The Project Leadership Team is responsible for general supervision of all aspects of the project and will serve as the primary points of contact for CDE. The two Project Directors are experienced in collaboration and coordination and work smoothly as partners. These two key personnel will maintain close communication with each other and with CDE to monitor progress toward project deliverable timelines, escalate issues of concern, and engage in collaborative problem-solving. At various stages of the project implementation, Leadership Team members will smoothly share the leadership load so that the required expertise will be available throughout the project.
Dr. Howell has over 25 years of public education experience in teaching and leadership roles including special educator, school administrator, special education director, associate superintendent, State Education Agency staff, and technical assistance provider. Her expertise is in the management and monitoring of educational data and finance systems, program evaluation, systemic program improvement, and school accountability. Jennifer provided key leadership during Utah’s development and implementation of a results driven accountability system designed to increase compliance and outcomes for students with disabilities. She continues to provide support to local and state agencies on the effective implementation of education data systems in Utah, Texas, Nevada, Iowa, and Colorado. Through her work in dispute resolution and the development of IEP data systems, Jennifer regularly provides training and support to IEP teams on the development of individualized programs that address student strengths and needs, are collaboratively designed by the team, and meet compliance requirements. Jennifer has enjoyed support throughout her career from her family, and loves to spend time with her family playing games, kayaking, cooking, and traveling.
Jennifer Johnson Howell
John Babb is a critical thinker who loves patterns and symmetries in behaviors. This is one of the main reasons he loves his profession and chose the field of technical development. With over 18 years of experience in business analysis, application design, and application/system development, John is a cornerstone in our architectural design and technical team. John has worked for several Fortune 1000 companies such as Agilent and Marriott HQ, and John has led numerous teams on multi-million-dollar projects. Fluent and experienced in many software development practices, methodologies, and languages, John is regularly sought after for projects, advisory roles, and assessments of existing infrastructures.
Audrey Ward is a motivated and organized professional with over twenty years of client and customer service experience. She has a successful track record of managing and coordinating large team projects and meeting deadlines under specific budgets. Her superior organization skills, strong communication skills, and keen attention to detail provide a perfect blend for successful project management and support. In her role as a project manager for AnLar, Audrey coordinates with clients, internal team members, and content experts to identify, develop, and manage the implementation of technical assistance supports related to client needs. She proficiently manages projects and tasks on time, within budget, and in proper relation to client needs and expectations. Prior to joining AnLar, Audrey was the project manager for the Utah Professional Development Network, a technical assistance and professional development provider. For over five years, Audrey supervised and managed all aspects of the project including its staff and contractors, and coordinated day-to-day professional development planning and activities. In addition to her project management experience, Audrey has worked as a meeting and event planner and has the experience of coordinating hundreds of events ranging from small group meetings to large national conferences.
Tim Jordan manages a team of developers and serves as a bridge between the Content and Development teams, ensuring that the Ascend system is built to serve the needs and purposes of Colorado schools and families. He has over 15 years of experience in Education, teaching language and computer skills in public and private institutions across the United States, as well as in Asia and the Middle East. He has been responsible for coordinating teams of teachers, leading curriculum design teams in the development of college-level courses and organizing institution-wide accreditation procedures for a naval college in Abu Dhabi. Tim received his Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics with a focus on Second Language Acquisition from the University of Hawai’i. He has a passion for travel and loves exploring new cultures, foods and languages. He and his wife have been to over 25 countries together since meeting in 2011.
The Technical Development Team is responsible for data migration, coding, application development, UX design, security, and other IT-related requirements for Ascend Colorado. Senior Developers will be assigned to each program module under the direction of the System Implementation Lead. AnLar has the staffing capacity to reinforce the efforts of these core team members with additional personnel based on project needs and timeline.
Since Kimberly began in the IT industry 25 years ago, she has excelled in two areas—database architecture/data analysis and management of large IT development projects. During her career, she has worked with over 40 clients and has managed over 14 major projects of similar or larger scope than the proposed system for CDE. While Kimberly has many strengths, she excels best at being able to ask the right questions, quickly understand the current business requirements and needs for clients, and then guide the client to the perfect, custom solution. Kimberly’s penchant for successfully managing large scale projects has earned her a solid reputation with her clients. She has assumed a leadership role for most, if not all, of the projects of which she has been apart.
In addition to her system architecture skills, Kimberly has significant experience working with clients on data structures and data transfer with large scale projects. In the last 5 years alone, Kimberly has developed 18 different data migration strategy plans for clients who have often praised her for the thoroughness of her approach and the ability for her to identify most, if not all, possible pitfalls of data migration. Based on this expertise, as well as her reputation in the field, Kimberly has served as an expert witness for multiple federal law cases in the area of Databases and Data Structure.
Kimberly has unique skills which have led to her successful management of many IT projects in the last 20 years for both the government and for-profit industries. She started her career as a coder and developer and understands database architecture. She has served as a CIO for companies and has led large Business Intelligence divisions of others. She has even worked in all areas of project management, from Quality Control Manager to Business Analyst to Project Director. Because of her unique and significant experience, Kimberly enjoys the role of managing all the aspects of a project, especially the information technology pieces, since she understands the unique challenges and skills required to perform each job to make the project a success.
Sean Leitzinger is a Senior Software Developer who works on enhancements and upgrades to software systems. He enjoys crafting simple solutions to complex business problems. Sean has experience completing projects for large organizations. For PWC, Sean completely rewrote and re-architected a Sharepoint application that was failing to meet performance and functional requirements. Other projects he has completed include writing and architecting a CRM solo, and architecting and implementing new security services for Tech Data to replace a 15-year-old system in four weeks. Sean has a B.S. in Information Technology from Western Governors University and when not developing software (a hobby as well as a job), he enjoys spending time with his family.
Jarrett Woodall is a software developer who is skilled at interpreting business tasks into easy-to-use interfaces for end-users. He is responsible for developing and debugging software using .NET, Angular, and MS-SQL. Jarrett has worked on large software projects, including developing software to check and submit eligibility for low-income applicants into the Federal (and State) Lifeline program. He also assisted in the development of a large, extra-net, and sales reporting portal for an international water filtration company (RainSoft/Aquion). Jarrett has an AAS degree in CIS—Web Development. Jarrett is married with two small dogs and is a cattle rancher when not developing software. He created an app called Cattle360 to manage cattle records digitally. He enjoys all outdoor activities including fishing, hunting, and boating.
Kyle Stankovich is a software developer who began coding at the age of 16. He primarily designs User Interface (UI) in Angular and TypeScript but also works with C# and .NET Core on occasion. When he’s not developing software (his dream job), Kyle enjoys hiking, running, riding motorcycles, and spending time with friends and family, and playing videos. One of his favorite hobbies is game development.
Ty is an innovative software developer who has a passion for breaking things. From a young age, he was curious about how things work. At three years old, he was regularly unscrewing his brother’s crib as he slept. Before working for AnLar, Ty built an accounting platform that helped streamline a company’s sales and marketing process. When he’s not programming or being a DIY wannabe, he enjoys training his son to be the next point guard for the NY Knicks.
Abdullah Ali Faruq is a software programmer who is experienced with custom application development. He fell in love with programming at the age of 14 and spent years learning the art of coding. His weapon of choice is C#; however, he is also skilled in Angular, MS-SQL, and PostgreSQL. Since 2008, he has developed software for several industries like healthcare, pharmaceutical, financial institute, consulting, marketing, nonprofits and start-ups. Abdullah has a master’s degree in computer science with a focus on algorithm design and development. He has a passion for software architecture and machine learning. He enjoys spending time with his family and never passes a chance to go fishing or biking.
Joey is a new graduate from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Game Design and Development. With his previous experience working in C# and ASP.NET web API development, Joey has found himself fitting nicely into the Colorado team. Learning Angular has been an exciting challenge that he has welcomed when joining the company. After work hours, Joey enjoys lifting and exercising at the gym, and then promptly coming home to plop down on the couch and play video games. Joey also enjoys following competitive games, both in sports and in e-sports. His favorite football team is the Philadelphia Eagles, which he hopes they may one day win another Super Bowl…sometime soon.
Training and Support
The Training and Support Team is responsible for system documentation, training, user support, and resource development. Team members will prepare accessible materials for in-person or virtual delivery to stakeholders and users.
Jayne James is a Senior Technical Assistance Specialist for Anlar. In this role, Jayne is responsible for developing and providing professional learning for onsite and online learning initiatives as well as communities of practice and instructional coaching programs. She earned her doctorate in technology leadership from Kansas State University, has worked on multiple special-education-related grants at the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas, and she currently co-directs the Massachusetts Special Education Early Childhood Leadership Initiative, a year-long, cohort-based professional learning experience designed to support and promote effective leadership for Early Childhood Special Education Coordinators.
Jayne also has extensive experience working with federal programs and in directing large, federally-funded grants and contracts. Jayne served as Team Leader for the OESE Title II-D Enhancing Education Through Technology Initiative at the U.S. Department of Education and was responsible for leading team efforts in technical assistance and monitoring of programs awarded to 57 SEAs and outlying territories. As a contractor, she provided technical assistance to the St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, Colorado in support of their Race to the Top–District Grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. She also worked with the State Technology Director at the Colorado Department of Education as Co-Director of the HPR*TEC from 2000–2005, providing technical assistance to the SEA and LEAs statewide to help them effectively integrate technology to enhance learning and teaching. When not at work, Jayne puts her facilitation skills to the test to plan outrageously fun get-togethers for her 13-member blended family, ages 15-92!
Anthony Garofano offers a broad set of skills in the development of publications and outreach materials, logo design and branding, marketing, and communications. During his 15+ years of experience supporting state and federal efforts, Tony has co-authored and designed more than 200 training publications, as well as numerous outreach products disseminated both online and in print. He has designed numerous handouts, resources, information materials, conference agendas, and resource toolkits for the IDEA community at a national level, through his work with multiple OSEP technical assistance centers. He has played a lead creative role in the branding of dozens of training initiatives and has managed and designed the look, feel, and functionality of numerous SEA and federal websites. He ensures publications meet 508 accessibility standards and is well-versed in several technologies and quality control protocols to meet the federal standard for accessibility.
Becki Stenger has extensive experience creating informative and masterfully-crafted graphics and communications products. She has designed hundreds of visuals and dozens of printed publications for clients at the federal and state levels. She has created custom designs for publication covers, web interface graphics, newsletters, presentations, and various other products to assist in the effective delivery of information for multiple U.S. Department of Education grant programs, including Race to the Top–District, Preschool Development Grants, the Equitable Access Support Network, and more. Becki is adept at performing quality control and 508 compliance processing on a wide range of both print and web products. Her acute attention to detail in visual and textual compositions ensures that AnLar’s varied communications products (e.g., websites, reports, white papers, newsletters, and brochures) are of high quality in both information and design.
Alex Kim is an emerging designer with a passion for translating data into tangible visual mediums. He has experience in crafting brand identities, motion graphics, user interfaces, and other communications materials. His time spent as a designer for startups and larger companies has trained him to become adaptable to any visual challenge. He has a keen eye for typography and composition to ensure information is legible, accessible and aesthetically pleasing. Alex supports the creative team in providing graphics for various state-level education agencies across the United States.
Emily Bytheway has more than eight years of experience supporting IDEA programs at the SEA level, including compliance monitoring, data, finance, assessment, and dispute resolution. In her role as Quality Analyst for AnLar, and previously as Program Specialist for the Utah State Board of Education, Emily has provided technical assistance and help-desk type support to LEAs, SEAs, and other stakeholders in various forms, including the development of FAQs, written documentation, training videos, and in-person presentations. Emily has served as the primary administrator and technical contact for several AnLar projects and has written extensive technical assistance documentation to aid users in navigating the sites. As a Quality Analyst, Emily has assisted in writing, editing, and distributing guidance documentation,
manuals, technical assistance articles, results driven accountability reports, and other resources to aid SEAs and LEAs in monitoring, improving, and implementing their special education programs. Emily is also responsible for editing, proofreading, formatting, and ensuring Section 508 accessibility for many regulatory documents, technical manuals, and state reports. Emily has a BA in English with an emphasis in editing and publication as well as an MA in English. In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, knitting, baking, playing Animal Crossing, and all things true crime.
Always striving to make the complex responsibilities of teachers a little bit simpler and a little more streamlined, in her current role, Jeana provides support to educators in a number of states on compliance monitoring and IEP systems. Jeana’s ability to think strategically and problem solve is often reflected in the management of her assigned tasks.
Jeana has experience in both public and higher education. She taught English at the secondary level in Title I schools working with students of all abilities and ethnicities and numerous cultures. Additionally, she has worked in higher education providing technical assistance and continuing education opportunities for professionals. While working at a state professional development network, Jeana was part of the team that spearheaded and delivered a year-long Behavior Boot Camp for education professionals throughout the state. The training sought to increase knowledge and hone the skills of school staff on competencies including but not limited to: ecological assessments, functional behavior assessments, behavior intervention plans, and function-based interventions.
A graduate of Texas A&M University, Jeana is a proud Fightin’ Texas Aggie and dons her Aggie ring whenever she leaves the house. After being awarded her bachelor’s in journalism, she continued her education at Sam Houston State University earning a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction – which is ironic since she has always considered herself a jack of all trades and a master of none.
Jeana is an avid reader and loves spending time outside, and in spite of wrecks and being chased (and sometimes bitten) by dogs, her outdoor activity of choice is riding a bicycle – both trails and streets will do. She also has a knack for baking goodies but tends to give them away – much to the satisfaction of her sweet-toothed family and friends.
The Content Implementation Team is responsible for ensuring that the IEP system and DMS system satisfy all federal and state requirements. Team members have a deep understanding of regulatory and best practices related to IDEA data reporting and IEP development. If future options such as the ALP System, Gifted DMS, and Federal Program DMS are added to Ascend Colorado, additional team members will be added to address those areas of expertise.
Tate Gould has over 15 years of experience working with large-scale education data systems and is considered a leading expert on data governance, education data policy, and education reform. He has served as the lead for Technical Assistance for the OSEP Center of the Integration of IDEA Data (CIID), served as a content expert for the OSEP Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy), and has provided expertise on data system governance for both state and federal clients. Prior to establishing AnLar, he worked in various executive leadership capacities in the US Department of Education, leading the Statewide Longitudinal
Data System grant program (SLDS). He also served as the Deputy Director for Technical Assistance for the Race to the Top programs. Tate started his career as a high school math teacher, where he was National Board Certified in secondary mathematics. He received his masters in education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and his Ph.D., also in education policy, from the University of North Carolina.
Tiffanie Owens has 20 years of public education experience teaching adults and students with disabilities. She has 15 years of experience in state-level educational leadership with expertise in management and monitoring of public special education programs. While working for the Utah State Board of Education (USBE), Tiffanie became a pioneer in the Results Driven Accountability movement. Tiffanie developed a Results Driven Accountability process that allowed the state to more efficiently allocate resources and support to the LEAs that needed it most while recognizing the LEAs that were doing exceptionally well. She presented her work nationally and has been sought after by more than ten states across the country to consult with them on the process of developing their own RDA systems. Tiffanie currently leads AnLar projects for several education agencies, providing expertise and professional development to assist them in improving their educational programs. When she isn’t working or shuttling her teenage son to his many activities, Tiffanie loves spending time with her family, playing games, boating, watching movies, and traveling.
Amy Groll is currently an IDEA content specialist for AnLar. In addition to her work as a classroom teacher, she has spent the last 20 of her 24 years in education in a variety of leadership positions at school, district, and state levels where she has provided technical assistance, insight, guidance, and practical application related to special education requirements and educational best practice. She has worked directly with education leaders in large densely-populated school districts as well as small remote rural areas to promote results driven accountability processes. She has mentored new special education teachers and directors as well as provided coaching and technical assistance to veteran educators and state-wide leadership groups. She has had extensive experience with special education monitoring practices on a state and local level and assists local education agencies in their charge to analyze available student outcome data and incorporate findings into meaningful program improvement plans. Her time as an Education Specialist in a state department revolved around state-wide assessment and improving outcomes for students with disabilities. She also has experience in data collection systems and practices, general education curriculum, assessment and instruction, and state-wide intervention planning. In her free time she enjoys cooking (and eating!), long walks on mountain trails, reading juvenile fiction books, and laughing with her family.
Shelley Ackermann is an IDEA Part B content specialist. Shelley worked for the Iowa Department of Education in special education as the Part C (six years) and Part B (10 years) monitoring and improvement consultant and continued in this position as a private contractor for the past three years. Her main duties included managing the state’s I-STAR system (Iowa’s web-based data collection and monitoring system for both Parts B and C), corrections tracking (Prongs 1 and 2), APR reporting, designing specialized protocols for monitoring, providing technical assistance to LEAs and Area Education Agencies (Iowa’s intermediate education agencies), IEP compliance reviews, and comprehensive improvement plans. Shelley also has experience in postsecondary transition and 4+ program monitoring. Prior to leaving her state position, she was a team member for differentiated accountability and specially designed instruction program development and revision. Shelley also brings a parent perspective to the team having had a child on an IFSP and IEP birth through graduation. Shelley enjoys taking photographs of the Oregon wildlife and flowers she encounters during her exercise and sharing the beauty with her Midwestern friends to tease and encourage them to visit her in the Pacific Northwest.
Summer Hughey is a highly organized and detail-oriented Data Analyst for AnLar. Currently, she provides support for the content implementation team. She has experience with handling, analyzing, and managing datasets of various sizes while interpreting results and outcomes. Summer has a passion for early childhood education and understanding and helping children progress and succeed in all aspects of life. Before receiving her Master’s degree in Applied Developmental Psychology from George Mason University, she gained experience in working with children and adolescents in various treatment centers. Through this, she was able to provide developmental and behavioral assistance to disadvantaged children while considering their various mental health issues. Summer has a sound grasp of analytical and statistical programs and carefully communicates findings in every project. During her graduate experience, she worked on various projects that involved updating state-to-state standards and educational practices for a non-profit early childhood education organization. She also has extensive knowledge of literature databases and the conduction of classroom assessments for Pre-K and Kindergarten students. Summer’s involvement in various projects during her graduate program led her to investigate and understand neighborhood variables that affect children’s educational outcomes. Because of her experience, Summer applies her extensive knowledge relating to data and research to her work.