Who Is AnLar?

AnLar is an education management and consulting firm with extensive early childhood and early childhood special education experience. AnLar works with school districts, local community education partnerships, state education agencies, and the U.S. Department of Education on various initiatives related to school and district improvement, professional learning, education leadership, and special education.

AnLar logo

What Does AnLar Do for TN-TAN?

In 2021, the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) established an accessible, streamlined Tennessee Technical Assistance Network (TN-TAN) which seeks to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. TN-TAN provides Tennessee public school districts and families with access to evidence-based training, professional development, and resources through the department’s Best for All Central online platform (“Best for All Central”).

Through TN-TAN, AnLar provides ongoing technical assistance to Tennessee school districts to support meaningful access to preschool for young children with disabilities. AnLar’s work is organized into 14 topic areas relevant to early childhood special education. AnLar has three tiers of assistance for school districts, from universal to intensive, depending on district need.

Meet the Team

Sarah Whitman

As Assistant Director the Technical Assistance Team, Sarah works on educational and policy programs for district, state, and national projects. Sarah utilizes her background in research and data analysis to support systems thinking and the implementation of strategies at a large scale to improve student outcomes. Sarah has expertise in special education, early childhood, effective data use, long-term systems change, and state special education systems. Sarah is particularly skilled in program evaluation, change management, professional development, facilitation, and training design and delivery.

Before joining the AnLar team, Sarah spent five years working for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA ESE) in the Special Education Planning and Policy Development Office. As the Early Childhood Outcomes Coordinator and Data Analyst, Sarah supported special educators statewide as they sought to effectively implement data-based decision making and improve early childhood outcomes. Sarah was integral to the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) team and oversaw the implementation and scale-up of an evidence-based practice in districts representing 30% of the public preschool population in the state. Sarah also played a central role in the planning and development of the SSIP, including the creation of a multiyear evaluation plan for the initiative.

Sarah has a Doctorate in Education from Johns Hopkins University. Her dissertation focused on creating a new implementation fidelity evaluation tool that can be used by states and other large organizations to evaluate complex multi-site initiatives and effectively communicates evaluation planning and results with relevant stakeholders. Sarah has a Master’s in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University and a Master’s in Religion and Society from Boston University.

Sarah lives in Brookline, MA. When Sarah is not contemplating the big picture, or how to save the world, she spends a lot of her time hanging from the ceiling as an amateur circus aerialist. Specializing in aerial silks, she decided her 30s were the perfect time to pick up a challenging hobby that can truly humble her and oftentimes makes her feel ridiculous as she gets stuck mid-air. She also enjoys gardening, playing softball, going to the gym for early morning workouts, and traveling.

Sarah Whitman

Casey Archer

Coming to AnLar as a Graduate Intern from the University of Maryland and now a Research Analyst, Casey aims to apply all that he has learned about education policy and research methods. Casey is currently writing his dissertation for a PhD in Education Policy & Leadership. Specifically, his research incorporates quantitative research methods when assessing policy decisions. His passions include working towards equitable educational opportunities for K-12 kids from all backgrounds and studying the ways that social networks can enrich and expand educational outcomes for students, teachers, and schools.

Before joining AnLar, Casey worked as a Research Assistant at UMD for two projects. He served as the Data Analyst and Data Coordinator of Project LEARN, a three-year longitudinal study that aims to understand the differential factors that predict growth in reading comprehension between English Learners and English Monolinguals. The data for his dissertation comes from Project LEARN. Casey also worked with his academic advisor to quantify and understand teacher effects on various student outcomes. In 2017, Casey worked as an intern at the federal Education Department in the National Initiatives Team.

Casey always has a novel nearby, so in his free time, he races to meet his Goodreads reading goals or to complete one of the books for his various book clubs. He considers himself a reality TV expert, and he relishes the opportunity to talk about the latest elimination on Survivor or Big Brother (or any other reality competition show). He almost exclusively follows corgi accounts on social media.

Britt Braun

Britt provides creative and innovative approaches to supporting projects focusing on early childhood access, quality and special education. Britt has worked in the early childhood field for 13 years at the school, district, and state levels. Her passion for building systems that support high-quality and equitable experiences for children stems from her experience as a student teacher in Croydon, Australia.

Britt began her education career in Washington, D.C. upon earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University, Bloomington. She spent 7 years as a Title 1 pre-k and kindergarten teacher before managing the development and launch of a Learning Lab pilot program, aimed at transforming historically low- performing schools into a model demonstration platform for professional development. Most recently, Britt worked at the Louisiana Department of Education as the 619B Coordinator, managing systems for early identification and increasing opportunities for young children with disabilities.

While Britt currently resides in New Orleans with her husband and young daughter, Britt has fond memories of the small New England town where she grew up. Britt loves any opportunity to be outside, whether at the beach, rollerblading, or skiing. One of Britt’s favorite places to spend time with her family is in Colorado, where she recently hiked her first ‘14er’!

 

Elizabeth Colin

Elizabeth provides research, creates resources, and gathers information and feedback from clients as a Technical Assistance Specialist at Anlar. Elizabeth takes on roles as project manager and subject matter expert for projects in education, early childhood education, and early childhood special education.

Prior to AnLar, Elizabeth received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. During her time there, Elizabeth explored her passion for education. She has worked with young learners in preschool and Kindergarten classrooms and with college students as a Community Service & Leadership Development Coordinator under the Division of Student Affairs. Elizabeth’s work is focused on policy change, equity, and community partnerships.

Outside of work, Elizabeth can be found reading or spending time with family. She also finds joy through painting, crafting, and taking hikes.

 

Nancy Surbrook-Goins

Nancy brings her passion for early childhood education and building communities to her work at AnLar. She is a skilled facilitator, trainer, technical assistance provider, coach, and life-long learner. She has expertise in early childhood education, early intervention, preschool special education, Pyramid Model, Infant Mental Health, inclusion, and communities of practice.

Nancy obtained her Masters from Michigan State University in Family Studies and her Bachelors of Applied Arts from Central Michigan University in Child Development, Business and Psychology. She received a Certification in Fund Raising Management in 2011 and a Infant Mental Health Mentor-Policy endorsement in 2019. She is the co-author of the book, ‘Growing Together: Developing and Sustaining a Community of Practice in Early Childhood’, published by Gryphon House in the fall of 2019.

Before joining AnLar, Nancy was the Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Manager for Michigan for 10 years. In that role, she ensured the development and implementation of the comprehensive system of professional development for Michigan’s early intervention and preschool special education systems. She was actively involved in many state initiatives such as the Part C State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP), Preschool Inclusion workgroup, and the Kindergarten to Third Grade Components of Quality. She was the aRPy Ambassador for Michigan to promote the use of the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices throughout Michigan. Prior to working as T&TA Manager, Nancy was director for 5 years of the newly established Sanilac County Kids Connection, a nonprofit organization created to provide a one-stop multi-agency children’s services center. Under her direction, the Sanilac County Kids’ Connection won the DTE Energy Foundation Collaboration Award in 2008 and received the ‘Promise Place’ designation for 2009 from America’s Promise. Prior to being director, she was an area manager for 8 years supervising Head Start programs.

Christina Koutsourades

Christina Koutsourades provides content expertise and manages projects related to early childhood care and education. She helps to guide states in their mission to serve our country’s youngest learners, while using her teamwork and organizational skills to bring client projects to fruition.

Prior to joining AnLar, Christina worked for the Delaware Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning where she managed the state-funded preschool program and the kindergarten entry assessment, and supported other early learning projects that benefited children, families, and early learning professionals. Christina first entered the education field after teaching Spanish in Charleston, South Carolina through Teach For America. She holds a B.A. in International Studies from Boston College and a Master’s in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Outside of her professional activities, Christina can be found taking a long walk, enjoying a hot cup of tea (mostly green!), practicing vinyasa yoga, gardening, or planning her next international trip, most likely to the family homeland of Greece. Originally from the Hudson Valley, NY, Christina now lives in the Washington, DC area with her wonderful fiancé Ted and the cutest Maltese puppy, Hionati (which is Greek for Snow White).

Christina Koutsourades

Amy Nicholas

With over a decade of experience as a technical assistance provider, Amy has participated in numerous state and national initiatives aimed at building and sustaining high-quality systems of service for young children with disabilities and their families. The majority of her work in this role has focused on advancing knowledge and creating helpful products/resources for states to use in the development and enhancement of early childhood data systems, including increasing program capacity to collect, analyze, and use data on child and family outcomes. She also brings skills and expertise to the AnLar team related to family-professional partnerships, screening and assessment practices, workforce development, and stakeholder engagement.

Prior to working in the technical assistance world, Amy spent 5 years as a university-level teacher preparation faculty member and taught for 8 years as an infant/toddler, preschool, and elementary special education teacher in Maryland and North Carolina. She has a Ph.D. and M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Maryland at College Park, a M.Ed. in Special Education-Learning Disabilities from North Carolina State University, and a B.S. in Biology from Towson University.

Amy lives with her family in Pinehurst, NC and can be found picking up stray dogs whenever possible. (Seriously, she carries a spare leash and treats in the car with her at all times.) She volunteers with a local canine rescue organization where she puts her dog whisperer skills to even more good use. When she’s not working or volunteering, Amy can be found playing in the dirt with her daughter, experimenting with a new fitness class (that she’ll end up quitting after three attempts), or trying to convince herself that she likes gardening.

Ken Wagner

As Senior Advisor to the AnLar team, Ken offers expertise and experience in policy, strategy, growth, and technology.

Ken’s career began as a high school senior, when he was elected to his local school board following a campaign promise to amplify student voice and choice. He has since served in various roles at the national, state, and local levels, including school psychologist and middle school principal. He holds a doctoral degree in clinical and school psychology from Hofstra University.

Prior to coming to AnLar, Ken worked at the New York State Education Department from 2009 to 2015, ultimately serving as Senior Deputy Commissioner for Education Policy, with a K-16 portfolio that included curriculum, assessment, instruction, and technology. He served as the Rhode Island Commissioner of Education from 2015 to 2019, with a focus on long-term and sustainable improvements in schools, anchored in the demands of students and families, and aligned to economic growth and opportunity.

When not in senior advisor mode, Ken can be quite funny. He enjoys pruning trees and listening to Charles Mingus records.

Ken Wagner

Kate Grannemann

Kate Grannemann is a Project Manager & Technical Assistance Specialist at AnLar, providing management and content expertise on projects related to early childhood and education. Like the young children she works to serve, Kate asks a lot of questions and loves to learn.

Before joining AnLar, Kate leveraged her experience working at a state agency to provide technical assistance to various audiences, including maternal & child health leaders, state education agencies, and Head Start grantees. Her interest and experience focus on the integration and use of early childhood data and the use of research to inform policies and practices. She has worked on several large national TA projects, developing resources and leading TA efforts. Kate is also dedicated to supporting children and families in her community by volunteering at various community organizations providing resources and supports to families in need. She received a B.A. in Social Thought & Political Economy and a B.A. in French & Francophone Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs from the La Follette School at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

When she’s not working, you can find Kate engaging in community efforts to prevent gender-based violence, advocating for affordable, accessible, high-quality child care, harvesting oysters, snuggling her rescue dog Osa, or fueling the aforementioned activities with a large cup (read: entire pot) of coffee.

Kate Grannemann

Kathi Gillaspy

Kathi is our resident renaissance woman, tackling educational and policy programs for district, state, and national projects as AnLar’s Director of Technical Assistance. She is a skilled facilitator, trainer, and technical assistance (TA) provider, and has expertise in early intervention and early childhood special education, long-term systems change, state early childhood systems, and data management systems. She is particularly skilled in helping large groups of people (such as stakeholder groups and councils) get along, establish common goals, and get things done. Kathi also leads the advancement and development of AnLar’s early childhood portfolio, which will provide direct TA to districts and states.

Before joining the AnLar team, Kathi spent 6 years as a technical assistant specialist for two national early childhood TA centers based out of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina – the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center and the Center for Early Childhood IDEA Data Systems (DaSy). Through these projects, she assisted state early intervention and early childhood special education programs implement the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, improve their data systems and the quality and use of their IDEA data, and select and use evidence-based practices for children and families. Kathi also led the planning and coordination of TA for the DaSy project, including all the individualized and cross-state TA activities offered by the project. This was the second time Kathi worked at FPG; a long time ago, she spent 5 years as a research assistant on the Abecedarian Project, which studied the long-term effects of early intervention on children and families. In the years in between jobs at FPG, Kathi earned her Master’s Degree in Early Intervention and Family Support and obtained a North Carolina Birth–Kindergarten teaching license. She spent 15 years teaching infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities and their families through Community Partnerships, Inc. (CPI), a progressive non-profit that served individuals with disabilities “womb to tomb” in inclusive, community-based settings. In addition to providing services, Kathi worked as the coordinator and manager of the early intervention program and served as Director of Childhood Services for the agency–a role in which she was responsible for developing and sustaining all of CPI’s services for children.

Kathi lives in Falls Church VA with her husband and four children. When she’s not working, she is pretending to be a Broadway star, indoctrinating her children into the worlds of Star Wars and Star Trek, trying on the many shoes in her closet, and making to-do lists of things she has already done just so she can check them off.

 

Kathi Gillaspy

Monica Yudron

As a Senior Technical Assistance Specialist and Research Scientist at AnLar, Monica focuses on magnifying the impact of people-serving organizations—particularly those serving young children and their families. She loves working with clients to identify areas of growth and creatively use data and diverse perspectives & expertise to design and implement solutions to what seem like deeply entrenched societal challenges.

Monica has over 20 years of work experience in the education sector. Prior to joining AnLar, Monica served in a variety of positions including as the Director of Programs and Strategy at the Zaentz Early Education Initiative at Harvard University (where she led the Initiative’s professional learning community and managed strategic planning), as an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston (where she proudly supported early ed leaders and teachers in their quest to become highly effective professionals) and as a high school Biology and Chemistry teacher (where she began learning how to be an empathetic person while working with a lot of awesome adolescents).

Monica has a Doctorate in Education and a Master’s in Prevention Science and Practice from Harvard University, a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em Horns!), and a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and Biology from Purdue University (Go Boilermakers!). When forced to pick her favorite research interest she often chooses understanding the organizational and adult contributions to education settings with the overarching goal of improving those environments for all children. But, in reality, she finds most social phenomena captivating and worth learning about. Her favorite author is Terry Pratchett whose books first taught her (when she began reading them in middle school) about the concept of the multiverse, the immense power of hope and kindness, and the importance of being a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Monica

Monica Yudron

Angelique Williams

As a Technical Assistance and Data Management Specialist, Angelique is passionate about creating clear and accessible data solutions for diverse clientele. Whether that means creating a webinar to empower early childhood educators with the tools to implement data-informed decision-making practices in their setting or crafting an interactive spreadsheet to facilitate a strategic planning activity, she is passionate about reframing the perception and use of data in education spaces.

At AnLar, she has used applied methods to inform change management and systems improvement for school districts and state agencies. She has also managed several state-level process improvement and program evaluation projects. Before joining AnLar, Angelique pursued her research interests, focusing on equity and access to educational opportunities for underrepresented and minority communities across the education span as a part of her Applied Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program at George Mason University. In this role, she had the opportunity to work extensively with school districts and community organizations to create evidence-based recommendations for district-level improvement. As an applied researcher, Angelique is particularly passionate about creating practical, evidence-based recommendations and measurable outcomes that support all students’ educational advancement and educators’ professional development equitably.

In her downtime, Angelique can be found listening to a good podcast, cooking up her next baking experiment (have you ever had a rosemary and lemon pound cake?), plotting her next travel adventure, or reading a good book! She is happiest when she learns new things and is always looking for new opportunities to challenge herself and grow. She loves to explore new restaurants with her husband or catch up with her friends over brunch (especially when seafood is involved!)

Angelique Williams

Dina Shehata

As a Technical Assistance and Data Management Specialist, Angelique is passionate about creating clear and accessible data solutions for diverse clientele. Whether that means creating a webinar to empower early childhood educators with the tools to implement data-informed decision-making practices in their setting or crafting an interactive spreadsheet to facilitate a strategic planning activity, she is passionate about reframing the perception and use of data in education spaces.

At AnLar, she has used applied methods to inform change management and systems improvement for school districts and state agencies. She has also managed several state-level process improvement and program evaluation projects. Before joining AnLar, Angelique pursued her research interests, focusing on equity and access to educational opportunities for underrepresented and minority communities across the education span as a part of her Applied Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program at George Mason University. In this role, she had the opportunity to work extensively with school districts and community organizations to create evidence-based recommendations for district-level improvement. As an applied researcher, Angelique is particularly passionate about creating practical, evidence-based recommendations and measurable outcomes that support all students’ educational advancement and educators’ professional development equitably.

In her downtime, Angelique can be found listening to a good podcast, cooking up her next baking experiment (have you ever had a rosemary and lemon pound cake?), plotting her next travel adventure, or reading a good book! She is happiest when she learns new things and is always looking for new opportunities to challenge herself and grow. She loves to explore new restaurants with her husband or catch up with her friends over brunch (especially when seafood is involved!)

Dina Shehata

Jennifer Howell

As Senior Project Director on the Data Systems and Support team, Jennifer provides support on the effective implementation of compliance monitoring and IEP systems for a number of states including Utah, Iowa, and Texas. Her excitement and enthusiasm for her work are driven by the team’s ability to build systems supporting the work of IEP teams as they design individualized programs to address student strengths and needs, are collaboratively developed, and meet compliance requirements.

Jennifer brings expertise in the management and monitoring of educational data and finance systems, program evaluation, dispute resolution, systemic program improvement, and school accountability. Prior to coming to AnLar, Jennifer provided key leadership during the development and implementation of a Results Driven Accountability system designed to increase compliance and outcomes for students with disabilities in the state of Utah. She also analyzed special education program and demographic data from various systems to identify state priorities which informed the development of the Statewide Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP). Jennifer is a trained dispute resolution specialist and licensed administrator and special educator. She has an Ed.D. in special education from the University of Northern Colorado and an M.Ed. in special education from the University of Utah, where she was recognized by the special education department as Outstanding Alumni.

When she is not supporting data system development, Jennifer can be found with her family (her awesome husband and two grown children who are turning into amazing adults) traveling, playing board games, swimming, kayaking, or cooking together. Her favorite vacation activity is to spend time enjoying the sun and waves on a sailboat. Jennifer is currently taking a quilting class and loving it so far.

Jennifer Howell

Tiffanie Owens

As the Director of Data Systems and Support at AnLar, Tiffanie helps clients create data systems that support their processes and create efficiencies. She is constantly disrupting the data system space to find new and more effective ways to use data and technology to improve education systems that support outcomes for students.

Tiffanie brings 20 years of experience in the special education field, with 10 years of experience working in state-level educational leadership programs. She developed one of the first Results Driven Accountability systems in the nation for the state of Utah and has presented nationally on the subject. She currently works with several state agencies in developing data systems to support their special education processes, from Individual Education Programs, Individualized Family Service Plans, to monitoring and accountability. Tiffanie has a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Special Education from Utah State University.

She lives in Utah with her husband, son, two dogs (a Great Dane and Pomerpoo, a Pomeranian Poodle mix), and their cat. As a family, they love to travel, watch movies (Tiffanie’s favorite movies are Seven, Wonder Woman, and all things Marvel), and listen to her son play the cello (he’s amazing)!

Tiffanie Owens

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