Dave Rodich is a sixth grade social studies teacher in Queens, New York, with over a decade of experience in the field of education. He benefits from having taught in a wide variety of settings, including urban, suburban, and rural. Dave fell in love with Responsive Classroom after a professional development workshop in New York City. He appreciates how Responsive Classroom humanizes students and prepares them for a life rich with connections and self-reflection. When not teaching, Dave likes to fish, write, hike, play soccer, and spend time with his family.
Dawn White is a consulting teacher for Center for Responsive Schools. In addition to consulting, she is the social-emotional learning instructional specialist in a K-8 Minneapolis Public School in Minnesota. Dawn has been a classroom teacher for most of her 25-year career, teaching students ranging from preschool to sixth grade. When completing her master’s degree in education in 2000, she attended her first Responsive Classroom course at a friend’s suggestion. The approach dramatically changed her instructional methods in the classroom and supported what she knew to be best for all children. The Responsive Classroom approach creates the structure for both academic and social-emotional learning to happen every day. In her free time, Dawn loves to be active with her partner, Steve, and her two sons, to teach yoga, and sew fun, useful creations.
Deanna Cousineau is a pre-K teacher in Stillwater, Minnesota. She has twenty-five years of teaching experience and has taught early childhood special education and pre-K. Deanna is honored to share the Responsive Classroom approach with educators across the United States. She is passionate about empowering educators with strategies and practices that will support their students’ learning needs and guide their students in developing the skills they need to be successful in and out of school. She is married and has three young adult children, a lovely daughter-in-law, and a grandbaby. In her spare time, she enjoys being with family and friends, going for long walks, and reading.
Dina Muncer is the instructional support teacher at Holland Elementary School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She received her master’s degree in education from Saint Joseph’s University in instructional technology. Throughout her 18 years of teaching, Dina has worked as a learning support teacher and general education teacher in first, third, fifth, and sixth grades. She was introduced to Responsive Classroom during her first year of teaching and immediately saw the power of building a positive learning community. Dina became a Responsive Classroom certified teacher in 2013, working to train staff in her home district. She began working for Center for Responsive Schools as a consulting teacher in 2015. She believes wholeheartedly that sharing the Responsive Classroom approach with educators helps students develop the lifelong social, emotional, and academic skills necessary to succeed. When she is not in the classroom or presenting workshops, Dina enjoys spending time with her family on the beach or running to various sporting events, exercising, and watching football.
Donna Petit is a retired elementary teacher with over 30 years of teaching experience in both rural and urban K-6 classroom settings. She received her BS in education from the University of Connecticut and later went on to pursue her MEd in arts and education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She currently is a part-time consulting teacher for Center for Responsive Schools. Donna developed a passion for Responsive Classroom practices after attending a workshop in 1996 and seeing the positive impact the approach had on her students and school community. She loves the work of sharing the Responsive Classroom approach with fellow educators and believes deeply in the power of this approach in creating high-quality educational opportunities for all children. When she is not working, Donna enjoys spending time with her family and friends, tending to her gardens, and traveling.
Dr. Crystal Cooper
Dr. Crystal Cooper Thompson is a former teacher of the year and twenty-five-year veteran instructional leader. She has gained a reputation as a passionate thought leader who leads with intention, insight, and grace. Her Responsive Classroom journey began while teaching in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1997. She was coached by founders Ruth Charney, Chip Wood, and Marlynn Clayton and became a consulting teacher in 2000. After seven years teaching grades 1 to 4, Dr. Cooper worked as a reading coach for two low-performing schools. Since moving to Georgia in 2005, she has worked as an intervention teacher, literacy coach/coordinator, and assistant principal. In 2012, she began her principalship at a Title I school in Gwinnett County, and is now working as a principal at Starling Elementary School. She earned her bachelor’s from William Paterson University, master’s from the University of Georgia, specialist degree from the University of West Georgia, and doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Georgia.
Earl Hunter II
Earl Hunter II has been an educator his entire career. He spent many years as a dynamic elementary school teacher in California. Now a full-time education consultant, Earl travels throughout the United States leading engaging professional development for schools. Earl is a certified Responsive Classroom presenter and consultant and a featured contributor to the book Teaching Self-Discipline. Earl lives in the Los Angeles area with his amazing family.
Emily Loughead has had the unique experience of teaching fifth grade for the past five years in both rural and urban public school settings. Emily was first introduced to Responsive Classroom while teaching on the Rosebud Reservation in rural South Dakota, where she worked alongside her leadership team and Responsive Classroom consultants to integrate culture and community within the Responsive Classroom approach. She has continued her Responsive Classroom journey in an urban public school in Washington, DC, and is currently working on a team to redesign and prototype alternative learning to best meet the needs of all students. Emily enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her family.
Emily Parrelli is an English/language arts teacher with eight years of both high school and middle school teaching experience. Her current teaching position is at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee, working with seventh and eighth graders. After being introduced to Responsive Classroom through a four-day workshop and completing the consulting teacher training, she co-founded a professional learning community at her school site to support colleagues seeking training and certification in this impactful approach to teaching. Implementing Responsive Classroom has had a positive influence on both her personal teaching practice and her students. Emily is especially passionate about the power of language in the classroom and its ability to empower students to be autonomous learners. When she is not in her classroom or presenting workshops, this native Californian loves spending time with her husband at the beach. Emily also enjoys reading memoirs, French cooking, Vinyasa yoga, and walks with her dog, Charlie.
Emma Liebowitz is currently the principal of Sanderson Academy, a preschool through sixth grade rural school in western Massachusetts. She has been an educator for over 25 years and has practiced the Responsive Classroom approach for most of those years. Before becoming a principal, she was a classroom teacher and Title I teacher for students in grades kindergarten through sixth. She also served as the director of curriculum and assessment in her district. After over a decade working at Center for Responsive Schools, Emma continues to be passionate about sharing Responsive Classroom with educators across the country as a consulting teacher. She strongly believes that the Responsive Classroom approach supports all students and that it is not an add-on, but a foundation that leads to academic, social, and emotional growth. In her free time, Emma recently has renewed an interest in long-distance running with her adopted foster dog.
Erica Barkus is an instructional teacher lead at East Oakland Pride Elementary School in Oakland, California, and a consulting teacher for Center for Responsive Schools, working with teachers and school districts throughout the United States. She has taught in various urban settings in both California and Ohio for over 23 years. In addition to that, she is a certified Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) trainer and is thrilled to offer coaching and support for teachers working with English Language Learners. Erica is committed to closing the achievement gap for minority and low income students. She hopes to help transform inner-city classrooms by helping teachers understand how to balance academic, social, and emotional learning for students. When she is not training and coaching teachers in Responsive Classroom practices, Erica likes to spend time with her husband and six children, jogging on Bay Area trails, and traveling with friends.
Erin Lappe is a kindergarten teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. She has used the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and discipline for over a decade in her classroom. The Responsive Classroom approach has guided her in creating a safe and joyful environment that instills a lifelong love of learning in her students. As a consulting teacher for Center for Responsive Schools, Erin is thrilled to be sharing the life-changing strategies that have transformed her classroom.
Gary Wight has been a consultant for Center for Responsive Schools for 16 years and an educator at Flanders Elementary School in East Lyme, Connecticut, for the past 20. He has degrees in elementary education and special education, and a number of other education-related certifications. Gary was first introduced to Responsive Classroom when attending a workshop associated with Flanders National Blue Ribbon School recognition. After noticing the powerful impact the approach had on his students’ confidence, independence, and growth, he pursued further knowledge of Responsive Classroom methodology and developed a relationship with Center for Responsive Schools. Along with his teaching responsibilities in East Lyme, Gary mentors and provides professional support to other teachers in the district, and is a member of multiple leadership committees. He coaches both football and lacrosse at East Lyme High School, using several Responsive Classroom practices as a foundation for his coaching. In his spare time, Gary enjoys exercising, gardening, and spending time with family and friends.
With 37 years of teaching experience, Gayle Robert has filled the roles of primary teacher (K-2), mentor teacher, and support-teacher interventionist. She has experience working with at-risk students and those with challenging behavioral issues. For 22 years, Gayle has implemented the Responsive Classroom approach with her students in public schools near New Orleans. She has taken that knowledge with her on her journey as a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher for 18 years now. Her introduction to Responsive Classroom was a life-changing experience and she remains passionate about sharing this approach to teaching and learning with other educators around the country.
Gigi Marasco is retiring from her position as a reading specialist on Long Island, New York, in June 2022 after working in the field of education for over twenty-five years. She received her master’s degree in education from Columbia University in 1992 and went on to pursue national board certification in 2008. Two of Gigi’s passions are working with educators to share teaching practices and leading cohorts to support national board candidates. Joining the Center for Responsive Schools team as a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher in 2020 has been a rewarding and exciting experience. In her spare time, Gigi practices yoga and enjoys reading, cooking, and taking long walks with her dog, Tito, a one-hundred-twenty-pound Akita.
Gina Castelli has been teaching adults and children for over 17 years. She studied elementary education at the University of Delaware where she now teaches as an adjunct professor, and received a master’s degree in educational leadership from Wilmington University. Gina is one of only two Responsive Classroom consulting teachers in the state and trains teachers nationally in the approach. She is also a trainer in Trauma Informed Care. Gina works to create innovative learning experiences for students, educators, and leaders and believes strongly that every child deserves a joyful and engaging classroom experience. She is highly qualified in creating and executing teacher professional development in topics such as Common Core State Standards, co-teaching, Responsive Classroom, and quality classroom culture strategies. Gina is also a first-year teacher mentor and guide as well as an educational author with pieces published on the Responsive Classroom website.