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CKLA Implementation Resources Guide

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The New First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy

The New First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy The New First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Your Child Needs to Know, available from our online bookstore. More…

Staff Directory


Linda Bevilacqua - President


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Photo of Linda Bevilacqua Linda Bevilacqua is the president of the Core Knowledge Foundation. She is the co-author, with E. D. Hirsch, Jr. of three publications, What Your Preschooler Needs to Know: Read-Alouds to Get Ready for Kindergarten and What Your Preschooler Needs to Know: Activity Books 1 and 2. She developed the Core Knowledge preschool program and is actively involved in the development of the Core Knowledge Language Arts program, which has been successfully piloted in ten New York City public schools. She has served as a consultant regarding national curricular and educational policies, most recently in the development of the Common Core State Standards, as well as for Head Start, the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Albert Shanker Institute. She earned her BS and M.Ed from the University of Virginia and has taught and supervised programs for children with learning disabilities.

Alice Wiggins - Executive Vice President, School Consultation and Special Projects


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Photo of Alice Wiggins Alice Wiggins is the executive vice president for School Consultation and Special Projects. Alice has responsibility for all aspects of Core Knowledge implementation in schools, preschool–grade 8. Alice was the project director, author, and editor of both the recent edition of the Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence and Teacher Handbook and the Preschool Snapshot: Implementation and Observation Checklists. She has Virginia teacher licensure in preschool–grade six and holds M.Ed. degrees in both Instructional Design and Educational Psychology. Prior to joining the Foundation, Alice was a member of the research staff and served as the associate director of the Preschool Language and Literacy Lab at the University of Virginia. In addition to research articles, Alice is the author of Preschoolers at Play: Building Language and Literacy through Dramatic Play and a contributing author to Scaffolding With Storybooks: A Guide for Enhancing Young Children's Language and Literacy Achievement and Assessment in Emergent Literacy. Alice's interests and expertise in education are enhanced by fifteen years of experience as a consultant and project manager in the private sector business arena.

Lisa Hansel - Director of Communications


Phone: (cell) 301-526-4497

Photo of Lisa Hansel Lisa Hansel is the director of communications, and she welcomes questions and comments about all aspects of Core Knowledge from educators, parents, the media, and more. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2013, she was the editor of American Educator, the quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. In that role, she often published articles by E. D. Hirsch, Jr., and Daniel T. Willingham that explained why reading comprehension, critical thinking, and problem solving depend on relevant prior knowledge—and why, as a result, all students need a rigorous, coherent, grade-by-grade curriculum that builds broad knowledge. Lisa has a B.S. in Psychology from Washington and Lee University and an Ed.D. in Education Policy from George Washington University, where she was also an adjunct professor and the writer and editor for the National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform.

Elizabeth Bland - Chief Operations Officer


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Photo of Elizabeth Bland Elizabeth Bland joined the Core Knowledge Foundation in 2013 and serves as the chief operations officer. She oversees the internal day-to-day operations to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of all Foundation endeavors. Elizabeth is a licensed attorney who has been authorized to practice law within the Commonwealth of Virginia since 2010. As such, she will also oversee the Foundation’s legal matters and ensure the protection of its rights and interests. Elizabeth received her B.A. from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA and received her J.D. from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Linda Fromm - Director of Accounting


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Photo of Linda Fromm Linda holds the distinction of having served the Core Knowledge Foundation for longer than any other staff member. She joined Core Knowledge in 1993, as one of a handful of employees who did whatever was needed to run the Foundation during those early days. Linda is now the business office director where her duties include managing the day to day bookkeeping responsibilities, as well as human resources and benefits administration. Linda continues to fulfill an essential role doing whatever is needed to keep things running smoothly Foundation wide.

Karen Goss - Bookkeeper, AR/AP


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Photo of Karen Goss Karen joined the Foundation in December of 2009.  She is responsible for daily bookkeeping including accounts payable and receivable, as well as collections.  Karen brings over 35 years of customer and financial service experience, both in banking and educational travel fields.  Karen attended Piedmont Virginia Community College and James Madison University.  She and her husband, Scott,  have been actively involved in their community Volunteer Fire and EMS agencies for 36 years.

Valarie Lewis - Core Knowledge Fellow


Photo of Valarie Lewis Valarie Lewis is a Core Knowledge Fellow and former principal of a successful Core Knowledge school in Queens. In 2005, her school was named a National Visitation Site by the Core Knowledge Foundation and in 2007, it received the Dispelling the Myth Award from The Education Trust. Lewis's leadership has been recognized in the Christian Science Monitor, American Educator, and London Spectator. It’s also been highlighted in How It's Being Done and Getting It Done by Karen Chenoweth, On Purpose by Samuel Casey Carter; and Turning High Poverty Schools into High Performing Schools by William H. Parrett and Kathleen M. Budge.

PreK-8 Schools

Christina Erland - Director, Professional Development, New York State Project


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Photo of Christina Erland Christina holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary/Special Education and a Master of Education in Reading Education. Christina began her career as a special education and classroom teacher supporting students in Kindergarten through Grade 5. At the Foundation, Christina has provided consultation to schools implementing the Core Knowledge Sequence and CKLA. In addition, she has designed and conducted professional development workshops and presentations. She is currently director of professional development for the New York State Project. In this role, she and her team, support NY schools implementing CKLA through face-to-face trainings, on-demand webinars, and office hours.

Emma Earnst -


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Photo of Emma Earnst Emma is Core Knowledge’s web content manager. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in History and an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction. Prior to joining the Core Knowledge team, she worked with two projects of the Virginia Foundation of the Humanities, building a strong foundation in digital humanities. In addition to maintaining this website, Emma works with digitization of teaching materials and tools for Core Knowledge programs, and with editorial revisions for various Core Knowledge publications. Outside of the Foundation, Emma enjoys editing historical publications and walking her cocker spaniel, Bodo.

Richard Talbot - Special Projects and Workshop Coordinator


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Photo of Richard Talbot Richard (Jamie) Talbot is the Special Projects Coordinator. Jamie comes to us from the Social Development lab at the University of Virginia. He has a B.A. in Biology, a M.T. in Secondary Biology Education, and is currently working toward an Educational Specialist degree with a concentration in Instructional Technology. Jamie has a keen interest in online education - he was instrumental in the selection and implementation of a distance learning system for district level home-bound and alternative students.

Publication Sales

Melanie Jones - Director of Publication Sales


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Photo of Melanie Jones Melanie manages the operations surrounding the sales of Core Knowledge publications, the online bookstore, customer call center, warehouse & inventory management, and reprint activities. Additionally, Melanie oversees all IT and Website related activities, and is currently managing the implementation of our new Website redesign initiative. Melanie joined the Foundation in January 2008. Prior to joining Core Knowledge, Melanie spent 13 years at the UVa Darden School as a Marketing case-writer and research associate, and helped to implement the MBAExec Program. Melanie studied computer information systems and general studies at Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Sherman Thompson - Warehouse Manager


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Photo of Sherman Thompson Sherman has been with the Foundation and has managed our warehouse operations since November of 2003. In addition to managing the day-to-day shipping operations, Sherman manages the facilities for the Foundation. Sherman ensures timely order fulfillment and accurate inventory, and ensures our parking lots and sidewalks have been safe during the recent abundance of snow storms.

Lee Sensabaugh - Shipping Coordinator


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Photo of Lee Sensabaugh Lee has been with the Foundation since November of 2008. Lee coordinates shipments for all Publications Sales activities, as well as manages the fulfillment process for the Core Knowledge Language Arts Pilot Program. Lee brings to the Foundation a wealth of knowledge in the warehousing and distribution industries, and has made considerable contributions to the Foundation in a very short period of time.

Will Ashby - Publication Sales Coordinator


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Photo of Will Ashby Will joined the Foundation in May of 2013 after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University, and brings several years of experience as a customer service representative. Will is also a Spanish translator, has spent considerable time in the nonprofit industry at the United Way in Richmond, and has spent time volunteering in Peru as an English teacher to children. Will very much enjoys learning new technologies, playing guitar and crafting digital music.

Jane Sickon - Publication Sales Graphic Designer


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Photo of Jane Sickon Jane brings a wealth of experience to the Foundation, including book composition and marketing collateral production, writing and editing, pre-press production, bindery skills, and graphic design. Some of Jane’s more recent experience includes time at LexisNexis as a Marketing Print Production Manager, at The Daily Progress as a Special Sections Coordinator, at PBM Products as a Graphic Designer, and design positions with Coghill Composition Co. and Carriage House Press. When she’s not designing and reading books, Jane can be found spending time with her family and dogs.

CKLA Development

Robin Blackshire - Director, Editorial-Design Coordination


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Photo of Robin Blackshire Robin has been with the Foundation since August of 2011. As the research copy editor, she is able to indulge her innate curiosity and fierce attention to detail. In addition to proofreading, she supports both the Language Arts Development and Design teams in researching images that achieve both content accuracy and aesthetic quality. Robin is a graduate of Shepherd University and holds a BFA in Photography.

Laura Drummond - Associate Editor


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Photo of Laura Drummond As an associate editor, Laura works to create language arts materials for grades 4 and 5. She previously worked as a writer, developing content for multi-channel retailers and print publications. Laura earned a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia and a Certificate in Publishing from New York University.

Sara Hunt - Senior Editor


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Photo of Sara Hunt Sara is a senior editor for the Core Knowledge Language Arts program. Previously, Sara worked as an in-house editor for a children’s book publisher where she developed and edited numerous award-winning books for girls. She has experience writing and editing for multi-channel national retailers, as well as several national, regional, and university publications. Sara graduated from Lynchburg College with a B.A. in Journalism, and is the author of two children’s books.

Rosie McCormick - Content Director


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Photo of Rosie McCormick Rosie McCormick, M.A., is the author of over 30 children’s fiction and non-fiction books published in both the US and the UK. She began working for Core Knowledge as a freelance writer in 2009. Rosie joined the CKLA team in 2011 as an in-house writer and editor. Rosie studied English and History at London University, and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Rosie has an extensive background in trade and educational publishing, and has also taught third, fourth, and fifth grades.

Cynthia Peng - Lead Curriculum Developer/Instructional Designer


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Photo of Cynthia Peng Cynthia is the English language learner (ELL) coordinator for CKLA. She has been working with English learners since 1997. She actively mentored and volunteered for literacy programs in K–8 urban schools throughout Berkeley and Oakland while she studied Mass Communications and Business Administration at the University of California at Berkeley. Cynthia also earned her MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from San Jose State University. She was a lecturer of Academic English to college freshmen at a state university, an ESL teacher at a community college, and an English instructor at a private university prior to joining the Foundation.

Tonya Ronayne - ELD Specialist


Photo of Tonya Ronayne Tonya is an ELD specialist working on Core Knowledge Language Arts for second grade. Before joining the Foundation, she taught special education for six years in Virginia and six years in California. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Education degree at the University of Virginia. She is a Charlottesville native and recently returned after living in San Diego for seven years.

Debbie Samley - Managing Editor


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Photo of Debbie Samley Deborah Samley has been with the Foundation since November 2011. She received a B.A. in journalism at Shippensburg University and a J.D. from the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. Prior to joining the Foundation, she taught both high school and middle school history and civics.

Kate Stephenson - Associate Editor


Photo of Kate Stephenson Kate is an editor for 4th and 5th grade. She has taught literature, composition, and humanities at Trinity University and Kaplan University, where she remains on the faculty in Humanities. She has published papers and given conference presentations on confessional poetry, children’s literature, writing, and pedagogy. Kate earned a B.A. from Duke University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia, where she specialized in twentieth century literature. After watching her children thrive in a Core Knowledge school in San Antonio, TX, Kate was thrilled to join CKLA upon moving to Charlottesville. When not working, Kate can be found on the tennis court, curled up with a Virginia Woolf novel, or relaxing with one of her three Core Knowledge kids.

James Walsh - Curriculum Developer


Sarah Zelinke - Lesson Development Director


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Photo of Sarah Zelinke Sarah is an editor for the Core Knowledge Language Arts program. She has taught first and second grades in Maryland and Virginia. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the College of William & Mary. Sarah also earned her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, with a focus in Reading, from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focused on nonfiction read-alouds and content vocabulary learning. She has taught classes at the undergraduate level on reading assessment and instructional materials for reading.

CKLA Design & Production

Bridget Moriarty - Creative Director


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Photo of Bridget Moriarty Bridget joined the Foundation’s graphics department in July 2012. She previously worked as an editor and as a freelance web and print designer. Bridget has a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and a certificate in Graphic Design from Piedmont Virginia Community College. She also enjoys gardening and live music.

Lauren Pack - Content Designer


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Photo of Lauren Pack Lauren joined the Foundation’s graphics department in August 2012. Before the Foundation, she worked as a graphic designer for an ethics compliance company in Phoenix, as well as an education company in Arlington VA. Lauren has a B.F.A. in studio arts from James Madison University with a focus in photography. She also enjoys playing soccer, live local music and interior decorating.