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Marilyn Tolbert, President

Marilyn Tolbert, Director and Jean W. Roach Chair of Laboratory Schools at Texas Christian University.  Marilyn is the director of two laboratory schools on the campus of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas – Starpoint School and KinderFrogs School.  Starpoint School is a private school for children ages 6 to eleven diagnosed with learning differences.  KinderFrogs School is an educational program serving children ages 18 months to 6 years of age with Down syndrome and other developmental delays.  KinderFrogs also serves a small number of typically developing children. Prior to KinderFrogs School, she was the Education Director for River Legacy Living Science Center and the PreSchool Director for River Legacy Nature School.  She was a principal and kindergarten/first grade teacher in public schools for six years.  Prior to her educational experience, she worked in business for 20 years before embarking on her  educational career.    Marilyn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Texas Christian University, a Masters of Science degree in Administration from TCU, and an Educational Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership from TCU. She serves on the board of Kauffman Leadership Academy, the board of the Green Oaks School, is past president of the Down Syndrome Partnership of Tarrant County and is on the board and holds the position President of the National Down Syndrome Congress.  When she is not advocating for and on behalf of children and their families, she loves to travel, read, and spend time with family and friends.

Amani Reed, Past President

Amani Reed is a product of both public and private school education. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Amani has worked hard to be a visionary leader with a clear focus on ethics, equity and justice. He has been involved in a wide variety of roles within schools and has served on accreditation teams, worked as a facilitator at national conferences, and lead a successful non-profit. Reed is the Head of School at The School at Columbia University. Prior to joining Columbia, he was the Middle School Principal at The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. He also served as Middle School Assistant Director at Lakeside School in Seattle and held a variety of leadership positions at Sewickley Academy in Pennsylvania. He holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Columbia University Teachers College, and a B.S. in secondary education from the University of Portland in Oregon.

Patricia Diebold, Executive Director

Patricia Elizabeth Diebold has for the past 30 years dedicated her educational career to being a teacher and administrator. Her teaching experiences were both in public and private schools. Prior to recently retiring from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Patricia served for over fifteen years as the Assistant and then the Director of Miller Laboratory School and Campus Child Care Center on the Edinboro University campus. She then served the University for six years as the Assistant to the Dean of Arts and Sciences.

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Mary Jane Taylor, Secretary

In 1945, at the age of 4, I attended a nursery school run by the Home Economics Department at Mansfield State Teachers College. I attended the campus school for kindergarten- 9th grade. I then attended MSTC for my Elementary Education Degree doing Jr. Participation and Student Teaching in the Campus school. I taught 5 years. After earned a Masters Degree from Bucknell University
I was offered a position in Syracuse as consultant for the Eastern Regional Institute for Education- A title IV US Gov. Research - Studying how to successfully install a new curriculum into an elementary school. The school where I taught in Williamsport was one of the 20 pilot schools in PA and NY. Visited 95 teachers in six school every two weeks. In 1969 I began teaching at the Rowland Laboratory School. In addition to my teaching at the school, I directed the Head Start Program for 5 years. In 1986, I assume the Directorship of the school and also taught a nursery school class. I joined NALS in 1987, serving two terms on the board of directors - In 1998 I was first appointed secretary. I have serve on the board of Shippensburg Area School District Foundation, served as Elder at church - now serving as Deacon and Sunday School teacher. I am married Dr. Robert D Taylor 1976 have 2 children 2 step children - 3 grandchildren - 4 step- grand children - 4 step great grand children.

Nicolás Ramos, Social Media Director

Nicolás Ramos has been a teacher for the past 15 years. He taught English for six years at a public high school before he began working at the University of Puerto Rico Secondary School, where he continues to teach 7th Grade English and Civics Education. Nicolás received a Bachelor degree in Secondary Education at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Later he obtained a Master of Arts at the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan.  In December 2009 Nicolás completed a Juris Doctorate at the University of Puerto Rico. When he’s not working at the school, Nicolás enjoys sightseeing and traveling.

Elizabeth Morley, International Committee-Chair

Elizabeth Morley is Principal of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School at the University of Toronto where she leads a unique school that has substantial impact on public policy through its research and its practice. The school has a long history of exemplary practice from Kindergarten through the Elementary grades. Ms. Morley has credentials in Early Childhood Education and in Elementary Teaching and began her career teaching young children. At the University of Toronto, she has researched effective programming in the early years, and has been involved in the education of teachers who work with young children. In 2011, she was part of a team that published a book, Natural Curiosity, about the school’s inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning. The book is in the hands of teachers in every school in Ontario, Canada, and in other schools around the world.

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Wade Smith, Endowment Board Chair

Wade Smith has been the Superintendent of the LSU Laboratory School since 2002.
Prior to that, he taught higher education and educational leadership courses at
Auburn University. Wade was a middle school principal for 13 years and taught
biology and chemistry for 11 years. He maintains an active research agenda
focusing upon school effectiveness and school improvement.

Debby Belvin, Board Member

Debby Belvin has served in both the public and private school sector for the past 39 years.  She is currently Director of the Berry College Elementary & Middle School which is the laboratory school at Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia. Most of her public school work was in Tennessee where she taught grades 1 - 6.  She was charged with creating the middle school at Berry in 2000 and has served as director of the school since 2010. She holds degrees from Tennessee Tech (B.S. Elementary Ed), Xavier University of Louisiana (M.A. - Curriculum & Instruction), and Berry College (Ed.S - Leadership).  She has been active in the IALS organization for the past 15 years.

Jean Bird, Board Member

Jean Thompson Bird grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in Child Development.  She taught in the Children’s School for seven years and then continued to work part-time for the DASH project (Developmental Approaches to Science, Health, and Technology), which was a part of the Center for University Outreach at Carnegie Mellon University. She returned to the Children’s School staff thirteen years ago as an extended morning teacher and has been teaching Extended Morning and the Older 4’s class full time since 2005.  Music, woodworking, science, and exploring books and stories are some of Jean’s favorite activities to do with children. Jean is active in the mission and outreach work of Waverly Church, including directing the Children & Youth Ministry program and teaching early childhood classes. She especially enjoys performing in and producing the Waverly Opera House, a yearly melodramatic show that raises funds for youth programming. Jean’s husband Jim adds some cool factor into the family as a rock and roll guitar and bass player for the cover band, SpinCycle. Jean and Jim have three daughters. Emilie and Ahleajha are students at the Community College of Allegheny County. Darrah is a second year graduate student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and recently married PJ Pfueffer.  Darrah and Emilie both have fond memories of the Children’s School as alumni.

Sandra Brown Turner, Board Member

Sandra Brown Turner is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. She is a two-time graduate of the University of Memphis and makes it clear that she is an avid Memphis TIGER basketball fan. (The Memphis Grizzlies NBA team is also a favorite.) Her lifelong career in early childhood education has spanned more than 40 years. She has served on local, state, regional and national educational organizations, boards and task forces. From 1988-2000, she was a tenured professor of education at Southwest Tennessee Community College. She currently serves as the Director of the Barbara K. Lipman Early Childhood School and Research Institute at the University of Memphis. Right now, she is hopeful that the Obama administration can get it right with his proposed universal pre-k four year old program for the U.S.

Sharon Carver, Board Member

Sharon Carver, Ph.D., is beginning her twentieth year as the Director of the Children's School.  She earned an A.B. in Psychology and a K-12 Teaching Certificate at Princeton University and then a Ph.D. in child development at Carnegie Mellon.  She taught in the Graduate School of Education and the Department of Psychology at the University of Rochester for five years before returning to Carnegie Mellon.  Since coming to the Children's School, Sharon has worked with staff and parents to strengthen the school's program, improve the facilities, and build strong connections with the university.  In 2004, Dr. Carver was promoted to full teaching professor, and she was reappointed in 2008 for another 5-year term.  She teaches undergraduate courses in Child Development as well as offering a practicum program at the Children’s School.  She is also the Associate Training Director for the graduate Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER), for which she teaches the educational design core course.  


Read More: Sharon Carver, Board Member

Richard Messina, Board Member

Richard Messina is the Vice Principal at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Lab School at OISE/University of Toronto and he is the Elementary Lead Teacher for the Klingenstein Summer Institute, Teachers College, Columbia. Richard was a classroom teacher for 15 years, teaching Grades 4 - 6 at the Lab School and Grades
1 – 8 in the public school system in Toronto.

Konnie Serr, Board Member

Konnie Serr is the 1st grade teacher at Grace B Luhrs University Elementary School, as well as Assistant Professor in the college of Education at Shippensburg University.  Along with teaching 1st grade she plays an active role supervising student teachers and pre-service teachers in the department of Teacher Ed.  Konnie has been at the Lab school for the past 7 years.  Previous to that, she taught Kindergarten, 1st , and 3rd grades for the Shippensburg public school system.  She has attended and the IALS conference every year since coming to the lab school and served as A member of the Board of Directors 2011 – 2014.