Staff and Faculty
Dr. Kent Johnson, Executive Director
Dr. Joanne Robbins, Associate Director & Principal
Kris Melroe, Assistant Director of Schools & Agencies
Beth Bartter, Director of Operations
Dawn Oliver, Admissions Director
Tim Smith, Administration and Facilities Director
Patrick Erbeck-McKinnion, Technology Director
Steve Dunnington, Accounting
Julian Gire, School Psychologist
Ryan Braun, Administrative Assistant
Addy Charkow-Ross, Faculty |
Marianne Delgado, Faculty
Nicole Erickson, Faculty
Joe Gleason, Faculty
Rosie de la Harpe, Faculty
Shiloh Isbell, Faculty
Geoff Martin, Faculty
Brien McGuire, Faculty
Jenni Reilly, Faculty
Elysia Sloan, Faculty
Hannah Smith, Faculty
Adam Stretz, Faculty
Mike Wolfson, Faculty
Dr. Kent Johnson founded Morningside Academy, in Seattle, Washington, in 1980, and currently serves as its Executive Director. Morningside is a laboratory school for elementary and middle school children and youth. Morningside investigates effective curriculum materials and teaching methods, and has provided training and consulting in instruction to over 125 schools and agencies throughout the USA and Canada since 1991.
Dr. Johnson has served in all the positions at Morningside, including classroom teacher for 10 years, financial manager, administrator, teacher trainer, school psychologist and school consultant. He has published many seminal papers and books about research-based curriculum and teaching methods, including The Morningside Model of Generative Instruction: What It Means to Leave No Child Behind, with Dr. Elizabeth Street. The Morningside Model focuses upon foundation skills in reading, writing, mathematics, thinking, reasoning, problem solving, studying core content, and project-based learning. Over 40,000 students and over a thousand teachers have used the Morningside Model of Generative Instruction. Dr. Johnson is also a co-founder of Headsprout, Inc., a company that develops web-based, interactive, cartoon-driven instructional programs, including Headsprout Early Reading and Headsprout Reading Comprehension. Examine them at headsprout.com.
Dr. Johnson is recipient of the 2001 Award for Public Service in Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, the 2010 Edward L. Anderson Award in Recognition for Exemplary Contributions to Behavioral Education from the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, the 2009 Ernie Wing Award for Excellence in Evidence-based Education from the Wing Institute, the 2006 Allyn and Bacon Exemplary Program Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, Division for Learning Disabilities, and the 2011 Ogden R. Lindsley Lifetime Achievement Award in Precision Teaching from the Standard Celeration Society.
Prior to founding Morningside, Dr. Johnson was professor at Central Washington University, director of staff training at the Fernald School in Massachusetts, and instructional designer at Northeastern University in Boston. He received his M.S. (1974) and Ph.D. (1977) in psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst under the mentorship of Drs. Beth Sulzer-Azaroff, Ellen Reese, and John Donahoe. He received his B.S. in psychology and sociology from Georgetown University (1973), under the mentorship of Dr. J Gilmour Sherman. He also counts Drs. Fred Keller, Charles Ferster, B. F. Skinner, Susan Markle, John Dewey, Siegfried Engelmann, Ogden Lindsey, Israel Goldiamond, Arthur Whimbey, and colleague Joe Layng as major influences on his work.
Dr. Johnson enjoys reading philosophy, mysteries, ancient history, psychology, and books about teaching and children. He also enjoys rock, and electronic downbeat and ambient music, and conversations about politics and public policy.
His recent publications include:
Johnson, K., & Street, E. M. (2004). The Morningside Model of Generative Instruction: What it means to leave no child behind. Concord, MA: Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. Available at www.behavior.org.
Johnson, K. (2008a). Precision Teaching. In the Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology, 2, 809-813. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Johnson, K., & Street, E. M. (2008b). Direct Instruction. In the Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology, 1, 240-243. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Johnson, K. (2008c). Personalized System of Instruction. In N. Suskind (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology, 2, 786-789. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Begeny, J., Schulte, A., & Johnson, K. (2012) Systems-level academic consultation. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Johnson, K., & Street, E. M. (in press, 2012). From the laboratory to the field and back again: Morningside Academy's 32 years of improving students' academic performance. The Behavior Analyst Today.
Johnson, K., & E. M. Street ((in press, 2012). Response to Intervention with Precision Teaching: Creating Synergy in the Classroom. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Joanne Robbins is the Associate Director & Principal of Morningside Academy in Seattle, Washington. Joanne has over thirty years of experience in program development, curriculum design, and teaching and supervision of programs for children, youth and adults. Joanne's experience has been in both educational and mental health settings. She developed programs for Pre-K through college level. In addition to the gratifying work as Principal of Morningside Academy, Joanne is a founder of P.E.E.R., Partnerships for Educational Excellence and Research. The P.E.E.R. project is designed to radically improve the teaching and learning communities in several township schools in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Prior to moving to Seattle, Joanne lived in Chicago for many years. While there, she was the Activity Therapy supervisor for a 120-bed children's state psychiatric facility, served as an adjunct faculty member in the Psychology Department at Northeastern Illinois University, and designed and implemented problem solving and thinking skills programs, study skills programs, and learning acceleration programs for inner-city children and college students for the University of Illinois at Chicago and the City Colleges of Chicago. She also served as program developer and instructor in the federally funded Nation of Tomorrow program, training Chicago Public School teachers how to use computer technology in their classrooms. Joanne served as a research assistant in the Instructional Research and Development Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a frequent presenter at professional meetings and has published experimental work in human clinical decision-making. Joanne has served as an instructional design consultant to private industry in the production of instructional video and interactive laser disks including Learning-to-Learn, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, and Focus International, Inc. in Huntington, NY. An expert in the teaching of thinking and reasoning skills, Joanne is the author of Talk Aloud Problem Solving: A Script for Teachers, and co-author of Fluent Thinking Skills: A Generative Approach.
Joanne earned an MA in Behavioral Sciences (Art Therapy concentration) from the University of Houston, Clear Lake Campus. A native of New York, she earned a BA in Sociology from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Joanne completed her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago under the mentorship of Dr. Sue Markle, Dr. Phil Tiemann and Dr. Herbert Walberg.
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Kris Melroe, Assistant Director of Schools & Agencies, earned a BA from Luther College in 1971. After graduating, she worked in the Minneapolis area on numerous health related projects. Kris founded a clinic that specialized in women's health. She also did research for a NGO (non-governmental United Nations organization) health project, examining sterilization and birth control practices on four Indian reservations. Her findings were used in planning the United Nations "Decade of the Woman" and resulted in her receiving the 1983 National Recognition Award from the group Women of All Red. In 1976, Kris left the Midwest and moved to Seattle, where she worked in various capacities with different social service groups, including serving as co-director for the Lesbian Resource Center.
Being drawn to the field of education, Kris received her teaching certificate and later her Special Education endorsement from the University of Washington. Kris joined Morningside in 1980, where she remained for five years as an elementary teacher. Here she honed her skills in instruction and precision teaching. After taking some time off to have two children a family. Kris taught for the Renton School District as a Special Education teacher for seven years. While in Renton, Kris designed and implemented a precision teaching training program for new special education teachers and was a member of the Renton Education Association's negotiating team. Kris was a faculty member at Pacific Oaks College, teaching a graduate class in Special Education as part of their teacher training program.
Kris returned to Morningside to work in the Morningside Teachers' Academy, where she supervises school-wide implementations of the Morningside Model of Generative Instruction. Kris currently travels extensively to coach & train public school teachers. Her primary focus has been working with Native schools from South Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, & Hawaii.
Beth Bartter joined Morningside Academy in 2002 as the Director of Operations. She has extensive experience working with nonprofits, educational organizations, and international non-governmental organizations. Most recently she worked at the Nakorn Payap International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she taught English and administrated extra-curricular activities. Prior to that, she ran an environmental planning business, which contracted with the City of Seattle to provide education to ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the area of household hazardous waste awareness. She has also supervised relief efforts in Somalia and tutoring programs in Singapore.
Beth holds a B.A. in Design from Miami University in Ohio and a M.A. in Urban and Community Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Dawn Oliver is responsible for the direction of the academy's admissions procedures and development programs. Celebrating eight years in this role, she directs the admissions process to recruit and assist prospective students and their families from initial contact until enrollment and the development and enhancement of projects such as fundraisers and corporate sponsorships: relationship building for the purpose of seeking and applying for funding for academy priorities. She oversees community outreach and public relations endeavors, serving as a spokesperson for the academy and its interests. This includes the supervision and management of a team of volunteers, predominantly made up of parents, committed to the academy's mission.
Dawn has over twenty years' experience working in the administration of private schools. She has held positions as Registrar, Director of Financial Aid, Director of Admissions, Acting Administrator and Director of Development. The schools with which she has been affiliated have been located in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia and have ranged from a private school to a junior college. In addition, she has experience tutoring children with attention deficit disorder and autism having received training in discrete trial and direct instruction utilizing the techniques of applied behavior analysis. Upon her arrival in Seattle, Dawn completed the graduate credit program offered by Morningside Teachers' Academy, The Summer School Institute. She is a member of the Puget Sound Grantwriters Association (PSGA), The Northwest Development Officers Association (NDOA) and Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). She serves on the SLUCC, The South Lake Union Community Council, as Vice President, and represents the academy at the South Lake Union Chamber of Commerce.
Dawn received her B.A. in English and Education from Douglass College of Rutgers University. She holds New Jersey certification to teach English, Speech and Theatre Arts. She began her career as a public high school teacher of English, public speaking and drama. In that role, she was also the director of the school plays. Before relocating nine years ago to Seattle, Dawn served as Director of Development and Admissions for The Faison School for Autism at Virginia Commonwealth University. She wrote and produced the school's video and prepared all of the marketing materials for this start-up school.
Patrick joined Morningside in May of 2008 as the Director for Information Technology. Prior to that, he was a Field Engineer for a regional business to business Apple repair group, having moved to the Seattle area in 2007. He also has done turns with support at ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), at Weil Cornell Medical College in Qatar (Doha, Qatar), and at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California . At Morningside, Patrick provides technology and audiovisual support services to faculty, staff, and students.
Patrick studied Psychology at California State University - San Marcos before going into computer support and repair. He holds both hardware and technical support certificates from Apple Computer. He is originally from Northern California, with stints in Hawaii, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Doha, Qatar. In his free time, spends time with his daughter, and indulges in hobbies such as the Society for Creative Anachronism (a historical recreation group with a focus in the Middle Ages), SF/F conventions, and other related activities. He also reads, cooks, plays the harp, and has altogether too many Lego sets. His favorite sports are horseback riding and curling, having become an avid curler after moving to the Pacific Northwest.
Steve Dunnington is a bookkeeper who works on contract with Morningside Academy two days a week since September of 2003. Steve also works with a number of other non-profit groups who do good work in the community. Steve works at Morningside most Monday though Thursday afternoons from 1pm to 5pm.
Julian Gire, School Psychologist, is entering his sixth year at Morningside Academy. The path to Morningside was a long one spanning the Pacific Ocean and Cascade Mountains. Julian was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and after graduating from high school he moved to Cheney, Washington where he attended Eastern Washington University. While at EWU he earned a B.S. in Applied Developmental Psychology with an emphasis in School Counseling. Julian loved EWU so much that he stayed another three years to earn a Masters of Science in School Psychology, and currently holds the designation of Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP).
Marianne Delgado returned to the Northwest after living a number of years in the New York City metropolitan area, where she studied at Barnard College and received her Masters in general education from Georgian Court College in Lakewood, New Jersey. She is the mother of three. Her profession specialties are creative writing, curriculum design, and implementing service-learning programs. In her free time, she enjoys the indie-rock music scene, thrift store shopping, comic book collecting, and costume design.
Rosie grew up in Big Bear Lake, California, a small mountain community. She moved across country to Baltimore, Maryland and attended Towson University, where she earned a B.S. in elementary education. She and her husband decided to move back to the west coast and settled on Seattle. She feels lucky to have begun her teaching career at her son's preschool, which was inclusive of typically developing children and children with special needs. Rosie made a transition from the classroom to early intervention, working as a coordinator of services for parents of children with special needs. She loved the work she did with families but longed to work more closely with school aged kids again. After working for a year as a substitute teacher for Mercer Island and Shoreline school districts, she was thrilled to start teaching at Morningside Academy. Rosie enjoys running and biking and generally being outdoors. She loves to travel and enjoy good food with family and friends. Her favorite sport to watch is any that her son is playing!
Shiloh was born in Seattle, Washington and spent her formative years in the small town of Maple Valley. She showed an interest in education at an early age, volunteering as a peer health educator from the ages of 15 to 18. After graduating from high school, she attended both the University of Washington and Central Washington University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and an Elementary Science Education Minor. She is currently working on her Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis on Precision Teaching and Instructional Design.
Shiloh has worked with both special education and general education populations. She worked through college as a one-on-one paraprofessional for a student with physical and mental disabilities. Upon graduation, she took a teaching position at a school for severely emotionally and behaviorally disabled students in Tacoma, Washington. She eventually moved back to Seattle to take a teaching position at Morningside Academy, where she works with students transitioning from the Foundations program into the Middle School program. She has been with Morningside since August, 2007.
Shiloh lives in Seattle with her husband Joe and their two cats, Mama and Tom. She loves cooking, camping, and karaoke. Her long-term career goals include teacher coaching and further study into educational policy development centered around Precision Teaching and Behavioral Analysis.
Geoffrey Martin, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, participated in Morningside Academy's Summer School Institute (SSI) in 2000 while in Graduate School in Auburn, Alabama. He attended SSI the following year, assisting with testing and progress monitoring of summer school students. Returning in Summer 2004, he served as a classroom teacher of younger learners in Morningside's Summer School Program. In January 2005, Geoff moved to Seattle to join the faculty at Morningside Academy, teaching full-time in the Foundations Program with a focus on beginning and corrective reading, math, and writing instruction. After teaching in the classroom his first several years, he recently moved into the role of Lead Substitute Teacher of Morningside Academy, working with the range of curricula and students within both the Foundations and Middle School Programs at Morningside. In addition to his teaching roles, Geoff also assists with the design and production of instructional and supplementary practice materials.
Geoff earned his B.S. degree in Psychology from the University of Florida and his M.S. degree from Auburn University. Prior to Morningside, he worked in a variety of capacities including, as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, a Behavioral Clinician at a State Developmental Center in Indiana, a Consultant for a Developmental Center in Alabama, an Instructional Designer and Training Developer for traditional business and industry settings, a Computer Consultant, and a Tutor.
Originally from Northern Virginia, Geoff relocated to South Florida after middle school. He enjoys writing simple computer programs to automate common tasks, renovation projects with friends, reading, seeing all Seattle has to offer, and his niece Jordan, aka Goosey.
Brien was born and raised in Spokane, WA. In 1997, he moved to Bellingham, WA to attend Western Washington University where he graduated with a degree in history with an English minor. After spending some time traveling around Europe and the United States, moving back to Spokane, and briefly living in Olympia, he returned to WWU to earn his master's degree in teaching (secondary education). He has taught at Snohomish High School and Sylvan Learning Center, working with students ranging in age from kindergarten through college.
Brien currently lives in Shoreline with his wife, Jean; his brother, Evan; and his dog, Kyna (KEE-nuh). He is an avid Seattle sports fan, and enjoys watching and participating in a variety of sports including: running, soccer, football, baseball, basketball, skiing, and even the occasional rugby match (his wife plays, he watches). When he's not teaching or playing/watching sports, you can find Brien reading, hiking, playing with his dog, writing, playing/listening to music, playing Xbox, or watching movies.
Jenni Reilly learned of Morningside Academy while attending Eastern Washington University, where she received her Masters in Education in Special Education with an emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis and Direct Instruction. She earned her Bachelors Degrees in both Psychology and Elementary Education. She started her teaching career with Morningside Academy during the 99-00 school year. She embraces the Morningside Model and continues to be amazed by the personal and academic growth by the students each year. Jenni is both a teacher and instructional coach at Morningside Academy. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, sailing, swimming, and spending time with her husband, Jason, son, Nicholas, and golden retriever, Elmo.
Elysia Sloan was born in Seattle and grew up on Mercer Island. She attended the University of Arizona and received her BA in psychology with a minor in sociology. She then earned a Masters in Teaching with a Teacher Certification from City University in 1995. Then, went back to City University to earn an endorsement in special education. She currently has 5 endorsements including special education, psychology, sociology, spanish, and elementary K-8. After completing her education, Elysia worked for over 14 years teaching special education in the public school system. Elysia is very excited to be a part of the Moringside Academy Team. Elysia, her husband, 2 young children, and chocolate lab live on Mercer Island. When Elysia is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, her dog Frango, traveling, running and shopping.
Adam was born and raised in Olympia, WA. He attended the University of Washington where he received a double major in Communications & Political Science. He spent three years in Chicago where he got his Master's Degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Adam teaches our upper level students at Morningside Academy, including content classes in history and civics. He cherishes his time with his beautiful wife April, and his son AJ. Adam is an avid sports fan (Go Huskies! Seahawks! Mariners! Sounders! and Cubs!) and spent several seasons coaching Babe Ruth Baseball. Adam also enjoys traveling (he's been to over 20 different countries, and 30 U.S. States, reading (especially political, historical fiction and nonfiction, and fantasy/science fiction), playing basketball & softball, swing dancing, Star Wars collecting, and fly-fishing any chance he gets.
Mike Wolfson is currently in his fifth year as a teacher at Morningside Academy. He received his Bachelor's Degree in History from the University of Washington and his Master's Degree in Teaching from Heritage University. He participated in national service for one year as an Americorps volunteer. Earlier in his teaching career, Mike taught for five years in a Seattle public school as an 8th grade teacher. Mike loves to travel. Not only has he traveled the country by car, but he also has been to Africa. Yet another interesting fact about Mike is that he has worked in Hollywood on set crews. In addition, Mike's interests include motorcycling, sports, and board games.
Sifu ("teacher") Restita DeJesus is the Instructor of Wushu Class. She is the co-founder and instructor of Yin Yang Arts Center. Sifu DeJesus has 30 years of experience in martial discliplines that include Karate, Kung Fu,Kajukenbo, Eskrima, Aikido, Kyudo,Iaido, Tai Chi, Qigong, and Wushu.
Black Belts & Certifications:
Sifu DeJesus earned her first black belt in Karate at age 15, and has been teaching martial arts ever since. She currently holds a 5th level Instructor's rank in Taikabudo (a style founded by she and Sherril Johnson) a 2nd degree black belt in Butokukan Karate, 3rd degree black belt under Al Dacoscos' Wun Hop Kuen Do - Kajukenbo system, a 5th degree black belt in Doce Pares Eskrima, and a 5th degree rank in Guro Christopher Petrilli's "Filipino MartialArts Academy" system. She is also a certified instructor of Wushu, Tai Chi, and Qigong under Master Yijiao Hong.
A former national and international tournament competitor, she consistently won Gold and Silver medals at the USA Wushu-Kung Fu Federation international competitions, as well as winning First Place in Chen Style Tai Chi at the 2001 First World Taijiquan and Health Conference in Hainan, China. She has also used her Martial arts experience by appearing in several movies, various commercial spots, stock footage, and motion capture sequences for video games.
Restita is a member of several national martial arts organizations, and was inducted into the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame in August 2011.
In her spare time she enjoys meditation, motorcycling, target slingshot shooting, and target blowgunning. She is also a Reiki master practitioner and offers Reiki sessions when not teaching martial arts.
Sifu DeJesus' goal is to share the fun and fitness benefits of Chinese Wushu with kids of all ages. Through Wushu, she hopes that kids can enhance their sense of confidence and empowerment, as well as physical fitness.