Our Education Experts
Susan Abelein, Ph.D.
Dr. Susan Abelein is Catapult Learning’s Senior Advisor for Non-Public Schools. She has served as a teacher, principal, diocesan administrator, and consultant in parochial and private Catholic education for twenty years. Prior to her position as Associate Superintendent for Leadership and Recruitment for the Archdiocese of New York, Dr. Abelein served as President and Principal at St. Aloysius in New York, Principal at Verbum Dei in Los Angeles, and Principal of St. Paul of the Cross in La Mirada, California, as well as, a Teacher in Guam and California. Dr. Abelein earned a Ph.D. in Education Policy, Planning and Administration from the University of Southern California, a M.Ed. Leadership from the University of Portland, and a B.A. in English with Secondary Education from the State University of New York at Geneseo. She holds New York State permanent certification in English/Secondary Level and School Admin/Supervision. Dr. Abelein has taught numerous graduate courses at Loyola Marymount University, Fordham University, St. John’s University, and the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Abelein currently serves on the Board of Directors at America Press, Inc. and supports One Home Many Hopes a non-profit whose mission is to “find, rescue, house, love and educate orphaned and abandoned girls in Mtwapa, Kenya and equip them to be the future agents of change in their community.” Dr. Abelein was awarded Fulbright Specialist Scholar roster candidate status in March 2011.
Jessica Bianculli, M.S.
Jessica Bianculli is the Executive Director of Professional Development for Catapult Learning. She helps support teacher development programs through hiring and training consultants, providing ongoing professional development for employees, writing seminar content, and supporting coaches in the field. Jessica has presented to school districts and educational leaders all across the country on instructional best practices, assessment, and school transformation. Prior to working with Catapult Learning, Jessica was clinical faculty at the University of Delaware. She taught both undergraduate and graduate courses for the School of Education, focusing on literacy instruction. Jessica was the literacy coach for the College School, the lab school located on the campus of the University of Delaware. She supported teachers through instructional coaching and provided intervention services for students with learning differences. Jessica was a teacher-consultant for t both the Delaware and Northern Virginia Writing Project. She presented primarily on persuasive/argumentative writing for K−8th grade students. Jessica began her career in education as a 3rd grade teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools, VA. She has her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education (Pre-K−6) and her Masters in Literacy and Linguistics. She is a certified reading specialist for students in grades Pre-K−12.
Heather Bickley, M.Ed.
Heather Bickley is Catapult Learning’s Mid-Atlantic Professional Development Manager and Philadelphia Instructional Coaching Supervisor. She is also an instructional coach, works on various projects with Catapult’s professional development team, and she is also an adjunct professor at West Chester University. Her areas of expertise (and interest) are TESOL methods and pedagogy, curriculum and instruction, and secondary social studies education. She is a professional educator with diverse experience teaching and supervising both face-to-face and online. She currently works out of Catapult’s Philadelphia, PA, and Camden, NJ, offices.
Pamela Bradley, Ed.D.
Pamela Bradley, Ed.D., has worked for Catapult Learning for five-and-a-half years as an independent consultant/coach. A retired principal and educator who worked over 30 years in K−12 education, Pam was named the National Distinguished Elementary Principal in 2006 for the state of Oklahoma. In addition to being a principal, an English teacher, basketball/softball/track coach at the high school level, a drama/speech teacher and a PE and preschool teacher, Pam is also a board-certified life and wellness coach as well as a published author. Born in Arizona and raised on a Navajo reservation, Pam currently resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her husband, Charles. Pam and Charles have five children and eight grandchildren (soon to be nine!). She received Bachelor and Masters Degrees—in School Administration, English/Language Arts, Physical Education, Journalism/Speech and Drama—from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Pam earned her doctorate in School Leadership/Administration from Oklahoma State University.
Jessica Chung, M.A.
Jessica Chung is the Director of Program Design, East. She supports professional development planning and implementation in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, and collaborates on professional learning content development. Jess has created and delivered both virtual and face-to-face trainings to hundreds of teachers and youth development workers in a wide variety of topics, including Literacy, STEM, and College and Career Readiness. Before coming to Catapult Learning, Jess worked as the Project Director for the Center for Afterschool and Expanded Learning at Foundations, Inc. Within that role, she served as the Lead Training Specialist for You for Youth, a federal contract providing professional learning resources and technical assistance to 21st Century Community Learning Centers nationwide. Jess’ background and passion is building partnerships between educators, community-based organizations and businesses to promote equity and increase opportunities for all students. She has a B.A. in Spanish and International Relations from Amherst College and a M.A. in Educational Administration and Policy from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Lara EnglishHill, Ed.D.
Dr. Lara EnglishHill is Manager, Educational Technology for Catapult Learning. In this role, Lara develops and manages products that support teaching and learning in the classroom for Catapult Learning. Lara brings her unique background as an English/Language Arts educator, developer and presenter of professional development, and educational technology administrator to the products she creates and manages ensuring that they meet evidence-based best practices and the needs of all learners. Most recently, Lara’s previous expertise in computer-based assessment and the content development process were used while she was the project manager reviewing, creating, and leading the development of all English/Language Arts assessments at Catapult Learning. Now, her focus is on creating professional development resources to support life-long learning. Lara has a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Education from Rutgers University, a M.S. in Educational Technology from Rowan University, and a doctorate (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership from University of Phoenix.
Ellen Gaske, Ed.D.
Dr. Ellen Gaske is Senior Vice President, Academics, for Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI), a Catapult Learning Company. She is responsible for the coordination and implementation of academic programming in all SESI schools. In this role, Dr. Gaske coordinates the efforts of the Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction (ACI) team to oversee each academic region. She is responsible for research and development of new web-based programming and specialized educational interventions for a range of disabilities. Dr. Gaske began her special education teaching career working for the Howard County Public School System (HSPS), where she worked as a Special Education Teacher, Resource Teacher for the Office of Special Education, and later as a Supervisor of Special Education (grades K-12). Over the course of forty years in the field of special education, Dr. Gaske has conducted extensive training in Reading for general and special education teachers; she has also taught courses for Johns Hopkins University in the areas of Reading and Written Language Disorders. Dr. Gaske received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland with dual certification in special and general education. She received a Master’s Degree in Communicative Disorders from the Johns Hopkins University as well as her Doctor of Education Degree in Special Education, with an emphasis on Learning Disabilities, in 1991, also from the Johns Hopkins University. A member of a number of professional organizations, Dr. Gaske also served as a board member for MANSEF (Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities) for four years.
Sue Gerenstein, M.S.
Sue Gerenstein is Vice President of Professional Development for Catapult Learning and is responsible for the overall development and implementation of the company’s professional learning solutions. Sue brings over 30 years of experience in teaching, school administration, management, professional development, marketing, and product development to this role. Before joining Catapult Learning, Sue served as the Vice President for Academic Partnerships for American Reading Company and Senior Director of Education for Foundations, Inc. Prior to these appointments, Sue was Vice President of Professional Development and Curriculum for EdisonLearning, where she oversaw the development of the products, tools, and resources associated with school design implementation. Additional roles with EdisonLearning included Vice President, Educational Services, and Director, Student Support Services. Sue has extensive experience creating and delivering professional development, which include topics related to leadership, curriculum, instruction, pedagogy, data analysis, assessment, student support, learning environment, student management, RtI, and special education compliance. Sue earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Instructional Technology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Northern Illinois University. She also acquired education supervisory certification from Seton Hall University.
Reverend Ronald Nuzzi, Ph.D.
Father Ron Nuzzi is Catapult Learning’s Executive Director of Equitable Access and Excellence. Fr. Nuzzi most recently served as a Senior Director in the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education. Ordained in 1984, Nuzzi has served as a parish priest, teacher, school administrator, university professor, and retreat leader. Through nationally-held workshops, Nuzzi has provided guidance and education to leaders of Catholic schools in 49 states, and his work in the private, faith-based sector has given him a unique perspective on the moral, ethical, and religious dimensions of education. Nuzzi has also conducted studies of seminary education for bishops and consulted regularly for strategic planning, personnel, and governance issues. His research interests and publications address the emerging needs of Catholic educators and include a two-volume encyclopedia on Catholic schools in the U.S., A Handbook of Research on Catholic Education, Gifts of the Spirit: Multiple Intelligence Theory in Religious Education, a national study of pastors and their relationships to Catholic schools, and most recently an article on leadership succession planning for the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA).
Diane Rymer, M.S.
As Territory Vice President of the Mid-Atlantic region for Catapult Learning, Diane Rymer is responsible for the operational, logistical, and fiscal management of school programs within this territory. Diane provides leadership and support to Catapult’s regional directors and area managers, focused on ensuring the quality implementation and academic success of instructional and professional development programs within the Mid-Atlantic region. Diane has extensive experience providing thought leadership, direction, and support to school administrators as they lead complex instructional change and foster a culture of learning in their schools. She has conducted Collaborative Quality Analysis visits for schools and school leaders and supported improvement efforts through implementation planning and goal setting. Diane’s background includes a foundation as a teacher and instructional technology specialist as well as a wealth of professional development experience as a Supervisor of Professional Development at Baltimore County Public Schools and Assistant Director of Professional Development at Maryland Public Television. Diane earned her Master’s of Science/Technology for Educators from Johns Hopkins University and her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Loyola University, Maryland.
Ron Valenti, Ed.D.
Dr. Ron Valenti is the National Director for Private Schools Partnerships. He has devoted forty-five years to Catholic education both as a high school teacher, principal, and superintendent of schools. He served the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for twenty-five years as teacher and principal. In 1975, Cardinal Krol appointed Dr. Valenti as the first laymen in the history of Catholic education in Philadelphia to serve as principal. In 1990 he was appointed by Cardinal Keeler to lead the Archdiocese of Baltimore as its Secretary of Education and Superintendent of Catholic schools, a position which he held for twenty years. His career has been marked by notable recognition and accomplishments. In 2002 he received an award from the Baltimore Jewish Council in recognition of his cultivating a collaborative relationship between the Christians and Jewish communities. In 2004, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, conferred on Dr. Valenti a Papal Award and Honor for his outstanding contributions to Catholic education. In 2008 he was invited by President George W. Bush to participate in the White House Summit for Faith-Based Schools. He earned his Ed.D. from Nova Southeastern University, a M.A. in Secondary Education Administration from Villanova University, and a B.A. in Philosophy from LaSalle University.