Board of Trustees

Current Board Members


Kathleen McCaffrey

Alpharetta, GA
Past President

Ashley Smith, Jr.

Cleveland, TN

Pam Millikan

Franklin, IN
East Region

Erin Scholes

Stafford Springs, CT
East Region

Ken Nicely

Roanoke, VA
East Region

James Barnes

Sewell, New Jersey
North Region

Shelley Joan Weiss

Sun Prairie, WI
North Region

Steve Norlin-Weaver

Minneapolis, MN
North Region

Chad Soupir

Elkhorn, NE
West Region

Laurie Barron

Kalispell, MT
West Region

Ken LeLacheur

Edmonton, AB
West Region

Lauren Jones

Denver, CO
South Region

Holly Thornton

Vilas, NC
South Region

Gayle Andrews

Athens, GA
South Region

Rita Mantooth

Simpsonville, SC
Trustee to Represent
Diverse Cultures

Reginald Davenport

Plainfield, NJ
Trustee to
Represent Teachers,
South/East Regions

Emily Raper

Cleveland, TN

Ken Nicely
Ken Nicely is director of secondary instruction for Roanoke County Public Schools in Virginia. Nicely served 10 years as principal and assistant principal at Hidden Valley Middle School, leading the school in 2009 to become the first middle school in western Virginia to be recognized by the national Schools to Watch program. His doctoral dissertation "Middle Level Schools in an Era of Standards and Accountability: Adaptations of the Features of the Middle School Concept" won the NASSP Ted Sizer Dissertation award in 2013. Nicely has presented at middle school conferences in Virginia and Tennessee, provided consultative services to school districts regarding middle level education, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Middle School Association. Contact Ken 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.

Lauren Jones
Lauren Jones believes that the energy, potential, and brilliance found within the walls of middle school shows off the talent that lies within the classrooms, counseling centers, and community. Through teaching, counseling, coordinating and advocating, Lauren's experience has continued to leave her enthusiastic and connected to the middle school brain, the middle school pedagogy and how leadership in middle school influences all other initiatives in K-12 and beyond. Lauren facilitates the MS CTE program initiative in Colorado. She is a connector to various stakeholders, statewide as well as in the Western States, who can assist in rolling out messages that support student growth, shared practices and professional engagement. Contact Lauren at

Gayle Andrews
Gayle Andrews is professor of middle grades education at University of Georgia, professor-in-residence at Hilsman Middle School in Athens, and author of more than 70 publications and creative contributions focused on improving schooling for young adolescents, including Turning Points 2000. She is past president of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, served on AMLE's Research Advisory Committee and This We Believe Revision Committee and the Leadership Council of AERA's Middle Level Education Research SIG. She received AMLE's John Lounsbury Award for Distinguished Service in 2011. Contact Gayle at

Reginald Davenport
Dr. Reginald Davenport is the president-elect for the New Jersey affiliate, NJAMLE. He has served as a teacher, building level administrator, and district level supervisor for world language and is now in his 20th year as a middle level educator. Dr. Davenport was the 2005 New Jersey Assistant Principal of the Year. Contact Reginald at

Laurie Barron
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
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

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
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

James Barnes
James Barnes is from Shamong, NJ, and was a classroom teacher for 8 years before moving into administration. After working for 7 years as an assistant principal at the High School and Middle Level, he is now the Principal of Chestnut Ridge Middle School in Sewell. James has presented at middle school conferences in New Jersey. In addition, he has served for many years on the New Jersey Association for Middle Level Education Executive Board. Contact James at

Chad Soupir
Chad Soupir is a principal at Elkhorn Valley View Middle School in Omaha, Nebraska. He has been in education for 23 years, having served as a math and science teacher and school administrator. He spent the first 12 years of his career in Minnesota where he was an active member of the Minnesota Middle School Association. He later relocated to Nebraska where he is involved with the state organization, NAMLE. Chad serves on several boards and is an active member in his community. He is currently the regional director for a non-profit organization called PLAYSMART, which focuses on bringing middle level students together from rural, suburban, and inner city communities to build leadership. Chad lives by his motto in making a difference in the lives of children, as well as the greater community. Contact Chad 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:

  • 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.