Skip to content

Our Coaches

Dr. Brenda Tanner, Head of Leadership Coaching 

Brenda manages Upbeat’s team of leadership coaches, working tirelessly to ensure that each and every coach has the support, tools, and resources they need to provide the highest quality experience to our clients. Dr. Tanner brings ten years of experience working as a superintendent for two public school districts in Virginia, along with experience as a Chief Academic and Chief Personnel officer in Horry County, SC.  She is passionate about developing and supporting high quality teachers and administrators who believe they can and should work to make a difference in the lives of every child/young adult.

Education: Master’s degree, early childhood education and doctorate of education, leadership and policy studies (University of Virginia)

Experience: Orange County Public Schools (Superintendent), Madison County Public Schools (Superintendent), Horry County Public Schools (Chief Academic & Chief Personnel Officer)

Read more about Brenda’s background on LinkedIn >

Luqman Abdur-Rahman  

Luqman began his career as a high school math and physics teacher in Atlanta, Georgia. In his 20 years in K-12 education, he has held several leadership positions in middle and high schools, including academy leader, assistant principal, principal, and principal coach. He brings firsthand experience working in turnaround schools, is a tireless advocate for restorative practices, and believes that courageous, ethical, and compassionate leadership is what our schools — and children — need to thrive. 

Education: Masters in educational leadership (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Experience: Purpose Built Schools (Principal), Fulton County Schools (Principal), Atlanta Public Schools (Principal Fellow)

Read more about Luqman’s background on LinkedIn > 

Monica Bintz  

Monica has over 20 years of experience working in K-12 education, as both a middle school teacher and a principal in public schools across the East Coast. She holds two master's degrees — in education and school administration, and is finishing an MBA. Monica is also a trained DEI facilitator and organizer, with 15 years experience working in organizations, schools and districts. She is passionate about equity-centered leadership in K-12 public schools and is an expert in change management initiatives.

Education: Masters in education (Hunter College), masters in school administration (University of North Carolina), masters in business administration - in progress (University of Tennessee)

Experience: Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (Principal), Durham Public Schools (ELA teacher)

Read more about Monica’s background on LinkedIn > 

Dana Brown 

Dana Brown, with 43 years of experience in education, serves as a coach to school leaders. Formerly a principal for 16 years, he led successful turnarounds in both high school and 6-12 school settings. Dana has taught at middle and high school levels, directed a city-wide community schools program, and currently teaches at Salem State University in a course on leading school-family partnerships. He holds a Masters in Education Administration from the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Dana is passionate about promoting adult growth in education and delivering robust coaching for school leaders to ensure continuous improvement in education, ultimately benefiting student learning and development.

Education: Master’s degree in education administration (University of Massachusetts-Boston)

Experience: Norwood Public Schools (director of strategic initiatives and logistics), Dearborn STEM Academy (principal)

Read more about Dana’s background on LinkedIn > 

Dr. Sue Burgess  

Sue spent 24 years working as a superintendent for rural and suburban preK-12 public school districts in Virginia and North Carolina. She speaks on school improvement planning, strategic planning, and school quality at state, regional and national conferences. She is passionate about the principal's role in continuous improvement, the development and implementation of school improvement plans, and the principal's effects on school climate. She has served as a consultant to school systems working on the development and implementation of strategic plans at the district and school levels.

Education: Doctorate in educational administration (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), master's degree in curriculum and instruction (Virginia Tech), bachelor's degree in secondary education (Ohio University)

Experience: Superintendent of Schools at Dare County (NC), Spotsylvania County (VA), and King William County (VA), Hanover County (Principal and Director), Davidson County (Teacher and Assistant Principal)

Read more about Sue’s background on LinkedIn > 

Dr. Ginger Featherstone 

Ginger brings over 35 years of K-12 education experience — working as a high school science teacher, student director, assistant principal, principal, director of secondary education, and deputy superintendent for leadership and planning. She frequently speaks about transformational leadership for student success, principal coaching and developing a strong school culture. She has presented at various state and national conferences, including the National Summit for Principal Supervisors.She served as the district chair for Wallace/FAU’s University Principal Preparation Institute (UPPI) and on the Florida Commissioner’s SELECT Committee focusing on Level I and II Florida Leadership Standards.

Education: Ph.D. in educational leadership (Florida Atlantic University)

Experience: Martin County School District (Deputy Superintendent for Leadership and Planning)

Read more about Ginger’s background on LinkedIn > 

Dr. Elaine Fogliani 

Elaine brings four decades of experience working in K-12 public schools, including as an elementary, middle, and high school teacher and six years as a superintendent in Virginia. In 2009 Dr. Fogliani was named Virginia Region III Superintendent of the Year for Virginia and received the Outstanding Superintendent Award from the University of Virginia. She brings a deep understanding of effective leadership and its role in creating a climate that promotes student success. She is passionate about the role of education as a scaffolding for individual success and happiness and its role in a democratic society.

Education: Doctor of philosophy (University of Virginia)

Experience: Westmoreland County Public Schools (Superintendent)

Read more about Elaine’s background on LinkedIn > 

Samantha Fuhrey 

Samantha Fuhrey, with over 30 years in K-12 education, served as the Superintendent of the Newton County School System in Georgia for a decade, making history as its first female superintendent. She brings extensive experience, from middle school principal to teaching at all levels. Previously holding roles as Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning and Director of Professional Learning, Samantha is an esteemed leader in educational innovation. Recognized as Georgia's Superintendent of the Year and one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year in 2020 , she has presented nationally on topics including classroom cameras for student achievement and community-centered approaches to combat poverty.

Education: Master of education (University of West Georgia), Education Specialist in Educational Leadership (Georgia College & State University)

Experience: Newton County Schools (superintendent, director of secondary education and director of professional learning), DeKalb County Schools (assistant principal and English teacher), University of West Georgia (professor)

Read more about Samantha’s background on LinkedIn > 

Dr. David Gaston 

David is the CEO of a Virginia-based educational consulting firm which specializes in executive leadership coaching and training, strategic planning, grant writing and evaluation, and curriculum and instruction support. Prior to founding his firm, David spent 30 years in PK-12 public schools across Virginia, working as a middle and high school teacher, assistant principal,principal, central office administrator, and division superintendent. Dr. Gaston is passionate about ensuring that our educational leaders are provided with all of the tools and support that they need to be successful.

Education: Masters of arts in education, secondary education and teaching and doctorate of education in educational policy, planning and leadership (College of William and Mary)

Experience: Charles City County Public Schools (superintendent), Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools (senior director of accountability, quality and innovation), elementary and secondary principalships across 17 years in rural, urban, and suburban school districts in Virginia

Read more about David’s background on LinkedIn > 

Isiah King 

Isiah is the CEO and co-founder of a Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization called Re-Imagine Education. Their mission is to attract, retain, and elevate BIPOC educators. Previously, he spent 15 years working in Wisconsin as an elementary and middle school teacher, dean of students, instructional specialist, founding principal, and district coordinator for equity and culture. Isiah brings a strong commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, and extensive knowledge regarding how to best serve historically marginalized students.

Education: Master's degree, educational leadership and administration (Concordia University-Portland) and doctor of education (Capella University - In progress)

Experience: LUMIN Schools (Founding Principal and Network School Culture Coordinator), Institute of Technology and Academics (Principal), Carmen Schools of Science and Technology (Dean of Students and Culture)

Read more about Isiah’s background on LinkedIn > 

Taryn Landin 

Taryn has over 30 years of K-12 educational experience in Texas and New Mexico. She has served in many roles including elementary and high school teacher, assistant principal, principal, human resource director, assistant superintendent, and chief of schools. Taryn is passionate about creating innovative and stimulating educational environments where students, teachers and leaders thrive.

Education: Master's degree, educational leadership and administration (Sul Ross State University)

Experience: Las Cruces Public Schools (Chief of Staff), El Paso Independent School District (Chief School Officer and Area Superintendent)

Read more about Taryn’s background on LinkedIn > 

Christina L. Lesh 

Christina has 25 years of K-12 education experience, working as a special education instructor, director of student services, and principal. She has also served as a Regional Director and Program Director for a national education non-profit, focused on empowering district partners toward consistently positive impacts of English Language Arts and professional learning on educator effectiveness. She is passionate about supporting school leaders to create sustainable systems.

Education: Certificate of advanced studies, educational leadership (Buffalo State University); master of science, special education and teaching (Canisius University)

Experience: Tapestry Charter Schools (Principal), Stanley G. Falk School (Director of Student Services)

Read more about Christina’s background on LinkedIn > 

Dr. Phillip Luck 

Phillip has almost three decades of K-12 education experience, including as an elementary teacher, principal, and human resources director for the Atlanta Public School District. In addition, he has also served as a Managing Director with Teach for America in Atlanta and a Program Manager with the Georgia Department of Education. Dr. Luck brings experience in leading teams to positive results while creating strong organizational climate and cultures, and he has a doctorate degree in School Improvement from the University of West Georgia.

Education: Doctorate in school improvement (University of West Georgia)

Experience: Atlanta Public Schools (teacher, principal, human resources director-leadership staffing), Georgia Department of Education (program manager - school & district effectiveness)

Read more about Phil’s background on LinkedIn > 

Sharon Marino 

Sharon is the founder and principal of Marigold Educational Coaching and Consulting, a firm specializing in educational coaching and mentorship, data analysis, and social emotional learning facilitation. Previously she spent 20+ years working in the Philadelphia public school system, as an elementary teacher, reading coach, instructional specialist, and principal. She also serves as a school board member with Colonial School Board. Sharon is passionate about leadership development and promoting equity in education.

Education: Masters in elementary education (Saint Joseph’s University)

Experience: Philadelphia Public Schools (principal and school-based instructional specialist, mentor principal)

Read more about Sharon’s background on LinkedIn > 

Kim Marucci 

Dr. Marucci devoted twenty-six years to public and post-secondary education as a French teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Chief Academic Officer/Dean of Academic Affairs. In January 2022, Dr. Marucci launched her coaching business to fulfill a need for executive coaching in the educational sector. Throughout her career in education, Dr. Marucci has gleaned extensive experience in mentoring and coaching leaders at all levels to help them unlock their full potential and maximize their leadership capacity. She helps leaders and managers facilitate a higher level of performance for themselves, their teams, and their organizations.

Education: Bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in French (Millersville University ), doctorate in educational leadership and administration (Immaculata University)

Experience: School District Of Lancaster (principal, assistant principal, coordinator of ELL), Southeast Delco School District (director of curriculum and instruction), Villanova University (director of curriculum and instruction), Pennsylvania Institute of Technology (dean of academic affairs)

Read more about Kim’s background on LinkedIn > 

Dr. Terri Mozingo 

Dr. Terri H. Mozingo has dedicated over 30 years to public education, serving in various roles from classroom teacher to superintendent's designee. Her commitment to equity, excellence, and continuous growth has been the driving force behind her work. Terri has been a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, area superintendent, and more. She led multiple departments and offices in North Carolina and Virginia, focusing on positive student outcomes. Terri holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from UNC-CH, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from North Carolina State University, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Fayetteville State University.

Education: Doctorate in educational leadership (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill), master’s degree in curriculum and instruction (North Carolina State University)

Experience: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools (assistant superintendent); Durham Public Schools (chief academic officer and associate superintendent); Alexandra City Public Schools (chief academic officer)

Read more about Terri’s background on LinkedIn > 

Dr. Karen Peace 

Karen has more than three decades of K-12 education experience in Louisiana, including as a kindergarten teacher, recruiter, instructional coordinator, principal, and director of school performance. In 2000, she received her Ph.D in curriculum and instruction from LSU-Baton Rouge. Dr. Peace brings experience as a school and district leader with expertise in reading instruction and is passionate about the development and support of professional educators.

Education: Doctor of philosophy, curriculum and instruction (Louisiana State University)

Experience: Caddo Parish School District (Teacher Recruiter and Area Director of School Performance)

Read more about Karen’s background on LinkedIn > 

Dr. Joni Poff 

Joni has over 35 years of experience in rural, urban, and suburban K-12 public schools, working as both a special education and general education teacher and a director of instruction. She earned her doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech. Dr. Poff is an expert in school improvement planning, curriculum supervision, and financial management of Title I, Title III, and special education programs.

Education: Doctor of education, educational leadership and policy studies (Virginia Tech)

Experience: Botetourt County Public School (Director of Instruction)

Read more about Joni’s background on LinkedIn > 

Dr. Emily Kalejs Qazilbash 

Emily is a Professor of Practice in Education at Brown University. Her teaching and research interests include urban education policy, teachers unions, and teacher recruitment and retention. Prior to her academic appointment, Dr. Qazilbash served as the chief human capital officer for the Boston Public School District. She holds a master’s degree and doctorate in education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Education: Master’s degree and doctorate, administration, planning and social policy (Harvard Graduate School of Education)

Experience: Boston Public Schools (chief human capital officer), Boston Public Schools (assistant director, Center for Leadership Development), consultant (Urban Schools Human Capital Academy, MA Department of Education, Teach Plus), teacher (Boston Public Schools & Baltimore City Public Schools)

Read more about Emily’s background on LinkedIn > 

Eric Redwine 

Eric Redwine has over 40 years of experience in education, serving in various roles from middle school educator, assistant principal, founding principal, instructional leadership, and superintendent at University Prep Academy in Michigan. In his role as superintendent, revolutionized the educational landscape by redefining the role of principals, elevating teacher expectations, and implementing innovative instructional practices district-wide. He currently serves as Director of Clinical Practice for Relay Graduate School for New York State, and a professor of practice.

Education: Bachelors in journalism (Wayne State University), master’s degree in school leadership (University of Detroit-Mercy), Doctoral degree - in progress (University of Southern California)

Experience: Detroit Public Schools Community District (school leader), InspirED Education (head of school), University Preparatory Academy (superintendent)

Read more about Eric’s background on LinkedIn > 

Dr. Theresa West 

Theresa brings over three decades of K-12 education experience as an elementary, middle, and high school teacher, principal, and central office director, collaborating with an assistant superintendent to support and evaluate 27 schools. She has co-led Doherty West Coaching & Consulting since 2011, coaching leaders and teams and providing professional development across the country. Dr. West attended the leadership coaching program at Georgetown University and is a professional certified coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation. Theresa is passionate about coaching school leaders, strategic planning, and building creative, welcoming cultures with a focus on student learning.

Education: Doctor of Education, Education Leadership and Policy Studies (Virginia Tech)

Experience: Teacher of General Education, ESOL, and Spanish in Warren County Public Schools, Prince William County Public Schools, and Falls Church City Schools Fairfax County Public Schools (Teacher, Principal and Cluster Director)

Read more about Theresa’s background on LinkedIn >