Innovation + Knowledge

  • 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 President

    Dr. Deborah J. Leong is the Co-founder and President 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 Co-founder and President 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.

  • 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 Tools Knowledge Advisor

    Elena Bodrova, Ph.D. is the Co-founder and Tools Knowledge Advisor at Tools of the Mind. 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 the Co-founder and Tools Knowledge Advisor at Tools of the Mind. 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.

Executive Director

  • 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
    Executive Director & Co-Developer

Our Partnership Development Team

  • Fun Facts

    Describe yourself using three words.
    Resourceful, motivated, optimistic
    What is your favorite food?
    Anything Indian and/or with cauliflower
    What is the most surprising thing about you?
    I have an autographed picture of Margaret Mead
    Moira Rodgers
    Director of Partnership & Business Development
  • Fun Facts

    Describe yourself using three words.
    Adventurous, globetrotter, curious
    What is your favorite food?
    Pickles
    What is the most surprising thing about you?
    I've lived in 9 different states, including Washington DC.
    Angela Alvis
    Associate Director of Partnership Development
  • 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
    Partnership Development Manager
  • Fun Facts

    What are three things on your bucket list?
    Fly an Airplane, Write A Book, Cliff Dive With a Wing Suit
    What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
    Coffee and Sunshine
    What is your favorite quote?
    "Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better." - Albert Einstein
    Jennifer Martin
    Partnership Development Manager
  • 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 O’Donnell
    Partnership Development Manager
  • Fun Facts

    What is your favorite quote?
    "Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself" Paramahansa Yogananda
    Describe yourself using three words.
    Resourceful, motivated, optimistic
    What inspires you?
    Seeing the look on a child's face when they achieve something for the first time.
    Leslie Pekarek
    Lead Partnership Manager––Tulsa
  • Fun Facts

    Describe yourself using three words.
    Thoughtful, empathic, curious
    What is your favorite food?
    Berries and breakfast sandwiches
    How do you spend your weekends?
    Hiking, cooking and working on home projects.
    Alina Russo
    Partnership Development Manager
  • 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 Partnership Development Manager: CEM
  • 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
    Partnership Development Specialist
  • Fun Facts

    If you had a song that played whenever you walked into a room what would it be?
    Happy by Pharrell
    What inspires you?
    A smile.
    What is the most surprising thing about you?
    I'm an eclectic artist
    Susan Coopersmith
    Partnership Development Specialist
  • Fun Facts

    What is your favorite quote?
    "Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world!"
    How do you spend your weekends?
    Enjoying dinner and time with my family
    Describe yourself using three words.
    curious, optimistic, nurturing
    Kim Mensche
    Partnership Development Manager

Our Partnership and Business Development Team

  • Fun Facts

    Describe yourself using three words.
    Resourceful, motivated, optimistic
    What is your favorite food?
    Anything Indian and/or with cauliflower
    What is the most surprising thing about you?
    I have an autographed picture of Margaret Mead
    Moira Rodgers
    Director of Partnership & Business Development
  • Fun Facts

    Describe yourself using three words.
    Adventurous, globetrotter, curious
    What is your favorite food?
    Pickles
    What is the most surprising thing about you?
    I've lived in 9 different states, including Washington DC.
    Angela Alvis
    Associate Director of Partnership Development
  • Fun Facts

    Describe yourself using three words.
    Social yet introverted, and empathetic
    What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
    What's for dinner
    How do you spend your weekends?
    Sweet Tooth on Saturday and Sunday is family time
    David Venter
    Marketing Manager
  • Fun Facts

    Describe yourself using three words.
    Friendly, generous, organized
    What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
    List my things to do
    What is the most surprising thing about you?
    I am handy with tools
    Cindy Brown
    Business Development Administrator

Our Data + Evaluation Team

  • 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 Spacciapoli
    Director of Evaluation and P3 Partnerships
  • Fun Facts

    What three things are on your bucket list?
    Camping under the Aurora Borealis, touching the Egyptian pyramids, and experiencing zero-G
    What inspires you?
    The way young children experience the world around them
    What talent or superpower would you like to have (not including flight or invisibility) and why?
    Teleportation (is that cheating?)
    Jillian Sullivan
    Lead Evaluation & Data Specialist
  • Fun Facts

    What three things are on your bucket list?
    Visit the castles in Ireland/Scotland; swim in the cenotes in Mexico; take a food/wine tour in Italy
    Describe yourself using three words.
    Ambitious, Adventurous, Empathetic
    What is your favorite food?
    Seafood -- crabs, clams, shrimp, etc.
    Tia McCallum
    Research Specialist

Our Operations + Systems Team

  • Fun Facts

    What is your favorite quote?
    "The tool is the love." -- Japanese bicycle designer
    What inspires you?
    People driven to make the world a better place, nature, transformation
    What talent or superpower would you like to have (not including flight or invisibility) and why?
    The ability to travel in time!
    Mara Viana
    Director of Systems, Operations & Innovation
  • Fun Facts

    Describe yourself using three words.
    Reliable, Adaptable, Curious
    What is the most unusual job you've ever had?
    I was a juvenile probation officer in a previous life.
    What talent or superpower would you like to have (not including flight or invisibility) and why?
    Probably a healing factor. I'm pretty clumsy, so it would come in handy.
    Ashton Hankins
    Technology Success Specialist
  • Fun Facts

    Describe yourself using three words.
    Creative, curious, cheerful
    What three things are on your bucket list?
    Road trip around Iceland, see a gorilla in the wild, perfect the art of pizza making
    What is the most surprising thing about you?
    I make my own clothes
    Jill Teitsworth
    Program Coordinator

Our Content Development Team

  • 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
    Creative Development & Digital Marketing Manager
  • Fun Facts

    Who has been the most influential person in your life?
    My mom, hands down.
    What is the most surprising thing about you?
    I wrote a children's book about fairies. You can get it on Amazon!
    What talent or superpower would you like to have (not including flight or invisibility) and why?
    To be in several places at once...so I can explore and learn about everything I want to!
    Angela Robinson
    Associate Director of Content Development

Our Technology Team

  • Fun Facts

    What is the most unusual job you've ever had?
    Historical Interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village
    Favorite place in the entire world?
    The Ocean
    What is your favorite quote?
    "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence." - Albert Einstein
    Oliver Saunders Wilder
    Director of Technology

Our Finance and Administration Team

  • Fun Facts

    Who has been the most influential person in your life?
    My mom
    Describe yourself using three words.
    mother, environmentalist, passionate
    How do you spend your weekends?
    Camping, hiking, biking...or anything educational.
    Cyndi Cadigan
    Finance and Administration Manager
  • Fun Facts

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