Pre-conference workshop presenters

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Melissa Cuculich

Pre-conference 1: Champion of the IB: System-level IB Leadership

Melissa Cuculich is a Senior IB World Schools Manager, working with U.S. public schools in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest. For over 15 years, Melissa has worked in a variety of school contexts and settings, including a large urban school district, a suburban district, and an independent international school. She has been an IB district coordinator, a school coordinator, and a Theory of Knowledge and Language & Literature teacher in the MYP and DP. She also served as the Vice President of the Illinois IB Association of World Schools.

Laura Lane

Pre-conference 1: Champion of the IB: System-level IB Leadership

As a Senior IB World Schools Manager and former school-based practitioner, Laura brings over 16 years of experience to her role in supporting schools in being reflective and growing their IB programmes. Prior to joining the IB in 2018, Laura proudly served the Falls Church City (VA) and Anne Arundel County (MD) public school communities as a Middle Years Programme (MYP) Coordinator, and the Charleston County School District (SC) as central office Personalized Learning Coach. Laura was also active on the Mid-Atlantic Association of IB World Schools Board and the IB Educator Network community.

Renee Illhardt

Pre-conference 1: Champion of the IB: System-level IB Leadership

Renee, a Senior IB World Schools Manager, brings over 19 years of expertise in public school education. In Miami-Dade County Public Schools (FL), the 4th largest U.S. public school district and with 90% minority enrollment, Renee was a Diploma Programme (DP) Coordinator, National Board Certified Teacher, and District Supervisor in Advanced Academic Programs. In Miami-Dade, she endorsed equity and access by directly supporting over 100 schools with international programs, leading to multiple national awards. Renee currently supports K-12 IB public schools in the Southeast United States.

Cheryl Tradewell

Cheryl Tradewell

Pre-conference workshop 2: Differentiation: IB for all!  

Over her career, Cheryl taught MYP choir, band, vocal jazz, mathematics and design (digital design). As the Academic Coordinator for the MYP/DP programme at a continuum school, she was responsible for overseeing reporting to the Ministry of Education, ensuring a smooth transition between programmes and supporting the library programs and the learning strategies team. After early retirement, Cheryl completed a Masters in Curriculum Studies with a focus on educational technology. In the fall of 2022, Cheryl was asked to take the contract for a medical leave for a Learning Strategies manager. Her experiences inspired this workshop.

Sabrina McCartney

Sabrina McCartney

Pre-conference workshop 3: Empowering teacher agency: Differentiating professional development 

Sabrina McCartney (M.A., C.A.G.S. Educational Leadership) has vast experience as an IB coordinator in the Middle Years Programme and Primary Years Programme along with teaching experience in the IB PYP, MYP and DP. As an educator with over 25 years of experience, she has a passion for designing and implementing professional development opportunities while advocating for teacher agency. She is an IB workshop leader, having trained over 2,000 educators along with consulting public, private and charter schools. Her experience has given her the opportunity to take part in IB working group curriculum meetings.

Heather Michael

Pre-conference workshop 4: Inclusive stories: Using storytelling, reflection and community to build responsive classrooms 

Heather Michael is an IB Coordinator, teacher and researcher from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She holds a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition to fifteen years of classroom teaching in Nova Scotia, she spent two years as a literacy coach based out of New York, and has presented and worked internationally. She is a professional development facilitator for IB. Her research interests include equitable access to advanced academic programs, spatial theory and adolescent lived experiences, arts-based research practices, adolescent literacies, and the experiences of students in the IB Diploma Program relating to TOK, CAS and the EE.

Rebecca Hodges

Pre-conference workshop 5: Techniques for consistent student success on rubrics 

Rebecca McLain Hodges is an educational anthropologist—with a PhD from Washington University in St. Louis—who has taught all ages from kindergarten to doctoral students in over twenty countries and in three languages, including at educational conferences in Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Oman. Her work specializes in teacher training and is published in Comparative Education, IGI Global, and Extend Education. Currently, she serves as Social Studies Department Chair and teaches MYP Modern World History, IBDP Social and Cultural Anthropology, and Theory of Knowledge at Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, Tennessee USA.

Jessica Jasso

Pre-conference workshop 7: Rethinking our futures: Five keys to inclusion for a high-quality education (Delivered in Spanish)

PhD in literature and aesthetics, and is currently studying for a master’s degree in inclusive education. Certificate in peace education, trained in mental health support for LGBTI+ youth and inclusive schools for LGBTI+ people. Part of IBEN since 2014. Academic Director of Humanities, Extended Essay Coordinator and UNESCO ASPnet Coordinator. Leader of focus groups on middle years education and well-being and on the futures of education. Leader of national-level discussion groups on inclusive education, diversity awareness, well-being and vulnerability of the education community. Academic developer of inclusion and diversity materials used nationally.

Cherissa Vitter

Pre-conference workshop 8: Coaching for success: Supporting IB teachers with professional practice 

Dr Cherissa Vitter is an Assistant Professor of IB Education at Southeastern Louisiana University and is responsible for teaching courses leading to the IB Educator Certificate in Teaching and Learning. Cherissa is a clinical coach for US PREP and consults nationally with universities providing guidance in teacher preparation and evaluation development. Certified by the National Society for Experiential Education, she has presented nationally on experiential education and consults with universities to create online learning opportunities. Her area of research is teacher evaluation and experiential learning online. Cherissa currently serves as the President of the Louisiana Association of IB World Schools.