinator.

Andrea is currently a lead CHAMPS trainer for the Department of Safe Schools in Palm Beach County, Florida. In this role, she facilitates districtwide, school-based, and special project consultative Classroom Management Training sessions to teachers and administrators and provides on-site interactive coaching support.

Carolyn Novelly

Carolyn Novelly has worked in the field of education since 1981. With a background in Special Education, she served 17 years at an alternative school for students with severe social and emotional disorders in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—two of those years as an administrator.

Since moving to Florida in 1998, she has been an elementary guidance counselor and an adjunct instructor in both classroom management and behavior management at the University of North Florida. In her current position with the Duval County School District in Jacksonville, Florida, she coordinates and monitors the implementation of Foundations in 164 schools and conducts multiple CHAMPS workshops throughout the district.

Donna Meers

Donna Meers has over fifteen years of experience implementing positive behavior support in her own classroom as well as training others to implement positive, proactive, and instructional techniques in their classrooms and schools.

A former teacher of children with emotional and behavioral disorders, Donna has served as a behavior consultant for the Kentucky Department of Education's (KDE) Behavior Consultant's Network and Central Kentucky Special Education Cooperative.

Moreover, she has been a coach for the KDE Model Schools project, a trainer for the Kentucky Instructional Discipline and Support (K.I.D.S.), Wilderness Trail Positive Behavior Support, and Bridges projects, and web manager for the Behavior Web Page.

Jane Harris

Jane Harris has worked in various educational settings, from self-contained classrooms for EBD students to residential treatment programs. She has coordinated programs for EBD students and served as principal of two alternative programs. Jane also has experience as a school-based diagnostician and consultant in multiple schools from elementary through high school.

As a member of the first group of Kentucky's Distinguished Educators, she assisted schools in improving student achievement. Jane was involved in the Kentucky Leadership Academy, serving both as a design team member and trainer. She recently retired from her position as the Director of Student Achievement in Lexington, Kentucky.

Jessica Sprick

Jessica Sprick began teaching as a special education teacher for students with emotional behavioral needs and later became a Dean of Students at the middle school level. Her practical experience in schools with positive behavior support techniques drives her passion to help school personnel develop and implement effective behavioral and academic approaches.

She is a co-author of Functional Behavior Assessment of Absenteeism & Truancy (FBAAT), Absenteeism and Truancy: Interventions and Universal Procedures, and Foundations: A Proactive and Positive Behavior Support System (3rd ed.). She is currently working on Functional Behavior Assessment of Bullying, and Bullying: Universal Procedures and Interventions.

Karl Schleich

Karl Schleich has enjoyed a successful 34-year career as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, district-level administrator, and consultant.

Karl began his teaching career in Naperville, Illinois as a high school science teacher and coach. He moved to Alaska in 1985 and subsequently earned his M.Ed. in Administration from the University of Alaska--Fairbanks, and coached the university’s basketball team before moving to an isolated Indian Reserve in Southeast Alaska as Principal/Teacher at the middle school. In 1990, Karl moved to the Mat-Su Borough School District in Palmer, Alaska, where he served as Assistant Principal in a new middle school, then as principal at three different elementary schools, opening two of them. Karl was honored in 2000 as Alaska’s NAESP National Distinguished Principal. During a two-year leave of absence (2004-06), Karl served as the Elementary Principal at the American Community School, an IB international school in Athens, Greece.

During Karl’s tenure as principal at Shaw Elementary, he was introduced to Dr. Randy Sprick and the Safe & Civil Schools framework. Implementation of CHAMPS and Foundations began at Shaw in 2008, at which time student achievement made significant gains. Shaw earned the State of Alaska's distinguished Title I School for Student Achievement award in 2011, and later that same year Shaw was recognized in Alaska for its Best Inclusive Practices.

Karl served as the Director of Professional Development for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (2011-2013), where he led a districtwide professional development initiative to implement Instructional Tours, a professional development process that involves peer observation and collaboration.

Since 2011, Karl has worked as an independent consultant and trainer, assisting schools and districts throughout Alaska and the United States to improve instruction and school climate. Karl supports school improvement efforts and CHAMPS implementation in schools in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and more than twenty rural Alaska villages. He is increasingly asked to share his expertise with districts outside Alaska’s boundaries.

Laura Hamilton

Laura Hamilton began teaching students with learning and behavior disorders in Buckner, Kentucky. For the next thirteen years, she continued her work, both in the classroom and with individual students, in a variety of educational settings across Kentucky and Indiana.

While continuing to teach, she took a position with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) as a behavioral consultant. In this capacity, she helped school district leadership in developing Special Education programming and training modules in the areas of traumatic brain injury and emotional and behavioral disability. Over the next ten years, she worked on a number of programs for KDE, culminating with the Kentucky Instructional Discipline and Support (K.I.D.S) project, a statewide initiative to help schools and districts develop positive, proactive, and instructional discipline policies.

Pat Somers

For the past 36 years, Patricia Somers has dedicated her professional life to creating opportunity for America’s youth socially, emotionally, physically, and academically.

As a physical education teacher in Utica, New York, and Houston, Texas, Patricia immediately recognized the need to positively and proactively manage student behavior. Her skill at motivating even the most reluctant students led her to become the lead physical education teacher in her district, writing curricula, providing support to her peers, and managing the professional development activities for 28 schools.

After demonstrating her expertise at training and motivating staff, Patricia became the K-12 Prevention and Safe Schools Specialist for Alief Independent School District in Houston, Texas. Her responsibilities included training teachers in behavior management, providing individualized support to struggling teachers, teaching prevention concepts and social skills directly to students across the district, and providing individual support to those students who most needed her assistance.

In addition to her highly acclaimed work for Safe & Civil Schools, Patricia fills leadership roles in several community organizations and serves as a court-appointed special advocate. She is a member of multiple boards of directors, including Child Advocates of Fort Bend (where she also serves as chairperson of the Ambassador Council) and Parks Youth Ranch (a shelter for homeless and at-risk youth).

Susan Isaacs

Susan Isaacs began her career in education teaching children with emotional and behavior disorders. For over 17 years, she worked with this student population in both elementary and secondary schools.

In 1994, she took a position as a behavior consultant for the Kentucky Behavior Consultant Network, which evolved into the Model Schools Program: Kentucky Behavior Initiative, and later the Kentucky Instructional Discipline and Supports (K.I.D.S.) project. In this role, she worked with school teams throughout the state guiding the implementation of schoolwide positive discipline policies.

Several years ago, Susan founded Behavioral Solutions, a company that allows her to continue her work with schools as an educational consultant.

Tricia Berg

Tricia Berg began her career as a paraprofessional in a classroom for students with severe/multiple disabilities in Colorado. Upon moving to Oregon, she took a position as a special education teacher teaching students with emotional/behavioral disabilities. Three years later, she began teaching students with developmental disabilities. During this time, she also served as a member of the crisis team for students with emotional/behavioral disabilities. As her skills grew, the district assigned her the role of behavior specialist. As such, she trained and coached her colleagues districtwide in schoolwide, classroom, and individual-student support systems for elementary, middle, and high school certified and classified teachers.

Tricia has also worked at the college level, teaching seminar and professional development classes and supervising student teachers in the school psychology program at the University of Oregon.

Tricia Skyles

Tricia McKale Skyles began her career in education as a middle school teacher in Delphos, Kansas. After several years in the classroom, she began working as an instructional coach with Pathways to Success, a GEAR UP project that partnered the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning and Topeka Public Schools. In this role, Tricia provided on-site one-to-one professional development for teachers, coaching them in best teaching practices for instruction and behavior management.