Board of Trustees

Current Board Members

James Barnes

Sewell, NJ

Todd Brist

Watertown, SD
Vice Chair

Todd Bloch

Warren, MI

Lisa Harrison

Athens, OH

Scott Woods

Rantoul, IL

Brian Bowman

Macon, GA

Steve Norlin-Weaver

Guatemala City, Guatemala

Christine Thielen

Chicago, IL

Chandra Diaz

Kearney, NE

Angela Allen

Brush Prairie, WA

Pam Millikan

Franklin, IN

Ken Nicely

Roanoke, VA

Ken Nicely
Ken Nicely is superintendent for Roanoke County Public Schools in Virginia. He serves as chief executive officer for a school district of nearly 14,000 students with more than 2,000 employees, 27 schools, and an annual budget of over $172 million. 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 for middle grades. His doctoral dissertation, "Middle Level Schools in an Era of Standards and Accountability: Adaptations of the Features of the Middle School Concept" won the National NASSP Ted Sizer Dissertation award in 2013. Nicely has presented at middle school conferences in Virginia and Tennessee and provided consultative services to school districts regarding middle level education. Nicely was recognized by the Virginia ASCD with the 2019 Leadership Award. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Virginia Middle School Association.

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

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 retired as principal of the middle school in Franklin, Indiana. She proudly served as a principal, assistant principal, and teacher where she learned that relationships are key to successful schools. She has served as an AMLE past president and board member. In addition, she served as Indiana's IMLEA executive secretary, board member, and president. She has presented at many state, national, and international conferences.

Steve Norlin-Weaver
Steve Norlin-Weaver is a principal at the American School of Guatemala and has previously been a teacher and assistant principal. Steve served on the board of the Minnesota Middle School Association (MMSA) from 2001-2017. He is a past president of MMSA and was the executive director from 2009-2017. Steve served on the local committees for the 2004 and 2013 AMLE Annual Conferences held in Minneapolis. He has presented at state and national conferences. 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.

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

Erin Scholes
Erin Scholes is currently in her 13th year as a middle level educator. She teaches 7th grade students to become lifelong learners and to enjoy mathematics. Erin serves her school community in leadership roles, including being the 7th grade team leader and assistant director for the high school drama club. 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

Nancy Ruppert
Nancy Ruppert, a professor at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, has taught middle school math and science for a total of 15 years in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. She has coordinated middle grades programs at Shorter College, and Charleston Southern University before arriving at UNC-Asheville in 2002. Nancy worked with a team of professors from North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia to create four Southeast Regional Professors of Middle Level Education Symposia, and served as co-chair of the first two of these conferences. Additionally, she served as president of the National Professors of Middle Level Education (NaPOMLE). Contact Nancy at

Gail Anderson
Gail Anderson has been a middle level educator for more than 15 years, having taught technology, math, and science. She currently teaches at Stephens Middle School in Salem, Oregon. She is co-chair of the Oregon Middle Level Consortium and has served as a regional representative of the Oregon Middle Level Association. Gail has Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Education degrees from the University of Oregon and a Master’s in teaching from Pacific University. Contact Gail at

Michelle Owens Hayward
Michelle Owens Hayward is executive director for elementary and middle level education for Fayetteville Public Schools, Arkansas. She is an officer and board member for the Arkansas Association of Middle Level Administrators, and is a co-director of the Arkansas Schools to Watch initiative. Michelle received the AMLE Distinguished Educator award in 2013 and was named National Distinguished Principal for Middle School in 2008 and 2014. She serves as a co-director of the Arkansas Schools to Watch program. Additionally, Michelle participated in the authorship and development of the Arkansas Code of Ethics for Professional Educators Contact Michelle at

Christine Thielen
Christine Thielen, an educator for more than 15 years, is a middle school math teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Park Ridge, Illinois. Christine also serves as an adjunct instructor of middle level education classes and she enjoys sharing her passion for middle level education with pre-service teachers through this role. She has also presented at the AMLE annual conference and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference. Contact Christine at

Laurie Barron
Laurie Barron is in her 23rd year in education, serving as a high school English teacher, a middle school assistant principal and principal, and currently as superintendent of the Evergreen School District in Montana. Barron is a National Board Certified Teacher and as 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. Barron has served as an AMLE trustee since 2014.

Todd Bloch
After receiving his master's degree in middle level education from Walden University in 2006, Todd realized what a special place the middle can be. He is currently a seventh grade science teacher at Warren Woods Middle School, Warren, Michigan. Since 2006, he has worked hard to elevate the middle level in Michigan, including presenting at numerous conferences on teaching in the middle. In 2011, Todd started the national twitter chat, #mschat, to promote the middle level. He is president of the Michigan Association of Middle School Educators.

Todd Brist
Todd Brist is the principal at Watertown (SD) Middle School. He has served on the South Dakota Association for Middle Level Education board and is currently the president. As a former high school teacher and principal, Todd became a convert to the middle level movement at an AMLE annual conference. Once he learned about the mission, vision, values, and goals of AMLE, he became a true believer in the value and significance of middle level education. Since that experience, Todd has built a strong understanding of the middle level concept and has presented at several state, regional, and national conferences on middle level teaching and learning.

Lisa Harrison
Lisa Harrison is an associate professor of middle childhood education at Ohio University where she also serves as the middle childhood program coordinator. In addition, Dr. Harrison is the faculty liaison to Trimble Middle School. She currently serves as co-editor of AMLE’s professional journal, Middle School Journal, and she serves on AMLE's Professional Preparation Advisory Committee. She has presented at several national conferences and published work in various middle level outlets. Dr. Harrison is a former middle school mathematics teacher in Brooklyn, NY and is really passionate about young adolescents.

Scott Woods
Scott Woods is a committed middle level educator. He is beginning his 22nd year in education this year with 18 of those years in middle schools where he has served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. Currently, Scott is the principal of JW Eater Junior High School in Rantoul, IL where he also serves as the school district’s bilingual director. Scott is focused on the middle school concept through incorporating true advisory programming, strengthening the team concept, and vigorously addressing issues of racial inequities through implementation of restorative practices/justice.

Brian Bowman
Brian Bowman is an early career middle level educator. He has been involved in CMLA and AMLE since obtaining his undergraduate degree in Middle Grades Education from Georgia College. He is currently pursuing his Specialist degree in School Psychology. He has a passion for working with young adolescents. Brian’s interest includes minority teacher recruitment and retention, mental health in schools, and social justice in schools. Brian has written for the AMLE Newsletter and presented several times at the national AMLE conference.

Chandra Diaz
Chandra Diaz is the director of middle level education at the University of Nebraska in Kearney, Nebraska. She was a middle school educator for 12 years. She served as a liaison to the district, coordinated vertical curriculum alignment conversations for her school, was awarded the Outstanding Mathematics Teacher of the Year, and organized a career fair. In administration, she served ninth and tenth graders in a school that used the middle school philosophy of teaming. Recently, she formed the university's Collegiate Middle Level Association, sponsored two trauma sensitive presenters, and created the Middle Level Ambassadors who co-presented with her when students and families visit. She's currently a member of Nebraska's Middle Level Association.

Angela Allen
Angela Allen is the director of instructional leadership for secondary and alternative schools at Battle Ground Public Schools in Washington. She currently supervises 11 schools, 6 of the schools are middle schools, and 2 of the schools are alternative schools that serve K-12 parents in a parent partnership program. Previously, Allen served as a high school teacher, high school assistant principal, and led a school turnaround as the principal of a School Improvement Grant Middle School that was identified in the bottom 5% of schools in the nation. Allen was the recipient of the St. Helen's Regional Distinguished Principal Award in 2014 and has presented at the Washington State Leadership Conference and AMLE Summer Conference.

Board Qualifications and Composition

3.1.1 Composition

Effective January 1, 2019

1. The Board of Trustees shall consist of 17 Trustees composed of the following:

  • Immediate Past President
  • 3 Trustees elected from territorial regions
  • 12 Trustees elected at-large
  • 1 Trustee elected at-large comprised of the following:
    (a) 1 Trustee elected at-large to represent middle level teachers

Effective July 1, 2019

1. The Board of Trustees shall consist of 12 Trustees elected at-large

2. The term of office for newly-elected Trustees shall commence on January 1 of the year following their election.

A Trustee may serve no more than two (2) consecutive terms. A "term" means holding office, whether by election or appointment, for a duration of 18 months or more. "Consecutive terms" means 2 consecutive terms in which a Trustee was elected or appointed.

Once a Trustee has a break in service for at least six months, that person can be re-elected to the Board by election or appointment

Revised: 1/02; 1/03; 11/08; 1/10; 6/15; 6/16; 8/17; 5/18; 9/18; 1/19


3.1.2 Qualifications

1. Trustees must:

  1. Be an individual or institutional member in good standing prior to slating.
  2. Maintain an individual membership during their term of office.
  3. Not work within the same school district, college or university of that of any other Trustee.
Revised: 1/02; 1/10; 9/10; 4/12; 6/16

Board Member Job Description and Expectations

3.4 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 Chief Executive Officer with the resources to meet the mission, goals and objectives of the Association.

Full Board's Responsibilities:

  • Establish mission and vision of the Association.
  • Establish the Association's policy.
  • Hire and evaluate the Chief Executive Officer.
  • 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 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 Chief Executive Officer and President informed about any concerns.
  • Maintain individual membership in the Association.
  • Collaborate with other Trustees.
  • Attend and participate in the Association's annual conference.
  • Promote the Association's resources.
  • Adhere to Policy number 3.4 "Expectations of Board of Trustees."

Adopted: 11/94
Revised: 1/02; 1/16; 6/16

3.5 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 bylaws, and (3) to serve as a collaborative liaison between the Association and the member/affiliates.

The role of a board member is to focus on the development of broad policies that govern the implementation of institutional plans and purposes. This role is separate and distinct from the role of the Chief Executive Officer, 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.
  12. Be responsive to the needs and concerns of the members/affiliates.
  13. Monitor all functions, activities, publications and policies of the Association in light of the needs of the young adolescent.

Amended 2/95; 6/96
Revised: 1/02; 1/16; 6/16

AMLE Elections

At the 2020 AMLE Annual Meeting, the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) will conduct the election of trustees to serve on its Board beginning January 1, 2021. At that time the Board of Trustees will consist of 12 Trustees elected at-large.

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

Election ballots consist of a slate of candidates that includes one recommended candidate for each position. Each member present at the Annual Meeting, or who requests and timely submits an absentee ballot, may vote for or against the slate. A majority of those who vote in person and by absentee ballot is necessary for election. Should a slate not be approved by the members, the remaining members of the Board shall appoint Trustees to the vacant positions.

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 voting 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, voting members must raise the issues(s) with a trustee prior to submitting an initiative petition, in order that available channels for Board consideration be exhausted prior to commencement of this process.Initiative petitions must be submitted to the (i) Chair, (ii) Chief Executive Officer, and (iii) an "Appropriate Trustee" no less than thirty (30) days prior to the Board meeting for placement on the agenda. Board meeting dates are usually in September, January, and June each year.