The Founders

  • Deb-Leong

    Fun Facts

    Favorite Quote
    "Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play." —Heraclitus, philosopher (500 BCE)
    Inspiration
    The teachers and children that we work with at Tools.
    Most Unusual Job
    I worked in a vineyard in Bordeaux before I went to college.
    Deborah Leong, Ph.D.
    Co-founder and Executive Director

    Dr. Deborah J. Leong is the Executive Director of Tools of the Mind and Professor Emerita of Psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she taught for 36 years in the Psychology Department and in the Department of Education.  Dr. Leong developed the Tools of the Mind approach with Dr. Bodrova with whom she has written numerous books, articles, and educational videos on the Vygotskian Approach to Psychology and the development of play. Dr. Leong has written several books on early childhood assessment with Drs. McAfee and Bodrova.  She has her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Psychological Studies in Education, her M.Ed. from Harvard University, and her B.A. from Stanford University.  She was a Fulbright Fellow to the University of Patagonia, Argentina.

    Dr. Deborah J. Leong is the Executive Director of Tools of the Mind and Professor Emerita of Psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she taught for 36 years in the Psychology Department and in the Department of Education.  Dr. Leong developed the Tools of the Mind approach with Dr. Bodrova with whom she has written numerous books, articles, and educational videos on the Vygotskian Approach to Psychology and the development of play. Dr. Leong has written several books on early childhood assessment with Drs. McAfee and Bodrova.  She has her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Psychological Studies in Education, her M.Ed. from Harvard University, and her B.A. from Stanford University.  She was a Fulbright Fellow to the University of Patagonia, Argentina.

  • Elena-Bodrova-2

    Fun Facts

    Bucket List Items
    Travel to Asia, Europe, and Australia
    Favorite Place
    The Mountains
    Most Surprising Thing About You
    In middle school, I had to pass a test taking apart and assembling an AK-47.
    Elena Bodrova, Ph.D.
    Co-founder and Director of Research

    Elena Bodrova, Ph.D. is currently the Director for Research and Development at Tools of the Mind and a Research Fellow at the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. In collaboration with Dr. Deborah Leong, she developed Tools of the Mind program based on Vygotskian and post-Vygotskian theories of learning and Luria’s theories of brain development. Dr. Bodrova’s work on applying Lev Vygotsky’s theory to education began in Russia where she worked in the Institute for Preschool Education, and continued in the US where she worked as a Visiting Professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver and later as a Principal Researcher at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning. Dr. Bodrova is the coauthor with Dr. Leong of multiple articles and book chapters on early literacy, assessment, play, and self-regulation. Dr. Bodrova holds Ph.D. in Child Development and Educational Psychology from Russian Academy of Pedagogical Sciences and M.A. in Child Development and Educational psychology from Moscow State University, Russia.

    Elena Bodrova, Ph.D. is currently the Director for Research and Development at Tools of the Mind and a Research Fellow at the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. In collaboration with Dr. Deborah Leong, she developed Tools of the Mind program based on Vygotskian and post-Vygotskian theories of learning and Luria’s theories of brain development. Dr. Bodrova’s work on applying Lev Vygotsky’s theory to education began in Russia where she worked in the Institute for Preschool Education, and continued in the US where she worked as a Visiting Professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver and later as a Principal Researcher at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning. Dr. Bodrova is the coauthor with Dr. Leong of multiple articles and book chapters on early literacy, assessment, play, and self-regulation. Dr. Bodrova holds Ph.D. in Child Development and Educational Psychology from Russian Academy of Pedagogical Sciences and M.A. in Child Development and Educational psychology from Moscow State University, Russia.

The Leadership Team

  • BarbWilderSmith

    Fun Facts

    Bucket List
    Seeing a moose, northern lights and grandchildren!
    Favorite Place
    Anywhere by the ocean.
    Coveted Superpower
    Teleportation, so I could spend more time with the ones I love (and more time by the ocean!).
    Barb Wilder-Smith
    Director of Content Development
  • Amy-Hnasko-1

    Fun Facts

    First Thought Upon Waking
    My three beautiful children.
    Favorite Food
    Broiled scallops.
    Most Surprising Thing
    I can water ski, but hate snow skiing.
    Amy Hnasko
    Regional Training Manager
  • Scan 2016-10-25 0004.jpg

    Fun Facts

    Most Unusual Job
    Sesame Workshop on a study that led to Sesame Street's Healthy Habit Initiative.
    Weekends Spent
    Hiking, snowshoeing and/or rock climbing. Sometimes it's spent binge-watching Netflix though!
    Bucket List
    See the northern lights in Iceland
    Megan Siebert
    Regional Training Manager

The Training Team

  • Aisha-Khan

    Fun Facts

    Bucket List
    Hike Machu Picchu, travel Europe by bicycle, qualify for the Boston Marathon.
    Favorite Food
    Veggie Pizza.
    Weekends Spent
    Running, doing yoga, hiking with my husband, walking my pup Teal, and cooking.
    Aisha Khan
    Lead Training Specialist
  • Amy-Meyers1

    Fun Facts

    Most Unusual Job
    Peace Corps volunteer.
    Favorite Food
    Cheese.
    Weekends Spent
    Cooking, going to the movies, reading books, hosting get togethers with family and friends.
    Amy Myers
    Lead Training Specialist
  • Maggie-Sullivan-2

    Fun Facts

    Favorite Quote
    "If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." —Katherine Hepburn
    First Thought Upon Waking
    Coffee.
    Weekends Spent
    Walking, reading, and rowing my rowboat.
    Maggie Sullivan
    Training Specialist
  • KimWilson

    Fun Facts

    Bucket List
    Travel to Italy.
    Most Unusual Job
    Working at Casa Bonita as a photographer in the jail.
    Most Surprising Thing
    I love to watch Seinfeld.
    Kim Wilson
    Lead Training Specialist
  • Luis-Gallego

    Fun Facts

    Three Words
    Inquisitive, reflective, persistent.
    Favorite Place
    Laguna de Iguaque, Colombia.
    Most Surprising Thing
    I am not allowed to go by myself to any toy store (no self-regulation).
    Luis Gallego
    Lead Training Specialist
  • Carol-Carroll

    Fun Facts

    Three Words
    Tall, curious, helpful.
    Favorite Quote
    "I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen." —A.A. Milne
    Bucket List
    Cross-country road trip, eating my way through Italy.
    Carol Carroll
    Training Specialist

The Content Development Team

  • Dave-Brooke

    Fun Facts

    Favorite Quote
    “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” —Don Draper
    Most Unusual Job
    Teaching English in Italy to 11-year-olds.
    Coveted Superpower
    Touch a book and know everything inside.
    David Brooke
    Content Development Specialist
  • Ruth-Hensen

    Fun Facts

    Favorite Quote
    The only way to have a friend is to be one.
    Theme Song
    Canon in D Major by Pachelbel
    Inspiration
    Music
    Ruth Hensen
    Content Advisor

The Operations Team

  • SuzanneOBoyleKinderPICKTHISPHOTO

    Fun Facts

    Favorite Quote
    "You have a brain in your head. Feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose." —Dr. Seuss
    Favorite Place
    My home office!
    First Thought on Waking
    What can I learn new today?
    Suzanne O’Boyle
    Program Coordinator
  • Carolyn-Erhart

    Fun Facts

    Most Unusual Job
    Body toning exercise instructor.
    Favorite Food
    Dessert.
    Coveted Superpower
    Healer.
    Carolyn Erhart
    Program Assistant