Ms. Montgomery has a vast background in education which includes being a teacher and
administrator with underserved populations, special education administrator, author, national
educational consultant specializing in principal and school leadership development, collaborator
with State Departments of Education as well as teacher effectiveness and union-management
collaboration teams. Previously, she was the Executive Director of Literacy for the Colorado
Department of Education where she was responsible for the implementation of the READ Act.
Pati has worked with school principals and superintendents across the country on effective
school practices. Her work is steeped in the belief that ALL students can attain high
achievement and focuses on school populations comprised of highly diverse learners. To attain
such, administrators must use educational research to ensure they are using proven and
evidence-based practices that will increase school effectiveness. Pati Montgomery is the lead
author of the book entitled, The Principal’s Primer for Raising Reading Achievement. The book
is a guide for principals and school leaders that highlights efficient systems
and structures necessary for school-wide improvement in performance.
Polly Ortiz-Lutz is a seasoned educational leader, whose career has spanned 30 years. Previously, she was the Director of Special Education/504 Compliance Officer for more than two decades for Jefferson County Public Schools. JEFFCO has 85,000 students and 9,000 students with IEP’s. Polly has held administrative positions in public schools, universities, hospitals/clinics and federal government settings. Dr. Lutz’ is also a trained mediator through the Colorado Bar Association. Teams report that Dr. Ortiz Lutz is strength based and child focused. Her calm professional style and experience as a licensed school psychologist is helpful in facilitating challenging meetings. She takes the mystery out of the IDEA and the 504 process, services and implementation. Her trainings are engaging and ignite conversations between schools and parents. She has also provided professional development to educators in the area of 504 Compliance and IDEA processes and meeting facilitation. Polly is an expert in using Restorative Practices (RP) to address human relationships, ensure equity and mediate more positive collaboration in the future. Dr. Ortiz Lutz has proven to be a creative problem solver improving outcomes for all children and youth. Polly has a particular area of specialization with high-risk youth as well as crisis response and trauma.
Dr. Lucy Hart Paulson, Ed.D., CCC-SLP
Dr. Lucy Hart Paulson, Ed.D., CCC-SLP has spent her career focused on young children’s language, literacy, and social-emotional development as well as learning challenges they may experience. Dr. Paulson is a nationally certified speech-language pathologist with years of experience working in a variety of early childhood settings including public schools, Head Start, preschool centers, and university programs. She has provided instruction and intervention for young students and their families, interacted with their teachers in collaborative and co-teaching opportunities, and served in administrative capacities. At the university level, Dr. Paulson was an associate professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at the University of Montana providing instruction at undergraduate and graduate levels in language and literacy development, disorders, and intervention for young children. Her research agenda focused on early literacy development with connections to oral language and social emotional learning. She also served as department chair of this newly established program guiding and achieving national accreditation and recognition.
In addition, Dr. Paulson has provided extensive professional development for early childhood educators across the country and internationally. The content is based on scientific research and the evidence supporting best practice framed within a broad-based perspective on effective, developmentally appropriate, engaging, and playful language-based literacy learning for all children. Dr. Paulson is the lead author of three resource publications designed for early childhood educators, blending areas of language, literacy, and social-emotional learning. These include Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) for Early Childhood Educators, 2nd Edition, Building Early Literacy and Language Skills, a resource and activity guide for young children, and Good Talking Words, a social communication skills program for preschool and kindergarten.
Donna Bright is a 25-year veteran educator committed to student success through high quality literacy instruction. Donna has worked as a special educator, reading specialist, coach, master teacher, and state level principal consultant and manager focused on literacy. She has worked with leaders and teachers across the state of Colorado focusing on alignment of literacy data, and evidence based-practices, to support all readers. Her background in Deaf Education and linguistics paved the path to a professional career focused on scientifically-based reading instruction. She believes passionately all students deserve high quality instruction resulting in the ability to read. Donna believes literacy rates in our nation are a moral and social justice issue we have the ability to change.
Jill Hafey has a passion for student achievement and leading teachers to the next level. She is a 20 year veteran in the profession of education, currently leading, inspiring, and coaching at Sunset Elementary as the building Principal. Jill has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Teaching from Mesa State University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Walden University. She is a strong believer in servant leadership, all students can learn, and building growth mindsets among her staff, students, and families. Jill does not shy away from hard work and loves challenges. She does not allow for excuses to cloud reality, seeks first to understand, and builds a team to tackle the task at hand. She has designed and implemented systems that move teachers and students to the next level of learning. Jill Hafey has led her staff in earning the Colorado Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award and continues to work with her staff and district to maintain student growth. She has been named the 2018 Outstanding Administrative Leadership in Reading Award from CCIRA. Jill is a life-long learner, an avid reader, and an active member on district committees (Strategic Planning, Technology…). During her free time, Mrs. Hafey enjoys riding her horse to mountain lakes, running, and taking care of her family of 7.
Sherry Kyle’s career encompasses 26 years in education. She is an experienced educator and leader, who has served as a Teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Coordinator of Student Achievement, and Feeder Administrator overseeing curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Sherry’s perspective in education is diverse as she has served at all levels of the K-12 continuum. She attended Baylor University and the University of Northern Colorado, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. After teaching for several years, she went on to earn a Master’s Degree in School Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix. Sherry’s experiences have led her to her passion of supporting reading and literacy from the elementary into the secondary level. She has lead the way for districts, schools, and teachers to begin looking at how to address the literacy needs in middle and high school classrooms; including creating a curriculum that is used to teach secondary special education and English teachers about the foundational skills needed for reading. Sherry is also passionate about supporting the principal ship. She has a strong desire to develop building-level leaders as they continue to grow into instructional leaders. “So goes the principal, so goes the building” is an adage that she believes to be true. The need for strong leaders who possess vision, passion, and the desire to create a positive school culture are more important now than ever. It is her belief that principals and building leaders need a strong foundation of support in place as they do the heavy lifting of creating school systems and structures that lead to increased student achievement and overall school effectiveness.