Teach n’ Kids Learn (TKL) was founded in 2009 by a set of highly experienced education change agents who have worked together within the comprehensive school reform movement for over 20 years inside the United States and internationally.

Each TKL team member brings a unique set of experiences and highly sought after skills within the K-12 Education Market.  Our focus is to create a company that is a leader in solution-based education services, creating transformative experiences for educators and providing high-quality professional development, while also playing a key role in supporting teachers with the new education paradigm shifts needed in today’s schools.

Rudy Azcuy, CEO and Founder

167baecAs Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Teach n’ Kids Learn (TKL), I lead an innovative and growing company within the Education K-12 market. Together with my colleagues, we work toward our mission of providing all teachers with transformative services which will spark a passion for teaching, and internalize a process for reflective instructional review.

A career spanning over twenty-five years within the K-12 education field, most of which has been in an executive leadership role. My career is highlighted by achievements with start-up companies as well as helping to grow well-established companies within the K-12 Education Market.

Having experience in both K-12 comprehensive school reform initiatives, business development, product development, client management, technology integration, as well as developing and executing on innovative business solutions. Experience as a leader of multiple business units (operations, marketing, product development, sales, etc.), comprised of multi-disciplinary and multicultural groups in local and cross-country reporting structures. Natural team building skills mixed with an entrepreneurial approach to management-led strategies, business development, and sales organizations.

I feel very fortunate to be leading this group of dedicated and inspirational educators as we take this new chapter together.

Jodi Slonaker, Vice President of Operations

jodi-slonakerAs Vice President at Teach n’ Kids Learn (TKL), Jodi brings over 20 years of K-12 educational management experience to the company.

Before joining TKL, Jodi started her professional career as a classroom teacher of business education at the secondary level.  Jodi’s career then evolved from the classroom setting into the private sector providing professional development as an educational consultant for Co-NECT Professional Development. After being with the company for only one year, she was promoted to Southeast Regional Service Manager for Co-NECT Professional Development Company. Later Jodi joined Pearson’s Education Professional Development Division as the Regional Implementation Manager.

In addition to her professional career is also an adjunct professor at Ashland University in Ashland, OH.  She also has a teaching degree from West Liberty State College, an accounting degree and a master’s degree in gifted education.

Cathy Sokol, Content Developer

cathysokelCathy Sokol is an educator focused on the creation and implementation of standards-based literacy lessons.  She works with teachers to continuously monitor the progress of students as a means of guiding, and differentiating instruction, anchored in the standards.

Cathy is a literacy coach for Kindergarten through eighth grade and works closely with teachers and students in all content areas.  Her passion lies in designing professional development to help teachers meet the needs of their individual classes.

She has a teaching degree from Fairmont State University, a master’s degree in counseling and an Education Specialist degree in Curriculum & Instruction.

Dr. Karen Tankersley, Content Developer

Karen TankersleyKaren Tankersley, a long time veteran of public school service, resides in Phoenix, Arizona where she works with school districts across the U.S. on school improvement, reading and professional development activities. Karen has an extensive background in language and language acquisition and has a BA in French and a minor in German and English.  She also holds a master of arts in reading and a doctor of philosophy degree in educational leadership.

Karen has teaching experience at all grades from 2 – 12 and is an expert in literacy and school reform. Karen spent 10 years in various roles as a classroom teacher, foreign language teacher, reading specialist and a teacher of the gifted and talented. She served for 13 years as a principal in schools recognized nationally for their outstanding achievement and high academic performance. She also held various district level positions in both affluent as well as high-risk communities.

Karen is a prolific writer and has published articles in several educational journals including Educational Leadership. She is the author of Threads of Reading: Strategies for Literacy Development (ASCD, 2003); Literacy Strategies for Grades 4-12: Reinforcing the Threads of Reading(ASCD, 2005), Tests that Teach: Using Standardized Tests to Improve Instruction (ASCD, 2007) and Childhood Obesity: Helping Children Lead Fit and Healthy Lives (Little John, 2011); Coaching the Threads of Reading: Helping Teachers Build Reading Success (Little John, 2012) and How to Help Your Child Become a Great Reader: Easy Literacy Games and Activities to Do at Home (Little John, 2012).  More recently she has published a line of informational books for children in grades  4-8 including Kangaroos Down UnderWhen Wood Turns to StoneThe Story of the Arizona National Petrified Forest, Sea TurtlesDiscover the Koala; and Amazingly, Awesome Snails!

Dr. Melissa Castillo, Content Developer

Melissa CastilloDr. Castillo works with educators in several states across the country on the explicit development of academic language and literacy, vocabulary, sheltered instruction techniques, coaching and guiding educational organizations in planning and implementing training to build capacity. Dr. Castillo co-authored Language & Literacy for ELLs Creating Systematic Change For Academic Achievement. She is also a contributing author to 99 Ideas and Activities for Teaching English Learners and The SIOP® Model for Teaching Mathematics to English Learners.

Her professional experience includes many years as an elementary teacher in a Dual Language and Bilingual program, professional development coordinator, and director of ELD programs at the primary and secondary level. Her doctoral research focused on effective instructional programs for language minority students, specifically coaching teachers to successful implementation of research- based practices in Sheltered English Immersion classrooms.

Erick Herrmann, Content Developer

Erick HerrmannErick holds a bachelor of arts in Spanish with minors in linguistics and teaching English to speakers of other languages and a master of arts in teaching from Lewis and Clark College. Mr. Herrmann has taught Spanish at the high school level; Spanish literacy and English as a second language at the elementary level; and served as a Title VII grant coordinator and teacher on special assignment.

Erick has trained thousands of teachers across the United States, and has worked in turnaround and transformation schools in Colorado, Bureau of Indian Education schools in North Dakota and Montana. He has a high degree of expertise in sheltered instruction and meeting the educational needs of English language learners, as well as integrating academic language and literacy instruction into the content areas at all grade levels.

Jane Balvanz, Content Developer

Jane Balvanz , Content DeveloperJane Balvanz has over 30 years in the field of education serving as an elementary and junior high school teacher and a school counselor.  Balvanz has been an adjunct professor in counseling education at Drake University, is a Registered Play Therapist, and was a recipient of the Iowa Governor’s Award for Elementary School Counseling.  She is co-author of When Girls Hurt Girls®.

Jennifer McGregor, Content Developer

jennifer-mcgregorJennifer McGregor has been deeply involved in the field of K-12 Education for over 20 years and on many different levels.

She started her education journey as a teacher in a high school classroom and she continued her career as an education consultant and a Professional Development Service Manager for both Pearson and Co-NECT Professional Development.

Over the past 15 years, she has worked in a variety of education settings. These include work with inner-city schools on their school improvement initiatives, large high schools creating small learning communities, industry leaders to gain an understanding of new Common Core State Standards mathematics concepts and teaching strategies, and leadership personnel on refining their processes for meaningful observations and feedback.

For the past four and a half years Jennifer has focused solely on methods and research for understanding the theory behind and designing professional development that will provide personalized learning experiences which will transform classroom instructional practices for all teachers.

Katherine Bloomquist, Content Developer

Katherine BloomquistKatherine is a content provider and course facilitator for Teach n’ Kids Learn, Inc. She has been teaching and working in the field of English as a second language since 1991. She was a classroom teacher for fifteen years, an ESOL school site coordinator, ESOL/Migrant district coordinator and now she works solely with the migrant program for Bradenton, FL, School District. She is also an adjunct professor for the University of South Florida and currently teaches online courses for the College of Education. She has three daughters, six grandchildren and recently remarried. Living in southwest Florida allows for many opportunities to boat, bike, and swim and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather.

Kelly Mokashi, Content Developer

kelly-mSince 2009 Kelly Mokashi has served as a course facilitator and a content developer for TKL.

In addition, Kelly served as an educational consultant in the New Jersey /New York school districts working with administrators, coaches, and teachers with implementation of a variety of educational strategies.

Kelly acquired much of her consulting experience while working with Pearson Education and Co-NECT Professional Development as an instructional manager tasked with the implementation of schoolwide school improvement centered on assessment, curriculum, and instructional strategies. Over the years Kelly has developed a particular passion for assessment data to drive school instructional decision-making practices.

Kelly’s passion for working with teacher grew from her love of working with children as a former art teacher. In addition to her passion for education, Kelly is very involved with philanthropy work and spending much of her time with family and her three young children.

Marva Wilks, Content Developer

Marva Wilks, Teach n' Kids Learn Content Developer

Marva has served as Peer Reviewer for NCTE’s English Journal. In addition, Marva has written and developed curriculum and award winning lessons for middle school language arts.  Marva taught at the middle school level for over 12 years where she specialized in improving campus-wide teacher collaboration through the use of technology resources. During her tenure in the school district, Wilks served as: district trainer for Six Traits, Literature Circles, Technology Integration, Reading Coach, Department Chair, Language Arts, Reading, and Social Studies teacher culminating in being named one of eight finalists for Teacher of the Year in the nation’s sixth largest school district.

Marva taught at the college level as an adjunct professor and an online instructor for over 8 years. She earned her B.S. in Middle Grades Education from Georgia Southern University, her M.S. Ed in English, and her Ed. S. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Jennifer Thomas, Copy Editor and Project Manager

jthomas_photoJennifer Thomas holds over 15 years of experience working in the educational publishing industry. Her background lies in eLearning project management, but Jennifer also enjoys wearing multiple hats, such as copyeditor or math content developer. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys dancing, blogging, and spending time with her husband and two children.

Kathy Avidano, Lead Course Facilitator

Kathy Avidano, Course Facilitator headshotKathy is a course facilitator for Teach n’ Kids Learn, Inc. She has a degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in administration. Kathy brings a variety of experience to her course facilitator role. Her educational career has included classroom teacher, educational consultant, teacher trainer, reading coach, and business owner. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, and practicing yoga.

Bonnie Matheney, Course Facilitator

headshotbonnieBonnie is a Course Facilitator for Teach n’ Kids Learn, Inc.  She earned her undergraduate degree in social psychology from Park University in Parkville, Missouri.  She taught in a Department of Defense K-8 school in Germany for six years with a focus on middle school mathematics and as a US Air Force instructor and manager.  She lives near Tampa, Florida with her husband and has two grown children.  Bonnie loves to travel, read and spend time with her family.

Diana Zipperer, Course Facilitator

diana-zipperer-pictureDiana is a course facilitator with Teach n’ Kids Learn, (TKL).  She received her undergraduate in middle grades (4-9) education from Northern Kentucky University and her master’s degree in Instructional Leadership from the University of Cincinnati. Diana also has an endorsement in Gifted and Talented Education and is National Board Certified in English Language Arts.  Her teaching experience includes eight years in middle grades education, grades 6, 7 and 8, teaching language arts, social studies, and science.

Diana is married with two children, ages 2 and 4 and is currently living and teaching in Ohio.

Gretchen Craig, Course Facilitator

Gretchen CraigI graduated from Alma College with a major in Elementary Education, minors in Mathematics and Political Science, and an endorsement in Early Childhood in 2001. I received my Master’s in Educational Leadership in 2007 from SVSU. I worked as a 3rd grade teacher at Burton Glen Charter for 9 years and then became the K-2 Dean and Linden Charter for be previous 5 years, both extremely urban populations.

I have been married for 3 years to my husband Aaron and now am a stay at home mommy to my handsome son Pierce who will be 2 next month. We moved to Grand Blanc about 2.5 years ago and love it!

Shelley Lewis, Course Facilitator

shelleys-pictureShelley Lewis has been a Teach n’ Kids Learn (TKL) course facilitator for over 3 years. In that time she has managed several courses and provided outstanding content guidance to our participating teachers.

Before joining Teach n’ Kids Learn, Shelley worked as an editor for a trade publication for 7 years. She then went on to teach at a high school as an Advanced Placement English teacher for 3 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Mercer University. Shelley, her husband Scott and their two sons live in Valrico, FL.

Hey! Would you like to join our team?

Do you have years of experience developing and providing professional development for districts/schools across the country? Have you been a successful change agent? Are you interested in helping educators with meeting the needs of our 21st Century Learners? If so, you might be a great fit at Teach n’ Kids Learn.

If so, you might be a great fit at Teach n’ Kids Learn. We are always looking for great people. Feel free to contact us to let us know that you are interested and provide us with your resume. Click here to contact us.