Board of Trustees

Current Board Members

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith, Jr.
Cleveland, TN
Past President
Mike Muir
Mike Muir
Waterville, ME
Kathleen McCaffrey
Kathleen McCaffrey
Alpharetta, GA
East Region
Erin Scholes
Erin Scholes
Stafford Springs, CT
East Region
Doyin Coker-Kolo
Doyin Coker-Kolo
Millersville, PA
East Region
Janet Griffith
Janet Griffith
North Kingstown, RI
North Region
Pam Milikan
Pam Millikan
Franklin, IN
North Region
Shelley Joan Weiss
Shelley Joan Weiss
Sun Prairie, WI
North Region
Steve Norlin-Weaver
Steve Norlin-Weaver
Minneapolis, MN
West Region
Laurie Barron
Laurie Barron
Kalispell, MT
West Region
Ken LeLacheur
Ken LeLacheur
Edmonton, AB
West Region
Tariq T. Akmal
Tariq T. Akmal
Pullman, WA
South Region
Holly Thornton
Holly Thornton
Vilas, NC
South Region
Derek Tully
Derek Tully
Harrington Sound,
South Region
Rita Mantooth
Rita Mantooth
Simpsonville, SC
Trustee to
Represent Teachers,
North/West Regions

Gail Anderson
Gail Anderson
Lake Oswego, OR
Trustee to
Represent Teachers,
South/East Regions

Emily Raper
Emily Raper
Cleveland, TN
Trustee to Represent
Diverse Cultures

Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson
Memphis, TN

Tariq Akmal
With more than 20 years of experience in education, Tariq has been a middle school English/language arts, and social studies teacher. He is currently a professor of education at Washington State University where he teaches middle and high school methods courses, graduate curriculum and instruction courses, and directs the teacher education programs. He has presented at national and regional conferences and published articles on middle level education. Contact Tariq at

Gail Anderson, a 7th grade integrated science teacher at Lake Oswego Jr. High near Portland, Oregon, has taught at this level for 12 years. She has written curriculum for and taught a variety of middle level technology classes from basic skills classes to architectural design, website development, and robotics. She has served on the Oregon Middle Level Association’s Board as a regional representative, and is currently serving as the secretary for the Oregon Middle Level Consortium. This group of college education leaders, school administrators, and teachers meet quarterly to discuss and advocate for topics related to middle level education and educators. Contact Gail at

Rita Mantooth
Rita Mantooth is a principal of Ralph Chandler Middle School in the school district of Greenville County. Over the course of her career she has served as a teacher, assistant principal, and teacher evaluator. She has also served as the director of teacher evaluation and director of professional growth and leadership during her career in Greenville County. She has been the principal of three middle schools including a new one she helped open five years ago. She has served as the conference chair for the South Carolina Middle School Association and is currently completing her second year as the organization’s president.

Doyin Coker-Kolo
Doyin is currently the associate dean and accreditation officer for the School of Education at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Prior to that, she served as the chair of the Department of Middle Grades and Secondary Education at Georgia Southwestern State University. She was also the co- founder and advisor to the Georgia Southwestern State University Collegiate Middle Level Association (CMLA), a professional organization aimed at developing leadership skills in middle grades candidates. In more than 30 years as an educator, Doyin has taught at different levels of the educational system. Contact Doyin at

Mike Muir
Mike Muir is the Learning Through Technology Director at the Maine Department of Education where he oversees the groundbreaking 1:1 Maine Learning Technology Initiative. He previously served as Multiple Pathways Leader for the Auburn (ME) School Department, and he has worked with educators across the country to implement effective middle grades practices, to use technology as a tool for learning, to motivate underachievers, and to lead school change. He is widely published and presents at state and national conferences. He is a former middle grades teacher and teacher educator, member of Maine's Middle Level Education Commission, past president of MAMLE, faculty at the University of Maine Farmington, and director of UMFʼs Maine Center for Meaningful Engaged Learning. Contact Mike at

Janet Griffith
With more than 18 years of experience in education, Janet has been a middle school science and special educator, principal and assistant principal at middle and elementary levels, and curriculum director and special education administrator in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Janet currently acts as a consultant and works with districts to transform teaching, learning, and assessing, and integrating technology and data to focus on proficient student outcomes. She came into the education field after a business management career at Rhode Island Hospital. Janet loves to develop programs to further student growth, and to support teachers and the professional learning community with educational initiatives. She was the first administrator in Rhode Island to align the Common Core standards to current standards and curricula while integrating a new content literacy program and formative assessment tools. In addition, Janet worked as an educator evaluator with the Rhode Island Department of Education to integrate a systemic approach with teaching, evaluations, learning, intervention supports, and middle level needs. She serves on several boards for the middle level and volunteers with mentoring partnerships. Contact Janet at

Reggie Jackson
Reggie D. Jackson currently resides in Memphis, Tennessee. Reggie was a classroom teacher for 5 years before moving into administration. After serving as an assistant principal for three years he accepted the responsibility of serving as the principal of Craigmont Middle School (Memphis City Schools). Reggie has served as an educator for 13 years, of which 10 have been at the middle level. In addition to daily work with his stakeholders, he serves on numerous local and state committees and was recently named the 2010 – 2011 (SY) West Tennessee Principal of the Year by the Tennessee Association of Middle Schools. Contact Reggie at

Derek Tully
Derek Tully is founder and president of the Bermuda Middle School Association and director of staff development at the Bermuda Center for the Study of Learning and Teaching Styles. For his services to education and the community he was awarded the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honor in Her Majesty the Queen’s New Year’s Honors List in 2000 and is also a recipient of the Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellowship for Services to Education in Bermuda. He has presented regularly at AMLE conferences. Contact Derek at

Laurie Barron is in her eighteenth year in education, serving as a high school English teacher, a middle school assistant principal and principal, and currently as the superintendent of the Evergreen School District in Montana. Barron is a National Board Certified Teacher and was the 2013 MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year. Barron speaks nationally and has spoken at state middle level and AMLE conferences, including as a featured speaker in 2013. Contact Laurie at

Emily Raper is a Language Arts teacher and cheerleading coach at Cleveland Middle School in Tennessee. She has a Bachelor of Science in Middle Level Education and is completing her Master of Education in Instructional Leadership. She served as a charter member and president of her college chapter of the Collegiate Middle Level Association (CMLA) and has attended multiple CMLA/AMLE Conferences. Contact Emily at

Kathleen McCaffrey
Kathleen is currently a National Board Certified and Georgia Master teacher at an International Baccalaureate Charter School outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She works on the Middle Years Program (MYP) for her school, Ridgeview Charter School, which is part of the Fulton County School District, as well as serving as a team leader for Georgia’s Schools to Watch Program. Kathleen has completed her Ed. D. with a research focus on school improvement and the impact of character education on student perceptions and school climate, as well as her Ed. S. at the middle level with an emphasis on social studies and language arts. Contact Kathleen at

Pam Millikan
Pam Millikan hails from Franklin, IN, and has been a middle level teacher, a middle level principal, and active participant in the Indiana affiliate for more than 25 years. Pam was the winner of the NMSA Distinguished Educator Award. Pam has served on several national committees and was directly involved in planning the national conference in Indianapolis. Contact Pam at

Steve Norlin-Weaver
Steve Norlin-Weaver is from Minneapolis, MN, and was a classroom teacher for 14 years before moving into administration. After working for 3 years as an assistant principal at an international school in Saudi Arabia he is now the principal of a middle school in Minneapolis. Steve served on the local committee for the national conference in Minneapolis. In addition, he is the executive director of the Minnesota Middle School Association. Contact Steve at

Ken LeLacheur
Ken LeLacheur has been an educator for more than 38 years. He has served in numerous roles with the Edmonton Public School District in Alberta, Canada, and been actively involved in middle years professional learning at the provincial, national and international level for twenty years. He has been a teacher, counselor, consultant, curriculum coordinator, assistant principal, and principal, and has been thrilled to work with middle level students and teachers since 1986. Having “discovered” NMSA in 1995, Ken has firm commitments to the tenets of This We Believe, and the need for continued professional development.

Ashley Smith, Jr.
Ashley Smith, Jr. is from Cleveland, TN, and was a middle school principal for 17 years before moving to the university level. Currently, he is Director of Teacher Education at Lee University and is advisor for CMLA. Ashley served as co-chair of the local committee for NMSA2006 in Nashville. In addition, he has served on the Tennessee Middle School Association board of Trustees for 16 years serving in various capacities including President. Contact Ashley at

Stephanie Strow
Stephanie Strow is president of the Washington Association for Middle Level Education (WAMLE). She has taught seventh and eighth grade English/language arts/social studies at Fairhaven Middle School, Bellingham, WA, for the past 12 years. She is a regular presenter at state and national conferences. Contact Stephanie at

Holly Thornton
Holly Thornton has been a middle level educator for 28 years spending 13 years as a middle level classroom teacher utilizing integrative, student-driven curriculum. Her content expertise lies in the area of language arts, with a specific focus on writing with young adolescents. She has been in higher education as a middle level professor for 15 years and teaches coursework related to effective middle level curriculum, instruction and assessment. Holly can be reached at

Shelley Joan Weiss
Shelley Joan Weiss is District Director of Summer Schools at Sun Prairie Area School District, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. She has worked as a middle level teacher, middle level principal, and university level teacher for middle level undergraduate and graduate students, and as an independent consultant. Additionally, Shelley works with the DPI as the Commissioner for the Education of Military Children and writes manuals, teaching assessors, and assessing administrator work to qualify for master educator licensure. Shelley was a charter member of the Wisconsin Association for Middle Level Education and is actively involved at the state, regional, and national levels. Contact Shelley at

Erin Scholes is currently in her eighth year as a middle level educator. She teaches 7th/8th grade students and serves her school community in leadership roles, including being part of the school climate committee and running an after-school mentoring program. Erin’s passion for middle level education, energetic teaching style, and dedication to the profession is evident to her students, school, and community as she was honored as one of 15 semi-finalists for the 2014 Connecticut Teacher of the Year. Contact Erin at

Board Qualifications and Composition

3.1 Board of Trustees
3.1.1 Composition

1. The Board of Trustees shall consist of 18 Trustees composed of the following:

  • President
  • President-Elect
  • Immediate Past President
  • 12 Trustees, 3 elected from each of 4 territorial regions
  • 1 Trustee elected at large to represent diverse cultures
  • 2 Trustees elected to represent middle-level teachers: 1 elected from the east or south region, and 1 elected from the west or north region

2. The territorial regions established in Article V, Section 2, of the Constitution shall be designated as the East, North, South, and West Regions, each of which shall be comprised of the following:

East North South West
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
New York
New Jersey
West Virginia
Washington D.C.
Maritime Province
North Dakota
South Dakota
Southeast Asia
North Carolina
South Carolina
S. America
Puerto Rico
C. America
New Mexico
British Col.
New Zealand

3. The term of office for all trustees and officers shall expire at the beginning of the last regular meeting of the Board of Trustees prior to commencement of the annual conference.

Revised: 1/02; 1/03; 11/08; 1/10

3.1.2 Qualifications

1. Trustees must:

  • Be a member in good standing of any membership category for at least one year prior to slating. 
  • Obtain an individual membership prior to their slating.
  • Maintain an individual membership during their term of office.
  • Maintain an individual membership during their term of office.
  • Except for the President, President-Elect and Past President, Trustees may not work within the same school district, college or university of that of any other Trustee.
  • Except as hereafter provided, no Trustee may serve more than 2 consecutive terms. A "term" means holding office, whether by election or appointment, for a duration of 18 months or more. "Consecutive terms" mans 2 consecutive terms in which a Trustee was elected or appointed. A Trustee may, after having served 2 consecutive terms, serve as an officer and succeed in the rotation from President-Elect to President and then Past President. (Adopted 2-1-97)

2. The President:

  • Shall have served one membership year as President-Elect (see Constitution, Article V).
  • May be a resident of any territorial region. 
  • Shall not be a consultant, an Executive Director, or an employee of an affiliate organization. (See Constitution, Article V; See consultant definition, Section 3.1.9 of Policy).

3. The President-Elect:

  • Shall have served at least one membership year as a voting member of the Board of Trustees (Constitution, Article V)
  • May be a resident of any territorial region.
  • Shall not be a consultant, an Executive Director, or an employee of an affiliate organization. (See Constitution, Article V).

4. Immediate Past President:

  • Shall have served the prior year as President (see Constitution, Article V).
  • Shall not be a consultant, an Executive Director, or an employee of an affiliate organization. (See Constitution, Article V).

5. The 12 Trustees, 3 elected from each of the 4 territorial regions:

  • Shall, at the time of their nomination, reside in a different state, province or territory from each other.
  • Shall reside, and throughout the term of their office, continue to reside in the region from which they were nominated and elected.
  • May move to another state, province or territory within the region they were elected to represent without it affecting their tenure.
  • May not be succeeded by a resident of the same state, province or territory as that which the Trustee resided at the time of his or her nomination.

6. One Trustee elected at-large to represent diverse cultures:

  • Must be a member of a diverse culture or belong to an under-represented minority group.
  • May be a resident of any territorial region.
  • May reside in the same state, province or territory as that of another Trustee.
  • May not be succeeded by a resident of the same state, province or territory as that in which the Trustee resided at the time of his or her nomination.

7. Two Trustees elected to represent middle-level teachers:

  • Shall be full-time teachers of 10- to 15-year-olds at the time of their election, and continue to be throughout the term of their office.
  • Shall reside, and throughout the term of their office, continue to reside in 1 of the 2 regions from which elected.
  • May reside in the same state, province or territory as that of another Trustee.
  • May not be succeeded by a resident of the same state, province or territory as that in which the Trustee resided at the time of his or her nomination.

8. School Districts of elected Trustees may be reimbursed for the cost of a substitute necessitated by the Trustees attending Board meetings at the pay rate of a substitute teacher. Additionally, school districts may be similarly reimbursed for other official meetings attended by a Trustee as approved by the President.

Revised: 1/02; 1/10; 9/10

Board Member Job Description and Expectations

3.3 Member of the Board Job Description

To act as a voting member of the Board with full authority and responsibility to develop policies, procedures and regulations for the operation of the Association; to monitor the Association's financial health, programs and overall performance, and to provide the Executive Director with the resources to meet the mission, goals and objectives of the Association.

Full Board's Responsibilities:

  • Establish mission, goals, and objectives of the Association.
  • Establish the Association's policy.
  • Hire and evaluate the Executive Director
  • Approve the annual budget and monitor finances.
  • Create and update the Association's strategic plan.
  • Adopt key operating policies and procedures, approve contracts as appropriate.
  • Review the reports and progress of the Association's committees and task forces.
  • Support the collaborative nature of the Board.
  • Elect two members to Executive Council.

Individual Board Member's Duties:

  • Attend and participate in appropriate Association Board meetings and activities.
  • Become knowledgeable about the Association.
  • Come to Board meetings well-prepared and well-informed about issues on the agenda.
  • Contribute to meetings by expressing your point of view.
  • Consider other points of view, make constructive suggestions and help the Board make decisions which benefit the mission, goals and objectives of the Association.
  • Serve on committees as appropriate.
  • Represent the Association to members, affiliates, other organizations, and the public.
  • Support the Association through a personal contribution of time and talent.
  • Keep the Executive Director and President informed about any concerns.
  • Maintain individual membership in the Association.
  • Collaborate with regional Trustees team and other Trustees.
  • Attend and participate in the annual conference.
  • Promote the Association's resources.
  • Adhere to Policy number 3.4 "Expectations of Board of Trustees."

Adopted: 11/94
Revised: 1/02

3.4 Expectations of Board of Trustees

The primary role of a Board member is: (1) to contribute to the defining of the organization mission and governing the fulfillment of that mission, (2) to carry out the functions of the office of Board Member and/or Officer as stated in the By-Laws, and (3) to serve as a collaborative liaison between the Association and the members/affiliates in the region(s) to which elected to serve.

The role of a board member is to focus on the development of board policies that govern the implementation of institutional plans and purposes. This role is separate and distinct from the role of the Executive Director/Administrator, who determines the means of implementation.

Board members should exercise the duties and responsibilities of their office with integrity, collegiality and care.

Board members shall:

  1. Establish as a high priority their attendance at all meetings of the board, committees and task forces.
  2. Come prepared to discuss the issues and business to be addressed at scheduled meetings, having read the agenda and all background material relevant to the topics at hand.
  3. Work with and respect the opinions of fellow board members who serve, and to leave personal prejudices out of all board discussions.
  4. Always act for the good of the organization.
  5. Represent this organization in a positive and supportive manner at all times and in all places.
  6. Observe the parliamentary procedures and display courteous conduct in all board, committee and task force meetings.
  7. Refrain from intruding on administrative issues that are the responsibility of management, except to monitor the results and prohibit methods that conflict with board policy.
  8. Avoid conflicts of interest between positions as a board member and personal affairs. If such a conflict does arise, Board members shall declare that a conflict exists before the Board and refrain from voting on any matters in which the Board member has a conflict.
  9. Support in a positive manner all actions taken by the Board of Trustees even when a particular Trustee is in a minority position on such actions.
  10. Agree to serve, if asked, on at least one committee or task force, attend all meetings, and participate in the accomplishment of its objectives and, as Chair of a committee or task force, each Board member shall:
    1. call meetings as necessary until objectives are met;
    2. ensures that the agenda and support materials are mailed to all members in advance of the meetings;
    3. conduct the meetings in an orderly, fair, open and efficient manner;
    4. make committee progress reports/minutes to the Board at its scheduled meetings, using the adopted format.
  11. Participate in (1) all strategic planning retreats, (2) board self-evaluation programs, and (3) board development workshops, seminars, and other educational events that enhance skills as a Board member.Be responsive to the needs and concerns of the members/affiliates in the region(s) to which served.
  12. Monitor all functions, activities, publications and policies of the Association in light of the needs of the young adolescent.

Adopted: 2/95
Amended 6/96
Revised: 1/02

AMLE Elections

Each Spring, the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) conducts the annual election of trustees to serve on its Board. AMLE's Board consists of 18 trustees made up of:

  • Officers (President, President-Elect, Past President)
  • Regional Trustees (3 from each region – North, South, East, West)
  • Trustee to Represent Diverse Cultures
  • Teacher Trustees (1 representing the North & West Regions, and 1 representing the South & East Regions)

A Call for Nominations is announced to members prior to the election, encouraging members to nominate those that they believe are qualified to represent them and provide leadership on AMLE's Board.

Election ballots are e-mailed to each AMLE member and must be submitted by the specified date. Ballots are tabulated by an independent firm. Election results are presented to the Board at its June meeting, where the results are typically certified.

As a member, you can be active in deciding the future of the Association for Middle Level Education. The strength and growth of AMLE depend upon the election of leaders who possess a vision for the Association and a willingness to participate in collaborative decision making. The Board of Trustees has the responsibility to:

  • determine AMLE's mission and purpose.
  • support and review the performance of the executive director.
  • approve and monitor AMLE's programs and services.
  • ensure effective fiscal management.
  • engage in strategic planning and understand the relationship between the board and staff.
  • enhance AMLE's public image.
  • operate efficiently.
  • ensure sound risk management policies.
  • maintain effective stakeholder relationships.

Since the membership elects the Board of Trustees, you, as an AMLE member, can have a voice in directing the efforts and activities of the Association.

Initiative Petition

The initiative petition process was established to ensure that every member has a way to bring his or her issues of interest or concern to the board's attention.

Download an official petition form

Initially, members must share the issue with one of their regional trustees, their teacher trustee, or the diverse cultures trustee. All available channels for board consideration must be exhausted prior to commencement of this process. Initiative petitions must be submitted to the president, executive director, and an appropriate trustee no less than 30 days prior to a board meeting for placement on the agenda. Board meeting dates are usually in September, January, and June each year.