The Innovative Teacher Leader Cohort is a group of 17 teachers in grades K-12 made up of teachers from each of the eight educational cooperative regions, across multiple content areas who are working to improve policy, practice, and the profession. This group was chosen for their leadership ability in fostering a collaborative culture, promoting professional learning, and publicizing teaching and learning.

As the group began working together, they looked at what it means to be an effective teacher leader; leading in informal ways while still remaining in the classroom. The group looked at the national teacher leadership standards and research. They also discussed ways that the group could be a voice for this work across the state and coordinate efforts with each other and the various teacher leadership networks that are already in existence.

Below are short bios and project descriptions, as well as ways to contact, each teacher in the cohort.

Emmanuel Anama

Bartow Leslie Meeler-Bartow @bartow78

I am currently in my second year as a Curriculum Specialist, but previously taught 8th grade Social Studies.  Various teacher leadership groups besides the Innovative Teacher Leader cohort I am involved with, the Next Generation Instructional Design cohort, Activating Teacher Leadership cohort, KASC Learning to Lead cohort, and the KY Historical Society Teacher Advisory Committee.  I work and reside in Henderson County with my husband Ben and two children, Ethan and Spencer.

I am currently working on ways to promote teacher leadership within my school and district, specifically through teacher-led professional development.  I am also working with a small group to create a Superintendent teacher advisory committee.




Taylor Clements / @clements_taylor 

I grew up in Wilmore, Kentucky and am now a high school math teacher at Atherton High School in Louisville, Kentucky. I received a B.S. in Mathematics, with a Music Minor and an Honors Diploma, from Murray State University. Directly following my undergraduate degree, I completed the GSkyTeach program (Cohort II), thereby earning a M.A. in Education through Western Kentucky University. In the fall of 2013, I began working on my Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Leadership through the University of Kentucky School Technology Leadership (UKSTL) program. I expect to finish my dissertation and graduate in 2017. I live in Louisville, KY with my wife (and fellow math teacher), Elizabeth, and my daughter Abigail. My passions include playing trumpet, playing racquetball, running, Drum and Bugle Corps, and technology in education.

As I balance the dissertation process and teaching math, my passion for leadership is educational technology. Using technology effectively for student achievement is vital to my vision for teaching and learning. I provide many PDs on how we, as teachers, administrators, and teacher-leaders, can support student learning with the incredible power of technology. As a side project, I am working to make computer programming/coding accessible in schools. Many schools do not offer coding classes, despite it being one of the biggest and rapidly expanding industries in the world. I am interested in efforts, especially in Jefferson County Public Schools, to help reframe education using technology and deeper learning. Classroom Photos


Tiffany Engels

Tiffany Engels has been loving her job of teaching English Language Learners (ELLs) in the public schools for ten years now. She completed her BA in Applied Linguistics: TESOL at CUNY Queens College in NYC and a MA in Administrative Supervision/Educational Leadership at TSU in Nashville. She has taught all grade levels K-12 and is currently teaching ELLs in grades K-5 in Northern Kentucky.

My teacher leadership is currently in the form of leading a collaborative professional learning community for teachers of English Language Learners (ELL) who teach in different schools within the same district. The overall goal is to increase our students’ language proficiency and achievement. A secondary goal is to increase the rate of retention of quality ELL teachers in the district.



Angela Gunter

Dr. Angela Gunter, NBCT, teaches AP English Language at Daviess County High School and serves as a hybrid Teacher Leader on Special Assignment for KDE. She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership, leads the Kentucky Student Growth Project, is Kentucky ELA Content Lead with Student Achievement Partners, is a state CTEPS and national NMSI trainer, and a 2015-2017 Hope Street Group teacher fellow. Angie has helped plan local and regional ECET2 convenings and is a past president and current treasurer for the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English. She’s been involved with the Activating Teacher Leadership Institute and is a member of the Innovative Teacher Leader cohort with The Fund for Transforming Education. She is also a Candidate Support Provider for teachers pursuing National Board teaching certification.

With a focus on teacher-driven professional learning, she is the founder of Development That’s Relevant, an initiative that focuses on gathering resources to share with educators across the state; highlighting teachers, administrators, and districts that are implementing effective PD models; and creating a support system for teachers who wish to embark on a journey of positively developing the teaching profession. In her work with GRREC, Kid-Friendly, and Western Kentucky University’s Center for Gifted Studies, Angie assembled a group of 48 middle and high school English and Special Ed teachers and is leading them through their own classroom action research projects, which will be presented at the 2016 Kentucky Council of Teachers of English conference and will be available on the Kentucky Student Growth Projectwebpages. She is also directing the Kentucky Text Set Project with Student Achievement Partners, an ongoing initiative involving 40 ELA teachers and administrators throughout the state who are working collaboratively to develop challenging, grade-specific text sets over a variety of engaging and important topics.


Jan Horn

My name is Jan Horn, and I teach 8th grade Language Arts at Robert D. Campbell Junior High in Winchester, KY.  I graduated from Transylvania University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.  I continued my education at Eastern Kentucky University earning a Master’s degree as a K-12 Reading Specialists and a Rank I in Instruction and Curriculum.  I am also a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Early and Middle Childhood/Literacy: Reading and Language Arts ages 3-12.  In 2010, I was named the Kentucky Elementary Teacher of the Year.  After 10 years in elementary education, with seven of those being concentrated in 5th grade ELA, I certified to teach middle school where I have been for the last five years.  I am a team leader, serve on our school’s technology committee, and will be a supervising teacher for a student teacher in the spring.  I am currently a member of The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky’s Innovative Teacher Leader cohort and a member of the Kentucky Association of School Council’s Leading Through Learning.

Through my association with The Fund and other leadership partners/groups, I have been able to incorporate hybrid teacher leaders in our building to enhance teacher performance and directly impact student learning. I have also incorporated project-based learning activities, service learning projects, and mastery grading.  I am currently in the process of designing and modifying a teacher-student mentor group in order to build relationships with a small group of students.  As a school, we will be focusing on the “growth mindset” and “working memory” in order to reach the highest effect size.  I am looking forward to collaborating with my first student teacher in middle school as well as working on the National Board Renewal process in the upcoming second semester.

Amanda Klare

Amanda Klare is a fourth grade teacher from the Beechwood Independent School District. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Louisville and her Master’s degree from Northern Kentucky University. In 2013, Amanda earned her National Board Certification. Amanda’s passion is writing and through her work with the Northern Kentucky Writing Project she is able to mentor other teachers.

Amanda has been collaborating with a high school teacher, Dawn Norris, to establish a “technology buddies” program between Beechwood high school multimedia students and fourth graders. The students collaborate together to teach one another about how to implement forms of technology in the classroom and beyond.


Beth Lovett / @wasioto

Beth Lovett is an Itinerant Music Teacher in the Knox County School District for over 19 years, was a semifinalist for the 2015 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, and recipient of the Ashland Teacher Achievement Award.  Beth participates with Innovative Teacher Leader Cohort (ITL), Vice-President for KEA’s Upper Cumberland Education Association (UCEA), Knox County Education Association (KCEA), Senate Territory 21 State KEPAC Chair, and is currently a Hope Street Fellow.  Beth earned a B.A.M.M. from E.K.U., M.A., Rank I, from Union College in Music Education.  She created R.E.P.S. Program and grant lead on the E3 Grant for Lay Elementary.

The Science Educators Leading and Learning develops teacher leadership, enhance effective leadership, and to develop enduring skills/knowledge for enhancing student growth. Activities include developing STEAM Trunks and creating a STEAM EXPO for the spring.  Additional assistance would be beneficial in getting the STEAM Expo up and running, promoting/advertising, and obtaining various guests to participate.


Travis Marcum @travismmarcum  /

My name is Travis Marcum and I teach 8th grade Language Arts and Social Studies at Model Laboratory School in Richmond, Kentucky. I graduated from Eastern Kentucky with a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education (English/Social Studies) and obtained a Master’s degree from the University of the Cumberlands in Teacher Leadership. I am a member of The FUND for Transforming Education in Kentucky’s Innovative Teacher Leader cohort, a member of Cohort 5 of the University of Kentucky’s Next Generation Leadership Academy, a member of Kentucky Association of School Council’s Leading Through Learning, and a member of Southeast/Southcentral Social Studies Leadership Network. I also currently serve on the Editorial Board of the Kentucky Reading Association. I live in Richmond with my beautiful wife, Karmen and our wonderful kids, Hudson and Mila.

I have used the avenues of my leadership and professional development opportunities to incorporate mastery learning, project-based learning, service learning, and blended learning into my school/classroom. I am currently working on what it means to be a graduate of Model Laboratory School by focusing on key benchmarks/showcases for specific grade levels. I am also involved in an initiative to spread a “Growth Mindset” across my school’s K-12 campus. I am working closely with Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Education and Business and Technology Center to enhance the school experience both for teacher candidates and current students.



Christoper McCurry

Christopher McCurry is an English Teacher at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky. He has served as the coordinator for the Kentucky Bread Loaf Teacher Network for four years and is in his final year at Middlebury College where he is working on a Masters Degree in English Literature thanks to a fellowship for public school teachers.

I’m currently working on a teacher curator journal with Ashley Lamb-Sinclair called Paradigm Teaching Journal. Its focus will be authenticating and advocating for teacher leadership and voice. The journal will need teachers as contributors and readers, as we work to create a network that empowers teachers as professionals. If you have something you want to share, please don’t hesitate to email.

Tyler Murphy 


Pennye Rogers

I am a 27-year Science teacher, currently working in Todd County Central High School.  I became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2003 in AYA Science and renewed in 2011.  I work with National Board Candidates across Kentucky and serve on the National Board Redesign committee out of Washington, DC. I feel strongly that the best way to improve education for students is to enhance teacher quality and professionalism.

My leadership project this year is to enhance student opportunities to learn through the Program Review process. By increasing a teacher’s awareness about Program Review requirements, he/she is more likely to provide engaging activities, including all learning styles, to enhance student learning.  This will not only benefit the students, but will increase teacher effectiveness and improve the school scores for accountability. Pennye has accepted a new position at KEA, and will not be able to implement this project.

Ashley Lamb-Sinclair

Jeff Sorce



Abby Terranova

Abby Terranova is a Resource Teacher at Milburn T. Maupin: The Catalpa School of Innovation.  As a co-founder of the school, she finds herself busy carrying out the vision, advocating for the use of the Waldorf approach in the public school system.  She serves on the Board of Directors for Kentahten Teacher Training, and is a member of both EngagEDKY and the Innovative Teacher Leader Cohort with The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky.



Azra Terzich

Azra Terzich teaches English as a Second Language to K-12 students. She was born and raised in Bosnia & Herzegovina where she received her education in the legal field and practiced business law. After moving to the USA she started a career in teaching and eventually earned her doctorate in Leadership in Education from Spalding University. With her twenty-year experience as an administrator and educator, Dr. Terzich is confident that her knowledge and skill will benefit others if shared; therefore she presents at local, regional, national, and international conferences. Besides work, Dr. Terzich contributes to Bosnian Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Sciences (BHAAAS), presently as a president and previously as an active member, executive board member, second vice president, and a newsletter contributor. When she is not working, she is either hiking or swimming laps, trying not to be the last one to touch the wall. In addition to her excellent knowledge of Bosnian and American education, gained by personal experiences, Dr. Terzich broadened her expertise in the field by observing Japanese and German educational systems as a Fulbright award recipient. She currently resides in Crestwood, Kentucky.

It is an occurrence on a daily basis that I encounter classroom teachers misunderstanding English Language Learners (ELLs) issues. The problems extend to teachers beginning the Exceptional Child Education (ECE) process on an ELL as soon as an ELL walks into the classroom and does not respond to question due to lack of English, to smaller but important issues such as using culturally specific examples in teaching, with which the ELLs are not familiar, yet rarely using any examples from the ELLs’ countries of origin. I strongly believe that there is a need for continued, mandatory professional development training for all Kentucky regular classroom teachers. With the growing number of ELLs, teachers have or will have ELL(s) in their classrooms. Teachers need to know who the ELLs and their families are, the reasons they came to the US, the issues they faced back in their country of origin, as well as the issues they face in their new country; and finally the process of learning new language, along with accommodations and modifications to use in daily teaching and assessments. If there is funding, I would be willing to provide the training.