Our Team

Noah Teitelbaum, MBA, M.Ed

Noah Teitelbaum, MBA, M.Ed

Executive Director

Noah started his 20 years in education with 5th graders in Harlem and then went on to teach in other schools serving low-income students in the NYC area. He knows firsthand the need for  tools for teaching SEL and Mindfulness. Noah has also been an instructional coach, an author of teaching handbooks and curricula, a consultant to some of the most innovative schools in the country, and a business manager and product innovator for a national test-prep business. He’s earned his Masters in Education, and an MBA, and has done significant course work in Instructional Leadership.

nteitelbaum@empoweringeducation.org

Charlie Merrow, MA

Charlie Merrow, MA

Program Director

cmerrow@empoweringeducation.org

Sarah Cai

Sarah Cai

Graphic Designer

Sarah is a graphic designer and entrepreneur. After graduating with a BA in Graphic Design from Central Saint Martins (London, UK), she has lived and worked in three continents. Sarah has a decade of extensive experience in end-to-end creative processes and enjoys problem solving. In 2014, Sarah co-founded a high-technology escape room based in Denver, CO, which has since expanded into three locations in Colorado and New Mexico.

scai@empoweringeducation.org

Chloe Knowling

Chloe Knowling

Curriculum Team

Chloe is a founding special education teacher at Rocky Mountain Prep Berkeley. She has served on Rocky Mountain Prep’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board and was a member of the Colorado League of Charter’s Fellowship for Special Education Leadership Cohort for Underrepresented Staff Populations. Chloe created a PTA for exceptional learners that brings together all stakeholders to ensure that scholars have the wrap-around services they need and want. She has previously served as a special education lead at a Denver Middle School and was a founding special education teacher abroad. Chloe graduated from University of Tampa with a BA in Communications and minors in Government and History.
Anthony Dilorenzo, MSW

Anthony Dilorenzo, MSW

Curriculum Team

Anthony started his career in social work and education at the Tennyson Center for Children where he worked as a Supervisor for Youth Treatment Counselors in the residential and day treatment programs. He now runs a company called Circles where he trains, coaches, and supports the implementation of Restorative Practice Programs focused on supporting educators with classroom management  and developing strong communities within schools. Anthony also works as a therapist at Denver Springs Mental Wellness, primarily with youth struggling with suicidal and homicidal ideation. He believes that our response to school violence and adverse behaviors needs to be a response that focuses on the root causes of peer isolation and lagging social emotional skills.

Katherine Pivoda, MA

Katherine Pivoda, MA

Curriculum Team

Katherine Pivoda has been teaching reading and composition at the University of Colorado Denver for nearly a decade. After earning her MA in literature, she taught at International College Beijing for two years, overseeing writing center operations and working intensively with ESL students and English instructors. Now, she works primarily with first-year college students. She is a Pushcart Prize nominated essayist and a PhD student studying Education. 

Laurie LaComb

Laurie LaComb

Curriculum Team

Laurie LaComb has been working in the public-school arena for over 25 years and currently serves as the Healthy Schools Coordinator for the Douglas County School District in Colorado where she teaches SEL and mindfulness to students and staff. Over eight years ago, she started down the mindfulness path as a tool to use not only with herself but also with the students and staff with whom she worked. Laurie received her 200-yoga certification, completed the ambassador program with Mindful Life, as well as taken courses through the Institute for Mindful Leadership, Kristin Neff, Mindful Schools, and Mindful Education. Her passions include social-emotional learning, working with children/teens/teachers, staff wellness, self-compassion, family, yoga, meditation, and chocolate.   

Robert Sutro

Robert Sutro

Advisory Committee

Robert is an equity-driven National Board certified early childhood teacher at Denver Green School who places love at the heart of his repertoire of strategies to meet his students’ needs. He endeavors to understand his students’ cultures, histories, languages and social-emotional needs in order to see them for all that they are and can be. In addition to being a renewed NBCT, Robert holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Social Science and – prior to becoming a credentialed teacher – taught English to children in Taiwan and in Turkey and did peace building work with children in both Bosnia and Kosovo.

Amanda Withington

Amanda Withington

Advisory Committee

Amanda Withington is the Manager of School Improvement Planning at Denver Public Schools. She has spent many years, in different roles, supporting schools create and implement data driven improvement plans. This work has inspired her passion and belief in social-emotional curriculum and programs as part of a well-rounded education that should be available to every child. She received her BA in Economics from Kenyon College and her MPPA from Northwestern University.

Tara Laughlin

Tara Laughlin

Advisory Committee

Tara Laughlin spent the first decade of her career as a teacher at the elementary and middle school levels. In 2015, Tara became Curriculum Director for PAIRIN, leading the development of a comprehensive SEL curriculum and educator professional development. She now serves as the Competency-Based Learning Specialist for Denver Public Schools.Tara holds an Ed.D. in Curriculum, Innovation, and Educational Reform from the University of Northern Colorado. Through her dissertation research, she developed a framework for the systematic integration of social emotional learning into the content area. Her educational and professional endeavors have centered around two core tenets: (1) The development of meaningful, authentic relationships, and (2) The pursuit of college, career, and life readiness for all learners.

Andreas "Andy" Wilfong

Andreas "Andy" Wilfong

Board Chair

Andy is the Board Chair and founder of Empowering Education Inc. (EE) and has also founded two additional companies headquartered in Colorado. One of the companies was awarded best small business in Colorado from 2008-2010 and in 2010 was ranked 25th nationally. Andy has extensive experience with business start-up operations and subsequent business sustainability.

Charis Whitnah, MA

Charis Whitnah, MA

Board Member

Charis Whitnah is the Senior Manager of Student Services at Rocky Mountain Prep Charter Schools. She spent the first five years of her career teaching special education at SOAR and the Tennyson Center for Children. Charis is passionate about educational equity and social and emotional learning. She is a 2013 Teach For America alumna who earned her BA in Philosophy from Colorado College and her MA in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Maryann Wiggs, MA

Maryann Wiggs, MA

Board Member, Executive Editor

Maryann has over four decades of experience in education. She is the founder of Educational Performance Consulting, providing engaging seminars and workshops on a wide range of educational topics both locally and nationally. She is the author of five books on understanding and implementing standards-based educational practices and former Assistant Superintendent and Executive Director in two Colorado school districts.

 

Emma Espel, PhD

Emma Espel, PhD

Board Member

Emma seeks to encourage social and emotional learning in education settings through informed programming. This passion is fostered by her experience as a research associate for RMC Research, consultant work for educational and community programs, and experiences encouraging health and mindfulness in youth through activities and research. Emma earned her BA in Psychology from Gustavus Adolphus College and her MA and PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of Denver in 2015.