The Empower Learning Competency-Based Professional Development Team

Dr. Robert J. Marzano

     Robert J. Marzano, PhD, is cofounder and chief academic officer of Marzano Research in Denver, Colorado. During his 50 years in the field of education, he has worked with educators as a speaker and trainer and has authored more than 50 books and 200 articles on topics such as instruction, assessment, writing and implementing standards, cognition, effective leadership, and school intervention.

     His books include The New Art and Science of Teaching, Leaders of Learning, Making Classroom Assessments Reliable and Valid, The Classroom Strategies Series, Managing the Inner World of Teaching, Handbook for High Reliability Schools, Handbook for Personalized Competency-Based Education, and The Highly Engaged Classroom. His practical translations of the most current research and theory into classroom strategies are known internationally and are widely practiced by both teachers and administrators.

     He received a bachelor’s degree from Iona College in New York, a master’s degree from Seattle University, and a doctorate from the University of Washington.

Doug Finn

     Douglas Finn III has been working in the area of Personalized Competency-Based education (PCBE) since 2004.  Within PCBE, he has taught every grade level from primary through graduation, and has been an instructional and administrative coach for schools, districts and state departments throughout the United States and the world.  He is one of the leading educators in the field of PCBE and prides himself on having practical application knowledge for implementing PCBE at all levels.

     Doug has been supporting students, schools, districts and states transitioning to PCBE as a professional development associate since 2008. He started working for the non-profit Re-Inventing Schools Coalition (RISC) and then transitioned to Marzano Research to become a professional development associate and author.  He is a co-author of A Handbook for Personalized Competency-Based Education with Dr. Robert Marzano, Jennifer Norford and Michelle Finn.  Doug is also the regional director for the non-profit Marzano Academies, which provides schools a comprehensive longer term approach to implementing research based practices within PCBE.

     Doug received a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Montana. He earned teaching degrees in Biology and Earth Science from Northern Michigan University and as he likes to say, has attended the school of practical application for PCBE for almost 15 years.

Misty McBrierty, Ed.D

     Misty has been working in the area of proficiency/competency-based education starting early in her career. She has been a middle/high school science teacher, building principal, director of curriculum and instruction, and adjunct professor in educational leadership in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine.  

     She has her doctorate in transformative leadership with a research focus in the transformative technologies supporting personalized/customized learning. She has been a facilitator in proficiency-based, customized learning education transformation including building district wide learning progressions and implementing Empower Learning Management System as a district leader.  

     Her focus is building capacity in leaders and practitioners to structurally shift the framework of systems to support all learners through customized learning.

Michelle Finn

     Michelle Finn is a professional development associate for the Reinventing Schools Division of Marzano Research and a coauthor of A Handbook for Personalized, Competency-Based Education. With more than a decade of experience in a variety of educational roles and settings, her classroom-based experience includes teaching grades K–10.

     She was involved in the shift from a traditional time-based to a competency-based model of education at Bering Strait School District, then again in several schools in Maine, all of which saw significant improvements in student achievement. Her background includes curriculum and assessment development aligned with standards, transitioning schools to a competency-based educational model, developing student agency, and coaching teachers.

     Michelle graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maine at Orono. She is currently finishing her master’s in educational leadership with St. Joseph’s College while teaching third grade in a rural Maine school.

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