Our EPIC Impact team is more than a group of pretty faces, keynote speakers, or one-hit wonders.
Their leadership has been transformational in schools and districts across the country. It's not about how many individual awards an educator can win or how many followers you have on twitter...the question is "have you ever taken a school or district from good to great?"
Our consultants have been in the trenches, are practitioners by heart, and have been able to integrate research, policy, and practiceto make an EPIC Impact in their schools and districts. Whether you need an inspirational keynote or a strategic thought leader for deep meaningful work, our team delivers.
Thomas S. Tucker, Ph.D.
Superintendent, Douglas County School District, Colorado
AASA 2016 National Superintendent of the Year
Dr. Tucker has been a trailblazer and mentor in the field of education, has received a myriad of awards and is active in many organizations. In 2006, he became the first and is the only African-American to hold an upper-level administrative post in the Hilliard City School District when he was named director of Secondary Curriculum, the first African-American to be named superintendent of Licking Heights Local School District, the first African-American superintendent in Licking County, the first African-American superintendent in the Worthington City School District and only the second African-American superintendent in Franklin County. In February of 2016, he was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).
Well-versed both in school financing and business partnerships, Dr. Tucker often is called upon by local and state lawmakers to consult regarding school funding issues. As superintendent, Dr. Tucker has never failed an operating levy or bond issue. Dr. Tucker is passionate about improving the education for all students by utilizing proven teaching, research, writing, communication abilities, extensive community engagement, and program track record. He believes every student in America regardless of zip code or ethnicity deserves a great teacher, principal and superintendent.
Kelley Castlin-Gacutan, Ed.D
Founder & President, Kennrod, Incorporated
Kelley Castlin-Gacutan, also known as Dr. G, began her career as a high school English teacher in Kagoshima, Japan. With 25 years of experience including classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, district-level administrator, university professor/director, deputy superintendent, interim superintendent, and school superintendent, she is the President and CEO of Kennrod, Incorporated: an organization she established to provide supplemental education services (including tutoring) to pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in underserved communities.
As the former superintendent of Birmingham (Alabama) City Schools, Castlin-Gacutan was responsible for more than 24,000 students, 2,800 employees, and a $246 million operating budget. Under her leadership, Birmingham City Schools became one of two school systems in Alabama to be identified as a charter-school authorizer. Furthermore, the school system became a candidate for system-wide accreditation through AdvancEd; implemented an instructional framework to be used in every classroom; established a K-12 reading initiative in an effort to promote systematic literacy and professional learning and a 5-year strategic plan that focuses on teaching and learning, human capital, culture and climate, strategic partnership and engagement, and systems and processes.
As a consultant to EPIC Impact, Connie Solano brings a wealth of experience in big data, data management, data dashboards, program evaluation, survey design, exploratory data analysis and statistical modeling. A passionate educator, Connie entered the profession from a nontraditional pathway with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the University of Cincinnati.
Connie has been helping districts use and analyze their data for approximately 15 years in Ohio and throughout the country. She also has provided professional development on how to access and use data for school improvement. During her tenure at Battelle for Kids, Connie developed a data dashboard for every school in the SOAR Collaborative, one of the largest school improvement collaboratives in the country. Connie also brings expertise in creating business and strategic plans, performance metrics, project management and process improvement. In addition to Battelle for Kids, Connie has worked with educational service centers, urban and suburban school districts, and the Ohio Department of Education.
Cathy Sankey has 15 years of secondary administrative experience in transforming schools through cultivating a culture and climate of learning with collaborative practices and engagement of all key stakeholders. She has served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal at the middle and high school levels, and also served as principal of Dublin Jerome High School in Dublin, Ohio for nine years, named a National Blue Ribbon School and National Model Professional Learning Community (PLC) at Work School under her leadership. On the International PISA assessment that ranks countries’ schools and districts, Dublin Jerome outperformed Shanghai, the world’s highest performing school district at the time, in all three testing areas: reading, math and science.
Now as President and Thought Leader of See. Believe. Do. Cathy presents keynote, conference and workshop sessions for Battelle for Kids, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators, The Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, and various school districts in order to assist educators in transforming their schools from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning. She also works individually with principals and districts, guiding and facilitating data conversations regarding improving achievement and progress.
A passionate and inspiring speaker and leader, Cathy works with educators to implement a student learning focus in collaborative teacher teams on a variety of topics, including school culture and climate, master schedule building and intervention, common assessments, learning targets, differentiation, and embracing change.
Principal, Solon City Schools, Ohio
Michael Acomb proudly earned his undergraduate degree from John Carroll University where he played football and learned the importance of serving with and for others. He holds master’s degrees in special education and K-12 organizational leadership. Michael has been a thought leader in school administration with 14 years of experience at the middle and elementary levels. His leadership has earned the United States Department of Education National Blue Ribbon, and over time, his schools have earned numerous other national and state awards for consistent high performance in special education, value added growth, and overall student achievement.
Since 2002, Michael has spoken to audiences throughout the United States on numerous topics. His passion in developing leadership and school cultures that support excellence in teaching and learning has earned him a reputation as an exceptional leader and collaborator. He is recognized widely for his skill in directing comprehensive, systematic, and differentiated literacy efforts in the early childhood and middle grades. He is an expert in strategically leading teams of teachers to collaboratively develop robust systems of common assessments that monitor student learning and guide instructional and organizational decisions. He relishes in solving problems and is an expert in developing creative master schedules that leverage time and talent to improve student learning.
Rosa Isiah, Ed.D.
Principal, Lawndale Elementary School District, California
Dr. Isiah’s experiences includes 23 years in education as teacher, bilingual specialist, language arts specialist, assistant principal, coordinator of federal and state programs, and principal. As principal, Rosa has focused on supporting the development of a healthy school culture, professional learning communities, and meeting the needs of the whole child. Dr. Isiah is passionate about equity in education and closing opportunity gaps for historically underserved students. She believes in the power of relationships and leading with purpose and passion.
Dr. Isiah is a connected educator and the founder of #WeLeadEd Twitter chat. She is also the host of Welead ED BAMradio show focused on Leadership through a Social Justice and Equity lens. Dr. Isiah is an #EdCampLdr Los Angeles organizer for California. She was recently named 2016 Body and Mind Education Radio Thought Leader of the Year. Dr. Isiah has contributed her voice to blogs, Leadership books, and Education Week on the topics of leadership, school culture, English learners, and equity.
Dr. Isiah holds a BA in Sociology, an MA in Educational Leadership, a multiple subject bilingual teaching credential, an administrative credential, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles.
Doug Carpenter, Ph.D.
Dr. Carpenter has served as a leader and administrator in education at both the local and state levels for more than three decades. His ability to develop trust with community members, collaborate with staff, partner with parents, and serve as a role model for students enabled Dr. Carpenter to amaze a tenure of more than 26 years as superintendent for the Jonathan Alder (JA) Local School District. During that time, JA improved from a Continuous Improvement rating from the State Department of Education to Excellent with Distinction. During Dr. Carpenter’s 38 years at JA, he served as a teacher, coach, elementary school principal, junior high school principal, and high school principal. During that time JA was recognized as a district with one of the lowest per pupil expenditures, yet one of the highest achieving and performing districts in the state. In 1998, Doug was awarded the “Exemplary Educational Leadership Award” from the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA).
Doug also served as the executive director of the School Study Council of Ohio (SSCO), a non-profit organization that supported school superintendents and school districts across the state. Doug was recruited from SSCO to become Executive Director to the State Superintendent of the Ohio Department of Education. There he led the Ohio’s Innovative Schools Network, served as Director of the Race to the Top Grant, and managed the 3rd grade reading guarantee, while working on special projects assigned by the State Superintendent.
Dr. Carpenter is well known and respected throughout the state for his expertise in school finances, school improvement, community engagement, and change management.
Lyle C. Ailshie, Ed.D.
As a consultant to EPIC Impact, Dr. Ailshie brings decades of experience as an educator and superintendent. Dr. Ailshie served as Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education from 2017–2019, retiring in June of 2019. During this time, he also served as Interim Commissioner during a Gubernatorial transition. As Deputy Commissioner, he provided leadership for the Division of Teachers and Leaders as well as the Division of College, Career and Technical Education. Dr. Ailshie has 37 years of experience as an educator, seventeen as a superintendent, most recently having served as Superintendent of Kingsport City Schools from March 2012 until August 2017.
Dr. Ailshie is a past president of the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents and was named the 2005 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year. He is also the past president of the Association of Independent and Municipal Schools (AIMS). He is the first, and only, Honorary Lifetime Member of the Tennessee Educational Technology Association (TETA). Dr. Ailshie is one of twenty-two members of the Executive Committee of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA – the national superintendent organization). He is a founding member and has served as Chair of the Eastern States Consortium for Learning and School System Excellence since its inception in 2006. In October 2014, he was named as one of the country’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers, and Trailblazers by the Center for Digital Education.
Approach Marketing is a boutique virtual agency comprised of seasoned PR and marketing consultants who offer award-winning talent to clients of all sizes. We partner closely with EPIC Impact Education Group on marketing and strategic planning to help deliver results to the education organizations it serves. Approach’s team of consultants bring deep experience in branding, media relations, marketing strategy, social media management, event planning and have partnered with schools, districts, and departments of education in CA, D.C., FL, GA, IL, KY, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN and TX. To learn more about Approach Marketing, its unique business concept and view recent case studies, visit www.ApproachMarketing.com.