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Meet the LISC Consultants

Larry Ainsworth

Drawing on 24 years of experience as an upper elementary and middle school classroom teacher in demographically diverse schools, author, consultant, and educational expert Larry Ainsworth brings a wide range of professional experiences to help school systems implement best practices related to standards, assessment, and accountability across all grades and content areas. Larry’s latest title, Common Formative Assessment 2.0, is a bestseller, and aligns tightly with the Learning Intentions and Success Criteria work.

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Laura Besser is an educational consultant and is dedicated to improving the quality of teaching, learning and leadership in schools. Laura's areas of expertise include leadership and accountability, standards and assessment, data and collaboration and literacy and instruction.

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Mary Jane O'Connell is an experienced principal and professional development consultant who has a passion for helping school leaders and teachers examine their impact on student learning.

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With over 20 years of experience, Tracey Shiel supports and develops leaders to successfully guide classrooms, schools, and districts to superior academic performance.

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Tommy Thompson

Tommy Thompson is a high school principal in New London, CT. He holds a Sixth Year degree from Sacred Heart University, A Master's degree in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University, and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Central Connecticut State University.


Jay Trujillo Headshot

Jay Trujillo is a distinguished educator with over 28 years of professional experience, including 14 years as school principal. Jay has led his schools to extraordinary results. He is a highly sought-after K-12 leadership and educational consultant throughout the United States.


Kara Vandas is a highly experienced and passionate consultant who works with districts and schools around the country to implement processes and practices that best support student learning.

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Steve Ventura is the founder and a Distinguished Professional Development Consultant for Advanced Collaborative Solutions. Steve has previous experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, director, and superintendent.

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Diane Wolf Headshot

Dr. Diane Wolf has led the journey of assessment literacy through workshops, PLC's, instructional coaching for teachers and administrators.  She has worked with Pre-K through 12th grade level professionals and content teams in their development of Common Formative Assessments. Diane is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Schools for four counties and 30 school districts.


Sonja Alexander is an experienced educational leader and consultant who provides customized professional development services that support teacher and leader effectiveness.

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