PRN has a board of advisors, project directors and alumni across the country.
Ayla Gavins is a PRN alum and the principal of the Mission Hill K-8 School in Boston’s Mission Hill district. MHS was founded in 1997 by educator and author Deborah Meier and is modeled on democratic principles. Originally from a small town near the Pittsburgh area, Ayla began her education career in the Wayland (MA) Public Schools system, moving on to teach in Newton and then in Boston. The Mission Hill progressive educational model consists of multi-age classrooms that typically consist of no more than 20 students and with most children spending two years with the same teacher. The model also incorporates inclusive classroom learning environments.
Casey Murrow heads Synergy Learning International, Inc, a non-profit specializing in science and math programs for schools and teachers. Synergy is the publisher of Connect magazine, which has focused on articles written by and for teachers, both in the U.S. and overseas. Synergy is also a partner organization in Vermont Learning for the Future, a statewide collective action project. As an elementary teacher in Washington, D.C. and in Vermont, Casey was active in place-based learning and was an advocate for expanded professional learning for all educators. In addition to VTHEC, Casey serves on the board of Shelburne Farms, the leadership team for the national project, Educate the Whole Child and two higher education advisory groups, among other endeavors.
Bob began his career as a business education teacher at Crater High School in Central Point, Oregon, in 1983. After voicing frustration with the level of service and impact of public education, Bob’s innovative principal challenged him to read Horace’s Compromise; Ted Sizer's insights served as a catalyst for all of Bob’s future work.
Bob become one of the developers of a “School-Within-a-School” program -- learning communities that allowed a small team of teachers to meet with a small group of students over several periods, featuring integrated curriculum and deep relationships that allowed students and adults to ask more from one another. Oregon recognized the Crater School of Business as a Certificate of Advanced Mastery developmental site, and this program continues to flourish as a model program 25 years later. After a few years in the district office serving as the Technology Coordinator, Bob realized working directly with students is core to who he is and returned to Crater as the Library Media Specialist. In 2005, when the Gates Foundation and Meyer Memorial Trust offered funding for the conversion of comprehensive high schools to multiple small schools on one campus, Bob served as the School Change Coach at Crater, working closely with a passionate, idealistic group of educators to create new, themed schools.
In 2007, four autonomous, small high schools opened on the Crater Campus with Bob serving as the principal of Crater Renaissance Academy, an arts and sciences themed school, which strives to closely follow the 10 common principles of Ted Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools. The Renaissance School Mission Statement begins: “To serve as a beacon school…;” Renaissance has been recognized repeatedly nationally and truly has become a beacon school. Now retired, Bob still dabbles in instructional and leadership coaching and mentoring, and works with multiple progressive educational leadership organizations.
Paul Richmond is a founding member of PRN and a spoken-word poet. He started writing 37 years ago, by keeping a journal. After many years of filling boxes of journals, he became a performer where he wrote or co-wrote the scripts for his solo, duet, and group shows. This led to writings he saw as “stories” or "poems", that he presented at local poetry / spoken word events. Many have been collected to create “No Guarantees – Adjust and Continue.” and "Ready or Not - Living in the Break Down Lane" with two other books that are not here. He runs Human Error Publishing and organizes many local Word Festivals.
Rob is a Project Director, a PRN alum and an Assistant Principal at Humanities Prep High School. Prior to joining the Humanities Prep team, he worked as an instructional coach supporting NY Performance Assessment Consortium schools and taught mathematics. After Williams College, he earned Masters Degrees in music, math education and educational leadership from U of London: SOAS, Brooklyn College and New England College respectively. He is a self-proclaimed 'Brooklyn boy' who enjoys working in a place where he helps students, as diverse as the city we live in, gain access and exposure to the relatively unknown world around them.
Sarah Gil is a PRN alum, and Project Director for the Principals Residency Network with two decades of experience teaching Humanities and Social Studies; working with English Language Learners and transfer students; mentoring teachers and facilitating professional development experiences in New York Performance Standards Consortium schools. She enjoys the energy of teachers abuzz in groups giving one another feedback so their projects create as much intellectual spoken exchange as is happening in that very room. Because she values collaboration, student centered work and leaders practicing what they ask their colleagues and students to do, it is with excitement that she is a part of PRN. She lives in Brooklyn with her daughter and husband.
Tamara Parks is a PRN alum, Project Director for the Principal Residency Network and an Advisor and Teacher Leader at City-As School in the West Village. She is also a Master Teacher at Math for America, a Master Teacher at New York City Department of Education and was a Superintendent’s Fellow for 2016-17. Tamara started teaching in New York City in 2006 and within a year helped start a new school for recently arrived immigrant youth in Queens. Seven years later, Tamara was invited to join PRN and earn her Master’s in School Leadership through New England College and her School Building Leader license through NYC DOE. Soon after Tamara found City-As School- a consortium high school and one of the oldest alternative high schools in NYC. Tamara has three children who attend progressive schools and resides with her husband Ron in the East Village.
Before founding the NY iteration of the Principal Residency Network, Tom was the principal of the first elementary school in Vermont to become a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools from 1995-2000. In 1998 Dennis Littky gathered a group including Ted Sizer, Deborah Meier, Roland Barth, founder of the Harvard Principals Center; Jay Carlson, Dean of Lewis and Clark College; Elliot Washor and several practicing school principals including Tom McGuire. This group dreamed up a new model of school leadership training where aspiring principals do most of their learning in the schoolhouse under the guidance of an excellent mentor principal; the learning plan is personalized according to state standards, personal learning goals and school needs. This model is the Principal Residency Network. Tom went on to become the Superintendent of the Monroe Consolidated School District. Tom is currently a member of the Design Team and a Co-Director for the Principal Residency Network. Tom is also the co-director of School Development and Professional Development at Educate the Whole Child with the Myrin Foundation.