Our Visionary Leadership

Meet Our Leadership Team

The leadership at Laurel Springs School embodies what it means to define one’s own education. Since our inception in 1991, our focus has been on preparing students for the world ahead and cultivating the values of true global citizenship.

The Laurel Springs leadership team is comprised of experts in the fields of online learning, curriculum design, academic instruction, and assessment. We are passionate about our mission and about helping our students develop a lifelong love of learning.

Marilyn Mosley Gordanier founded Laurel Springs School in 1991.
Marilyn Mosley Gordanier, M.A.
Founder

Marilyn Mosley Gordanier, M.A.
Founder

Marilyn Mosley Gordanier has more than 35 years of education experience. Since founding Laurel Springs in 1991, she has led the school to become a premier provider of customized distance learning. Ms. Mosley Gordanier was nominated for a Nobel Earth Prize, and is the president of the United Nations Global 500 Environmental Forum. She participates in the Captain Planet Foundation on its Board of Directors, and serves on the STEM Education Working Group for the Clinton Global Initiative.

Arra G. Yerganian is the President of Laurel Springs School.
Arra G. Yerganian
President

Arra G. Yerganian
President

Arra G. Yerganian is an award-winning leader who has served as Chief Marketing/Brand/Experience Officer for leading companies like Tivity Health/Nutrisystem, Sutter Health, One Medical (backed by Benchmark Capital & Google Ventures), and University of Phoenix. He began his marketing career at Procter & Gamble, where he served as International Market Manager. He contributes regularly to publications like Ad Age and Forbes and has recently keynoted at the 2019 Cannes Marketing & Innovation Event and the 2018 SXSW Brand Innovators Summit. Providing innovative, market-driven and value-added solutions has been his focus for more than 25 years, and, in his own words, he is “obsessed with creating frictionless and delightful customer and consumer journeys.”

Additionally, Mr. Yerganian currently serves as a Board Member and advisor to the Dean of Boston University’s highly acclaimed School of Public Health and is also on the Board of Directors of Heart & Paw Inc., a Philadelphia-based company providing veterinary care, grooming, and play for dogs and cats. He is also a 15+-year active volunteer and Board Chair Emeritus of the Silicon Valley American Red Cross, and a recent executive committee member of Rocketship Education, a nationally acclaimed charter school for inner-city children ages 4-11.

Megan O'Reilly Palevich, M.Ed. is the Head of School for Laurel Springs School.
Megan O’Reilly Palevich, M.Ed.
Head of School

Megan O’Reilly Palevich, M.Ed.
Head of School

Megan O’Reilly Palevich, M.Ed., has been a teacher and administrator in the public and private sectors for 28 years. Her rich and varied experience in PreK-12 education includes curriculum design, signature innovative program development, technology integration, and personalized professional development for educators. Mrs. O’Reilly Palevich has won awards for innovation in science education from CESI and in social studies education from Facing History and Ourselves. She regularly speaks nationally about topics such as gifted education, blended learning, online learning, and more. Mrs. O’Reilly Palevich earned her B.A. from Rosemont College in Elementary Education and Psychology, and her M.Ed. from Cabrini University in Educational Leadership with completion of the K-12 Principal Certification Program.

Jane Ferris, Ed.D. is the Assistant Head of School for Laurel Springs School.
Jane Ferris, Ed.D.
Assistant Head of School

Jane Ferris, Ed.D.
Assistant Head of School

With nearly 20 years in education, Dr. Jane Ferris’s experience as an innovative and highly accomplished educator and administrator in the brick-and-mortar, online, and blended learning environments contributes to her success as Laurel Springs School’s Assistant Head of School.  She has overseen academic and non-academic programming, curriculum development and instruction, accreditation, standardized testing, gifted and talented education programming, faculty and staff supervision, and professional development. In addition to having earned her Doctorate in Policy, Planning, and Administration, Dr. Ferris has her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, a graduate certificate in Collaborative Mentorship and Coaching, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education (Social Studies).

Jody Miller
Sr. Director, Brand & Digital Marketing

Jody Miller
Sr. Director, Brand & Digital Marketing

Jody has always loved learning and when the opportunity to join Laurel Springs School was presented in August 2021, she happily joined the team. With more than two decades of marketing and student experience in higher education and certification, Jody has expertise across multiple disciplines in marketing, operations, and academics. Prior to joining Laurel Springs, Jody led teams in digital marketing strategy and student experience design at University of Phoenix. Through that work, she helped grow the University into one of the largest online schools in the world with more than 450,000 students. Jody’s focus will be leading strategic brand management; advertising and media; digital marketing; e-commerce; and market research and insights for Laurel Springs School.

Jody holds a bachelor of arts in Business Administration from the University of Montana.

Ariel Feigenbaum headshot
Ariel Feigenbaum
Sr. Director, Partnerships & Business Development

Ariel Feigenbaum
Sr. Director, Partnerships & Business Development

Ariel Feigenbaum is a marketing leader with over 15 years of experience developing creative community-focused brand marketing and bold partnership initiatives. She has led partnership development at Sutter Health, One Medical Group, and MRY for clients including Visa, Old Navy, and Neutrogena, bringing brands to life through innovative community programming and marketing activations. She is a native New Yorker, avid sports fan, and loves to ski. She has called the Bay Area her home for the past decade and is always on the hunt for an adventure or a delicious meal.

Dayton Hansen
Director of Operations and Strategy - Admissions

Dayton Hansen
Director of Operations and Strategy – Admissions

Dayton Hansen is an Admissions and Marketing leader with nearly 20 years of experience in the education field. During his career, he has led admissions and customer experience teams at major organizations such as the University of Phoenix and Pearson Online Learning Services. In Dayton’s role with Laurel Springs, his goal is to create a best in class admissions experience, and provide students with a gateway to an unmatched learning experience.

Diane Coraluzzi
Sr. Director of Family Support

Diane Coraluzzi
Sr. Director of Family Support

Diane Coraluzzi has worked in the field of customer service management for 20 years and is passionate about creating legendary customer experiences. She is committed to ensuring legendary service and actively seeks solutions that work for our families. She is genuinely enthusiastic about serving our students and their families and looks forward to working with them throughout their years with Laurel Springs. She earned her B.A. in English and Communications from Cabrini University.

Meet Our Deans and Academic Department Chairs

Laurel Springs’ experienced team of Deans and Academic Department Chairs support the diverse curriculum and immersive distance learning programs we offer, providing deep expertise in their chosen fields.

Renée Mindek is the Dean of Student Engagement at Laurel Springs School.
Renée Mindek
Dean of Student Engagement

Renée Mindek
Dean of Student Engagement

Renée Mindek has been an educator for 25 years serving as a teacher, adjunct professor, education consultant, and administrator during that time. Her undergraduate education included studying at the Université de Paris, La Sorbonne, in Paris, France which applied to her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in French Education (University of Delaware) followed by a Master’s of Liberal Arts degree (Spring Hill College) with a concentration in Communications. While serving as a secondary teacher in southeastern Pennsylvania, she co-founded a non-profit foreign exchange program partnering a U.S. magnet school with private schools in France. Her leadership experience includes serving as a department chair, global IB educator and trainer, workshop leader, and school accreditation team leader. Renée joined Laurel Springs School as an Academic Department Chair in 2019 and currently serves as the Dean of Student Engagement. Her professional objectives center on creating meaningful experiences for the modern student by utilizing real-world opportunities to drive student-centered learning.

Cory Plough, M.Ed.
Dean of Academy

Cory Plough, M.Ed.
Dean of Academy

Cory Plough joined Laurel Springs School as the Social Studies Academic Department Chair in 2015. Throughout his sixteen years in online and blended learning education, he has worked with a variety of unique programs around the country supporting students, families, and teachers. He has an M.Ed. in Education Leadership and one in Educational Technology. He also earned his B.A. in History from California State University Northridge. Cory has spoken at numerous conferences and written about online education since 2008.

Alex Schroeder, M.Ed.
Dean of Faculty

Alex Schroeder, M.Ed.
Dean of Faculty

Alex was a high school English and ESL teacher as well as a high school Administrator before coming to Laurel Springs School. She has developed assessments and curriculum at both the school and district level, and has also served on committees to evaluate teachers working towards National Board certifications. Alex earned her M.Ed in Teacher Leadership as well as her Principal’s Certification from Regis University, her B.A. in English from the University of Colorado at Denver, and her teaching certification through Western State University, and is certified in Linguistically Diverse education.

Leigh Tillman is the Dean of Curriculum and Instruction for Laurel Springs School.
Leigh Tillman
Dean of Curriculum and Instruction

Leigh Tillman
Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Leigh Tillman has been in the field of education for 25 years. After teaching in a classroom for 8 years, she began to pursue teaching opportunities in virtual education. She has served as a high school math teacher, math department chair, and administrator for several online charter school programs. In addition to teaching and administration, Leigh has experience with curriculum development and professional learning for teachers. She has worked extensively with teachers to develop best practices in the online environment and to use data to revise their teaching strategies. She earned her B.A. in Mathematics and her M.Ed. in Learning and Technology with a focus on Instructional Design.

Allison Altvater is the Social Studies Academic Department Chair for Laurel Springs School.
Allison Altvater
Social Studies

Allison Altvater
Social Studies Academic Department Chair

Allison earned her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Science from Florida Atlantic University and went on to earn her M.A. in Teaching History from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She has taught social studies in the classroom and virtually for more than ten years. In 2013, she earned her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification in Secondary Social Studies Education. Allison specializes in Advanced Placement Social Studies courses and serves as an AP Reader for College Board. She also has experience working with beginning teachers and online instructors as a mentor and instructional coach. Allison joined the Laurel Springs School as a Social Studies Teacher in 2017 and continues to be passionate about online education and the Laurel Springs School model and mission.

Shawn Bailey, M.A.
English

Shawn Bailey, M.A.
English Academic Department Chair

Shawn Bailey has taught at brick-and-mortar as well as online schools for the past fifteen years. Her passion is to motivate students and teachers to be successful in their endeavors. She has successfully developed online school curricula for language arts courses as well as created Advanced Placement assessments for the school district. Throughout her teaching career, she has served as an Advanced Placement Department Chair and provided professional development as a district Gifted Endorsement teacher. Shawn has also served as an AP Reader for the College Board for over five years and loves to use these skills to support teachers and students in AP success. She holds an Ed.S. in Teaching and Learning and an M.A. in Teaching English.

Lisa Bechtold, M.A.
World Language

Lisa Bechtold, M.A.
World Language Academic Department Chair

Ms. Bechtold earned her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education and British Literature from the University of Montana and her Master of Arts degree in Online Education from the University of Phoenix. She also holds a teaching credential in Secondary English, is a Highly Qualified NCLB Latin teacher, and holds a National Board Certification in Young Adult Literature and Composition. As Lead Instructor, she worked in both the K-8 and English departments. Ms. Bechtold has trained new instructors and served as a mentor teacher for the past five years in English, World Languages, and the Electives departments. With over 30 years of teaching experience that also includes curriculum development, Ms. Bechtold resides in Missoula, Montana.

Caitlin Byers
Middle School

Caitlin Byers
Middle School Academic Department Chair

Caitlin began her teaching career in private education after graduating from the University of Montana with a bachelor’s degree in K–8 Education with a focus in Literacy. She began her career in a co-teaching model in experiential learning. She moved into a lead teacher role and learned to guide teachers in curriculum development, developmentally appropriate instruction, and best practices implementation. Caitlin transferred those skills into online education with Laurel Springs School, finding a niche supporting Middle School students. Here, she was the NJHS Advisor and taught English, Social Studies, and Electives. She also worked in the roles of K8 Lead Teacher and Social Community Assistant, learning how to best support teachers from the incredible Laurel Springs leadership team. Caitlin knows from experience that well-supported teachers lead to well-supported students. 

Stephanie Gold, M.Ed.
Science

Stephanie Gold, M.Ed.
Science Academic Department Chair

Stephanie started her career teaching Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Anatomy & Physiology in New York City. After teaching High School Science at schools in the Northeast and abroad, she left the classroom to work in educational technology, building adaptive learning platforms for blended instruction. Stephanie then went on to lead teams of instructional coaches in online and blended large-scale teacher professional development, supporting teachers and schools in evaluating and implementing best practices. Stephanie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology from Georgetown University, a Masters Degree in Science Education from New York University, and is certified in both teaching Biological Sciences and teaching students with disabilities.

Patti McClimans, M.Ed.
Mathematics

Patti McClimans, M.Ed.
Mathematics Academic Department Chair

Patti McClimans has been part of the Laurel Springs family since November 2016 as a math teacher, and the Math Lead Teacher since October of 2018. She has been in the field of education since 1991. After spending many years in the classroom, she moved to private tutoring as well as college-level instruction. Mrs. McClimans has also been an instructor in professional development programs in the field of Gifted Education and has worked with curriculum and assessment development in mathematics at the local school and district levels. Patti holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Education in Secondary Mathematics, both received from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, she holds gifted certification in the states of Georgia and Colorado as well as Secondary Math teaching certification in four states.

Sherry Newman, M.Ed.
Electives

Sherry Newman, M.Ed.
Electives Academic Department Chair

Sherry has more than 20 years of brick-and-mortar classroom and online experience as both a teacher and administrator. Sherry served as an instructional supervisor, assistant principal, and principal for both the Social Studies and Electives Department for the largest online school in Ohio where she was instrumental in coaching and evaluating teachers, developing professional development, and tracking data to improve student performance. She has her Master’s degree is School Counseling from The University of Dayton, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Education from The Ohio State University, and a Principal License, Grades 5–12, from The University of Dayton. She is passionate about mentoring teachers and walking alongside them as they serve students in the virtual world of education.

Emily Reid, M.Ed.
Lower School

Emily Reid, M.Ed.
Lower School Academic Department Chair

Emily has been in the field of education for more than 10 years. She worked as a traditional teacher in a brick-and-mortar setting, as well as teaching students in kindergarten through 8th grade in an online environment. She has also managed after-school programs facilitating students with learning needs to fill gaps in knowledge and enhance their learning experience. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Humanities as well as a master’s degree in Elementary Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. She is extremely passionate about the progressive world of online learning. As the Blended Learning Manager and Customization Coordinator she is incredibly knowledgeable and experienced in implemented blended learning in an online classroom, providing professional development to staff involved in online and blended learning, and tracking and analyzing data in regards to student success. Mrs. Reid is focused on individual student’s growth and progress, providing teacher support, and determining and enhancing the best curriculum and environment to benefit each student.

Keith Wilson, M.Ed.
Academy

Keith Wilson, M.Ed.
Academy Academic Department Chair

Keith Wilson is midway through his third decade in education, having worked in virtual school settings, brick and mortar settings, and unique combinations of the two throughout the country. He has served school communities as a school administrator, project manager, and VP of development. Additionally, he has been an adjunct professor for Kansas Newman University and served as an Educational Consultant. He has a double major in Education and Special Education from Augustana College in South Dakota and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from South Dakota State University.

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