Our Team

Ms. Valda Valbrun

Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Valda Valbrun is the CEO of The Valbrun Consulting Group. As an established educational leader, she is known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy. She is a system change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change and manage educational practices and establish systems for achievement. Prior to founding her company, she was a school and district leader, Director of Professional Learning at ASCD, and Executive Director of Organizational Management with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. She is a strategic partner to The Winter’s Group, Inc. and Mindsteps, Inc. and a consultant to Cross and Joftus. She also serves as an Executive Board Member of Teach for Haiti. Ms. Valbrun is an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrator and holds a certificate as a Facilitative Leader for Social Change.

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Ms. Kathryn Block

Ms. Kathryn Block is a highly-collaborative, results-driven leader with more than 25 years of experience in strategic planning, communications and marketing strategy, business leadership and operational improvement. Advancing the effort to provide a quality K-12 education for all children is a personal passion for Ms. Block who served as the chief communications officer for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) for five years. Prior to joining CMS, she enjoyed a successful brand strategy and management career, working for multiple Fortune 100 companies including Campbell Soup Company and Kraft Foods. Ms. Block is an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrator. She also proudly served in the United States Army Reserve for six years.

Ms. Adell Cothorne

Senior Consultant

Ms. AdellCothorneis an experienced school and district leader and Visiting Affiliate Instructor and Professional Development School Coordinator with Loyola University of Maryland. Her research focuses on teacher expectations, African American male students and equitable practices. Her specialty areas include Equitable Classroom Strategies: Examining Teachers’ Perceptions of African American Male Achievement and Critical Race Theory in Education.

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Mr. Travis Jones

Mr. Travis Jones is a strategist whose specialty areas include race, religion, cultural competency and leadership. He leverages social science research to address issues of organizational culture both on the individual and group level. His commitment to evidenced-based practice means he tries to marry the best of the humanities and social science research with the evidence of our everyday experience to inform content design, facilitation, and consulting services across a wide array of organizations in both the public and private sector.

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Mr. Kelvin Moore

Senior Consultant

Mr. Kelvin Moore is a dedicated and passionate educator that currently serves as an Instructional Director (Principal Supervisor) overseeing high school and alternative education campuses with nearly 12,000 students. He brings teaching and leadership experiences from Orange (Orlando) County Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, Prince Georges County Schools, and Baltimore City Schools. He has served at all grade bands and in primarily high need and turnaround settings. He has an extensive background in special education and professional development.

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Mr. Michael Nekritz

Mr. Michael Nekritz is a former superintendent and founder and CEO of Felicity Educational Services. He partners with schools and school systems in the areas of leadership development and training, strategic planning, and school quality reviews. He serves as a leadership coach for superintendents and principals in suburban districts outside of Chicago and brings expertise in areas including school finance, best educational practices, and developing effective teams.

Ms. Michaelle Pope

Senior Consultant

Ms. Michaelle Pope is an experienced district leader with 30 years of leadership in Broward County Schools, the sixth largest public school system. Known for strategy management for effective coordination of district and community resources and educational and wraparound services for students and families, Ms. Pope has successfully led initiatives that support student’s academic and social emotional needs, preparing them for learning, for college, careers and for life success. Her expertise includes coordinating the resources and practices of multiple agencies for improved outcomes in the areas of equity and academic attainment, diversity and inclusion, eliminating disproportional minority representation in school discipline and disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. Ms. Pope is an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrator and holds a certificate as a Facilitative Leader for Social Change.

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Dr. Inger Swimpson

Senior Consultant

Dr. Inger Swimpsonis a skilled facilitator and excels at helping leaders discover their creativity and passion through shared leadership challenges and aspirations. She is a Facilitative Leadership Master Trainer having earned this certification through Interaction Institute for Social Change. She understands the dynamics of race, culture, and equity and the importance of building systemic cultural competence. She brings experience in human resource and talent management and is an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrator.

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Ms. Erin Walker

Senior Consultant

Ms. Erin Walker has nearly 20 years of experience in education—including: strategic planning; change management; program implementation; curriculum and assessment development; blended learning models; professional development of teachers and instructional leaders; as well as diversity and inclusion support. She provides personalized consulting to mission-driven organizations and public institutions to improve engagement, efficiency and effectiveness.

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Ms. Melanie DesChamps

Ms. Melanie DesChampsis the Director of International Admissions, Student Records and Student Attendance at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, one of the largest school districts in North Carolina. Melanie is a highly skilled leader and strategic developer with a successful background in enhancing organizational performance through skillful restructuring and process improvement. Her vast international work experience includes Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Frankfurt, Germany and Antigua. Melanie’s expansive travels has afforded her inordinate opportunities to interrelate with diverse cultures and people. Melanie holds advanced degrees in Communications and Healthcare Administration and is a trained Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrator as well ascertified in Six Sigma.

Ms. Veda Hudge

Over the past 28 years, Mrs. Hudge has held a variety of positions as an educator with Broward County Public Schools. She began her career as an elementary school teacher, and as a district-based instructional coach. She later moved to school and district leadership roles where she served as elementary school assistant principal, principal, Director of A++ /No Child Left Behind, Director of Accountability, Director of Strategic Achievement, and her current role as Director of the Office of Service Quality.

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Dr. Linda Harper

Dr. Linda Harper has served students in many capacities from classroom teacher, curriculum specialist to her current role as a secondary school principal. She is credited with transforming the city’s alternative education program and its largest high school into a safe and nurturing learning and working environment. She and her team have garnered several state and national recognitions for their efforts in improving student outcomes. This includes recognition for increased graduation rates and post secondary school placement.

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Dr. Amalio Nieves

Dr. Amalio Nieves is an experienced leader with over 30 years of leadership in large urban school districts, including Chicago, Broward County and Boston. Dr. Nieves has successfully led initiatives aimed at fostering and sustaining organizational commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and ensuring high quality equitable educational opportunities for all students.

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